Sunday, September 28, 2014

Run Journal - #33

Details: 11 Mile Run

Saucony Kinvara 5 - At the moment, my favorite shoes
Great run today. My final pace was middle of the pack compared to my previous long runs, but I felt fast today and could easily have gone another couple of miles. I was feeling good enough that I picked up the pace my last three miles (WAY up on the last one, in particular) to see if I could get my overall average down below 10 min/mile, but nope. I ended up at about 10:15. As a reminder, my current plan is run 5 minutes, walk 1 minute. I tend to skip the first one or two walk breaks just to get warmed up, and today I also skipped my last break while I was trying to knock my pace down.

I tried a new hydration system today. Until now, I've been carrying a water bottle in my hand with a grip system, but this has never felt terribly comfortable to me. I'd love to have my hands free. I haven't even bothered with a waist-based bottle carrying system, as I see them sloshing and moving around on other folks and that would drive me nuts. The next thing I was going to try was a hydration pack, however I ran across something else that intrigued me. It's from a company called Orange Mud and it's basically a small backpack that sits very high on your back and holds a water bottle. It's way overpriced, but a number of the reviews I've seen raved about it. I ordered it Monday and got it just in time yesterday, and ran with it today. Overall it wasn't bad. After trying it on at the house, I was seriously concerned about how tight it needed to be under my armpits, but as it turns out, on the run, that wasn't an issue. When running, my shoulders are back with my arms held fairly high. The tightness one feels with one's arms hanging to the side disappears during that running motion. I should mention that the water in the bottle certainly DOES slosh around. You can hear it (after all, it's sitting just behind your head); however, because the pack is so high and tight, you can't feel the sloshing at all. If not for the sound, you'd barely know it was there. The pack has some other nice features: the shoulder straps have elastic pockets for energy gels (or whatever you want to put in there) and the pocket of the pack itself is more than large enough to hold just about anything you might want to take on a long run like your phone, keys, etc. Again, it's all held so high on your back that the weight is barely felt. I think it's a keeper.

I mentioned last week that my beloved Scosche RHYTHM+ heart rate monitor was having issues. I managed to get in touch with Scosche support on Friday (very responsive folks, by the way) and they think the issue is the charger, so they're sending me a new one. I hope that this really is the problem. The Mio Link I'm using in the mean time is fine, but RHYTHM+ is just a tad more comfortable and easier to wear.

The last few Saturday's I've been going to a Yoga class after my long runs to stretch out the kinks and burn and wow, this has worked out well! I feel so much better on Sunday than I had before I began this practice.

On a related note, I love the place I have been going for Yoga (Yoga on the Brazos). The instructors are just fantastic; each in their own ways. Although I haven't been able to make her class since my tennis league picked up again last month, the Tuesday instructor leads an intense session that really tests my strength and endurance. The Wednesday instructor, who has also been leading the Yoga 101 class I've been attending, is a terrific "teacher", and I mean that in the technical sense of the word. She is gifted in imparting knowledge. She describes and demonstrates the movements in ways that make the poses understandable and achievable. She's also a true professional. I've been very impressed with her preparation and methods. The Thursday instructor, who also happens to have led the last three Saturday classes I've taken after my runs, has a great class that varies from instructional to fairly intense (although not so much as the Tuesday class I mentioned above). She also throws in a number of meditation and focus exercises which I was initially a little skeptical of, but now enjoy a great deal. And most important, she has a remarkable presence and attitude. You simply can't leave her class without feeling (I'm really searching for a word here, and not finding exactly what I'm looking for, but oh well) "uplifted". Anyway, as you can tell, I've been incredibly pleased with the classes I've taken there. The evenings and Saturday mornings I'm getting to spend in these classes have become something I truly look forward to. As a bonus, my flexibility has really taken a step forward and is showing up in my crossfit workouts. Winner all around!

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