Monday, 23 February 2015

Mercedes-Benz Half Marathon, Birmingham, AL 2015

This was my first time on Alabama soil and my first (and probably only) half marathon in Alabama. I mentioned towards the end of last year that I'd really like to complete a half in every state but that I want to only pick the best races for each state. Last year, I'd considered running a half in Alabama towards that goal but I felt a bit ambivalent about the race, so I scratched it.

I've gone through a good few rounds of searching for the best races in any given state. Usually starting with a medal I really like and then reading online reviews. For Alabama that turned out to be either the Magic City Half or the Mercedes-Benz Half. Both are in Birmingham, AL pretty much as close to home as it is going to get in AL. Timing meant that the Benz won the toss up. Well now I can say I've been to Birmingham in the UK and the US.

This involved a lot of driving. Over five hours each way to be exact. I drove there on Saturday just in time to make it to the expo and then after a couple of hours of eating and relaxing post-race drove back on Sunday. Luckily I had my road trip buddies with me for the long trip and Martina had lots of stories about her trip home to Ireland, making the drive seem short. The new car really showed its worth, in comfort and fuel economy, less than $60 of gas got us there and back.

For once we stayed in the host hotel, The Sheraton, and it was worth it. They offered a very good discount if booking through the race website so really we got a nice hotel for a decent price within 5 minutes walk of the race start and finish. I had to practically sign away my life to have Boomer stay with us but there was no pet fee, yay! Boomer however was not impressed with the elevators and had to grip for dear life in the moving box of death.

The expo was all the usual vendors. I really liked the T-shirt for this race. Red is my favorite color and the fit was really good. As well as the t-shirt I got a massive pair of gloves from the Trak Shak. Then quite possibly the funniest thing I have ever received in a race packet, a Gotta Go Poncho. I laughed so hard when I realised it was a poncho with a pouch to do your 'business' in. Never say never ha ha.

The next morning I got up at 5.45 ate a banana and got ready. The 5.45 wasn't bad at all, because for me it was 6.45, we were on central time rather than eastern, happiness is the little things sometimes. We made our way down to the start and eventually the mist turned into full blown rain. I handed over my running jacket and got ready to go. 

I'd already decided this was to be a training run since reviews said it was a hilly course, so the first few miles were me trying to pace myself. Everytime I found myself breathing in any way heavily I slowed down and even stopped for pictures. 
Around the half way point I started to feel a bit tired but I think I just need the restroom so, at mile 7, I stopped. That added a good three minutes, mostly waiting, to my time but it was really nice to dry my face and ears (my headphones kept slipping out) and blow my nose. 
The mile after that I took a gel and that got me a bit out of breath so I walked a little to get it down and then continued on. After this something happened. We hit a good half mile stretch of downhill and I went with the hill, running fast. It got my legs turning over well and even hitting the next uphill I kept feeling stronger and stronger.
 I just decided to keep it up and right to the end I felt fantastic. I'm glad I went with the good feeling because I love finishing a race strong. No matter the finish time it always feels amazing. If you take out the potty stop I actually ran around the same time as my last race but it felt SOOO different.

There were aid stations and port-a-johns every single mile and a fair amount of spectators so the miles ticked by really quickly. There were also bananas, orange slices and GU gels given out at certain points. The only part of the stellar course support that I wouldn't have liked as a marathoner were the digital timing clocks at each mile...or more accurately the mile markers. Looking at those I was so glad I wasn't running the full, it'd be so depressing knowing I had another loop to do.

 Overall the course was no where nearly as hilly as I thought it would be. Most of it was steady inclines but nothing too steep, in fact the steepest section was downhill. Birmingham is definitely an interesting city to run through with a variety of city scenery to keep you occupied. I saw a lot of architecturally beautiful buildings that were crumbling and sad, but then other areas you could see where some urban regeneration was occurring. The runners were also pretty crowded together...not badly but enough that you always passed someone or were being passed or had a running shirt to check out. All in all if you need to be constantly thinking about stuff this is a good one to run.

I ran as hard as I could through the finishing chute and crossed the line feeling pretty chuffed with myself. I got a medal and then as I was picking up some food a lady tapped me on the back and told me that she had been trying to catch me for a couple of miles but couldn't and basically told me I inspired her to run faster for those miles. My head is now the size of a house ;) but I thought that was sweet that she took the time to find me. At the finish there was water powerade, bananas and  oranges. Then the post-race was BBQ which I avoided since I assumed there would be nothing for me to eat there.

As well as the medal I picked up a nice beach towel which I hope to put to good use this summer. I know there were massages as well but I avoided all that and went back to the hotel to get out of my wet clothes (it rained for most of the race). Subway provided my post-race meal and I sat and relaxed for an hour before we hit the road. After playing dogdums with Atlanta traffic (which is crazy), on drive fuel provided by Starbucks, we made it home for around 6pm. We had planned on some hiking near Birmingham but the weather was too bad so it was good to leave and get home before dark.

I was very happy that this was my Alabama race it was definitely worth the drive. Official Chip Time: 1.59.27

Friday, 20 February 2015

A new TV experience: Roku

Yesterday I went to the dentist, got the second half of a deep clean and got my last crown started. This represents the last pieces of dental work that I'll have to actively save up to pay for. I have other check ups and an extraction which will put a dent in any given pay check but nothing unmanageable. 
Anyway to get to the point, my appointment yesterday cost around $400 less than I thought it would. Maybe my insurance is covering more, maybe I got some sort of loyalty discount..who knows!

I decided to reward myself for 2 hours in the dentist chair by getting something I'd been itching to buy. A Roku streaming device for watching TV. I didn't know that getting rid of a cable subscription was such a big movement here. I just thought as an outsider it was a lot to pay to watch TV littered with advertisements. We've been using a laptop hooked up to a projector to watch Netflix etc. which is great, but frustrating when you need to use the laptop for something else. 

Anyhow this little box is changing all that. To me it is basically a mini-computer with an internet connection that runs a lot of apps. Each app is TV/Music/Multimedia based e.g. Netflix, HBO Go, Pandora. There are a few free 'channels' with older TV shows and movies, a lot of subscription channels and then a few 'box office' type ones where you can make once off purchases through a credit card/paypal acc linked to your Roku account. I'm looking forward to exploring all of this to get the best from the Roku. So far I think besides Netflix my favorite has to be the Lifetime app so I can watch Dance Moms (don't judge).

I like the remote, especially since I don't have to point it at the box itself (which sits behind me). I instinctively point it at the screen making me feel much more like I'm watching an actual TV. One ingenious feature I really like is that you can plug some headphones into the remote and it kills the audio feed to the if you want to watch TV while another person is asleep you can!

There are a bunch of these devices e.g. Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV but I went with the Roku based on on-line reviews. I got the most up to date Roku, the 3, also based on reviews as apparently its a significant improvement on older versions. In all it cost around $127; $107 for the Roku itself (in Target including tax) and another $20 for a HDMI to mini-HDMI (projector has a mini connection) cable.

I'm not sponsored for this post in any way, nor am I endorsing the Roku as I've barely used it. I'm just ridiculously excited that these things exist....yes I am a nerd!!

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Weekly Roundup Feb 16th

We are due to get a blast of winter weather this week. Its already feeling pretty chilly to this southeast dweller. Freezing rain and some very cold nights ahead. It doesn't help that my office is freezing cold due to a malfunction with the air system. I'm a permanent ice block right now. Fall disappeared in the blink of an eye, so I'm really looking forward to a nice long spring before the crazy summer kicks in.

Strength 1 hour Body Pump 7am
ANOTHER round of Body Pump 92, I'm getting a bit sick of the same songs and moves. I wonder how I didn't notice the repetitiveness before. Maybe they just do the new routine for a couple of weeks then mix back in old ones. Either way I still struggle on the same tracks; triceps, lunges and chest. I'm slowly noticing a bit of the definition, that I lost post-Kiawah, creeping back in. I'll never have a six pack but the cookie pouch is getting smaller. 

Confession time: I gained 8lbs during the period between early-December and late January as I ran less but ate the same, due to tapering and then minimal running to recover for the second race in January. I've lost two pounds of that but I'm not sure if the rest will shift as I think a lot of it is lean muscle. For a little while I felt awful..bloated and none of my clothes felt right. Now after moving the two pounds, my clothes all fit the same, even the small stuff, and I feel the same as before. We'll see over time. I'm not going to worry about it too much as I'm already trying to cut back on sugary foods and up the protein, if the rest is not lean muscle then it'll slowly go away.
3 miles 9.09 min/mile, Avg HR 150
It was cold and rain was forecast post-6pm. I got home asap and changed before bringing a very excited dog (who hadn't left the house all weekend) to the park. I had thought about tacking another mile onto the run but why not just go out, get it done and enjoy the run instead of always feeling like I'm not doing enough. It actually ended up being pretty speedy and fun for a post Body Pump run.

Tuesday  5 miles 10 min/mile Avg HR 143 -171ish on hill sprints
The combo of Body Pump and a decent run yesterday left my legs absolutely wrecked tired today in case you can't tell by my slowish pace (even with hill sprints included). I came home and got out before dark again (temperatures are leaving little choice right now). I took Boomer out for my warmup and dropped him home after two miles <----it took a long time to warm up. Then I ran another 3 miles including 6 of my short hill repeats. I managed the pace pretty well for the repeats given how tired I was but could only manage 6 all out. My reward was a big fat pancake with greek yogurt and strawberries for dinner in honor of Shrove Tuesday.

Strength 1 hr Body Pump 1pm
Another round of 92 but hallelujah it's the last one before they start mixing the old tracks back in. I was starving all afternoon afterwards, hopefully a sign that it's revving up my metabolism.
Running 3 miles ~9.30 min/mile
It was cold and super windy so I gave myself a little break from that and went to the gym and hopped on a treadmill. I was so sweaty I forget how much my face sweats when there is no breeze to dry it off straight away. The treadmill is as utterly boring as I remember, I watched every 0.01 tick off for 3 miles. Went home showered and waited for Martina's flight to get into Columbia.

Thursday rest
It was well below freezing all day and I knew it would be so I planned today for rest.

Friday rest
I can't get my life together recently. Another night of really cold temperatures proved too much for our pipes. The hot water came back on around 30 minutes before I came home. Martina was there all day and was ready to shut off the taps once the water started flowing. Unfortunately, I then came home to see water gushing out of the side of our house where the water heater is located. Instead of running I ran around frantically trying to figure out how to shut of the water. A nice neighbor had a water key and shut it off at the meter before the house owner came over to assess the damage. Lucky we are going away for my first out of state race, it'll give him lots of time to fix it.

Saturday...mostly driving
Sunday 13.1 miles 1.59 
Mercedes-Benz Half Marathon in Birmingham, Alabama. My first out of state half (and new state) this year. A really fun race. This was a 3/1 training run. Something I see on my schedule but ignore. 3/4 easy, 1/4 race pace.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Weekly Roundup Feb 9th

Don't read if you are squeamish about blood.

Monday-Strength and Run
Strength-1 hour Body Pump 7am
The first class of Body Pump 92. Not sure what the deal with the numbers attached to name are about. Do they just number each new workout? Seems like a lot of hype for a new routine. Either way it was good with a lot of smaller movements.
Running - 3 miles easy
It finally stopped raining long enough for me to get outside to go for an easy run. I was so eager to get out I forgot my watch. It was really foggy, the worst I've seen it at the river. I could just see the blur of the park lights in the distance and every so often another runner would emerge out of the fog. I brought Boomer and by the time we were done he was soaked right up to his back, one disadvantage to a smaller dog, but at least he was very tired.

Tuesday nothing
I've learned that left to my own devices I become a lazy slob. Wash dishes or clothes-no thanks, shop- no thanks. I have literally done nothing but work, run and sleep for almost a week. Today it got too bad, so instead of running I got my life together. I cleaned the house and went food shopping since it'd reached the point where I had nothing to make breakfast, lunch or dinner. I think Martina should come home soon never mind her real family, who she is visiting, she is obviously needed here!
I'm trying to be less rigid about sticking to a running schedule, as I was really getting a bit sick of running towards the end of marathon training, and even though I'm running a lot less miles now I'm adding in classes a few times a week, aka a lot of time sweating in work out clothes. So if my schelude seems a bit all over the place you know why.

Wednesday-Strength and Run
Strength 1 hour Body Pump 12pm
Another round of Body Pump 92. My shoulders felt a lot better this work out as I've been forcing myself to sleep on my back.
Running 5 miles 9.16 min/mile
Didn't look at my watch at all, I just ran a comfortable pace. I'm always so hesitant to go out for a run in the cold and dark but once I get going there is something very tranquil about running at night.

Thursday - Running 4 miles 8.43 min/mile
6X 400m intervals at roughly 5k pace. Cold and windy but I got out there and got it done. The first 3 intervals were done into the wind. Turned around and with less effort the pace became faster than 5k pace.
Interval 1.) 7.35 2.)7.23 3.) 7.32 4.) 7.14 5.) 6.59 6.) 6.48
There was a bit of a crazy dog with runners high when we got home.

Friday rest

Saturday enforced rest
I went out for dinner and some drinks with a friend on Friday night. I had enough to drink to probably to give me a small hangover, but 100% not what happened to me. Something I drank did not agree with me at all. I've had this reaction once before, the day after drinking a single Jack Daniels, nothing else. Given I was drinking whiskey and bourbon, there is something in some whiskey brands my body just does not want in there. I got up feeling fine. Tidied the house a bit and then wham I was in the bathroom for hours. 
I vomited so much my stomach and chest muscles hurt and I was shaking like a leaf. Everytime I tried to drink water it came back up. Eventually after what felt like forever my body decided I had enough and I started to fall asleep on the bathroom floor. I took myself to bed and slept for a few hours. Sometime around 3pm I was able to keep down cereal and a cup of tea and go back to sleep again.
 Isnt that weird!! I'd love to know what ingredient got me so it can never happen again. I think for now my only whiskey will have to be Jameson since I know that's safe.
So no running for me, I could barely drive to the store that evening to get some drinks with electrolytes never mind try run. The next day I'd lost a pound, not at all the way I want it to happen!

Saturday Run 10 miles 9.43 min/mile
Another great day (insert sarcasm here)! I ate a small breakfast and then did a whopper grocery shop to really restock the house. After being sick yesterday I got lots of nice food to stuff my face. I was making soup and a bagel for lunch and cut the tip of my pinkie finger pretty deep when I was supposed to be cutting the bagel. Only for the angle (my nail stopped the knife) I'd have completely cut it off. Fat out of luck this weekend, eh? It was sore for a while but I put a paper butterfly stitch on it and wrapped it up well, so now I just need to keep it dry and clean.
I'm still feeling a bit off after yesterday but I've tried to eat and drink plenty to replenish my system. It was such a beautiful  day, I didn't want to miss it. Cold but sunny and calm...perfect running weather. Other than some swollen fingers and a mild calf cramp in the last mile it felt great. I'm guessing my electrolytes are still a bit out of whack after yesterday.
If only mirrors made me look so skinny and tall!

I finally broke out my HR monitor and it works with my watch. I did 10 easy miles. My heart rate stayed right around 147 bpm. Maybe on the higher end of where it should be for a long run but not bad considering I had slight allergies again. I'll test it out for my longer runs and see what it's like for a few weeks and make sure there are no sessions where I feel like my HR too high.
Overall not the best running week but I'm glad I got my longish run in. Fingers crossed for a better week next week.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Save the Light Half Marathon, Folly Beach SC 2015

Save the Light Half Marathon is in aid of the preservation of the Morris Island Light House which has stood off the coast of South Carolina for over 100 years. This is a beautiful landmark so I was quite happy to do a local race that supports such a good cause.

This is my first race of 2015 and my first half in a couple of months so I decided to rest up beforehand and try run fast, a benchmark for my training to come. The course was easy to follow, lots of aid stations and flat so it was a good one to try it on. 

I got up at 5am, ate and then drove just over two hours to the race. The packet pickup was in the sponsoring hotel, Tides. The t-shirt was long sleeve, cotton and unisex. As an additional treat we also were given a small poster featuring the lighthouse.

Lets just say I ran a good time but not a good race. I finished in 1.56.47 which is not bad for me. Not near a PR but pretty good. 
It wasn't a good race because I went out too fast (around 8.30 min/mile) and it felt hard...breathing wise. Rather than back off straight away I continued at that pace until around the halfway point and then slowly faded. My breathing continued to get worst and worst until even running a 9.30 min/mile was taxing my system. I walked probably twice a mile in the last 4 miles to catch my breath. I was then able to run <9 min/miles but then my heart rate would creep up again and I'd have to walk again. Enforced Galloway method :) 

My shoulders were tight and according to my massage lady so were all of my abdominal muscles so maybe the combo of that and going out too fast meant I was taking very shallow breaths. But you know what I'm not pissed off at all. This has been the end of a very stressful week so keeping things in perspective, I ran 13 miles this weekend (my longest since Disney and before that Kiawah); my hips, ITB and knees were good, absolutely no pain. Other than my breathing everything felt good and strong.

I talked to a really nice man in the last mile who was very encouraging when he saw me walking. We ran together for a while and he was asking me about my goal time. I said I didn't have one since it was my first half in a while. He high-fived me and said I was doing awesome and thats when I realised he misheard me (damn accent) and thought I said it was my first. I felt too embarrassed to correct him. Then again after the finish he said hi and pointed out to his friends that it was my first half. Sooo situations and me do not mix! Thanks for the pick me up even if it wasn't my first half. People like him are the reason the running community is such a good one.

I came through the finish pushing myself to run as fast as I could. I grabbed some gatorade, water and a banana and hung round trying to figure out why I hadn't got a finishers medal; no one was wearing them. I went back into the hotel and stretched in a big open area and was walking back out when I saw a lady with a medal. I didn't even say excuse me but just blurted out "where did you get that?", like she'd stolen it or something. I think I scared the crap out of her because she barely spoke English, she stammered that they were out there, pointing towards the finish. I'm pretty sure she thought I was an a'hole but I didn't mean to be, I'm just very passionate about medals!! Sure enough they had arrived late and I got one.

The hotel had a Starbucks so after I changed into fresh clothes I loaded up on a large coffee and muffin, and went to see the famous lighthouse. During the race we ran right up to the viewing point but I didn't see it because we stopped short of going onto the beach. I drove the car as close as I could and huffed and puffed over the sand dunes. It was sunny and warm at this stage. The beach and the lighthouse really are beautiful. I snapped a few pictures and hopped in the car to get home to the dog. He hadn't been alone all morning, a friend came over at 9am with her dog and they played together for a good while, but I still didn't want to leave him all day. Two hours twenty minutes later I was in my driveway. 

I'll definitely do this race again next year if I'm in South Carolina. Its a great course, flat, mostly shaded and a nice stretch of ocean views. 

So going into the next few months I think I really need to work on:
Getting in more long runs - 13 miles +, I have lots of half marathons in the books so I don't think that'll be a problem. They are mostly hilly courses so they'll probably be fun long runs until I try to PR.

Speed....already on that, I think I just need a solid few months of training at faster paces.

Flexibility...I need to get back to regular yoga and work on my shoulders and chest. I'm not having the bad issues with my shoulder like I was but the mobility is still not 100% on the left and both are tight.

This is the second run in the last couple of months when I've felt like my heart rate was too high for the effort I put forth...I'm gonna find my old HR monitor and wear it(if it works with my watch) to figure out if it's higher than normal.

Anyhow an interesting start to my 2015 half marathon season. Yoga tonight to try get a bit of zen back in my life. Hope everyone was out running and having fun!!

Friday, 6 February 2015

Weekly Round up - Week Feb 2nd

Monday- Strength and Running
Strength- 1 hour Body Pump 7am
Monday classes definitely feel easier. I really didn't want to get up to go to the class but what better way to start the week than beating procrastination.
Running - 3.5 miles easy
I donno what it is about Monday's and wind but it was a cold and windy start to the week again. The first 1.8 miles were directly into the wind. After the turn around it was a nice little push to run faster. Slowly getting used to these double workout days, my legs felt pretty good!
I think my hobbit like breakfasts are helping...I had some cereal and coffee before Body Pump and eggs after, for some protein, and of course more coffee (it's Monday).

Tuesday- Massage & Ermmm Nothing
Bad planning with car sharing meant I didn't run. I had a massage at 5.30pm and Martina a haircut at 7pm, right around when I finished. I went from the massage to Whole Foods and ate dinner while waiting to be picked up at around 8pm. Another frickin train on the way home meant it was 8.30 by the time I got back to the house. Now I could have gone out and run intervals on the streets rather than in the park (which closes at 9) but I really didn't feel like it!! I have a race this week, so its meant to be an easy week anyhow.
The massage was great. I was squirming for some really sore spots like my right knee and shoulders but I know it pays off. The tightness on the back of my knee is where my gastrocnemius (one of the bigger muscles in the calf) attaches to the knee so I guess I need to work on stretching out that muscle more. I slept like a baby I was so relaxed afterwards.

Wednesday- Strength and Running
Strength- 1 hour Body Pump
A good class. I upped the weights for some of the sets I find easier like back and squats.
Run 4 miles
I ran Martina's intervals with her. They felt hard enough...maybe I shouldn't have bumped the weights up quite yet.

Thursday rest
A crazy crazy day. Around 1.20pm I got a university alert that shots had been fired on campus. That was later followed by another one saying there was an active shooter and to stay inside. Some people were not very know cause it was all of 2 blocks away (insert sarcasm). I was a bit freaked out. Later my building went on lockdown so no one without access could get in.
In the end it was an isolated incidence, a couple of hours later we found out it was a murder-suicide. Two people died. How do you make sense out of that?  I wish the shooter had talked to someone, anyone before getting to such a bad place that their last act on earth was to kill someone else and themself. Two families got horrific news today, my thoughts are with them.

Another rest I'm not just being lazy. I have a race tomorrow that is the only flat one I'll get to do for a few months so I want to go into it with non-sore legs and see what I can do. I'm gonna sign off here for my training log for this week since I'll recap the race on Saturday and at most run 3 easy miles on Sunday.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Weekly roundup- week 26th Jan 2015

Monday -Strength & Running
Strength-1 hour Body Pump 7am
Much better this time. I didn't feel so clueless and other than the triceps section I did pretty well. I'm still finding my limits with the weights, some sets I start off thinking they are way too light and then I'm dying by the end.
Running- 3 miles 10.13 min/mile
Fatigued a slow one. I picked it up a tiny bit for the last mile once I'd warmed up ~9.30 min/mile. It was cold and windy but once you utter the words "Boomer, wanna go for a run?" There is no backing out!

Tuesday 8 x hill repeats (4miles)

A bit of a stressful day. You know when you start it in the DMV (license renewal) it's never gonna be good. 
I ended up breaking up my run because as I was finishing my warm up, 1.3 miles, I realized I needed to leave for a hairdressers appointment. After the fastest sprint back to my house and changing, I ended up being stuck behind a train for forever and I had to reschedule my appointment anyhow. 

Luckily I had thrown my running gear in the car beside me and parked in a quiet parking lot beside the hill I'd earmarked to run and sneakily changed in my car. I didn't get arrested for (semi) public nudity and  went and started my hill repeats. The part of the hill that didn't involve crossing streets was a bit shorter than I'd like (0.1 miles) but I have another longer one earmarked for when the evenings get brighter. I did 8 repeats, pushing the whole way up (7.50-8.30 min/mile) and jogging back down.
 I faded a tiny bit towards the end of the last few repeats so maybe a shorter hill is good until I get stronger. Finished the second run at 2.7 miles for a total for 4. 

Wednesday- Strength and Run
1 hour Strength -Body Pump 1pm
Ow my arms :)
3 mile run 10 min/mile
Pretty dead legs but better than last week!!

Switched my rest day around. Still pretty sore from body pump etc. and didn't think I could give the upcoming tempo run my all.

Friday - 5 mile/45 minute tempo run 8.42 min/mile
One of my best runs in months by far! I ran with Martina for 15 minutes of her race pace run, then Boomer and I took off and picked up the pace. A mile later we turned around and Boomer decided to go all out and boy can he run. 25 minutes of gradually increasing the pace until we hit 7.15 min/mile for a solid 2 minutes. Boomer was still wanting to push....I'm not fast enough. Then around 10 minute cool down. I finished just over 43 minutes for an even 5 miles.
The reason I'm so happy was because right down to 7.30 min/mile it felt easy. A good running day!!!
Tiniest pony tail ever?

Saturday - 5 miles 8.58 min/mile
Another day another run. A good run. I ran a mile with Martina as a warm up and then I headed off on my own. I don't know whats going on but I felt really good again. I had intended doing a pretty easy run but I just went with how I felt and ended up running a mile warmup, 3 miles around race pace and a mile cool down.

Sunday 11 miles 9.27 min/mile
Uneventful except for a shoe full of blood....stupid toenails! It even stained my shoes !!! Rounding of the week for a total of 31 miles. Very happy with this week.