Functional Training Week 3 Training Recap

This week felt like a real training week for the first time in a long while. Since I put a lot of effort into some strength training exercises and speedwork, I backed off a little in regards to distance. While I continue to build strength, I think my weekly distance might stay on the shorter side of what I want but marathon training will be here again before I know it.

Monday, June 13, 2016
The increase in my pace thanks to just a couple modifications to my form is mindboggling. My legs still felt Saturday’s race effort so I shaved some time off the run and thought that I would try to run easy, a slower pace. I spent most of the run trying to make myself slow down. My second mile was 8:36. Whoops. Too fast. I had to walk a few times just to slow myself down. The other splits were still below 9:30. My inner right thigh was a little sore (it was a little sore Sunday) for just a little around the last half mile but nothing significant. I definitely still have a lot to learn.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016
The worst part of this ride was the fact that the gym decided to imitate the outside weather by turning the AC down. I don’t usually leave dripping in sweat after a ride. Fun times. Other than that this ride went well. I pushed hard and enjoyed the ride.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016
This tempo run was tough. I had to stop and take a breather at the 15 out of 20 minute mark to catch my breath and let the nausea (from pushing so hard) subside a little. My form felt amazing. Now I just need to have my fitness level catch up.

Thursday, June 16, 2016
We tried a new “ball routine” at the end. Instead of throwing a small weighted ball while standing on a bosu, we threw a large weighted ball side to side. So fun. I tried to push hard although I did skip one of the leg exercises. My legs are still sore from Tuesday.

Friday, June 17, 2016
This run was supposed to be 45 minutes. I made the executive decision to cut it down to 30 but then I can’t do math on the run and ended p with 34. I have had several tough workouts in a row (functional training Tuesday, speedwork Wednesday, strength training Thursday) which have left my legs quite fatigued. The super-humid air didn’t help either. I’m not training for anything now so there’s no need to beat up my legs any more than I need to. I will be stretching and foam rolling for sure.

Saturday, June 18, 2016
Originally I had intended to run 90 minutes which was 30 minutes shorter than the 120 minutes I entered on the schedule. I cut the time down the first time so that I would be able to get everything done before heading over to church to set up for the shower. The shave of 25 minutes came when we first started. Both mom and I pushed hard in our strength training workout Thursday. My legs had recovered a little bit more than hers but I could feel the work I put into them midweek (functional training session, speedwork, strength training) so I offered to run just 60 minutes. Then I would be sure to have enough time to get everything done. Mom loved the idea. We ended up running 65 instead of 60 because Mom wanted to get to 7 miles. The weather, temperature-wise, for this run was much better than recently although it was still humid. The wind joined the party though which helped us stay cool and gave us a challenge when we tried to put on a little speed at the end. It felt a little like running into a wall. Like I have been, I spent most of the run focusing on the three tips: lean forward, arms at 90 degrees, feet under me. Our pace throughout was pretty good and would have been under 9 minutes if we hadn’t walked through our fuel breaks. I don’t mind though. This is just the early stage of rebuilding my base the right way. I’m ready to put in the work.

Sunday, June 19, 2016
It’s nice as usual to have a rest day. my right calf felt slightly tight so I did a little more stretching and foam rolling just in case. Other than that, I think my legs have finally mostly recovered from the tough workouts I put them through this week.

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Functional Training Week 2 Training Recap

This week turned out to look a bit different than I expected. I got good advice at my functional training appointment. I ended up running only three days. I finished the week with my third fastest 8k time. All in all, not a bad week. I still had a few moments of mental issues concerning the various real or not real sensations but that’s to be expected as I work through everything.

Monday, June 6, 2016
The humidity was ridiculous. Other than that this was a fairly decent run. My left knee did feel a bit odd at a few points but when I focused on good form I didn’t feel that oddness.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016
This ride did not go by as quickly as last week. I still enjoyed it though and loved pedaling hard. It was a good solid ride.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016
This was one of the best runs I have had, ever. At my second appointment at Performance Therapy, my trainer had one of the other therapists come outside and watch my run, give me pointers. I learned a lot. Basically, I have a lot of bounce in my stride, wasted effort, and I over stride significantly. He gave me three things to work on/think about during my next runs: lean forward, arms at 90 degrees, feet under your body. That’s what I did on this run and could feel such a difference. I even unconsciously ran 30 seconds faster per mile. I didn’t look at my watch, just ran by effort. This is thrilling to me. I am definitely willing to put in the work since it yields results like this so soon.

Thursday, June 9, 2016
I made sure to put enough weight on to make each exercise challenging. I really enjoy these routines. My left glute still felt a bit achey at the start but it calmed down. I can also tell that my left leg is weaker than my right. Something to work on.

Friday, June 10, 2016
A sudden intense bout with vertigo for Mom that woke her up in the middle of the night drastically changed the schedule for the day. Since I was up for several hours in the middle of the night I opted to sleep for an hour when I got back to the house instead of run.

Saturday, June 11, 2016
The raceΒ far exceeded my wildest expectations. I am thrilled with the improvement and also the opportunity to further pinpoint what I need to work on.

Sunday, June 12, 2016
My legs let me know just how hard I actually ran Saturday. I woke feeling plenty of soreness so I spent a good bit of time in the morning stretching and foam rolling. I took it easy the rest of the day to recover well.

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Sunrise 8k 2016 – Race Recap

Race #109
8k #10
Sunrise 8k #4

On almost every front, this race turned out quite differently than I imagined it would even a couple days ago.

The biggest was that I did not run the race with Mom. Friday night/morning she suffered an intense bout of vertigo that was serious enough to send her to the ER to get checked out around 3 in the morning. She slept most of the day Friday and felt almost back to normal in the evening and today but for obvious reasons. She decided to DNS this race. We were both a little bummed that she wouldn’t be able to run and that she would lose out on the registration fee but then we arrived and there was no registration for her. (She was going to pick it up anyway so she could get the swag-a blanket.) Turns out, I totally spaced on getting her registered. Talk about providential. I can’t imagine what we would have done if the vertigo episode hadn’t happened and she showed up to run, sans credit card. (They did have race day registration.)

As to my own goals, I had just one and that was to focus on the three tips that Brad (Performance Therapy) gave me: lean forward, arms at 90 degrees, feet under my body (no overstriding). I had no plan to look at my Garmin at all through the run. Whatever I ran, I ran.

Sunrise 8k 2016_5299
Happy pre-race

Sunrise 8k 2016_5300
traditional pre-race selfie

Sunrise 8k 2016_5301
ready to start

This time I managed to start much closer to the front than last year. Thus, I experienced absolutely no crowding issues.

I felt really good as I started. My legs felt a bit of fatigue, perhaps from the change to my form, perhaps due to strength training Thursday. That didn’t seem to affect my pace. Before I knew it we were approaching the one mile mark. A volunteer stood reading out the time. When I heard him, I immediately thought “I have no business running this fast. Am I really running that fast?”

Mile 1: 7:37 (the time he read was slightly faster than that because my mile 1 lap hit about .05 beyond where the volunteer was standing

That was also the only point where I looked at the Garmin to see the pace. I had to see whether or not I was really running that pace. Sure enough, I was running a 7:30ish pace without even really feeling like I was trying. Seriously?

I carried on a bit of a internal debate on whether I should actively try to slow down or just keep focusing on the three pointers for my form. In the end I chose the later and the pace surprise kept up for the next two miles.

The first three miles hold a couple rollers but nothing too bad. I noticed that on the short hills in this section I felt really strong on the hills. Turns out that if I’m not wasting effort on vertical motion (bouncing) I have a lot more ability to run strong up the hills.

This mile was also where the sweat started pouring. The weird thing is, I noticed how much I was sweating but other than that the weather did not really register in my mind.

Mile 2: 7:38
Mile 3: 7:34

Then come the hills in miles 3.5-4.5. It became a real struggle to both get up the hills and still maintain the good form. I could feel my form falling apart as I ran but had very little ability to get it back. I don’t think I started too quickly. I think the hills and the weather really got to me. Also, I don’t have as deep a well for short speed as I did when I ran this race before.

Somewhere around 3.75 (pretty close to the 4th mile marker) I lost the willpower to keep running. I was starting to feel a bit nauseated and needed to catch my breath. I ended up walking for about 30 seconds. When I started back up I tried to regain my focus on the three tips but it was crazy difficult. I was ready to be done, feeling quite hot and sweaty.

The last mile and a half of the race seemed to take forever. Around 4.3 I really wanted to walk again but was so close. I bribed myself to make it to 4.5, walk for just a few seconds and then start up and not stop again until the finish. I probably could have powered through it this time but the mental willpower wasn’t there. It didn’t need to be. I wasn’t trying to PR this race or come anywhere close.

This time I walked about 20 seconds before starting again. Only .4 remained but it felt like forever. I know my form was horrible but I tried to pull it together as I approached the finish so I could, hopefully, see a difference in the photos that Mom took at the finish.

Unfortunately, I happened to finish really close behind another girl wearing a similarly colored pink-ish shirt. Mom took plenty of pictures of her but ended up getting me in just a few of them at the end. No worries. The pictures she got were enough to show me that I still need a lot of work on my form. (The picture quality isn’t the best because I had to crop it significantly to zoom in enough to get a good look at my form.)

Sunrise 8k 2016_5323
Those knees are way too close together.

Sunrise 8k 2016_5325
See that twisting? I need to stop that.

Mile 4: 8:01
Mile 5: 7:57
Final time: 38:10 (unofficially)

I have to say that I was completely surprised to see a sub 40 time on the clock. I couldn’t remember what my PR was and wondered if I had accidentally set a PR. I didn’t but I did come really close. My PR (also on this course) is 36:26 only 1:44 faster than what I ran today.

I am beyond thrilled with the race effort that I gave today. Yes, I still have a long way to go but this race also showed me that I have come a long way in a short time since I started this functional training. I ran my third fastest 8k without any dedicated short speed training, without any speedwork for the past two weeks actually. The pace in the first three miles felt relatively effortless. I can’t imagine what I’m going to be able to run once I put the work in to fixing my muscle imbalances and making proper form a good habit.

Now to the race review portion:

Registration and packet/bib pick up:
Registration through eventsignup was painless and easy as always, apart from my forgetfulness in registering Mom. Race day packet pick up went smoothly and was well organized.

Race shirt:
John Lehman’s races usually have some of the best swag. Sometimes it is a shirt, like last year. Other times it’s another sort of unique item like this year. For example, several years ago when I ran the Green Valley 10 Miler, the swag was a duffle bag that I still use every time I travel. This year the swag was a bright yellow beach towel with the Sunrise 8k logo. It will be perfect for when we go to the beach although I plan on using it much sooner than that as a seat cover after sweaty runs. The swag definitely made Mom wish she had actually been registered.

Pre-Race/Race Morning amenities:
As I mentioned last year, having the start at First Baptist in Simpsonville is awesome. There are indoor bathrooms and a huge lobby for all the various tables to be set up. Excellent staging as always.

Course:
This course is no joke. Those are some of the most fun to run. Also, a portion of the course runs through neighborhoods and has for decades. Some years there are several people in the neighborhood who set up their sprinklers for the runners to run through. This year there was only one.

Course support:
For a race that gets as hot as this, one water stop feels like not quite enough. It’s an awkward distance though so I’m not sure where they could have put a second without getting it too close to the start or finish. There were plenty of volunteers. The course is well marked and there were plenty of course monitors.

Finish line and post-race amenities:
Like last year, the post race food and drink is superb and included grapes. I love grapes post-race. I didn’t grab quite as many as last year since we weren’t sticking around for awards.

Race photography:
I am sure that there were pictures taken at this event. At the time of initial publishing of this post, they had not been posted yet. However, I try to get my posts written as soon as possible after I run so that I forget as little as possible.πŸ™‚ I will update this section as soon as the pictures are posted.

Social media:
I have to acknowledge that lately I have not been on social media lately as much as I have been in the past. I know that the GTC had plenty of posts about the race, I just didn’t have time to look at them in-depth. As of the time of the initial posting, I have checked out the GTC Facebook page, the event page and the community page for the Sunrise Run and nothing has been posted on any of them regarding race day. I will update this section as I continue to check the pages for the official pictures.

This is one of the best Greenville Track Club runs. Since it is also one of the ones where John Lehman serves as race director, I am not in the least bit surprised that the Sunrise Run continues to shine. (I couldn’t help the pun.) I hope to return next year ready to chase down a PR

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Functional Training Week 1 Training Recap

This week things seem to be settling down on the physical and mental front. I started some functional training (hence the name of this section of training) with Performance Therapy that will continue for another nine weeks. I am hopeful for improved results with this taking my base down to the bare bones (aka working on my form) and rebuilding the right way before marathon training begins again in September.

Monday, May 30, 2016
I loved everything about this run except for the humidity. Now that summer’s here I have to get used to it. 😊 My legs felt pretty good. They were sluggish at first but after what ended up being a 20 minute warm up I found my stride and really got into the run. I made sure to stay focused on maintaining good form. Hopefully this is a sign that the weird issues are behind me or at least on their way out with the help of the functional training starting Wednesday.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016
I almost bailed out of this ride. The sun took a lot out of me Monday. It’s hard to justify skipping a workout because you went to a Braves game though so I headed to the gym and started pushing hard. At times it didn’t even feel like pushing. I loved it and loved the fast pace. The only part of me that didn’t like this ride was my sunburned knees afterwards. (That’s what I get for wearing shorts and sitting directly in the sun. 😊) I really enjoyed this ride.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016
While I would have preferred to do speed work, one week off is probably the best choice. I felt really good throughout. Towards the last few minutes my left leg (knee) felt a little off but that passed. I enjoyed the run. I think that the different surface (treadmill) may have aggravated what might be a bit of sciatica because I felt it off an on throughout the rest of the day. The first session of the functional training package that I purchased went pretty well. I’m looking forward to the good results from this training that will hopefully help me get over this seemingly never ending hurdle and back to training.

Thursday, June 2, 2016
I’ve felt the urge to tone up lately so I looked forward to this workout so I could push hard and start getting fit in more areas than running. This workout was tough, big concentration on abs. I can’t wait to see the results. I did the new functional training homework and found myself pleasantly surprised at how difficult it was. The exercises didn’t seem too difficult Wednesday but put all together in the 2 sets of 8…I could definitely feel it.

Friday, June 3, 2016
My legs were so sore after Wednesday’s strength training. My pace definitely reflected that. The humidity wasn’t my friend either. This was one of those runs that you get out there and get done, nothing to write home about.

Saturday, June 4, 2016
If it hadn’t been for the sun and the humidity, I would have absolutely loved this run. The DOMS from Thursday’s strength training faded enough that it wasn’t a factor on this run. Both of my legs cooperated.πŸ™‚ The lack of shade and humidity were quite draining but other than that my legs actually felt strong and more than capable of completing the run. The only thing that would have made this run better would have been starting earlier but that’s what I get for forgetting to charge my Garmin the night before.πŸ™‚

Sunday, June 5, 2016
My legs were pretty sore when I woke up. I took it easy and made sure to stretch. I’m pretty sure that the new exercises I’ve incorporated into my daily routine as “homework” after my first session with Performance Therapy are “helping” with that soreness.

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Rebuilding Week 9 Training Recap

This week continued the uncertain navigation through the rebuilding process. I am hopeful that the functional training that I will start next week will help me fix my issues once and for all so I can really get back to training and going for the big goals.

Monday, May 23, 2016
This run was almost perfect. Both legs felt strong and normal throughout. My stride felt great. I focused on form. In the last 15 minutes I added six 1 minute intervals at a hard pace. I felt the top of my left hammy a little, telling me that it didn’t like the intervals very much. Other than that, this run went really well.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Maybe I did have a breakthrough last week. I used my normal bike and got even farther. I pushed hard and enjoyed the ride. I felt a little bloated; maybe I ate too much Monday? Other than that, this was a really good ride and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016
I got some good answers in the evaluation Tuesday and hopefully a plan. Apparently my hips are still weak and glutes aren’t firing well. I’m glad I went. Even though it means spending some money it will be worth it. This tempo run went well. I ended up running the tempo portion a tad slower than I had planned but it is was still a good workout.

Thursday, May 26, 2016
We thought at first that we might be on our own since Ellis was late and his phone, at least, was at home. Thankfully we had our “fearless leader” sans phone. I tried to push hard throughout the exercises. I have to acknowledge though that, like always, I was aware of my left glute. Something about it just feels off. Hopefully the training that I’m going to get at Performance Therapy will help that.

Friday, May 27, 2016
This run went well for the most part. I’ve wanted to add a second speed work session in for a couple weeks now but this sort of work seems to aggravate the left glute. For the next week or two I am going to cut speed work out ask start the functional training and hopefully be able to start speed work up again soon. For the first mile everything felt perfect. I felt strong. My glute didn’t bother me. As I got into the run I could feel it a little but it didn’t interfere, like usual. I am hopeful that this training I’ll be doing at Performance Therapy will help me finally fix my weak hips and “non-firing glutes issue so I can get back to real training.

Saturday, May 28, 2016
This run surprised me. It wasn’t as fast as I normally like but I took a decided step back in that area and just focused on giving a good effort and maintaining good form or at least trying to. At the start of the run I felt a little sluggish like I have the past few weeks but, like usual, after I at a couple Gatorade chews at mile 4, felt much better. The left glute did not speak up at all through the entire run. That made me very happy. My right calf felt a little tight at first and around halfway, the knee didn’t feel that great. That sensation lasted on a short while and didn’t bother me later. I felt pretty good for most of this run and actually enjoyed it. I am looking into getting some Gatorade powder so I can bring some in my handheld so I don’t get dehydrated as easily.

Sunday, May 29, 2016
I woke up with sore legs, tight muscles, not pain. Since I had the time I took my time and stretched and foam rolled extensively. The left leg continues to behave as if there had never been an issue. Occasionally, I am a little concerned about the right knee but it may be mental since I have had issues with it in the past. I took it as easy as I possibly could to give the muscles the time to rest and repair as they should.

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Rebuilding Week 8 Training Recap

This week had its ups and downs both physically and mentally, but mostly mentally. As I describe below, I think I may have isolated a contributing factor and made a plan to address it. As summer starts, I’m going to continue focusing on rebuilding both speed and mileage the smart way so that I’ll have a strong base from which to launch a BQ attempt.

Monday, May 16, 2016
The first four miles were okay. Both legs seemed to hold up fine. Somewhere around the fourth mile I felt a mildly painful sensation just below my left glute. It went away after a couple minutes but the left leg felt a bit off after that. I focused on maintaining good form throughout. I’m not sure what’s up with my left leg. Yes, I’m aware that I sound like a broken record. Hopefully it’s nothing and I can finally put rebuilding/recovery behind me and start real training again.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Either I had a breakthrough or the calibration of these bikes is different. I’m leaning towards the latter. My back cooperated on this ride (unlike the past two). I could feel my right calf. It’s felt a little tight after the past few runs so I’m more aware of it. I don’t know if what I felt was just in my head or something actually in my calf. Other than that the ride went really well.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016
This tempo was tough. I was a little wary when I started but both legs actually held up. They both felt a bit sore but no pain or oddness. By the end of the tempo I did feel a little nauseated, like I pushed to the limit. I considered shortening the tempo by two minutes but pushed through. I am very thankful for a good run. As the day went on I could feel (or thought I could feel) a tingly sensation above the thigh sleeve but only occasionally. I do think that part (or most) of this may be in my head. Hopefully this will resolve itself soon.

Thursday, May 19, 2016
As is typical for me, I’m still in my head a bit with these odd sensations in my left leg and tight-ish right calf. Part of me knows that I obsess over things like this but another part of me wonders where I learned these sensations but anyway. This routine felt good. I forgot to watch my motivational show πŸ˜‰ but still tried to push hard. For the vast majority of the day everything felt pretty normal. I was glad about that.

Friday, May 20, 2016
This run went really well. My left hammy felt a little sore this morning and I could feel it a little during the run but it wasn’t significant. I focused on good form from arm swing to core on down. I felt really strong. I am encouraged by this run.

Saturday, May 21, 2016
I think I may have figured out what caused the weird feelings in my left leg. My pattern with shoe rotation has been to run in my primary shoes until the reach approximately 300 miles. At that point I’ll buy a new pair and continue to use the old pair once a week on my easy runs until I put another 100 miles (total of 400) on them. I don’t think I can keep doing that in the Saucony Zealots that I’m currently on my 6th pair of. Two weeks ago I accidentally grabbed my crosstraining shoes (aka the shoes that were my primary shoes three pairs ago) and expected that my legs wouldn’t like it. Last week, I managed to grab the right pair but my legs still didn’t like it. They didn’t protest quite as much but still. Then this week I experimented and on the easy run just wore my primary shoes which have about 130 miles on them. My suspicions were confirmed. The shoes bear a large portion of the blame. Looks like I’ll have to start looking for a new type with the ability to take me 400 miles. Now to the run itself. I felt a little sluggish in the first second but not too terribly so. Once I at a couple chomps at mile 4, I felt much better, just like last week. The humidity was ridiculous. I overdressed thanks to the chill from yesterday. I definitely could have done with sleeveless and shorts rather than short sleeves and capris. My legs felt pretty good through most of the run, including the massive hill on Ikes that usually takes almost everything out of me. (I have Ellis to thank for that…all that strength training is paying off.) Even though everything felt pretty good, I still made a conscious effort to maintain good form. This long run felt light years better than last week’s half/long run. I am so thankful for that.

Sunday, May 22, 2016
For the first time in a couple weeks, I was able to enjoy this rest day as a true rest day. My legs felt just a bit fatigued so I made sure to take it easy. Other than that, this was an excellent rest day.

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Rebuilding Week 7 Training Recap

This week saw some highs and lows, ending with a bit of a low and some frustration with my left leg. I’m not sure if it’s serious or not and am trying to withhold judgement on that. Hopefully, it’s temporary and will pass quickly so I can get back to serious training.

Monday, May 9, 2016
My legs felt a little fatigued at the start of this run, to be expected after Saturday’s effort. They warmed up fairly quickly. Mom joined me on the six 30 second intervals near the end of the run, stride for stride. Those felt good, although I did expect that I would be able to do them faster.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016
I keep trying to reach a high mark that I set a few weeks ago, 12.24 but can’t seem to touch it. On this ride I was so close it was painful, 12.22. 😊 The ride itself went fairly well. Like last week, I had to concentrate on pulling my abs in to support my lower back. Not sure what’s up with that. Hopefully nothing. It didn’t bother me at any other point during the day. Maybe next week I can top that high water mark.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016
These intervals were tough. I had to push myself almost to the limit each time and it felt really good. I love being able to dive back into actual training again. I did shorten the warm up and cool down sections by 5 minutes each but only to make up for the 10 minute late start.

Thursday, May 12, 2016
I think a regular viewing of a show like “Strong” should be required before a strength training session. I got into the gym determined to push hard. My arms are basically noodles now. I loved the entire workout and made sure that I pushed my limits each time.

Friday, May 13, 2016
I made sure to keep the effort level easy for this run with a half marathon Saturday. My legs were definitely feeling the strength training workout though, even though we didn’t do but a couple leg exercises. I will be making sure to hydrate fully and rest as much as I can. If my legs feel like they did on this run, the half might be a bit of a slog. 😊

Saturday, May 14, 2016
As I described in the race recap, I had some occasional left leg weirdness during the race, the same sort of weirdness that I felt after I ran in the wrong shoes last week and a little bit after I ran in the right shoes yesterday. The “right” shoes have only around 330 miles on them and are the ones that I try to use once a week on the short, easy run. I think that after six editions of this shoe, I need to switch it up, again.

Sunday, May 15, 2016
Various parts of both of my legs felt creaky or tight or a bit sore at various points through the day. I made a concerted effort to take it easy throughout the entire day and to stretch and foam roll as much as I could. I’m wondering if my legs weren’t ready for the half marathon distance but I don’t know for sure. This week’s mileage was the highest that I have had since Tobacco Road (except for the week of the TR Half which was ill-thought out) but it was only 32. I fell like I have been moving glacially slowly when it comes to increasing mileage and speedwork. Part of me also wonders if it might be my shoes. I’m on my sixth pair of the Saucony Zealots and while they have worked, part of my has always thought that there wasn’t quite enough cushioning for higher mileage. Ellis and Mom have both recently gotten some Hokas. I would love to try them but my running store, Greenville Running Company, doesn’t sell them. I also may consider redeeming my coupon from Reedy to Performance Therapy

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