Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Happy Picture Wednesday

My obsession lately.. I love Rose and the Doctor. I am scheming to get my husband to watch it with me during R&R.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Things I Love Lately

  1. These. They are limited edition so I bought myself several packages.. they taste like funfetti cake. And they're amazing. 
  2. My mockingjay pin. It was well worth the investmest. I wore it to the movie and I currently have it on my old Army medic bag that I'm using as a purse right now. I'm pretty sure that having it makes me about 100 points cooler. And of course, I'm going to be Katniss Everdeen for Halloween, so I'll use it then too. (PS: Go see Hunger Games if this doesn't make sense to you.. and read the books)  
  3. Purple and green. I decided to paint my nails to match my charm necklace. And then I also remembered that my Garmin Forerunner is a light green too. I think these are my two favorite colors right now. 
  4. Green tea. Specifically while I watch Doctor Who on netflix. Yumm. And I'm not adding any sugar, so I don't have to feel guilty. Hopefully this makes up for the recent Oreo obsession. <3 Amy

Monday, March 26, 2012

Minimalist Running: First Try

You know these pretty blue shoes I got? 
Well originally I was just gonna get them as hang out shoes. Then we got these new shirts at the store:
Yes, yes that's a harry potter poster behind me. 
I am only allowed to wear New Balance shirts to work. This obviously limits what I can wear quite a bit. So while I was thrilled to get another option, I kind of felt like a poser for not trying out the whole minimalist running thing if I'm gonna wear the shirt.

So I did some research. I watched this video:
Which explains why it's better to forefoot strike instead of heel strike. It's really an interesting video. Basically to sum it up: barefoot running is better for you. People are only able to heel-strike because of modern running shoes and this has the potential to cause all sorts of problems.

I'm not ready to convert 100%. In 10 years of running, I've never had much trouble with injuries. I think this is because I already don't strike with my heel too hard and have shorter strides already. But still.. I wanted to try it.

I knew that I would have to go into this slowly. We tell our customers that when we sell them the Minimus shoes. So I did a half mile. I felt a little extremely silly. It feels a lot different to basically run on your toes. I felt like a gymnast running during a floor routine. I thought to myself "I must look absolutely ridiculous" but I checked out my shadow and it looked pretty normal. And it wasn't too hard either. I probably could have gone further, but I figured I would be cautious. Ha.

Some things I noticed:
  1. It's a much "lighter" and quieter way of running. A lot less pounding. If you were on a treadmill, you would be noticeably quieter. 
  2. It made me run with much better posture. I felt almost like I was leaning back since I'm so used to leaning forward when I run. Both of these things are talked about in the video above.
Both of these things got me thinking.. maybe this is a much better way of running. I was looking at some pictures that James took of me running my last half marathon and look how much I am leaning forward toward the end of the race:
Not my prettiest moment. 
So maybe barefoot running could fix that? 

The day after my first barefoot run: Oh. My. Goodness. I could barely walk. It was a very delayed and extreme soreness. All those little stabilizer muscles in my foot, shins, calves.. so. much. soreness. Not a bad-I-did-damage pain, just like I had really worked out muscles that I usually never use. From just a half mile. And then the next day, I still had a ton of soreness. Two days of crazy soreness from a silly little barefoot half mile. 

Okay so.. I don't want to sound too arrogant. But my long runs are usually around 10 miles on the weekends lately. That's more than the average joe that walks into my store. If .5 miles has me moving like an old lady for 2 days, then I can't even imagine what an ignorant barefoot 3 miles would do to a every-once-in-a-while runner.

Maybe if I did more yoga and/or did more calf strengthening exercises I would have been better off. It does concern me that all those little muscles are apparently that weak. Maybe if nothing else, I will work up to barefoot running once a week for about 3 miles. It's just going to take me a little while to even get up to 3 miles. :/ Not gonna even try it until after my race on Sunday though. Then we'll go from there.

Has anyone else tried jumping on the barefoot wagon? What was your experience? 
<3 A

PS: New blog look. Whatcha think?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Happy Picture Wednesday.. a little late

I just realized I forgot to post a happy picture yesterday! It's been a hard week for me, so that might be why. I did get a Doctor Who shirt this week though.. I'm a real fan girl now! So I'm wearing the shirt today.. and it makes me happy. :) Also, I'm always glad to post a happy picture every week, because that means that another week of this deployment is over! Praise God.
Keep Calm and Don't Blink

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Reflections on Working in a Shoe Store

So. After being at my job for a little over a month, I've realized a few things.
  1. My store is not a "running shoe store." As much as I would like it to be, it's just not. We have running shoes, we do get runners. But it's pretty much an "everyone" shoe store. And actually a good number of the customers are older people that need good shoes. This is not a bad thing, but it considerably lowers the cool factor of working there sometimes. It does make it really exciting for me though when a runner does come in and I get to talk to them about running. :) 
  2. Not all customers are gonna be in a good mood when they buy shoes. I have trouble wrapping my mind around this because I love getting new shoes, but I guess it's more of a chore for some people. So I've learned to just get the shoes they ask for and try to not take it personally. 
  3. I wear my running shoes slightly smaller than what is recommended. But I've decided to not listen to advice and do what's been working for me. More on that below. 
  4. People, especially women, hate being told that that the shoes they have been wearing are too small. "Ma'am, you're foot is measuring a 9.." "I've worn a size 7 my entire life!" So.. obviously I am apparently one of these women too (read point 3), but the difference is that I don't actually have problems because I'm wearing a smaller size. Like hammer toe.. ew. 
  5. It's fun to take pretty pictures of shoes for our facebook page when it's slow in the store.
  6. Barefoot running shoes are super controversial. I've had people come in and swear for them and against them. The problem with barefoot running is you have to be either a forefoot or midfoot striker as you run. That way your foot can absorb the impact. If you are a heel striker, then your heel strikes the ground and 2-3 times the force of your body weight goes into your heel and up your leg straight to your spine. Yeah. So, speaking as a heel-striker, I would have to totally change my running form. Not sure I'm ready to do that yet. So until then, my Minimus shoes will remain cool hang-out slippers for the store. 
  7. It's really hard to measure kids' feet. They are so squirmy. 
Also, I wrote a post a couple weeks ago about how I had been running in shoes that are too small. I decided to get a second opinion about this and talked to some runners at an actual running store. Although it might be technically correct to wear a larger running shoe, they basically told me that if I haven't had problems, then I can stay in what I've been wearing. Also, you know those holes in the mesh? Apparently that's really common in runners and it's not cuz the shoes are too small.. it's because my toe nail just angles up a bit so it's sawing through. So I got these patches they had to help prevent that from happening to my BRAND NEW beautiful Asics GT-2170s! 

Aren't they pretty? Yeah I though so too. :)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Letters from Ranger School

I decided to go through some of the letters I got from James in Ranger School today. It's so cool to read them later and re-live that time in our lives. Getting a letter in those two months was literally the most exciting thing that could happen when I got home from work.

James actually heard the first rumors about deployment while he was in Ranger School and wrote to tell me about it. I'm glad he did, rather than wait. I needed all the mental preparation that I could get! Also, the rumors at the time said that he would probably deploy in January.. it actually ended up being late November/early December for his unit.

Even though I put it together a little while ago, I thought I'd show you my little keepsake album.
The larger pages he sent were the perfect size for the album pages. He sent some smaller pages too (like the one in the picture above). That was a list of things that he was requesting for his care package. I decided that would be the best thing to show, since I didn't really want to post content of a letter on here.
Anyway, thought I'd post these since I'm getting so much traffic to my Ranger School Communication Guide post. It was kind of hard to put the letters in chronological order after the fact, since I sometimes got several letters at once and he forgot to date some of them. I'm sure it would have only gotten harder later. So I encourage you, put them in order now! And invest in a nice keepsake album, whether it's letters from Basic, a deployment, or Ranger School. You'll thank yourself later. :)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Emotional Protection

I've been thinking about this lately. My husband, being deployed, cannot be dependable emotional support. As much as he would like to be and as much as I would like him to be, it's just not gonna be like that. That's just how it is during a deployment.

So I get pretty emotional during um.. that time of the month. There have been a handful of times when I've just been like "Ahh! I need to talk to James now!" When he's home, he'll help me fix the problem. Or he'll get out his emergency stash of Ghirardelli raspberry dark chocolate squares and hold me until I feel better.

Obviously, those things can't be done over the internet. If I'm crying over the phone, it's really most going to make him feel helpless and frustrated that he can't be here.

But sometimes when I'm upset, I don't think that far ahead and I still think that talking/crying to James will make it better. There have been at least a half dozen times in the past few months that I've been upset and thought that I needed to talk to James. It seems like every single time, he hasn't been able to get on at his regular time because something else came up.

I thought about this and how frustrating it was at the time. By the time I talked to him in each of those situations, I was level-headed again and sometimes not even upset at all anymore. I didn't really need to talk to him during those times. In fact, we have been incredibly lucky at the consistency of communication that we've had for this first part of the deployment. It's silly that I should get frustrated when he doesn't get on at the time I expect to him to every day.

In hindsight, I think that it wasn't a coincidence that James wasn't able to get online during those times. I think it was God protecting us. God was saying to me "No, you don't really need James right now. I'm here and that's all you need."

I'm so glad. I know it's not always going to be perfect when I talk to James. There have been a couple times when I've been apparently noticeably sad and he did a pretty dang good job at cheering me up.  I'll probably still break down over the phone at some point. Oh well. That's also in the nature of deployments, I suppose.

Basically, I'm saying that God has been pretty awesome lately. It still sucks that my hubby is away, but God's still here.

<3 Amy

Monday, March 12, 2012

Spring Sprint 10k Race

I ran a 10k on Sunday morning! It was my first race of 2012. I was technically supposed to run a 15k race this weekend, according to my training plan. But it's too hard to find a 15k race that's nearby and I never did the 10k race that I was supposed to do. 

AND I think I PRed! Unless I ran a 10k in track back in college that I can't remember. And I got 2nd in my age group! Yay! Not a huge race, but still I was happy.
I had by my watch time 51:44. The official time was 51:45.. but it was not chip timed. Also, according to my Garmin, the course was a teeny bit short.
As you can see, I went out way too fast (they started the 5k at the same time.. so it was hard not too). I got to mile 1 and I was like "oh no.. too fast." Then I kind of got consistently slower. And I probably wouldn't know it was that bad if it wasn't for the Garmin. And I also wouldn't know that the course was a little short. I guess you can round 6.17 to a 6.2? Can I still say this is my 10k PR? I decided yes. Some may disagree. Oh well. That's the blessing and curse of the Garmin, I suppose. 

Weather was beautiful. We ran at 9am, which I was really glad for because of the time change. I think it was about mid-40s. And later got up to 65. Spring is here! I've decided to not worry about global warming and just enjoy it. I got a pedicure (only the second ever in my life) to treat myself because of my good race. The part where she massaged my sore calf muscles was amazing. 
And I walked around in the grass barefoot. 
The flowers are coming up! Spring is basically here! I'm 3 weeks away from my first half marathon! My hubby is coming home soon for R&R! My toenails are pretty! Yay! 

<3 A 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Happy Picture Wednesday

I love hanging out at Starbucks and just chillin. Talking, reading, relaxing. There's always stuff that can be done at home, but at Starbucks you get to just sit there. This will probably happen at least once during R&R.
<3 A

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I've Been Doing It Wrong..

I've been an Asics girl for almost as long as I've been a runner. Seriously. Long time. I tried another brand once and had bad results. I switched back to Asics and the problem went away. I've been a very loyal Asics customer ever since. Seriously. You find what works and stick with it.

Then I got this job at New Balance. Part of the reason why I was hired is the manager is interested in someone leading a run club from the store. But the catch is that I gotta wear New Balance shoes. Hmm. I told one of my runner friends about this and her reaction was "What?? Why would you switch away from something you know is working for you when all your training is on the line?" Um. Yeah.

I got these sweet looking Minimus shoes to wear in the store when I'm working. But I'm not ready to make the jump to minimalist running yet. So I decided to bring in my Asics and have my manager look at them and (hopefully) recommend the New Balance equivalent. 

By the way, I'm what you call an "overpronator." I've known this for a while, but since I started working at New Balance, I'm told that the easiest way to tell if someone overpronates is to look at their achilles. See how mine curve out? Yep. Overpronation. So I have to have some stability in my shoes. 
Oops. Wearing two diff socks. 
These are my two most recent pairs of Asics shoes. The GT-2100 series. Both have some miles left on them. I've been running in both. 
Notice anything? Yep, the mesh has holes. On both sides. This has actually been happening for a while now. I know it was sometime in college, so at least for 3 or 4 years. Yep. Every shoe I've had for the last 3 or 4 years (or longer) has had these holes after about 50 miles. But besides the fact that there are holes in my shoes, they've been great. 

So I bring my shoes in to the store. My manager asks me to put them on and feels where my toe is. "These shoes are too small. You need to go up at least another full size." 

What?? He told me that the pressure on the front of the shoe is what is putting the hole there. I've always been a size 10. When my foot got bigger, I'm not sure. Maybe sometime in college? Probably right around the time the mesh started tearing. 

So I brought home a pair of size 11 New Balance shoes. 
They have this much room in the front. About a finger's width is what you want, apparently. My manager assured me that I could return them if I didn't like them. I ran in them today and was conscience of them the whole 5 miles. It's the slowest run I've done in a while. It's probably all in my head, but they felt a lot heavier. How much weight does another size add on? And how much is that going to slow me down? These are worries going through my head as I run. 

Part of me just wants to switch back to my size 10 Asics and just tell my manager that I'll tape an "N" to my shoes for the New Balance running club. They haven't caused me any problems right? The thing that worried me is that they might start causing problems when I start full marathon training (in the beyond-13-miles zone). 

Sigh. It's really frustrating to be told you've been doing something wrong for years. And even more so when the "right" way doesn't feel right. Maybe I need to switch to a size 11 Asics first and just change one thing at a time.

Edit: I've updated my opinion about this. 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Running Long

Today I did my first 10-miler of the year! Well. 9.8 miles actually. Had to cut it a little short because my brother (and recent long run partner) wasn't feeling so great. So I had to run the last mile by myself back to the house to jump in the car and drive back to pick him up from the bathroom at Walgreens. :/ Poor guy. Oh the side effects that come with running distance sometimes.

Anyway. This long run was my best pace yet! At least since I was training for cross country in college. 

When I put it into dailymile, I always put in the "moving time" so it takes in the "avg moving pace" which is a bit faster.. is that cheating? I figure that maybe it's not counting the time that I'm slowing down right before I stop at the light or something. Anyway. Obviously, I like the "avg moving pace" better. :) 

Here are my splits:
Yay! I'm so happy. My two 8 milers were good, but my 9 miler was not good last weekend. So it was really encouraging to have a good run again. Split times were pretty consistent. I have learned since I got the Garmin that I tend to always go out like a rabbit. I've been trying to work on that. 

Can't wait to tell my man how good I'm doing! Also, I'm in pretty high spirits lately because R&R is coming up somewhat soon and we have officially passed the 1/4 mark of this deployment. 13 weeks behind us! 1 suit in a deck of cards (specifically this deck of cards)! 25% done! 1 lap complete in a mile race! Somewhere around 6.5 miles in a marathon! 

Alright, I'm done. I about to drink this Blueberry Wheat Ale that I got from Trader Joe's today while I watch some Doctor Who. I love drinking beer on Sunday nights after my long run. Especially when it tastes like blueberries. 

<3 A.