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!

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!


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?  


The Vibram thing.

There’s a saying in Haiti, and it translates loosely to this. “You eat the meat, and spit out the bones.”

What it means?

Take what you want or need from every situation, and “spit out” what you don’t need. This logic should have applied in the case of Vibrams. Vibram, which is under the umbrella of New Balance (fun fact!) advertised these zero-drop minimalist shoe, and claimed, among other things, that the shoes would alleviate knee pain, blah blah blah.  I need you guys to understand that any shoe that across-the-board, promises to alleviate knee pain, is probably bs because of the sheer fact that shoes are subjective.  Everyone cannot wear every shoe.  Because every body is different.

I digress however.


I started running in Vibrams like 3 years ago.

It was fine, until my achilles tendon on my right side started bothering me.  So I stuck to the shoes mainly for things like weightlifting, and left the long runs to shoes with more cushion.  I love cushioning, and minimalist running just wasn’t for me.  Didn’t mean it sucked.  But certainly didn’t mean it ruled either.

So back to my original point, Vibram just lost a class action lawsuit for making claims such as the one I mentioned above, with the knee thing.  Folks were getting the shoes on, running like 8 miles in them their first day, and experiencing some serious issues.  Which is obviously Vibram’s fault.  <-that was sarcasm.

So yes, perhaps claiming that Vibrams would magically cure the common cold was a stretch, but where does consumer common sense rule in making decisions about running shoes?

I cannot tell you how many time folks would walk into the store, state they had just had surgery to fix a ruptured achilles tendon, and then ask to see all minimal shoes, despite our suggestions toward something with a little more structure.

Here’s the lesson you should take from this Vibrams thing.

USE YOUR BRAIN WHEN SHOPPING FOR SHOES.  If you’ve been injured before, it’s really not the time to try some crazy shoe with zero support.  If something hurts, stop it and consider a different shoe.  And for the love of God, investigate all wacky claims for yourself.

Have a ever run “barefoot”?  What did you think?

-I did for a short time, like I said, before my achilles started bothering me, so I stopped.  After that, I ran in the Saucony Kinvara for a while, which seemed to agree with me a little bit more.  Austin actually lifts daily in his Vibrams, but he is relatively injury-free and has no problem with it, but he saves his long runs for a more traditional running shoes.


Stuff I need (ugh, want).

I worked at Fleet Feet this past Saturday, which means, quite unfortunately for my budget, which we’ve talked about here, it starts to feel threatened and starts shivering.

For months and months, I drool and daydream about various pieces of technical running gear, until finally, I feel comfortable enough to actually purchase it without feeling guilty.  As soon as I walked into work yesterday, I spotted a few items that will  need to be made into little family members in my growing collection of running stuff that I’ve acquired over the past few years.

Nike-Pro-Sparkling-Sunburst-Mallas---Mujer-632280_709_A_PREMThis photo has been popping up on my feed in celebration of the Nike Women’s Half Marathon, and went on sale for 90 euros.  Now, I’m not the bomb with math, but that’s not looking too good for the running budget.

DSC_0187This was staring at me when I walked into the store on Saturday, and I’m a total sucker for anything that’s a 3/4 tight, and textured.  It probably does nothing for making me look svelte, but I really don’t care.  I love how fun a textured tight looks, and I’m sick of just running around in my basic black 3/4 tight.

DSC_0188And I totally wish that I could let you guys touch fabrics through the blog.  This top was lined with a really light fleece, and I think since it’s starting to get warm, it will be on sale pretty soon.

But alas, this is just a wish list.

Anything you’ve seen that you wish you could just stick in your closet?  

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….


  • 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!

Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Recap! Friggin epic post!


I had an amazing weekend, which I’m guessing you can gather from all the tweets and the FB posts that were all “omgomgomgomg I love it here!”.  I’m trying to figure out how many times I can tell you guys I’m having and epic weekend before you start to suspect that I do nothing but traipse around with no other purpose but to write about it, but rest assured, I have a real life too!  My weekends have just been insane this past month or so.

So anyways, I headed to DC this past weekend, the best city in the land, to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll USA half marathon, and the weekend literally gets a 10 out of 10 from me.  I’ll totally tell you why.

P1160264So I stayed at the Westin in Georgetown, and the first thing I saw when I walked in was this.  A big, giant, comfortable bed, with a robe on it.

P1160267Then I saw this, which I immediately decided would be put to good use before I raced the following day.  And use it I did.  Following a quick pre-race dinner of a sandwich and some greens, I immediately set about to fill up this tub, take a quick swig from my bottle of Skinny Girl California White, and soaked in the tub with a Demi Lovato book (don’t judge) until i was too sweaty to continue.  Baths usually go that way for me, I get too sweaty to enjoy it after awhile and I have to get out!

P1160272Westin has this sick program, where, for $5 a day, you can skip packing you workout clothes (which always take up a good bit of room), and sort of rent/borrow some New Balance apparel.  I believe they also guarantee that you will leap about like the model does in all-white clothing.  Added bonus!

P1160268More tub!  P1160276You didn’t think I was going to leave the hotel without trying on the robe, right?  It was comfy, and there’s my mug without makeup.  What do ya think?  And with all of that, I hit the sack for about 3 or 4 hours, and got prepped for the race, the Rock ‘n’ Roll USA!  (And don’t worry, I will go over all the good, the bad (none), and the awesome in a minute, just enjoy the photos for a second!)

P1160277What I wore!  The trusty Brooks Glycerin, my printed Nike tights, a muscle tee from Fabletics, and a little Fabletics Yoga hoodie.  As for socks, I went with some Smart Wool to keep my toots warm.
P1160278And let’s skip ahead!  Mama finished 13.1 and is still smiling, even after a bout with some Norovirus or something funky this week.

P1160279The Rock ‘n’ Roll VIP Tent!  Best post race thing ever!
P1160280More VIP celebrations!

P1160281Me and the beautiful Carrie Keagan hung out before and post race.  Side note, her parents are friggin adorable, and by the time we left, we were referring to each other as Mom, Dad, and their long lost dark-skinned daughter.

P1160282Back stage at the concert – The Head and the Heart.

P1160283What a crowd!

P1160284More more!

P1160285 P1160286 P1160287 P1160288 P1160289 P1160290

And I finished off the weekend with a shower and friends!

So now that you got to see my wonderful pics, let’s talk about Rock ‘n’ Roll USA!

The Good

  • The start waves.  They nailed this one, better than anyone has ever nailed it before.  The waves were timed so well that although a ton of people were running, there was never a point where I felt like the situation was too crowded to move in.
  • The transportation.  If you weren’t familiar with the city, no matter because we were provided detailed maps in tons of ways to get to the start easily by the metro.  So seamless.
  • The course.  The course was sick.  Aside from an ungodly hill at mile 6 (that is all people were talking about after the race), the course was beautiful.

The Bad. 

  • Seriously?  I have 0 complaints.

The Awesome.

  • VIP Access.  Seriously, if you have never sprung for the VIP access, do it!  Because of my VIP access I had an early breakfast of oatmeal and fruit, I had a ride down the the start line, I had a charging station for my cell phone, I had a warm place to hang out pre-race, a separate bag check, and access to the heated VIP tent after the race, where there was a ton of food, liquids, and BEER after the race!
  • The concert.  So rad.  The Head and the Heart.  So rad.
  • The weather. Could not have asked for a more beautiful day.  I wore the yoga sweatshirt for maybe the first three miles, and then peeled it off and was able to get by in a muscle tee the rest of the race.

The verdict. 

Rock ‘n’ Roll USA was a 10/10.  I have run many a race, good and bad, and this one is up there as the best – the best organized, the best weather, the best course, and the best service of any race I’ve done, and from what I heard from my folks, Rock ‘n’ Roll has been like this in general.  Sign up sign up sign up!

[Disclaimer – I was given a race entry + VIP access, but I would tell you if it sucked or not.  Seriously, this race is a two thumbs up!]

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.


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?

Runner Pop Quiz

Happy Thursday afternoon, beautiful people!  Hope your runs are going well.  Mine are good, save for a little bit of a stuffy nose and a sore throat that I’ve been nursing.  But this hot and cold weather is good weather for getting sick in, right?

Anyhoo, remember pop quizzes?  I think the last one that I took was in religion sophomore year in college and the joke was on Tripp York cause I actually did the reading.   And I can actually recall what the reading was about – about Disney.  Scary.

So I stole this pop quiz from J at Skinny Chick Blog, but she said we could steal it, and she’s a runner too.  I kept the pink font in her honor.  Onto the quiz!  

1.  What weather do you refuse to run in?

I refuse to run when it’s icy out.  We don’t do ice too often here, the sidewalks never get cleared, and as someone who has (very painfully) broken a bone before, I have no interest in doing it again.  

2.  What distance is your “short” run?

My short run is this like, 3 miles loop through downtown Raleigh.  I think Jillian Michaels said one that 3 miles is what you need to stay fit, and I’ve always taken that to heart.  I always have 30 minutes to pop a 3 miler in.  

3.  How do you stay hydrated while running?  Water fountain, carry your own etc.

I carry my own, and sometimes stop at coffee shops and the Whole Foods to fill up my little bottle.  I haven’t worn my backpack in a long time, and I’m just not yet in the mood to wear it.  Handheld it is!  

4.  Music or no music?

Usually music.  Sometimes not if I need to be alone with my thoughts.  

5.  Do you ever run nekkid?  {Without GPS, not literally silly}

Sometimes. When I forget to charge my watch.  But I love it.  

 6.  What is the first thing you do after a run?

Grab some water, and walk the dog, since I know she’s usually been waiting on me for a while.  

7.  What’s your favorite running shoe ever?

You know what?  I’m kind of in a shoe rut.  I work for Fleet Feet, and I have every running shoe at my disposal, and I was a Brooks girl,  I’ve been a Brooks girl for a while.  But here’s me here….



In a NB (and the review is coming soon!) and I’m still not sure which way I’m gonna go with shoes.  I’m running a half in March, and a full and a half April, and I need to figure it out ASAP, cause I don’t want to be without toenails!

8.  Do you make deals with yourself to finish a tough run?  What are they?

I think usually I just think about food and Austin to get me through the run.  I think about pasta, beer, toast, wine, beer, and my husband-to-be when I’m toward the tail end of a long run.

9.  Two things you can not run without besides kicks?

A good bra.  There’s nothing better than a good bra.  




10.  Running has helped me ___________.

Be confident in myself – who I am, my skills, my abilities.  I wouldn’t have had the balls to do a lot that I have in my life without running.  

11.  Are you following a training plan?  If so, what does your weekly routine look like?

I’m following the Hanson method.  Sunday I run long (but not longer than like 16). Monday I run 5, Tuesday a speed run that’s been adding up to like 8ish miles the last few weeks, Wednesday I take a break, Thursday I run 8 fast, Friday I run 5 easy, Saturday I run 5 easy and then I do it all over again.  Mama is TIRED, mmkay!

12.  Be honest, do you regularly stretch + foam roll post run?

I stretch.  And I foam roll a few times a week, but definitely not as much as I should.

So how’d you do on the pop quiz?  Feel free to lift it, answer one or two of these, or just drop in and say hi to me!