Minimalist running.

You knew I’d get to this post right?  It’s all the craze in the running world right now and being both a scientist and a runner, I had to come to this point eventually.

Before all the hype started, I read a paper, published by a reputable group of scientists on the biomechanics of running barefoot.  I also read Born to Run, by Christopher McDougall, before it became so inspirational and hence encouraging of all these barefoot runners.  Don’t get me wrong, I think this is a fantastic book, a brilliant story and there is definitely something to the idea that less cushioning will allow our feet to actually feel the ground and do what they were made to do.  I’m always a proponent of the more “natural” way of doing things.  However, barefoot running is not something one should just start on a whim.  I occasionally run with a very flat trail/water shoe, when out on the lake for the weekend …on soft trails and it feels great!  I don’t feel that on the sidewalks of my city for my distance runs that it would be a great plan.  I need some cushioning.  Correct shoe fit and the proper shoe choice for your usage are the sole solution here.

Never just assume that because something is published, that it is right.  For many years, people believed the Earth was flat.  For many years, we all believed that we needed extra cushioning and “sox” and all sorts of gels and bubbles and so forth, to help soften our pounding on the pavement.  Now a book and a few radicals push this idea and we’re all on the wagon?  Careful kids, everything in moderation.  Every day in science, things that we previously thought were irrefutable, are proven wrong.  The Nature paper,  ‘Foot strike patterns and collision forces in habitually barefoot versus shod runners” (Lieberman et. al, 2010)  makes a wonderful scientific study of the benefits of barefoot running which goes along nicely with Born To Run.

I like the concept of rebelling against shoe companies who play off our fear of injury by developing shoes that hurt us more than help us, however…and this is a big BUT…isn’t it awfully ironic that in rebelling against shoe companies we are pushing people to buy Vibram Five Fingers and Nike Frees?  In reality, couldn’t this be yet another marketing ploy?

The bottom line is that no matter who you are, you are an individual with individual needs.  Only you can know what your particular foot, joints, legs and/or body will function best with.  Always use your own discretion and choose what works for you-don’t waste needless piles of money on the latest gimmick.  And in my opinion, running with a minimalist shoe, rather than completely Barefoot or with the lovely gimmick of Vibrams, can be much safer for most and much more affordable.  There have been countless articles published about how the best running shoes, can be the least expensive, due to the lower level of cushioning and bells and whistles.  So if you want to try this trend…look in your closet, you may already have some cheaper, minimalist shoes in there.

Either way, keep on running!

Ouch!

Well here we go.  My first injury in ages.  I mean ages.  I’m almost ashamed to mention it beause I’ve been so injury-free through my last couple half marathons and racing seasons…I just don’t know, why now?

Last night I iced them (did the whole RICE) thing, but I can still feel them throbbing and can barely walk.  This happened once last summer too, but you all know how hard it is to take time off from running when you are in training!  Ugh.  Any input?  I know I shouldn’t have trudged through my 35 minute tempo run last night but I can be a fiesty little brat sometimes.  I also think I dropped a nasty word when I had to stop for a sec and make sure I could still stand when I stopped moving.  For some reason the faster I ran, the pain seemed to lessen (maybe just numb).  A little old man in his flower bed, doing some gardening sure got a suprise.  I better take a different route for awhile.

On vacation this week with my precious daughter.  We day tripped to Montreal and got some school shopping done, practiced diving, got her hair cut and spent loads of quality time together, biking and chatting and re-organizing her closet (her choice, she loves that stuff).  And she got a new Shrek Opi nailpolish.  Another variant of blue!  I love staycations.  Today is our loungy, rest day.  Stepson is at his mom’s for two weeks and then he’ll be back with us.   Our kids start school a couple days after Labor Day so it’s not all that far off now.  Are you done your school shopping?  My daughter isn’t so about it this year.  She got a few things, but she wanted enough to start out and then buy more throughout the fall.  Much different than kindergarten when she started with over 35 outfits.  Oh those little Gymboree outfits with matching shoes and hair accessories.  Those were the days.  Cardigan, tights, skirt, sweater and headband…all matchy-matchy.

It’s getting hot in here…

Really, really, really hot in here.  Here in upstate NY, we consider 80 degrees Fahrenheit to be sweltering hot, since we often get below zero temperatures for a large amount of our winter.  I run all winter long, outside.  It has to be very frigid to keep me indoors on my treadmill.  Sometimes in the winter, if I’m in training, I will do my speedwork or interval training on the treadmill, primarily because the track is stacked high with snow!  This week it’s been 90 degrees at 7 pm when I go running.  I still did my normally scheduled runs.  I’m nothing if not determined.  Once I’m in training, I just about never deviate from my schedule.  It really helps to choose a training plan and adhere to it.  Somehow it helps as a motivator.  An additional motivator is all those nasty toxins I’m sweating out of my body on a run like that.

This all relates to stepparenting and single parenting for me in one very simple way.  When you feel good about your body, you feel good about yourself and you are able to release all that stress that those two dynamics can build up.  It’s the one good thing that is for ME and me alone, that schedules right into my life.  It’s taken a long time, but everyone expects my running now.  No one feels it takes time away from them, the whole family is proud and my daughter loves coming to the track to time my speed workouts.  Before I remarried, I used to run on a treadmill almost all the time.  I didn’t race as much back then, but I got my running in.  It’s my sanity.  And probably part of the reason I’m very laid back and less stressed than most of my friends.  And when my daughter’s father manages to somehow get on my nerves (it happens occasionally, even now) running to some loud angry music really makes it all go away.  Really.

Anybody interested in running?  I’d love to help and give advice-I want to motivate all of you.  🙂  And for my runner friends, especially those fast ones, help motivate me to bust out a great half-marathon in October!

Chanel nail polish.

Found a great blog posting on my new favorite Chanel nailpolish.  I’m a Chanel junkie anyway, but this one is so delightful and her pictures are great.  It really looks different depending on lighting, clothing, etc, but it’s lovely all around.

Enjoy.

Training time again.

I always forget how hard it is to get used to being in training again for a half-marathon. Although I love the schedule and predictability (it really gets you out the door, because you certainly don’t want to be regretting not training enough when you get to the day before the race), I also forget how tired my body is at first.
And I actually keep a base level of at least 6 miles all year long and during non-training I run about 4-5 days a week, mixed in with all my other biking, rollerblading, swimming, etc.
Last night I woke up with sore feet. I knew it would happen when I came back from my long run for the week…my 2nd toe on my left foot has been harboring a blister and as I ran, I felt it starting to become bothersome. I’m gonna have to tape that baby down this week.
However, YAY, my track workout is tomorrow. And those, I really do love. While they are happening I’m sweaty and exhausted, but that exhaustion is so rejuvenating. A whole separate entity from the exhaustion of a long run.
While on the lake all weekend on our boat, I read the new Tana French book (Faithful Place) on my iPad. I also found some pain in the a$$ things about the iPad. It overheats when it is too warm and it’s impossible to read in bright sunlight or on the deck of the boat. Nevertheless the book was good. And I normally like classics or non-ficiton so this is high praise indeed. (Kid free weekends usually mean I’m on the lake-missing my girl but enjoying the husband).
Anyone else in training right now? By the way, the lovely M and M ice cream cookie sandwich I had while watching True Blood was a lovely treat post-run.