Sunday, November 28, 2010

Small Victories

Today I ran 4 miles in 39:50... that's under 10 min/mile! Yes, my marathon pace used to be 8:30... before all of this baby business. However, between third trimester running and postpartum recovery, I haven't had any run break 10 min/mile since July. I'm on my way back!  On another happy note, I hit my training plan for the week spot on. It was only 16 total miles and 4 days running... but I didn't miss one. It's the little victories that count now =)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Base Building & Turkey Trot

The least favorite phase of running, for me, has always been base building. Slowly increasing run frequency, building mileage and finally working on pace (carefully obeying the 10% rule) requires more patience then I can typically muster. One thing I hate more then improving slowly, however, is being injured. So, as I complete my pregnancy 'comeback' I'm going to try and take base building seriously.

I have never been great about following training plans. But, since I like the focus they give me and the sense of accomplishment when I meet them, I almost always have one in place. For my base building phase, I plan to 'loosely' follow this plan from (link):

My Plan

I tweaked their plan a bit. Since none of the 'long' runs are really all that long, I moved them to Tuesdays (from Sundays). I have a much lower chance of skipping a long run if it's not at the end of the week (silly, arbitrary mental block on my part because, after all, what does the calendar day really matter?). I almost always miss at least one planned run. However, I try to make it one of the shorter runs, at least. My cross training will be minor, likely consisting of little more then yoga and walking the dogs =)

Right now, I'm at week 3. I'm going to try and carefully adhere to the 10% rule at least - never increase your weekly mileage or your long run mileage by more then 10% at a time. With 'long' runs starting out so short, the second part of the rule won't really take effect until the end of the base period.

The final challenge for me is observing the step-back weeks, where mileage is decreased to allow for rest and recovery. I'm good at following these during a marathon training cycle, when I really feel worn down, but will likely be skipping these during the build-up. Eh, what can I say? I know I'm impatient =)

Finally, the Turkey Trot portion of today's post:
Run, Walk, Bike, or Trot a 5k while benefiting St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (they will receive 100% of the donations!! Visit the website here Then, Tweet, Facebook, or blog that you are participating (easy buttons on the site!) and pick a donation amount. $1, $5, or $10. Everything helps! (donations made securely with paypal)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cat Calls

Cat calls - the kind that come from men driving by in over sized 4x4s, are not my favorite part of running. In fact, most days they down right piss me off. I'm not much of a looker, but with sunglasses, a running skirt and a long, blond pony tail I usually get my fair share of these while out on the road.

It has always puzzled me - what response, exactly, do men expect when they whistle at you from a speeding vehicle? None, I imagine, since even if I would offer my #, they're not slowing down to ask for it. What, then, is the objective? Is it an involuntary response, thanks to watching the movie "10" to noticing a running female? The mystery remains.

The first cat call I received post-delivery actually made me smile. Yes, I look good enough to whistle at again! However, today something very unexpected happened... someone whistled at me while I was out with the jogging stroller?!? Something just feels very wrong at a man degrading a new mama like that. Really, where are the limits?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Review: BOB Ironman

Ready for a run!

Freedom to run - that is what the BOB Ironman* stroller means to me. Newborn baby schedules are tricky... in that they don't exist. The last few weeks, since I started running again, I've had no idea when I could run on any given day. Having the BOB means I can just go whenever the opportunity presents itself. It has been a sanity/life saver!

Now, for the stroller itself. I spent a lot of time researching (online and in person) running strollers and settled on the BOB brand pretty quickly. I've seen many of these strollers on the road and after learning about their many runner-friendly features, it seemed like a perfect fit for me. I had a harder time deciding between three different BOB strollers: Ironman, Sport Utility Stroller, and Revolution.

After going back and forth a great deal, especially between the Ironman and the SUS, I finally decided on the Ironman. I'm very glad I did... here are my favorite features:

- Fixed front wheel: Unlike the Rev, the Ironman and SUS have fixed (non-rotating) front wheels. Ideal for running... not ideal if you plan to use this as an everyday, around town stroller as well. Since I don't encourage my sporting equipment to be multi-taskers, a hard core running stroller was for me.
- 'Road Bike-like' tires: These make for an incredibly smooth ride on pavement. Since I don't intend to off-road much with this stroller, the 'Mountain-Bike-like' tires of the SUS would have been overkill for me, and would have slowed the ride down some.
- Hand brake: This is another benefit of the fixed front wheel... a bike-style hand brake on the handlebar. Pasadena is a hilly town and I would hate to waste my good down-hill running momentum to prevent a run-away stroller (something which would easily happen, as this thing rides soooo smooth).
- Sturdy Infant Car Seat Holder: This got me out on the road months earlier then if I had to wait for baby girl to have proper head support to ride in the main stroller seat. BOB recommends that you don't jog with the infant seat carrier... I believe this to be a CYOA recommendation, as the car seat adapter is superbly sturdy. It would take the impact of an actual car to knock that car seat loose... no bump in the road could manage it!

Running with the stroller isn't effort free, but it isn't nearly as taxing as I would have imagined. On a downhill, this stroller takes care of itself and on level ground it barely needs a nudge to keep rolling at a good clip. The tracking is superb as well. On uphills I definitely notice the effort of pushing the stroller. It is heavy with the car seat in addition to my little one. However, it still doesn't slow me down too much and I don't mind the extra resistance workout =) Hopefully, baby girl and I will continue to make it out frequently.

*Note: I have not been asked by BOB to review this product... nor received any incentive for this review.