Thursday, April 22, 2010

Fun races, long runs, and blister triage

The title of this post pretty much sums up my non-work life lately. Things have felt a bit chaotic, so I'll just jot down some random thoughts.
  • Beaver Freezer was cold and not as put together as previous years (what the heck happened this year, race organizers?), but it was still tons of fun because of my awesome friends and hubby. Compared to last year I had a slower swim (no big surprise...I've been in the pool less than 10 times since Ironman), a much faster bike, and a slightly faster run. My overall time was about a minute slower, but that can be mostly attributed to the long transition this year due to the women swimming in a pool further away. Aside from a crash coming out of the pool (I slipped on the wet tile, crashed onto my right hip and elbow, and flew across the floor taking out an entire row of chairs), I felt pretty good and wasn't sore afterwards. My weight was the same as last year -- TOO MUCH! Overall, I'm satisfied with performance, but clearly I have a lot of work to do this summer.
  • Me, Jenn, and Laura - cold, but finished:Dirty, muddy bikes:

  • In prep for the Eugene Marathon that is quickly approaching, I have been running lots. Well, lots, by my standards. Lately my feet have been developing blisters and hotspots after about 4 miles. Sometimes it's 1 annoying blister, or sometimes it's like 8 or 9 of them. Our Sunday night ritual is blister triage on the couch. Sexy, huh. I have no idea why this is happening since it has never been an issue before. As a result, I've bagged a couple of my long Sunday runs after only a few miles. No good. I've tried 4 different pairs of shoes, I have invested over $100 on all sorts of new spiffy socks, and applied body glide, vaseline, and sport shield. The most frustrating thing is that my legs feel GREAT. I wasn't even sore after 20.5 miles last weekend. If I can't figure the blister thing out, I'll likely drop down to the half marathon for Eugene. Or just walk it once the blisters show up.

    On that note, does anyone know of a super super super clean salon that doesn't mind touching feet covered in dead blister skin? A couple of toenails may fall off in the process. My feet really need help.

I present to you, the most hideous (yet comfortable) racing flats available on the market. Probably my footwear for Eugene. Not one item of my workout clothing matches these beauties.

  • I ran the Bridge-to-Brews 10k last Sunday. So did Jenn, Kevin, Jen, Laura, Cory, Lori, and Jason. Fun crew! It was also sunny and warm...the first run this year that I wore a tank and shorts and was still sweating.
  • I started the P90X program this past week. You have probably seen parts of the infomercial on tv. You know, the annoying ripped dude that won't shut up, and tons of success stores with "before and after" photos? Yeah, I bought it. Thanks, Lori, for the hookup! Day 1 was Chest and Back. Pushups, pullups, pushups, chinups, pushups, pullups, pushups, chinups, and then lots more pushups. Day 2 was Plyometrics. Meaning, do different variations of jump squats for an hour. Day 3 was Shoulders and Arms, plus Ab Ripper. I may not be able to lift my arms to wash my hair and it may take me an extra few minutes to lift myself off the toilet. But if this helps me gain some points on The Chub, then who really cares.

Yes, he really is this abnoxious:

  • I've lost 4 pounds since April 12th. So at least I've got that going for me.

  • Vancouver Bike Club Time Trials have started! Every Thursday night at the Port of Vancouver. 10 mile course. $2/rider for non-members. I had my slowest time ever, but at least I showed up. And I was so out of it after P90X, that I forgot to don my Zipps or aero helmet. Argh! It was Ken's first time trial...and he beat me by 25 seconds. I didn't even let him. But it's ON next week!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Gear Review: Nathan Hydration Vest

Since I'm admittedly a huge gear-whore, I decided to start doing periodic reviews of some of the products that I love, some that I abhor, and anything new and cool that I come across. Meet my latest investment:The Nathan Intensity. It's a women's specific hydration vest from the Nathan Sports line. Some of the features (as taken from their website) include:
-- women-specific shoulder straps and torso length
-- 3-way propulsion harness
-- 2L bladder
-- dual front pockets

Price paid
: $84.95 (this included shipping and handling)
Location: This product seems to be backordered at several places. I found it in-stock at You could probably find it at just about any online running or sporting goods store, and also at REI (online only).

I have become increasingly dissatisfied with my fuel belts. They are great for some of the shorter runs, but I think they are contributing to an upset stomach after about 10 miles, they aren't quite large enough to hold water for the longer runs (on routes where there is no option to refill), and there is no spot for maps/phone/fuel without adding on a bunch of extra pouches. And I'm sorta tired of looking like a mall cop with all of the crap hanging off my waist. I have tried 2 different camel backs, 1 off-brand pack, and 1 from Gregory. None of them fit the bill when it came to exactly what I was looking for: light weight, small enough to fit a girls frame without smooshing the melons, no weird straps that will rub and chafe, and roomy enough to hold everything without being majorly bulky. I was very skeptical when I ordered this one.

My first impressions out of the box:
1) The bladder seals by rolling the top down and sliding a hard-plastic seal over the top, rather than a screw top.
2) There are no shoulder strap adjustments and I thought this was weird.
3) It's super light.
4) The back pocket could be a tad larger.

Here is a view of the top of the bladder, with the sliding seal at the top:
My impressions after a run:
1) I actually like the sealing mechanism. It's a cinch to fill and it's easier to get the extra air out than the screw tops.
2) The fit is AWESOME! It doesn't matter that there are no shoulder adjustments. The waist adjustments are plenty. The pack rides high enough on the back that it feels like it's just sort of floating there. I had the bladder completely filled, and it still didn't weigh the pack down.
3) The front pockets are sort of hard to access, but I do like that there are pockets in the front at all. Genius. Also, the pockets did not get in the way of my arm movement.
4) No jostling! No bouncing! Win!
5) My only real complaint: the chest strap is not meant for buxom ladies. It is adjustable. However, the highest position is pretty much directly across the nips and the lowest position is underneath the girls. I think that underneath is the most comfortable for me.

The front view. Ignore the big wet spot on my belly...user error.

I'm pretty sure this will be a keeper. Based on the short test run, I am extremely happy with this pack, and already love it infinitely more than my waist belts. The true test will be my 20+ miler this weekend.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Training Photos

I'm trying to get my butt out the door for my long run this morning. So instead of writing a long post about the last couple of weeks or the Beaver Freezer triathlon yesterday, here are some photos from recent training runs:

And a few from the race yesterday: