Friday, April 13, 2012

Skinny Jeans are Actually Functional!

I don't have classes on Thursdays or Fridays this quarter, so because of that, Friday no longer feels the same. But regardless, I'll keep this up (because "Thursday Five" just doesn't have a nice ring to it).

Things I Realized on My Runs This Week

1. Skinny jeans actually have a purpose!

When you bike, you risk getting your pant leg caught in the gears. To avoid this, you could roll up your pant leg, buy fancy and inexpensive reflective Velcro straps (which wrap around the bottom of your pant leg), or wear biking/running tights. Or option #4: wear skinny jeans. We all know that they cling to your legs (they, like tights, contain spandex), so there's little (if any) excess fabric to get caught. So why not use this to your advantage? (Though please don't use your mode of transportation as an excuse to wear these all of the time.)

2. Despite any flavor labeling, Honey Stinger Energy Gel tastes like honey.

I normally use the Clif Shot Gel on my long runs. I have no problem with the taste, they're easy to open (even in the cold -- just use your teeth), and can be consumed while running. Whole Foods seems to be the only store around here that stocks them, so you can imagine my disappointment when I went there and saw that they were out of stock. However, they happened to have Honey Stinger on sale, and after looking at the ingredient list, I decided to give it a try (they're all natural ingredients). I figured that since I like bananas, the banana flavor would be a good one to try. After trying it, I thought that there was too much honey flavor and not enough banana flavor. Don't get me wrong, I love honey. But that much honey is too sweet for my liking.

(Note: I recently found the Clif Gels at Fred Meyer. Back in business!)

3. The hardest step is the one out the front door.

Yesterday, I was lacking motivation to do my training run. I just wasn't feeling it. Not to mention that I just want this marathon to be a distant memory (between the IT Band, piriformis, and Achilles tendonitis). Once I got moving, it was better (well, after I warmed up), but getting myself outside was tough (even though the weather was fine).

4. Perhaps training in tights and extra layers helps one race faster.

Extra layers means extra weight. And extra weight has been shown to make runners slower. By my logic, extra layers would cause one to run slower. But correct me if I'm wrong.

5. If I run the first loop counterclockwise and run the second loop clockwise, it'll all balance out.

I finished a loop around the waterfront and thought to myself, "Why don't I switch it up and run the second loop in the opposite direction? That way, each leg will have some time being on the outside, and that'll prevent the muscles in one leg for being stretched/extended more than the other one." While I'm not sure if that actually helped (in terms of muscle extension), it helped to add some variety to the run.

Here's a bonus one (that didn't make the cut for the Friday Five because I didn't realize it while running). I think that because of the magnitude, Chicago is overshadowing Eugene, which is helping make me feel more blasé about Eugene. But it's only 16 days away! Gah! So close!

Friday, April 6, 2012

It's Baaaaack!

For the next couple of days, I'm playing host to Alanna (my friend from high school) and Josh (her boyfriend). We were in the car, and Josh asked me if I run with water on my long runs, and before I could answer, Alanna chimed in with, "He does now! He talked about it on the blog." (I'm so touched to have readers who remember these details.) And this reminded me that I've been slacking on this. With that being said, I'm bringing back the Friday Five. In honor of them, the week's topic...

Five Questions that Josh Had about Running (and the bibs)

As I may have mentioned before, I save the bibs from all of the races that I've run, and then hang them on my wall. (But in case I didn't, here's a picture of the wall.) It makes for a great conversation topic among visitors, and Alanna and Josh were no exception.

1. Why are some of those bibs missing tabs?

Some bibs have tabs printed on the bottom, which serve purposes like baggage identification (so that when you check a bag, you pin the tab to the bag, and they can match your bib number with the number that's printed on the tab) and t-shirt distribution (so that when you receive the free t-shirt that we all love getting, the officials have a way of recording that you already got one). For some races, I didn't use bag check, so I still have the baggage tab.

2. Which bib is your favorite?

If I had to choose, I'd say the NYC Marathon bib. I love orange, and the orange on white just looks great. Plus, I currently don't have any bibs with orange (though I do have quite a few with red).

3. What was your best race overall?

I needed clarification on this one, because you can't compare a 5K result to a marathon result. The pace is going to be different. But Josh wanted to know about best race in terms of place finished. (Though now that I think about it, this isn't a fair comparison either because some races are larger than others. I could look at them as proportions by dividing my place by the total number of finishers. But let's face it, that's too much quick math work.)

This one time, my cousin convinced me to run a 5K race in CT with her. It was small enough so that they didn't use chips. But anyway, I finished in the top 25, placed 3rd in my age group, and got a trophy for placing that well.

4. How do they assign the bib numbers?

This one depends on the race. Sometimes, it's as simple as when you signed up (i.e., the first person who registers gets 1, the second person gets 2, and so on). Other times, they'll group you by projected finish time before assigning numbers. NYRR asks for your fastest per-mile pace from any race that's a 5K or longer, and then uses that to group runners into corrals. I don't know anyone within NYRR who can verify this, but the legend is that once they group you, they assign numbers by alphabetical order.

5. How come the Portland Marathon bibs are the only ones with your name printed on them?

Some races give you the option to personalize your bib, so that spectators can call out your name as you run past them. The Portland Marathon is the only one I've run that offered that. Philadelphia has started allowing runners to personalize their marathon bibs, but this started after I ran that one.

Hope everyone has a fun weekend!