Friday, April 27, 2012

Running on the Wall Raffle

Multiple times, I have blogged about wanting to get a medal hanger from Running on the Wall. Their hangers are made of repurposed wood and come in all sorts of bright, hip colors. I love my current hanger (Allied Medal) but it's overcrowded and was going to buy a new hanger from Running on the Wall's Etsy shop after I earned my next medal.

Love this color.
Now that I'm in plantar fasciitis land, that may be a while.

But no - wait! They recently sent me a hanger to review! This light-weight hanger is as nice as it looked on Etsy and it was super easy to install. It comes unassembled, but all you have to do is screw in the 9 hooks along the bottom. So easy, I could do this while drinking a beer!

Another great color.
They give you a couple nails and you just have to be sure you get them level (despite the beer you drank while putting the hooks in) and then you're all set to hang your bling. 

Not only are these hangers attractive, lightweight, upcycled, and easy to install, they come in all kinds of colors and sayings (you can even add your name if you like) so that over time, you could have a lovely wall full of unique Running on the Wall's hangers displaying the fruits of your labors. 

If you are picking up what I'm putting down, head on over to their Etsy shop to see their selections. Also, you can "like" them on Facebook HERE, leave a note telling them I sent you over, then watch their page for their raffle. They regularly host raffles (like NOW!) that you can enter to win a free hanger. 


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Denied again - phew!

So far, my plan is working out. Denied by NYC marathon lottery in 2011 and again in 2012. Now, I just need to get denied in 2013. Then, I will get my automatic "buy" in 2014! By then, I should be done with baby #2 (not pregnant yet) and my BFF in NYC will be ready to run it with me too by 2014. I'm hoping Becca and Elizabeth will be on the same schedule.

Now that I know for sure about NYC, I'm contemplating joining Kim for a crazy east coast double-header. She is registered & ticket bought for a Saturday half in NJ and Sunday half in DE in late October. It would be a blast of a girl's weekend. The only thing holding me back is...yes...the fact that I'm not running right now due to this damned plantar fasciitis. Should I do it anyway? What deadline should I set to decide, knowing that airfare is affordable right now and race registration could fill up...?

Also, I did not get selected for the Nuun Hood to Coast teams. Of course, it's a let-down to not get accepted for something that you've applied for, and I swear I'm not just saying this because I wasn't selected, but I really am a bit relieved. Primarily because...I CAN'T RUN right now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It would have really stressed me out to have people counting on me when I'm totally uncertain about myself.
As for the whole Nuun Hood to Coast thing, I was surprised they picked so many of last year's runners but shocked, and frankly pissed, about three people (2 locals & 1 Midwesterner) who didn't get picked. I have no right to be angry since it's all just a game but it just didn't make sense considering the other repeats. It would be interesting to know what the inside scoop was.

On the flip side, I'm incredibly excited about the new peeps who got selected, particularly Elizabeth (because I'll get to see her again when she comes to Seattle for HTC and I hope she comes early) and the Seattle ladies: Ricole & Zoe.

I'm hoping to be running "soon," whatever that means. I've been going nuts, almost literally, for not running. The weather has gotten nice and it's time to RUN SEATTLE. Cycling is great but I miss my running.

I have yet to hear about my entry into the 2Toms Third Annual Worst Blister Contest. There are some nasty looking feet up there but hoping I "get" to be the poster child for nastiness.

A girl's gotta have dreams, que no?

Ok, way behind on work and even further behind on reading race reports from this past weekend. Isn't it my Friday (Thursday) yet?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Making the most of Monday

The weather in Seattle has been so amazing that I couldn't bear the thought of just going to work and being confined indoors all day. I'm REALLY missing my long runs.

So, I got up early to get a bike ride in, my first ride on my road bike since last summer! It felt horribly strange at first and I couldn't get my shoes clipped in for anything. My first attempt at mounting resulted in me tipping over. Thankfully, my alley is not paved so the only outcome was me getting a bit dirty.

Though my blue beauty is nearly 20 years old, her ride is as smooth and rich as butter. Makes me feel sorry for the rest.

Just a few quick thoughts from this ride:
  • Going on a ride along Lake Washington on a spring morning before Monday workday is a fantastic way to start the week. 
  • Cherry blossoms in full bloom look like pink popcorn.
  • Skinny tires + light weight = FAST downhill.
  •  Not having a chain ring that provides low gears makes me feel extra tough cranking up Seattle hills. 
  •  My right quad fatigued/burned more than my left and I'm not sure what that means. One-legged squats are in order?
  •  Switching directly to my heavy, wide-tired commuter bike after riding the road bike made me sad because the commuter is so much more difficult to ride. It pretty much blows.
  • Switching directly to my heavy, wide-tired commuter bike after riding the road bike then made me happy because I realize that the extra effort I exert to ride to/from work builds better fitness.
  • Riding with a wet head under my helmet creates a better hairstyle than using a diffuser on the hair dryer. Yet another reason to bike commute.

Distance = 11.3 miles
Time = ~ 50-55 minutes (I forgot to check the clock)
Total elevation change = 1,714 feet
Total climb = 862 ft
Misc = Too many happy runners & cyclists to count but did see 1 eviscerated rat who probably wouldn't have felt happy if he could see himself.

I'm swamped with work but hoping to get caught up so I can read about Kia's recent 50k (Determined to Be Fit), Sarah's first marathon (Mommy to Marathon in Under 40), #SMCOL SoCal Ragnar Relay, and the Bloggers Do it Online Mt. Si Relay (Mom Vs Marathon & others).

Also, I have a medal hanger review/giveaway coming up!

Friday, April 20, 2012

For the ladies

THIS is how (stationary) exercise should be...

GOOD LUCK THIS WEEKEND to SARAH running her first ever marathon, the San Luis Obispo Marathon.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The drop on zero drop

So as I analyze (obsess about) what led to this flare-up of plantar fasciitis and think about Jill, the SockDoc, and the last 2 years of changing my footstrike from massive heel-plant to a mid/fore-foot strike, I wonder...

...if it would be helpful to just ditch ALL my shoes that are not low or zero heel-toe drop? Any thoughts on this?

Even if I were to try, I find it challenging to even FIND low/zero drop shoes!

I've been looking on-line and have found Ahnu, Merrell, and Keen have some "barefoot" non-running shoes, which is great. I work in an office and fortunately, Seattle is fairly casual by many city standards, but I still can't really get away with wearing running shoes every day. Or can I? Don't really want to - I still like having cute shoes.

Does anyone have recommendations for other "business casual barefoot" shoes?

I think I will give different shoes a try with the goal of transitioning out of my traditional work shoes. In case you haven't heard, Online Shoes is a local (Seattle) company that offers a great selection of shoes and provides free shipping & returns.


In other news,

  • I loved watching Boston on Monday morning, early, from my office. Pretty great race, especially given the HEAT.
  • I'm really liking Jillian Michael's "Ripped in 30" DVD. Tonight I did Level 2 for the first time and LOVED it. Great workout when you are short on time. I think my abs & arms will be feeling it tomorrow.
  • I can't believe Buddy & Mark walked out. It's a frackin' GAME, you agreed to the rules when you signed up!
  • Will NYRR do their lottery already? Am I going to NYC in November, or what?!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

12 more days...lottery time

Is anyone else going crazy, waiting for the NYC Marathon registration deadline to come? Get registered by April 23rd if you're gonna do it! Then, two days later we find out about the lottery? For those interested in pre-NYC festivities...

Watch the Live Stream

Tune in to at noon EDT on April 25 to get the latest details about marathon weekend, see surprise guests, and perhaps even catch your name scrolling across the screen by the time this event ends at 12:30 p.m.! Two lucky entrants will win domestic round-trip flights with United Airlines, and it'll be announced live, so don't miss it.
And in the meantime, anyone going to stream Boston on Monday morning?

Last year's race was so amazing, part of me doesn't want to watch again for fear that it will be dull in comparison. Unlike last year, though, it will be FREE this year at Universal Sports. I don't think I can NOT watch, even though there are no elite female U.S. runners this year.

Do you think we'll see a record this year? (If so, hopefully the winds won't ruin the legitimacy of the finish times!)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

New DVD, new doc

Since I'm still resting my plantar fasciitis infested left foot, I thought I'd pick up another Jillian Michaels DVD to give myself some variety in torture methods: Ripped in 30. It's similar to 30 Day Shred in that she uses her 3-2-1 circuit (3 min strength-2 min cardio-1 min core) for a 25 minute workout. This DVD comes with 4 levels; you're supposed to do each level 5 to 6 days per week then move to the next level. After completing all 4 levels, you are magically RIPPED in 30 (days)! 

That's what I'm hoping for but doubtful I'll be shedding this extra layer I have with only these DVDs & my short bike-to/from-work commute. I like Jillian's DVD's - she can get you a great workout in 25 minutes in your living room without big equipment - but it's not the same as RUNNING. Need to get back to the spinning & pool.


So about that PF that I've been reluctant to talk about for fear of prolonging it, making it more real.

It was improving dramatically within 10 days of the acute onset at the high school track, since then it's just been stagnant. No better, no worse. Yesterday, I was thinking I'd just tape the hell out of my foot and go for a run to test 'er out. Then, I thought I should get an expert opinion (first smart thing in a while?).

Although I feel like I'm two-timing my wonderful PT of years past, I opted for convenience and a new approach and visited a new guy near my office. Have you heard of naturopathic physical medicine? I hadn't. This ND-PT guy is in the same office as the massage guy I lucked into finding the day my PF acted up. I was able to get in Monday and he did a full one-hour assessment of my:
back (my lower back doesn't bend, ya ya I know, thank you snowboarding), hips (tight left soleus), hams (tight), quads (right side stronger), knees (good!), calves (tight, right stronger), ankles (left one lacks mobility but why is this bad?), feet (flat, right pronates more than left, definite pain in left PF).

The treatment:
  • Light soleus stretching (mmmm, felt goooood)
  • Light calf stretching while standing on a big vibration plate (jiggly all over, made me need to pee)
  • Cold laser therapy on my left foot, heel region where PF is tender (felt nothing but thought Dr. Evil would be jealous of the giant la-ser)
  • Graston technique on PF & heel (tickled, actually had been hoping for some pain)
The outcome:
I actually felt some relief! It was modest but it was certainly something. I'm cautiously optimistic about this crazy physical medicine thing. 

Good news: 
  • Although the pain in my PF & calcaneous was there during the Graston stuff and felt "grainy," it wasn't a "washboard" as feared and the tenderness on the outside of the calcaneous didn't cause the tool to catch, which means likely not the result of bone spurs. Yes! 
  • Doc recommends another 5-ish sessions over this and next week - no running during this time. But, possibly after the end of these 2 weeks I can give it a try.
Sad Reality:
  • Not enough time to train to RACE the Capital City Half Marathon that I signed up for in May. I'm just hoping I can jog it for training to avoid a second-ever DNS.
  • Lack of running calorie burn impairs my beer (oh, lovely kegerator of Manny's) consumption rate.
Anyone have any plantar fasciitis healing tricks?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Do not view while eating

I know this is weird, but it's just too funny for me to pass up: Kerrie (momvsmarathon) suggested I enter the 2Toms Third Annual Blister Challenge with this doozy I earned last weekend.

How could I pass up an opportunity to be the poster girl for what NOT to do (somebody has to set a bad example)? So, PLEASE, after you have eaten, go to THIS LINK and check out the four entries (so far). Then, VOTE FOR ME! (If you think my blister is the worst, which it is.)

I'm pretty sure mine is even worse than the person who ran a marathon barefoot and got blood blisters. Actually, maybe they should win. Their entry certainly makes me feel better about what I did to earn mine, as I don't think rollerblading 20 miles is as bad an idea as running a marathon completely barefoot. I could see doing a barefoot one on trails but on road? OUCH!

I hope everyone had a great Easter. Before bed tonight I'm going to toss all the Easter candy, cake, etc. into the garbage as we've had ENOUGH for a while. Then tomorrow I will get back to some clean livin'. March was such a horrible month in Seattle, with record rains that just left me in the dumps. It was so hard to muster energy for anything productive. My eating and exercise suffered.

As of this past week, spring has finally sprung and spending 3 hours doing yard work this weekend (YES!) gave me that dose of sunshine that I needed to pull my attitude back up. Although my allergies are driving me crazy right now, I'm generally feeling much better mentally and I owe it to the weather finally turning around. The birds are singing, flowers blooming, and I even got a little color on my cheeks.

With that, I hope everyone else in the Pacific Northwest is feeling like they are coming alive again after a long, long winter. Best of luck with the Seattle RNR training!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wanted: Female runners >65 yrs old

Is that you or do you know a female runner in the 65+ age group? If so, please read this message I received and feel free to contact:

Hi Alma,

My name is Theresa Rinehart and I am a 51 year old beginning runner in North Carolina. I’m also a student who recently went back to school to pursue a life long dream of becoming a nurse. I’m currently writing a paper on longevity for my Developmental Psychology class. I’m focusing on the power of running as a health intervention. I’m looking at the benefits to all runners such as feeling stronger, more energetic. and self confident.  But I’m also interested in the benefits to female runners such as increasing bone strength and perhaps an easier transition to menopause. The problem is I don’t personally know a woman runner over the age of 65. Would you consider giving a shout out to those that read your blog or maybe you know someone who could help me?

Please feel free to pass this e-mail along. I welcome hearing from any and everyone who is willing to share what they've learned by pursuing running as an older person. Why do they do it? How did they start running? Do they race competitively? What are the challenges? What's been their greatest triumph? You get the idea.

Thanks for your help. Alma.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

April plans

I'm not much of a country music listener - more rock and R&B - but...I can't get enough of this Pistol Annies album! Anyway, this song is fitting:

Somebody had to set a bad example
To show all the prim & proppers what not to do.
Nobody round here wants to ramble
What the hell, that's what I was born to do.

Don't do what I do! I'm here for you to learn from, yes. Don't roller blade for 20 miles your first time out.

And, we learned in March that when your running is going fine, don't jump in with both feet into your new low/zero drop shoes (Brooks PureFlow for me), no matter how sexy and alluring they are, especially when you are used to training in Brooks Adrenaline and you have a tendency for tight calves, Achilles, and plantar fascia.
= Plantar fasciitis. 

I'm taping, resting, icing, popping pills, contemplating some other treatments but mostly trying to rest it so I can get back into the game. ASAP.

Anyway, what's up with April? For now, a lot of cross-training. I have to be cautious with the running for now. Did everyone read the Newton article in last month's RW? So timely:

Where trouble can arise with the Newton - or any running shoe for that matter - is if you do a forefoot strike...because it is going to stretch your plantar fascia and Achilles tendon. This is problematic if you're a lifelong heel-striker, a gait that doesn't put as much stress on your Achilles or calves. [The Newton] requires more elastic recoil from your Achilles...if you do a forefoot, it generates 58 percent of the force required to rupture your Achilles - that's 42 perfect more than what's normally created. 
The Shoe Believer by Michael Behar, April 2012 Runner's World

The Brooks Pure Project are similar to the Newtons in that they have a very low heel-to-toe drop. I'm a life-long heel striker converting to a mid/forefoot striker over the last couple years. So, my calves etc are not quite built up for this new gait. This RW note supports my suspicions about my recklessness with the PureFlows. Please learn from my mistakes!

April plans:

Until I am confident I won't be aggravating my PF, SWIM, BIKE, STRENGTH TRAIN and GENERAL FITNESS. I have a hard time motivating for this stuff if I'm not doing it between runs but I'll try to play mind games with myself to get motivated. I'm wondering if I'll really be running (or jogging) that Capital City Half on May 20 that I signed up for?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

20 mile assist

I'm no where near fit for a 20 mile run, but my running friend, Sarah, is. Today was her big pre-marathon 20-miler leading to her taper for the San Luis Obispo Marathon. I had been doing training runs with Sarah in January/February as I was in between training plans and wanted to keep my miles up.

Then I ran in those sexy Brooks PureFlows two weeks ago without a gradual build-up, and caused this flare up of plantar fasciitis. Stupid girl! Still watching the foot, no run training for now.

With just her 20 left before the taper, I still wanted to be able to help with marathon training and I also wanted to get some exercise in myself. This is when my dim little bulb flicked on: "I'll rollerblade Sarah's 20! I can carry the water and other supplies in a backpack! I will be a really useful engine, just like Thomas."

I can tell you I feel about as smart as Thomas right now. You see, I don't rollerblade. I have some skates that I bought off Craig's List years ago then never used. But I could learn over 20 miles, right? I roller and ice skated a lot as a kid, no problem!

We set out from 60 Acres Park in Redmond, WA and took off on the nice, paved Sammamish River Trail. The last time I ran here, it was with Sarah and it was SNOWING! We set off and it was grand. But, I have to admit, in-line skating was not so smooth for me. I have poor technique (ummm...never bladed before!) and had to work hard to keep up with my runner.

By about 8 miles I could feel rubbing in my right arch and inside right ankle. Not nice. Fortunately, my left foot was completely taped up for my PF so I had no chafing issues there. 12 miles to go?
My attempt at 2 different taping techniques
There is a lot to say about this run and I would encourage you to read about it on Sarah's blog, as she was the one who was actually running. Me, I was just the fool who tagged along and tried to be useful. But you know, it was rough! At 8 miles I was getting sore, at 14 miles I was wondering why I thought this would be a good idea. At 16 miles, we ran into a horrible headwind and I wanted to call a cab.

I was pushing hard to move forward and not let the wind push me backward. Poor Sarah! This was especially tough running with that wind. I wished I wasn't such a spaz that she could have run behind me for some wind relief. I think it was around 17 miles that I totally fell for no reason. That was my second fall, a good one. I got a few scrapes today but fortunately, nothing really hurt and my falls felt pretty padded (lots of Girl Scout cookie-induced padding going on lately).

With 3 miles to go, I wanted to scream. I knew I had a blister the size of my arch and my ankle was getting rubbed totally raw. Then I felt like such a lame ass because Sarah was running all this way, at least I got to coast once in a while!

At 18 miles, I still wondered if we would make it. The wind! My blisters! The wind! Horrible. Sarah was a trooper, kept plugging along. That 18th mile felt like the longest mile I've ever done. Then, in the final mile, things picked up again. When her Garmin bleeped at 20, it was music to my ears! What a relief!

I'm so happy for Sarah for knocking this one out - 20 miles in 3:25 - and I look forward to hearing about her race.
Me, I'm going to lay off the skates for a while and stick with the pool and bike. I definitely got a good workout in and wonder how walking will feel tomorrow?