Imerman Angels

Monday, December 30, 2013

Random thoughts and some goals for the new yaer

I guess this is the year that I finally started to step my running game up a bit. I knew to be a better runner, I Could not just run. It started off tough, but after a couple of weeks, a good balance had been achieved between doing things like lunges and running. It also helped that it really made a difference in my running.

I ran a great race at the Soldier Field 10M, beat my sub two hour half marathon by a significant amount and completed a sub four full marathon. My running season went really well and I have very few complaints. The one thing I will have to figure out is the cramping issue during marathons. They have attacked my quads twice and I have no idea why. 

With that being said, those races and issues helped me establish some goals for the 2014 year:

Beating my race times from last year

Soldier Field 10M: 1:16:26

Rock N Roll Half: 1:41:26

Chicago Marathon: 3:47:40

I am and very happy with all of those times but that also means I will have to work harder to beat them. Working harder is no problem because it will keep my healthy and energized. I also often tell people that I have to run and workout to eat and drink the way I do :). 

Run with others more often

I ran with others more than I ever have and found that when I did I had some of my better runs. Running in groups allows you to push yourself. Personally, I do not like falling behind and I am pretty competitive. The few times I did it this year, I pushed myself to run hard and found that I could stick with others. If I had been by myself during some of those runs, I am not sure that I would have pushed myself to run that hard. 

Stay healthy 

This is something that all runners struggle with at times because there are a lot of times where we do not listen to our body. Personally, I think I did a pretty good job of listening to my body this year. I battled shin splints and a bruised kneecap. I would have loved to run through both of those issues, but it just would not have been smart. Cross training will also be involved in this goal. I want to develop some upper body strength and try a variety of activities that will benefit my running. 

More races

They are fun! Of course it will have to be something I am smart about because training can be very taxing.  I would love to do at least one destination half-marathon. It would be a fun way to see a city that I have never seen before (Austin, Nashville, Memphis and San Francisco to name a few). A group of friends and I are doing Ragnar Cape Cod and I am very excited about that. I have always wanted to do one of those and I am glad I found a group that wants to do it. 

Those are just some of the goals I can think of. I am sure more will come to my mind as the year progresses. What are some of your goals?

Read more of your blogs 

With the help of #runchat and a few friends, I have met (via twitter) some great people and runners. I love hearing about their adventures and getting tips from them on running. 

Random thoughts

On Christmast Eve, I talked to my former brother-in-law and he asked if I had run on that day, which had been pretty cold and gloomy. Here is the conversation we had:

BIN-Did you run this morning?

Me-No. I ran this afternoon. 

BIN-I thought about you this morning. I said to myself I should go for a run, I know Mike is out there running. 

Me-Haha. You are right about that. 

This may seems like a small thing, but it made me happy. In a small way, I served as some motivation for someone. He may not have known it, but he gave me a great compliment. 

I went for a very cold run this morning and I saw five runners! I waved to one of them from across the street to acknowledge the fact that we are both crazy people. My legs were in great shape because I wore two tights. My core and arms felt great, but my hands took the longest to warm up. The circulation in my hands is not great, so my hands felt like bricks for about a mile. 

Happy New Year! 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Run chat 12/22

Q1-Dear Santa, I'd really love a 2014 race entry to______? Here is why?

A1-I would love a 2014 race entry to the Boston or New York Marathon. I have heard such great things about those races and it would be fun to do them. I do not run races to check things off the bucket list, but it would be fun to be able to say I did those races.

Q2-What was your best running-related purchase of the year? What was so great about it?

A2-All of my winter gear! I ran a lot last winter, but I did not have the proper gear to do it. I never felt too cold, but I also felt really heavy running in my clothes. Purchasing tights, a vest, gloves and a hat have already been a huge help. My gear will make winter running fun and bearable.

Q3-What was the No.1 thing you learned in 2013? How will you apply it to 2014 training?

A3-That I can not just run to be a better runner. I had to workout and some little things to be a better runner. Now that I combine cross training, working out and running together, I have become a better runner. I still need to get better at doing those things consistently, but it is something I will work towards in 2014.

Q4-What was the coolest medal you earned this year? What was so great about it?

A4-The coolest medal is definitely the Chicago Marathon Medal. It is the best because it means the most to me. I worked really hard to complete the race and reach my goal for it. It also gives me something to push for in 2014.

Q5-What is your first race of 2014? What are your top goals for year?

A5- Right now my first race of 2014 might be the F^3 half in Chicago on January 25.

Running goals for 2014

Stay healthy

Sub 1:40 half-marathon

Beat marathon time from 2013

Do a destination race

Attempt to qualify for Boston

Those are all the goals I can think of for now.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Winter post 2

I wrote one blog post on some of the winter gear I have been wearing so far and decided to write another one because I got some more gear. Some of the new pieces are an Icebreaker Blast Vest and sprint leggings, a Brooks Heater Hog long sleeve shirt and Mizuno Breath Thermo gloves.

We had some cold days in Chicago last week and my new gear (minus the gloves) came right on time.  The cold actually made me really excited to test the gear out and I did last Thursday. 

The picture below shows how I layered for the run on the cold day. My base layer is the Brooks Heater Hog long sleeve. It is a very soft piece that creates heat when you sweat. This is probably one of the clothing items I wanted try the most that I bought. I needed a solid base layer and thought this would be a good piece. The only con on the Heater Hog shirt is that it runs a little big. I ordered a medium probably should have ordered a small.

Base layer-Brooks Heater Hog
Mid-layer-Brooks Infiniti 1/2 Zip
Outer layer-Icebreaker Blast Vest
The mid-layer is the Brooks Infiniti 1/2 zip. My review on the piece is here. I wore it as an outer layer and it worked fine, but I knew I would need a good outer layer. I really wanted an Icebreaker piece and decided to go with the Blast Vest. It is made mostly of Merino wool and a little bit of lycra. It is also windproof and water resistant. The back of the vest is also very breathable. The side panels are soft and very comfortable. It is just an overall awesome piece.

Outer layer-Brooks 2-in-1 shot
base layer-Icebreaker Sprint Leggings
The Sprint Leggings were also an item I really wanted to try. It is extremely soft and comfortable against my skin. The fit works great, it is odor resistant and breathes very well. It kept me very warm on a very cold day. In fact, I did not even notice that it had been cold. For those that like pockets in their leggings, this piece does not have any.

Putting it all together

This combo worked extremely well and I know it will get me through the winter. I am lucky to have two great tights that will keep me warm and are breathable. I failed to mention that I also bought an Icebreaker Chase Beanie and I did not like that as much. It kept my head warm, but it barely covered my ears. That is probably because I have a a pretty big head and it just does not fit.  The Mizuno Breath Thermo gloves also worked great as liners. On non-windy days, they would work great on their own. That is all I have for now. If it get anymore winter gear, I will test it out and give my take on it. 

I also started looking at 2014 races recently. What races are people starting to look forward to?

Monday, December 9, 2013

Run Chat 12/8

Q1- If a race is canceled, what would be the best solution? Refund? Reschedule? Something else?

A1-This is a hard question. It is also something that I would not wish on anyone. A refund is probably the best solution. Races cost a lot of money and people might use that money to pay for something else. Rescheduling is difficult because it could anger people who will not be able to the race on the new date.

Q2- How far in advanced do you start looking at race day weather? What's been your worst racing conditions?

A2-I usually look the week of. My races have all come in Chicago and it is useless to to check anytime before that; the weather changes daily. The ironic part is that I never really check the weather on race day.

I have been very fortunate to have decent running conditions for my races. I guess the worst race conditions that I experienced are when I ran the RnR Chicago Half and it got pretty hot. Every other race has been just fine. I hope it stays that way(knock on wood).

Q3-What's your worst blister or chaffing story?

A3-Been lucky enough to never deal with a serious blister or chaffing.

Q4-What's been your best running purchase in 2013? What tops your wish list?

A4-Best purchase are my Brooks Ravenna 4's. I would love to have a Garmin or a solid baselayer.

Q5-Right now, what is the one word that describes your relationship with running?

A5-Alright. I am slowly getting back into it after having to take a few weeks of.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Thoughts on the New Balance 860v4

Lately I have been running in the New Balance 860v4. I have heard a lot of different things about the stability shoe and wanted to try them out for myself. It also helps that I love trying on new shoes. The 860's and I went for four runs at distance of: 4.1, 4.46, 5.24 and 4.07.

First feel

Some have mentioned to me that New Balance shoes can be a little stiff and rigid out of the box. It does not have that great first feel of other shoes, but it sure did feel comfortable. Instantly, I could feel the support and cushioning under my feet; it felt good so far.  I also enjoyed how light the shoes felt on my feet. The shoes are an 11.5 and felt loose in the heel, so I thought it may have been a little big, but it is definitely the right size. 

Shoe details

In very basic terms, the shoe has a lot of support on the medial side of the shoes. It also has a full length cushioning system (ABZORB) in the shoes. I mentioned in the first feel paragraph that the cushioning is very comfortable. I like how the upper is loose and open, so the shoe is not tight in the to box. 

The runs

The first run I took them out on went pretty well. My problem came with the upper and my left shoe. It could have been just the way I tied my shoes, but my shins and the top of my left foot hurt somewhat. It is not something that caused a tremendous amount of pain, so I ran through it. On a different note, I also do not think the shin pains caused my left hamstring to hurt, but it definitely worried me. It would not cause me to judge the shoe after just one run. 

There were some similar issues during the second run, but overall they have felt great on the three runs after the first. I still would like to take this shoe on a longer run to see how they feel on my feet compared to the other shoes I wear. That could be a true test of how much I enjoy the shoe. Despite that thought, the shoes have worked out well for me so far. 

Bottom line

I would recommend this shoe to someone looking for a stability shoe with a lot of cushioning. It is also a shoe that would be very comfortable to walk or have on if someone has to stand on their feet all day. The 860's are comparable to the Brooks Adrenaline ATS. I started in the Adrenaline's and loved them, but they over corrected me. When I say over corrected, they made me run on the outsoles of my feet. With that being said, I would love to get on a treadmill and get myself filmed in these shoes.