Monday, June 29, 2015

Runfessions for June

Yep, it's that time of the month again. Just like clockwork or a period, Marcia's Runfessions comes around and lets us clear our consciences of all our transgressions for the month. Mine is a few days late because I had a scheduled post on Friday for the Vision Council and National Sunglasses Day. So without further ado...

I got pulled over for speeding. Yep. I was on my way home from Whole Foods and I spotted the cop, the radar gun, and hit the brakes. But too late, because she pulled out behind me. Crap! She didn't turn the cherries on right away, so I stayed at the speed limit. Starting to relax, I glanced in my rearview mirror and oh no, they were flashing. I pulled into the median and waited. This really young female police officer came up to my window. She couldn't have been more than 15 years old, I swear. After going through her questioning, I handed her my license. She handed it back to me. I had given her my library card. We both laughed, and she told me that she was going to give me a warning. She kept calling me ma'am. Maybe I reminded her of her mom. I don't care. What ever it was, it worked. I didn't even have to play the nurse card....

I keep cutting my finger on the foil on the wine bottles. The struggle is real. Every time I uncork a bottle and try to remove the foil, snip! And I'm bleeding. Thank goodness I have my wine to dull the pain. The only problem I see is that my little patients notice my bandaid and ask me how I got my "owie"... I'm now grateful for wine that has the screw tops. No fuss, no muss. Easy access. All good.

I have somewhat of an obsession with running socks. I really like to think that having good socks is just one other way I can keep my feet happy. The other day I was at Marshall's, and I came upon the sock display. I usually walk right on by, but that day, it was chock full of running socks. There were a ton of SmartWool low running socks. I immediately pulled 4 pairs off the rack. Then I saw a pair of Feetures. I added those to the collection. I also had a couple of pairs of a brand I had never heard of in my hands. Feeling like a hoarder, I put those back. But I did leave the store with 5 pairs of running socks. My feet haven't stopped smiling.

Feeling like a badass after a fast 10k in 52 minutes this week
I hadn't been loving my runs lately. Dare I say it--I had been feeling a little burned out. My legs were tired and my runs have been slower than I like. I blame life stress. I blame the humidity. This isn't exactly how I'd like to head into marathon training. Because of all the rain and cool weather we've had, I haven't ridden my bike nearly as much as I'd like to. This has to be the craziest summer weather I can ever remember. I finally got out there on the bike last Sunday, and rode 30 miles. I was pleased with the way my legs felt for the entire ride. After the ride, I felt energized and ready to run again. Sometimes you just have to mix it up a bit. And then there was Thursday's just turned things around for me. Running is just the craziest thing, isn't it?

But on a related note, just because I'm riding my bike doesn't mean I'm going to do a triathlon. I know, all the cool kids are doing them. I feel the pressure, believe me. But no. Repeat after me: I DON'T LIKE TO SWIM. Almost all of my running buddies are swim training and partaking in triathlons. I get that. But I just want to run.

What do you have to runfess? Do you feel peer pressure to enter an event because all your friends are doing it? What do you do when you're feeling burned out?

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Scenes from a summer place...

A little play on parents met in high school in the 50s, and this was always one of "their songs". Seemed appropriate after spending a wonderful weekend in the place where so many memories have been made. And we made more memories this weekend. You might want to let the song play while you read the post.
My husband and my oldest son had to work over the weekend, so my youngest son Matthew and I drove up to my parents' place in Door County, in northern Wisconsin. I let him do most of the driving. Actually, I had him do most of the driving over the weekend. He did a great job. I realized how convenient having a designated driver could be after drinking a few Spotted Cows with dinner.

Friday was a rest day for me. Do runners really rest? I did some shopping with my mom in the morning, and then Matthew and I went to lunch at our favorite waterside spot. It was a little cool and cloudy, but the view can't be beat. After lunch, we played 18 holes of golf. Mini golf, that is.
At Fred and Fuzzy's in Sister Bay
The sun came out in the afternoon and we took the kayaks out in the bay. All of a sudden, Matthew jumped on top of the kayak and called for me. I paddled over to see what was wrong. His kayak was full of spiders. And not just any spiders. There was this creepy looking one. All spiders are creepy, but this guy was huge. We think it was a wolf spider, a native of Wisconsin. I tried drowning the spider, but he just curled up in a ball and waited for the water to wash away. Then he started tormenting my son again. I swear he was rubbing his front legs together, plotting his attack. I tried whacking him with the paddle and he scooted away under the seat. I convinced Matthew to paddle back to the pier. He was not happy, but we got back to the pier without any issues, and tried hosing out the kayak with water. We discovered that Mr Spider was not alone. We washed out probably 25 or more of his buddies. Matthew was just about sick when he saw all his passengers. It was crazy, because the kayak I rode in had just a few spiders. I felt kind of bad about this. After all, my kayak was spider free. It wasn't intentional! I swear!

To make it up to him, after dinner, we went for ice cream...
Sister Bay Ice Cream Factory

and drove to the beach to check out the sunset.
Beach Road, Sister Bay
I got up early on Saturday to get my 6 miles in. This was the day I was going to hit 600 miles for the year! I waited at the top of my parents' driveway to get a signal on my Garmin. While I was waiting, the mosquitos decided to have breakfast. With me. I couldn't take it! Even though my Garmin was still searching, I started running, to get away from them. Finally, the signal locked in. I ran up the very steep hill that heads out of town. That was the first time that I ran to the top without stopping to catch my breath! I gave myself a fist pump. A silently thanked Becky for all those deadlifts and squats. Then I headed to the bluff park, a 6 mile round trip. There was no one in the park and I was rewarded with some spectacular views. I headed back down the huge hill, which is as challenging as running up it, trying not to fall head over heels.

Ellison Bay Bluff Park overlook
Later that morning, we headed down to the little town where we were staying to watch the parade. All the little towns in Door County have summer festivals, and this weekend was Olde Ellison Bay Days. We go every year. The parade was short but sweet, and entertaining as always.

Because we are in Wisconsin.
After the parade, we walked over to a local restaurant where an event called "Uncork Summer" was being held. It's kind of a "taste of northern Door County" event, where local restaurants get to showcase their foods. Last year I had the truffle mac and cheese made with Nueske applewood smoked bacon. So, so delicious. This year the line for that dish was really long, so I headed over to the Door County Creamery to try the herbed goat's milk pesto torte. I was rewarded with a really tasty dish. I also sampled a smoked whitefish wrap (the fish is a local catch here) and an asian slider, from the Shoreline restaurant, both tasty as well. I drank a Wisconsin microbrew beer to wash it all down, Ale Asylum Bedlam. I enjoyed it all.

My son enjoyed his ribs...

More kayaking to burn some calories...

Catching up with an old friend whose parents have a place next to ours...

And another sunset, this time from the pier in front of the house

On Sunday, I took my run on a different route, into The Clearing, which is a retreat in the woods for writing and other sorts of artistic pursuits. For me, it's a pretty path through the woods. On this run, I ran up some steep hills again, and ended up by the water. A woman was sitting by the shore writing and we struck up a conversation. It's hard not to be inspired by the beauty here.

I finished up my run, and Matthew and I packed up to go home. We made one more stop at another favorite place, Wilson's, for a whitefish sandwich and a milkshake. We also did some reminiscing about standup paddleboarding with his brother in the bay outside of the restaurant. We missed him.

It's so hard to go back to life in the fast lane after spending time in such a peaceful place. As I wrote this post, the birds were singing and a gentle breeze was blowing across the water. The sun was shining. I feel lucky to have a retreat like this. It's so important for all of us to take time off to breathe, to enjoy, to relax. But there's never enough time, is there? Before this trip, I knew I was stressed but I didn't realize how much, until we took this little weekend away. While I could have enjoyed a few more days there, I felt recharged and ready to tackle life again. I loved being able to spend this time with my youngest son and my parents. How lucky am I?

Matthew drove the entire 5 hours home. He did great. So did I.

Do you have any summer vacations planned? Have you ever been to Door County? Where do you go to recharge your batteries? 

I'm linking this post with Tara at RunningNReading for her Weekend Update! You should too!

Friday, June 26, 2015

The eyes have it

I don't know about you, but while I worry about sun damage to my skin--mostly the aging effects, because I'm vain like that--I don't really think much about sun damage to my eyes. I do wear sunglasses most of the time, but that's because the sun hurts my eyes and makes me squint. One time that I don't wear sunglasses is when I run. I just don't want to be bothered with them bouncing up and down on my nose or sliding down my face. Plus I normally run early in the day, and the sun isn't really strong when I go, so it doesn't really bother me.

Hold up! Did you know that while UV rays are strongest between 10-2pm, putting us at risk for sunburn, the time of day when sun damage can occur in the eyes is between 8-10am and 2-4pm. In fact, research shows that the eyes receive nearly double the amount of UV radiation during these times. This is because the sun is lower on the horizon, and is at eye level.

Oh. So I thought I knew all there was to know about sun exposure and eye protection. Recently, I was asked to participate in a webinar, along with other fitness bloggers, sponsored by the Vision Council. The title of the webinar was Healthy Bodies, Healthy Eyes: Protecting Vision from UV Radiation. Dr Justin Bazan, OD, talked to participants about eye protection while staying active. Dr Bazan presented some facts, which made me realize I am in pretty good company about not wearing sunglasses when I run. In fact, only 21% of Americans always wear sunglasses during fitness activities, like running and biking. Turns out I'm in the 79% who wear them "sometimes".

I wear wrap around glasses when I bike. These are my glasses from Smith optics. I have the rose colored lenses in for the overcast day.
That would be me. I wear sunglasses when I bike, not only for protection from the sun, but also to protect my eyes from flying objects, like bugs and dust. I have a pair of glasses for cycling from Smith Optics (affiliate link) with interchangeable lenses: a clear pair for cloudy days, a rose colored pair for overcast days, and a brown pair for sunny days.

These are the wrap around Optic Nerve glasses I received from the Vision Council. I'm wearing them with the reflective lenses.
Like I said, I don't wear sunglasses when I run. As part of participation in the webinar, The Vision Council sent me a pair of the Vapor model from Optic Nerve  (affiliate link) with 3 different interchangeable lenses like my Smith Optics glasses. These are really light, lighter than my Smiths, and I actually think I could tolerate them on the run. I wore them for a bike ride, using the reflective lenses on a partly cloudy day. I really liked them a lot. There was no distortion, which I sometimes get with the polarized lenses I have in my Smiths.

Each pair of my sport sunglasses includes a clear lens. Common sense would tell you that the clear lenses don't offer any UV protection, and that the darker pair have the most UV protection, but that isn't the case. All three lenses offer the same amount of UV protection, regardless of the tint. Who knew? Dr Bazan told us that dark lenses don't offer any more UV protection than the clear lenses, and they may even make you lose contrast in low light conditions. Nothing like tripping over a crack in the sidewalk or something, right?

I wear mirrored lenses on the water, to decrease reflection. Plus I love this aviator frame.
So how do you choose the right pair of sunglasses? Do you buy the most expensive pair? The most fashionable? The most important thing to look for is glasses made for your activity, for example, wrap around lenses for bicycling; a pair that are comfortable, and provide ample UVA and UVB protection. There are a variety of lens choices. He recommended photochromatic lenses for triathletes, stating that they adjust to varying conditions. Polarized lenses help filter out glare, but you have to make sure they have UV protection as well. Mirrored lenses, like the kind police like to wear, help decrease reflection, and anti-reflective lenses can help reduce glare as well.

Why should athletes wear sunglasses? Dr Bazan encouraged us to think of sunglasses as "sunblock for the eyes". You can literally sunburn your eyeballs. The medical term is "photokeratitis", and it can be quite painful. Long term damage from UV exposure includes premature aging of the skin around the eyes, cataracts, macular degeneration, and even cancer. You can also develop a pterygium in your eye (and it's a gnarly as it sounds), which is a growth on the surface of your eye. Ewww. There is no treatment for this.

Makes me want to wear sunglasses at night!

June 27 is National Sunglasses Day! The Vision Council wants to encourage everyone to increase awareness of eye issues related to UV damage. They are hoping everyone will post a selfie on social media with the hastag #sunglassselfie .

I was asked by the Vision Council to participate in this webinar in exchange for a blog post. I did receive a swag bag with sunglasses, as well as a cooling towel and other accessories, as a gift from the Vision Council.

My swag bag included all these goodies!
Do you wear sunglasses when you workout? Do you have different types of sunglasses for your activities? 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


You know what really annoys me?

Actually lots of things annoy me. Bad drivers, road construction, patients who show up late for their appointments...oh I could go on and on.

But one thing in particular annoys me a lot. I hear it all the time. Women, who when I'm talking about running, tell me they don't "have time" to workout. As if any of us do.

I don't take these comments personally, because I don't think it's directed at me. But I hear this comment often enough to be annoyed. What is the intent here? Is it to make themselves feel less guilty about not making time for exercise? Is it to make me feel bad because I do exercise? How about turning it around and patting another woman on the back for getting it done? What's wrong with taking time for ourselves?

In my experience, women aren't good at supporting each other. A while ago, another mom told me that I needed to make sure my boys knew that they were more important to me than running. I was really annoyed by this. First of all, MYOB. Second of all, how does that person know that I'm not putting my boys first? I've thought a lot about that statement since then. I think it is so important for moms to have something outside of motherhood that is their own. For some women that something is their career. For others, it's a hobby, like knitting or quilting. For me, it's running.

I've had a lot of melancholy this year as I've watched my boys pull away. It hasn't been as hard with my youngest, who still shares things with me and laughs with me. But my oldest son has become so private, so buttoned up, that I feel like I'm just a roommate with him. A good morning gets a grunt. A text to ask what he's up to gets a one word answer. So I ask more questions, and he gets mad. When did this happen? I know it is the natural course of things for teenagers to pull away, but how did this little boy, who told me everything, become a sullen, secretive teenager?

And what if I didn't have something for myself, my running, to make me feel good? What if I wrapped my whole life up in these boys? At one of my youngest son's rugby games this spring, another mother and I were talking about running. She told me she wanted to do a half Ironman this spring, but she didn't have time to train because she wanted to "be there" for her 2 teens. After all, she told me, this time is going to be over with before you know it. But as she said this to me, I couldn't help but think to myself, how much time would she spend training? One, two hours per day?

I do agree with her that my time with my kids is dwindling. When the boys were little, I didn't run nearly as much as I do now. I was more involved with their school, volunteering in the classroom. I hung out with the neighborhood moms on Friday nights, playing bunco, going to book club and going to Pampered Chef parties. But as they got older and started to pull away to spend more time with their friends, my involvement lessened. I started working more and running more.

My oldest has made it clear, through his actions and his words, that he doesn't want me involved in his life, as much as I try. I do what I can, but I try to be respectful of his need to spread his wings. I do let him know I'm around, even though he says he doesn't want me around. My youngest son is much more open to my involvement. But a great deal of the time, he's gone with his friends. What would happen if I didn't have a job, if I didn't have running? What would I do with myself?

I look at pictures of the boys when they were younger, when we used to do lots of fun things together. I feel a sense of loss that those days are gone. It sounds so cliched, but I ask myself all the time, where has the time gone? And maybe my grief is so pronounced because of the detachment I feel from my oldest son.

Everyone tells me that he will "come back" to me. That while extreme, this separation from me is important. I get that. I need to process it in my own way.

If that means taking time for myself in the form of running, I'm going to do that. But I'm going to continue to let my son know I'm there for him, even if he doesn't want me around.

Maybe my "hobby" is annoying to other moms. But that's their issue. I need to deal with mine. Keeping active gives me something for me, makes me feel good about myself, and gives me an outlet for all my angst.

We moms all need our thing. We need our own identity to help us with the transition from mothering children to becoming the mother of young adults. We need to show our kids that it's important to make time for exercise and even more importantly, to make time for ourselves. And yes, we need to support each other.

My tribe! Thanks, Mish, for this awesome image from last summer. And to my friends, for the tons of memories that go along with this picture.

What annoys you? Do you get annoyed by other moms who run or workout? How do you feel about other women telling you they "don't have time" to run?

I'm linking up with DebRuns who hosts Wednesday Word. Check out what annoys other bloggers!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Product review: SLS3 compression socks

Back in the day as a staff nurse in a PICU, I had issues with tired legs after spending hours on my feet. We didn't wear supportive shoes back then, usually just sneakers, and so a lot of nurses wore support hose or compression stockings, better known as TED™ hose. These white stockings, with the hole in the bottom, were used in the elderly and post-operative patients to promote venous return and prevent blood clots. There was a knee high model, and a thigh high model. I remember working up a good sweat while trying to put them on my bedbound patients' legs. When I wore them myself, I thought they were pretty darned uncomfortable, especially with that hole in the bottom, but my legs did feel better when I wore them. They were hard as heck to pull on my own legs, too. And what is the purpose of that hole anyways?

I have to say that none of my patients ever had legs that looked like this.
TED™ hose picture courtesy of
So, of course, when running compression socks became popular, I was interested but a little skeptical. I remembered the difficulty I had pulling those TED™ hose on my own legs, much less my patients. Would compression socks be helpful for running? Would it be worth the effort it took to pull them on? Would I even need to run after the workout I'd get putting them on? I wrote about compression in another post, when I trialled a pair of Lily Trotters. The consensus of most of the commenters on that post was that compression was great for recovery, but feelings were mixed about using compression socks on the run. Research supports this as well.

A couple of weeks ago, I was approached by SLS3 to try their compression socks. As you know, I am a big fan of compression for my feet. I like to wear low socks when I run, and I own a couple of pairs of low compression socks from a few different manufacturers. Since I'm still having some calf tightness, I decided to give the SLS3 a try, and see how I liked them.

Shortly after I agreed to this, I received an email that I won a free pair of SLS3 compression socks from a giveaway on The Running Professor's blog. I was excited about the prospect of owning 2 pairs of these socks, but I contacted SLS3 to check with them to make sure they were ok with this, and they assured me that it was fine. I received one pair of the Butterfly compression and one pair of the AllRounder socks. I couldn't have been happier!

Wearing knee socks makes me feel like a school girl again!
The weather has been pretty cool so far this summer, and I figured that I should take advantage of that and give these socks a spin. I first tried the Butterfly compression socks. I found that putting them on was not a problem. I slipped my foot into the sock and inched the calf portion up my leg. The compression was firm, but not too tight. Dare I say that these felt really good?

SLS3 Butterfly compression socks
On the run, my legs felt light. And after the run, when I had my feet up, I could feel the compression on my calves. It felt good. Here's what the website has to say about the Butterfly Compression socks:

"SLS3 Butterfly compression socks boost blood flow by about 34%. This increases oxygen delivery to the working muscles to enhance their performance. The circulation improvements also help the body eliminate metabolic waste products like lactic acid more easily. The combination of these effects allows you to work longer and harder, delaying the onset of fatigue.
The SLS3 Butterfly compression socks offer more targeted, significant support to the achilles tendons, tibias, calves and ankles, thus boosting the ability to reduce common ankle and foot injuries. 
They are recommended for running, cycling, walking, triathlon, skiing, traveling and lots of other uses. 
The supportive effect and compression of SLS3 Butterfly compression socks reduce muscle vibration drastically, which leads to less soft tissue damage and less sore muscles. Your recovery time will be significantly reduced."
I believe I can fly!
A couple of days later, I received the AllRounders in the mail, and I took them for a spin as well. Just like the Butterfly model, these slipped on without difficulty. My legs felt great on the run, and afterwards, I again put my feet up and felt the compression do its thing to relax those hard working muscles. Here's the 411 about the AllRounders:

"Designed by medical professionals, our new Allrounder compression socks feature softer, special Micro-Nylon, making them very easy to put on while delivering true graduated compression with all its benefits: 
Increased oxygen delivery to the working muscles to enhance their performance. Circulation improvements to help the body eliminate metabolic waste products like lactic acid more easily.The combination of these effects allows you to work longer and harder, delaying the onset of fatigue. 
The SLS3 Allrounder compression socks offer significant support to the achilles tendons, tibias, calves and ankles. They are recommended for running, cycling, walking, triathlon, skiing, traveling and lots of other uses. Their simple, unpadded design makes these socks a staple for everyone's compression needs.
The supportive effect and compression of SLS3 Allrounder compression socks reduce muscle vibration drastically, resulting in less soft tissue damage and less sore muscles. Your recovery time will be significantly reduced."

SLS3 AllRounder
I have to say that I really liked the degree of compression in both these socks (the compression is the same in both models). There is some degree of arch support, but of course, I'd like a little more. Still, I'm not complaining. The SLS3s were really comfortable and supportive. I can honestly say that I will be wearing them a lot during my upcoming marathon training. I'd love to wear them to work, but I don't know how good they'd look with my dresses. If I were wearing scrubs, I'd be wearing them every day.

Both models come in a variety of colors.

Full disclosure: I was given a pair of the Butterfly compression socks to trial and I won the AllRounders on a giveaway both from SLS3. But all the opinions here are my own. Always.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask....

How well do you know your bloggers? Back in April, I was tagged by HoHo Runs to answer questions about my running favorites. Apparently, I forgot to do this. I was reminded to do this after reading Tricia's post on Mississippi Piddlin'. She just did hers, so I don't feel so bad. Better late than never, right? I'm pretty transparent here on the blog, you know my motto is what you see is what you get, but I thought it would be fun to answer these questions.

Location: Trail, road, or indoors?

One of the very pretty preserve trails that I can run in the middle of suburbia. Looking over my shoulder the whole time.
I've made it pretty clear in past posts that I loathe the treadmill. Ok, loathe is pretty strong. Let's just say I have a love/hate relationship with my 'mill. The 'mill is there when I need it, which thankfully isn't very often. I'm an outdoors runner, and 99% of my runs are on the road or the bike path. It's really populated where I live, and while I do like to take my runs to the forest preserve, I stick to the paved path. There are a lot of trails through the woods, but I've heard that people do live in those woods. Last week, I saw a Grizzly Adams lookalike come out of the woods. And then there's that whole FP hookup system. I've written about it here.  I just keep my eyes wide open. No matter where I go, if I'm outside, it's all good. Besides, it's way more entertaining than running inside.

Time of day: Morning, noon, or evening?

Running with the sunrise at the retention pond last winter
I am a morning person, and therefore, a morning runner. What a great way to start the day! I like to get a run in before work. And in the summer, it's nice to get up before the sun. Lately, I've had some midday runs that have gone really well, too. It's nice to know that I can be a little flexible. The idea of an evening run is appealing to me, but when I get home from work after a long day in the clinic, all I want to do is drink a glass or 2 of wine. I can't imagine what kind of run I'd have after that.

Weather: Sunshine, mild, or hot?

My slowest, hottest half ever...Zooma Chicago, last summer...
Hands down, I like mild or cooler weather for running. If I had to pick between winter and summer, though, I'd pick summer. I like the warmer weather, even though it really slows me down. I like wearing one layer. I can wear running skirts in the summer. I love running in tank tops. Yep, it's all about the fashion for me. And as much as I love sunshine, in the warmer weather, it's much better to run under the clouds.

Fuel: Before, after, or sometimes during?

Carrying my trusty handheld filled with Tailwind at the Chicago marathon.
My fueling depends on the distance that I'm running. If I'm doing anything under 8 miles, I don't usually have anything besides coffee and water before I head out the door. Over 8 miles, I eat breakfast, which is cheerios and orange juice. I might bring a bottle of Tailwind (affiliate link) along, depending on the time of year and how far I'm going. For some reason, I can run 12 miles in the winter without carrying fuel, but in the summer, I need fuel. After a run, I drink something high in protein. My favorite is Bolthouse Farms chocolate protein (affiliate link) drink. I have yet to find anything I like better. And if I didn't eat cereal before my run, I eat Kashi Go Lean cereal (affiliate link) after the run, which is high in protein.

Accessories: Music, watch, and more?

The Garmin. Because if you don't track it, it didn't happen.
I always wear my Garmin Forerunner 10 (affiliate link) to track my miles. If I'm doing speed work or a paced run, I use my Garmin for that too. I always carry my phone in my SpiBelt (affiliate link), and yes, I run with music. I don't carry any other accessories with me. I should wear sunglasses but I don't.

Rewards: Food, wine, or?

A frothy finish at the CARA 10 miler. Lagunitas IPA. Yum.
My favorite post run reward is a cold beer. Preferably New Glarus Spotted Cow (affiliate link) or a German Weiss beer. Beer just tastes so refreshing to me after a long hot run. I'm not normally a big beer drinker, but this is my reward. And I won't drink crappy beer, like huge brewery lite or wannabe premium beer 69 (or whatever it's called). If I'm going to indulge, it better be good. I am married to a homebrewer, after all...

Type of run: Long run, tempo, intervals, hill repeats, progression,  or recovery/easy?

The drowned rat look after some heat training last winter on the 'mill.
Each one of these runs has its virtues. I love the long slow distance (LSD) run. There are days when I feel like I could go forever. Of course, those are the days I have a shorter run on the plan. But I do love that I can run high miles. Tempo runs are fun, because you get to start out slow, run a few miles fast, and run a recovery mile at the end. Intervals aka speed work are one of my favorite ways to run. I like intervals because there is always a rest period before the next interval. How often do we get to rest in running? Plus it's fun to run fast! And it's rewarding to see those split times decrease over time. Recovery runs are nice, especially the week after a grueling race. And hills? Who needs hills when you do deadlifts and squats with Becky? I'm serious about this. The work she has me do propels me up hills easily. And it's much easier on my knees than running up and down hills for a workout. Oh, and then there's that heat training...

Ok, I get to play tag....and you're it: 

What question(s) would you ask me if you could? 

I'm linking up with Tara at RunningNReading for her Weekend Update!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Feet, don't fail me now!

I've blogged extensively about my foot issues. I've had just about it all...plantar fasciitis, heel spur, black toenails, blisters, stress fractures, and now the dreaded hallux limitus aka arthritis. What's a runner to do? Stop running? My sister has hallux limitus and she's actually considering surgery (joint fusion) so she can wear heels again.

No thank you!

I really try to respect my hard working feet. As a nurse practitioner, I spend all day on my feet seeing patients in the clinic. And as a runner, these feet have a lot of miles on them, both training and racing for over 20 years. Add to that day-to-day activities like shopping, housework, and the like. Earlier this week, I came home from a long day in the clinic and a stop at Target. My husband was preparing dinner and he asked me to fix the salads.

I almost cried. My dogs were barking. I just wanted to get off my feet. Does this ever happen to you?

Luckily, I don't feel this way too often, even after a long race. I really pamper my feet. And in return, they keep me pretty happy.

In the spirit of the Friday Five, where the theme for today is "things I love", I wanted to share five things I do to show my feet the love. Head over to any of their blogs to see what everyone else is loving today! Links are below the logo.

EatPrayRunDC, You Signed up for What?!, and Mar on the Run
By the way, I have a song on my running playlist titled: Feet Don't Fail Me Now by Needtobreathe. Great song for a runner, and even better band name, don't you think? I wonder if they're runners?

"I can't slow down,  I can't get stuck,  I'd rather die than have to hang it up...." from Feet Don't Fail Me Now by Needtobreathe.
Listening to this song on the run helps me channel some energy to my feet, especially when they start to rebel.

5 Things My Feet Love

Morning warmup: Back when I was suffering with plantar fasciitis and my heel spur, my podiatrist suggested placing my feet on the heating pad in the morning to loosen them up. His theory was that the heat would help loosen up the myriad of joints in my feet. I do this every morning while I drink my coffee and read blogs. My feet are very happy when I do this. BEST ADVICE EVAH!

Compression: I don't always wear compression but when I do my feet are very pleased. Recently I was given the opportunity to try SLS3 compression socks (affiliate link). I've got a review and a giveaway coming, but for now, let me tell you that my calves and subsequently my feet like these socks a lot. Back when I had plantar fasciitis, I used some Feetures PF compression sleeves (affiliate link) for my feet. At the time I couldn't walk around barefoot without having pain. Wearing those sleeves helped a ton--probably more than anything else I did because they made walking tolerable.
Comfy shoes: I wasn't a big fan of heels even in my pre-running days. Now, since I spend most of my workday on my feet seeing patients, I wear Danskos (affiliate link) pretty much exclusively. They're big and clunky but have a certain charm to them. Plus they are oh so comfy. I also have Dansko sandals which are super cute! I purchased them on my sister trip to Las Vegas and I didn't hear one peep out of my feet, even after we spent the day walking the strip. I received a lot of compliments on them, too. Recently, I purchased my first pair of Birkenstock (affiliate link) sandals. I love these because they don't press on my big toe joint, which seems to be an ongoing issue for me. They are my new favorite shoes. Now I know what everyone is talking about...

Massage: I massage my feet after a long run using The Runners Choice oil (affiliate link). I read about this oil on another blog, and decided to try it for myself. The oil contains almond, eucalyptus, eucalyptol, wintergreen, peppermint, and spearmint oils. It feels as amazing as it sounds. Keep your eyes open for a discount code.

My newly pedicured feet on my trusty heating pad. If they could smile, they would.
Pedicure: I once considered pedicures a treat, but now they are an essential part of my foot maintenance. I try to get one monthly, even in the winter. The technicians laugh at my black toenails (and there is one in the picture above), but I haven't lost one in years--most likely due to this maintenance. The leg massage is amazing. Be warned, the technicians like to pull out the cheese grater foot rasp to remove those calluses. I won't let them use it. I need my calluses! The best part of a pedicure is having pretty toenails...what color should I pick next time?

Do you have any foot issues? What do you do to pamper your feet? Do you still wear heels? Do you get pedicures regularly?