So my 7-miler turned out to only be 6.6ish tonight. I must've made a wrong turn somewhere, but I wasn't worried. I mainly wanted to see what my current 10k time was (48:20) in preparation for this weekend's race. I finished with a decent time and pace:
[image above from nikerunning.nike.com] For those of you on Nike Running, feel free to add me as a friend so we can encourage (or make fun of?) each other. Because encouragement rocks.
So...I'm starting to see the benefits of living outside the city. No, don't get me wrong. I'm not a born-again suburbanite. I'm just saying I see more pro's now. Take tonight for instance. I'm running down the street (the running trails aren't lit and are therefore too dark, so I brave the shoulder of the road with a flashlight and my stupidity) in amazing weather and I'm rocking a decent pace. I don't feel any stiffness or joint pain (is it the shoes? I'll get to that in a moment)...I'm zoning-out with ease, escaping to my musical land of thoughtlessness, full of awe! The weather would be the same downtown, but downtown you have to breathe in a little bit of car exhaust and smelly Braes Bayou. In the boonies, you've got fresh, clean air to breathe. You can look up and see the stars! Google Sky Map is actually worth having on your phone out here:
You couldn't see any stars in downtown...the city lights were just too bright. The traffic isn't too bad out here. I did travel one of the more heavily-traversed roads in the area, but the shoulder was a good 6 feet wide so I felt okay. Whereas in the city, you had to run on the uneven sidewalks and risk twisted ankles or your life coming to an abrupt halt. People were inconsiderate of runners (and bikers too) when you tried to cross intersections or drive-ways downtown. But in the boonies? People are thoughtful! They stop and wave you on with a smile on their face. Maybe they felt sorry for me because I looked like a miserable bum in 45 degree weather. Maybe they're just friendlier up here where everyone takes things a little slower and enjoys life a little more.
Maybe they thought: "wow, his so-fresh-and-so-clean-clean Asics GEL-Cumulus shoes are the bee's knees. he's gotta be a cool fella...i think I'll let him proceed first at this intersection of life we've both converged upon at the same point in time."
If the third assumption was the case, and I whole-heartedly feel was the case, I'd like to let you guys know about a great product (or two) that I love to use. Even though I'm not the recommended user according to Runner's World, after almost 12 miles of running in them...I like them! They provide more cushion than I'm used to, which may be a bad thing potentially...due to the studies showing that having too much cushion can be the cause of ankle and foot injuries in runners. But I can't deny how nice it is to run on a pillowy sole! And I was worried about the stability, but this has been a non-issue so far. These are my first non-Nike running shoes I've sported in a while, so I stopped by my local Luke's Locker at the beginning of my run tonight to buy a sensor pocket for my Nike+ sensor.
It helps that this location always has cute girls working...
I'm not a pro-Nike fan or an anti-any-brand person. I just go with the shoe that feels the best to me once it's time to retire my old running shoes. I've had New Balance's, Asics', Nike's, and Reebok. Yikes. Okay I can say I'm an anti-Reebok person. The first pair of Reebok running shoes I had were in junior high and they were terrible. Plus they were fugly. But I do like my Nike+ Sportband for tracking mileage and pace! I know it's not exact because it doesn't have GPS, but it's close enough for me. I think if you're okay with having a rough estimate then you're good. Plus it's only $60...a great price for those of you just starting out running (or broke like me). Having something keep track of your mileage online is a great motivator. You see the mileage add up and it makes you want to just go-go-go! I can't see myself saving up $300+ for a sweet Garmin watch just yet. Though one day you will be mine, Garmin 405CX...one day!
I also sometimes rock a SPIbelt to carry my car keys, Hammer gel for longer runs, debit card, ID, cell phone, or whatever needed. You can get toggles for it as well to attach your race bib so that you don't ruin those sweet running shirts with safety pins! There are other brands of belts as well (that yes...all look like mini-fanny-packs...get over it and see the benefits already!) like iFitness. I went with SPIbelt though because a) they're from the ATX (what. what) and I've gotta give Texas companies my business and b) it's smaller than the iFitness belt so I'm able to hide it under my running shirt with ease (and not look like a complete dork). I think the iFitness belt is maybe meant for iPhone peeps, but that's just an assumption because of the i-name. If you want a kick-A review on the iFitness belt though, check out Danica's post. Actually, while you're at it...check out all of her posts. She's a bronze-level marathon-maniac, which makes her awesome and clinically nuts.
Last, but not least, is my running beanie! If it's 50 or colder...I'm definitely wearing this thing when I run, made by Mountain Hardwear, even though it was designed to be worn under helmets. It's definitely designed with cold weather in mind....so I'm thinking under ski/snowboarding helmets. But the thinness that's great for being under helmets also has it's benefits for a speedy runner--similar to a swimmer's cap...aerodynamics! Plus it keeps my ears warm, and that's all that truly matters. Gotta keep those extremities warm, right?!
That's it for tonight...hope my suggestions were helpful to some. Peace be with you!