2014 Virginia Is For Lovers 14K

Month 2 in my “12 races in 12 months” goals took me to running the VIFL14K in Virginia Beach. Originally, the race was supposed to take place on 15FEB. However, since the schools in the area had snow days, the schools had to make up the time on Saturday. This meant a lot of the registered runners wouldn’t be able to make it to the race. To mitigate this, the race directors decided to move the race to Sunday, 16FEB.

I was excited for the expo. J&A tends to put on some awesome expos. I was sorely disappointed by this expo, though. There were maybe 3 vendors, tops, and 4 charities there. Other than that, it was just the race vendor selling Shamrock and VIFL stuff. The “race shirt” was terrible. It was a “jacket” that was made out of plastic that was similar to rain poncho plastic. I did manage to get there early enough to score a beanie, though, which was great because I’ve been complaining about how I need one for the colder weather we’ve been experiencing this year. At the race day booth I was able to get 2 shirts from last year’s race for 5 dollars a piece and a Brooks running technical l/s tees for 25 dollars (on sale due to there being only 2 left and they were both small…score!). After that I left since there was nothing else going on.

Race day was a lot different than what I was used to. My race didn’t start until 0900 so we got there at 0700 to get good parking. I fueled up with a tall macchiato and oatmeal and people watched. I watched the runners take off for the 6K and the first finishers of the 6K cross the line. Before I knew it, it was time to head to the start. I was in Corral 2 so I made my way to the front.

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The race started right on time. This was a wave start race so first when Team Hoytt, then Corral 1, then my corral. As soon as I crossed the start line I was met with the wall of slower runners. That was a tad bit annoying as I was trying to get by, politely saying excuse me, and they wouldn’t budge. Ugh. After about a minute I was able to get around and get into a comfortable pace. I didn’t bother looking at my Garmin as I didn’t want to see my pace. I wanted to run a pace that I felt good running in.

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First 2 miles consisted of us running from the Virginia Beach Field House, past a school, and through the Farm Bureau Live. Supposedly there was an “uphill” but it was really nothing large. from there we ran through a farm, back past the FBL, down a street, loop back, down another street, out and back, and then out to the end of the sports field, turned around, then ran back to the Field House. Seriously, the entire run was nothing but out and backs. It made for a boring 8.6 miles but at least I knew where the finish was.

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I crossed the finish line at about 1:15. I was aiming for 1:10 so 1:15 wasn’t bad at all. My average pace was 8:37, a great pace considering I’ve only been running consistently for the last 6 weeks. I felt great after the run and quickly got through the runner’s chute and to the bread bowl full of tomato bisque with cheese. I got to see my daughter wave excitedly at me as I crossed the line. That made the run completely worth it!

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All in all, I thought this was a nice, mostly flat, run. It definitely wasn’t at the caliber that the Shamrock was but it was still nice. My advice would be to get to the expo early to get all the items you want (they ran out of beanies and shirts by the next morning). It’s definitely a good, easy run if you’re looking for something longer than a 5K but not as long as a half.

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Product Review: Minimus Hi-Rez

New Balance does this thing where I fall in love with a pair of their shoes and then they stop making them…or they only make them in mens sizes (damn them). This leaves me to searching for the newest and greatest shoe. Back in June my husband bought me a pair of zero drop Newtons and those they claimed a barefoot-like ride, after I ran my Marine Corps Marathon I trashed them. They were hurting me more than helping me and that was painfully clear on marathon day. I ended up switching back to my Minimus road shoes. Then, I found these babies: image

imageimage When I saw them I knew I had to have them. They are the ultimate in barefoot running without having to have the funny toe thing going on with Vibrams. At under 3 oz I was super stoked when I bought them with my Road Runner Sports gift card (thanks in-laws!). I waited anxiously for them to arrive. Alas, they came 4 days later. I cracked the box open like a giddy child on Christmas morning and could not wait to put them on my feet imageSo Minimalist I could use them as jazz shoes! image
**Squee!!!**

I walked around in them for a bit to feel them out. I felt really “in tune” with the ground below me. After a few minutes I decided to finally take these babies out for a short 5 miler.

The run in them was fantastic. I felt so agile in them and, most importantly, they were so much like second skin I almost forgot I was wearing shoes! I got to my turn around point fully expecting my feet to hurt but was pleasantly surprised. I felt great. I felt energized. I turned and ran the rest of the way to my house.

I did realize that after a while one of my toes felt quite sore. The shoes didn’t seem too small but after my run that became clearly obvious. I felt kind of sad because I knew I’d have to return them and wait patiently until I got the new ones. However, I was glad that at last I found the shoes I had been looking for since I realized how much I loved minimalist running shoe.

My verdict: If you are the type of runner that loves running barefoot (or close to barefoot) but don’t like the toe look of Vibrams, these are a great alternative. The hexagon bottoms allow for ultimate flexibility so you can manipulate your foot as needed while you run. There is no support or “cushion” in these shoes so if you find shoes without cushion uncomfortable, or if you need special insoles, these are not the shoes for you. These shoes allow for (and kind of force you) to mid foot strike. Heel striking is a bit harder in them since it makes you plant your foot the way it would naturally, but it is possible though I’d imagine it’d be a bit hard on your joints.

If you’re interested in getting them, be sure to order a half size larger as they run small. Also, I would recommend ordering them through Road Runner Sports or any shoe store that will allow you to buy-try-return. This is the main reason I chose to buy them through Road Runner. I didn’t want to purchase a pricey shoe (because they are a pretty penny) that I ran in once and hated. For anyone who is a beginner with minimalist shoes, I’d recommend easing yourself into running in these shoes. I’ve been using them on one run a week until my calves adjust to the demand these shoes place on them.

I hope this was helpful for someone. Let me know if you have questions about them!