Shoes, Let’s Try This Again

After writing recently that I wanted the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v7 shoes, I actually stopped at Marathon Sports toward the end of my run last night. I love having this option because A. I can get some water there – it’s free! And B. I can check out running gear when I’m dressed appropriately and even warmed up. The employee who helped me was awesome (as they all are, but she spent like 20 minutes helping me). I told her about my feet troubles. At that moment, my No. 1 complaint was the feeling of the soles of my feet burning, so we talked about that and my current shoes and insoles, and she said it sounded like I was right in that I needed a more cushioned shoe. The New Balance Fresh Foam was cushioned all right, she said, but I could do better. Even still, she brought me those to try on in my size along with two other completely different shoes.

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v7

shoe1I put these on and immediately noted how loose they were. Are these the wide versions? Nope, she said, that’s just how New Balance shoes are. Good to know. They were definitely cushioned and bouncy even, but the way the inside of the shoe was made meant the material was pushing against the inside of my foot where my arch meets the bone of my big toe. On both feet. It was not a good feeling and putting in my insoles only made it worse. This is exactly why you try on shoes – I was convinced these were THE shoes for me and I pretty much hated them instantly. Continue reading

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1 Good Run, 1 Very Bad Run

I finally had a good run last Thursday after work. It was a run that almost didn’t happen. I got home from kickball so late on Wednesday night that there was no way I was setting my alarm for 5am to run before work. But I knew it was going to be tough to find time to work out on Friday – Chip had to be at the vet at 7:15am and I was going to spend the whole day working from a café nearby while he got his teeth cleaned under anesthesia, and potentially get a few pulled. And then we were going to head to Longmeadow for the weekend. I also was feeling especially exhausted, meaning it was probably almost “that time” of the month. So I canceled my 6pm platelet donation appointment and opted for a post-work run instead. And I’m so glad I did.

I had some arch discomfort but otherwise a really great run. I decided to walk up the big hills (there were 3 of them) and run the rest of the time. I was watching my heart rate closely and planned to slow down or walk if it ever got into Zone 5, which for me is 165 or higher. The funny thing is that only happened on those 3 hills. I felt so great that I think I might run by heart rate more often. Continue reading

Hiking The Seven Sisters

20171021_110850On Saturday, as part of my dad’s 67th (!) birthday celebration, we headed to Skinner State Park a little after 10am. We parked his car there and continued onto Notch Visitor Center of Mount Holyoke Range State Park. It was a little after 11am when we started on the trail. I looked around and saw lots of girls in yoga pants and sneakers, dogs on leashes, and folks who just did not look like they were going hiking. I immediately felt self-conscious about my hiking boots, comfy shorts and backpack full of water and snacks.

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Part of the initial ascent.

The trail was no joke from the get-go, but within 15 minutes we were rewarded with the first of the Seven Sisters – Bare Mountain. After taking in the view, we continued east and realized all of the dogs and yoga pants were gone. Only hikers with legitimate gear continued on. It seems that lots of people hike up to the first peak, take in the view, and then head back to their cars. I stopped feeling self-conscious immediately.

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View from Bare Mountain.

After 1.5 miles, we came upon Mount Hitchcock, the second peak. The sign let us know that the Summit House was only 3 miles away. We thought our hike was going to be 6+ miles, so we were surprised to realize that it would only be 4.5 miles. We took our first break for some trail mix (and an RX BAR for me), and continued on our way. We made good time for the first 3 miles. After we stopped for “lunch” – a pb&j for me and a granola bar for my dad – we slowed down significantly. I was getting tired. My feet were burning (despite splurging on a nice pair of Vasque boots + Superfeet hiking insoles). I just wasn’t used to them or hiking in general. My legs were getting a workout. Continue reading

Photos of Recent Races/Walks

The photos from the Jimmy Fund Walk were sent to participants last week, and my dad let me know that I “made it into the photos.” He must’ve been tired and delusional after walking 26.2 miles because I specifically sought out the finish line photographer, my ol’ pal Aaron Washington, and asked him to take one of us like he has every year.

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What my dad did not realize is that I also ended up in another Jimmy Fund Walk official photo about 4 hours earlier in the day. Well, my rump did.

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These nice people are probably like, “Oh what a great shot of us climbing Heartbreak Hill with smiles on our faces! Too bad some girl’s backside photobombed us.”

Sorry ladies! Continue reading

So Far, So Good

I’m 11 days into my Cambridge Half Marathon training plan and I’m 11 for 11! This may be the longest rest-free period of my entire life. Sure, Day 2 called for getting a massage and that may seem like rest to you but it was the day after my half, I was incredibly sore, and the massage was not at all a Swedish relaxation massage – it involved deep tissue “massage,” active release, and assisted stretching. It was restorative, yes, but relaxing? Not so much.

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I may need to take an unplanned rest day at some point this week or weekend depending on my cycle. If that ends up being Saturday, I’m going to power through and go on my dad’s birthday hike with him, but then take a rest day Sunday and do my long run on Tuesday after work instead of in Longmeadow like I’m currently planning to do.

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View along Tuesday’s run

Unfortunately, I haven’t had a good run since the BAA Half. I didn’t expect to feel great 2 days later for my run, but I expected to feel a little better by Thursday and definitely for my long run on Sunday. Sadly, that was not the case. Even this Tuesday’s run was miserable (but I snapped a great photo while feeling sorry for myself). I recently read about the 80/20 ratio applying to runs as well. A fellow runner and blogger said (and I can’t find the actual post but I definitely read it somewhere) that about 80% of her runs suck, but the 20% that are awesome totally make up for the sucky ones. I think that’s definitely true in my case.

Continue reading

Donating Platelets

Up until recently, every 56 days, I donated whole blood. I felt good about it, but I was usually the only person one a regular donation chair without sheets and blankets. You see, when you donate platelets, you get a heated chair covered in a sheet, then you are covered in warm blankets. This is because you get cold when donating platelets. You get cold because you get something called citrate, which makes you cold.

“An anticoagulant containing citrate is used to keep the blood flowing while our device collects the platelets from your blood. The citrate binds calcium temporarily to keep the blood from clotting. To prevent clotting, your blood is mixed in the machine with a liquid called an “anticoagulant” during the collection process. When the blood is returned to you the anticoagulant can sometimes cause numbness and tingling of the fingertips or around the mouth. If you feel numbness and tingling, you should inform the operator running the machine immediately. These symptoms are easily treated with calcium, but if not treated can progress to muscle cramps. The citrate is an energy source for your body and will be metabolized.”

Source: www.psbc.org/programs/platelets.htm

During my vacation before starting my current job, I decided to donate platelets for the first time. I felt I never really had the time before. Sure, they have weekend appointments. But that always interfered with running and social plans, since you can’t drink the night before or for 24 hours after donating (it’s way worse than drinking after donating blood). And I’ve been hooked ever since! Continue reading

Turning 33

My awesome cake

How was this 10 YEARS ago?!

I turned 33 on Saturday. There’s nothing exciting about turning 33. It’s not a milestone and you don’t qualify for any special discounts that you didn’t already get at 32. I intended to not really acknowledge it in any special way – sleep in till 7am, go for an easy 2-mile run to loosen up my legs for Sunday’s half, eat a bunch of carbs, drink a ton of water, go grocery shopping, catch up on my shows from this week, watch Florida play LSU from my couch, and maybe take a nap but definitely go to bed early so I could be as rested and hydrated for running 13.1 miles in Sunday’s 80° weather and 75% humidity as possible.

I knew that once I get home from the race on Sunday, I could celebrate with bad food and as much alcohol as I want, because Monday was a day off from work and the real “me” day. I havd an 11am mani/pedi appointment and 2pm 60-minute sports massage scheduled, and I still planned to go to my 7:30pm Yoga Sculpt class, unless I was really sore.

Except I looked at my nails Friday morning and realized they were in rough shape. I eat so many fruits & veggies now that my nails grow insanely fast, meaning the gel polish on my nails last the 2 weeks they promised it will, but my nails are way too long with big gaps of unpolished beds. The longer my nails get, the more I chew on them and pick at them, and the bendier they get (I have very soft nails from 30 years of biting them down to nothing). Continue reading