Monday, November 22, 2010


Today's my 32nd birthday. I'd be upset about getting "old," but I'm happier and in better shape now than I ever was in my 20s. Seriously!

I got in a couple of really good runs (one of which was finally back in double digits), so there wasn't really anything else I could ask of my birthday weekend. I got one more thing though, the sweetest, most creative, thoughtful gift possible:

B. gifted me with a permanent reminder of my marathon day! He couldn't have picked better pictures...those were the ones I wanted from the marathon photo company but was too cheap to buy. I was very impressed by his crafty abilities. The surprising part was I didn't realize my medal was missing in the days leading up to getting this!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Love at First Run

This weekend, I finally got my act together and went shopping for some new running shoes. The sales girl had told me in July that while my shoes could probably make it through the marathon, I should definitely replace them afterwards. Well, time went by, my mileage was less, my pocketbook was a little light, and I kept on running in my beat-up Asics. I could feel the lack of cushioning on every run, even the short ones. They'd had a good life. It was time to let them go.

I'd originally intended to shop all three of the local running stores and see what shoes each one recommended. That turned out to be too ambitious for someone with limited free time. So, of course, I went to my tried and true Fleet Feet. They hadn't steered me wrong yet. I told them that while the Asics Kayano 16 had been good shoes, I would be open to other brands/styles as well. The Asics had been good shoes. They helped rid me of the aches and pains in the foot that my old shoes had caused. But, on long runs, they started to feel like running with concrete blocks tied to my feet. Would it be possible to have supportive but lightweight shoes?

It was! The shoe fitter brought out a new pair of Asics and a pair of Brooks Trance 9's. I took the Brooks on a test run, then I tested one foot with Brooks and the other in Asics. The difference was immediately obvious. I had to have the Brooks. They felt light; I could barely even feel them, especially when compared with the weight of the Asics on my other foot. My mind was made up. I'm usually nervous to try new shoes (they are awfully expensive to chance not like them), but Fleet Feet will exchange them for quite awhile if they aren't working for you. In addition, I discovered that Brooks uses recycled materials to make their shoes. The average sole of a running shoe will take 1,000 years to degrade in a landfill. The Brooks soles will take 20. Big difference. Yes, I asked, and no, the shoe won't break down more quickly because of it. It was nice to be able to make a green choice and still get a product I wanted anyway.

Check 'em out!

 I was super excited that they were a lovely grey and light blue...Yes, function is important, but I care about how they look, too! I was never too keen on the white/pink combo of the Asics.

Sunday afternoon, I got the chance to take the newbies on a their inaugural run. It was a short 5 miles, as my allergies were getting the best of me. I'll need to take them on some long runs before I can be sure of my feelings, but currently I'm completely infatuated with them! They've go just enough cushioning, they look great, they feel barely there. My feet were happy (and no blisters!).

One other note...I wish I could have gotten a picture for you but didn't think of it before I left the store. I hadn't looked at the bottom off my old shoes in ages. When the shoe fitter looked at them for wear patterns, he was psyched, and at first I didn't understand why. Apparently, the fact that my shoes were VERY worn made for easily detected wear patterns, and my pattern was text book perfect. The sole and tread were worn in all the right places and almost new in the places that shouldn't be hitting the ground. Good to know my stability shoes are doing their job (and maybe my running efficiency is improving). The shoe fitter asked if he could show them around and take pictures of them to use for training. HA!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Finding Balance

I haven't officially worked out in 4 days. 4 days! In the months leading up to the marathon, that was unheard of. But, Thursday I had the opportunity to be part of a panel on women, blogging, and happiness at a local university. It was right after work, and when I got home, B. and I decided to go out to dinner. So no workout. Friday is my traditional "rest day," so, of course, no workout. Saturday I slept late but woke up with every intention of going for a run. Then, over breakfast, B. and I concocted a plan to go to the Apple Butter Festival in Kimswick, MO. By the time we got home, I needed to get started on a freelancing project with a fast approaching deadline. Yep, you guessed it, no workout (unless you want to count strolling around the festival--which I don't). And, then Sunday...I slept late again and woke up feeling crappy. I finished the freelance project and then fell into my bed to watch some Tivo from last week. Then, some festive baking (rice krispy treats, pumpkin bread, and mulled wine, anyone?). But zero working out.

 And, guess what? I don't care. That's right, you heard me. I won't pretend I didn't feel a little guilty on Saturday and Sunday or secretly worry that I was sliding down some slippery slope into lethargy. I did. Then I go thinking...I'm healthy (per my 6 mo check up last week), I'm fit (I just ran a freakin' marathon), and those things won't be undone by a 4-day break. In fact, after work tonight, I'll be out pounding the pavement, trying to beat sundown. Sometimes an extended rest is healthy. There were so many times that I drug myself out to work out this summer when I didn't feel well. While that work ethic was a good thing, it's also healthy to take a little time for yourself. There have been many, many Saturdays the past few months when I was completely consumed with the long run and then my other responsibilities. It was SO nice to not worry about eating spicy food on Friday night, sleep late on Saturday, and then spend time with B. and do some activities that don't center around sweating.

So, in many ways, I'm practicing finding my way back to the center of things again: Cutting back on the calories (hey, if you aren't going to run 35 miles a week, you also don't get to feed your face like you are), remembering what it feels like to get a "regular" amount of exercise, figuring out how to fit in adequate exercise and the activities that make the weekend fun. When not in training for an official race, I have to remember that this is my life--I eat well (and by "well" I mean a combination of mostly healthy choices and the occasional indulgence), I move most days, and sometimes, I need to kick back with a glass of wine and catch up on Project Runway!

How do you define balance?