Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August Recap

Miles ran: 54.7--almost double my July miles!
# runs: 14
Highest mileage week: 13.7
Long runs: 1
Pace workouts: 1
XT days:  5 days of yoga. I'm sooo sad my Groupon is over. I may do some drop-in classes at the yoga studio I've been going to. The classes are great.
Tempo or interval runs: 0

Favorite run: either my 5.6 mile "long" run, for the thrill of upping my miles, or my run this Monday. My pace was faster than it's been in weeks and I was just having a blast.
Current goal: finish out this week between 15 and 20 miles. Right where I want my base to be. 
Current obsession: don't laugh, but Christmas shopping. Yeah, I know. It's August. I can't help it. I've always done this. Oh, and Florence + the Machine.

Current need: really, there is nothing I need right now. Life is good!  
Current excitement: Balega Extra Comfort socks, and getting to be part of my friend's foray into the running world! But you guys knew that already. :)

Current bane of my existence: the chronic periformis pain seems to be coming back. I'm stretching, stretching, and stretching some more and trying to ignore it and hope it goes away. 
Current wish list: yep, still haven't finished the Master bedroom. But I've made progress!  
Current indulgence: lime sherbet with chocolate syrup. OK, ok, I had NO idea this was weird until I served it to our neighbors the other night. I turned the weird-factor over to the judgment of the Facebook and it turns out that a few people think it's weird, most have never heard of it but think it sounds fabulous, and a few have actually tried it. So that's my challenge to you for the coming month--get out there and try some sherbet. With chocolate syrup. You can thank me later. :)

Otherwise, my park. I just absolutely love running there. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Mondays on Notice: Everything that isn't these socks

In my last post I mentioned that I was trying out a pair of extra-cushion socks and that I liked them. Since then two things happened:

  1. One of my TNT buddies from Central Illinois asked for the deets about the socks. (everything you need to know is in the picture)
  2. I wore them again and fell even more in love. 
So today's Monday on Notice is brought to you out of the sheer LOVE I have for these socks. All other socks, on notice!

So why do I love them so much? Consider this a totally unsolicited review. And, I'm over-worked right now, so you're getting not one, but two lists in this post. 
  1. The tops are vented (a thinner layer)
  2. The bottoms are cushioned. The Brooks Adrenaline is not a cushy shoe. This helps. 
  3. They are low cut, but have a tab on the back to protect from heel rub. 
  4. They don't bunch up.
Go! Buy! LOVE!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Apparently I cannot contain my runner enthusiasm

Instead of a weekly wrap-up this week I'm going to give you some of the highlights of my very stellar week.

Highlight #1: Friends rock. On Tuesday I had dinner with a bunch of other newish faculty that I've gotten to know. Good times. On Wednesday we hosted one of my college friends (Frank, who I ran the US Half with) and her family as they trek from DC to California for military relocation. On Thursday I had a fabulous girls' night with my neighbor and friend Kayla, which brings me to...

Highlight #2: Taking Kayla to buy her first pair of grown-up running shoes. Earlier in the week she texted me from a Sports Authority asking for input. I told her to leave and that we would go to a real running store together so she could get properly fitted. I had a *really* hard time containing my enthusiasm about bringing her into the fold. She intended to just buy shoes, but ended up leaving with shoes, body glide, socks, and some runner food. And then we had dinner at a chocolate bar. Because we can. Here we are afterward with our plunder. My plunder included new shoes, which brings me to...

Highlight #3: I have narrow feet. This means I wear a weirdo size of running shoe: 10-2A. After all your wonderful input about extra-cushion shoes (huge shout out here to Sarah--thank you so much!), I'd decided that it was a smart thing for me to experiment with. So when I got to Big River Running (LOVE that place) I asked for the Brooks Trance in 10-2A. Not manufactured in that size. Damn! So let the record show that I came home with my 400th pair of Brooks Adrenalines (8/26).

To sort of compensate, I decided to try some extra cushion socks. At $11/pair, I just bought one to try them out, and I'm officially a fan. I will be going back to get more. How have I not discovered them already? I'm hopeful that I have a good combo of stuff on the feet now.

Highlight #4: As if life could get any better, this weekend is one of my absolute faves in StL--the Festival of Nations. A little less than half of my neighborhood park is taken over by 42 booths selling foods from 34 nationalities (we got a list), plus a world bazaar where mostly the same set of nationalities sells goods, and live music plays basically all weekend. After my run I met my boys there so we could chow down. I'm not even going to tell you what I ate. You'd just hate me for it. Nom nom nom.

What did you have going on this week? Are you any more successful than I was at containing runner enthusiasm with newer runners? Yeah, I didn't think so. :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Mondays on Notice: The Death of The Burger King

This week's Mondays on Notice has nothing to do with running. It's about my total lack of patience for most TV commercials. More often than not, I feel like the product is completely unnecessary (does anyone need air freshener that touts its new found ability to combine two tropical island scents into one jar??) or the style of the ad borders on being offensively trite. When commercials break the mold, I cherish them just a little bit. Yesterday I learned of the death of one such trendsetter--The King. As in, BK's King.

This mascot that has been cracking me up for years. I'm not sure if they ever even ran this ad, but it makes me laugh every single time I see it. I understand that some of their more recent commercials have been more contentious. I guess I haven't seen those so I can't really judge. But creepy? Really? Not even a little bit.

I'm gonna miss that guy. One thing I've had to distract me from my tears though has been a new commercial from Black Hawk Casino. Apparently some people find this distasteful toward cyclists, and I suppose if I had my pants bunched up far enough I might agree, but I still think it's hilarious.

Ok ok, one more. I freaking love this. And yes, there are a lot of casinos near me. 

So today, I want to put the prim and trite ads On Notice. I want to mourn the loss of The King (or at least his less offensive moments). And I want to say a great big THANK YOU to the ads that continue to make me laugh.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up

Week Three of Rebuilding the Base: Complete. My theme here is slow and steady wins the race (well, not really. I don't think Meb's going to adopt that phrase or anything, but you know what I mean).
My WIN this week: I did build mileage on my "long" run this weekend...but I also cut out my Friday run to keep from increasing mileage too much at once.
My PLAN for next week: keep the long run distance and add the Friday run back in. That will finally get me back to the mileage I'm after.

Monday: easy 4.1 through the park

Tuesday: rest day

Wednesday: easy 4.1 through the park

Thursday: yoga. And easily a highlight of my week, I finally nailed the side plank. As a runner, I tend to neglect my abs and related muscles, and that became blatantly obvious when I started this yoga routine a few weeks ago. I couldn't even do the side plank with my arm bent at the elbow and resting on the forearm. Total no-go. Until this week. That felt like a huge victory.

Friday: Not entirely intentional but strategic enough rest day.

Saturday: 5.6 mile long run success and NO pain. It was dark and rainy this morning, so I waited for a break in the clouds and headed out while it was still on the cool side. Gorgeous day, and I loved seeing so much going on in the park--an adult league softball tournament, a wedding being set up for later in the day, tents being set up for some sort of festival, a family reunion, a church group picnic. It is so fun to see people loving on the park and having a great time.

And, and this is beyond exciting for me, my love got a bike! He's been talking about it for a while (it was to be my anniversary gift to him, and that was back in June!) and looked unsuccessfully for a used one that would fit him. Last night he went to a local bike shop and brought one home. I am thrilled that he's getting back into a hobby that he enjoys and that will let him love our park and neighborhood like I do.

Total miles: 13.7
Total XT: 60 minutes

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mondays on Notice: Dwindling Days of Summer

Dear Dwindling Days of Summer,

Please don't go. Please stay around for another month or so. While at first I was just relieved that the heat let up a little, and I'm still really enjoying these temps, I can't help but notice that fall is quickly approaching. Can't you please just stick around a little while longer?

See, while summer has been crazy and chaotic at work, the fall brings a different kind (no more, no less, just different kind) of crazy to my world of academia. People around me are starting to freak out. And by "around me" I don't mean physically around me (my family couldn't care less), I mean everyone I know in this industry nationally. Freaking out, thanks to you. Can I guilt you into staying?

We've had so much fun together, summer. I rediscovered my youth via a Dukes of Hazzard hat resurrected from my MIL's basement. 

I overcame my horrific fear of my sewing machine and made progress on the curtain situation in my house (true story--no two windows in my house are the same size. Intimacy with a sewing machine is absolutely necessary if window coverings are going to look reasonable).

My family and I frolicked in the sunshine.

I had my first brush with the city's judicial system. 
Sorry to get your hopes up about JoannaRuns on the Run 2011--it was just jury duty. 

Summer, it's been great, and I'd love it if you could stay around a while. So I'm putting your departure On Notice, officially. I'm watching you. 


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up

Welcome to the weekly wrap-up for my second week of re-building my base. I am so flipping excited about a piece of running news that I can hardly contain myself. Seriously, I am SO excited to share. (if you are hell bent on skimming and want to get to the exciting running stuff, scroll to the bottom of this post) Here goes.

My traditional 4-miler through the park.

Another yoga class. This time we focused on inversions, which I now know is a fancy word for headstands. And I think I learned a bit, because it was the first time I've tried it where it hasn't hurt my neck. It definitely takes some getting used to and some learning to trust that the wall is actually behind you and won't let you fall. :) I'm kind of hoping we do this again next week so I can try it again.

My OAR of 4-mile perfection. MAN have I been loving this weather! Definitely still summer weather, but luscious.

Rest day

Time to increase mileage a teeny tiny bit. I added part of a loop onto my run for an extra 0.9 miles and had zero problems with it. That means...wait for it...I'm officially clearing myself for a 6-miler this week if I continue with no periformis pain. YAY!

Some of our good friends from our town back in Illinois came for a weekend visit and a Cardinals game. It was the first time my husband, our son, their younger son, or I had ever been to a Cards game. We had such a good time. Couldn't have asked for better weather. One thing I love about this stadium is that they let you bring in outside food and drink (with some restrictions). It's so family friendly, easy to get to--just a totally lovely night out. My friends are the best!

AND THEN...(this is the really exciting runner-related part)
We took the kiddos to the park to play this morning. While we were sitting there I met a mom from just down the street from me. She was wearing athletic clothing so I asked if she was a runner. Turns out that not only does she run, she is a retired professional triple jumper. As in, did Olympic trials, calls runnings' elite her personal friends, lived in an Olympic training village. She is the real deal. I was definitely a little star struck. And as icing on the cake, she is so nice. We talked for a while and she asked if I'd like to run with her sometime, which of course I said yes! Oh my goodness, I am beyond excited about having another mommy friend on our street and a totally awesome potential running buddy. I am sure she will run my ass off, but I don't even care. Putting today in the WIN category!

Weekly mileage: 12.9
Weekly XT minutes: 60

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Monday and today both we have been blessed by a reprieve from the heat. Both days I have fully taken advantage of the cooler temps by heading out for an OAR. That's right, an Open Air Run. What? You thought triathletes were the only ones who get to make up acronyms? Hehe.

Today while near one of my traditional water stops (feature #712 that I love about the park: water fountains!) I saw people setting up something that looked like it was going to be a great time. I asked what they were doing and they said it was for a company picnic for one of the local casinos. Dang--those people do know how to put on a good time! I kinda wanted to stop and play for a while. Think I could get away with it? ;)

The run felt great and I'm loving building back up. Tomorrow is a rest day then I'm back out for a slightly longer run on Friday. Run strong & be merry!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Mondays on Notice: Jif Reduced Fat Creamy

Dear Jif Reduced Fat Creamy Peanut Butter,

You have been a staple of my life. I have loved you longer than I've known The Original Bestie (Jamie) and my husband combined. I've come to rely on you like Tiger Woods relied on that caddie who is now super pissed at him. We had a good thing going. So what is up with this?

I scoured two grocery stores in search of the giant vat of Reduced Fat Creamy I've cherished for decades, to no avail. Apparently now you only come in this itsy-bitsy, totally impractical size. Are you aware that there are still 3-year-olds who mass consume this stuff? And runners, who love some pb before or after a hard run? 

I hereby put you on Notice until you can come to your senses again and start selling a reasonably sized jar of peanut butter. 


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up, the New Stuff Edition

I had a fantastic week for my return to hoping the periformis has healed just a little bit more dedicated running after my light July. Seriously, there was so much about this week that I loved.

Thing I Loved #1
My hubby changed jobs back in February and now has an office even closer to the kiddo's daycare than my work is. This has meant that I am no longer the parent primarily responsible for dropping him off and picking him up. And you know what that means?? It means that for the seldom days when I turn to the 'mill, I can get to the gym early enough to run, shower, and get to my desk by 9. I realize this may not sound like a huge deal to a lot of you, but knowing I can get my run in in the morning without panic and worry about time is a huge blessing.

Thing I Loved #2
My new for August fitness excitement--YOGA! Yes, I have done yoga semi-regularly in the past, but it's been a while. A while back I snatched a Groupon for one month of unlimited classes at Southtown Yoga here in the city. It is a seriously nice yoga studio. A 1-month unlimited pass would normally be $150 (read: I got parked in by an Audi this morning when I went). I'm going with a girlfriend from work, and we just started on Tuesday. So far I'm really liking it. It works my body in such a different way than running. It's hard! And fab.

Thing I Loved #3
You've heard me talk about my uber-walkable neighborhood before. Well, it's still walkable and I still love it! The weather cooled off a bit for two days this week, so I grabbed the opportunity to "run" some of my errands around the neighborhood. That makes me so, so happy.

Overall it was still a light week, but the slow transition back up from July that I'd planned and hoped for. Here's how it shook out:
Monday: 3.6 miles
Tuesday: 60 min yoga
Wednesday: 4.0 miles
Thursday: rest
Friday: 2.1 miles ("running" errands)
Saturday: 75 min yoga

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

July Recap (better late than never!)

I want to preface this post by saying that July was an intentionally light month. With vacation in the middle and a lingering desire for my periformis to heal, I decided to do a cut-back month. Also, I'm up to some really fun stuff for August, but you'll have to wait for that. :)

Miles ran: 29 (lowest since.....ever?)
Rest days: a lot
Highest mileage week: 12.8
Long runs: 0
Pace workouts: 5
XT days:  still zero, but I'm into some new stuff for August and it makes me really happy! 
Tempo or interval runs: 0
Favorite run: Easily Rave Run #3, but Rave Run #2 wasn't bad either.  My beloved Appalachia!

Current goal: building miles back up and hoping the periformis plays nice 
Current obsession: honestly, work. Work is absolutely bat shit crazy right now. I am eating, sleeping, and breathing a handful of big projects.  
Current need: new running shoes. Thank you guys SO much for the input. I have some follow-up questions for a few of you that I'll probably just email.  
Current excitement: Continued progress on decorating! Our new sofas came (LOVE!). (and yes, I straightened out the rug later, oops)

I finally finished painting the master bedroom and I bought curtains for both the living room and master bedroom. Plus, we agreed on wall art for the master. It's coming together, and it makes me so happy!   
Current bane of my existence: exhaustion, but whatevs.  It comes with the territory sometimes.  
Current wish list: To see the master bedroom FINISHED completely. 
Current indulgence: I'm almost embarrassed to admit this, shoes. I finally figured out that the foot pain that shut down an 18-miler this spring was caused by a pair of shoes I'd bought for work. So I went on the hunt for a new pair....or two. :)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Mondays on Notice: Old Crap

It was 82 degrees with 90% humidity when I woke up this morning. I knew it was going to be beastly and had planned ahead to hit up the gym this morning. I rolled into work around 7:30 and very thankfully made my way to the rec center and hopped on the treadmill. I was settling into my groove just as this internal monologue started rolling through the otherwise still sleeping part of my brain: left foot is kind of hurting. I wonder what's going on. 
[left, right, left, right]
How long have I had these shoes? Aren't these still my "new shoes"? 
[left, right, left, right]
No, you know, this definitely feels like old shoes syndrome. Thank goodness I have a blog! I can go back and check when I got these. Score!

Apparently I've had these since March--they have about 410 miles on them. Time to trade these bad boys in--they've been put on notice!

I'd like some input from y'all. This spring while training for Cleveland I had some foot issues on runs longer than about 10 miles. It felt like a bruise forming where my toes meet the main part of the foot. I considered getting shoes with more cushioning, but backed away from it because the pair pictured above was so new and because the others were so expensive. Now that it's time to replace them, I need to know--is the higher cushioning worth it? Have any of you ever tried them? What did you think? Input please!