Shoes: Pearl Izumi E:Motion Road N2

On a side note, some of these shoe names are so long. ADD moment over.


Ignore that other box. You’ll see my thoughts on those shoes later.


New shoes! One of two pairs I picked up and let me tell you, while I was a bit iffy at first, I LOVE these.

When Joe (awesome runner that he is who part times at one of the local running shops) showed me these, in my mind I was thinking “those don’t really look like running shoes…” Oh how wrong I was. They may not look it, but they definitely feel like it.

Here’s how Pearl Izumi describes them (just to be fair even if it is PR speak) –

Your one-shoe quiver, the Project E:Motion Road N2, is the perfect balance of light and fast with just enough cushioning and durability to provide the maximum confidence you need to go the distance. The Road N2 will be your go-to high mileage neutral trainer.

Moving on…let me be straightforward – this is not an “official” review. I’m giving what I’ve found from running in them and linking to one or more people who did review them (who hopefully can explain what I feel).

What makes this new line by Pearl Izumi so attention grabbing is the focus on the bio-mechanical. Basically, they’re not just modifying the style and material of the shoes, but attempting to construct them in a way to positively influence the structure of how you run. As one review put it, the “most significant advancement lies within the sole of the mid-foot.” (Read the full review over here which includes the easy to understand explanation of the bio-mechanical stuff.)

I totally agree. My arch is kind of funky and considering the bulk of my weight falls from the mid-foot forward (I run mostly on the ball of my foot and toes), having a firmer mid-sole can be felt. From the first run I could actually tell the difference. At first I just thought it was the weird design of the shoes, but after how awesome I felt post run I looked up info (and came across that review). The soreness and strain within the arch and mid-foot for me is actually reduced when I run in these – the change is significant enough for me to notice it. I’d never really considered how a shoe could be made better for different types of running except for adding more or less cushioning. The only thing I really ‘got’ was the more rigid designs meant for motion control (of which I wore for about 2 years). Flattening and firming up the sole in various areas never even occurred to me – which is one of many reasons why I don’t design shoes.

Yes, that's the wall & ceiling. I know I stretch weird.

Yes, that’s the wall & ceiling. I know I stretch weird.

Now the first few runs were just easy and short recoveries – 5 miles at most. But then I did a 9 mile speed workout in them. Talk about feeling my shoes! I know that obviously my old pairs were mad ready to be retired and maybe it’s just the relatively new cushion. But then I took them out for an 18 miler – and still felt awesome during and after the run.

While I admit my intent was for these shoes to be my speed work and racers for anything half-marathon and under, taking them out on that long run has me seriously contemplating them as a marathon race shoe. Maybe it’s just me. And I won’t say to just go out and buy them (remember, this isn’t really a review). But if you’re looking for what appears to be a solid neutral trainer, check them out. Give them a test run. Maybe you’ll find you like that solid mid-sole just as much as I do.

Because I promise you, I cannot wait to take these out and race in them. Thinking that half I intend to PR in November will be the perfect opportunity.


MCM Training: Week 4/18

Huzzah! That’s 4/18 and I’m a month in.

Running Miles: 40

Cycling Miles: 17

Pretty good week. The weekend post long run was thrown off a bit as I did a self defense class at a boxing gym with a friend. While enjoyable, they really focused on fighting back and my body was so sore! Thus, the recovery on Sunday and since has been fun with sore muscles. But now onto last week’s workouts.

Hills: 6.26 miles

4 at pace miles – 8:02, 8:24, 8:10, 8:14

So totally not consistent at all. Yeahhhh, just could not settle myself into a pace and had to constantly keep checking my watch. Also had one of the super fast guys (1:12 half marathon kind of fast) who did his workout in the morning just getting a few extra miles with us afternoon people at a ‘slow’ pace. Way to make me feel like a turtle when my paced miles are like a recovery for him. But at least I wasn’t yelling at him as he ran past me (instead we were arguing the whole time). Silliness at its best.

Intervals: 6.09 miles

5x800m – 3:28, 3:28, 3:25, 3:29, 3:20

This time I was semi-consistent and semi-on pace for once. Sort of. No issues with the workout, though I threw my pace off on the 3rd one. It was fun running with one of the girls coming back from injury (again, fast person – her back from injury is my training pace). While I won’t say it was easy, I definitely felt solid on the workout. Though I’m sure I’ll be cursing myself once I get to more repeats.

Long Run: 12.01 @ 9:01 pace

Look at that, exactly on pace. I was almost worried it would end up being too fast. Sounds crazy but the 12 felt easy. I spent most of the run in a daze without really noticing the miles going by. It was practically a surprise to end up at the park (one of the route’s water stops) and be near 7 miles. I was so excited to sleep in until 5:30! Course, that won’t be happening again for a good few months. I didn’t really feel much strain in my muscles and made sure to have all my recovery stuff.

Still getting adjusted to the days I bike and/or run. While the cycling itself isn’t straining (unless it’s windy) it is a different type of exercise and I think tires me a little more than running. After that self defense class, I obviously need to work on more than just my cardio more often. Another good week of training! From here my mileage will just keep ramping up.

Speed Work

So I’ve been talking the last few months about how I need to start adding in speed work, but haven’t actually done it. Well, now I’m 3 weeks in with 1-2 speed workouts a week. I try to split them up, one on Monday and the other on Thursday, so that my tougher workouts are spread across the week (Saturdays are long run days).

?????????????????Here’s the two speed workouts I prefer.

Tempo Run (Monday):

Mondays are all about the tempo run. Tempo runs are about maintaining a specific and more importantly consistent pace. Distances and paces will vary. Some will tell you do it at a ‘comfortably hard’ pace – where you could ask a running partner if the pace is okay but could not keep up conversation. Others will give you a time goal.

In my case, I do a mix of both. When I’m not training towards anything in particular I have traditionally gone by the ‘comfortably hard’ measurement. Right now I do have a goal in mind. As such I’ve set myself a goal pace to run this race at. Hopefully my logic here will make sense. Since my interval workouts will target the ability to have bursts of speed I’ve decided my tempos will be all about that consistent pace. And since my plan is related towards the end goal of a marathon, I’m pacing myself at slightly fast 8:00 miles. (As a note: if I ran that pace for a marathon I’d finish around 3:30. My current half marathon PR averages a 7:35 pace.)

To start it’s a pretty short workout. I’m doing 5 miles: one mile warm-up, three miles at pace, and then one mile cool down. My goal over the next few months is to slowly increase the distance—upping the miles so that I’ll be doing more at pace. Eventually something like a 10-12 mile workout with 8-10 miles at pace. While hoping this will rub off on me for the actual race, I’m more focused on it helping me get back into pacing myself properly (because right now I’m generally all over the place).

Want to read a little more about tempos? Check out this Running Times article with the basics or this Competitor article talking about different types for different training.

Interval Work (Thursday):

Out of habit from running with a group that usually does interval work on Thursdays, it’s now my preferred day as well. Just fits well with the schedule. Now I generally prefer doing these workouts at a track because the distances are easily measurable and do not require checking my Garmin every 30 seconds. I know there are downsides considered with the action of running in the same direction that can cause imbalance in your muscles, but I haven’t had too much trouble.

My usual interval workout involves 800m repeats. I start with a 1 mile warm-up (NEVER neglect your warm-ups and cool downs, they are so important to help keep from hurting yourself) before jumping into the repeats. Then it’s 800 repeat, 1/4 mile (or 400m or 1 lap on a track) at an easy jog,  800 repeat, etc. After the last repeat, I’ll close out the workout with at least a 1 mile cool down. Sometimes I’ll do a little more for mileage or if my muscles are still a bit tight.

If it’s a race week, I’ll traditionally cut back to 400m repeats and no more than 4. If I’m feeling adventurous I may do longer repeats than 800m, but 800s are my default (look up Yasso 800s if you get a chance). When not in training, a usual interval workout will be 4x800m and about 5 miles long. As training progress for the marathon, I’ll slowly be upping the repeats to finish at 10 total 800s (the last 2 workouts before taper).

Besides having a set distance, interval workouts also have a set speed. My goal right now is to average 3:30 per 800m repeat or the equivalent of a 7:00 mile pace. I also attempt to progressively get faster through a workout. While training for my first marathon I regularly finished my last repeat at 3:25 or faster. My goal is to attempt to do the same this time; train my body to be faster at the end than the beginning.

Interval workouts are great for two reasons. For one your teaching your legs the feeling of a faster pace/turnover than most of your other training will do. The second, assuming you work to get faster with each repeat, is the idea of finishing strong. Teaching your body to give more when it’s tired than when it’s first starting and full of energy.

So that’s about it. Just a quick little chat covering the speed workouts that make up my conditioning right now.




This past Sunday I ran my last, “long” run of 18 miles. That closed out my highest mileage week yet at 56 total miles. I got in an awesome pace run, a great speed workout at the track and my best 18-miler yet (which really isn’t that hard considering how badly 18-milers seem to end for me). Ending that week starts the process of taper, a period of reduced activity that allows your body to recover and prepare for the upcoming race.

As of this post, it’s only 10 days to race day. I’m equally excited (it’s been so nice having relatively shorter workouts) and nervous (which never happens). I’d say I’m subconsciously nervous – I’ve had some wacky dreams of things gone wrong (like forgetting my race shoes), but I myself don’t feel more than anticipation. Though I’m sure that’ll change as the race gets even closer.

The biggest factor? It’s so unknown. It was so reasonable to go run a 14 miler before my first half just so I knew I could do it. The sheer amount of miles makes that unreasonable for a full marathon. So instead, I’m left to wonder if my body, and mind, will be able to handle those last 4 miles. The difference between my longest run and the race distance. Yet at the same time, 4 miles seems like nothing after 22, so why shouldn’t I be able to?

Oh well, the lucky fact of work and school will keep me from thinking on it too much. Plus, preparations and silliness with members of my running group. Car pool caravan! Likewise, I’ve learned that my sister-in-law is coming into town to visit family and to see me race. I’m excited, as so far she’s only heard about my craziness, but not witnessed it.

So fingers crossed with 10 days and counting…


Mission Shopping: Complete

It’s that time again.

My shoes have served me well and we’ve traveled many miles together. There were good runs and bad runs. However, the sad truth of marathon training is that shoes don’t last nearly as long. Both pairs – my Sauconys and Asics – have about reached their mile limits. They’ll make it through the last couple weeks before the race, but barely.

So I’ve already bought a new pair of each. While I did look around, ironically, I essentially got the same ones. The exact same (different color) Saucony Kinvara 2 and the next model of the Asics – GT 2170. Due to the time crunch (I waited a bit too long, aka I forgot), it would be a bad idea so close to the race to go for a new and untried brand/pair.  Better to get what I know works in preparation for race day.

Less than 3 weeks to go! The new shoes should be getting in tomorrow, so I’ll put a picture up soon.