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i kneed

i kneed

welp, if it’s not one thing it’s another, right? my feet have been pretty decent lately on the run front, but of course my knees have decided to crap out. exciting times in the ramp up to ragnar trail, of course!

i started gathering my gear for ragnar.  i packed my headlamp, then decided to go for a run in the dark tonight. which doesn’t take much these days; thanks, axial tilt. but here’s some new gear for this year!

  1. i bought a propane tank heater. lows are going to be in the 40s, which doesn’t sound bad for running, but it sure sounds bad if you’re camping. so i got a nice heater and it works great. no freezing for me.
  2. a nice wool blanket to wrap up in while i’m sitting around and also in my sleeping bag. like i said, no freezing for me.
  3. pedialyte galore.
  4. a crapton of food. no free supper at ragnar this year, and i have trouble eating enough anyway, so i’m going to just bring a bunch of food and hope i eat enough.

training has been pretty good up until the knee issue, so i’m not worried about finishing. kind of worried about finishing with reasonable knees. hopefully it’s just runner’s knee and it’ll just sort itself out. otherwise, i have an appointment in october with my GP and if they’re still annoying then, maybe i can get into PT or something for them.

ragnar update to come afterward!

oh to find a running shoe

oh to find a running shoe

oh hi there! i come to you with shoe review 42.

(i don’t know if i’ve reviewed shoes that many times or if it just seems like that many times.)

in a quest for a comfy, cushy, low-drop shoe that has a nice room toebox, i think i’ve purchased and returned 5 pairs of shoes over the past 2 months.

when i found out that asics had a lower drop shoes than the last time i’d worn them, i decided to give them another go. a low-drop shoe means the distance between the heel and the front as far as how far off the ground. a zero-drop shoe is like going barefoot. high heel would have a ginormous heel drop. my asics i wore for years had a 12mm drop. when i started having super weird foot problems a couple years ago, a lower-drop shoe helped out a ton. the hokas i’d been running in for the past year or so have a 5mm drop, but the toe box is just a bit too narrow for my tastes. the wide is super loose in the heel.

so the asics novablast had an 8mm drop, which i tried and actually ran one run in, and it just was too much of a drop. then i tried out the magic speeds, which have a steel plate (!) in them at a reasonable(ish) cost. the drop was excellent. the space for my toes was good. but they had NO arch support at all. so back to the asics factory those two pairs of shoes went.

after reading for years about altras, which are a zero drop shoe, i thought that now was the time to try them out. they look like no other running shoe out there – probably because they actually look like your foot shape.

the first pair i got had medium cushion and high support, which is excellent for trail running. i love these in the woods. i got a second pair with high cushion and high support, but the 11 was a half size too small, and this company doesn’t make an 11.5???? what legit running shoe company doesn’t do that!! so have a pair of the men’s shoe on their way here, and they should be here tomorrow. i’m hopeful that they should work well, even if they aren’t the more fun colors of the women’s shoe.

ok, so the grey/lime isn’t so bad.

i hope i run like the wind! because ragnar training has begun and i’m going to run 2 runs this saturday in the 70º weather*!!!

*ugh i really want to write about our stupid hot weather and climate change but i feel like i will get so severely depressed.

late june running updates!

late june running updates!

i gotta say, so far i was enjoying our relatively humid-free summer. even though it has been HOT, it’s been pretty dry, and i’ve been at least not dying on my runs. some highlights from the past month, which i’m really sad that i hadn’t written about earlier:

  1. ragnar sunset was in early june. liz, jane, doug, and i relayed and each ran 2 loops of about 4 miles. while jane was out there, it hit 100º. and the sun was bearing down! to prepare for the run, i bought a long-sleeved white wicking shirt and a light colored baseball hat. both EXCELLENT purchases. the long sleeve white really does make a difference; it keeps the sun from hitting your skin and eliminating radiant heat. my first run was pretty unshaded, so yes yes yes. my second run of the day was more shaded and it actually got a little cloud, so i pulled out a run tank for that one instead. i also chugged pedialyte, which i’d never tried before. that was an excellent choice. good news on this race: we FINISHED and we were hydrated.
  2. outrun bigfoot was the third week in june, a virtual on-your-own race. basically you had to run a distance in the top 2/3 of all the runners registered for it over the course of 4-5 days (can’t remember). the top runner ran more than 100 miles during the days, which is insane. i managed to run 27, which was pretty insane for me. that week was probably the most miles i’ve run in a week ever. i ran the 27 and then also 4 miles the day before it started. i’ve been just chugging through my running shoes these days.
  3. i’m signed up for the firecracker 4-mile on the fourth of july down in la crosse, which should be a breeze. the only downside to it is that it starts at 7 a.m. which i will be grateful for at the time because of the high of 90º it’s supposed to get to that day, but still, 7 a.m.?? good thing the adrenaline of a race sort of wakes me up.
  4. then it’ll be time to start training for ragnar trail! oof duh.

yesterday i went for a run. after a month of dry runs, i’d gotten used to the non humidity. but last night it was 70º and humid. i thought it’d be great with the 70º, and the temp WAS great. but my run clothes were just sopping wet from my sweat that wasn’t evaporating. thanks to my mom’s sweaty genes. anyway, that was a gross thing to share, but something that is pretty typical if you run and sweat.

that’s all i’ve got! i might actually head out for a run right now!

expensive shorts: a review

expensive shorts: a review

i grew up in a family needing to be frugal, with a propensity for instant gratification (last name starts with W – go check out the research on this). so my entire life consists of internal conflicts about things that i WANT vs. spending the money for these items. i have a winter parka that’s in its 9th winter and going strong. i also buy $150 running shoes twice a year. my jewelry is nothing extravagant or expensive. my camera gear is top notch. i have trouble justifying spending more than $20 on a pair of jeans, or any piece of clothing really, but i will gladly part with $75 for a nice meal with nate.

the mental gymnastics are really something else.

so, when i am in search of specific running gear, price is generally a mental hurdle i have to overcome.

especially when i find shorts with a long inseam in colors other than black (a rare find).

enter oiselle, a woman-owned company that makes clothing designed by women for women. i was intrigued if their shorts would be a utilitarian addition to my relatively cheap run wardrobe.

oh, and they have 6″ inseam running shorts that come in one of my favorite colors (evidenced by the matching phone case). (also, sorry for the bathroom pic – it’s the only place in my house with a full-length mirror.)

the bad news about these shorts? $62. yep, you heard that right. luckily, i had a coupon, but STILL. $62 for a pair of shorts??

besides the length and the color, these shorts have a couple other significant advantages:

1- CHECK OUT THIS POCKET.

not only is a SIDE pocket on a pair of women’s shorts with a ZIPPER, but check out the REAL ESTATE.

this pocket has more space than most of my pants pockets. my entire phone can fit in it and zip up!

2- the material is really nice. it’s soft and sort of flowy. while i was running, i kept waiting for the inside to ride up, as i expect with any sort of shorts, but they didn’t. i even spent some time deliberately trying to get them to ride up, and it just didn’t happen.

3- they are not high rise. holy cats, i hate trying to find shorts these days because everything is high rise. these are mid-rise; they sit below my belly button and stay there

4- have i mention that they’re orange?? usually the only fun colored short have a 2″ inseam, so this is amazing.

5- there were some arm warmers on clearance that i got at the same time (arm warmers are nice when it’s transition weather and you want to wear a tshirt or tank top but will have chilly arms for a bit). these were a more reasonable price and i didn’t feel bad spending the money on these.

check out the little birds on the warmers! they’re reflective! and they match the shorts! and those thumbholes! i do love me some thumbholes on running stuff.

oiselle sells more than just shorts – they’ve got sweatshirts, winter wear, wool shirts, tights, underwear, tanks, tshirts, sleepwear, etc. plus clearance stuff and a lot items that cheaper than $62 run shorts.

so, here’s a $20 coupon if you want to try them out! you get $20 off and i get $20 to spend in the future.

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. what.did.you.do.asics. 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.

excellent!

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?

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