New Shoes, New Races, New PRs!

Sweaty shopping: My bank account took a hit during this spree—proof even healthy addictions can be expensive! But happiness returns make new running shoes a worthwhile investment.
Sweaty shopping: My bank account took a hit during this spree—proof even healthy addictions can be expensive!

You know that flat feeling your legs get when you’re running in dead sneakers? I had that feeling on Monday, so at the end of a 3-mile lollipop route instead of heading home, I hung a left and ran directly into Running Revolution. (This small shop just off the main drag of Downtown Campbell is definitely worth a stop if you’re in the market for new shoes.)

In seconds, I went from “flat” to “fantastic.” After trying several brands and styles, I walked out with a brand new pair of Brooks Glycerin 10. I practically hugged the box all the way home! (Running with a shoe box is awkward, so I was forced to walk.)

Happiness (and PR!) returns make these new Brooks Glycerin 10 Women's Running Shoes a worthwhile investment.
Happiness (and PR!) returns make these new Brooks Glycerin 10 Women’s Running Shoes a worthwhile investment.

I was on such a shopping high that I went on a registration binge, too. I have now signed up for three upcoming races, and I couldn’t be more psyched for each of them. They’re all first-time courses for me, which means PRs are guaranteed. (Score!)

I’m saving the dates for:

Pretty Muddy 5K in Sacramento, Saturday Jun 29, 2013 This will be my first obstacle-laden mud run, and I’m really excited to participate. I’ve been going to boot camp fitness classes lately, so the competitive part of my brain is throbbing with the possibility of completely killing this course. (Hey, Rope Ladder, my arms will be ready for you!)

Sharks Fitness Faceoff 10K in San Jose, Sunday June 30, 2013 The Sharks are huge in San Jose—sunny Californian’s are some of the toughest hockey fans, believe it or not. And I’m expecting a big turnout for this charity event. I’ll be tackling the 10K (there’s a 5K and a health walk, too) and plan to attack it like, well, like a Shark—fast and ferocious!

The Jungle Run Half-Marathon in Los Gatos, Sunday July 14, 2013 To be honest, I’m a little anxious about signing up for my first half-marathon in the great state of California. My last attempt at a 13.1-miler back in October resulted in a DNF, but my butt is feeling better and I think putting this race on the calendar will be good for my head—I’m a goal setter, after all. (And, again, it’s a guaranteed PR!)

Which of these races are on your calendar? Are you looking forward to an upcoming PR, too?

Road Tested: Pearl Izumi W’s syncroFuel Road II Shoes

Recovery runs are slow and boring, and I feel like they’re a waste of time. My coach assures me that doing it right (running 3 to 4 miles at a pace that would allow snails to pass you) helps your muscles recover faster after tough workouts. And then you’ll be able to push your legs even harder later in the week.

I’ve tried all kinds of things to make recovery runs more bearable. Running with music—but I tend to match the beat and my speed increases, even on slow jams. Catching up with a buddy is no good either, because I pick up the pace too much when I talk.

One thing that does help: Testing out new shoes. (This discovery is going to be rough on my bank account.) Having to slow down helps me focus on how my feet feel and the performance of the shoes. I recently tried the Pearl Izumi W’s syncroFuel Road II. Besides being cute, they’re really comfy—great for those who like to baby their feet on high mileage runs. I did experience some heel slip, but it was easily corrected when I lock-laced them. Do you know that trick? I tried to take a couple step-by-step picks to illustrate the technique.

Step 1: Lace your shoes normally. When you get to the top, create two loops (one on each side) by putting the laces into the last eyelets.
Step 2: Cross the laces over the front of the shoe, and thread them through the opposite loops.
Step 3: Pull tight and finish by tying as usual. Now the shoe will be extra snug around your ankle, correcting the heel slip.

Have you tried any Pearl Izumi kicks? Got any tips for making slow runs more fun?