Helvetia Half, take that

I ran the Helvetia Half Marathon today and surprised myself. My pace was better than I expected (my goal was to finish under 2 hours) … I even wonder if I should have pushed it a little harder in the first 5 miles. Overall, I’m pretty pumped about the outcome as it’s my first 13.1 miles in five years (and I didn’t train at all for that one five years ago — bad idea). My training is actually paying off, and I’m super motivated to sign up for more half marathons (and maybe a full?). (Thank you, legs! Thank you, lungs! Thank you, mind!)

I’ll do a full race recap tomorrow, but in the meantime, here’s a quick summary:

Rough look at the course map …

Helvetia Map

The race finished in the Hillsboro Stadium.

My mile splits …

Helvetia Splits

I don’t like the 9:18, but it was during the biggest hill of the race. I’m pretty stoked about the rest.

The elevation profile …

Helvetia Elevation

Elevation by the numbers …

Helvetia Elevation numbers

The rest of the day looked like: eating, stretching, eating, foam rolling, getting a pedicure, eating … and eating. Can’t complain. Back later with more details!

speaking of foam rolling …

You know how I said I’d gone a week without foam rolling? Well, I got down with my foam roller last night for about 45 minutes, and I have proof:

foam rolling

I’m no-headed. But at least my IT band is getting worked.

And, speaking of foam rolling, one of my favorite fitness bloggers, Gina of Fitnessista fame, just published a post with some good foam rolling pics & tips. Check it out, and get yourself a foam roller stat. Your legs will be soo much happier once you do.

form focus (3 of 6)

Monday: Hip hop boot camp class

Tuesday: Stretching & foam rolling & massaging with Penetrex

After my long run on Saturday, I did a bad thing. I was late to an appointment, hopped in the shower and left the house. Which means (head hung in running shame): I didn’t stretch a lick. I felt okay on Sunday playing kickball, and I was kind of smug. I must be in great running shape! But I didn’t run on Sunday — except around the bases — and then I woke up on Monday, and it was like, OH. There are my legs. 

I felt a lot of tightness in my ankles and hips and IT band. I stretched and went to boot camp, but I woke today feeling kind of … worried. I want to be running today & training for my upcoming half marathon, but I’m such a rookie. And I’m worried about over training and fatiguing my legs. SO. I’m not running today. I’m using Penetrex (kind of like Icy Hot) and foam rolling (for the first time all week) … Why do I forget to make foam rolling a priority? Because it hurts like hell. But I know it’s good for me. I should bring it to work with me and set an alarm and roll during the day. (That wouldn’t be weird at all, right?)

Okay, enough of my whining about soreness. Let’s get back to form!

To catch you up to speed, here’s what we’ve covered so far:

  1. form focus one > posture
  2. form focus two > the lean

Today I’m covering lower body focuses. Specifically, how to move fluidly without over-taxing your leg muscles.

Chi Marathon says you want a passive leg swing. That means:

  • Your legs are used for support, but not propulsion (your lean propels you instead).
  • Your legs are relaxed. (I’ve gotten in the habit of shaking out leg tension when I’m waiting at the crosswalk.)
  • Your knees are low (reserve high knees for sprinting, not distance running). You knees bend and float behind you after each stride; they don’t lift. (I’m still working on this float concept.)

Wait, there’s more. And these ones are pretty challenging for me:

  • Your feet should be pointed forward. (I’ve been working on this one for a long time, even before I knew much about running form, because I knew it didn’t feel good when my left foot splayed out. I still have to keep my eye on lefty.)
  • Your feet movement should resemble wheels, not pendulums. Chi Marathon says to think circles with your feet. If you peel your foot off the ground correctly and let it float behind you, you’ll have the circle shape. (Since I have trouble with the float, I think my feet don’t raise behind me enough — and I’m doing more of the swinging pendulum thing. BUT. I won’t really know until I can get someone to videotape me. Yes, I’m going to take videos of my running form. It’s getting serious around here.)
  • And, finally, though I’ve mentioned it before: a midfoot strike. Stop striking with your heels, people!

Tell me: Do these lower leg focuses come naturally to you? If you’ve got the wheel-style foot movement down, how do you do it without expending too much energy?

I don’t have any running photos today, but I do have this, er, exciting photo of me in a work outfit (taken in front of my entry area, of course):

work outfit

The shorts are new and from H&M. Everything else is old, old, old.

I’m not super obsessed with clothes. Except for my workout clothes, which are *very* fashion-forward. ;) (More like very neon.) But I do try to put myself together every now and then. So, what do you think of the look above? Leggings with shorts? Too I’m-trying-to-look-younger-than-my-own-good-and-cutesy? Or actually cute?