A Slacker I Be

Well. I have been slacking.

Not only have I not posted in, you know, forever, I have not been as motivated to exercise. Wonder if the two are connected? I mean, this blog is kinda my accountability. I am going to guess the answer to that is a resounding yes!

But, just in time for all that yummy holiday food, I am back!

I have a new treadmill, and Runner’s World is doing a holiday run streak from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Thirty seven days of running. The suggested streak is you commit to just a mile every day and then do whatever more you can as time/energy allows.

I did the spring streak and really enjoyed the sense of accomplishment at the end. I think this time I am streaking 2 miles a day. I feel that part of my problem of not running as much is that I allowed myself to get into the habit on running only a mile before work. Not that I couldn’t run more, either time or energy-wise, it was just easier to convince myself that was all I needed to do.

I think that a 2 mile commitment will get me back into the running mode. And back into a bit more shape! I admit that running is not quite as fun as it was since it is not quite as easy as it was. Just lets me know where I need to go!

So before I go to family to eat, drink an be merry this Thursday, I will be running at least 2 mile ūüôā

Weekly Rundown 5/27-6/2

Last week seemed so quick! It was still dreary, but warmer. I got to walk outside during my break almost every day. And my running streak started. 

I don’t run every day, I usually plan to let my knees rest before stressing them again. But I was curious to see if I (my knees) could do it, and hey, it’s only a mile! After doing a Burpee Challenge–two, actually–and committing to yoga everyday for a month, it seemed like it was time I did a running challenge!

Monday: Memorial Day, so it was a day off from work. I hopped on Charby early (6:30 AM) again, and rode on the road for 20 minutes.¬† She was surprisingly cooperative before her breakfast. The Runners World Streak started, so of course after my ride I did a simple 2 mile run. My legs are going to be super strong after riding without a saddle and then running. It didn’t bother them as much as the first time ūüôā Improvement already!

Tuesday: a quick run before work. Since I am running everyday, I decided I should focus on form and speed while on the treadmill. I ran my mile in 8:38, which isn’t terribly speedy, but a good start.¬†

Wednesday: another mile before work (in a similar time), with a set of squats and heel raises after. Burpees seem to help my knees, I think they strengthen the muscles and tendons. I figure squats and heel raises should be a similar enough movement to help as well. Still doing Burpees too–but heel raises and squats are easier.

Thursday: and another quick mile before work. I usually start the treadmill at 6.0 MPH and work my way up in speed, but I decided to try starting at 7.0 and seeing if knocking out the minutes it takes to get to 7.0 from 6.0 helped my time. It seemed to, as my mile was 8:13.

Friday: I had to go to town for errands, so I decided I might as well run on the Rail Trail.¬† I took Daisy for a quick walk first, so she wouldn’t feel too bad about being left behind. We did a brisk 1.4¬† miles in 22 minutes. After my multitude of errands, I ran 4 miles in 39:26 on the Augusta end of the Trail. It was a difficult run, I guess my legs were tired. Imagine my surprise when my app informed me I’d had the best time for a 5K (29:55) so far this year.¬† After two more stops, all I really wanted to do was go home, put everything away and eat. What I got to do was go home and pull porcupine quills out of Bruce. Apparently he tangled with a baby that morning, and we hadn’t noticed as the pieces sticking out were white in his white fur–and he didn’t act like anything was wrong. Fortunately, there were only about eleven, and since it was a baby, they were fairly small and flexible. Not that that made his leg feel any better.

   
¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Glad he didn’t meet Mama.

Saturday: Following my plan, I got on Christopher Robin nice and early and took him out. He was happy to explore, and we went further down the road than I had planned.  I followed that with 18 minutes of good stretch-y yoga, then we headed out to hang out with our boat for the day. It was cloudy, but warm (ish) and dry, and we got a lot of projects at the marina taken care of before taking her out for a short ride and dinner. How fun to run up the river five minutes, dock and walk to the restaurant. Definitely a better commute than a car.


The sun finally showed–in time for sunset!

 

Sunday: Still warmish, but not dry. I took Daisy out for a walk and it started sprinkling at the end of my driveway. Deciding not to be put off, we kept going. By the time we reached the top of the hill, it was a bit steadier, but at that point I was annoyed at the weather and we were walking, dang it! So we did just a hair over a mile, and not even that fast–17 minutes. Daisy didn’t mind, she trotted along happy as could be. I came back and ran my mile (in 7:55, apparently that rain got me fired up), did some Burpees and weights. Since I seem unable to convince myself to do more reps (I really don’t like weights), I chose a heavier dumbbell.

Runner?

My wonderful husband got me Runner’s World¬† magazine for Christmas. One issue in, and I have learned two things.

One, it’s a great magazine and I am totally enjoying reading people who focus on running even more than I do.¬† It does seem to be aimed more at long distance runners, which I don’t really aspire to. For one thing, with my knee damage, I would rather run short distances for a longer period of time than long distances for a short time. For another, not sure that UltraMarathoning is truly good for a human body. We weren’t really built for that. Which, of course, is why it is so amazing that runners can do it. But most of the articles apply to all running, and are right on point.

The other thing I learned was that I am a runner. As I read the article by the young lady who ran a marathon (and placed) in a different brand of shoe than she had been in love with for several years and felt oddly like she had betrayed her previous sneakers,  it occurred to me that if I only had time to run or ride the horse, I would be waving to the mare on the way out of the driveway for my run.

Running comes first. And I think that is what defines a runner, not the mileage or the speed, just the intent.

I enjoy yoga, I do weights because it helps with running, kickboxing is a great way to blow off steam, kayaking is pretty and I love my horses. But I would rather run than do any of those. And I hope everyone has that one activity that they would just rather do more than anything else, because running brings me peace. And everyone needs that.

 

And Some Milestones……

This is my 100th post. Shall we celebrate?

 

And another waypoint: I finally hit the 500 mile marker and my shoes were feeling it. I had noticed that I was feeling stones more through my toe area. But it was when I got on the treadmill that I knew. I do a mid-foot strike when I run, and immediately noticed the lack of padding.

Some sneakers last 150-300 miles, some 500ish. I really don’t know what category mine fell into. When I bought them last year, it wasn’t something I looked at. ¬†Last year I was looking at fit and price. The year before that I knew even less! Of course, as I learn more, the cost of the shoes goes up. But so does my running ability.

This year I expanded my research. First, am I showing my naivety by calling them sneakers? The technical term is, of course, running shoes. In actuality, my running shoes are my running shoes. I don’t do anything else in them, not even walk Daisy. The previous running shoes become the walking sneakers.

So the first thing I did was research. Mizuno, Hoka, New Balance. I am not a brand junkie. If it fits and works, I am happy. My last issue of Fitness had a wonderful article on running shoes. I have been running long enough now that I know what I need, but not always how to translate that to my shoes. So many dang terms! Zero drop, overpronation,  stability, toe box, the list goes on. What does it all mean?

Zero drop means exactly what it says–no height difference between the heel and toe. Most sneakers have a 6mm to 8mm difference with the heel being higher. There has been quite a bit of discussion about whether a zero drop is important or not. It does make you run differently, more like running barefoot with different stressors on feet and leg muscles.

Proponents suggest zero-drop shoes are a safer and more practical way to emulate barefoot-style running.¬†Still, medical experts and running form gurus recommend runners take time to transition to shoes with lower ramp angles than what they’ve been running in, and Harper and Beckstead agree. Even if you’ve been running and racing for years, if you don’t conscientiously work on form and strength along with minimalist running, you could wind up with sore calf muscles, strained Achilles tendons, aching feet or more serious injuries, Dicharry says. Other factors, including a runner’s weight, body composition, past injury patterns, level of fitness and running goals should be considered before making a drastic change in footwear styles*

I did consider zero drop shoes. However, I have high arches and, frankly, running barefoot is not very comfortable for me. I know a lot of runners do run races barefoot and do very well. But they have been running that way for years. I think at this point in my life, barefoot would be hard for me to get used too. No zero drop for me.

Pronation, under or over, is running with your foot rolling towards the outside. This is where stability comes in.

[stability is important for] runners who experience mild to moderate overpronation. This means that they have moderately low arches. Overpronation can cause a lot of strain on the feet since the impact is distributed heavily across the area that pronates. When the foot pushes off from the surface, the ankle and lower leg all experience strain. This situation can even lead to various running injuries. **

Most running shoes are considered either neutral or stable. While individual brands rate their shoes somewhat differently, there are some correlations across the board. The neutral shoes add no additional stability, allowing the foot to fall into its natural placement. There may be a couple of levels of neutral shoes within a brand. Then they move up to the stability shoes, which have several different  stability features built into the shoe to prevent overpronation.  Generally speaking, there are several different levels of stability features within brands as well.

When you think about a running shoe, think about how you feel on a long run–whatever that may be for you. I have wide feet with moderately high arches. If the toe box is too narrow, my toes tend to fall asleep around mile 4. ¬†Because of my mid-foot strike when running, metatarsal cushioning is more important (and harder to find) than heel cushioning to me.

The next step is to find a store with knowledgable staff. I am going to give props here to Dick’s Sporting Goods. I went to my local store; more just to look, having been advised to try a store in Brunswick but not having time to get there yet. When I got to Dick’s I had the good fortune to find a salesperson who knew his running shoes inside and out. I told him what my running needs were and he helped me try on a dozen shoes (like jeans, be prepared to try on many pairs).

It came down to two pairs of Brooks. Dick’s has an excellent return policy: 30 days to return, even if you ran in them every day before deciding they didn’t work. So I took one of them home. They were a narrow fit, but they were comfortable. Until my feet swelled the next day when I was running on the treadmill. ¬†Back I went and picked up the other pair. They are light and lovely to run in. My toes feel much better after mile 4 ūüôā So what did I end up with? Brooks Glycerin 12, neutral. And I am ready for the next 500 miles.

 

*runnersworld

**runningshoeswizard

 

Why aren’t you Out There?

The Jerusalem Marathon was run Monday, March 16:

Jerusalem Marathon

The marathon courses were especially selected to recount Jerusalem’s 3000-year historical narrative since the beginning of its existence. The Jerusalem Winner Marathon is a spectacular one which challenges the runners while exposing them to magnificent views and Jerusalem’s unique culture.*

For a first hand experience of the the marathon, check out Shut Up + Run. Beth got to run in the race this year, and had a fabulous time.

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