Archive February 2018

Little Rock Marathon Gear

Here’s my gear list for the 2018 Little Rock Marathon.  Yes I know it’s a supported race.  Yes I know it’s a road race in the city.  But I like to be prepared and I’m the one carrying the stuff so hush you.   And I don’t like Gatorade or Gu which is what they have in the aid stations.

  • Hydration Vest – Salomon Advanced Skin 12, because it hugs you like your wife did back when she was your girlfriend.
  • Hydration Bottle – Ultimate Direction 500ML bottle with extended nipple.  Mmmm man nipples.  I plan on only have one bottle full at a given time with eFuel mix.  I’ll take plain water from the aid stations.
  • VLOG – GoPro Hero 4 Silver on a self designed and 3d printed selfie stick.
  • Fuel – eFuel in Citrus Punch (awesome), eGel, one of all 5 flavors, candied ginger from Sprouts, Golden and Regular Oreo’s just for a change of texture and flavor.  I don’t plan on needing all of this stuff, I just want it to have options. But Crank Sports fuels work and work really well for me.  And I love candied ginger and it has belly soothing properties as well as anti-inflammatory.
  • REI Lightweight Base Layer long sleeve quarter zip (love these shirts, soooo soft)
  • Either Brooks Running Tights or Champion Shorts with UnderArmor compression shorts depending on weather.
  • Injini Socks (love these things)
  • Scosche HR monitor – Love Hate relationship with this thing.  But it’s more comfortable than my Garmin HR chest belt and 26.2 miles needs comfort.
  • Stryd Foot Pod – Love the precision of this device for pacing and distance.  It’s 99% accurate once it’s calibrated to you.
  • Shoes…. Here’s my conundrum.  I love the Altra Escalante’s and I have a newer pair that have exactly 20.2 miles on them as they’re the ones I ran my last long distance training run in.  But… For 26.2 miles my Altra Paradigm 2.0’s with their little bit of extra cushioning in them on top of the stability feature may be the better option.   The longest run I have in the Paradigms though is around 17 miles.  And they have 150 miles on them.
  • Misc – Half sheet paper towels, I’m one of the ones that cold air makes my nose run like a faucet, baby aspirin (just in case I have a HA en route), half a percocet just in case I hurt something badly.
  • Garmin Fenix 5X – Love this watch for the features that I’ll never need and that it looks like a watch and not a ‘e-watch or smart watch’.
  • Google Pixel 2 XL – For using the Garmin Live Track so my wife can monitor my progress and know if something bad happens en route and for music.
  • Plantronic bluetooth headphones – waterproof, not water resistant, good battery life, good sound and they don’t go into my ears.  I can’t wear in ear headphones for long before the pain gets unbearable.

And there you have my marathon kit.

Taper week

I guess we must be tapering right since per experience runners “If it feels like you need to go run then you’re tapering right.”

This is 2 days straight we haven’t run which hasn’t happened in… a year plus?   And tomorrow is only a 5K and then more days off, then a 5K race and then we finally get to run our first marathon.

So t-minus 5 and counting.   Technically as of right this minute it’s 4 days, 11 hours and 51 minutes before we see if our training worked or not.

It’s been a long row to hoe as my grandmother would say.  Due to health issues and basically not wishing to drop dead from over exertion it’s taken me 18 months to go from can’t run 2 minutes to trying to run 26.2 miles.   And hopefully it doesn’t kill me when I try.

Salomon Advanced Skin 12

So I’m currently using the Salomon Advanced Skin 12 as my primary running vest.   To give you background I own the Ultimate Direction Jurek FKT and the Cotopaxi Veloz Hydration Pack 6L along with experience with some non-runner specific hydration packs from Source and Camelbak.

The  SAS12 is my current preference, strong preference, for any supported run longer than an hour or two.  The worksmanship in my particular model is good, (is it worth $175? that’s subjective) the feature set is good and the functionality is also good.

The fit is great for me although I’m at the edge of usability due to my #superclydesdale status.  I have a 45″ chest and I have to loosen the chest straps almost all the way.   I’m also 6″-4″ so verticallity is a little shy.

Honestly for me it needs to have about 2″ more width and height but I am pretty far outside the bell curve on both width and height for distance runners so I accept what I cannot change.

The kangaroo pockets in front and back are great, I wish my FKT had them.

The back pouch is okay, the FKT in my opinion has more storage options.

You know if I could get the webbing from the FKT and the kanagaroo pouches from the Salomon along with a bit more material I’d be far closer to having a perfect vest for me.

The chest pockets are decent, I’d prefer one of the ones on the left strap zipper closed or have a key ring hook.    The one of the right should be moved up about 2 inches.  Right now the pocket descends behind the water bottle and into the water bottle pouch.  Makes it a bit of a pain to fish something out that’s small if you have a full bottle in the pouch.

The material is very smooth and comfy and the fit is very good.   The first time I wore I took it out with 2 liter bladder and full bottles up front and the lack of felt bounce was wonderful.  With a similar set up with my FKT I do have to occasionally adjust things as it rides up a bit on me over time.

The side pockets work better for me than the FKT, my Pixel 2 XL fits vertically in it just fine and keeps it close at hand.

Capacity is good, you can stuff a surprising amount of stuff in the vest.

02232018 Sprint It up

Yesterday was sprints, in the cold and rain.  I wore my new Marmot PreCip for the first time yesterday and it actually wasn’t bad.  My hands were freezing for the first mile or so but then it was just noisy as the rain beat down on my hood.

I wasn’t expecting anyone else to be stupid enough to be out in that weather but surprisingly there were a total of 8 people out in the 4 and change miles I ran.

I’d forgotten to sync my watch so I went back a day and started what I thought was the right workout but instead of 4 sprints at 4 minutes with a 90 second recovery I had 3 sprints at 5 minutes with a 1 minute recovery.

That’s with a 10 minute warmup and cooldown.

We started a new marathon plan this week which gives us the needed taper after our just finished marathon plan before our first marathon next weekend at Little Rock.

9 days and counting until we try to run 26.2 miles.   On the plus side what was going to be cold and rainy for the marathon as of 3 days ago is now sunny and hot as of today.

Plenty of time for things to change though and I’m honestly not sure which I prefer.

Marmot PreCip

Today I had the choice of running in the rain and 39 degrees or finding some place to run indoors.  So of course I chose to run in the rain.  Right before our Greenleaf 30K trail run it looked like we would be running that in the rain so I picked up Marmot PreCip jackets for myself and the RW on sale.  They were on sale for a ‘reasonable’ amount.  Given what running gear costs.

Anyway I ordered a 2XL size for myself as I wanted some extra room so I could wear my hydration vest and layers under it and it is just about the right size.

Running for 45 minutes in a constant light rain and I had no problems with water penetration.   The rain rolled off it the whole run which was nice.

Breathability was decent for something that was waterproof.  It was also kind of cold but with a 45 minute run including some 5/1 sprints at no time did I feel ‘hot’ nor did I feel like moisture was building up under it.

The 2XL on me (6′-3″) was long enough to keep the water that was rolling off it dropping down onto my thighs leaving my nether yaya dry(ish) which will help with preventing chafing in such conditions.

With the weather forecast right now predicting our first marathon will be in the same type of conditions, wet and cold, it looks like the PreCip will be of real value.

Now if I could only figure out how to keep my feet and socks dry…

Greenleaf 30K VLOG

I’ve spent my free time over the weekend cleaning up the audio of my GoPro footage during our 30K trail run at Greenleaf.  It has multiple issues, a) with the protective case on the mic can’t pick up anything and b) the 3D printed handle I made has a rough surface as does my hands so there’s bursts of screetch noise when I spin it in my hand.

But it was my first time attempting to use a GoPro so you live and learn.

To fix problem a) I’ve gotten an external mic and put a hole in the side of a spare case to attach it.  This is a 360 degree mic and since it’s not in the case it works much better.  Also since it’s separated by a wind foam guard it shouldn’t pick up scratching from my skin on the selfie stick.   I designed the selfie stick so it’s hollow and has four holes in a circle around the top so sound can hit the mic from any angle.  And the cordage fits down inside the handle making for a tidier package. To fix problem b) I think I’ll probably coat the handle in Plasti-Dip as well to reduce friction noises.

Anyway I finally got all the titles, audio, etc’s I care to add to my first running ‘vlog’ and it’s rendering now.   About an hour to render an hour of full 1080p video on my current primary rig using a Ryzen 1700 8 core CPU.

Stryd Live aka Stryd Light

The RW (running wife) added a Stryd Light to her arsenal to get better pacing and distance.   I’ve been very happy with my Stryd, it’s precision is pretty phenomonal compared to GPS.   For example on our recent 20 mile run, it measured 10.1 miles out and 10.1 miles back and the start and stop were within 2 meters of each other.

While you ‘can’ run with a Stryd out of the box with a calibration of 100% I believe you really do need to run a calibration run with it.  For instance during our races she was coming up slower than me and her distance was shorter (obviously).

The calibration is to go to a 400 meter track and run 4 laps and the distance should be 1600 meters (duh) then run 8 laps and the distance should be 3200 meters.   If you get less or more than those values then divide the desired number (1600 and 3200) by the actual value.   And then move the decimal two places to the right.

Example:  You should hit 3200 meters but you ended up with 3100.   So divide 3200  by 3100 and get 1.032.   Move the decmial two places right and get 103.2.  Plug that into your calibration value.    Now your measured distance will be multiplied by 103.2 percent and you should be on the nose.    If you measured high, like you got 3250 meters and it should have been 3200 then  3200 / 3250 = 0.984.  Move the decimal two places to the right and you get 98.4 as your calibration value.

After running the calibration I believe she ended up with calibration of somewhere around 101.7 which sounds pretty close to what she should have comparing hers to mine during the races.

My calibration is currently 99.1.   I also ran (re-ran) a calibration run yesterday of 6k.  I lapped at 4 laps and had 1.6K (400×4 = 1.6K).  I then lapped at 9 laps and had 3.6K (400*9) is 3.6K.  Those were around 11:00 minute miles.   My ankle and arch is still bothering me.   And I weight 250lbs.  Don’t judge me.  After those I did one lap at a walk of about 16 minute and ended up with .39k so it was a hair short.  Then I did 1 lap at a 7:00 minute mile and had .4k.    I’ve seen for a while that the Stryd doesn’t register quite as accurately for me at a walk as it does at a run, it always reads a bit short so the .39 was expected.

We still have some training runs to do so we’ll see if we’re closer to the same ballpark when we run together.

02172018 – Racing for Training

We had 2 races today, back to back 5K and 10K, which we did in place of our taper long run.   I was coming into today with some arch pain in my right foot and some ankle and knee pains in my left and right.   I was trail running, which I forgot (i.e. was too lazy) to write about, but long story short I landed on a rock that shifted under me which caused a fairly nice spike of pain in my right arch of my foot.

It’s cooling down a bit now but it was indeed an issue during the races.

FOr the 5K we went for a PR and I’m happy to say we got it.  I cut 2:08 off my 5K PR time to get a 27:44.   My RW cut less time off since her last PR was better than mine but she still got a 27:3x I believe.   In the last quarter mile she ran off and left me as is usual.   For a change of pace (get it?) we went with a 5 minute run, 30 second walk.   And it worked for me, cutting 2 minutes off a 5K is pretty significant.   The ‘wife’ decided she didn’t care of it afterwards.   But she’s better than me especially in the short distance so she can do whatever she likes.   Me I may next time go with a 6 / 30 and see what I can do.  Respectively we placed 8th and 6th in our age groups out of 60+ plus so that was pretty decent for me.

With the 10K we just practiced our marathon pacing.   I don’t even know where we finished.

Marathon is less than 2 weeks away….


021118 Rest & Retirement

Unfortunately I have learned the hard way I probably should have rested my foot a bit more after our 20 mile run, and that is time to retire my Clifton 4’s. How exactly do you know it is time to retire a pair of shoes?

“had I opted for the new shoes I might have been saved from running like Quasimodo”

Well for starters, we track our gear mileage (mostly) in Garmin Connect. According to my logged data they have less than 300 miles on them (286 to be exact), but after a resurgence of knee (ITB) and foot pains I think their time has come.   But with long distance running (at least for me) it  can be difficult to identify the causes of the many aches and pains that come with the territory. As example, I’ve had a flare up of Extensor tendonitis for over a week following our 20 mile.  Attributing this most likely to overly tight laces on the Escalantes, I decided to go back to my Cliftons for the next long run, instead of risking further injury, if there was an issue with the fit of the Escalantes besides the lacing. I also opted to stick to our training run instead of resting my foot. This proved to be the wrong choice(s). After about 30 minutes into the run my Extensor tendons were very very angry (probably not really the Hoka’s fault), and by about halfway into the run my ITB issues flared up, which I was probably caused by bad form due to the various pains, as well as the old shoes.  While it was only a 10 mile run, it proved to be more than I should have done and I probably at the very least should have worn my new Clifton’s which I purchased at the same time as a back-up in case I didn’t like the Escalantes. (Yes, I have back-up pairs of shoes just like Trex, it’s not a girl thing, it’s a runner thing.) But had I opted for the new shoes I might have been saved from running like Quasimodo that last mile or so, as well as the extra time with ice on my foot and knee.

That brings me to the topic of post long run selfcare. My post long run recovery routine might be a bit time consuming, but it is extremely crucial to helping me get back on my feet (literally). I known some runners who don’t do much beyond a little icing and some anti-inflammatories, but for me personally I take a more holistic, whole body approach to help revitalize my sore and worn down body after a hard long run.   I am sure some of this is phycological as much as it is physically beneficial, but I am a big believer in mind over matter so I stick with what I ‘think’ works and that’s that.

My typical post run routine:

  • Chocolate Milk – Great for lifting the spirits and providing much needed nourishment as your body begins its repairs.
  • Banana or Other source of Potassium – Helps keep the cramping at bay
  • Caffeine – It like a nice latte or Yerba Mate to give me a little bit of recovery pep
  • Hot Epsom Salt & Cold Baths  –  To warm up or cool off and to speed up recovery I alternate hot, cold, hot Epsom salt & essential oils baths because it is an easy way of applying alternating heat and cold to all your muscles and joints in need, and is most often recommended for reducing inflammation and promoting repair and to help alleviate stiffness and soreness.  I have found when I skip my baths that my aches and pains last much longer. I often take a lacrosse ball and gently roll my legs and feet while I soak in the hot/warm water.
  • Arnica Gel (Arniflora) – I rub this gently into sensitive injury prone spots instead of other topical rubs for muscle pain and inflammation. I find it is much more effective and I add a little bit of peppermint oil for the nice cooling sensation.
  • Coconut Water or other Electrolyte drink through the day
  • Gentle Yoga  –  I do a couple of hip and torso poses in order help open up my breathing and to allow better circulation. I am careful to avoid doing any poses that pull the overworked tissues which would cause further tearing.
  • Keep moving – I find house hold chores like folding laundry and doing dishes keep me moving and from stiffening and turning into Rodin’s Thinker like we saw in Paris many years ago.
  • Relax & Enjoy – The above regiment really helps me relax and to enjoy the sense of accomplishment that comes from having completed hard run no matter how well I did or didn’t do.

A note about Cold baths – I fill my tub with only cold water just past my hips immediately following my first hot salt bath. I sit with my entire lower body immersed for 10 minutes more or less depending on my soreness levels.    Pro Tip – Find a distraction like watching funny clips on YouTube to help you ignore the shivering pains of the cold. (I suggest not holding the phone/tablet however as the shivers may cause you to drop it in the water.)

So in summary, pay close attention to indicators that shoes are due for retirement based on mileage and visual inspection of the shoe soles, and always attend to the body post long runs as you only get the one (at least according to some); and it sucks to get sidelined due to injury, especially when running is what you do to maintain weight and stress relief. For me personally without running these days I will probably go a little crazy and eat my weight in cake or banana pudding (I really like cake and pudding.)