Tuesday, April 30, 2013

CheapRunnerRhoda's Forest City Road Race Recap

Posted by CheapRunnerRhoda
As CRM mentioned yesterday all 3 Cheaprunners took place in the Forest City Road Race on Sunday, April 28th.  It was a beautiful morning and what better to do on a morning like that than run a half marathon!

First I am going to start with Saturday night and our Carb loading dinner.  We decided it was an appropriate night to go for some pasta at spageddy eddy's.


It was tough to decide with all the delicious options on the menu!





I finally decided on the mazza mazza eddy with spagetti noodles and meatballs.

I don't think this pic does this big ol' bowl of spagetti justice in showing the size but trust me when I say, it was a huge bowl of spagetti and totally delish!


We all enjoyed and were good and full when we left!  All set for Sunday!

After a pretty decent sleep for the night before a race (up at 6, race started at 8), I started with what has become my pre-race morning rituals.  Got the pot of coffee brewing while I got dressed and got my bag packed for the morning.  The 2 CRM's showed up around 7:20, I grabbed a Clif Bar, and we were off to the races!  We arrived downtown, found a great spot to park. Had just the right amount of time to spare to do a few stretches and takes some pics!




8am came and it was go time!  I felt a little overwhelmed at the start and couldn't get a good pace going until almost the .5 km mark.  Although, I am not super fast like CRM, I still should have listened to him and moved closer to the starting line. 
Anyways, after the first 2 km, I started to feel really good, and settled into a 4:56 pace.  I was able to keep that pace the whole way.  My goal was to finish under 1:45 so I knew I needed to stay under 5:00/km.  This is a great race for residents of London to show their support, as it winds through a few different neighbourhoods, and that they do.  There were plenty of people out on the porches or at the curb cheering us all on, and at the water/eload stations the volunteers were always great with shouting out words of encouragement.  It was soooo nice to hear!  This race offerred water and eload/gatorade at all the stations along the way, I think I counted 8.  It was great because they would always shout out what they were passing out so you could grab the right liquid and not take eload when you wanted water.  I didn't end up stopping at any stations because I brought my own water and gels which turned out great for me!  I felt pretty good throughout this whole race until I hit km 19, then I started to bonk out.  I could feel my pace slowing down, I just kept telling myself "don't slow down now", and pushed myself.  About half a km from the finish line, I saw my fans (Michelle, the kids, sister-in-law and her kids) and hearing them cheer me on gave me enough of a boost to pick up some speed and race to the finish line! 

I ended with a finish time of 1:44:11 (pace of 4:55 as per my Nike watch) so I was happy enough with that!  No PR this race but I still achieved my goal for the race!


At the finish line, they were handing out water and food.  We were handed a paper bag before we entered the food tent to put our snacks in, which I thought was a great idea!  There was yogurt, bananas, rice krispy squares and some sort of fruity flatbread.  No reason for anyone to go hungry after this race.  Also, at the expo, the day before, each runner was given a ticket for a free slice of Dominos pizza after the race.  Overall, I think this is a very well organized race and has become my favorite one in London!  Thanks Forest City Road Races!


Monday, April 29, 2013

CheapRunnerMike's Forest City Road Race Recap

Posted by CheapRunnerMike

All 3 Cheap Runners took part in the Forest City Road Races this past weekend, with CheapRunnerMichelle running the 10K while CheapRunnerRhoda and I ran the Half Marathon. The FCRR is the largest run in the city of London (around 2400 registered participants by my count) and this was the 31st year of the race. It winds through the streets and parks of downtown London, Old North London and the University of Western Ontario. It starts and finishes on the streets bordering Victoria Park.


Forest City Road Race Half Marathon Course Map

The morning of the race I woke up early, before my alarm. I always sleep lightly before a race, I just can't wait to be out there. I had already laid out my race clothes and breakfast, and had the coffee maker ready to go...yes, I know, I'm such a loser very prepared. CRM and I got ourselves ready to go, then packed up the kids and went to pick up CRR. The Half started at 8:00 and we were out the door by 7:20...plenty of time in London Ontario :)

We really had nice weather for the race, it was sunny for the most part and warmed up nicely from the 10 degrees C at race start. I was very comfortable in shorts and a short sleeve technical shirt, though I was shivering while we waited to get going.


Brrrr....trying to stay warm

We got started and I settled into a nice 4:25ish pace for the first 4K...I had just run my first half marathon 2 weeks earlier and felt that I started that one out a bit slower than needed so I was going to go a little quicker this time. By the 5K mark we were entering the university and I picked up my pace a bit. Time to start moving up through the field. This seemed to be the point in the run that the crowd that sped off at the beginning were beginning to lose steam while my legs were just getting loosened up...all my training with negative splits has really paid off on my longer runs.

The 7th and 8th kilometres were through Gibbons Park, which is part of my usual routes I run during the week...the park stretch was immediately followed by a long, steady incline heading back into the Old North neighbourhoods. I swear that climb went on for almost 3K and my legs were starting to feel it, so I took a Gu gel at the 10K mark. It was at this point that I came up behind a runner wearing a Muskoka 70.3 shirt (Half Ironman)...as I came up beside him I said that this must be nothing to him since he's used to running a half after swimming and riding the bike for nearly 60 miles. He told me it would be a tough race for him since he had just run Boston 2 weeks ago...I asked him how it was and he said it was just an awesome experience until everything went down. Definitely interesting to hear someone's firsthand account of being there.

I have to say that the support for this race was really good...there were lots of people out cheering us on along the way, lining he streets or hanging out in their front yards in lawn chairs. Also there were plenty of volunteers making sure everything went smoothly out on the course, along with the Police Officers at all of the intersections and the numerous bike medics riding along the route. Thanks to all of you for helping the race be a success!

We made our way back towards the university and then through Gibbons Park once again and I knew we were in the homestretch. My goal was to break 1:30, and I was right on pace to do it. Unfortunately I was starting to fade...I had a couple runners pass me, which hadn't happened since the starting gun. Then as I came up out of the park trails for the last time and made the turn up Central Ave, I saw the Starbucks up at the corner...my inspiration! No, not the coffee (though I love that too)...my awesome family was there at the corner in front of SB's to cheer me on and give me the boost I needed to make my final push. Michelle and the kids were there along with my sister Emily and her two kids...thanks so much guys! My daughter Kennedy even shot a video of me on her iPhone...

That was just the boost I needed...seeing my family, my amazing wife even counting out runners for me and letting me know I was the 15th male (I had no idea!)...I ended up finishing from that point with my quickest kilometre of the race, a 4:06! I was able to pass the guy in front of me and sprint through the finish line (something I couldn't do at the race two weeks earlier). I nailed the pace I wanted, a 4:17...but I just missed out on breaking 1:30 (turns out you need to run a 4:16 to break 1:30...I guess my math skills are lacking). I ended up finishing with a time of 1:30:18, which was good enough for 16th place overall out of 748 runners. Wowza!!

There was plenty of food at the finish line (yogurt, bananas, Rice Krispie squares, flatbread bagels) and the medals were really nice too...


FCRR 2013 Finisher's Medal

All in all it was a really great day...the weather was just about perfect for running (the rain held off until the afternoon), the course was a lot of fun to run on and a rare opportunity to run uninterrupted through the streets of London, and I had another PR in the half marathon. I guess my next half in September I will need to try to crack that elusive 1:30 and see if I can make my way into the top 3 in my age group (I've finished 4th in both my HM's). As much as a little break might be in order, it is getting to be time to switch gears to Triathlon. The bike is ready to go!

 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

3 Cheap Runners' Weekend Wrap

Posted by CheapRunnerMike
While the 3 Cheap Runners enjoy their day off, here are a few of the happenings that caught their eyes during the past week...

Links we Liked


This Week's CheapRunners' Posts

In case you missed a day...






Saturday, April 27, 2013

Excitement and Envy

Posted by CheapRunnerMichelle

Running is something that has definitely become a very consuming thing in my life. It is something (in one form or another) that I am always thinking about. When I am not running, I read, plan, daydream and talk about it...if you're in my life and not a runner...sorry...admitting that you have a problem is the first step right?!?

One big thing that I have learned while taking running more seriously over the last year is that it is soooo important to be your own biggest cheerleader. Be proud of what you are accomplishing, and don't worry about that runner that just ran by you - you are on your own journey, and only competing with your mind and body to see how far it will take you...and it's ok to be a little "cocky" too. In the Run for Retina race the other week, I heard some lady behind me in agony asking her friend that she was running with "how do people run any further than this? This sucks - how do people do it?" If I would have been a closer to her, I wanted to tell her that if it were easy everyone would be doing it, but they are not and you are - so celebrate it!

This is where my envy comes in. When I am reading about running, that usually means reading through my favourite blogs, and I would be lying if I didn't admit to being just a teeny weeny bit jealous of all the time they have to run everyday, and travel every weekend to run. Which got me thinking, us runners, we are pretty strange creatures, and if you are not one of us, you will never understand what / and why we will PAY to put our bodies through....upwards of $200 buckaroos to run a race (you read that right - that's what CRM Chicago Marathon entry fee was for this year)...and not only do we pay - we get EXCITED to run these crazy distances...all to feel like death after a race. So what exactly are we paying for? This girl said it best in one of her post's;

"...(others) always ask me why I would pay so much to race. I tell them it is for the one gatorade in total I drink, a shirt I never wear, porta potty lines and the opportunity for blood blisters and to not be able to walk for at least a week. As runners we are a special breed."

Speaking of EXCITED, if you have checked out our up-coming runs, you'll have seen that CRM and I are doing the Tower of Terror 10 miler in October

...and yesterday we booked our hotel for the trip! This will be our 1st trip to Disney without the kiddo's and I know they are totally going to be angry jealous when we go.

---------------------------

Finally got out on this yesterday

Nice easy ride into work...but I totally pooped out and got CMR to pick me up after work

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Us 3CheapRunners went out for a date last night - to talk about what else....running :), and to have a few of these

We are off today to pick up our race bibs and packets for tomorrow's Forest City Road Races - will we be seeing you there?

 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Apps!

Posted by CheapRunnerRhoda

There are 2 different types of Apps I want to talk about today.

The first one being a new app I downloaded to my iPhone this week, called "Nike Training Club". (I will do a full review on it at a later time as I haven't actually tried it out yet.) I love, love, love running, however, I know that cross training and doing other forms of exercise is important so I have been trying to incorporate other things into my routine. When sister M was over the other night she told me about this app, so I immediately downloaded it. I navigated through it to see what it is all about and I must say, it looks really good and I can't wait to start trying it out.

First, you choose your goal, lots of goal options, I chose "Get Lean"

Next, you choose your Fitness Level, based on how many times a week you workout, I chose "Advanced"
 

Next, you choose what type of workout you would like (you can see how long they are beside the type), I chose "The Heartthrob" (30 min, surely 30 min will be easy enough to get through and easy to squeeze that somewhere in my day)

Next, it will show you at the top of the workout, what you need for the workout, followed by the different exercises you will be doing. There were 28 sets in this workout and it shows you beside each one, how long they will take.

Last step, is to get started! You see a video and have a countdown with each exercise.

All around this looks like it is going to be my new favorite app for my iPhone and I can't wait to get started with these workouts! Stay tuned for an updated review.
In the meantime, has anyone tried this app out? Any tips or advice on it?
Okay, so I said there were 2 different types of apps I wanted to talk about today. Anyone guess what the second kind is??
 
Thats right, the kind that you eat! I love appetizers and I especially love it when they are half price! Kelsey's at Wonderland and Oxford (not sure if all locations offer this) has half price appetizers after 8pm. Sister C and I decided to indulge in some last night. This was of course after we worked up an appetite scoping out some deals at the mall for a couple of hours. It was also cheap beer night so we may have had some beer too! What? We were thirsty!
 

 

We asked a server to take our pic and this is what we got
 
Very blurry and he said, it was a nice picture. We tried for take 2 with a different server
 
And they cut Char out of the pic...
So, we just decided to take our own.
 
Anyways, my experience with Apps has been pleasant this week so I thought I would share with you all. I actually think it is going to continue tonight..... I think a date with CRM, CRM, J and appetizers is in the plans for tonight!
Happy weekend everyone!

 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Shoe Review: Newton Distance

Posted by CheapRunnerMike

I am a bit of a shoe geek and I am constantly looking to see how new shoes will perform. With that in mind, I have been scoping out Newton’s lineup for the better part of a year now. I had really wanted to try out their shoes but that $155 price tag was really holding me back (I am supposed to be a ‘Cheap Runner’ after all…). Well, my waiting paid off as the 2012 Newton Distance went on clearance at Running Warehouse for $116.88, and I had a discount code for an additional 15% off, taking the shoes all the way down to $99.35, including free shipping. Now that I can handle. Here’s a CheapRunner tip for you, never be afraid to buy a previous year’s model of a quality shoe…at a discounted price point it can be a great way to try out a shoe you wouldn’t otherwise consider.

First, the stats. Running Warehouse lists the Distance at 7.9oz in a Men’s size 9. I ordered mine in a 10.5 and they came in at 9.2oz according to my kitchen scale. Slightly heavier than my Kinvara 3’s (8.2oz in 10.5) and almost 3oz heavier than my New Balance Minimus Road Zero’s (6.3 in a size 10).

I am a big fan of lo/no-drop shoes and the Distance fit right in with a 3mm heel-to-toe drop. This is right between my Kinvara’s 4mm drop and NB Minimus and Saucony Virrata’s 0mm. Many runners complain about calf pain when switching to lower drop minimal shoes, but I never really went through those growing pains…I had the foresight to walk on my tiptoes as a kid which resulted in much pointing and laughing, but also helped to produce some mother-calves. Pain is something to be aware of when running in low drop shoes though as you will most likely be using muscles you simply aren’t used to while running. Newton has even been kind enough to supply you with an instruction sheet for your new shoes (they call the Newton’s 10 Laws of Better Running…clever).

Once out of the box the first thing to strike you is the bold colour combination…I ordered mine in Lime/Orange/Yellow. I think they look great, but I am colour blind. I guess you can take a look and decide for yourself.

The shoes feel good once you slip them on. There is plenty of wiggle room in the toebox while the heel and midfoot holds snug, exactly what I look for in a running shoe. The shoe does feel pretty ‘flat’, the 3mm drop is not all that noticeable, but this shoe does not feel like you are connected to the ground like some of my other minimalist shoes. There is considerable cushioning throughout the foot and you can certainly feel those lugs up front (I’ll get to those guys later).

When I got to take them out for a test drive I figured that I was best to not go too far…these are advertised as a different type of shoe after all and I was only a couple weeks away from running my first half marathon. I ended up doing a pretty easy 5K in them and they felt real good. The out portion of the run is a pretty tough hill climb that always slows me down and had me up on my toes right away. As I crested the hill the headwind took over but my legs felt spry even after the long climb. I sailed back home and called it a day. About a week later I pulled the Newton’s out again and decided it was time to give them a proper test and went for a 14K run through Springbank Park. I was already dealing with some mild knee pain at this point and wondered if the Newton’s might help maintain my form. This is where the front lugs come into play.

These lugs are supposed to help get you off your heel and promote a midfoot strike. I always thought I was doing this already but I could really feel a difference now. The lugs are made of something Newton calls ‘Action/Reaction’ technology instead of the more common EVA foam found on most shoes. This is meant to transfer your energy more efficiently from foot to road and I found it almost acted like a spring…to put it another way, you can feel some real bounce in your step. It did take a little while to get used to the lugs as they do protrude quite a bit (I measure about an eighth of an inch) and it is most noticeable while taking corners…to give you a better idea of the size, here’s a pen between the lugs.

Whether or not the lugs actually work in transferring your energy or are just a marketing gimmick is something that you will need to decide for yourself, but on my third run in the Newton Distances I had a new PR over 10K (41:35, a 4:09/km pace). That did it for me, I was liking these shoes! I wasn’t quite ready to put them into my everyday rotation due to my race schedule (2 half marathons in a 3 week span, also happens to be my first 2 HM’s ever), but once I finish the second half these will be added to my regular rotation. On top of that they will receive serious consideration for my first full marathon in October. If a shoe itself can help encourage good form and improved times then that is something I would love to take advantage of. I feel my form is pretty good already, but it certainly breaks down over longer distances…I am hoping this is where the Distance will help out the most.

I prefer to run without socks but haven’t had a chance to do so with the Newton’s yet due to the cold weather we’ve been getting here in Southwestern Ontario. I can say that they should be a good sockless runner though as there doesn’t appear to be any issues with seams in the liner and the outer is very breathable (you can see right through).

***Update*** I had a chance to run 11K sockless, my first sockless run since the Fall (5 months or so). A blister started to form on my right arch just after the 10K point, but that could just be due to my wimpy feet and the reliance on socks lately. The only rubbing issue was on my left foot at the bottom seam of the tongue, which probably could have been solved by a simple adjustment or relacing. No hotspots to report and very breathable…air flows through the material very freely.

There is flex to the shoe, and here is the obligatory scrunched up shoe pic, but it is stiffer than most of my other minimalist shoes. Less flex than my New Balance Minimus Zero’s, Saucony Hattori’s and Virrata’s, comparable to my Kinvara 3’s I would say.

I will try to post a follow up after I’ve had a chance to get some more runs in with the Newton’s, especially some good long runs when I start my marathon training, so stay tuned. Bottom line here is that I definitely think a lot of this shoe to considering I am going to give it the first shot as my marathon shoe. I love my Kinvara 3’s and see the Newton Distance as a great complement to them.

 

 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

It's All About Support

Posted by CheapRunnerMichelle
Boys consider yourself warned, that you may not want to read much further today.

So not only do I have a slight obsession with collecting running shoes, but my sports bra collection is right up there too.

As quoted here

"Sports bras may be the unsung heroes of your workout gear"

I currently have 2 favourites right now, the 1st is the Lululemon Athletica Flow Y II bra

Although this style is labelled as a low impact bra, I really find it super comfy to run in. It keeps the girls in place (obviously the most important job of any sports bra), and offers just the right amount of support.

Pro's

- comes is cute colours (totally the #1 reason to buy something)
- keeps everything under wraps...no spillage under or over
- fabric/construction/fit...lulu does it right

Con's

- price...it's a little pricy at $42...but anyone who has ever tried lulu can tell you it's worth the $ you spend
- I have it in 2 colours - my solid black one is fine, but my grey/black one, the seam on the front right hand strap rubs/chaff's my skin every longer run I wear it

My 2nd favourite is the C9 seamless by Champion

I read a review a few month's back in Women's Running Magazine, about how this style is ideal for a "B" cup, I am a "D" cup and find this bra a very suitable fit

Pro's

- again the colours...it literally comes in at least 10 "hot" colours at a time
- the price @ $16.99 (US) or $19.99 (CAN), you won't find a better value for your buckaroo's
- seamless
- comfort
- adjustable straps
- straps do not dig into your shoulders like other sports bras can do

Con's

- if you follow the sizing guide on the bra, you may find that the elastic under the girls is not snug enough, and may therefore ride up during your run. Make sure to try it on, and do some jumping jacks in the fitting room to check the size

Great support comes in various forms, and just one of those is our sports bras...another one is the people we choose to surround ourselves with - and the support they provide in our running journeys.

Do the people in your life "support" your running/fitness journey? or do you just go about it on your own?

Ok...this just wouldn't be a CRM post if I didn't update you a bit on my day

J and I met my SIL and her kids at the park...just when we were packing up to head home for lunch CRM ran into us (literally)

CRR, the kids and I headed over to the US Tuesday night to pick-up these babies

And enjoyed a little silly time while we waited for our din din at BWW


What is your favourite form of support?



Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Lacking Motivation!

Posted by CheapRunnerRhoda
So, I don’t know what is going on with me this week.  Maybe it is the weather (even though it is a beautiful day today).   I just don’t know, but I feel like my get up and go got up and went!  Next Sunday I am running the Forest City Road Race Half marathon and since I want to be at my optimum performance level, I have decided to try a running plan from CRM for this week,  which I usually don’t do-unless you call not running at all the week before a big race a plan.  I really just feel like being lazy this week.  Anyways, last nights plan was a 4m easy run.  I was thinking about it aaallll day at work!  Usually I am thinking about how excited I am to get out and run but not this day!  I was making all sorts of excuses to myself about why I shouldn’t run!
I had packed my bag of clothes to change into after work.


I was trying to think positive and be excited about it but it wasn’t happening.  I decided on my lunch hour to go out and get some healthy fuel for the week.  I went to spork check,  found some new- to-me Clif bar flavours (Oatmeal Raisin and Chocolate Mint) and I picked up some nuun in Strawberry Lemonade.  There, that will get me excited!  I get a new  pre-run snack and some new liquids for post-run!  All set!


I came back from my lunch hour errands and got out my salad that I made in the morning!


It was delish!
After work, I changed and headed to the trails.  I stuck to my plan no matter how much I didn't feel like it!


This is post run-don't mind the sweat in the crook of my elbow!
I only had to do a 4 mile run so no problem, I can get through that.  I started out, and was really dragging myself along.  I kept telling myself, it is only 4 miles, just get through and you will be happy.  At about the midpoint spot I came across a flock of geese. 



Great, as I am approaching, I am thinking about my strategy in getting around them (for anyone who doesn’t know, I am actually petrified of geese-long tramatizing story from years ago).  Anyways, as I get close, I am hoping they will just move because I can’t see any way around them.  Wrong, they didn’t move.  I shut my eyes and barreled through them, to my horror, they weren’t happy and started squaking. I opened my eyes and they were flying right at me!  I had to turn around and start running the other way, screaming like a girl of course.  There were quite a few other people on the trail at this point and I made some guy almost fall off his bike!  I apologized and he told me, no problem, that it was entertaining to watch.  I was soo embarrassed.  The last half of my run, went surprisingly faster.  I felt so much better when I was done and actually felt like I should keep going but I didn't.  I had to get home for my sister visit!
Sister M came over for a visit.  It is her birthday in a couple of days so I made her a birthday drink and we had some catch up chat time!  She also had gone out for a run so listening to her talk about it gave me some motivation back.



At the end of the day, when I went to bed, thanks to the geese chasing after me and the wonderful visit with M, I was feeling much better and felt like I had some motivation back.  I felt like my get up and go was back!