Thursday, June 28, 2012

Brooks & Online Shoes heal?

As you know, I've been battling plantar fasciitis since March 19th (took too much on, too fast, I KNOW BETTER!, but I was being a knuckle-head and now I'm paying the price for my love of speedwork on the track). For weeks, I've been thinking...
  • I'm seriously going to lose my marbles from not running. I can't stand it!
  • I should be cross-training, why can't I get motivated to consistently cross-train while resting my foot?
  • I'm going to lose my marbles.
  • Wait, I've already lost my marbles. 
  • Ok, that does it, I'm going running today. I can't wait any longer.
And then I would get up from my desk and wince as I walked to the water cooler cursing this PF. Need more rest. Don't want to end up at 'square one' again.

Well this week I really couldn't take it any longer and I taped the heck out of my foot, put on my shoes (the ones I'd biked to work in!), and ran a slow, painful mile. OUCH. Didn't feel good. Then, I biked home and oddly enough...walking around the house that night, my foot felt a little better. What? Cautiously optimistic.

The next morning (being the knuckle-head that I am), I laced up my new Brooks Glycerin 10's, and ran one slow mile on the treadmill. Unlike the previous day, it wasn't painful. It wasn't totally normal but it wasn't bad! CRAZY! In fact, the most painful part was my out-of-shape legs!

Glycerins heal!
The only logical conclusion is this: Brooks shoes truly do make you RUN HAPPY and they have magical healing powers.

Thanks to Brooks & Online Shoes, I will be recovering in this great pair of Glycerin 10  runners. Although I've been running in Brooks shoes since ~2004, I'm new to the neutral shoe scene and had never tried this model. I started in the Addiction then ran in the Adrenaline for YEARS. Last year after rebuilding my stride to use a mid-foot strike, I tried my first pair of Ghosts as a wear-tester and fell in love.

I think the extra cushioning in the luxurious Glycerin will be the perfect shoe to help me build up my miles and keep the PF at bay (along with the icing, rolling, calf raises, Graston, hydrotherapy, towel scrunches, taping, etc.). I've got two half marathons in October to train for, remember?!

Once I'm feeling a little more confident in my foot strength, I'll be sporting...

Brooks PureProject Cadence (sorry for cutting off your head, Harmony!)
these hot pink lovlies that Harmony is modeling. These PureCadence are SO bright, you gotta wear shades! They provide a little extra support but will help me lighten up for shorter runs and facilitate a mid/fore-foot strike.

I'm so grateful to local Seattle companies Brooks & Online Shoes for sponsoring the Girls Night Out and giving some lady bloggers the opportunity to learn more about their business philosophy and meet the behind-the-scenes people with both companies.

Ladies Night Out!

They fed us, gave us great schwag bags (Brooks tech tee, Online Shoes cooler, water bladder, notebook, and more), educated us, and then they let us in on a little secret...
The Agenda

Brooks presentation
 ...a new PureProject shoe coming out in January 2013.  

Pure Drift

The 2013 Pure Drift will be the most minimal shoe in the line and comes with a removable sockliner that brings the shoe down from a 4mm to 0mm heel-to-toe drop. Earlier this year, I'm pretty sure I lab tested a version of this shoe, which I affectionately called "the aqua sock."

This shoe features the split toe sole at the big toe like the current PureProject shoes as well as an additional split that allows for more flexibility and movement of the other four toes.

In the next six months, I'll be getting my feet trained up my current PureFlow (purchased in Feb) and my new PureCadence so that I'll be ready for the PureDrift in January!

(FYI - they'll be priced @ $100).

After learning about Brooks' big secret, we were directed to the wall of shoes where we were allowed to touch, drool, ooh, ahhh, and then SELECT TWO PAIRS TO TAKE HOME.

I can't wait to put some miles on my Glycerin & PureCadence runners and kick this PF to the f'in' curb!


Monday, June 25, 2012

Mother runners


The end of last week was packed with pre-Seattle RNR activities. The kick-off event was the Another Mother Runner party, hosted by local runner moms (Sarah!) and Dimity & Sarah of AMR. I grabbed my friend, Amy, for this event and we both had a lovely time. It was so great to see local bloggy ladies & meet new people!

It's so comforting and reassuring being surrounded by mother runners. It sounds strange but even though we may have different viewpoints on other issues or different ways of life, having motherhood and running in common is actually A LOT of common ground. You just KNOW what the others deal with in terms of digging deep for energy, juggling schedules to get long runs in, finding time for enough sleep, struggling with feeling guilty for taking time away from the family, and knowing how therapeutic and necessary those runs are.

Dimity & Sarah read parts of their new book, Train Like a Mother, giving us all some great laughs. I listen to AMR podcasts so their voices are not new to me but as I listened to their readings, I found it a bit strange that this first LIVE encounter with these ladies felt so familiar.

In between readings, Sarah & Dimity raffled off some fun products, including a jogging stroller! I got a great water bottle for being the longest running runner (I started in 1989, thank you!). Others won a Lucy gift cert (Mel!), Nuun products, compression wear, and more. My gal Amy won a Champion sports bra! Everyone then went home with a good bag filled with SofSole socks, Hyland's cures, and more.

And of course, we were able to pick up Sarah & Dimity's new book and AMR apparel. I picked up an adorable shirt: It's All Good, I Ran Today...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Didn't think it would come to this...

The night splint.
Tonight will be my first night in the boot.

In in NOT running news,,,
Head throbbing a bit now from a budding cold and from having not one, but probably several, too many drinks today. Took the day off from work because went to court with BEST best best friend, whose divorce was final today. So strange to be there at 8:25, called to bench by 8:35, and legally divorced by 8:40. After so much time, waiting, in pain, it's done. Just. Like. That. Mix emotions. Sadness. Relief. Uncertainty. Hope.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Pre-Seattle Rock & Roll race activities

Today, our local Tall Mom sent out a summary of all the fun goings-on here in Seattle prior to the big RNR race. For anyone who isn't on her distribution list, here is what's happening in the Emerald City. Even though I'm not running the race, I will be participating in all of these events and am looking forward to meeting folks and cheering all y'all on, bright & early on Saturday morning!

If you have questions about anything, do contact the Tall Mom (Mel)

Thursday- 6/21

Another Mother Runner House Party

Friday- 6/22

3:00 PM- Blogger Meet-up with John Bingham at Expo in clinic area.

This will be very informal, with John and Mel leading a quick discussion with time for all to chat after.  We have 30 minutes in the expo area before the next clinic, after that we can move to another location to get to know each other better.  HUGE thanks to RNR Seattle for giving us a place to meet.  I will have Blank name tags and a list of Bloggers who I know will be present.  

Saturday- 6/23- RACE DAY!!

6:30 AM- Pre-Race Photo- I am thinking Corral #7 but with the new Race Start area I am not 100% sure how convenient that area will be.

7:00 AM- Race Starts - Would be good to know all the Corral #’s so we can find each other.  I will post the “What is your RNR Corral #?” question on Tall Mom Facebook/Twitter tomorrow, so please log in and answer, may be nice to know who else will be in your Corral.

Run Run Run- We will have some Bloggy buddies along the course cheering us on.

Post-Race- Meetup at B for Blogger (weather dependent) for the Foil Blanket Party, photo ops, reload on food and to wait for the Full Marathoners to Finish.  Will want to get an idea of all the Full Runners and their Finish times so we can have our Cowbells and Cameras ready.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Follow-up on the quest for zero-drop

A couple months ago, I decided to scrap my shoes and replace with options that are as close to zero-drop barefoot shoes as possible, in hopes that building up my foot strength would help me kick this plantar fasciitis habit I have developed. The catch is, though, that just low/zero drop is not enough. My criteria included:
  • Low/zero-drop
  • Wide toe box to allow foot to splay while walking
  • Flexible sole to allow for 3-D foot movement
  • Thin sole to allow foot to feel the ground 
  • Black/brown/blue, non-athletic looking - appropriate for business casual work setting
Let me tell you, these are not easy to find in one shoe. Even for someone like me with low aesthetic standards! While I came close, I didn't find all these things in one shoe. Thankfully, I had a 20% coupon to a local business,, that I had received from Tall Mom Mel before last year's Seattle Rock & Roll race.This company provides for easy returns, so it was perfect for me to order a bunch of shoes, return the ones I didn't want. Saved me hours from having to go to multiple stores to find rare shoes.

I ordered about 10 pairs of shoes, hoping to find something that would be good for work. In the end, I kept 5 pairs that are working for me. It's a bit tricky determining if a shoe is "zero drop" and outside of running shoes, there didn't seem to be much selection. Fortunately, Seattle is more casual than other parts of the country and my office/field takes liberty with the term "business casual." Despite that, I didn't want to just wear running shoes every day.

One brand that I thought would work for me because their shoes are wide (roomy), flat, and fun, is Keen. But NO. They were a huge fail in the flexibility department. I haven't given up on them yet but of the ones I ordered, my feet felt like the were in coffins. Stiff and heavy. Bummer because I have a pair of their snow boots that I love.

I was happy to find that Merrell has a great casual barefoot shoe collection and I was able to pick up these black slippers that have been working out great at work:
Delight Glove
There's not a whole lot to them, which is the point, but they're quite comfortable and really are like going barefoot (only more socially acceptable for an office setting, especially when you have nasty runner toes). The colors are limited but maybe in time they will have more to offer. Their Glove runners do come in many colors and I have been tempted to get a pair to wear as casual shoes.

Another brand that advertises as zero-drop is Ahnu but these shoes really are low drop, and maybe a bit marginal at that. I picked up these super-cute "Karma" sandals that have a fairly low heel-to-toe drop and are quite comfortable. In addition, I got the "Crissy." The Crissy has a little less room in the toe box but is fine for wearing at work. My feet feel a bit cramped if I wear them all day though. I ended up with a brown pair of Ahnu mary-janes that I'm still a bit mixed on. The shell of the shoe is complete flat - no drop. BUT, the insert has a nice, thick, comfortable cushion in the heel that adds quite a bit of height. For most people this would be fantastic, but for me it's less than ideal. So, I'm wearing it for work but trying not to wear it to walk around in a ton (it's really cute too). It's difficult to tell what kind of drop a shoe will have until you actually see it. Also, these are much more of a solid shoe than the Merrells or barefoot runners. So, when you're walking you don't have as much tactile sensation of the ground. This also means they have slightly less flexibility in the footbed.


Funny thing, even though I said I didn't want to wear running shoes every day, the shoe I've actually been wearing the most often (besides the Merrell Glove), is my Altra Intuitions - a running shoe! They are so flipping comfortable, I can't help it (plus I can bike commute in them & not have to change shoes). They are low-drop, flexible, and have a wide toe box so that my toes can actually spread out and breathe a bit. Plus, they are all gray and pretty non-obtrusive under my slacks (wait. old people wear slacks.) work pants. 
Intuition - mine are gray instead of blue.
I also have been wearing my Brooks PureFlow shoes, which are all black with some turquoise. Again, fit most criteria and blend well with my black work pants.
I still think these are the sexiest shoes in my closet and am dying to run again so I can wear these all over my 'hood.
Other brands with non-running barefoot shoes that may work for others but that I didn't like/try:
Maybe Converse All-Stars (cute but narrow for me)

Ummm. I think that's it folks.

So after 8+ weeks, can I tell a difference?
Well, I still have plantar fasciitis so it's not the magic, silver bullet that will cure all. However, I have noticed that when I've tried to wear my "old" running shoes (Brooks Adrenaline, Ghost, others), they feel uncomfortable. I haven't kept other casual shoes with a heel so I can't compare to those. With my old runners, I can feel my achilles and calves shortening up more and I miss that feeling of being closer to the ground.

I don't feel it's a bad thing to try to go low profile with all my footwear and am not regretting ditching all my Dansko, Ecco, other work shoes. I'm going to keep at this thing and maybe I'll find more "cute" options that will also make my feet stronger?

In the meantime, I'm doing what I can to beat this shit:
  • ice/heat
  • scrunch the towel
  • toe raises
  • graston
  • cold laser therapy
  • vibration plate stretching
  • anti-inflammatories
  • stretching
  • next up: the night boot 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Arsenic in my carbs?

I'm sure everyone has been monitoring the new(ish) studies over the last couple years, investigating arsenic in food products. Right?

Well, a May 2012 study put out in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, (Jackson BP, VF Taylor, MG Karagas, T Punshon, and K Cottingham. 2012. Arsenic, organic foods, and brown rice syrup. Env Health Perspect 120(5):623-626), takes a close look at arsenic levels in organic brown rice syrup. This syrup is an alternative to high fructose corn syrups and is often used in "natural" food products.

Arsenic is natural, right? Well, yes. It's naturally-occurring and is found to some extent in all of our foods already, but rice (and shellfish) tends to have more arsenic than other food stuffs. The upside is that most forms of arsenic found in our food are relatively non-toxic. The downside is that the forms of arsenic (inorganic) that are toxic are actually cancer promoters and these are the forms that were recently found at higher-than-expected levels in the organic brown rice syrup.


This is a good time to remember Paracelsus, who taught us that it's the dose that makes the poison. So what dose makes arsenic a poison? In what form? For which individual? Million dollar questions and topics of great debate.

In the meantime, though, this article may provide an interesting read for those folks out there who use infant formulas that contain organic brown rice syrup. Check your cupboards? The authors tested only two toddler formulas that contained the organic brown rice syrup, but the inorganic arsenic in those two were significantly higher (20x) than the arsenic found in the 15 infant formulas tested that had no organic brown rice syrup.

Results from two organic brown rice syrup-containing formulas may not be enough to make you "throw the baby out with the bath water" but it certainly makes me think about it. Especially considering similar results were found for analysis of inorganic arsenic in cereal and energy bars and energy shot blocks made with and without organic brown rice syrup.

While arsenic in the organic brown rice syrup used in your energy gel/drink/bar that you consume while training may get lost in the giant sea of your body amid all the other food sources you consume, think if your primary food source (e.g., formula) contained an ingredient that had a cancer-promoting substance and you have a nutrient-hungry body of a wee one?

Naturally-occurring or not, it may be worth asking your physician (or local toxicologist!) about.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A month of challenges

I've been so completely unmotivated since early May because this plantar fasciitis is bringing me down. June 2nd and I'm enrolled in three challenges, hoping to kick myself in the butt:

Dream Big Runner's 100x Challenge for June = 100 sit-ups per week
Christine has been hosting a "100x" challenge each month, including run 100k, do 100 minutes of plank (big fail on this one), 100 push-ups per week, etc. I missed the 100 dips last month but am aiming to get back in for June and get my 100 crunches per week!

Run to the Finish Green Smoothie Challenge = 1 green smoothie per day
Day 3 and I'm 3 for 3! My blender is half-legged and my new Vitamix doesn't arrive until Tuesday so until then I need to lean on easy-to-blend items: spinach, berries, banana, and some ground flax seed. You can follow along on Twitter at: #greensmoothiechallenge by @RuntoTheFinish.

Another Mother Runner Challenge = 5 workouts per week
I just read about this challenge and have penciled out a plan, below. I don't think it's too late?

Hopefully my June will be this good but will have more varied exercise. At a minimum, I need to keep up the bike commuting and strength training.

Anyone out there have a favorite GREEN SMOOTHIE recipe to share?