I know better.

So a few days ago on my lunch break, I packed up my clothes and my shoes, and headed out for a run with a friend before I had to take off to teach a Zumba® Fitness class.  The weather is starting to get gorgeous here – yesterday, the temp must not have gotten over 80 degrees, and for the first time maybe since the summer kicked off, I didn’t feel like death following the run.

But I made a critical error.

I know so so much better than this, but I grabbed an old pair of Glycerin 11s, a pair from last October (almost a year ago), and did a short run in them.  My feet hurt.  My knees ached.  And as an employee at a running speciality store, I knew SO much better.  I know old shoes can make the difference between a good and uncomfortable run.  I know that they contribute to foot cramping and knee aches.  I know that looking at gross worn-out shoes is probably not helping me to pull out of this running slump whatsoever.

But I did it anyways, and only rethought it when, after only three miles, my feet were aching, knees aching, and when a co-worker from Fleet Feet walked in, took one look at my flattened out shoes, and started laughing.  We can tell these things.

So today, reflecting on my slump and how discouraging my achy breaky run was, I went to the store, picked up a pair of Glycerin 12s, and went for a little under 6 miles with a friend.

GlycerinThey felt really really great, and the just-under-six really didn’t feel as slumpy as all my runs have been in a while.  A few contributing factors to that?  Pretty new shoes, decent fall weather, a good friend to chat with while we powered through the gnarly gnarly hills of Raleigh.

Oh, and I registered for a half at the end of next month.  I’m sure that didn’t hurt my motivation since now I have to show up and kick some ass.

What do you do that you know is no good for you?  

 

40 mangos later.

Fun fact: the plural of mango is either mangoes or mangos.  This makes me very uncomfortable, and I’m really not sure how to approach this.  Advice is welcome on how to reconcile this battle within myself.

Moving right along.

So, happy Saturday. I’m obsessed with you and I kinda hope you’re pretty obsessed with me too.

So, Friday after work, I sprinted over to the Raleigh Convention Center to work the Rock ‘n’ Roll Convention, and as a little preview to the race, I made sure to snap a few pics so that you all could share in the experience.

DSC_0219I pulled up into the expo lot and started getting excited (and very itchy from that yellow pollen) for all of this.  There is something so special about a good expo that makes your stomach do these amazing flips when you think about a race.

DSC_0221Hello!  Jambo!

Jambo

DSC_0222

Also the camera Sharon, my MIL got me is incredible BYE.

DSC_0223I worked the Gu booth with some really fun partners 🙂

DSC_0226The Brooks “booth” which I’m working tomorrow, is a small city.

DSC_0228Literally not kidding.  It’s a planet.

It has been so fun.  I am working the expo tomorrow as well, and really excited to work and run this race.  I also ran into Benjamin and Juan, the two boys from ESPN walking around the expo, and they said that I was gonna be really really happy with the footage.

After the expo, I ran over to Whole Foods, where Mexican Champagne Mangos were 69 cents each, so I stocked up on about 40. Don’t judge me, you’re being rude if you’re judging me right now, and I’m not interested in hearing it.

photo 1There were actually more mangos…

photo 2So I dehydrated some, I cut some up for smoothies, and made some mango baby food (mango sauce, sorta like applesauce but with mangos) with the help of my little sister, who’s pretty dank as a chef.  If you like the idea of mango sauce, shoot me an email, and maybe if you’re lucky, I’ll post you a recipe.

DSC_0229Austin got me these mason jars, which I sorta guess I need for our wedding anyways, so it worked out for my mango baby Cheri food.

How was your Friday? 

Shoe review – The Brooks Transcend (DIS FOR ALL MY SHOE NERDS!)

So, before you read, 100% understand that I have been team Brooks for millions of years.  And by millions, I mean for about 2 years, which is as long as I have been working for Fleet Feet in some capacity.  Originally, I was fitted for the Brooks Adrenaline, which is pretty decent stability, but my “princess and the pea” hoof was not having that stability posting.  From there I tried the Glycerin 10 which is what I ran my first half marathon and my first marathon in, and moved to the Ghost for my shorter runs.  My poor rugby knee seemed to really really appreciate the cushioning.

Knee InjuryOuch!

Okay so anyhoo, I actually called our Brooks Rep up on the phone, Chris, and had a really good chat with him about the Transcend, because honestly, I’m not sure I was getting the concept.

The Trance, which the Transcend replaced, was a pretty high stability shoe – felt like a dang dream on your foot, but had a really decent amount of stability in the shoe, so we “prescribed” the show sparingly.  Additionally, the steep price point would sometimes scare folks off who were, at the time, expecting to pay maybe $100.  (The shoe’s price soared to $150, and this was before that was pretty standard for a pair of high-cushioned stability shoes).

So anyhoo, Chris had great insight and great explanation for the way the shoe differed.

The shoe is still considered stability, but instead of there being a huge stability posting that your poor pronating foot slams into with each step, the shoe relies on “guide rail” technology that works to gently guide your foot into a more neutral position.  Still following?  The other big draw of the shoe is the cushioning, that Chris repeatedly described as “plush” but it’s referred to by Brooks as Super DNA, which is their original DNA cushioning, really beefed (or in this case), fluffed up.  Whereas the Glycerin or the Ghost felt a little more firm, a little more stable, the Transcend, out of the box feels straight up smooshy for lack of a better word.

Can you tell that I love my sneaks and that I love my job at Fleet Feet?

Okay, onto the review!DSC_0020

Cons (which I always start with so you can end on a positive)

  • I wear a size 10.5 in women’s which is already pretty big.  I felt like the Transcend made my hooves look HUGE.  You’ve got a skinny little chick in tights wearing giant pink shoes – not the most attractive.  In fact, I felt a little goofy.
  • Being used to the snug, foot-hugging Cadillac feel of the Glycerin, the shoe felt huge at first as well.  It took me so definite getting used to.
  • I’m used to the boat shape of the Brooks Glycerin and the Ghost.  The sort of flatter shape of this shoe reminded me of the Brooks Dyad, and threw me off a little at first.

But, after an initial test-drive….

Pros

  • Out of the box, the shoe is obviously a well-engineered, quality-manufactured running accessory.  I don’t need to name names, but sometimes that is not necessarily the case.
  • I got a lot of compliments on the look of the shoe – maybe I was being a little overdramatic on how big they looked on me?
  • My feet usually cannot stand to have any stability within their vicinity.  The Guide Rail technology was very very comfortable to me, and seemed to really do some guiding.  I’m interested to see what my wear pattern might look like after a few hundred miles.
  • Need cushioning?  Bad knee, sore hip?  This is the shoe for you.  You feel virtually nothing as you’re cruising, and that’s so weird, but so cool.
  • The forefoot of the shoe kinda felt like the Ghost used to.  As in, there was a ton of room up there.  In a good way, not in a weird way.
  • The shoe is very smooshy.  I’m trying to think of something to compare it to in real life, but it’s sort of like running on….sorta of like a firmer marshmallow.  A regs marshmallow would be really weird, it has more structure than that.

Overall, I liked the shoe, and I’m glad that working at the store, I was given first dibs on a pair of these shoes.  Had I not been so intrigued and wanted to try them, I may have just stuck in my old habits.  I’m interested to race in them and kind of see what we think in a race situation.

Anyone else tried this shoe?  What do you think?  

[Full disclosure – FF Ral was seeded a few pairs, and I was a lucky FIT Specialist who got a pair.  But all opinions are strictly my own!]

Today was the worst day at work.

So in my non-Zumba, non-blogging, and non-Fleet Feet life, I am a social worker, and yesterday flat-out sucked.  I literally told my boss “I hate this day,” before I left the office, and called Austin in a cranky mood.

I was tempted to lay on the couch and call it a day, but when I got home, I cracked one of these.

DSC_0018And I cracked it while I moseyed around and found some clean running clothes, which was no small feat.  There were clothes everywhere, and I had to set out to clean those up.

DSC_0020I did my my-job-is-killing-me run (jk kinda!) in these new babies.  Two things, how good do they look on my new camera?  I played around with lighting, different settings, and different filters today, and it’s starting to turn out beautifully!  I’m not a photographer by any means, but my father has done a lot of photography for years, and I think I caught the same bug that he has.  Second thing, these moon shoes are the Brooks Transcends that arrived last week.  Today was my first real run in them (only 3 miles,) and I will be sure to hit you with the full review once I get some good mileage on them.

The Brooks Transcend is the she that’s replacing the Trance, and honestly, even though I’ve run a lot in the Glycerin (a high-end, high cushion neutral shoe), this shoe is a lot of moon shoe underneath my delicate foot.  On that preliminary tip though, it feels okay, but I’m still not used to having SO much between me and the earth.  But I’m gonna give it that full college try before I tell you for sure how I feel about them.

Now back to the job thing.  What is your real job?  How do you feel about it?  Be honest, I promise I won’t tell your boss!

Speed Workout + Reader Question

A few awesome things today.

So remember that incredible dish I had at Pop’s on Sunday?  The fusilli pasta with the mozzarella?

I slimmed it down, cut some of the oils, and made my own version, and it turned out awesome?  The only downside?  I made enough pasts for like 24 people, and now I’m trying to pawn large amounts of pasta off on anyone who will eat food fit for human consumption.

Here’s the side-by-side – Sunday’s meal is on type.  Mine is on the bottom.

photo 4Mine looks a little “drier” because I skimped on some of those oils that can pack on calories.  But it definitely was tasting good!  Now who wants pasta?

Moving right along!

The weather was beautiful in North Carolina today, literally like 75 degrees.  So I dragged my boss down to the track for a speed workout.

photo 2It was nice to run on the track on a pretty day, and I’ve been working out on such hard surfaces recently, I forgot how nice it is to run on a soft, springy surface.  My body is totally thanking me today.

Today’s interval was a 1 mi. by 6, with a 400m recovery.  It was cool, and I ended up being able to squeeze like 8 miles out of the deal without even realizing!  That’s one of the beautiful aspects of speed workouts!

photo 3Okay, I usually never do this, but this is actually pretty funny.

Mile 1: 7:46 – hysterical, because I told my boss that the first mile would be a nice and easy one, just for us.  I started to feel so crappy during the mile, and I couldn’t figure out why.  Yeah, that would be why, I was running at ungodly (for me) speeds.

Mile 2: 7:59

Mile 3: 8:12

Mile 4: 8:09

Mile 5: 8:14

Mile 6: 8:14

The best moment?  When a woman who was also working out on the track turned to me as she was leaving, gave me the thumbs up, and told me that I was awesome.  I, being hyper-emotional because I was working out, completely burst into tears right there on the track.  Whatevs man, working out is beautiful.

And now, it’s time for the reader question!

I got a text a few days ago, from a reader asking about tying running shoes!

I’m forever confused about the different ways to tie running shoes and have just recently learned the tighter you tie isn’t actually the better (I was wondering why my feet were going numb).

So Kim (reader in question) is certainly not the only one.  I was beyond shocked when I borrowed my boss’ shoes for a run, and his shoes were snatched down to beyond an inch of their lives, and I’ve seen the same in a lot of folks who come into Fleet Feet.  A lot of folks will come in and complain of their feet going numb especially.

So here’s the deal, and the way I would suggest that you tie your shoes in order to be comfortable.

photo 1Take a gander at the feets.

So your shoes do not need to be super tight, nor do they need to be flopping off of your feet (something I’ve certainly been guilty of).  But if you’re one of those people who love that tight feel, but concerned because your feet go numb every run, I have a fun trick for you.  Tie your shoes normally.  Don’t squeeze the heck out of your feet.

Then, do this.  We’re gonna backlace your shoe (and keep the shoe from sliding around on your ankle).

See that top eyelet on the shoe that you’ve always wondered about?  We’re going to use it today.  Poke the right lace through the right hole and the left lace through the left hole.  So we’re making bunny ears.  Now cut straight across the top of your foot and pierce the opposite ear.  Same thing, pierce the opposite ear.  Then pull both laces straight up, and this will lock the shoe on your ankle without killing the top of your food.  Here’s how it’s gonna go in YouTube form.

Do itttttt.  Now remember, chill on the laces.  Do not get fixated on tying  them so tight that you see life flash before your eyes.  It’s unnecessary, and the last thing you want to be thinking about is how bad your feet hurt 10 miles in.

Anyhoo, I miss you guys, come visit me in the comments.

Tell me something, what’d you eat for dinner last night?  Pictures are welcome!

Happy Monday!

Total brain dump for you all today.  

The weekend was really good, but once again, I left it feeling like I didn’t get anything that I wanted to done, in part because all day Saturday, after I finished teaching class, I was laid up with a headache, so I ended up sleeping most of the day.  

Ah well, I will just have to put in a little extra work this week to make sure house gets cleaned/dinner gets made/workout gets worked etc etc. 

So anyhoo, a few items of brain dumpage. 

photo 1

This hair.  Obviously, I’ve been rockin the locs for a long time, but these, these are a feat of majesty and wonderment.  I’m not sure if my hair could take the color, because I work out too much and that already stresses my hair, but I can definitely work to grow it out a few more inches and crunch/curl them so they look all wild and cool like this.  I love.  

 

Tphoto 2

I was back in the store yesterday, and trying on all the shoes.  Still waiting to try on the Brooks Trascend (the new mushy model Brooks is releasing), but for yesterday, I went with the New Balance Minimus Road 10, a Minimalist shoe.  One of these days, we can talk all about minimalist running, but today is not that day.   All I can say is that these shoes are really cute, and I wish my right achilles would allow me to even consider running in this shoe, cause the colors are cute.  

photo 3

I had to drop my little boy, Martin off to get his neuter today, and I was a total wreck.  The doctor said he did really well, but they said he still had a few fleas (GAH) and conjunctivitis in his right eye.  Poop.  So they send him home with a few medications. 

photo 4

 

And by the time I got to him, he was so out of it.  But, even in his medicated state, he was really really loving, and kept nuzzling my hand.  

photo 5

 

He was back to his normal self the following morning, and had managed to break his collar within moments of us purchasing it for him.  Gah what the heck.  

And that is it for today’s brain dump. 

How was your weekend?  Did you do anything fun?

Demystifying the sneaker-guide.

Put down that Runner’s World sneaker guide.  Stop asking your friends on your Facebook status what shoe you should get.  And for the love of God, stop buying $45 shoes off of Amazon.  I’m going to make this really really super easy for you.

Go to a running specialty store.  Get a fitting.  Purchase your shoes.  (And a nice, synthetic sock).  And enjoy yourself.  Here’s why.

  • Some ridiculous percentage of you guys are wearing the wrong size shoes.  It’s not normal to get black and sore toenails.  It’s not normal to lose toenails  in a  race.  It’s also completely abnormal to have space enough by the heel collar for me to shove my fingers in the back of the shoe (which I totally saw at Niketown this weekend).  You’re supposed to go up a half to a full size from your dress shoe size, because when you run, and when you work out?  Your feet swell.  Go get measured.
  • Someone has convinced you you have flat feet/high arches/need some crazy custom orthotic.  Some of you guys have been told but an aunt since you were five you have some weird foot thing.  You buy your shoes based on this and you’re buying the wrong shoe.  Again, let a trained professional look at your foot and tell you what’s going on.
  • You’re not really saving much of anything when you buy a $56 shoe off amazon.  Or at DSW.  Or at Dick’s.  Firstly, running shoes are not the place to skimp on money.  Shoes really shouldn’t cost less than $100 If a shoe is that cheap, there’s probably any number of reasons for that.
    1. The shoe is an older model.  As in, it’s no longer manufactured.
    2. The shoe is a cheaper version of a real shoe.  The company has taken cushioning out of a good shoe, named it something else, and sold it.
    3. The shoe has been sitting in a warehouse for 3.5 years.  Shoes naturally begin to break down after a year, whether they’ve been worn or not.  You just paid money for a shoe that’s already worn out, and you’re risking injury.

photo (5)

Running shoes are a science. They’re an art. They’re subjective. And using a sneaker guide, asking friends, or just buying the cheapest thing you can find at a Dick’s Sporting Goods is just doing your body, your feet, and your running future a huge disservice.  Go get a fitting.  Drop the $110 on a shoe.  And be your best running self (okay, werq Oprah!)