Archive | January, 2010

Three Things Thursday

28 Jan

1-My WordPress app. Without it, these last three posts would not have existed.

2-Turkey and Brie sandwiches from Cosi. Even if I have to eat it on the 8:15 train home.

3-My sweet, goofy, loves me no matter how much of a beast I am, husband.

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Ouch

24 Jan

I’m not a patient person. I decided I had to have new barefoot style running shoes for my 5 mile run this weekend. I really wanted Nike Frees. The Vibrams are too ugly,and I wasn’t sure the New Balances were quite what I wanted. I went to Rhode Runner, RIs only running store, and they had nothing. So I ordered two pair on zappos, free shipping, free return.

They came on Friday, and, aftermuch hemming and hawing, I decided on the pink size 7s rather than the smaller red ones, and set out for my run. The shoes are unbelieveably lightweight, and felt great. My stride was good, I wasn’t heel striking, all was well.

Until mile 1.5. That’s when the blisters came. Not on my heel, but on the front of my arch. I don’t like to feel the arch support, which is part of the reason I ran with the larger shoes. But by mile 4 I wanted to cry. If I had seen a cop I would have waved him down for a ride home. I wish I had brought my cell phone to call for help. 911 takes shoe emeregency calls, right?

I somehow made it home to two nickel sized blisters and a baby toe cut that stung like heck in the shower. I now have $170 worth of Nike Frees that hurt like the devil, and I can only return the unworn pair. What to do now? Slather on body glide and hope they break themselves in? Go to Marathon Sports in Boston to get fitted and buy another pair? Suck it up and buy the Vibrams?

All i know is that I have to do something aside from what I did today, which is to glare at the sneaks and pout at my blisters. Who knew barefoot running shoes could be so difficult?

Three Things Thursday

21 Jan

Wow, it’s been a week already. Oops.

I’m not numbering these anymore. It doesn’t matter to me what number it is, so hopefully it doesn’t matter to you.

1 – Doughboys* for breakfast.

2 – Finally completing the painful refinance process, and saving a chunk of change in the process.

3 – Modern Family

* Doughboys, for you heathen non-RIers, are simply fried dough. But they sound cooler, especially with the accent.

Three Things Thursday #something

14 Jan

1 – J’s electric blanket (when he lets me use it)

2 – playing Mario Kart on Wii

3 – Chicken noodle soup and grilled cheese with tomato

Run, Piggies, Run!

12 Jan

A few months ago, I read this article on boston.com about barefoot running, and I thought, “huh.  I could try that.”  I’m the type of person who needs to change things up a bit in my running, whether its different routes, different training plans, different shoes, etc.  Of course, changing it up the past few months would have been actually running once in a while, but that’s a whole other problem.

So, I did a little research, and discovered that barefoot running can be good for you, and is becoming more and more popular.  It allows your body to run more naturally, and not fall subject to injuries that shoes can cause.  If you’ve ever went for a long run in the wrong shoes, you’ll know what pain and injuries they can cause.  There are some people that believe that since we were born without shoes, we weren’t meant to run with shoes.  Sounds romantic, but a little illogical.  We were born without clothes as well, and I won’t be running anywhere naked.

So, why run barefoot?  The geeky answer, from Wired:

What’s so great about going shoeless? It allows the foot to flex and absorb shock, says Tony Post, president of Vibram USA, which makes FiveFingers. With thick heels, people lengthen their strides, landing heel-first and letting the shoe absorb the impact of each footfall. You can’t do that barefoot (try it sometime), so your body naturally falls into a shorter stride, landing first on the outside middle or ball of your foot. As you advance your foot rolls inward; the arch flattens and helps absorb the impact; it then springs back up as you lift your foot and push off the ground

(Vibram, by the way, makes these hideous looking, yet supposedly awesome, shoes)

I gave it a try on the treadmill.  I liked it.  It felt different, good.  It didn’t hurt the next day.  I tried it again.  What Post says is true.  It hurts like heck to land on your heels while barefoot, and it doesn’t take much to correct that habit.  Shoes don’t allow you to correct the heel strike – they force it.  If you’ve ever had plantar fasciitis, you’ll know what I mean.  I had it once, woke up after a 4 mile run and couldn’t stand on my foot.  I thought I broke my heel in the middle of the night.  There are tons of articles and blogs about barefoot running, and I’ve barely scratched the surface.  90% of what I’ve read is good, and pro barefoot running.  Even the major shoe makers are jumping on the barefoot wagon.

So far, I think I’ve logged in 5-6 barefoot miles.  I think I overdid it today, because my feet hurt.  Actually, burned is a better word.  I swear they let out a happy sigh when they touched the cold tile floor.  And they were nas-ty.  Black soles, gross.  If I didn’t hate feet so much, I would have taken a picture for you.  But you don’t need to see that.

I’ve been warned that I’ll lose a running buddy if I wear the Vibrams, and I think I’m a wee bit too self conscious to have people looking at my feet.  I’ve been checking out some alternatives like Nike Free and the New Balance 100s.  I have a buddy who works at New Balance and she sent me a great article comparing the three shoes, and I lost it, but promise to bug her for it and repost it for your reading pleasure.  I plan on trying out whichever shoes I can next week, since my feet won’t be able to take much more complete barefoot running.

Most importantly, I’ve  been reading Born to Run by Christopher McDougall.  I’ll probably blog about the book separately when I’m finished, but I have to say, its fascinating.  And its reminding me of what it means to run, what it means to be able to run.  I ran a race on Thanksgiving, and as I climbed the last hill, I started thinking about how lucky I was to be able to run at all, especially without injury.  I’m not often that reflective, but I realized my health and the small amount of running talent I may have was truly something to be thankful for.  It was an awesome feeling, and one I need to remember when I’m slogging through miles on the treadmill.

A little blip about Born to Run  from amazon.com.  In my opinion, this book should be required reading for every runner:

Question: Born to Run explores the life and running habits of the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico’s Copper Canyon, arguably the greatest distance runners in the world. What are some of the secrets you learned from them?

Christopher McDougall: The key secret hit me like a thunderbolt. It was so simple, yet such a jolt. It was this: everything I’d been taught about running was wrong. We treat running in the modern world the same way we treat childbirth—it’s going to hurt, and requires special exercises and equipment, and the best you can hope for is to get it over with quickly with minimal damage.

Then I meet the Tarahumara, and they’re having a blast. They remember what it’s like to love running, and it lets them blaze through the canyons like dolphins rocketing through waves. For them, running isn’t work. It isn’t a punishment for eating. It’s fine art, like it was for our ancestors. Way before we were scratching pictures on caves or beating rhythms on hollow trees, we were perfecting the art of combining our breath and mind and muscles into fluid self-propulsion over wild terrain. And when our ancestors finally did make their first cave paintings, what were the first designs? A downward slash, lightning bolts through the bottom and middle—behold, the Running Man.

The Tarahumara have a saying: “Children run before they can walk.” Watch any four-year-old—they do everything at full speed, and it’s all about fun. That’s the most important thing I picked up from my time in the Copper Canyons, the understanding that running can be fast and fun and spontaneous, and when it is, you feel like you can go forever. But all of that begins with your feet. Strange as it sounds, the Tarahumara taught me to change my relationship with the ground. Instead of hammering down on my heels, the way I’d been taught all my life, I learned to run lightly and gently on the balls of my feet. The day I mastered it was the last day I was ever injured.

We were on a break!

10 Jan

Hello.  Remember me?  I used to come here and blog a bit.  I started out strong, then faded away and only posted Three Things Thursday.  Then I dissapeared for a bit.

Why did I leave?  I don’t really know.  I think it was a combination of things.  The simple answer is: I started this blog because I like writing, and I like talking about myself.  Then I ran out of things to write about.  And I didn’t want to blog inane things, thenI got lazy.

The more complicated reason is that I’ve been feeling a little “eh” about social media.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my Facebook.  But why am I on Twitter?  Who really cares?  I don’t even really care to read Tweets, why would I care to write them?  I like reading interesting blogs, but I don’t like reading things people post just to post, and I felt like thats what I was starting to do.

I’ve heard some speakers at work recently discussing social media and the fact that its the way of the future.  The numbers and stats are truly amazing (and, of course I don’t remember any of them).  As a business tool, social marketing done correctly is brilliant and cost effective.  But what is it doing to our society?  People are on Blackberries and iPhones everywhere: at meetings, at dinners, in the car, on vacation.  Why?  Are we really that important?

When I started at BAC, Day One, I got signed up for a Blackberry.  I just agreed with my boss when she told me I needed one, but then  thought – fine, I’ll take it, but I’ll never use it.  And I do.  All the time.  I check it before I go to bed, before I get on the train, on the train, on the weekends.  Trust me, I am not that important, not even a little bit.  But I have it, I’m expected to check it, and I’ve saved an ass or two by responding to something on my commute home.   And I have an iPod Touch, and I love it.  I love the fact I can get wi fi at work.  Because the world would end if I couldn’t check my FB statuses?

I’m not one of those “I’m going to throw away all electronics and live in a van powered by olive oil in the woods by Walmart” types of people.  Heck, I’m sure I’ll want the next hot gadget, and the only reason I won’t get it is because I’m too cheap.  But I can’t help but wonder what our society is becoming because of social media.  I miss phone calls, even though I primarily text.  I miss face to face conversations, even though I spend 90% of my day on e-mail.  I guess only time will tell where this train is going.  Like Becca said – I’m an old soul.  One day I’ll wave my cane and my iPod at the youngins with their new gadgets and remember the days pre-avatars and YouTubing every move your baby makes.

Anyway, where does all this lead us?  I miss blogging, I miss writing, I miss your comments (did I mention that I’m vain and need to see comments and the visitors’ counter go up to keep me going sometimes?  Just some food for thought).  I have some ideas popping around in my head, and my time off has been nothing but good, fun times, no major drama, so I’m sure I’ll have some retrospective posts.  At the risk of sounding like every other newbie at the gym, I’m going to stick with this thing.  Its too much fun to give up..