May 2010

Gage at Pinecrest Lake

As with most people, my Memorial Day was spent enjoying the outdoors. I drove up to Sonora to visit Gage. After a quick run in the morning, we were off to Pinecrest Lake, which we hiked around. The day started off a little warmer than I’d hoped, but quickly cooled down. Unfortunately the sky was a hazy gray for the whole day so no great pictures of the scenery. I did get this nice shot of Gage sitting on a rock enjoying the screwdriver mix we took along with us on the hike. The sun and alcohol left me feeling beat. Luckily, there was a little time left for napping before I had to get back in my car for the 2-hour drive home…


Day 2 - A ladybug out on a limb.

Today Angela and I went for a quick hike up in Pollock Pines. The vegetation up there was a lot different than in the foothills where I’ve been hiking the past couple of months. There were a lot of picturesque views, but there were no clouds and the sun was too bright to get any interesting photos of the landscape. I took a couple of other pictures, but my favorite of the day was this little ladybug one. She flew right past me to this little limb where she crawled around posing for me for a bit. 🙂

One of the things I miss most about Istanbul is the time I spent out photographing the city. I found myself really inspired to start taking photos again when I was living there and, although I still take plenty of pictures here, I don’t do it nearly often enough. To encourage myself to take more pictures (and to get better at taking photos!), I’ve decided to partake in Project 365, even if it’s already halfway through the year. So, starting today I’ll be taking at least one photo a day. I’ll still be posting the majority of my photos on my flickr, but I’d like to give a little more context for my P-365 photos since that’s the idea. It’s kind of a way to document life as it’s passing me by. Even though I’ll likely take more than one photo on any given day, I’ll choose the one that most represents the events of my day to post here for my project. It will hopefully be like a journal in pictures. We’ll see how it goes…

First up:

Endless Mimosas at Ink

Bottomless Mimosa

After running 8 miles this morning, I was feeling lonely and decided to walk down to Ink for their infamous Bottomless Mimosas. While I knew that water was probably the better option after an 8-mile run, I just couldn’t resist the Siren song of mimosas. I also had the delicious shredded pork sandwich (they don’t serve up the mac and cheese during brunch apparently). I was supposed to meet some friends there, but they were super late getting there. I’d been at the bar for two hours with endless mimosas by the time they arrived so I headed home to avoid being stuck in the heat for too long on my walk. I got some cool pictures of flowers along the way too. Then I napped for pretty much the entire rest of the day. Ha! That’s what drinking during the day will do to you.

While it sounds pretty unappealing, running in the rain isn’t so bad. It can actually be quite invigorating. Yesterday was a rainy day here in Sacramento and I had some passing thoughts of not going out for my run. It was only two miles though and only the second day of my official training so my determination won out (thankfully). The run wasn’t bad at all. In fact, it was quite the opposite. I’ve always found that I run faster in cold weather, and it was no different this time. It actually gave me a chance to play (splashing in puddles anyone?) while I ran AND I had the roads pretty much all to myself since everyone else seemed to have opted for dryer running spaces. Best of all, I completed one of my fastest runs (with one of my fastest miles to date) yesterday. It was really motivating, actually, to see that I can still run a 9:30 mile when the circumstances are right (short run, cool weather, no allergies). It’s got me excited for my other upcoming short runs. 🙂

Yesterday’s stats:
Distance: 2 miles
Time: 20:02
Avg Pace: 9:58
Calories: 220

I’m really pumped about my new training routine, which started today! I used the Nike+ coach to build my training program. It looks pretty doable and takes a slow enough pace (28 weeks) that I don’t think I’ll get injured. I’m training for the CIM in December, which is far enough away to not sound scary either. I’m scheduled to do an 8-mile run on Saturday, which sounded impossible a couple of weeks ago, but I managed 7 miles this past Saturday so I’m golden. I did my firs three miles today and they felt like cake after the longer runs I did last week. I’ve also found myself running partners for each of my training days so that should make the miles pass more quickly. Now all I need to do is come up with a new running mix (I’ve had the same one for more than a year…it’s time for some new tunes).

So here’s the schedule for this week:
Monday – 3 miles
Tuesday – 2 miles
Wednesday – 4 miles
Saturday – 8 miles

Cake, right?

Stats for my most recent runs:
Distance: 3 miles
Time: 32:59
Avg Pace: 10:48
Calories: 334

Saturday (Long Run):
Distance: 7 miles
Time: 1:22:44
Pace: 11:41
Calories: 776

Check out that difference in pace! Obviously I walk more often on a long run than on a shorter run. Heh.

The Asics Piranha

As I mentioned last week, I had a tinge of shin splints early last week, which of course means I ran out and bought new shoes pretty much immediately. I’m still training in my Brooks, which I plan to replace when I get more cash, but I decided to buy a pair of shoes that would help me get into barefoot running. The shoes I got are the Asics Piranhas – a super light weight shoe recommended to help people ease into barefoot running. I know most people go with the Vibram Five Fingers, but I’m not sure how comfortable I am with stuff wedged between my toes. I’ve always had a problem with flip flops chafing my between-the-toe area so I figured it probably wasn’t a good idea to start off with those (especially since they start at $80).

I’d love to give you a review of these awesome shoes, but I have yet to put in any major mileage with them. I’m trying to take it slow with the barefoot running so I haven’t done much with it. The shoes are extremely lightweight though, which makes them great for carrying along with you if you’re doing a barefoot run. Then when your feet start to hurt, you can switch over to shoes for the run back home. They were highly recommended by Michael Sandler though at the barefoot clinic I attended. The only other shoe, aside from the Vibrams, that were recommended were the new Nike Frees. They’re really comfortable and fit like a glove, wrapping your foot in comfy goodness. Unfortunately, they didn’t feel as good while I was running as the Asics did, so I couldn’t get them. I’d check out all three if you’re looking for a lightweight shoe to help you ease into barefoot running. Oh, and an FYI for the ladies: These shoes are unisex so you have to know your men’s shoe size to purchase them.

As for my recent runs, I didn’t get much in. I went to New York for a week-long vacation and ended up not doing any of running there (plenty of walking though!). The walking in New York seems to have strengthened my legs too, making it possible for me to do 5 miles Tuesday with no pain. Yay!

Stats for Tuesday’s Run (5/18):
Distance: 5.86 miles
Total Time: 1:12:26
Avg Pace: 12:21
Calories: 644

Check out those leg muscles!

Michael Sandler promoting barefoot running in Sacramento on May 8, 2010.

I’m sitting here with an ice pack on each shin, which makes this post all that much more poignant. On Friday when I was looking up the hours for Fleet Feet, I saw that Michael Sandler was giving a seminar about barefoot running on Saturday to introduce his new book. Sandler was seriously injured in a roller blading accident several years ago and was told he’d never run again. Of course, no runner will ever believe that, so he went for it as soon as he could get those crutches off. He said it was excruciating to do so and eventually turned to barefoot running in the hopes that he could teach himself to run differently. Now he’s running regularly and promoting barefoot running across the country using his story as an inspiration for others.

I’ve been interested in those Vibram Five Fingers ever since I saw that my running partner was running in them. Plus, I’ve heard a lot of the recent buzz surrounding barefoot running so I went to check it out. While I found Sandler to be a bit new agey in his approach to selling the idea of barefoot running, I was definitely buying in. Wouldn’t any runner who’s had to give up running for any amount of time due to injury try pretty much anything to keep themselves running without re-injuring themselves?

Basically, the gist of Sandler’s pitch was that we can all run injury free for a lifetime if we run the way we were meant to run. He referenced the recent Harvard study that found that barefoot runners sustain far less impact than shod runners. He also demonstrated the difference in the stride of a shod runner versus a barefoot runner (heel striking versus midfoot striking).

One of the most beneficial parts of the talk was his demonstrations on how to strengthen your arches (picking up a golf ball with your toes and releasing it several times – like curls for your arches), and how to stretch tight spots using a tennis ball and roller mat to target pressure points. I don’t really know how to explain it well, but I’m sure the book has illustrations with exactly that information in it.

I’d been considering barefoot running for some time, and after hearing Sandler’s presentation, I decided it was time to give it a try. I decided to try it out while I was flying a kite yesterday. I only ran a short distance (probably not even 100 yards), but that’s all Sandler suggested doing in the beginning. He said you have build up slowly and take rest breaks in between. The problem with that is that I’m incredibly impatient when it comes to running. I don’t know if I can limit myself to a couple hundred meters every other day. But given that I got the first tinges of shin splints on my regular run today, it might be time to pace myself. I’d rather take it slow than not be able to run at all. I’m going to try it again tomorrow, but, again, will only be doing a couple hundred yards. If I just add on 100 meters every other day, I should be up to some good mileage within in a month, yes?

One last thought: I think it’s interesting that barefoot running is considered to be so revolutionary and weird. The more I think about it, it just makes sense. I mean, didn’t we evolve to run without shoes on? Yet I still find it a bit ick-tastic to run without shoes on. But then I think back to when I was a kid and all the hundreds of times my parents yelled at me for having gone out to play with no shoes on. It’s just the natural thing to do. And, honestly, the only thing that finally got me into shoes for life was getting a huge gash (14 stitches!) in my foot in sixth grade and having to hear my dad lecture me: “Rebecca, HOW MANY TIMES have I told you not to leave the house without shoes on?!?” What would he say if he saw me running the streets of Sacramento with no shoes on now? 😉

Today’s Run:
Distance: 4 miles
Total Time: 42:30
Avg. Pace:  10:36
Calories: 440

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