Reader Question!

So I had a great question pop up in the comments a few days ago, and I thought that you guys could benefit from the answer!

Hi!
I’m a borderline overpronator with flat-ish feet. I’m not a runner, but I go for Zumba classes 3-5 days a week. I’m looking for new shoes to avoid the knee pain I seem to have after classes these days.
Would you recommend the transcend for Zumba I wonder? Or does it have too much traction for dance?
Thanks a ton!

First off, this is a great question, and I definitely encourage all of you guys, if you have questions for me, about anything, to ask. If I DON’T know the answer, lord knows I will try and do my best to find an answer for you!

And if you’re at all wondering what my qualifications are to even answer this kind of question, I have taught group fitness for almost 6 years now (eek), since January of 2010 officially with NC State, and I have worked for Fleet Feet Raleigh for a long time, where we are trained to assess and prescribe, so to speak, the best shoe for your most comfortable run.

Now, before you go and buy a new show for whatever activity you are doing, figure out what you will be doing with the shoe.  If you are a runner, you should be running in a running shoe.  If you are a tennis player, a tennis shoe.  Same for playing basketball.

But what do you wear if you find yourself teaching or taking a ton of classes in studios, like a Zumba, Cardio Dance, Step, or Kickboxing class?  A lot of folks tend to assume that you can just wear a running shoe for something like that, but that can be really tricky for two reasons.

  1. Running shoes are designed to go front and back, not side-to-side, or laterally.  There is a guidance line built right down the center of a running shoe that keeps that shoe wanting to move front to back.  So for a salsa, mambo, or any other move that you find yourself doing in a lot of studio classes that are NOT a bootcamp, the shoe is literally fighting you every step.
  2. Running shoes are designed to grip, and that gripping motion will tear up your knees and joints when you fight the traction and hit pivots, or movements similar to this one.  

So what’s a studio queen to do?

There are actually shoes designed for this specific thing.

Reebok Dance Ryka Dance

 

Both of these are available online – the first is a Reebok dance shoe, and the second a Ryka shoe.  I would link you to it buy Reebok and Ryka ain’t offered to pay me for it so I’m trusting you all to be able to find this without too much trouble.  But Reebok, Ryka, and sometimes Nike are the places I tend to head when searching for a good studio shoe.  The main difference between this shoe and a running shoe is that these are less grippy, hug your foot, and often feature a pivot point, a point right on the ball of the shoe that allows you to effectively pivot, cha-cha, mambo, or anything else.

Put any other shoe questions you may have in the comments!

 

How I Landed My Job

Hi! (Whenever I say that, it makes me think of this vine).

I hope you guys had a good 4th. I went to Atlanta with some friends from Elon, while my husband headed to his mom’s to help her move some stuff. It was really cool to see my friends, some of whom I haven’t seen since Elon Homecoming last year. Everyone seems like they’re doing well, and we all get a huge kick out of giving each other a hard time.

Elon ReunionPeep how cute this high-waisted bikini I snagged from ModCloth is!

ModClothI appreciate the vintage style, and I snagged this bikini because I saw this style on a few girls at the beach last week, and was impressed by how forgiving it was.

How I Landed my Job

First off, I totally stole this from Kristyn at Chits and Giggles, who took us through how she landed her gig at Coca-Cola.  It was really interesting because I too came to my job in a fun way, and I’m always interested to see how other folks land their jobs.

So, I am a Group Fitness Director at a Y here.  The job is amazing, incredible, and I feel often like I’m living a dream with the position.

So the way I got it.

I’m not sure I even quite realized that being a Group Fitness Director was a thing until I worked for UREC at NC State.  Suddenly, what I wanted to do started to become clear.  My heart was in group fitness, teaching, weight loss, nutrition, and counseling, and I wasn’t really sure how to do it.

One of the best things I ever did was to get a job with Fleet Feet Raleigh shortly after I graduated, and I’m so grateful that Bob (owner) took a chance on me, and I’ll tell you why in just a minute.

So, in the summer of 2012, the woman who was in my position moved on from the job, and I applied for the position a clueless 20-something with not a whole lot of job experience.  I think I remember the interview going well, but not having networked a ton around Raleigh, and not having a ton of job experience, the position went to another candidate, and I was devastated.  For a few days after I got the news that I didn’t get the job, I took the hit extremely personally, and cried for days.

After crying, I think I wasn’t entirely sure what my next move should be, and I asked people around me what I should do.  A few people were angry on my behalf, and told me that I should quit teaching my classes and sever all ties with the Y.  And I think deep down, we all have that desire in there, but the thought of not teaching my classes anymore there was really even more devastating.  I made the conscious decision to stick it out there, stick with Fleet Feet Raleigh, and begin applying to jobs, learning about the field, and networking with the hopes of eventually becoming Group X Director.

Fleet Feet Raleigh

I’d like to take a second here to talk about my time with Fleet Feet Raleigh (FFR), which I really need to credit for a lot.  Fleet Feet Raleigh is a running specialty shop, specializing in running.  Running shoes, apparel, nutrition, and hydration is our bread and butter.  I have to credit FFRal with helping me to grow as a candidate.  In my time there, Bob (our fearless leader), encouraged and supported my foray into this blog, provided me leadership opportunities, allowed me to learn and play with social media, and really provided me the tools I needed to become more marketable in this field.  He and his wife, Kathy, are truly the bomb.

So, last year, in the thick of us preparing to get married, I received word along with the monthly schedule requests that our Group Fitness Director was moving on elsewhere.  I wanted to go for it again, but I was honestly afraid of how humiliated I might feel if I didn’t get the job again.  One night, walking around the mall parking lot, I asked Austin about what he thought.  He was supportive, told me to go for it, and reminded me that if I didn’t get it for whatever reason, that I shouldn’t beat myself up, and that it didn’t mean that I wasn’t valuable.

So I sent Matt, my current boss, an email, and explained that I had applied for the position once before, and hadn’t gotten it, but was still interested.  He responded, and called me within the next few days, and asked if I’d like to set up an interview.

!!!

I really don’t remember a ton about that first interview to be honest, because I was trying to approach it as chill as possible.  Matt called me a few days later and asked me to come back for a second interview, this one an interview with maybe four people there.  That was was intimidating, but I really tried to speak from my heart.  I talked about my passion for group fitness.  I talked about not getting the position before and the grown I felt like I’d had in the 2(ish) years since.  I just was really honest.

Again, a few days later, Matt called and asked me to come in to meet with our branch director.  This interview was really more like a chat, and Dan was really warm and welcoming to me.  Again, I was really trying to be chill about this whole thing, so I tried not to get too excited, and with each meeting, I made sure to send a thank you and remind myself that if this didn’t go my way, there was probably a reason why it wouldn’t work out.

Matt stayed in touch with me.  He assigned me to evaluate a class one weekend.  He checked in with me regarding salary.  And finally, one day when I was at work, I recognized Matt’s phone number.

“Hey Cheri!  Is now a good time?”

Is that a trick question…

“We just want to thank you so much for going through this process with us..”

Oh dammit.  He’s breaking up with me…prepare for it…here it comes…

“…With the passion and the growth you’ve demonstrated…and…we just wanted to go ahead and offer you the position.  Now we don’t want you to answer us today, I want you to take a day or two to think about it..”

!!!

One fist went up in the air.  But I had to keep it together so I wouldn’t look like a jerk on the phone and so I wouldn’t distract from the regular day going on at my job.

Needless to say I took the job.  And I have not looked back.  I truly feel like I’m living my dream.  I get to teach classes, schedule classes, supervise a large staff, and develop my skills at a nonprofit – all things I feel truly passionate about.  I actually enjoy going to my job, and can see myself there for a long time, and hope that they feel the same about.

So all that great big long post aside:

What do you do (work-wise)?

How did you land your job?

3 Things I did this weekend.

Hiiiii!

I hope you had a good weekend!  I can’t stop eating, which I’ll explain later.  (I am not pregnant).

Three Things I Did This Weekend.

1.  Started, then finished the “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”.  

Kimmy SchmidtBefore you get all judgey, and comment about how I need to get a life, I will say in my defense, that I did not go to work on Friday, and that I had some time on Friday, which allowed me to finish like half the season.  I really liked it because I connected well with the humor.  It was culturally pertinent, and really smart.  Plus “Kimmy,” (Ellie) is hysterical, and plays her role perfectly,  Definitely recommend it!

2.  Worked at Fleet Feet.  

Clothing TagsI’ve been doing this a good bit.  There are a few weeks in the spring where there is a LOT of racing, and because the weather gets so nice, people rush to get their new shoes, socks, and apparel.  I love the job, and it doesn’t hurt to get a surprise paycheck sometimes in the middle of the week, right?  I had a good, busy day there, but managed to chuck a container full of clothing tags on the ground.  I never really got around to cleaning them up, so I feel bad.  A preemptive apology to whomever it was that will have to refile those 😦

3.  I paced an Ultra Marathon.  

I did this a few years ago.  This time, I went in armed with a little more knowledge.  My runner, Genno, was extremely prepared and organized.  We spoke on the phone in the weeks leading up to her race.  She expressed that she’d wanted to get in under 24 hours, and we chatted about when I should meet her.  On Saturday evening, I hopped in the shower about two hours before I estimated that she’d hit the first aid station once again.  Big shoutout to Austin to doing math for me.  I hit the park about 20 minutes before I ran into Genno, and off we went!

Now, keep in mind that I had never met Genno before, and only run in the same circles as her.  But we did not stop talking for virtually the whole run, which spanned just over 12 miles in chilly weather.  We talked about her husband, my husband.  Her marriage, her daughter.  Her time at the church.  And she honestly had some great insight on having kids as an active woman.  It was really fun!

Umstead Ultra

When I finally got out of the park and to the house, it was after 3 am, and I hopped into my married boudoir without taking a shower.  I’m sorry sweetie, I know that’s disgusting.  I woke up 4 or 5 hours later feeling okay, but like the pollen and dust in the park had aggravated my allergies.  I felt a little sore, but a lot swollen.  Also, I’m SO hungry after running all night.

I can’t say if a 100-miler is in my figure,  but I will say that I will pace again, and would love to meet someone like Genno.

What did you do this weekend?

If you shop on Thanksgiving, I’m judging you.

This will be my only post/rant on the issue, and then I will drop it and we’ll move along and all be friends.

On Thanksgiving, i will be doing two things.

  1. Going for a run so I can enjoy indulging without much guilt.
  2. Cooking.
  3. Enjoying dinner with my family.

So that was three things, but you get what I’m saying.  Nowhere above did I say I was going to go to Best Buy, Target, or Macy’s to stock up on some crappy deal, when I really need to be saving my coins (my car just decided it needed about $600 worth of help, so I really can’t be spending money all willy-nilly anyhow).  And the reason for this is that, after working in retail, Whole Foods and Fleet Feet, there is no way on God’s green earth that I’d get up from my dinner table, run out, and make someone else’s life really mis on that day.

Let me explain something to you about working retail during the holidays.  I truly didn’t experience this as much with the customers from Fleet Feet, however, the Whole Foods schedule, and the customers made me resent them and resent the holidays, a feeling I hated having.  I felt myself starting to hate holiday themed food, answering people’s dumbass questions regarding some weird food we have never carried, and hating people themselves, especially those who took out their holiday-induced stress on us.

Here’s an example.  One Thanksgiving-Eve, a woman called the bakery and screamed at me because she hadn’t realized that the Yule Logs were like chocolate inside when she bought them.  First off, I don’t care.  If that is your worst worry at the holidays, consider yourself lucky.  There is poverty, hunger, genocide, and racism in the world to scratch the surface – none of which take a break on the holidays.  And furthermore, it is not my fault that you didn’t realize that the yule logs were chocolate inside.  Now, if she were actually nice to be, I might actually feel inclined to fix her problem or offer her something of her choosing in the vanilla family, however, she was unkind, and therefore, I didn’t feel too pressed to correct her issue.  Especially, ESPECIALLY given that she seemed to have no concern that while I listened to her yule log lamentations, my family was wondering where I was, and getting started on all the cooking without me.

But I digress.

You can try and slice and dice it any way you want to…

-Those people volunteer to work. (And really, the way it works is that the folks that want to work volunteer first, and then your manager fills the rest of the holes with other folks who may not particularly care to work.)

-These folks make a TON of money in this season. (No on is getting rich on a retail salary.  If they’re making time-and-a-half, that is absolutely wonderful, but a really temporary fix for the anger and resentment that builds up towards folks around the holidays.)

-If they don’t like it, why are they working retail.  (Now, I know jobs are extremely easy to come by ::cough::, however, sometimes folks don’t have a whole lot of choice.  Or sometimes, they actually LIKE their retail situation during months that aren’t November and December.  However, that doesn’t mean they want to get screamed at about your yule logs on Thanksgiving Day.)

…But the fact stands.  You don’t need to shop on Thanksgiving.  And I’m judging you if you choose to do so.

Running on a budget.

Clearly, as evidenced by my post following my adventures in Targetland, I’m not always the budget guru, however, when it comes to running on a budget, I kinda know the tips and tricks.

This came up the other day, when a friend, who is very cool and very very tatted up, mentioned that she loves to run, but that a pair of running shoes is nearly an entire one of her paychecks.

I totally get that.  I’ve been there before, and I feel so fortunate to not have to scrounge for shoes and some technical gear any longer.

Shoes$

So, I cannot stress to you enough how important good gear is.  If you want to avoid chafing, blisters, bunions, heel pain, the whole 9, you need to spend money on your stuff.  But how can you afford the stuff?  (Seriously, I just got a pair of tights that costed $90, so I feel you.)

  1. Recognize that the pricier stuff, both shoes and gear, is generally superior to the less-expensive stuff from Wal-Mart or Target.  I’ve worn both.  Sure, the less pricey stuff definitely has its perks – it’s great for bumming around, long drives, and sometimes, for the occasional workout.  But if you’ve ever tried to wear a cotton t-shirt during a hot, sweaty workout and it’s turned into a dress on you, you know that sometimes, the more-expensive stuff is worth it.
  2. Once you recognize that it might be worth it, let’s strategize on how we’re gonna save dem dollas.
  3. Pay for one anchor piece full-price.  That’s right, shell out that $110 for a pair of shoes at a running specialty place like a Fleet Feet, so you know what kind of shoe you need.  Get the whole fitting.  Let them fit you for a bra.  Try on some pieces of clothing that you think you might like or need.  And leave the store, guilt-free, with your new pair of shoes, and an idea of what your size might be in some other apparel.
  4. So let’s say you were fitted for something like the Brooks Ghost 6.  You know what you’re in now, right?  So there are a few things you can do to save money at this point.  Number one, ask your local Fleet Feet, or whatever running specialty store if they have a customer rewards program.  You may get 10% off of your next pair of shoes, a free pair of socks, or something along those lines!
  5. Ask the person fitting you if there is any discount for teachers or miltary. 
  6. Keep your eyes peeled for anytime your store might be having a sale, because often when a shoe is moving to its new model, the older model may be discounted. 
  7. As far as gear, shop in the off-season!  Shop the racks the end of winter and the end of summer, and you should be able to get some staple pieces to be able to use year-round at a pretty reasonable price.

What are you favorite tips for running on a budget?

Clark Howard, I’ll let you do your job, let me do mine.

During yesterday’s snow day debacle, where I literally spent the entire day inside, blogging, doing laundry, and cleaning.  I did not do any running, and for that, I feel extremely guilty.  [addendum to this post] I finally couldn’t take it anymore, and Austin and I put on our winter finest, and shuffle-ran to to local coffee joint, grabbed a cup, and shuffle-ran back.  My feet are very cold!

But anyhoo, when I was working on the blog and doing my usual scan of Facebook/Twtiter/Bloglovin, I came across this gem by Clark Howard.  Clark Howard, if you’re not familiar, is the resident financial guru on HLN, and he offers tips and tricks to “Save More, Spend Less, and Avoid Rip-Offs,” which I’m all game for.

imgres
Wikipedia.org – Clark Howard

Seriously, as I moved toward getting married and merging finances with another human, I’m working to get better with my finances, as Austin is seriously amazing with money, and I’ve learned a lot from him. So I try not to spend money on stupidity, but I was blown away when I came across this article, that was credited to things Clark Howard had said.

The main premise of the article? 

Cheapo sneakers are actually better for runners.

No, no, no-no, no no no no no.  Absolutely not.  The article credits a Scottish study that somehow concluded that less-expensive shoes are just as good as low cost one.

Full disclosure here.  I work for Fleet Feet, and I am biased, however, having run in both $25 shoes and $150 shoes, there is really no comparison.  You pay more, your feet feel better.

I consider myself something of specialist when it comes to running shoes (since it’s my job) and I’ve said it once, and I will absolutely say it again.  Go to a specialty shoe store, like a Fleet Feet or a Pacers, get a fitting, and pay the full price for your running shoes.  If you’re running, there’s no reason you should be pounding around on shoes you found in a Payless.

And now, I present to you a list of stuff you don’t need to be skimping on!

  1. Your bras.  Sports bras or not, you don’t want to be turning into a floppy mess by the time you’re 25.  Spend the money on something good and supportive, and you won’t regret it.
  2. Your jeans.  I’ve purchased jeans from Target, and they smell like mothballs.  I’ve purchased designer jeans from a consignment store.  Designer digs > Target jeans.
  3. Your vacuum.  If you buy it cheap and your ish is gonna break in 6 months anyways, spend the extra bucks and enjoy your vacuum for years to come.  I have an Oreck XL that’s like a million years old.  I don’t remember how much it cost when it was first purchased, but it’s still going strong.
  4. Your food.  Now let me clear, you can certainly afford healthy foods on the cheap.  Heads of lettuce, fruits, and juices can be purchased for cheap.  But don’t run out to some bargain place and sweep the bottom shelves for Ramen.  You’re doing your body no favors.
  5. Obviously, your running shoes.  Unless you like bunions and bone spurs.  But that’s completely up to you.

So what are you willing to spend your hard-earned money on?  

Ya missed me? This post is so jam-packed with goodies, I can’t even stand it!

I took a few days off from writing, and it drove me peanuts.   But I logged the events of Thanksgiving break in my head so I could keep everyone filled in on the events, which were events a-plenty.

Wednesday, before the holiday, I skipped the run (I know, shame on me,) because I went in for an endoscopy after work to figure out what was going on with my stomach, which you’ll remember has been acting really nuts since my bout with a stomach bug in September.  It was an upper endoscopy, so as far as prep, it just required that I fasted for a bunch of hours.  Rude.

I went in, stripped down to a sexy gown, and they started me on an IV.  The whole process was fairly non-dramatic.  I was wheeled into a room, laid on my side, given oxygen and the process began.  First the Lidocaine to numb my veins, and then the Propofol, and next thing I knew, I was out.  I woke up a really short time later – apparently, while I was under and they tried to shove the camera down my esophagus, I started flailing, pulled my IV out, and they had to pull me out of my sleep to reset the IV.  It was no big deal, and next thing I knew, I was out, and Austin was ready to take me home.  But not before in a haze, I told the nurse that “I looooove him,” and “did you know we were getting married?”

The final verdict? Gastritis.  The lining of my stomach was inflamed and has kicked acid up into my esophagus, which was burnt up too.  The morning of Greensboro, nerves and something I ate the day before probably aggravated my already-raw stomach, causing me to throw up.  Which burnt my esophagus even more.  Yumz. They did a biospy and I should know what’s causing it and what I need to do in the next 10 days or so.  I’ll keep you posted.

Hospital

Thanksgiving Day.  It was awesome.  I woke up, went for a slow and steady 4 miler (I’m streaking til New Years Day), cleaned up my house, and headed down to my parents’ for the holiday.  I cooked, and it was so lovely to spend the time with my family.  That evening, I was able to trick my brother into watching Pitch Perfect with me.  Score.

BroFriday morning, me and little Derek suited up for a run – and I will be gosh darned – the kid can run!  He’s a cross country star, and 18, so truthfully, the run consisted of me chasing him around Waxhaw, NC, which he regarded more as a casual jog.  My hamstrings were mad at me afterward, and I will definitely have to utilize him more for those speed workouts.

DressWe went wedding dress shopping.  That is all I can say, and this is all I will show you because I’m keeping dress negotiations top secret.  But my mom and I had a blast shopping for dresses.  She did try to negotiate a tiara and a set of silky gloves out of me, but I’m not budging, much to her chagrin.

CarAnd in the single greatest moment of the holiday, possibly of the year, my brother offered to drive us to Harris Teeter to buy my dad seltzer, and we needed to, since I drink up all his seltzer every time I go home.  Anyhoo, my brother drives a Benz.

Fancy?

Well, it’s an ’87, and when he started it, he had to pump the gas like a madman before we could get moving.  Then, when we arrived to the Teet, we had to leave it running while we ran inside.  Hood.

Brosky

And finally, I finished out the weekend by enjoying a dinner where I spent my 16th birthday, Kristopher’s in Matthews, NC, with Austin, the husband-to-be, and Derek, my brother.  It was so fun, so delicious, and an excellent way to wrap up the weekend.

Thanksgiving was awesome.  It was a lovely visit, and I finished out the weekend by running, running a little more, and working at the running store, which always puts a smile on my face.

How was your Thanksgiving Holiday?

Can I get this off my chest?

First off, happy Grammys!  I adore good music.  Absolutely makes the world go round.  Anyhoo!

I try not to complain a ton.  I’m a big Belieber believer in karma.  I think the more you complain, the more bad things happen to you.  If I have a legitimate complaint at a restaurant, I always try to immediately follow it with a compliment somewhere else.  I had the worst experience ever at this filthy Dunkin Donuts on Western Boulevard with a latte, so the following week, I called McDonald’s corporate to compliment Sheila on how friendly she was when she handed me my Diet Dr. Pepper.  Made me feel my karma was in check.

Anyhoo, I say this because I wasn’t sure I ever wanted to blog about this, but Deb and I were talking, and we totally needed to get this off my chest.

Storytime!

SO I work for Fleet Feet Raleigh, and I love my job.  There is rarely a day when I go in when I dread going to work, and I laugh at least hourly there.  I think I was doing something behind our cash wrap about a month ago, and I noticed there was a cute young girl wearing an Elon sweatshirt.  I was like HOLLA!  I love networking with Elon Alumni.  My mistake.  So her father saunters up, carrying a Starbucks in his hand.

Elon Girl’s Dad: YOU WENT TO ELON?!

Me: Yeah!  I loved it!  You guys are so lucky!

Elon Girl’s Dad: Wait a minute. You’re telling me…you paid $100,000 you went to Elon…and you work here? ::looks around disgustedly::

Me: Well….I…I…

For the first time in forever, I was speechless. Blown away that someone could walk into my place of employment, look me up and down, insult me, insult my co-workers, and be okay with it.  It was rude, it was deplorable, and despite what this gentleman seems to think, there’s more than one path to success than going to Elon, immediately becoming CEO of some place, and being rich and fancy.

My sister, Deb, also says she’s had a similar experience at the stock brokerage where she works.  Despite the fact she makes decent money, and has passed the tests necessary to move up in the company, folks have made similarly rude comments about her major, International Comparative Studies, and Korean.  It seems that folks think that if you don’t do exactly what it is that your major entails in life, that you’re a failure.

First off.  Not true.  My dad majored in Physics, and ended up in banking.  My mother studied Nursing and is a stay-at-home mom.  Lilly Ghalichi (of Shahs) is a lawyer by trade, and designs Swimgerie.  Mike Posner went to Duke, studied sociology, and now tunelessly sings, and gets paid millions for it.

Second off.  Mind your dang bidness before you run around making rude, sweeping judgements.  So what, I’m not a lawyer and rich?  I’m rich in life (thank you Nene), and I’m very happy.  I’m not a blight on society (in fact, I might even be the opposite).  So in the words of a tearful emotional scholar, Tyra Banks kiss my fat ass!  ::slaps butt::

Ass