Archive for the ‘Training’Category

Injury Update: Stress Fracture or Bone Bruise?

A Stress Fracture or a Bone Bruise?

I miss running Central Park. (Photo: Phil Hospod)

I saw my doctor on Monday after taking two full weeks off from running and all weight bearing exercise, wearing a foot pad and wrap, and avoiding heels like I avoid broccoli.

Last I saw the doc, he had my MRI results in hand. “Findings suggestive of a stress fracture of the tibial sesamoid,” read the radiology report. When doc pressed on the area—one of the two tiny bones in the ball of the foot—it was pretty painful.

Now? No pain whatsoever, not even when he really dug in there. Based on that, he thinks I may not have had a crack in the bone, but a bruise.

Bone Crack Or Bone Bruise?

A Stress Fracture or a Bone Bruise?

My MRI results

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons describes it this way: “A stress fracture is a small crack in a bone, or severe bruising within a bone.” They’re both stress fractures, but two different types.

A crack and a bruise can appear the same on an MRI, which doesn’t necessarily show the fracture. MRIs might show swelling, or edema, which is indicative of a stress fracture. But I’d have the same swelling whether it was a crack or a bruise, my doc said.

He thinks I caught the bone bruise right away and nipped it in the bud before it had the chance to become a crack. That’s the theory anyway.

So what next? He told me to try a short run on the treadmill, 20 minutes or so nice and easy. If I had any pain, he wanted me to march right back into his office, at which point he’d slap me with a full stress fracture diagnosis, put me in a cast, and pass down a sentence of four more weeks without running.

If I had no pain, he said I could ease back into running every other day, with short, easy jogs. He wants me to keep wearing the foot pad and wrap for the time being. If the pain creeps back in at any point, I march right back into his office. If I’m still pain free, I see him for a follow-up in three weeks.

Test Run

Soooooooo? I hopped on the treadmill Monday night for that test drive. Talk about knots in my stomach! I don’t think I’ve ever been as conscious of one teeny, tiny bone as I was for that 20 minutes, constantly assessing for the slightest hint of discomfort. The good news? It never crept in. Those 20 minutes—building slowly up to a conservative for me 11:30 min/mile pace—felt great. Yee-haw! Read the rest of this entry →

Yep, I Have A Foot Stress Fracture From Running

Cue Dramatic Chipmunk.

Oh, Dramatic Chipmuk, you never get old.

And I actually wrote about foot stress fractures back in 2010! Oh, the humanity:

How To Avoid Foot Fractures For Runners

Too bad I wasn’t able to follow my own advice.

I really hoped I was over reacting by seeing a doctor a week after a mysterious ache crept into my left foot. Here’s the thing: it didn’t hurt and I only felt it while running. When I wasn’t running it felt totally fine. But when the ache was there, it felt deep within the bone in the ball of my foot. I didn’t like that. I thought, “It might just be a bruise.” But I also know that fractures are common among runners, and especially common among women—Deena Kastor famously fractured her foot, Desiree Linden her femur. I’m no elite runner, but I decided not to waste time. I booked a doctor’s appointment. I just had a feeling in my gut.

I’m so glad I did. An MRI confirmed I have a stress fracture in my tibial sesmoid—one of two tiny, round bones in the ball of the foot. I also have a swollen or “pinched” nerve known as a neuroma. Both are common in runners, says my doc, who is a runner himself. He’ll be running the Airbnb Brooklyn Half in in May and I’ll be announcing at the start.

Stressing Over a Running Stress Fracture

Sesamoid bones

I found this description from the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons:

“A chronic fracture is a stress fracture (a hairline break usually caused by repetitive stress or overuse). A chronic sesamoid fracture produces longstanding pain in the ball of the foot beneath the big toe joint. The pain, which tends to come and go, generally is aggravated with activity and relieved with rest.”

Yup, that’s it exactly.

The Good News

The good news is doc thinks my foot stress fracture isn’t too acute, so he’s prescribing two weeks of no running as a starting point. Read the rest of this entry →

RnR SD Half Marathon Training Program Weeks 5 + 6

Half Marathon Training Program Weeks 5 + 6

Running San Diego (Photo: Ashley Mateo)

I have good news and bad news.

The good news: I successfully met my half marathon training program goal of two strength training sessions per week! I also hit the trail! Yay!

The bad news: There’s trouble in paradise. After 10 years as a runner, it looks like I might finally have my first running injury. Oh sure, I’ve been sideline before, but by non-running related maladies—like that time I fell off a horse and hurt my hip or that time I found out I have arthritis, which I’ve actually managed through running. (And yes, my ortho told me it’s probably genetic and encouraged me to keep running. She was so right. It rarely bothers me any more.)

After five solid weeks of training, I noticed a niggle in my left foot. Not pain, but a slight discomfort under the ball of my foot while I run. I followed the old adage: if it hurts for two days, take two days off. When I resumed running, the discomfort returned. Booooo. It’s especially frustrating since I’ve been strength training to avoid precisely this type of thing. What does this mean for my race calendar? I don’t know!!!

Goal Half Marathon Time—1:59:59
Current Half Marathon PR—2:00:30
Goal Race: Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon, May 31
Tune-Up Race: The North Face Endurance Challenge NY 10K, May 3
Half Marathon Training Plan Weeks 1 + 2
Half Marathon Training Plan Weeks 3 + 4

WEEK 5

Easy: 3 miles outside

Progression: 5.15 miles on the treadmill

Strength: 1 hour strength-interval session at Westin Wellness Escapes in San Diego. This was the first time I felt the mysterious foot niggle.

Easy: 3.2 miles outside along the water in San Diego with my Shape.com editor, Ashley. Could still run totally fine, but my foot felt funky. But who cares when your run looks like this?

Half Marathon Training Program Weeks 5 + 6

California Dreaming! (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)

Strength: 1 hour strength-interval session at Westin Wellness Escapes in San Diego.

Long: None. After feeling the foot ache two days in a row, I decided to skip the long run in my half marathon training program and take two days off. I was pretty bummed about it because I had two more days in California and had another gorgeous run planned. Read the rest of this entry →

22

Apr 2015

Westin Wellness Escapes Health and Fitness Retreats

Westin Wellness Escapes Health and Fitness Retreats

San Diego! (Photo: Starwood Hotels & Resorts)

Greetings, from sunny San Diego! I have escaped New York City for Westin Wellness Escapes, a new series of health and fitness retreats hosted at Westin Hotels & Resorts nationwide and led by experts in running, yoga, nutrition, meditation and more. I’m in Southern California, courtesy of Westin, to check out their very first workout weekend: Women’s Strength Nation LIVE with trainer Holly Perkins.

Westin Wellness Escapes Health and Fitness Retreats

Women’s Strength Nation (Photo: Women’s Strength Network)

This is just the first in what Westin plans to be a national, and even global series. Next up on the calendar is a Triathlon Recovery Retreat with runWESTIN concierge Chris Heuisler from May 16-17 at The Westin Jekyll Island in Georgia following the Jekyll Island Turtle Crawl Triathlon.

But first up, it’s off to The Westin San Diego Gaslamp Quarter, where Westin Move Well advocate Holly Perkins will lead us through a two-day itinerary aimed at honing physical and personal strength.

Westin Wellness Escapes Health and Fitness Retreats

Gaslamp District (Photo: Starwood Hotels & Resorts)

This getaway could not have come at a better time for me. I made strength training one of my New Year’s resolutions, and I’ve only been so-so about upping my time getting strong, as I mentioned in my last two training posts: Half Marathon Training Weeks 1 + 2 and Half Marathon Training Weeks 3 + 4. Read the rest of this entry →

RnR San Diego Half Marathon Training Plan Weeks 3 + 4

Half Marathon Training Plan Weeks 3 + 4

Spring comes to Central Park (Photo: Phil Hospod)

Four weeks down, eight weeks to go on my half marathon training plan for the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon. My tune-up race at The North Face Endurance Challenge 10K is less than four weeks away. How’d my last two weeks of training go? Comme ci comme ça.

I’m aiming to run four times a week, following a half marathon training plan from Greg McMillan’s book You (Only Faster). I’m also slowly building my mileage from my winter base of 20 miles per week to 30 miles a week and beyond. Last week I said: “I want to get off the road and onto dirt once a week during my runs. I also want to up my strength training from once to twice a week.” Um, not so much. I had some great workouts, but did zero trail running, minimal strength training, and missed a long run. Thus the comme ci comme ça.

Half Marathon Training Plan Weeks 3 + 4

Announcing at the Scotland Run (Photo: Phil Hospod)

But I also announced at the Scotland Run 10K with 8,000 runners, some in kilts, storming Central Park. Announcing is always a highlight of my week. If I can’t run a race, the next best thing is announcing at one!

So here’s the run down on my last two weeks of training.

Goal Half Marathon Time—1:59:59
Current Half Marathon PR—2:00:30
Goal Race: Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon, May 31
Tune-Up Race: The North Face Endurance Challenge NY 10K, May 3
Half Marathon Training Plan Weeks 1 + 2

WEEK 3
Half Marathon Training Plan Weeks 3 + 4

The U.N.

Fartlek: 3.65 miles outside. After a warm-up, I ran 1 minute on, 1 minute off fartleks. It was a solid workout and I was pushing really hard by the end. I ran past the United Nations, which is a beautiful complex.

Hills: 4 miles on the treadmill. I ran 10 x 1-minute hill repeats at a 5% incline, roughly the incline I’ll face at Bear Mountain. Got a great sweat going on this one. Big bonus: Positive K’s “I Got A Man” came up in my running mix. I usually run with all my music on one giant shuffle, so I don’t actually repeat songs all that often. Yeah, I was super pumped! Pretty sure I got some stares as I rapped and gestured along. “But how you talking? Pshaw, whatever!”

Easy: 5.4 miles on the treadmill. I’ve been doing all my easy runs as progression runs, but still felt great the whole time on this one. Watching A League of Their Own didn’t hurt either!

Strength: Tacked this onto the easy run above. Did some planks, push-ups, and what not, followed by foam rolling, just so I could watch more of A League of Their Own.

Long: 0 miles! Ahhhhhh! Totally skipped what was supposed to be a 9-miler. Why? No good reason whatsoever. I had a bad bout of cramps, and I just wasn’t in the mood. Told myself I’d do it the next day. But I slept oddly and cranked my neck, so the next day and the day after that were a wash. I didn’t run for 3 days in a row. Instead of trying to make up the long run, I decided to just plow ahead with my half marathon training plan. Read the rest of this entry →

08

Apr 2015

Testing 3 New Balance Shoes: Zante, Boracay, 890v5

Testing 3 Neutral New Balance Shoes For Spring

The Fresh Foam Boracay and Zante in action (Photo: New Balance)

New Balance shoes have been a part of my running shoe rotation for two years now. Last fall, I included the 890v4, 1400v2 and Fresh Foam 980 in my Guide To Neutral Running Shoes. In the last few weeks, I’ve been trying out the three newest New Balance shoes in the neutral running category: Fresh Foam Zante, Fresh Foam Boracay, and 890v5. How does each pair stack up? I’m happy to report that these are three excellent updates that will suit different types of neutral runners.

The shoe vitals are as listed by New Balance for the women’s version. I tried each pair in a women’s size 9, courtesy of New Balance, and listed them from lightest to heaviest.

Testing 3 Neutral New Balance Shoes: Fresh Foam Zante, Boracay + 890v5

Fresh Foam Zante

New Balance Fresh Foam Zante

MSRP: $100
Weight: 6.4 oz
Drop: 6 mm
Colorways: 3 standard

The New Balance Fresh Foam Zante is for folks who want to run—or feel—fast. The lightweight shoe rivals the New Balance 1400 in responsiveness, but with feel-so-good cushioning and an insole that cradles your arches like your favorite pillow. The Fresh Foam’s midsole design of interlocking convex and concave shapes means the shoe gives where you need flexibility and holds firm where you need support, much like the Fresh Foam Boracay. But New Balance used biomechanical data from faster runners to build the Zante.

Testing 3 Neutral New Balance Shoes: Fresh Foam Zante, Boracay + 890v5

Fresh Foam Zante

The result? A shoe that rides like a dream—a dream where you’re setting PR after PR. You may not run a 5-minute pace, but you can imagine what that feels like in these shoes.

Springy and speedy, the Zante promises a quick heel to toe transition with an “aggressive toe spring.” It delivers. The shoe is light, supple, and downright fun to run in.

The upper is a soft and flexible mesh bootie that hugs in all the right places—at the heel, arch, and outer ball of the foot—while leaving breathing room in the toes. In short, this shoe fits like a glove and responds like a race car.

The stripped down design has just what you need and nothing more. Best of all, it has enough cushioning to take you on long runs too.

I love everything about this shoe, and don’t have a singe critique for it. I totally see why Competitor Magazine named the Fresh Foam Zante the 2015 Road Shoe of the Year. It’s earned a spot in my personal shoe rotation and might even be my favorite pair of New Balance shoes yet.

Will you love it as much as I do? Yes, if you like to feel the road under your feet in a light and soft ride. Maybe not if you prefer a beefier or more plushly cushioned shoe. Read the rest of this entry →

Half Marathon Training Schedule Weeks 1 + 2

Half Marathon Training Schedule Weeks 1 + 2

Central Park tempo run. (Photo: Seth Ross)

I’m in the third week of my half marathon training schedule for the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon and first week of The North Face Endurance Challenge 10K training. How goes it? So far, so good. I’m aiming to run at least four times a week, following a four to five day per week plan from Greg McMillan’s book You (Only Faster). I’m also slowly building my mileage from my winter base of 20 miles per week to 30 miles a week and beyond. By that measure, the first two weeks were a success.

Goal Half Marathon Time—1:59:59
Current Half Marathon PR—2:00:30
Goal Race: Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon, May 31
Tune-Up Race: The North Face Endurance Challenge NY 10K, May 3

WEEK 1
Half Marathon Training Schedule Weeks 1 + 2

Hills!

Tempo: 6.65 miles in Central Park. This was a glorious run. I did 4 miles at what felt like tempo pace and might have set a new 4-mile personal best. Great way to kick off training!

Easy: 2 miles on city sidewalks. I love running errands as my easy runs. Two birds…

Hills: 3.3 miles with 8 hill repeats on the East River Greenway. This was my first proper hill workout in a looooooong time. But my half marathon training schedule called for hill repeats, so I jogged to a steep hill that’s a tenth of a mile long and just pushed up it as fast as I could. This workout reminded me why I haven’t done hill work in so long. Um, I hate it!

The hill sits in the shadow of the Queensboro Bridge with the view pictured above. It reminded me what an incredible city New York is. And I’m really lucky that I get to run it. So I’ve started snapping shots of city landmarks that I spot on my runs and sharing them on Instagram with #RunNYC. Read the rest of this entry →

Training For The North Face Endurance Challenge

Tackling The North Face Endurance Challenge

Runners at Bear Mountain (Photo: The North Face Endurance Challenge)

It’s official. After eight years and 90 races, I’m finally tackling my first trail race: The North Face Endurance Challenge New York at Bear Mountain!

I blame my husband, Phil. He was all, “Can we do a trail race? I really want to do a trail race this year.” And I was all, “Sure, just pick one.” And he was all, “How about The North Face Endurance Challenge at Bear Mountain on May 3?” And I was all, “Bear Mountain? But it’s so steep! Ahhhhhhhh! Sure, let’s do it.”

I love Bear Mountain and I love Harriman State Park that surrounds it. It’s a 90 minute drive north of New York City.

Tackling The North Face Endurance Challenge

Photo break in Harriman State Park (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)

I love the views from the top of Bear Mountain, and I love taking Cinderella there for hikes.

Tackling The North Face Endurance Challenge

Cinderella hikes Bear Mountain (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)

Bear Mountain was where I trained to climb Mount Kilimanjaro back in 2008. Phil and I even did our engagement photo shoot in Harriman State Park.

Our engagement photo shoot in Harriman State Park (Photo: Lev Kuperman

Our engagement photo shoot in Harriman State Park (Photo: Lev Kuperman)

But running Bear Mountain? The thought has never occurred to me. It’s really, um, traily and technical.

Here’s the thing: I “hike like a fish,” as Phil likes to joke. He’s not being mean. He’s being completely accurate. I am, truly, a fish out of water. The second you take me off of a road, smooth grass, or groomed trail and onto a trail with any sort of technicality, I lose all sense of balance. I am the opposite of sure-footed. No, it doesn’t stop me from hiking and running in amazing places like Cinque Terre and Machu Picchu. Read the rest of this entry →

23

Mar 2015

Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon Training Begins

Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Half Marathon Training Begins

Suja Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon start (Photo: Jerod Harris/Getty Images for Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series)

After a fantastic winter of fun running and base-building at events like the Bermuda Triangle Challenge and Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend, I’m ready to start testing my speed once again. Half marathon training season officially started Sunday for my first goal race of the year: the Suja Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon on Sunday, May 31!

I’m really excited for this one. I’ve never run a Rock ‘n’ Roll event, and I’ll be attending the race as a guest of Competitor Group. For my first Rock ‘n’ Roll experience, I wanted to run one of their marquee events, and it doesn’t get bigger than Suja Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon & 1/2. The 2014 event had nearly 23,000 finishers between the marathon and half-marathon. Plus, I’ve only visited San Diego once, more than 10 years ago, so I’m definitely due for a return trip.

Half Marathon Training

Jerod Harris/Getty Images for Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series)

A tempo run PR in Central Park (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)

My 12-week half marathon training program started Sunday!

I kicked it off with a stellar tempo run in Central Park—my fastest ever. I ran 4.35 miles in 39:03 at an 8:58 pace. Um, folks, that’s a 4-mile personal best for me! My current 4-mile PR is 36:00 at a 9-minute pace. Of course, I won’t count my Central Park tempo as an official PR since the course was not accurately measured, but just knowing that a late winter workout where I was working hard but not all out was in PR territory makes me deliriously happy. Read the rest of this entry →

10

Mar 2015

Testing Nike LunarTempo Shoes at Mile High Run Club

Testing Nike LunarTempo at Mile High Run Club

The Nike LunarTempo Shoes (Photo: Nike)

I’m a runner who loves ultra lightweight running shoes and ultra soft cushioning. I want to feel like I’m running on clouds and I want my shoe to weigh something in the range of clouds. So I was excited to try the new Nike LunarTempo shoes at a media workout at Mile High Run Club, a treadmill studio in New York City. Nike has billed the Nike LunarTempo as a shoe with “ultralight cushioning for high-speed miles.” The workout at Mile High Run Club would put that tagline to the test.

Nike LunarTempo Shoes

Testing Nike LunarTempo at Mile High Run Club

Nike LunarTempo in action. (Photo: Nike)

When I arrived at Mile High Run Club, a locker with my name on it was waiting for me, filled with complimentary running gear, including the new Nike LunarTempo shoes.

How did they fare in one treadmill run? The neutral shoe is a bit like running on clouds.

Nike used their Lunarlon foam midsole, which is indeed one of the cushiest rides in town. I currently wear the Nike Flyknit Lunar2 with Lunarlon. That oh-so-soft landing under the heel is one of my favorite things about that shoe, and the Nike LunarTempo didn’t disappoint.

But this time around, Nike has re-engineered the Lunarlon foam to make it even lighter at 6.2 oz for a women’s size 8, more responsive and just as supportive. After a few short wears, I can confirm that this shoes feels fantastic underfoot if you love a soft ride like I do. Read the rest of this entry →

How To Stay Fit This Winter & All Year Long

How To Stay Fit This Winter And All Year Long

Trail Running in Quebec. (Photo: Phil Hospod)

Happy Super Bowl Sunday! February is a great time to check in with the running and fitness goals you made for 2015. The weather is frightful and the sofa is so delightful. How to stay fit when you just want to hibernate? Set some goals, stick with them, and mix up your workouts when things start to sour.

How To Stay Fit

Step 1: Set SMART goals—specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely.

How To Stay Fit This Winter and All Year Long

A winter run through Central Park in New York City (Photo: Phil Hospod)

Still looking to make or tweak your running resolutions for 2015? I’ve got 10 ideas meant to make you a happier, healthier runner:

10 Running Goals You Should Make for 2015

Revamp your 2015 planning with goals meant to make you a more well-rounded runner. Set the right goals and you’ll run faster, train smarter, and have more fun hitting the pavement in the new year.

Resolutions that merely focus on going faster may set you up for frustration down the road. Sure, speed can be part of your resolutions, but goals that also focus on training, friends, and having fun will make your 2015 more successful—and enjoyable. Check them out at SHAPE.com.

Step 2: Stick to your goals and fitness routine.

How To Stay Fit This Winter and All Year Long

Pro women race the Front Street Mile in Bermuda. (Photo: Phil Hospod)

Falling off the wagon already? Here’s something to motivate you: how quickly your fitness fades when you stop exercising completely.

But you can still dial back when need be and fight the fade with a few, short workouts:

Skipping Workouts? Your Fitness Fades Faster Than You Think

You can lose up to 50 percent of your hard-earned fitness gains in a single week of complete inactivity.

Now, I’m not talking about tapering; dialing back workouts before a big race puts you in peak performance shape.

But with every week that you don’t exercise at all, you chip away at any fitness you’ve built up in weeks or months prior. Read the rest of this entry →

Bermuda Marathon Weekend Training Update

Bermuda Marathon Weekend Training Update

Yay! Vacation! (RunKarlaRun.com)

In just three days, I’ll be at the start of the Bermuda Triangle Challenge at the Bermuda Marathon Weekend—three races over the course of three days in beautiful Bermuda, including a 1-mile, 10K, and half-marathon. I’m attending the weekend as a guest of the race’s organizers.

When I last wrote about the race in Training For A Bermuda Triangle Challenge PR Attempt, I firmly declared my desire to PR in the 10K.

So how goes it? Hmmmmmm.

Training was going swimmingly with four solid weeks of outstanding runs, including a weekly tempo run and fartlek workout, as I outlined in my Running New Year’s Resolutions for 2015. I started working toward those goals early.

I had an excellent last run of the year on Dec. 31, with a jog up to the Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles, while vacationing in California.

Bermuda Marathon Weekend Training Update

A run to the Hollywood sign (Phil Hospod)

Then I started the new year with a series of invigorating runs and hikes in Palm Springs (posts to come!), like this gorgeous spot in Indian Canyons on the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation.

Bermuda Marathon Weekend Training Update

Indian Canyons in Palm Springs (Phil Hospod)

Then I got home from California and I got the worst cold I’ve ever had (at least that I can remember). It kept getting worse before it got better. My fever hit 101.5. Read the rest of this entry →

My Running New Year’s Resolutions For 2015

Running Resolutions For 2015

Happy New Year! (RunKarlaRun.com)

We’re now one week into 2015, which means I should set some running New Year’s resolutions!

I wrote 10 Running Goals You Should Make for 2015 for SHAPE.com, a collection of resolutions that will make you a healthier and happier runner. Some of them I’m already good at doing, like “Work Hard, Play Hard“—pairing hard-lined PR goals with ones that are more fun, like taking a runcation. Others, I need to work on, like “Prioritize Injury Prevention“—I could certainly be better about dynamic warm-ups, strength training, rolling, and other preventative measures.

So here’s a look at how I did with my personal goals in 2014 and how I’m going to tweak them for 2015. As always, I want to build on my successes and learn from my failures.

New Year’s Resolutions For 2014 Analyzed and Tweaked For 2015

Running Goals For 2015

Chasing Cinderella (Phil Hospod)

1)  2014: Get even faster

I make this goal every year. I finished my very first race, a 4-miler, at an 11:34 pace. Now, almost eight years later, I run a 5K at a 7:59 pace. I’ve gotten much faster over the years. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that.

How’d I do in 2014? So-so at this one. I nabbed three PRs: 8K/5-mile road, 10K road, and ITU Sprint Distance Triathlon.

Why do I say that’s so-so? I still have 8K and 10K track times that are faster. The IAAF and USATF log track and road records separately, so I do too. That said, track records tend to be faster than road ones. The track is a nice flat, predictable surface. The road is not. My 8K PR was set on a hot, muggy day whereas the track PR was on a nice, cool fall day. So I’ll take it. Same with my 10K PR. I set it during the same fall track workout as my 8K, whereas my new road PR was the first half of the hilly Staten Island Half Marathon. So, all in all,  I’m happy with both of those.

As for my triathlon PR, I was deliriously happy with that. It was the second time I’ve raced an ITU Sprint Distance course and I walloped my swim, bike, and run times. OK, so maybe I did get faster in 2014.

2015: Run tempos

This year, rather than focusing on PRs, I’m going to focus on faster overall paces in targeted workouts. I’m excellent at the easy run, and those will remain just that—easy. But what I’m not great at are tempo runs. I don’t do them, and it reflects in my racing. So for 2015 my “Get even faster” will be dedicated to hitting those tempo paces, which will hopefully pay off on race day. Read the rest of this entry →

Goodbye 2014! Griffith Park Run To The Hollywood Sign

A Griffith Park Run To the Hollywood Sign

(Phil Hospod)

Greetings from sunny California! I’m here for a New Year’s runcation, and so far, I’m cleaning up. I’ve logged 11.5 miles in two mornings. But today’s run was the best: a Los Angeles Griffith Park run to the Hollywood Sign in the Hollywood Hills.

Space Shuttle Endeavor

I arrived late Monday night and awoke to a cold, rainy day on Tuesday. What to do in LA on a rainy day? I visited with a dear friend and her kids at the California Science Center, where we saw the Space Shuttle Endeavor.

A Griffith Park Run To The Hollywood Sign

Endeavour (RunKarlaRun.com)

A Griffith Park Run To The Hollywood Sign

Endeavour’s tail (RunKarlaRun.com)

It was pretty incredibly to see this beast up close and personal. The tones and textures of the tile and thermal blankets that line the shuttle are so interesting in person. We had a great time at the museum.

Griffith Park Run To The Hollywood Sign

This morning, I awoke to sunrise looking over the Hollywood Hills from The Line Hotel in LA (my husband, Phil, works for the company that owns the hotel). The rain cleared away any trace of the city’s famous smog, leaving a glorious, clear sky. This was one of those clear days where you really can see forever.

A Griffith Park Run To The Hollywood Sign

Hello Hollywood! (Phil Hospod)

So Phil and I hopped in our rental car and headed for a run in the city’s sprawling Griffith Park, a 4,310-acre oasis in the Santa Monica Mountains and home to the famous Hollywood Sign. (Yup, it’s five times the size of New York City’s Central Park). Read the rest of this entry →

31

Dec 2014

Best Running Gear Of The Year: Karla’s Favorites

Favorite Gear of the Year

Running in some of my favorite gear of the year. (Phil Hospod)

Christmas is right around the corner and New Year’s isn’t far behind. Putting together a wish list for your running resolutions? Still need a gift? Here is my favorite running gear of 2014.

The products on this list are the best clothes, gadgets and running gear that I’ve tried this year. There are more than 50 items from more than 25 brands. For every item here, I’ve sampled another two or three things that didn’t make the cut, including products in every category. Companies send me loads of samples, many unsolicited, and I often receive products in swag bags at races and events. So I didn’t buy anything you see here. I also don’t keep most of what I receive.

But if it’s on this list, I officially own it and love it—I don’t list anything I haven’t used myself. In clothing, I’ve tried the women’s versions, but many come in men’s options too. And I’ve included the list prices, though you’ll find many items for less than that.

Also, if it’s been in a past gift or gear guide of mine, I didn’t include it here. But many of the products I highlighted in the days of yore are still available. So here are my gift guides from 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2009.

Looking for running shoes? The Best Running Shoes? A Guide To 10 Neutral Pairs.

Looking for triathlon gear? Triathlon Gear List For Runners, Beginners and Beyond.

Without further ado, here is all of my favorite running gear of the year.

Favorite Running Gear of 2014

Digital Gadgets

Favorite Running Gear of the year

Bia Multi-Sport GPS Watch

Bia GPS Sports Watch, $279

Bia is a new two-piece device consisting of an ultra-light, slim wrist piece paired with a GPS “Go Stick” that clips onto your top, waist-band, visor or anywhere else you want to wear it. The Go Stick is the brains of the operation with an SOS safety alert, fast-connecting GPS, automatic uploads to your training log, and multi-sport functionality.

Run, swim, bike or do all three in one workout. And with live tracking, your friends and family can follow you on race-day or when you’re along in a remote area. I tested it while I ran the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco, and it worked wonderfully. Best of all, Bia comes in six fun colors. I have it in purple. Stay tuned for my full review.

Favorite Running Gear of the Year

Timex Ironman Run x20

Timex Ironman Run x20 GPS, $100

Are you looking for a small, simple, and streamlined GPS watch? Look no further than Timex Run x20. In three bright colors plus basic black, this watch is the antidote to the big, bulky, expensive GPS watch with features you never use.

Instead, you get the features you really need: reliable GPS workout timing with speed, pace, and distance; run/walk timer; interval timer; stopwatch; automated pace alerts; night-light; alarm; and water resistance up to 50 meters. The interface and menus are supremely easy to use. Plus, it’s really easy on the eyes.

Best Gifts For Runners 2014

Nike Fuelband

Nike+ Fuelband SE, $99

The Nike+ Fuelband SE is the first fitness tracker that I’ve tried, so I have no basis for comparison. That said, I love it (and I’ve tried a few other watches and gadgets this year that I can’t say the same about).

I work from home, so I don’t take nearly as many steps in my daily “commute” as most folks. In other words, if I’m not running, I barely move from my desk chair. Wearing the Nike+ Fuelband has shown me just how little activity I really have in a day unless I make a conscious effort to get up and move more. Thankfully, the Fuelband reminds me when to move, tracking my steps, Fuelband “points,” calories, and more. It’s motivated me to make my days more active outside of my workouts. That’s a win!

Favorite Running Gear of the Year

Koss FitClips

Koss FitClips and FitBuds, $30

Headphones made for women, by women in five fun colors and two styles—clips or buds. With three different ear cushion sizes to choose from, Koss FitClips fit my ears perfectly and stay put during sweaty runs. The FitBuds do too. Plus, they’re comfortable. I barely notice they’re there, even the around-the-ear clips. And they’re super light too. Once I got these, I handed my old black and red headphones to my husband with a, “Here. You can have these.” FitClips are it for me now! Read the rest of this entry →

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