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runnerversary: some top 3s of my time running

runnerversary: some top 3s of my time running

as i was slogging along for four miles on the treadmill this evening, i realized that november marks 9 years since i started running. 9 years! holy cats, that’s a long time and a lot of miles. my runkeeper tells me  i’m about to roll over on 4,000 tracked miles, which probably is about 2/3 of what i’ve run since i only started tracking my treadmill winter runs last winter.

to inadvertently commemorate this anniversary, i ordered some new shoes: brooks bedlams. brooks were the first shoes i bought specifically for running, but i ditched them for asics for a long time, then i had foot issues and i’ve been trial-and-erroring with shoes for the past nine months. i’ve got a good feeling about these!

top 3 running moments:

  1. first time i ran a nonstop mile. i was going to the st. ben’s fieldhouse at 10:30 at night to run around the track, following the couch to 5k plan. it was probably the week before christmas, and i was still getting my breathing under control and figured out, when i managed to get a mile in without stopping.
  2. first time i enjoyed a run. it was sprummertime in st. joe, 68º, evening on a saturday, and i was running a pretty quick pace for me. there was minimal hurting, my feet were having a not-bad time, breathing was ok, and i realized that this is what people talked about when they talked about having a good run.
  3. the first ragnar i did, my 8 mile was the last and i had rolled my ankle multiple times. physically, this run was probably my absolute worst. bottom of the barrel. but the timing of that loop was magical. i started in the dark with a headlamp on, fell in a hole, continued to run on a wobbly gross ankle in the dark, but the sun came up through the trees and slowly made its way up in the late-september woods.

3 worst things about running

  1. starting. your breathing sucks. your legs hurt. your hips hurt. you use these muscles that aren’t used to being used, and they scream at you to stop. your lungs are even worst. you can take ibuprofen to shut up the muscles, but there’s nothing for the breathing except to push through til it works itself out.
  2. injuries. you all know my feet in general suck at running. it’s a wonder that i’m still going, but PT, tape, the right shoes, and exercises can help with that. but there’s nothing but rest for ankle sprains.

    i rolled my ankle on a run on a gravel road in austin, rolled the other one at one ragnar, and had a few minor rolls here and there. i’ve biffed it in the woods in st. john’s, tripped on the track at st. ben’s, fell off a footbridge and got a massive thigh bruise at ragnar, fell and scraped a knee and hand at another ragnar,  etc. etc. the good news is, i have learned that CONSTANT VIGILANCE is key when running on anything not flat, and wearing the right shoes always helps. also, pick up my feet. i’ve been acute injury free for a couple years now.
  3. it can get expensive, especially when you buy stabilizing shoes like i do. relatively speaking, running is an inexpensive sport. it’s not like hockey or football. but dropping $150 on a pair of shoes that will last you 6 months can get kind of depressing. not to mention a reasonable sum on runderwear every year. but, to do this and do it without pain or injuries and feel comfortable, i’ll spend the cash.

3 best things about running

  1. eating food. i mean, that’s generally why i run.
  2. getting done running. especially when it was a good run with good time. stretching, peeling off the shoes and socks, drinking a lot of water to quench the thirst. then eating food.
  3. finding your muscles. my leg muscles are like rocks.
shorts – a review

shorts – a review

good news! i had an mri on my foot and i have no major injury – just minor plantar fasciitis. well, that i know how to deal with, even though whatever’s going on with my foot is not acting like PF. so i dragged out my inserts and night splint and here we are back at it.

additional good news! i’ve been on 2 runs this week and my heel is good – the inserts work, that’s for sure. there’s still something wonky happening, but it’ll work out.

but let’s get down to shorts! running shorts, to be exact. i have tried running in short shorts because they are the most prolific shorts out there for women runners. the 3″ inseam is the most common, which is great for those ladies who have a thigh gap. i do not have a thing gap, and any 3″ inseam is going to ride right up my inner thighs and bunch up, creating not just an uncomfortable bunch of nylon but also chafing.

so i finally got smart and looked for shorts that had at least a 5″ inseam and were a looser fit. the first pair of shorts i found was a heavy poly knit pair with a 6-7″ ish inseam that i wore for years because i knew how difficult it was to find a cheap pair of long shorts. i got them at jcpenney for a steal.

but then i needed an upgrade! they were really loose plus they were getting a little frayed after 4 years of running in them. so i did a little research a couple years ago for some new shorts. here’s what i found:

tasc moxy short: this is a 7″ short made by the bamboo clothing company tasc. what i love about these shorts?

  • well, the inseam is the bees knees.
  • it’s a relaxed fit, too.
  • there’s a tie around the waist if you want to tighten that up, but there’s a sewn-in pair of runderwear (which i actually cut out because it annoyed me).
  • the very BEST part of these shorts? they have pockets. and not just the said small one – two deep pockets on each side of your legs.

i have two pairs of these shorts, and they are well worth the money. if you have short shorts and want a light pair of something to run in, try these out.

I have a second pair of tasc running shorts that are a 5″ inseam with a compression short attached. i would not recommend these as highly as the others, but i do like them. (these aren’t offered on the tasc site – i got them off ebay.)

  • the compression short has sticky elastic on the bottom so they don’t ride up
  • the color is pretty! it’s not black!
  • no pockets like the moxy, but there is a large-ish zipper pocket on the side for a phone.
  • also a relaxed fit with a waist tie.

that’s it. that’s my list of running shorts to recommend. i have a pair of almost knee length yoga shorts, but i rarely wear them running because they’re tight and high waisted. they don’t bunch up, which is great, but they aren’t compression so don’t really hold anything in, and i hate high waisted bottoms because i like my belly button area unrestricted!

another option i’d like to try out: the brooks clothing line has a few 7″ inseam options. if i try out brooks, i’ll let you know the results.



not running in the time of covid19. grrr.

not running in the time of covid19. grrr.

i’ve had some sort of foot pain ever since i started running. when i started, i had plantar fasciitis in both feet. the left disappeared, and the right is actually pretty decent nowadays. i’ve taken time off after injuries – two pretty big sprains in both feet, and i had a cortisone shot twice in the right for the PF.

but i’ve never been sidelined from running for a non-acute injury to my foot. at this point, i’ve been not running for almost four weeks, and it’s really frustrating. even after my sprains, i’ve been out running after three weeks.

i think the most frustrating part of it is there doesn’t seem to be a real viable cause besides possibly a bad shoe. how could a bad shoe have caused such a prolonged injury?

of course i’ve done some google research on it, because it doesn’t seem like PF, and it’s not sore or tender when i’m on my feet. if i’m standing in my sandals, i’m fine. it’s a brisk walk or a run that causes pain to the outsides of my heel and partially up the sides of my achilles.

it sounds a lot like sever’s disease, which can only happen in 10-15 year olds, or there about. so that’s out.

i’m annoyed. i don’t know what it is. my physical therapist doesn’t know what it is. i think i’m going to ask her about going to a foot/ankle specialist and see what she says.

all that to say, the weather this past week was the best running weather since september and i’m stuck not running. grrr.

a break in covid news

a break in covid news

i bring you a break to the covid news to bring you a running update. right about now, i’d be primed and ready to for the earth day half if covid were not a thing, and let me tell you, it’s good news that my half marathon is postponed because my left foot is INJURED.

normally i easily break in a new pair of asics kayanos, the brand’s stability shoe that i’ve been wearing for the past 7 years or so. i skipped a couple iterations because of the toebox, but i’d never had a problem with a heel. until THIS iteration. i wore them to work one day and my left heel was sore already, then i decided to run in them. ugh! then i ran some more because i thought well, maybe it’ll shake out. to be fair, at that point i wasn’t sure that it was the shoe that was causing pain. they sure seemed fine when i tried them on right out of the box.

i should know better by now.

and now i haven’t run for more than a week! i went to PT on tuesday, and after looking at the shoes, she thought maybe the arch and heel had torqued my foot somehow, which strained tendons in my foot and is causing stabbing pain along the back bottom of my heel. i also wonder about the heel drop, which seems to be significantly higher than past versions of the kayano.


so now i’m in running pause while the tendons reconfigure themselves. and next week’s weather is shaping up to be the best in a while, and i can barely go for a quarter mile walk.

i did write a nastygram to asics to let them know their $160 shoes caused me an injury. there’s about 13 miles on the shoes, so i doubt i can return them (especially with covid), and who knows if that falls under warranty.

in related news, i am trying a different brand of shoes, topo, which has a low heel drop and should have a decent amount of stability as well. we’ll see how those go when they arrive!

in the meantime, i’m using the stationary recumbent bike and will hope for a better foot next week.

running in the time of covid19

running in the time of covid19

the earth day half marathon in st cloud has been postponed until september – ugh! i know this is good for all, but i still think being outdoors and keeping distance would be ok for runners. no runner willingly runs a half marathon race while sick.

now i have to decide if i want to stick to my current training schedule or kick it to the curb and start up again in july. right now i’m about 3 weeks away from the goal of 13.1 miles (i was supposed to run 11 miles this weekend). so the question is, do i stick to the schedule and run 13 miles on earth day anyway, or take a pause? or do i continue on in training and maybe try to get to a full marathon?

for me, running has always been more of a solitary activity anyway. i will run with a buddy during race day, and i’m surrounded by others on race day, but the training is always about personal resolve more than anything else.

you set your goals. you get dressed. you head out the door when it works for your schedule. and then you immerse yourself in the singular goal for yourself, because running is not a team sport. and that’s why i like it. my mistakes are just mine and my victories are mine. i can’t let anyone down if i’m having a crappy running day except for myself. at the same time, if i want to share personal bests, i can. no special equipment save some runderwear and fancy shoes, and no special physical settings. just me, myself, and the great outdoors (or indoors in the winter).

so when shelter in place gets implemented, i’ve got a small worry about getting outside. everything i’ve read has said that outdoor activities will be allowed, and i highly doubt that the avon PD is going to be policing my front door. but what if they DO limit outdoor activity? especially during the upcoming three months, arguably the BEST time of the year?

being outdoors can only be good for people during this pandemic, both mentally and physically. and because i don’t plan to run with anyone else in the near future, i think this is the perfect time to run. i guess i’ve convinced myself to continue with my training and to see where it takes me. the forecast looks good.

road etiquette

road etiquette

i ran outside saturday and sunday this weekend, and hooo boy do drivers need a refresher in how to treat pedestrians on the road.

first of all, you should know that, while i live in a nice little neighborhood, i can only get half a mile before i need to set foot on a 55-mph county road. now, rural stearns county roads are at least a little less sparse on the traffic side than, say, a state highway or a metro county road.

but there are still trucks and golf carts and cars and semis and sometimes even tractors on the road, and even though there is a considerable shoulder, drivers still need to give a little bit of a berth to a pedestrian or biker. and it’s like they forgot how to deal with us over the wintertime.

first, a reminder to pedestrains: USE THE LEFT SIDE. you want to see if you’re going to die by old man driver who’s drifting over the shoulder like what happened to me today. you need to know when you need to jump into the ditch! so use the left side so you can see traffic! ok. now that that’s out of the way.

tips and tricks for drivers!

  1. give us a berth: you don’t need to haul it over to the opposite shoulder, but you do need to allow a few feet for the ped – maybe you can roll right down the center of the road. while running, i generally try to hug the very left edge of the shoulder when i see a car, and if i’m not, it’s because there is something weird on the asphalt or i’m running past a mailbox. but don’t ride the white line, either, if you see me as far over as possible on the shoulder. that’s just rude. even if there are cars coming the opposite way, you can easily hug the center line a bit so you give me some room. i actually had a dude on the white shoulder line today with no one coming the opposite way, so i had to run into the muddy ditch while he drove past. i wanted to shake my fist. i’ve also had a few people not move over at all (but who weren’t riding the white line). seriously?
  2. give the other car a berth: see a ped/car/car situation coming up and you’re on the opposite side of the ped? why not move over onto YOUR shoulder so the car in the other lane can move over for the ped. now if it’s a ped/car/car/ped situation, that’s a whole other problem that doesn’t come up very often for me. just slow down if that’s the case. speaking of speed…
  3. don’t slow down to 15mph. PLEASE. just go the speed you were going. as long as you’re moving over for me, i don’t care if you’re going 70. actually, the faster you get around me, the faster i can relax.
  4. don’t honk: i KNOW you’re there. no need to honk and scare the crap out of me. and i usually have headphones in, so i won’t even hear you that well. just…don’t.
  5. don’t expect me to wave: unless i’m running in my little neighborhood, i won’t wave. this is because women runners are subject to a lot of weird reactions, and i don’t need to make any eye contact with strangers. if you wave, i probably won’t see you.
  6. don’t move over yet!!! this one his HUGE. so many times i see drivers give a huge berth, starting a block away from me, only to start moving back over into the lane before they pass me!! MAKE SURE YOU’VE PASSED THE THE PED BEFORE YOU MOVE BACK OVER. especially if you have a trailer!! this one baffles me.
  7. here’s an in-town tip: if you see a runner approaching an intersection where you have no stop sign, and s/he slows down and bends over to strech or pulls out a phone to look at something, just go. don’t stop and back up traffic to wave her/him across and s/he doesn’t even notice because of the stretching and music in the ears. and chances are, this was a planned break! you will know when a ped is waiting to get across, and stretching time is not it. i was intersection stretching and happened to look up to see a minivan holding up 3 cars in st. charles and was like “what lady, just go” and waved emphatically at her to go. she looked pissed. good grief.

ok, that’s all i’ve got for now. hopefully you’re more aware of the ped sitch from the ped’s point of view and can help us out. any other peds have more tips and tricks for drivers?

what to wear, what to wear

what to wear, what to wear

let’s talk what to wear while running, since the weather is heading toward “comfortable-ish” for me to run. (i know people run in sub-freezing temps, but that’s just not something i like to do.)

so all winter long i hit the treadmill and wear my regular summertime running clothes: shorts and a tank top. but when the weather regularly hits 40º or above? oh boy, it’s time for the only existential running question i have: WHAT DO I WEAR.

if it’s 65º+, there is no question that it’s shorts and a tank. 55º-65º? tshirt and shorts, or closer to 55 – i put on my arm sleeves.

but 40? ugh. it’s so difficult. i wear long pants, and i will put on tight shorts underneath because my butt gets cold, but what to wear on top? i am always freezing when i start out, but if i wear too many layers, i get so warm. and sometimes it’s windy, so one way i’m freezing and the other way i’m dying of a heat stroke.

a couple weeks ago when it was 40 and sunny out, i wore a merino wool long sleeved shirt and a windbreaker, and i was chilly on top. this was after i tried on 3 different combos and stood outside for a couple minutes in each. i had to keep moving to make sure i didn’t get downright cold. that may have called for one more layer – maybe a tight tank top under the wool shirt.

what gets really sticky is when it’s 40 and overcast and kind of damp outside. the dampness almost makes it a little colder and you don’t have the sun to warm you up. is it time for a hat at that point?

so this weekend when i run my 9 miles outside, i’m both looking forward to it and not. it’s supposed to be closer to 50 and sunny, which should be a little easier and might be time for the outfit i wore a couple weeks ago.

but really what i’m looking forward to is 60º+ and not having to worry about what to wear.

here’s my somewhat useful breakdown, in addition to socks, shoes, runderwear:

65+: tank and shorts

55-65: tshirt and shorts – sometimes arm warmers

45-55: long sleeved shirt and light jacket (or tshirt over top of shirt) and running capris or long pants. maybe gloves if you’re feeling them and it’s windy.

40-45: tank, long sleeved shirt, fleece/windbreaker/light jacket, two layers of bottoms (could be a pair of tight short and long pants or longjohns and long pants). gloves.

35-40: tank, shirt, fleece/light sweatshirt or jacket, and windbreaker if it’s windy, three layers of bottoms (longjohns, shorts, and long pants for me and my cold butt). headwear of some sort, gloves, and maybe a removeable light scarf (depending on your collar of your jacket/s)

below 35: get on the treadmill.

march run 2017 – probably the 40-45 range. note the fleece and the neck protection/zipper action on fleece. lots of times cooling off or warming up the neck will do wonders for temperature control.

treadmill woes

treadmill woes

my current treadmill has been acting wonky for a while, now: slipping and taking about .3 miles of walking to warm up before i can safely start running. i knew parts needed to be replaced but i just didn’t do it for some reason. using a treadmill while it’s slipping can ruin the motor, so i decided to finally bite the bullet.

my first replacement was the walking belt. generally it’s not the walking belt that’s the problem, but mine was starting to separate and it needed to be replaced anyway, so i thought i’d start with that in hopes that it would solve my problems.

it came in the mail, and i watched a youtube video on how to replace it; after 20 mins or so, i had a new walking belt on my treadmill. i centered it on the ramp (after watching another youtube video on how to do that – you tighten or release tension on the back roller, which can be done with an allan wrench on the back of your machine) and got on.

no dice! it was still slipping, and seemed to be slipping for longer, though it was less squeaky (a plus). so i ordered a drive belt on friday and should be here tomorrow to replace. i did try to give it a go yesterday, walking about half a mile until slippage was minimal, then running a mile. the slipping, though slight, never went away. that’s a recipe for wonky knees, so i’m on hiatus until the drivebelt replacement is in place.

good news is i accidentally counted back my training from the weekend before the half marathon, so i should be right on track when i commence treadmill running.

here’s hoping that the drivebelt solves all the woes and i don’t need to buy a new treadmill.


in other running news, i’m hoping that NEXT friday will be warm enough for me to feel good about an outdoor run and that the snow holds off so i can run easily on the road. here’s to an early spring!!

foray into foot fittings

foray into foot fittings

let’s talk about running gear! (i know i lost about 90% readership with that sentence.)

i’ve talked about a review on running underwear (runderwear? i should start a company), so let’s talk a little bit about the 2nd-most important piece of gear for lady runners: shoes. (first, of course, being the runderwear.)

when i started running, my first pair of shoes was a pair of brooks. i tried on several different brands, and they felt the most sturdy, which, for a flat-footed, heavy person like myself, made sense. after losing some weight, i veered more toward sturdy AND comfortable. so i went to the running shoe store and tried on different brands again.

the best way to try on running shoes, i’ve found, is by putting two different shoes on your feet and taking a little test drive around the store. just by process of elimination, you come upon the best shoe for you.

i’ve leaned toward asics because DANG are the gel nimbuses a comfy piece of shoe. if i could wear the nimbuses and get away with my feet not rebelling, i totally would. if there are any people out there who have normal pronation in their feet and want a pair of shoes that will make you feel like you’re walking on clouds, get the nimbus.

alas, i do not have a normal pronated foot.

so i get the next best thing: the asics gel kayano, which is also an exceptionally comfy shoe. and for someone who’s not about being first or even in the top half of race results, you go for comfy over speed.

oh yes, there are different shoes for the different outcomes you want. because if i wanted speed over being comfy, i would need to choose a less cushy shoe that gives you more purchase with the ground. this also holds to different types of surface running. for instance, i will never wear my kayanos out on the trail; it feels like my feet are falling into the ground. i would, however, wear an asics gel 2000 out on the trail: it’s a harder, sturdier footbed and lets me feel like i’m getting somewhere. or i could use a trail shoe (i’ve used the asics kahana), but they don’t work well with someone like me who has problems lifting her feet up off the ground (the lugs on the shoe catch on the trail detritus). the trail shoe IS nice because its footbed is snug and keeps your foot from rolling.

so here’s my lineup:

  • training/short runs: asics 2000
  • race day/long runs: asics kayano
  • trail running with little trail debris: asics kahana
  • trailing with a lot of debris: asics 2000

of course, you need to find the shoe that works for you. and sometimes, the shoe iterations change, so you may find that next year’s might not be as good, but come back in 3 years and it’ll have changed. for about 2-3 iterations, asics narrowed the toe box of their shoes and got a lot of heat as a result. i had to buy a whole size bigger than i normally would, and there was one year where i just bought the previous year’s version because the current one was awful. (they have since moved back in the right direction with last year’s version, and i’ve purchased 4 pair of the asics 25s so far.)

so, there’s my shoe review. the best advice i can give on running shoes is DON’T SKIMP. your feet are the first point of contact in this sport, and the more you can keep them happy, the better. they are the gateway to bad knees and bad hips, both of which can be prevented with good shoes. if in doubt, go to your running shoe store and have them take a look at your gait to make sure you’re wearing the right pair of shoes. another recommendation is to track the miles on your shoes so you know that the little twinge in your knee is not just a one-off thing; it could mean that it’s time to change shoes (i change mine about every 300 miles – sometimes more, sometimes less).

(2016 asics!)

training 101

training 101

training 101:

  1. set a goal. the first half marathon liz and i did, we hit over the 13 min/mile mark. 2nd was not as good (liz did NOT train). 3rd was better. last year’s? we hit 12:10/mile. this year’s earth day half, i set a goal of 11:30/mile. if liz does not train, i will leave her behind!
  2. figure out how hard you want to train. the last four half marathons, i’ve done a novice 2, and this year i’m heading into intermediate 1 (it’s the hal higdon plan). the difference? well, the last week of novice 2 was a total of 23 miles. last week of intermediate 1 is 40 MILES. omg. the benefit of this is to hopefully run faster? i actually should pick up hal’s book, which should explain it more. (good news! just checked the st. cloud library website and it’s on the shelves! i’m going to pick it up tomorrow.)
  3. use the technology. i have tracked every outdoor run with runkeeper, so i know how many miles are on my shoes, how many miles i run in a week, and when i’m on a new route, i can figure out where the landmarks are (i know where every half mile is on several routes when i leave my house). i actually am paying for hal higdon’s training app, which lets you select blackout dates, gives you specific speedwork, and tells you how fast to go (not that i follow that hahaha).
  4. do what you gotta do. the majority of my earth day half marathon training is done on the treadmill. that blows. but, you gotta do what you gotta do! sometime in march, the weather will warm up and the snow should melt a little bit, and then i’ll try to get outside for a few runs. then it’s…
  5. figuring out how to dress. this is the worst second to the treadmill. dressing to run in 35-45º weather is no fun. do you bring your fleece? do you freeze for the first half mile before you warm up and then get a little better? is it windy and you are frozen while you run into the wind and then die of heat stroke with the wind to your back? do you need three layers on your butt because fat doesn’t hold heat and it gets super cold? so many weather factors. the more the weather heads up into the mid-50s and up, the better i feel about running (well unless it’s 85º+ and 400% humidity).
  6. you are voluntarily doing this. i keep this in mind every time i get on the treadmill and i’m not feeling it, which is about half the time. about 20% of my runs feel ok – like after a mile, i feel like i could run at least 5 miles. but i keep on keeping on! because…
  7. you get to eat. 40 miles of running = 5200 calories. that’s a lot of onion rings and chips and guac and beer. seriously – that’s 3.5 days of my caloric intake.
  8. and it all comes back to the goal. because you just can! and the sense of accomplishment after finishing that race is pretty nice.

items i keep on hand for treadmill running:

  1. fan
  2. gum
  3. kleenex
  4. cough drops if i have them
  5. treadmill lube
  6. headphones
  7. towel to cover up the time so i’m not watching a clock tick away (unless i’m doing speed intervals)
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