Wednesday, May 25, 2011

executive decisions

Yes. I know. It's been a while. In truth, today was my first run since the Mermaid Run. Seriously. I need to get back on track. GAH!

In other news, I chopped off my hair. I needed it. Yay. The photo to the left is what it currently looks like. Yes. It's short. And I'm happy. Sometimes a gal just needs some change...

Today's Small Victories
 I ran. (I ran so far away... And I ran. I ran til night and day... I couldn't get away...)

Psyching myself out for the run!

Today's Workout
Run 3-ish miles

Notes (to myself) about this workout:
This was my intention: It's been a while since I've run or worked out. I wanted to do this slowly. Therefore, I intended to run 5K at a 4:1 pace (4 minute run, 1 minute walk) so that I could practice the POSE technique. I sported my Nike Free to do this.

This is what actually happened: A few minutes into the run, my pants started falling down. Seriously. As in I had to run to the nearest bush to make sure I was still decent. As in when I was decent and started running again, my pants fell down. AGAIN. This meant I had to walk. I was trying to beat the sun setting, so I fell a little short of my usual 5K.

These are the valuable lessons I learned today: POSE running isn't as drastic as I imagined it to be. It's simple actually. You lean forward, like you're about ready to fall. Once you do that, the body automatically starts to propel itself forward and you run. Because of this, your strides are automatically shorter and your heels kick toward your butt. The change in form is subtle, but I see how it is efficient. However...

...with all the hub-bub about POSE running comes all the hub-bub about shoes. Even I fell for that silly trickery. I was actually going to purchase the New Balance Minimus to wear for short runs and then use my regular motion control for the longer runs. After today, I've made some executive decisions about shoes - including holding off on buying the Minimus because...

...the important thing about POSE running is the technique itself - short strides, lean forward, striking at the midfoot as opposed to the heel. It's about the technique, not the shoes. I've been thinking about this for a while and it finally came to me while walking (to avoid my pants falling off) today...

... My shoe does not determine my running technique. I determine my running technique. Therefore, it shouldn't matter what shoe I wear because shoes are about the support that your feet and your body need. I'm not built like a lot of runners. a.k.a. I'm fat. And I have flat feet. And I'm prone to ankle sprains. I need my motion control shoes because I need the support. In just looking at minimalist runners, they're all thin and light, which is why thy can handle a minimalist shoe. I just don't have those kind of feet or that kind of body. I'm okay with that...

...I came to this conclusion when a runner passed me by. In watching his technique, he was definitely a POSE runner, but he as wearing traditional running shoes. This is probably because he naturally runs that way. See? You can POSE in shoes. You can. You can. You can. Ha ha!

...Finally, low-rise workout pants have to place in my high-impact workout repertoire. Period.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

barefoot and running

As you all know, I'm running the Nike Women's Half Marathon in October and right now, I'm trying to iron out some training issues before I go into training mode later next month. Currently, I'm re-visiting the whole barefoot running debate. I'm not interested in not wearing shoes - especially after reading this. Rather, I'm interested in the running technique. Simply put, pose running or barefoot running focus on  landing on the balls of your feet as opposed to striking with the heel. Unfortunately, when reading through the info online, the discussions focus on the shoe debate. It's a little frustrating because I'm not one for extremes. Rather, I want the best of different worlds. I want to wear shoes, but I also want to run more efficiently.

For more information, check out these links:

After sifting through some sites, I finally found these two videos. The first one is a news clip from BBC that showcases the pose running method. What I like is the testing and that they're wearing shoes, but showing how efficient the technique is.

Here is the second video. I like that it focuses on the method of running, which emphasizes the foot strike. In traditional running, you strike with the heel, which apparently is not good for your feet or your body. In pose running and barefoot running, you strike with the balls of your feet, take short strides, and try to hit your butt with your heels. Also, this video shows a great transition from heel striking, to barefoot running, to using minimalist shoes like Vibrams, and then running in shoes.

With that, I've decided to do my short runs with my Nike Free shoes. I'm using short runs to focus on technique and get used to this style of running. For longer runs, I'm using my traditional motion control shoes (which are old enough and are flexible) while maintaining the new form. I'll do this for a month before deciding what shoes to invest in. (Yeah. My running shoes are about three years old, so I need new ones. The Nike Free are less than a year old, but pretty beaten up.)

In terms of shoes, I'm eyeing the New Balance Minimus Road. I tried them on recently and I need a Men's size 8 in the black/red. I loved the toe box, but the women's model was too narrow (the "padding" kept hitting the arch of my feet). Hence, I need the men's model. Admittedly, I was inspired by this video:

Also, I'm a big fan of New Balance shoes. I currently use and love these motion control shoes. While I'm willing to get another pair, I'll need to wait to see how running in minimalist shoes treats me. If I like it, I'll need to change up my longer mileage shoe.

For now, technique now, shoes later.

Monday, May 09, 2011

go mermaid, go!

This past Saturday, I ran the Mermaid 5K with Miss Lori and Miss Lyn. They both had their daughters run the race too. It was really great to see all the athletes there, especially the little girls who ran the mini-maid! Everybody crossed the same finish line. Overall, it was a great event and I'd definitely do it again. However, I do have one complaint... The announcement for the mini maid race wasn't very clear. One moment, they announced the race would start in 3 minutes, the next moment, there was a gang of little girls running to whoknowswhere. Boo! Anyway... Many thanks to Lori and the SO for taking pix. Here are a few of them. Enjoy!

While waiting for the 5K to start, we decided to take a group
pic by the finish line. Yes. Those are spirit fingers you're
looking at.

And here we are waiting for the race to start.

Admittedly, this is my favorite pic. EVER. My jaw gets a
little tight, so I tend to loosen it up a bit. (I see Manny Pacquiao
do it sometimes.) What it has to do with running? Not much. While I
was poking my jaw, the SO asked, "What kind of stretch is that?!"
and I just started bursting into laughter. Hence, the silly photo.

And here we are after we finished.

Friday, May 06, 2011


Bib. Check. Timing chip. Check. Swag. Check. Check. I'm ready to go, baby. Let's do this!!
Yes. The following song will be playing on my ipod as I run it, run it!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

what does a runner look like?

For the record, Run Fatboy Run is one of my favorite movies EVER! I have no idea why I don't have the Blu-Ray yet. As mentioned before, I had major blister problems when I trained for Maui in 2005. This scene just cracks me up. Yes, my blisters on both feet were comparable to the one you see in this clip.

Today, my dear friend Lori sent me a link to this message board where they were discussing the age-old question: What does a runner look like? The person who started the thread shared an experience at her local running store where a sales girl said, "Wow. You don't look like a runner." When you get the chance, take a peek. It's a riveting read.

I'd like to stand on my soapbox and rant about such a bullshit question. What does a runner look like? If I referred to Runner's World magazine, I'm sure that someone like me would be far from being a runner. But you know what? I'm fat and I run. If you have a problem with it, you can suck my blister shield-soaked toe! If I were the woman on the message board, I would have told the sales lady, "I don't know what a runner is supposed to look like. But now I know what an asshole looks like!" (That's my short answer. Deep breath. Continuing...)

These days I'm trying to be less mad and more productive. (Sometimes it works, more times, it doesn't. I'm trying, folks!) With that, I'd like to leave you with some pearls of wisdom from John Bingham. His book, The Courage to Start is what inspired me to start running. Here it goes:
If you run, you are a runner. It doesn't matter how fast or how far. It doesn't matter if today is your first day or if you've been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run.
-John Bingham, Runner and author

Today's Small Victories
I ran another 5K!

Today's Workout
Run 5K with Lynn and Israel

Notes (to myself) about this workout: I felt good after this run. However, I'm still trying to find my footing with running. At the end of each run, I feel winded and irritated because I get tired too easily. And then I get disappointed because I know I can run better, but I'm just not hitting it like I like to. I think I need to backtrack and go back to interval running - 4 minutes on, 1 minute off. I also need to have a more consistent training schedule that includes weight training. Of course, dial in the nutrition. Finally, patience. I need some patience...

Wednesday, May 04, 2011


These days, this song keeps me going. Love it! Enjoy. fathlete confession: I meant to embed the actual video, but the official youtube thingy won't let you do that. Boo!

Today's Small Victories
I did my run!

Today's Workout
1 hour of yoga in the morning.
Run 5K.

Notes (to myself) about this workout: I'm convinced that my Nike app doesn't like me. I say this because it claims that I run a half mile less than Lori, who happens to be running right next to me. It also says I run way slower than her, even though she's running right next to me. It's official. Nike hates fathletes. Boo. (I kid. Silly technological ma-le-functions!)

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Coca CrossFit Plus

I'm all about progressive ways about approaching health and ideas of fat, athleticism, etc. Admittedly, one of the things that bothers me about CrossFit is the slogan, "Forging elite fitness." This is because it seems so limiting and uninviting. If CrossFit is adaptable for every BODY and fitness level, then I don't understand why it should belong only to the "elite." (Yeah. It only sounds cool until a brilliant someone points out that it doesn't make sense, huh?!) Anyway...

Confession: I stole this photo. This is
Kate "killer" Rawlings, owner of COCA CrossFit.
I just wanted to take a moment to give major KUDOS to the folks at COCA CrossFit, located in Ohio. Today they just started a great program called Coca CrossFit Plus. The program is designed to: "...provide a safe non-judgmental environment where plus size clients can participate in regular CrossFit classes. Workouts will be designed for any size, shape or fitness level." The program is headed by Kate "Killer" Rawlings. fathlete confession: I'm always suspicious of people who try to do programs like this. It comes from my, "only a fathlete knows what another fathlete needs" mentality. HOWEVER, I'm positive that Kate and the amazing folks at COCA are going to do a fabulous job with this program.

After doing some research, I was really inspired by Kate's story. She was a D-1 athlete who, after college, gained over eighty pounds. She went from that to placing 29th at the 2010 CrossFit games. For an interview with Kate, click here. Also, when I emailed her asking about her program, she replied promptly and was very kind. Again, KUDOS and good luck! I'm sure we'll be hearing great things about Coca CrossFit Plus!

For those of you who consider yourselves plus size, are in the Ohio area, and are a little intimidated with CrossFit, I recommend that you give COCA CrossFit and/or their Coca CrossFit Plus program a shot. You never know what you can do until you give yourself a fair chance to try!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

fierce products: armpocket

Now that I'm slowly, but surely getting back into the swing of running, I'm also trying to figure out the whole gear thing. fathlete confession: Now that I'm training, I'm realizing why three years ago, I declared no more long distance races for me. It's a bathroom issue. I'm not big on using port-o-potties and when I trained for Maui, I mastered the art of "holding it til the run ends." Seeing that I'm older and my bladder is weaker, that strategy doesn't work very well. Gah! But this post has nothing to do with sorting out bathroom issues. Moving on...

I'm trying to decide what gear works for me. Things have changed since my last two major races and the gear available is amazing! I used to run with my ipod shuffle. These days, I'm running with my iphone because 1) Nike+GPS iphone app is awesome. 2) It's safer to have your phone on you when running. Thing is, it's a bit bulky. After shopping around, I found a great product called armpocket. I really like the sport i-20 with the clear window (pictured above).

Before I begin telling you how awesome this product is, it's only right that I let you know that I actually had to return my armpocket. This has nothing to do with it being a bad product. I now know that I'm just not someone who likes to run with something strapped to my arm. I find that my hands tend to swell when I run with it. This might have something to do with the arm band needing to be snug and my arm needing some circulation. Again, it's a me issue and not a product issue. Moving on...

For those of you looking for an armband to hold your iphone (or other device during runs), I highly recommend the armpocket. First off, it's secure. There is light bounce, which is normal. But overall, it stayed in place and didn't twist around or cause any chafing (which is a testament to good design, including good placement of the velcro). Second, it comes in a variety of colors (including purple, which is now in stock... but wasn't when I bought mine... just sayin'). Third, it carries what I think are the essentials: an iphone with a case, keys, id, cash. Finally, because it has a clear plastic window, it protects your iphone (no need to worry about it being drenched in sweat). Overall, if you're someone who likes to wear their gear on the arm, this is a great product.

Today's Small Victories
I made it to SF for a hike.

Today's Workout
6 mile hike in SF

Notes (to myself) about this workout: In total, the SO and I were out for over two hours. It wasn't particularly hard, but it was a long hike/walk. Big kudos to the SO who really stuck it out. He's recovering from an injured achilles and I know this hike wasn't easy. However, we finished and he's recovering nicely. As for me, I'm okay. I'm a little sore and slightly disappointed that I'm not running more. However, I need to cut myself a break. The Nike Half isn't until October, so official training doesn't start til July. With that, I just need to ease into the running. One step at a time...

**FYI I am in no way paid or compensated for sharing my opinion about the armpocket or any of the products I feature in “fierce products.” These are just things that I personally like. However, if you are from armpocket and you want to shoot a gal some stuff to try out, I’d have absolutely no objections to that. I promise to share an honest opinion about it!