C. Beth.
C. Beth run.
C. Beth smile.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Run #198

Nice out of town run! I live at about 1000 feet elevation, and Albuquerque is at over 5,000 feet. There was a challenging long incline near the beginning of the run. Elevation + incline = me feeling like I've never run before. :) Once I got past that incline, I was warmed up, and the rest of the run went really well.

I'm surprised at my pace (assuming I mapped the run correctly!) My April 10K race was at 10:55/mile, running the whole way and really pushing during much of the last 2/3 of the race. Today I was not pushing myself to go quickly. The run/walk strategy continues to improve my performance, even if it does still sorta feel like cheating! Today I did a few different ratios...5:1, 4:1, 3:1, then back to 4:1 for the majority of the run. With the thin air, I was glad I was already planning to take walk breaks, because...boy did I need them.

6.93 miles, 1:15:18 (10:51/mile)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Run #197

Great run before we head out on the road. Driving to Albuquerque today (about 12 hours...well, more than that with kids, I'm sure!)

3.1 miles, 30:51 (9:57/mile)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Run #196

That's a good pace for this distance for me, especially considering my effort wasn't all-out. Still enjoying the run/walk thing (5 min run:1 min walk ratio today.) When I was almost home I passed a whole bunch of middle schoolers running--yay, kids! KEEP IT UP!

4.86 miles, 53:05 (10:55/mile)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Run #195

I've started introducing walk breaks at specified intervals. Today I did 5 minutes running/1 minute walking (though I shortened the last walk break to about 15 seconds.) I was able to push my speed during the runs. It was challenging, but WOW! Previous best 5K pace was 10:02/mile; today was 9:24/mile! Walk breaks work! It also helped that I did a half mile warm-up before starting the clock for the 5K.

3.1 miles, 29:09 (9:24/mile)
Warm-up: .48 miles, 6:08 (12:46/mile)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Run #194

After hearing fellow runners from Barefoot Runners Society sing the praises of the Galloway trainig method, I decided to try a run/walk combo (running 4 minutes, walking 1) today, and I loved it! I could really push my speed so much more than usual during the running portions because I knew a walk was coming up. That's a decent 6 mile pace for me--faster than most of my 5-7 mile training runs (though slower than race pace.)

I feel like this was a lot easier on my legs too because I wasn't using the same muscles for an hour straight--those walk portions really helped me stay loose! My IT band felt tight at times but never cramped up--it loosened up while I walked.

I think this run/walk thing will work well for me, and if it's improving my training pace, I bet my race pace will improve too.

6.13 miles, 1:08:57 (11:14/mile)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Run #193

Woke up sore. I think this little recovery run helped loosen things up. Took it nice and easy--felt good to be outside.

1.22 miles, 14:28 (11:51/mile)

Run #192...first half marathon!

You can read my full race report here!

13.1 miles, 2:34:21 (11:46/mile)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Run #191

Really good run. IT band decided to behave. :) I could feel a bit of tightness, but no pain. Hoping that more rolling plus KT Tape on the day of the race will keep it loose and happy. I've been rolling that whole area 4-5 times a day and can feel that it's a lot looser than it was Monday. Tried out my race day outfit today, and it felt great.

3 more days....

3.24 miles, 34:48 (10:44/mile)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Run #190

Well, that was frustrating. I could tell my hip was tightening up the last few days, and sure enough, it and my IT band got tight during the run. It wasn't awful but I did have to stop earlier than I wanted. Sigh. Now to figure out what to do before the race. LOTS of rolling, for sure, and I'll tape it on race day. I may get in to the PT for a session or two also; we'll see.

When I got home, I rolled that hip and focused on really getting deep with the massage ball. I realized I have been rolling quickly and not as deep as I probably need to. I think it's just so easy for my body to go back into that "tight" mode and I hope it learns quickly to be strong and loose instead! I'm going to roll a LOT in that hip/IT band/quads area for the next couple of days and go to the PT if I need to during the middle/end of the week. I hope I don't need to go see him; we'll see how all the rolling works.

3.6 miles, 46:30 (12:54/mile)

VivoBarefoot Evo II giveaway

This is one of those minimalist shoes I'm DROOLING over, but they're pricey ($160 retail!) I hope I win a pair! Click here to head over to the Running and Rambling blog, and to enter the giveaway.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Run #189

This was just a GREAT run. I felt fantastic, and I was just so happy to be out there.... What a perfect way to start this special day! I didn't have a pre-planned route; just ran where I wanted. As long as I ended up at Starbucks...which I did...I knew I'd be happy. :) Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, everyone!

7.24 miles, 1:22:24 (11:22/mile)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Run #188

This was my final pre-race long run, and it went great! My energy level wasn't the best, but I made it through, and at a slightly better pace than last week. My legs and feet felt noticably better than last week during the run. And now, 8 1/2 hours after finishing, I can't believe how good my legs feel. These long runs still take a lot of energy and leave me tired, but I do feel like my body is starting to adjust to the distance.

Also...this was my first-ever 20+ mile week! Woooo hooooo!

Time to taper my mileage over the next two weeks so I'll be fresh and ready on December 5. I do feel prepared for my first half marathon in 15 days!

11.91 miles, 2:20:28 (11:47/mile)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Run #187

Chickie wanted to run with me this morning, so we put Zoodle in the jogging stroller, and Chickie and I ran. We went to Subway and the donut shop (both conveniently in a shopping center outside our neighborhood!) Ate there, then came home. Chickie is definitely getting faster; I'm proud of my little runner!

1.28 miles, 21:25 (16:43/mile)

Run #186

Another good run! It's sure gotten chilly out there though. The barefoot purists amaze me (the ones who even run barefoot in the snow.) My Vibrams and I are going to spend a LOT of time together this winter. :) I wore them with socks today; that definitely helps my toes stay warmer.

Run #186... #200 will be here soon! Only 6 more scheduled runs before my race. It's getting close, 17 days away!

I hope my body continues feeling so loose and strong. I'm doing my trigger point rolling twice a day (three times a day on my long run days) and it's really neat to see the difference...areas that were full of knots a couple of weeks ago, now so much easier and more comfortable to roll out. For instance, I learned a new way to roll my IT bands, and it's been so much more effective. It was painful to do; now it's only a little uncomfortable. That shows me how much looser those areas are!

I'm also doing several strengthening exercises (given to me by the PT) once a day, six days a week. They taught me four types of clamshells, and one particular position was so hard at first. (It's the position that most works the particular weak muscles that have been contributing to my IT band issues!) Last night as I did the exercise, it was suddenly so much easier. It's exciting to see that not only am I getting looser, but I'm also getting stronger in a way that should help prevent the IT band issues from recurring!

If you're reading this and want details of the more-effective IT band rolling or the clamshell exercises, leave a comment, and I'll write up the instructions.

3.86 miles, 41:27 (10:44/mile)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Run #185 (5K PR!)

Best 5K time yet! Looks like I may eventually reach an old goal (one that I'd let go of), to get to 10 minutes a mile for 5K. I was oh-so-close today. Legs felt great...fantastic, challenging run! Wore my new running tights--very comfy and warm.

3.1 miles, 31:05 (10:02/mile)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Run #184

YES!!! 11 awesome miles! I just kept smiling for the last half mile...even giggling a bit. (Pretty sure that qualifies as a runner's high!) I felt good enough that I know I could have kept going 2.1 more miles (half marathon distance.) I needed this encouraging run!

My "problem areas" are doing so much better. My IT band (which I did tape with KT Tape again, just to be safe!) didn't give me any trouble. The arches in both feet started to twinge a bit at around 9 miles so I just stopped, rolled them over my massage ball a bit (didn't even take off my Vibrams), and kept going, and they were fine the rest of the run. I guess they were just tired and getting tight/cramping. I didn't have ANY major aches or pains. The physical therapy, along with the effective trigger point rolling they've taught me, is making a huge difference!

I had some short stops at stop lights, plus the stop for my arches (which was fast), plus a very quick potty break at a gas station. But I ran the whole course!

I've "broken in" the Vibrams, and they're feeling really good to run in.

The run was actually yesterday; I just didn't blog about it until today.

11 miles, 2:14:06 (12:11/mile)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Run #183

I've been avoiding doing lots of hills but my IT band is doing so well that I did them today. I'd forgotten just how challenging the hills in our neighborhood are! But my legs haven't felt this good in weeks! Wow, it feels so great to FEEL GREAT. Even 94% humidity can't ruin a run when my legs are loose and energetic!

I honestly kind of want to cry--it's just so great to feel my body working correctly again. Bring on that 11 miler this weekend! I'm nervous but excited! I think it's going to be a world of difference from last weekend's run.

By the way...I modified my Vibrams. This little stone bruise (or whatever it is) on the bottom of my right foot is hanging on stubbornly. (It doesn't usually hurt much, just keeps cropping back up and reminding me it's there.) My physical therapist suggested I get some minimalist shoes that have more cushion, like the Nike Frees, so I don't keep pounding that bruise. I'd actually love to have a more-cushioned minimalist shoe for situations like this, but I've spent so much money lately just getting well (and buying my new Vibrams) that I really do NOT want to buy new shoes. So I took old sneaker insoles and trimmed them down to fit my Vibrams--including cutting toes in them! They fit, and they worked really well today.

2.98 miles, 31:29 (10:33/mile)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Run #182

Good run, no IT band issues! This run just felt hard...I think I started a little too fast. But hard runs are great for building endurance! And I'm thankful when my body cooperates and feels good!

The physical therapist said he can tell my IT band is doing way better. It's just not 100% so it still can get inflamed like it did during Saturday's run. But he doesn't think there will be any problem getting me healthy by race day. Also, the sore spot on the bottom of my foot is a bone bruise. They take about six weeks to heal. It's been four weeks, so in a couple of weeks I'll probably be barefoot-ready again...when I occasionally get a day warm enough for it!

3.75 miles, 40:02 (10:40/mile)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Run #181

Really rough run. Had to stop repeatedly to massage hip/IT band. Finally ended up walking the last couple of miles. (I tried taping at about 5 miles but was running out of tape and I think it was too little/too late.) I'm glad I have another appointment Monday. I also am ordering more tape and plan to use it for every long run and for the race. The big difference between this and my 9-miler 2 weeks ago, was that I was taped in advance for that run.

I've decided my attitude has to be--be thankful for the miles you CAN do instead of focusing on the ones you CAN'T. I also am connecting with God during this time--remembering that if I focus on Him, He won't let me down (even if my body does.) This is good stuff to help me grow...but I also sure hope I can get past this soon.

Also reminding myself that the chiro said this should be fixed in 2-3 weeks. It's only been 1 week. The other stuff he worked with me on (a sore place around my left shin/knee, and my right arch) did well today. I'm especially impressed and excited about the arch, which didn't bother me at all. So what he's doing seems to be working, at least on the newer injuries/trouble spots. It makes sense that the injury that has been happening off and on for 9 months, would be the one that takes longest to fix.

We'll see what happens the next few weeks. Hope I can do the half on 12/5 but unsure right now.

10.2 miles, 2:43:59 (16:04/mile. LOTS of stops, plus the walking at the end, totally messed up my pace.)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Run #180

Good run. Body still feeling great--I'm so encouraged that I've had 2 runs in a row without IT band or arch issues! I was "off road" for part of this run because it was dark and I was on a shoulder-less, sidewalk-less road during rush hour--had to keep running into the rocky grass to stay safe!

3.29 miles, 37:00 (11:14/mile)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Run #179

Didn't have a ton of energy, but I didn't have ANY painful problem areas! Woo hoo! I think the improved form and looser muscles are making a difference. It feels good to feel good. :)

It was chilly today--I wore pants and a jacket! Vibrams still doing well. I wore them with my new Ininji toesocks today--definitely toasty warm. I think that sore spot on my foot is almost gone and I'll be able to do more barefoot runs (on days that are warm enough) soon.

It's interesting to me that my pace was a full minute per mile slower than it was at the race Sunday. I was still stiff from pushing so hard on that race, and I was tired today. I wanted this to be an easy recovery run. But what encourages me is realizing that all these slow runs give me the fitness I need to push hard on a race if I want to!

3.98 miles, 44:17 (11:07/mile)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Race Report (& Run #178)!

Well, it's Halloween...and race day! Hubby, the kids, and I all headed just a few miles from our house for our races. The kids were cold. And tired. (And in costume.)

My not-too-enthusiastic Batgirl & pirate before the races started:

First was the kids' 1K (0.62 mile) race. Zoodle (age 2 1/2) started slow but finished strong...

...while Chickie ran the whole way, keeping this superhero stance for the last quarter mile:

Then a friend of ours took the kids, and it was time for The Engineer and I to start our 5-miler. We won't have any photos of him until the professional ones are available, but he did awesome. He got 3rd place in his age group with a time of 37:03 (7:24/mile)!

Best of all, my IT band did great. I focused on keeping better form based on some stuff I read on the ChiRunning website; massaged the problem areas before the race; and taped it with KT Tape. I don't know exactly what did the trick, but it felt fantastic. I'm still keeping my appointment tomorrow because I want to keep this from coming back if possible. The only thing that worried me was that my right arch started hurting again for the last couple of miles, but it wasn't bad. I'll keep massaging it and working on my form (LIFTING my feet instead of pushing off), and I'll ask about it in my appointment tomorrow.

Here I am feeling good and looking weird (with my Vibrams and my crazy KT Tape!)

I placed really low in the rankings; I'm not fast! But I got a PR (personal record) for five-mile time! I was way faster than I thought I'd be, and I was thrilled with my time. Here are my stats:
Time: 50:34 (10:07/mile)
Mile 1: 11:29
Mile 2 & 3: Average 10:37
Mile 4: 9:05
Mile 5: 8:46

Mile 5 was my fastest timed mile ever! That floored me! I love running negative splits (starting slow and speeding up) but I bet I could improve my overall time if my my splits were a little less drastically different.

I got a burst of adrenaline at the end and sprinted to the finish. What a great race!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Run #177

Well, hello there, IT band. Thought I'd conquered you, but apparently not. Thanks for making me stop my run early and walk home.

At least this time I made myself stop instead of just running through it. In the past, running through it has made it a lot worse. I'll work on those trigger points more diligently, and use KT Tape for my 5 mile race Saturday. If this starts acting up one more time, I think I will go to a place that does both PT & chiropractic (including Active Release Therapy) to see what can be done. I don't want my stupid IT band stopping me from running my half marathon.

1.21 miles running, 1.48 miles walking (warm-up plus walk home)

EDITED, Friday morning: I went ahead and made an appointment at a rehab place I've heard great stuff about. The appointment is for Monday. This place does PT, chiropractic, ART, trigger point therapy, and massage therapy. Surely with all that they can help! :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook (book review)

I just wrote this review for the Barefoot Runners Society forums, and thought I'd post it here too. I've already written about the book on this blog, but this review goes into a little more detail.


I just got this book, and I LOVE it:

Trigger points are (and this is very much an unscientific layman's explanation!) these little tight spots in your muscles that tend to cause referred pain. Sometimes it hurts where the trigger point is, but often it hurts somewhere else. Muscles and tendons and bones are all connected so sometimes the area that is hurting isn't actually the area that needs to be worked on. Trigger points can be gotten rid of over time with targeted massage, and this book helps you FIND the trigger points and shows HOW to do self-massage on them.

I've written a lot here about how much I love my foam roller. But this book is helping me make better use of the roller, and showing me other ways to find and work on trigger points.


Example 1: my IT band seems to be my biggest recurring problem area. I get various trigger points in my upper legs and/or hips, and that makes my IT band tighten and gives me that distinct pain on the outside of my knee.

I was working on some areas I'd found (upper thighs/hips) with my roller but was having trouble really getting past the issue this time. This book suggests using a ball (I use a tennis or golf ball) to massage the side of the hips/glutes against a wall. I followed their advice to put the ball in a sock so I could hold the end of the sock, and so if I dropped the ball it didn't roll away. Using this technique, I immediately was able to target those sore spots SO much better than with my foam roller. My IT band seems to be doing really well now. (I also used some KT Tape on it for my last long run, which may have also helped.)

Example 2: After a 5-mile run last week the back of my left knee was sore. I really didn't know how to get rid of it. This book helped me find some deep trigger points behind my knee and at the very top of the back of my calf, points that weren't being targeted with my foam roller. I was able to work specifically on those points, and my knee pain didn't last long. I was able to do my 9 miler on Saturday without having any major issues in that area.


I still love my foam roller and am using it to work on various trigger points and just general sore spots. But this book is helping me be more targeted in working out my pain. Because I'm training for a race, I'm pushing my body more than it's comfortable with right now. I've cut down my mileage a bit, but I still get sore as my body adjusts to these longer runs. I'm a DIY type when it comes to running pains, so I love that this book helps me keep going instead of my aches and pains getting the better of me!

Run #176

This run felt great! I wore my Vibrams again, and they felt good. No major aches or pains, just a good run.

3.1 miles, 33:25 (10:46/mile)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Run #175

For Run #175, a milestone--my longest run ever! Very exciting!

I have a new philosophy for long runs. Sometimes stopping to rest is a good thing. I stopped several times today.
  • I was wearing my Vibram Five Fingers (VFFs) for the first time, and needed to stop a couple of times to adjust things--putting bandages places they were rubbing. I plan to get some toe socks to wear with them so that the seams inside don't bother my feet like they did today. (Other than that, I mostly liked running in them.)
  • I brought (in a pocket of my Camelbak water backpack) a tennis ball in a sock. That's one of the massage tools suggested in The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook--a book I'm finding very, very, very helpful with the tight spots I get. Two miles in, I felt like my IT band was a little tight. It wasn't hurting, but I thought it might help the run go better if I rubbed out some "trigger points" on my now-warmed-up legs. I stopped and used the tennis ball...and my IT band felt great the rest of the run! Hallelujah! My biggest fear for this run was that my IT band would give me trouble. I had also had my husband use the KT Tape on my IT band before the run. I don't know which helped the most--the tape or the trigger point massage--but I'm just so glad to be finding ways to deal with my particular running challenges, ways that allow me to keep running!
  • With barefoot or minimalist running, it's important not to flex the foot too much. That can cause arch soreness, among other things. I wasn't keeping my foot flat enough, and my right arch was cramping about 7 miles in, so I stopped, took off that shoe, and used the tennis ball to thoroughly massage my sole. That got me through the final couple of miles. It did still hurt some after that, but only a little. I was able to keep the pain minimal by focusing on keeping my foot more flat. By doing that for the entire run next time I'm out, I am hoping my arch will once again be just fine.
  • I had multiple stops at stop lights, which gave me nice little breaks.
So all those stops added to my time, but they helped me work on sore spots and have extra energy to keep running, and that's what it's all about. So I think I'll use at least a few of the water stops on my half marathon, to stop and rest briefly before going on. Some people like to take walking breaks. I just don't like walking during a run. But I guess I do like stopping during a run! Whatever gets me through my goal distance is a good tool to use!

The result of today's run? I feel like I can do a half marathon. The book I got, and the KT tape, have made me feel more in control of my body. I'm learning how my body works, and how to take care of it. That's a great feeling.

Nine miles was challenging...but very doable. Next weekend will be a shorter run, a 5-mile race my husband and I are doing. I'm looking forward to that break from long runs. I'm also looking forward to my 10-mile training run two weeks from now. Bring it on!

9.04 miles, 1:51:56 (12:22/mile)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Run #174

I think this was my best 5-mile pace ever!! How exciting! The run felt challenging but my body felt great. I got advice from Steph (here on this blog) that sometimes IT band issues are caused by pointing your feet outward as you run and swaying your pelvis too much. I focused on that (especially my feet) and not only did my IT band feel good (looser at the end of the run than the beginning), but I also felt like my knees were more stable. So, Steph, you ROCK--thank you!!!

I'm still wearing my ZEMs with the extra sneaker insole until this spot on the bottom of my foot really feels good. They worked nicely today.

Taking Tuesday off was a very good thing for me.

5.08 miles, 54:19 (10:41/mile)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Day off

I had a rough night last night, thanks to a coughing kid (who at one point briefly turned into a vomiting kid.) Good times. I decided to sleep this morning instead of running.

And I'm realizing, I needed that time off. I remember being told by someone I trust, "It's better to under-train than to over-train." I think a lot of my issues lately are due to overtraining, and I'm finally finding myself willing to train a bit less. I'll be switching to three days a week instead of four.

I really hate that my mileage won't be as high as planned, which means it'll be awhile before I hit that "most weekly mileage ever" milestone. But I've got to give my legs more of a break. They've been telling me that for a long time, and I'm finally listening. I want to be healthy for my race!

I'll prioritize my long runs, and adjust the frequency and distance of my short runs as needed. My first book and my KT tape should be in the mail tomorrow, so we'll see how all these new strategies work together!

Monday, October 18, 2010

I'm taking this bull by the horns....

The bull named "ITBS," that is.

This IT band stuff is really frustrating me. It was doing so great, but I just pushed too much today--an eight-mile run WITH hills. It would be easy to say, "Well, I'm just overtraining"--if I didn't have a half-marathon in seven weeks.

So I just spent some money on Amazon (thankfully only a bit since I had leftover gift certificate money and bought one book used) so that I can attack this thing on multiple fronts. I'll report back later on how all this works for me.

Here's what I ordered:

Since I'm so in love with my foam roller, I think this book will be right up my alley. It should help me identify trigger points I don't know about it, and should teach me more about working them out.

This book has excellent reviews (as does the first book) and looks like it'll give great, practical advice on getting my muscles healthy and preventing injury. (This one will take longer to arrive, as I ordered it used.)

While I'm hoping the principles in the books above will help me get permanently past this IT band stuff and other annoying aches and pains, sometimes before a problem is totally fixed, you just need to get through a workout with less discomfort. KT Tape will hopefully help me on my long run next weekend so that I don't end up with IT band pain at the end of it like I did today. I've heard great things about this stuff, and while I know it doesn't work for everyone, I hope it works for me.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Run #173

Rough run! I had to stop about 7 million times for 5 million different reasons. But I got in my miles (actually a little further than I'd planned.) I'm happy about that.

I put some old sneaker insoles into my ZEMs because I have this little bruise on the bottom of my foot. The insoles gave me just the right amount of cushion, but they insoles didn't fit well in the ZEMs. A lot of my stops were to adjust the shoes, take socks off, put them on, etc. I think I'm going to get some Nike Frees or some other type of minimal shoe that has a bit of cushion just for those times when I need it. Not sure which I'll get. I love the Altra Eve that is coming out but it's not available yet. (As I'm writing this, their site is down, but hopefully it'll be back up soon.) The Terra Plana Evo is supposed to be great but the price is not right! I need to look at my options and decide what I want.

Honestly it was a rough run. There was the shoe stuff. And I had to stop in the middle to go home for 5 minutes to (ahem) answer nature's call. My knee bothered me a bit but I put on a new knee wrap I have which seemed to take care of that. Then at the end, that same IT band tightness came back; I think it was just the distance hurting me. Maybe I still need to stick to mostly flat routes for these long runs; I don't know. It wasn't BAD today but I did have to stop and stretch several times in the last mile and a half or so. I did notice my body just wasn't as relaxed as it was last Sunday; I wonder if that is what led to my issues today.

It was the type of run that discourages me. It makes me wonder if I can handle long distances. Why can't I just get past all these aches and pains? I think I'm increasing mileage more quickly than my body wants me to, but I have a race coming up. Can I even handle the half marathon in seven weeks?! I really wish I had more time to train for it.

I have to remind myself that last week's long run was wonderful, beautiful, awesome. Hopefully this was just an off day and I'll feel great next weekend (9 miles, if all goes as planned!) I'm also recommitting to doing those hip exercises I was doing so regularly for awhile; I felt like they helped stabilize my knees. And the foam roller and I will continue to spend lots of quality time together. I'd like to get past this IT band issue once and for all.

And beyond that...all I can do is take it one day at a time, try not to freak out about the adjustments my body is making, and try to be smart about my training. Hopefully it'll all work out well in the end.

8.05 miles, 1:41:18 (12:35/mile)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Run #172

Short little Saturday run.

1.55 miles, 16:30 (10:45/mile)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Run #171

Great run, and I'm happy to see my time under 11 minutes a mile. I didn't push much until the very end. I'm back on hills with not even a twinge in my IT band. Knee is totally recovered too. Feeling good!!

I'm looking forward to my long run Sunday--hoping for 7.75 miles. I'm a little nervous but also excited! Tomorrow I'll probably do my short, 1.5 mile run, just so that I'm totally back on track with mileage this week. And next week I'm looking forward to my schedule being more normal, running on all my regular days, and getting in my Saturday Starbucks run. If all goes as planned, my 10/23 long run (next Saturday) will be 9 miles...my longest run ever, with OR without shoes!

4.01 miles, 43:38 (10:52/mile)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Run #170

Wow, run #170! Always fun to hit another "round number." In a couple of months I should be up to 200!

Had a nice run in downtown Kalamazoo, MI, where I'm attending a blogger summit for Kellogg's. It's a really pretty area!

I was barefoot for about 2/3 of the run, but I had a really sore spot on the ball of my foot, so I put on my ZEMs (which didn't help much.) I think it's just a bit bruised or something, not a big deal. The 6.6 miles on Saturday was a lot for me, so my body's still recovering! It'll be fun when those long runs are just normal and don't affect me much, but I'm not there yet.

3 miles (est.), 33 minutes (11:00/mile est.)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Run #169

What I wrote this morning on DailyMile after my run:

Bliss...starting in the dark with almost no one else on the streets. Warming up my legs as the sun gradually lights up the world. Praising the One who paints the morning sky orange. What a wonderful run!

And here are more details now that I have time to share! I decided I wanted to do my long run in the morning (had considered an evening run), because yesterday the pulled muscle (or whatever it is) at the back of my knee hurt more in the evening than the morning. That was a good call; it only bothered me a little during my run. As I mentioned yesterday, it isn't a running injury and doesn't seem to be an area I use a lot while running, thankfully.

I spent plenty of time with the foam roller before my run, and stuck to fairly flat ground during the run, with the result being that my IT band handled the miles really well. I can tell that I still need to keep working to get rid of all the tightness, but I'm getting close.

And...6.6 miles. This is a huge milestone to me! My first 10K+ run since going barefoot/minimalist! And no bad pain or anything during the run. Overall I felt nice and relaxed. I think I'll be a little sore tomorrow from all the miles, but I don't think it'll be too bad. I iced my legs afterward, and I'm hoping that will prevent too much soreness.

I wore my ZEMs with socks. I like them better with socks than without, since my feet do sweat in them. I could have taken them off about 3 miles in, when it was light outside, but I was really enjoying running in them so I kept them on.

Beautiful, wonderful run. I loved it!!

6.6 miles, 1:16:20 (11:33/mile)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Run #168

Nice, SLOOOOOW run with Chickie. Lots of stops and starts (which--I'll be honest--I'm not very patient with.) She played in the park for about 10 minutes in the middle, which is good since this was a LONG run for her! I'm proud of her!

My knee felt really good where I "tweaked" it Thursday (by contorting to get toys from under the couch or something.) It seems that the part that is tender is a place that isn't bothered by running! IT band doing well too. Excited to do a nice, slow, LONG run tomorrow.

1.76 miles, 31:31 (17:54/mile)

Friday, October 8, 2010


So, I tweaked my knee yesterday. Nothing serious, and nothing to do with my IT band (which is doing well.) But I'm thinking I might have to skip my run tomorrow. It's a bummer...but my body seems to be just needing breaks this week for some reason. IT band stuff, plus not feeling great at the beginning of the week, and now this. We'll see how it's doing tonight & in the morning but I probably shouldn't push it unless it's a whole lot better.

Edited--Looks like I may have spoken (well, blogged) too soon. Found a trigger point at the back of my knee; after a bit of massage I'm so much better. I think I'll be able to do my long run, but not sure if I'll do it Saturday or Sunday. We'll see.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Run #167

Yaaay! I have been working so hard with my foam roller, and found some fantastic tight spots to work on--one in particular yesterday that "hurt so good." And I've also been PRAYING that this IT band tightness would go away!

I got out today for a nice, easy run. Stayed very close to home so I could stop when necessary. And my IT band felt good! A little tightness but no actual pain while running. A WORLD of difference from a day and a half ago. So thankful!!!

I think I'll be able to do my long run Saturday. Not sure if it will be the 6.6 miles I planned, but I think I'll be fine with 4+ and we'll see from there. Just glad it looks like my IT band hasn't gotten the best of me after all.

By the way...still loving my ZEM booties for running on these dark mornings. I think I'll use them a ton this winter.

I think I'm a running hypochondriac. I get so worried about aches and pains. It's just that I love running, and I have this deep fear that something is going to stop me from meeting my goals (like running the whole way in that half marathon in December.) I have to find a way to relax more and just take the aches and pains as ways to LEARN to stay loose, have better form, etc. My husband said he thinks my second year of running (which starts at the end of this month!) will be entirely different than my first, with things really coming together for me. I hope so.

3.27 miles, 40:45 (12:27/mile)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Run #166

I'm so sick of this stupid IT band tightness. Had to cut my run short. BLAH.

1.43 miles, 16:53 (11:48/mile)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Run #165

Recovery run--first half was with Chickie. IT band still giving me some issues, but I seem to have found the tight spots with my foam roller, so I'll really be working on those this week. This time the IT band/knee stuff seems to be stemming from tightness WAY up high on my leg, and in my glutes.

I felt bad--Chickie wanted to run barefoot and ended up scraping her toe. It started bleeding, and I took her home so Daddy could bandage it. Pretty traumatic for her (though the injury isn't severe at all.) She doesn't want to run barefoot anymore, which I understand! But hey, life is full of calculated risks; if I tried to protect my kids from all of them, my kids wouldn't have much fun.

2.11 miles, 28 minutes (est.), 13:16/mile (est.)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Run #164

GREAT, long, slow run! Temp mid-60s. Felt awesome, out there in the dark with almost no one else. Until 4.5 miles in when my IT band decided to freak out on me. Stopped several times to massage, but didn't help. Finally sat down and stretched, and that loosened it up really well so that I could end the run feeling great! No Starbucks today--heading out to an early event for church.

5.75 miles, 1:10:54 (12:19/mile)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Run #163

This is one of those runs that I love--I woke up with just a slight headache from sleeping wrong, and it was hard to get out of bed. But running made me feel great! I wore a jacket today--a JACKET! Yippee! 57 degrees.... Hello, fall! I know we'll still have warm days but I'm enjoying this cold front. Still warm enough to go barefoot though I did the first mile or so with ZEMs until it got light enough to take them off. (Another thing I love about running with a lightweight waistpack--I can shove my ZEMs or huaraches in the band and forget about them.)

Going to start doing more ankle exercises--that seems to be the one part of me that's having trouble with these longer distances. Nothing bad; they just get achy during the run.

Here's a quick update on my half marathon training: This is my last week of increasing distances during my weekday runs. This week's run distances are 3.6 miles, 3 miles, 5.75 miles, and 1.5-2 miles. Next week and thereafter, my weekday runs will be 4 miles and 3 miles, and I'll just focus on increasing that Saturday run distance every week (except one "down week" with only a 5 mile run, and one "taper week" before the race with much less mileage than usual.) The last run is my "recovery run" the day after my long run, and that will just be 1.5 miles or so each week. My longest "long run" will be 12 miles, which should leave me in great shape to run 13.1 on December 5...if all goes well!

3.62 miles, 42:34 (11:45/mile)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Run #162

Chickie and I ran to and from the donut shop to get a Sunday morning treat. She did GREAT on this run! I'm proud of her! I went barefoot (except in & around the donut shop, wearing my ZEMs.) Chickie wore her water shoes on the way there and wanted to go barefoot on the way back. I'll probably start often taking her on Sundays. Having a 4-year-old to run with is a great way to make my "recovery run" (the day after my long run) nice and slow; plus, she enjoys it, and it's so good for her.

1.51 miles, 28 minutes (18:32/mile)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Run #161

Yaaaay! I've been looking forward to the 5 mile barefoot milestone, and I did it! It was an easy, good run, at a nice pace--slow enough to keep me relaxed, fast enough to show me that my barefoot pace is continuing to improve. In fact, when I was shod and building up my distance, my 5-mile run to Starbucks was at a pace of 11:33 a mile. So it looks like my barefoot long run pace has caught up with my shod long run pace. That feels great!

The weather has improved SO much in the last couple of weeks. It doesn't feel quite like fall, but it certainly doesn't feel like the middle of summer. I love the change! I made it through my first summer of running, and now I know that I can run year-round, outside.

5.02 miles, 57:32 (11:27/mile)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Run #160

Didn't feel very energetic this morning, and it was super-humid (over 90%) but my legs, feet, knees, and ankles felt good! And my time was great, so this really was a good run. I must have been a little sloppy on form; my soles are just a smidge sore, slightly scuffed up in a couple of spots.

3.03 miles, 32:36 (10:45/mile)

By the way, I've been drinking zipfizz, an electrolyte/energy drink, and I love the stuff. I wrote a review on it today and am doing a giveaway! This is not sponsored by anyone; I just wanted to write about how much I like it, and to share it with a few lucky winners. Click here to read my review and enter the giveaway.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Run #159

I broke through the 11 minute/mile barrier! on 3+ miles! Yay. :) Barefoot/minimalist running tends to make a runner's pace suffer at first. I think I'm catching up to my old self though (and my knees feel better than my old self's knees did!)

Today's run was mostly in my huaraches but it got light and I took off the shoes for the last mile or so.

3.32 miles, 36:18 (10:55/mile)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Run #158

Great run! I felt really good after yesterday's long run, but then I spent most of the day on my feet in the kitchen, and that made my legs and feet sore! Hopefully today's brisk (for me) 2-mile run was just what I needed to loosen up.

2 miles, 22:02 (11:01/mile)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Run #157

Woooo hoooo! GREAT run. I left late enough that it was light out, and I was able to be barefoot the whole way. The weather was nice today--70 degrees!! It was very humid, but just that nice temperature made the humidity so much more bearable. The sun didn't even feel too hot.

It's interesting--I really enjoy being barefoot. It's just plain fun. My feet feel cool, and I like really feeling the street instead of my shoes. And I really enjoy minimalist shoes. It's freeing not to have to keep such a close eye on the road. I'm so glad I like both so I can be happy running either way.

My legs and feet felt great!! Arches/knees felt fantastic. Ankles/calves/Achilles slightly achy but not much--really I just felt so good, the best I've felt in awhile. For awhile there, I was frustrated, feeling like everything was falling apart. Now it feels like it's coming back together again. Maybe that's just part of progressing.... It's not always a smooth path.

I took it easy but was faster than I felt like I was. Overall, the type of run that reminds me why I loooove running! (And ending at my favorite Starbucks doesn't hurt!)

4.34 miles, 51:30 (11:51/mile)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Run #156

Really good run! It was slow, energy was kind of low, but my body felt really good.

I decided to try a hilly route for the first time since I started having IT band issues again...not even a TWINGE in my knee/quads/IT band. Hooray, past that hurdle! My calves & Achilles are feeling so much better. My arch gave me a little problem at the end, but got past it quickly. Working on really massaging it with a golf ball, and I think I'll be past that soon. Not sure what happened with my legs and feet rebelling against me recently, but I think things are getting back to normal.

4.3 miles Saturday...hopefully it'll be a great run!

I do have to say, while I'm glad it'll be getting cooler soon (still pretty warm and humid now), I was bummed that I got home at 6:45 and it was still fairly dark outside. I'll be doing a LOT of dark running over the next several months. Which means a lot of minimalist shoes (today, my huaraches). Thankfully, I'm really enjoying running in minimalist shoes, not having to worry too much about stepping on rocks, etc.

I may end up being more of a minimalist than a barefoot runner. And that would be fine!

3.01 miles, 38:43 (12:51/mile)
Homemade huaraches

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Run #155

First 2/3 was a GREAT run. I was relaxed; it just went well! I started to feel some aches in my right arch at the end, but running on grass helped with that. Overall a good run, plenty of energy the whole way through!

I really liked this pace...comfortable. If it hadn't been for the arch annoyance, I would have felt able to go quite a bit further. (But I got in the mileage I wanted, so that's good!)

I've been still having calf and Achilles aches. I asked about it at the Barefoot Runners Society forums. Got advice to pull back my running frequency to 3 days a week instead of 4. I'm considering that, but not sure yet. I got some good feedback from one of the members, who said it's like going to the gym 4 days a week and working the same muscle groups each time. Because you don't have much recovery time, you'll stay sore. People can get to the point where they can run every day, but that takes a lot of training. He said some aches and soreness are okay as long as it's not actual pain. I thought that was a good way to look at it.

So the question is, if I can be more comfortable by cutting out one running day, is that worth it? (I really do like running 4 days a week.) Here's the plan: I'm going to do more dynamic stretching (heel raises on the stairs) of my Achilles/calves--that seems to help. And I'm going to consistently ice them after runs. This weekend I'll reevaluate to figure out if I should cut out the Sunday run or not.

3.04 miles, 37:20 (12:16/mile)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Run #154

Whew, that 2.8 mile run felt a lot longer than it was. I was tired, and the weather was 84 degrees, humidity 63%. Felt icky!! But I got through it, and got in all my miles this week, and my IT band was fine, so I'll buck up and call it a good run.

2.8 miles, 33:35 (11:59/mile)
Huarache sandals

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Run #153

HOORAY! I spent a LOT of time using my foam roller before the run, and my IT band/quads were FINE! My arches were fine too. When I started to barely feel one of them twinge, I just had to make that little form change--landing more on the outside of my sole--and I was okay. My Achilles tendons have been tender lately, but I think my form has improved, and they seem to loosen up through my runs, so I hope they'll be fine soon, just a matter of time. At this point they aren't a huge issue at all during my runs.

I'm THRILLED that I could go 3 3/4 miles barefoot! And at a pace that's better than usual! Yay. :) I need to find a 5K soon (to do either barefoot or minimalist, whatever I feel like doing.)

3.77 miles, 42:39 (11:18/mile)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Run #152

Kind of a rough run (as my pace shows!) I forgot to use the foam roller before I left, and I needed it. My IT band/quads (right leg) tightened up, and my arches were bothering me. I found that stopping and massaging the areas (instead of stretching) really helped. My IT band actually loosened up at the end of the run (yay!), and as for my arches, I made a form change (landing more on the outside of my foot instead of the ball) that helped them.

So overall, I learned more about proper form, and that makes it a good run, even though it was rough.

3.04 miles, 3:42:25 (13:57/mile)
ZEM booties

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Run #151

Hooray, my IT band felt good today!! Yay! I meant to run 2.75 miles but the light sprinkle of rain I started with turned into a downpour, and I was concerned about my phone and iPod, so I cut it short. Still, a great run...and such a relief to see that this IT band issue is resolving so quickly!

I wore my ZEMs, and they were good for running in the rain; they drain better than sneakers do.

2.23 miles, 26:00 (estimated), 11:39/mile

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Run #150

Wow!! Run #150!

I took it easy today and cut the run short. My IT band is still tight. I think I just pushed too hard yesterday, so I figured I need a day or two for my IT band to get nice and loose. I'm back to my frequent foam rolling and leg strengthening exercises, so I expect this to improve really quickly.I don't like cutting a run short!! But it's better than injuring myself because I didn't know when to stop. I'll be sticking with flat runs (no hills!) while this gets back to normal. Last time I had big IT band issues they were nearly fully resolved in just two or three weeks, and I think I only had to cut two runs short.

On a positive note, the soles of my feet are feeling GREAT. I had that one difficult day last week after returning home from vacation but I'm feeling great now. I'm really trying to decide whether I prefer running barefoot or in minimalist shoes like my ZEMs or huaraches. Barefoot is fun; I like the sensations and freedom. But I like the different kind of freedom offered by very minimalist shoes...not having to pay so much attention to what I might step on. I guess I'll just figure it out as I go!

On my other blog today, I wrote an update on my current thoughts about barefoot running.

0.84 miles, 10:43 (12:45/mile)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Run #149

Ugh!!!!! Look at that awful pace on my first barefoot/minimalist 5K+ run! Geez. My IT band was tightening up again. I think it may be because on vacation I kept up my running, but slacked on foam rolling, strengthening, and stretching. Oops. I'm realizing how important all that is...shoes or no shoes. Stretching several times during my run helped me get through it without too much pain, but I need to be using the foam roller daily, and I need to really get disciplined on hip and leg strengthening exercises again.

3.26 miles, 43:45, 13:25/mile

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Run #148

Ugh!!!! I'd gotten spoiled by weather in northern CA! I waited until 8 to run. Bad idea. Thankfully there were some clouds. But it was 79 degrees, 89% humidity. EW. It was just one of those days when running is HARD. But it did give me energy and I'm glad I kept going.

Happy birthday to me!

2.5 miles, 28:39 (11:27/mile)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Run #147

Good run! And on the day we are leaving, I may finally have adjusted to the altitude. :) My ZEM booties did so well here in Susanville, CA. I'm guessing they'll be my running shoe of choice this winter. Today it was in the low- to mid-40s (and I only had shorts to wear--brr!!) I wore socks with the ZEMs, and my feet were warm but still had great flexibility/range of motion.

2.47 miles, 29:13 (11:49/mile)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Run #146

Short run. Still slow; I can feel the altitude difference. But my knee felt great--yay!

1.01 miles, 10:50 (10:43/mile)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Run #145

Rough run! For some reason my knee bothered me and I had to stop and stretch a bunch of times. My knees have been doing SO great since I started barefoot/minimalist running, so I don't know what was going on with my form to cause this today. Hopefully it'll be okay on my next run. Felt fine afterward.

2.79 miles, 36:20 (13:01/mile)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Run #144

Sometimes running is fun. Sometimes it's just work. And sometimes, when your teething toddler is annoying the daylights out of you by whining and crying, running is therapy.

Good therapy.

What did I do to destress before I started running?!

2.25 miles, 27:06 (12:02/mile) I am adjusting nicely to the high altitude.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Run #143

Great run, beautiful weather! I wore a jacket for part of the run...a JACKET! I'd forgotten what that felt like! :) Wore my ZEMs again (with a short barefoot portion on some nice asphalt.)

I wish I could run in Susanville, CA all summer long! But come winter...I'll be glad I'm not here, with the 15 feet of snow they get each year.

2.2 miles, 27:14 (12:22/mile)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Run #142

Susanville, CA is gorgeous--pine trees, mid-60s in the mid-morning. Aah...awesome! But my in-laws live at over 5000 feet elevation so I took it nice and slow! Beautiful run...a little reminder of what it's like to run in lovely weather.

I wore my new ZEM booties (minimalist shoes made for beach use), and they were comfy. The roads here are just a little rough (loose gravel, etc.) so the ZEMs offered some nice protection. (I'll post a full review at a later date.)

2.35 miles, 29:09 (12:24/mile)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Run #141

SLOW run. I was tired and kind of stiff. It was VERY humid (rained last night) but cloudy, which was nice. Not a great run, but glad I got all my miles in this week. Achilles tendons feeling pretty good.

We're headed to Susanville, CA (waaay up north in the state) tomorrow, and I'll be glad to leave Yuma heat behind...but I'm nervous about the altitude at my in-laws' place. It's at 5200 feet.

2.17 miles, 27:45 (12:47/mile)

Run #140

My left Achilles has been bothering me. This short run seemed to help stretch it out, and it felt so much better today!

.98 miles, 10:51 (11:04/mile)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Run #139

I got to run barefoot at the San Diego beach & boardwalk! About 1/4 to 1/3 was concrete boardwalk running, the rest sand. The sand was challenging--my calves are sore! But it was a decent run, and I wish I could run next to the gorgeous ocean more often, with the waves occasionally washing up over my busy bare feet.

2.15 miles, 26:34 (12:21/mile) Distance & pace estimated.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Run #138

Went on a run with my dad this morning! This was the longest barefoot run I've done. It counts as my long run this week. We ran through the college that's near them, and there was some pretty awful chip seal asphalt--my feet will be feeling it all day! But despite the pain, I think it's good to occasionally challenge my soles with rough surfaces.

We left a half hour earlier than I'd left yesterday, and there was a breeze, so the weather felt SO much better. I felt great today!

2.6 miles, 29:36 (11:20/mile)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Run #137

Started out great but I think I set off too fast. It was getting hot and sunny, with some humidity. (It was 87 degrees plus 53% humidity. That's about what it is for my evening runs at home...but the sun made it feel a lot worse here!) I ended up with side cramps for the last 3/4 mile or so. Not good. On the up side, my feet and legs felt good! The sidewalks and asphalt roads around my parents' house are mostly nice and smooth.

2.08 miles, 23:09 (11:08/mile)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Strengthening & stretching exercises

I was asked by my friend Autumn what my home workouts involve. I'd like to post here the various strengthening and stretching exercises I do at home.

First, though, a disclaimer--I bet an expert could come up with more organized, structured workouts than I do. I'm far from being an expert, and I don't suggest you do any of this without consulting your doctor.

My at-home workout

My total workout is usually somewhere between 45 minutes and 1 hour 15 minutes but that can certainly vary depending how many exercises you do. I actually like to do strengthening exercises three times a week, but since I've been running five times a week lately, I'm lucky to fit in my two strengthening workouts! I work out in front of the TV. (I get bored otherwise.)

Part A: Foam Roller
First I usually use my foam roller to roll out any sore or tight muscles in my legs. Don't just roll; when you get to a tight spot, focus on it for a little while to loosen it up. You can find various other uses of the foam roller doing a Google search.

I should do a bit of warm-up (marching in place, etc.) but usually don't!

Part B: Strengthening exercises
I try to choose a variety of upper body, core, and lower body exercises. My workouts usually include about 9 exercises. I alternate three exercises, doing three sets of each. (I usually do 10-12 reps per set.) I choose 3 more exercises, and repeat the process, then 3 more.

I have five-pound weights and eight-pound weights. I use the eight pound for most exercises, but some exercises I need a lower weight. Your weights may vary (lighter or heavier.)

Click the exercise name to see information on how to do it.

Upper body:
  1. Overhead tricep extensions (Careful; don't use weight(s) too heavy or drop your weight(s) on your head!)
  2. Tricep extensions
  3. Fly (I do these laying on the floor since I don't have a bench.) Note: The Fly link has a big variety of dumbbell exercises; some of them I don't do, but I may incorporate more of them. I just discovered this article!)
  4. Upright rows
  5. Bent over rows
  6. Bicep curls (I do both arms at once)
  7. Hammer curls
  8. Shoulder presses (I do both arms at once)
  9. Lateral raises (I have to use my five pounders for this. It's a tough one!)
  10. Chest presses (I do these on the floor)

Lower body:
  1. Hip exercises (These are three different exercises, and I love them! You do need a resistance band for them. I use the one that came with my Wii EA Sports Active game. The article I've linked to convinced me that hip exercises might help stabilize my knees, which I was having some issues with. I did these very consistently for a time, and I think they really helped. However, losing the shoes and improving my running form helped much more! Since these are such good exercises for runners, I try to make sure I do these exercises at least once a week, preferably more often, sometimes doing them on days that aren't normal strength training days.)
  2. Straight leg raises (Laying on your back, for quads. In the link, scroll to "SUPER QUADS.")
  3. Straight leg raises (Laying on your stomach, for hamstrings. In the link, scroll to "HAM AND LEGS." I was told at a running store do three sets of quad exercises for every two sets of hamstring exercises, since running already tends to strengthen the hamstrings more than the quads. I try to make sure I do my quad and hamstring exercises at least once a week, preferably more often, sometimes doing them on days that aren't normal strength training days.)
  4. Dumbbell squats (Make sure knees don't go in front of toes.)
  5. Note that lunges can be great; they just tend to hurt my knees sometimes, so I shy away from them. Google it to find lots of options for lunges.
  6. Side leg raises & inside leg raises (These are two separate exercises, but I'm listing them together because I always do them together; it's convenient.)
  7. Calf raises or heel raises and dips
Core or whole body:
  1. Bicycle
  2. Plank on elbows & toes
  3. Push-ups
  4. Sit-ups
  5. Curl downs
Part C: Stretching exercises
Do at least one stretch for each area, after each run and after each strengthening workout. I hold my stretches for 15-30 seconds each.
  1. Calves: Wall push-up #1 or Gastroc stretch. (These are pretty much the same stretch; one is with both legs and the other is one at a time. One at a time seems to be a better stretch, but both at a time is faster and may be fine if you don't suffer from calf tightness.)
  2. Lower calves: Wall push-up #2 or Soleus stretch.
  3. Back: Back scratch (I tend to forget to do this one after running, but it's good to do! A loose upper body helps with running form.)
  4. Hamstring: Prone hamstring stretch (my favorite!) or standing hamstring stretch.
  5. Quadriceps: Standing quad stretch or prone quad stretch
  6. Groin: Groin stretch
  7. Hips: Hip stretch (Look at the "General Hip Stretch" on the link. However, I learned mine a bit differently. Instead of crossing my legs, I have them in the basic position they're in for the groin stretch, except that one foot is in front of the other (instead of the feet being pushed together.) You should feel the stretch in one hip as you lean forward. Then move the other foot to the front, and lean forward again to stretch the other hip.)
  8. Hip flexors: Hip flexor stretch (I don't regularly do this, but sometimes I feel like I need it.)
  9. IT (iliotibial) band: IT band stretch #1, #2, or #3. (I don't like #2, but a lot of people use it!)
  10. Arms and back: I really need to do more arm and back stretches, particularly after my strengthening workouts. It looks like there are several listed at this link.
That's it, my at-home exercises! It sounds like a lot! But remember, I don't do it all at once. I'm able to stay pretty motivated because I know that strengthening and stretching help me be a better runner. I don't love hand weights or stretches...but I love running, and I want to stay healthy so that I can keep running. (And hey, it doesn't hurt to look in the mirror and see some toned muscles too!)

Run #136

My mom and I went out for a walk/run this morning (in Yuma, AZ). It went great! The weather was really great--so dry here. It wasn't hot yet (left just before 6) though it will probably be a scorcher later. My mom has knee issues, so I showed her how to run with a gentler form (getting rid of that heel strike) so she can hopefully get past the knee pain. She feels like it's going to help!

Total walk/run: 2.16 miles, 35 minutes (16:12/mile)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Run #135

I'm getting my speed back! I was going extra-fast tonight because it was getting dark, and I ran through the high school grounds, which was scarier than just running past houses in my neighborhood. I wanted to take advantage of the light as much as I could! I had energy, and this run was great!! No major aches or pains, just a good, challenging run. It's amazing how much better this new form is feeling!

I put on my huaraches for the last .89 miles because it was just getting too dark for me to see the road well (especially considering I was on asphalt at the time.) I got some new laces--very thin, flexible leather--and they are so comfortable.

2.28 miles, 24:24 (10:42/mile)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Run #134

Took it easy since it had been less than 12 hours since my last run! The top of my foot felt even better, so I think the little form adjustments I've been making are working! This route has some hills which seem to be going pretty well. It was humid of course, but it felt SO much better than last night!

I've got these little callouses on the top of the pad of each foot, under my 2nd toe.
Apparently these are connected with my Morton's Toe (2nd toe & 2nd metatarsal are longer than 1st toe/metatarsal.) That's a common place to get callouses with that foot shape. They have been bothering me on and off ever since I started barefoot running. Yesterday and today they are sore (maybe from running hills?) I'm concerned they could really bother me once my runs get longer, if I don't find a way to run without irritating that area. I could just decide to use minimalist shoes on longer runs, and that would be fine. But it would be great if I could really get past the issue without having to use shoes to do it. We'll see.

1.92 miles, 22:51 (11:52/mile)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Run #133

I forgot to stop my watch; no idea what my time was. According to weather.com it was 86 degrees but humid enough to feel like 97. The sun was barely down, so that helped.

It was a good run. I've been having that slight ache in the top of my right foot but I focused on running with my whole foot (including heel) & LIFTING my foot today (not pushing off), and it was definitely better!

Good run...but I'm glad I usually run in the morning when it's cooler! But...starting this weekend I'll be spending over a week in Yuma, Arizona, so this was probably good prep for running there!

1.92 miles

Monday, August 9, 2010

Run #132

I started with my huarache sandals today. I ran earlier than I've been doing lately, and it was still pretty dark when I started. I didn't want to step on anything. I really like running in the huaraches! I can keep my form up but I don't have to worry about stepping on things. I don't like the slapping sound they make on the road (when I've gotten so used to a very quiet barefoot stride) but I can deal with it. They're really a good minimalist running shoe. (Part One: 1.59 miles)

For Part Two of my run it had gotten bright enough to take my huaraches off and run in bare feet. (Part Two: .47 miles)

I had a lot of energy today. Starting yesterday, things just seemed to come together so much more with my new form. It suddenly got easier, more natural, more fun!

In the barefoot running community a lot of people talk about TOFP--Top Of Foot Pain. It's a common thing for new barefoot runners to suffer, and apparently it's often caused by "pushing off" with the feet (instead of simply lifting the feet), running too much on the balls of the feet (not using the heels enough) and/or doing TMTS (Too Much Too Soon)! Well, I hesitate to call mine TOFP because "pain" is too strong of a word for it, but I've started having an incredibly mild ache at the top of my right foot. I do notice that when I focus on lifting my feet, it sometimes improves, so I'll take this as a good cue for further improving my form. I also think I was running too much on my forefoot, so I've started incorporating my heels more. At this point it's so mild that it shouldn't be a problem as long as it doesn't get worse.

2.06 miles, 23:17 (11:19/mile) I ended up going .16 miles further than I'd planned today--oops. I got mixed up on the route I'd mapped in advance.

My running schedule will be a little different this week because of my husband's Tuesday/Wednesday business trip, and our vacation (which starts very early Saturday morning.) I'm hoping to still fit in all five runs, but I may end up cutting one.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

My interview on Get Fit Pod!

I've mentioned Skip Orem's Get Fit Pod podcast on this blog a few times. I've enjoyed running with some of the High Intensity Interval Training podcasts, and the informational podcasts that Skip does are great too!

Awhile back, Skip asked to interview me for Get Fit Pod! I was excited, and we had a great time chatting about running. This interview was done less than a week before I looked into barefoot running and decided to become a barefoot runner. So I don't talk about barefoot running at all in this interview; the concept of "ditching the shoes" wasn't even on my radar at the time!

You can listen to the whole podcast by clicking the link below, or by searching for "Get Fit Pod" on iTunes. It's Episode 150. Part 1 of my interview starts about 9 minutes into the episode, and part 2 starts about 22 minutes into the episode.

Get Fit Pod Episode 150 (Just click the link, then the Play arrow.)

Run #131

Great run this morning! Just a quick mile. I felt really good, lots of energy.

1 mile, 10:07 (10:07/mile)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Run #130

Great run to Starbucks! I felt the most relaxed I have since starting barefoot running. When little aches cropped up I was able to quickly get past them by relaxing and slowing down. I used my huaraches for the last 3/4 mile or so. During that segment last week I had to keep switching to walking because there were areas with no sidewalks and lots of rocks. The huaraches were great! I could still feel the ground (very thin soles) but they offered protection from the harsh rocks, and I was able to keep running almost the whole time.

I wore my new little waistpack to carry my phone, Starbucks card, etc. I've written about it at C. Beth Blog: My new headpack!

It's so nice to do a two-mile-plus run! On my second week of barefoot running, I did two runs of over two miles each, but I wasn't ready for that yet. (OUCHY ankles!) Having built up gradually to this distance, it felt wonderful! Saturday is my "long" run (well, relatively long!) I'll do a short, one-mile recovery run tomorrow, and my three weekday runs next week are scheduled to be 1.95 miles each with my "long" weekend run at 2.25 miles. Hubby is traveling a bit next week; then we leave early Saturday for vacation, so we'll see what my running schedule ends up actually looking like.

2.16 miles, 27:34 (12:44/mile)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Run #129

I woke up and wasn't sure if I should run. My feet were feeling sore from yesterday and from the fast barefoot running I did when Zoodle ran away at the park the other day! (I think my form suffers when I'm sprinting!) Anyway, I'm so glad I went; I think it helped work out some sore spots, and it was a good run! My feet feel better now than they did before the run. Day off tomorrow, then slightly longer run Saturday.

Happy moment--A really friendly fellow mom walking her dog. We bonded briefly over the fact that we'd both escaped our kids for a few minutes to walk/run outside! I have to say, I really like these little conversations...the ones that have nothing to do with my bare feet. Part of me likes being a novelty, but during my runs I have very mixed feelings about the stares and comments. It's nice just to connect with someone because of what we have in common instead of because of my weirdness!

1.81 miles , 20:58 (11:36/mile)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Run #128

Overall a good run. Caught my right foot on a concrete "seam" that was sticking up. That hurt, but not for too long. Right ankle started aching for last part of run, but felt okay once I got home. Overall a nice run, but I should have started earlier. It was almost dark when I got home, and I'm lucky I didn't step on any big rocks or other "ouchie" things!

It's my one-month anniversary of starting barefoot running! I wrote an honest post about how it's going--the good and the bad--over at C. Beth Blog.

1.81 miles, 21:42 (12:01/mile)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Run #127

First 3/4 mile was with Chickie. She's so fun--chatty, chatty, chatty! I dropped her off and did the rest by myself. Have I mentioned how important being relaxed is? :) I just am learning over and over how much relaxation improves little aches that crop up while running.

Fun moment today--quite the double take from a driver. Yessir, my feet ARE bare. When I saw him, his head immediately turned back around toward the road which was probably good for his safety while driving....

1.82 miles, 26 minutes (14:15/mile) Time & pace are estimates today.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Run #126

I've been missing my Saturday Starbucks runs. I figured out that if I did a half-mile warm-up walk, then my 1.75 mile run today could end at Starbucks--yeah! Had a really nice hour and a half there to relax, read, etc. before the family picked me up.

I had to stop and walk over some places where there was no sidewalk (and lots of rocks in the grass.) But I feel like I'm getting a lot more relaxed. I'm getting more accustomed to the new form so that it feels easier. In terms of my energy, I could have definitely gone further today. But for the sake of my feet/legs/ankles, which are still building up the strength they need to run barefoot, it's wise to stick with my plan and increase distance gradually. My ankles and arches (two areas I've had some soreness) are doing GREAT! One Achilles is still getting tight, but not bad, and when I relax during the run, it feels better. I really feel like my lower legs/ankles/feet are getting stronger.

I recaptured some of what I have loved about my Saturday runs today by making today a "destination run." Sure, I miss the challenge of a long run, but I'll get there soon enough. It just feels good to make my Saturday run and post-run relaxation a special time, just for me...even though it was a short run.

1.75 miles, 22:45 (13:02/mile)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Run #125

125 runs...yeah!!

Good run! I had to really focus on my feet; I had a couple spots that were hurting yesterday, and I guess I managed to adjust my stride, because they felt okay today! Ankles & calves are really doing well. I feel like I'm figuring this out, slowly but surely! Whew, it's humid.... I'm glad I don't have shoes on, making me even warmer.

Yesterday I realized just how much I'm missing my long runs. Those runs were so amazing for my whole mood. I think they affected me not just on Saturday, but somewhat throughout the week. Honestly it's frustrating to me that it's going to be two more months until I'm up to 5 miles on a Saturday run. After that, though, the distances will build pretty quickly. Before I know it, it'll be December 5, and my first half marathon. This whole "gradual" thing with barefoot running is probably the hardest part about it. But being frustrated with short runs is better than being frustrated with no runs because I've been injured. So I'll keep trying to enjoy my measly mileage, and I'll really enjoy it as I go a bit further each week!

1.58 miles, 19:15 (12:12/mile) I got mixed up on what my planned route was, so this was a smidge shorter than I'd planned. Not enough to make a real difference though.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Run #124

Fun run, with a decent hill thrown in there! So far barefoot hill running isn't hard for me.... I think taking it so slowly helps. Muscles felt good today, any little twinges I got quickly worked themselves out.

1.66 miles, 21:17 (12:49/mile)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Run #123

This was a great run! I listened to the NPR comedy news quiz show "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" thinking maybe that would help me relax. I definitely felt better today in both my ankles and my calves. I went a smidge slower, which helped too.This new barefoot running form is feeling more and more natural.

I'm glad I have a plan for how far I'll go each day. Today I could have gone further, but by sticking to the plan hopefully I'll keep myself from pushing harder than I should. Looking forward to tomorrow!

Happy moments--Really it was just a pretty happy run overall. My feet felt good without too much friction. I am starting to incorporate some hills (not steep), and the second downhill today was fast and fun!

1.67 miles, 21:52 (12:31/mile)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Run #122

Decent run, but boy was it humid and sunny! I didn't get started until a little before 8.

Running form feels pretty good. Ankles sore afterward again. I'm starting to wonder if that's just due to the muscles getting stronger, as opposed to being an indication of anything I'm doing wrong. Calves still sore too.... They'll loosen and strengthen in time. Glad I was able to run 5 days this week, and I hope that schedule keeps going well for the next few weeks.

1.52 miles, 18:35 (12:12/mile)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Run #121

This was a good run! I'm feeling lighter on my feet. My calves/Achilles are feeling a lot better. Today they were less achy; it felt more like the run was serving to stretch them out rather than tightening them. The bent knees are feeling more and more natural. I got a mild twinge on the arch of my left foot; still getting the hang of being totally relaxed.

Happy moments: Feeling the cool breeze outside. Passing friendly cyclists. I really do like seeing other friendly athletes--it's like we're all part of this club that thinks the best way to spend our mornings is outside, enjoying using our bodies!

1.52 miles, 18:43 (12:20/mile)

Also...I am hoping to do a half marathon on December 5! Two blogging friends of mine, Sasha and Elaine, are going to do it, and I'd love to join them. I think a couple of the folks from Barefoot Runners Society may be doing the full marathon too; it would be great to meet up with them. Just sounds like one where I could have a blast getting to know some people that I've only known online. And maybe my parents can even plan a trip down so my dad and I can do the race together! I'll have to travel a bit, but it's not too far--it'll be a fun weekend adventure!

Here is my planned training schedule. (Don't pay attention to the Day 1, Day 2, etc.; the order of the runs will vary within each week.)


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Run #120

Because I ran last night, I figured I should really take it easy this morning. Thankfully my 4-year-old Chickie was up for a run, so she did her job slowing me down! It was a fun run, great for practicing good form and for loosening up my calves, which were sore from yesterday's run.

This run was a little far for her though. I think next time I'll just take her about a mile and complete the rest of the course by myself. At the end she kept stopping to walk, and then I had to stop to let her catch up. She wore water shoes (a popular shoe among minimalist runners) but told me she wished she was barefoot. When she's barefoot she stops a lot, afraid of stepping on things, but maybe the best way to get her past that fear is to keep letting her go barefoot. She'll acclimate to it!

Happy moments--beautiful clouds when we started running (remnants of the sunrise.) Chickie falling for the second time. Her: "Ow!" Me: "Well, at least that time you fell in the grass!" Her, suddenly happy: "Yeah, that feeled better!"

1.52 miles, 27:55 (18:24/mile)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Run #119

This was a good run! I had been wondering why no one had been making comments about me being barefoot, as my online barefoot friends seem to get comments all the time. Well I guess it was just because I usually run so early and don't see many people. Today one neighbor commented on it as I walked by on my warm-up, and we had a good conversation about it. Then on the run, two people asked me, "Where are your shoes?" (My answer--"At home!")

Definitely getting more of the hang of lifting my feet! The bent-knee run is not easy yet; my Achilles tendons really feel it. But they'll stretch out the more I do it.

Happy moments--Running by the neighborhood pool, with the scent of chlorine. (It reminds me of childhood!) Running into the sunset near the end of my run. Getting to chat with my neighbor about this barefoot stuff. It was a good run. :) I hope my body continues to do well with the more frequent running; I like it!

1.52 miles, 17:09, 11:18/mile. This was faster than my other barefoot runs have been, and I think I pushed just a little harder than I should have. My form suffered at the end. Overall though it was good, and I know I got a great workout in that short time.
Because it was evening, the weather was different than usual. It was hotter (86 degrees) but less humid (56%). Overall it felt the same to me as when I usually run (in weather that's about 10 degrees cooler but with 20-30% higher humidity.)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Run #118

I've been having trouble LIFTING my bare feet instead of pushing off. One of the barefoot gurus, Ken Bob, tells people to run with very bent knees; this helps to lift the feet. And while I'm not used to that position, I think it works for me. It's going to take my muscles some time to adjust; it became harder to keep good form at the end of the run. But it'll happen.

My left Achilles was tight today; I think it all comes down to continuing to learn to really RELAX. This is a challenging journey but a fun one too! I just think it's going to be AMAZING when barefoot running feels totally natural and effortless.

1.52 miles, 18:25 (12:08/mile)
I'm going to stop my daily weather reports. It's always warm and humid this time of year!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Run #117

Wow, my pace sure does improve when I don't have a 4-year-old with me!

My barefoot form is improving. Still need to work more on LIFTING my feet instead of pushing off, and running lightly...all to reduce friction on my soles. But overall my soles are handling it well!

This distance has worked well for me the last 2 days. For awhile I'd like to run 5 days a week instead of 3 if my body handles it well. My runs are very short as I learn to run barefoot, and that will help me get more mileage.

I'm hoping my runs this coming week will be 1.5 miles each. We'll see!

1.14 miles, 13:16 (11:39/mile)
Weather--pretty darn humid and warm. Not sure what temp was, but I know it got up to 100 during the afternoon, so it may have been warmer than usual this morning. Didn't get started until a little before 8.

Today my blogger friend Liz had an "Online Community Walk" through her Facebook page. We were all encouraged to get out and walk, run, bike, or do something physical, cameras in tow. Here are the photos I shared on her Facebook page:

Ready to start my warm-up walk & run, in "the shoes my mama made me."

The pretty neighborhood park I get to run through.

"Dessert" for my feet--our soft, cool lawn that I ran through at the end of my run, on my way to the door.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Run #116

Because I pushed it too much this week with the barefoot running, I wanted to do a very slow, short run this morning. Well, I've discovered one way to make SURE my pace is ULTRA-slow...take my 4-year-old along! How d'ya like that 17:34 pace?

It actually really helped to go that slowly. I could focus on relaxing. I thought about form some, but RELAXING proved to be key. My ankle started giving slight twinges...and was fine as soon as I RELAXED it.

Happy moments of this short run--getting smiles from people who probably think it's cute to see a mom and daughter running together. Heck, I think it's cute too!

1.14 miles, 20:00, 17:34/mile
Not sure on actual temp, but it was definitely warm, humid, and sunny. We didn't get started until after 8, so after our warm-up and run we weren't home until about 8:30. But it was such a short, slow run that it was okay.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Run #115

Barefoot all the way! I do have a sore muscle at my ankle from Tuesday, and it's still sore today. Not terrible, but I'm just working these muscles in a way they aren't used to! I can tell my calves are going to be feeling it today too; that's one area that you use a lot more when running barefoot. I ended up walking on and off for the last 10 minutes or so; I was getting some tight spots on the pad & arch of my right foot. Thankfully walking worked them out every time and I was able to finish running.

My pace was way better today! But I think my form is better when I take it a little slower, which I'll probably do on Saturday. This whole barefoot thing has quite a learning curve! I want to focus on form, not speed, for now.

Happy moments--running through cool grass occasionally. That felt great! Also, I don't get nearly as hot and sweaty when I'm barefoot. That's nice!

2.81 miles, 28:31 (12:20/mile)
77 degrees, 89% humidity. Barefoot, that's nice weather!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Run #114

Woo hoo!! This was 100% barefoot today! I was just feeling so great that I never went home to get my shoes on. The first .68 miles of the run were with my 4-year-old, so the pace was VERY slow. Then it was still pretty darn slow after that; as I get used to running barefoot, speed is definitely not the goal. But it just feels like things are coming together. I'm relaxing more. Still thinking about form, but less obsessively, and trusting my instincts a little more.

Honestly, I'm nervous having gone that far; I keep hearing to take this transition gradually. But I also keep hearing to listen to my body, and my body tells me I wasn't pushing hard.

Happy moments of the run: Running barefoot through puddles & cool grass. Chatting with Chickie as we ran.

2.02 miles, 28:11 (13:57/mile)
77 degrees, 83% humidity, cloudy. Left at 6:30 a.m. Felt great with no shoes on!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Huarache sandals with no knot under the sole

Many runners who are into the barefoot/minimalist footwear movement like huarache sandals. They can be used for running or just for everyday wear. I'm still a beginning barefoot runner and am not using minimalist shoes for running (preferring to really feel everything under my feet), but I did decide it would be fun to make a pair of huaraches.

I may later buy a kit with Vibram soles from Barefoot Ted or Invisible Shoe, but for now I wanted to take a very cheap route to see how I like this footwear style. I went to a craft store (Hobby Lobby) and bought a three-pound bag of leather scraps for the soles. (These scraps worked for me because my feet are size 7; they might have been too short for anyone whose feet were a couple of inches longer than mine.) I also got some craft cord and a leather punch. Total cost before tax: about $17. Note: I did NOT end up liking the particular craft cord I got. It was scratchy and too thick. I ended up with Deertan Lace from LeatherCord USA (3/16"/5.0mm size) and LOVE it! I needed one package of 2-yard lace for each shoe and think that would be enough for most sizes.)

With those supplies I made sandals for myself and each of my two kids. I have some leather left over and lots of extra cord.

My daughter and me:
huarache sandals barefoot running

My son and me:
huarache sandals barefoot running

The sandals are great, and I think they'd work well on asphalt (though not on surfaces that need a shoe with more grip.) But after I'd worn them around the house awhile (and taken the photos above), I began to be annoyed by something I've heard other huarache-wearers complain about--the knot under the shoe. It only bothered one of my feet--the one with less space between the first and second toes. (My sandals' soles are very thin, perhaps 2 mm--if you have huaraches with 6 mm soles, the knots are probably much less of an issue.)

So here's my solution--a way to make huaraches without a knot underneath!

First, you'll need two holes between your toes. I used the Invisible Shoe instructions to make my huaraches. Make one between-the-toe hole at the normal place, and one about 1/2" (1.5 cm) higher. Make the ankle holes at the normal spots.

Thread your cord through both toe holes, from the bottom. Leave a good amount of cord (8 inches or more) coming out of the top hole, but most of the cord should come out of the bottom hole.

huarache sandals barefoot running

To lace the shoe, I used the fantastic slip-on tying instructions from Barefoot Ted. They can be found on YouTube.

Follow his instructions (using the long end of the cord) until the point where you have two straps behind your ankle, and the long end has been threaded through the loop on your left ankle (4:13 on the video.) Or, if you want to leave some extra cord in case the part threaded through the sole breaks, go ahead and follow his instructions until you have three straps behind the heel (5:21 on the video.) I did it with just two straps behind the heel:

huarache sandals barefoot running

Continue to follow Barefoot Ted's instructions for one more step, threading the long end of the cord through the strap that goes across your foot.

huarache sandals barefoot running

Then take the top part of the cord, the part you threaded through the top hole, and thread it down through that same loop.

huarache sandals barefoot running

Pull both ends snug.

huarache sandals barefoot running

Now do a half knot (or whatever the correct technical term is!) with both ends, like you'd do if you were starting to tie a shoe.

huarache sandals barefoot running

huarache sandals barefoot running

At this point you can either finish with a square knot, or complete the tie as if you were tying a shoe. I like the bow; it looks more feminine to me.

huarache sandals barefoot running

Take off the shoe and cut off extra cord. Finish the ends if necessary. (I used a candle to fuse mine. Be careful!)

huarache sandals barefoot running

Voila! It's a super-comfy minimalist sandal without the annoying knot underneath. This cord may wear out faster without the knot, but cord can always be replaced.

I've used these to jog around the house, and I think they'll be fantastic as a minimalist running shoe if and when I feel the need for one. They'll also fit nicely in my Camlbak hydration backpack's front pocket. That way when I'm ready to do long barefoot runs, I can do my Saturday runs to Starbucks (where my family picks me up) and put these on when I get there, so that I can go inside and get my smoothie or Frappuccino!

I've worn these out and about a bit. They are very casual, but I think they're just fine for wearing in public. If someone is paying attention they may notice that the soles look hand-cut, but overall they're pretty cute.

Enjoy your huaraches! I'm enjoying mine!

barefoot running huaraches sandals

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Run #113

Before my "official" run started, my 4-year-old Chickie and I did a warm-up walk and jog together (walked about the first 1/3 of it, then jogged most of the rest). It was a great way to start the day! Then I dropped her off at home so I could do my normal Saturday run. I was proud of her; not only did she have fun with her jog, but when I woke her at 5:40 a.m. she immediately and happily got up! Mileage was .69 miles, and it took us 15:12. (That's not included in the stats at the bottom of this post.)

Then it was time to drop her off at home and head off on my long Saturday run, with a new meandering route to Starbucks!

What a great run! I am reading the amazing book Born to Run and one sentence really stuck out to me. It's talking about the Tarahumara, a tribe of ridiculously skilled runners who live in the mountains of Mexico. "The real secret of the Tarahumara: They'd never forgotten what it felt like to love running." So today I focused on ENJOYING myself, even more than usual. I gave big smiles to drivers and fellow runners/walkers. Wow, it was fun!

There were some challenging parts, as there usually are on my long runs! My left IT band was bothering me. I was frustrated; I'm focusing on improving my form (even in shoes-on runs like this one) and still, this pain. Then I realized my ankles were VERY tense. When I relaxed my ankles, it was a world of difference! I still had some aches to stretch out (to be expected when I'd been running at least a couple of miles with that tension) but it was so much better. Amazing how all that is connected; tight ankles were contributing to upper-leg aches.

Happy moments of this run: Some wonderful, freeing downhill running after a tough mile of mostly uphill. "Runner's high" after about 52 minutes of running. Again, the scent of rosemary bushes. And smiles from friendly drivers and pedestrians. The smiles--from them to me and from me to them--are all like little gifts of extra energy!

No barefoot at all today. It was dark when Chickie and I set out, and even with streetlights, I'm not confident enough in the toughness of my feet to walk or run barefoot when I can't see the street totally clearly! I think that was a good thing anyway. My foot has had one sore spot ever since my ill-advised barefoot stroller run on Wednesday. It feels a lot better after today's run, so hopefully that muscle or whatever it is has loosened up. I look forward to doing another very short barefoot run Tuesday (and maybe a short one tomorrow.)

8.86 mi, 1:49:45, 12:23/mile
Weather: At just after 5:30 a.m., Google told me the it was 77 degrees/89% humidity out there. Two hours later, I texted Google again* and found that the temp was 75, but humidity was up to 94%. Whew, it was icky--but still it was such an enjoyable privilege to be outside running. Chickie and I started our warm-up a little before 6, and I headed out on my own for my run at about 6:20. I finished by 8:10. The sun was annoying for part of it, but more for its brightness than its heat. (I hadn't brought sunglasses.)

*Tip for those of us who don't have Internet on our phones, but can text: Text "weather" to "GOOGL" (46645) and it'll text you back with current weather conditions, for free. If it gets your location a bit wrong, you can text your ZIP code or city/state too (e.g., "weather 01234" or "weather los angeles, ca") and it'll give you more accurate info. Do that a couple of times, and it even remembers your default location, and you can omit the ZIP from then on.