Newton’s Magic Running Shoes

Sometimes, I fall head over heels over a pair of shoes. Usually said shoes have 4 inch heels and cost more than my half of the rent check.  But not always.

I had a love at first sight moment when I saw a picture of Newton running shoes in a Runner’s World magazine.  With shoes like that, who cares if they are “functional?”  I NEEDED THEM NOW.

Upon closer research, I found out that they run at about $150 a pair.  Not that I’m above buying shoes that require me to sell various organs. But, considering I get 3-4 months of use out of a pair of running shoes, the price seems a litte unjustifiable when most running shoes are in the $75-100 category.  And, upon even further research I found out that the super cool ones are all men’s models.  The women’s are considerably less exciting.  Just like peacocks or chickens. Not cool, Newton peeps.  Women want crazy colored shoes too.

But I remained obsessed nontheless.

I secretly hoped for a way to test them out before actually having to spend $150.

A couple of weeks ago when we were at the RnR Race Expo, we stumbled across a booth advertising $50 running shoes.  Turns out this store accepts returns within 30 days even if they’ve been lightly tested (kind of like REI).  Normally I’m not one to buy vintage/thrift/used clothing or shoes just because I imagine the worst possible scenario when I think about the previous wearer(s). EWE.

But then, as if a beacon of light shone down from the Convention Center flourescent lighting, I saw a pair of Newton running shoes in my size calling my name.  There was no sign of tread wear. Just two little rejected shoes wanting to be loved.

I couldn’t help myself.  A $100 savings on a pair of shoes that were worn ONCE! Plus, Clorox wipes were invented for this very reason. The nice and knowledgeable sales man got me set up, and I walked away with my (first?) pair of Newtons.  I walked by the actual Newton booth and wanted to brag about my purchase. But I didn’t. I did take a picture though as a substitute. 

Newtons aren’t your average running shoe.   According to the website, they are part of the “natural” gait running movement…like the foot V-whatever shoes, but less funny looking and less minimalist.  The form for natural gait running is slightly different.  And after years upon years of “non-natural” gait running,apparently it takes some time to get used to.

The raised platform on the ball of the foot is the signature Newton component.  It helps keep your stride stay forward (less heel striking, more “natural”), and prevents the shoe from wearing down as fast. 

This is a shoe that you have to work your way into.  The website recommends mile long increments, then 10 minute increments, slowly building up your Newton shoe tolerance for the first 30 miles or so.  Not taking it slow could cause injuries because you are running differently then you normally do.

But then, magic happens.  Less injuries, less sole breakdown, more efficient running. 

I’ve now done 3 runs in my Newton’s, and I’ve gone up to 12 minutes without any major problems.  They are slightly uncomfortable, but probably not any more than any unbroken new pair of shoes.  I can’t decide yet if the little platform feels awesome, like a little launch into the air with every step, or annoying like I have a big wad of gum stuck to the bottom of my shoes. But I really don’t notice it too much.

I’m hoping for big and wonderous things here.  I’m hoping for improved form and better running times.

But really, I’m looking for an excuse to splurge the $150 in order to have the coolest looking running shoes around (hopefully in a different color than these).

Visiting Michigan

A little over a week Aaron and I found out that we would need to take a last-minute trip to Michigan to be with his family. So we purchased our last minute-priced plane tickets (ay caramba), broke the news to our bosses, and headed clear across the country, returning late Thursday night.

Despite the circumstances that brought us there, I was very glad to meet Aaron’s mom’s side of the family (I’ve only met a few of them before), and had a pleasant time hearing stories and connecting with people who welcomed me into the family with open arms. Plus, they were just as crazy as my family, so I fit right in!

The town we stayed in was SMALL.  By the looks of it, neighbors compete over who has the flashiest tractor.  Every other house has a corn field attached (not even exaggerating).  Barns were everywhere. They have a Big Boy Diner. They also have one of the most adorable downtowns I’ve ever seen and some fantastic turn of the century farm houses and Victorians complete with American flag banners hung across the front porch.  This is Norman Rockwell country.

People are tall and blonde and speak with a strong Midwestern accent (I stood out just a little bit). Most know about as much about New Mexico as I know about Michigan (Traverse City? Ummm….ok?). 

Unlike Albuquerque, Michigan is a “damp” cold place which is like being cold already and then having cold water sprayed on you.  If it sounds miserable, it is. I didn’t see the sun the whole time we were there.  Even though Albuquerque has its cold days, we never go more than a day without sunshine, and Michigan just felt so much colder. I was slightly disappointed that I didn’t see any snow.  I had pictured a Midwest winter in my mind and it involved muffs, snow, and horse-drawn sleighs. Not so much. Just cold. And rain.

In general, it doesn’t seem like people spend a lot of time outside in winter, and I don’t blame them.  We were outside only to get from one building to another.   We brought our running gear with hopes that we would get up every morning and jog, but that didn’t even come close to happening.  We did sit and play a lot of card games though. So maybe that is a little bit of cardio?  Kudos to anyone who lives in the Midwest and actually works out.  It was much harder to be motivated then we thought.

We stayed at Great Aunt Esther’s house where nobody leaves with an empty stomach. This ended up becoming a little bit of a problem.

Albuquerque is a very health conscious city.  Most people exercise to some degree and eat pretty well.   People tend to be on the thinner side here, so there is a lot of motivation to stay fit.  Running is trendy.  It isn’t like I’m going against the grain in running or wanting to do a triathlon. And when I say I’m eating clean, I get supportive looks.

People in Michigan eat more than I’m used to.  A lot more.  And a lot differently.

I wasn’t about to tell Great Aunt Ester that the biscuits and gravy (and pancakes and egg and potato casserole) she spent all morning preparing didn’t quite fit into my diet plan or ask if she could she please fix me some oatmeal. Plus, it wasn’t like any of this stuff tasted bad.  Biscuits and gravy is actually really really good.  Really good.  Just maybe not after the large dinner the night before and the large lunch we had after. I probably could have gotten away without eating everything and not offended anyone, but when in the Midwest, eat as the Midwesterners do, right? At least I know I did.

Our diet while we were there was carb based…almost no protein or veggies in any of our meals. And the servings were huge.  Ginger Ale is really big. Water not as much. I may have also eaten an entire bag of Doritos myself  (the bowl was next to the wine bottles…guess where I stood all night…it was a matter of convenience). 

Aaron and I stepped off the plane on Thursday feeling bloated and ill.  When your body isn’t used to eating like that, your stomach is in for a rude awakening.  Epic Diet Fail.

I woke up Friday morning back in my own bed (always a nice feeling), and I was completely motivated to get moving.  A lot of times eating lots of grilled chicken and fish is kind of a bummer for me. I mean, it isn’t biscuits and gravy or anything.  But after really having no choice but to eat lots of “comfort” food for a few days, I’m looking forward to fresh green veggies.  I want this bloated, upset stomach feeling to go away and I want that fat that I can feel creeping in around my midsection to evaporate ASAP. (After weighing myself I only gained 1 pound…but it feels like 10).

(I really like airplane sunset pictures…I don’t know why).

I went overzealous on the lunges yesterday and I can’t walk.  But it kind of feels awesome! (positive thinking…it actually hurts really bad).

Our trip to Michigan introduced me to a whole new side of Aaron and it really inspired me to LOVE eating my asparagus (no, really) and I’m back in my running groove.  Next 5-K is in 2 weeks! In so many ways it was a blessing in disguise, and I’m glad we got the opportunity to go.

SIDENOTE: Based on my facebook feed, it appears that a girl I went to high school with WON the Tinkerbell Half Marathon at Disneyland this morning (dressed as Tinkerbell!).  Way to represent!

Twitter Road Race and Swimming Lesson #1

About a month ago, I saw something on Twitter about the Twitter Road Race. 

After looking more into it, I found Doug Cassaro’s blog and his movement to organize a virtual 5-k.   Turns out some 700 people around the world signed up!

The Nike Women’s Marathon organized a virtual half marathon last weekend that I was thinking about joining.  Since I was running a half marathon anyway, why not run a 2nd “virtual” one at the same time?

For the Nike Women’s, it was a $40 fee ($10 went to charity and you got a bracelet and a chance to win an automatic entry into the lottery process real Marathon in October) AND you  had to have a Nike plus GPS system.

I’m a Garmin girl.  I didn’t want to buy the Nike thing. So I decided not to participate.  Plus, adding $40 to the RnR fee just didn’t seem economical. But I thought, hey, a free virtual 5-K  that helps me connect with other runners sounds pretty cool.

So I signed up for the Twitter Road Race.

This week, after the Rock n Roll Arizona half marathon, has been very relaxing.  I went on the elliptical once and I have been happily indulging in all the food, beer, and wine I desire.  I feel gloriously fat and out of shape. Aaron also busted his knee last week in Arizona, so he hasn’t been able to run.

 I had to run my virtual 5-K on a treadmill at the gym so Aaron could hang out on the elliptical. 

My problem with “virtual races” is this: I like to win.  When running, being able to pass people keeps me going.  Not having those people around makes me much less motivated to go faster.  Add the whole running without going anywhere to the equation, and I pretty much never had a chance to meet my PR time of 21:05 .  Plus, running fast and hard on the treadmill is noisy, and other gym people look at you like you are a complete nuisance to the gym world. I don’t like gym people looking at me like I’m a complete nuisance to the gym world.

But I started out fast anyway. My calf tightened up, I started feeling seriously ill 1.55 miles in, and had to walk for 3/4 of a mile.  So I didn’t have my best race (virtual or not) ever.

26 minutes and 13 seconds.  Just about how fast I ran first ever 5-K.  But hey, it was fun anyway (except for the whole feeling violently ill part).

Since we were at the gym anyway, I asked Aaron to give me my first swimming lesson.

If you read my 2012 bucket list, you may know that I want to do a triathlon this year and you may also know that I don’t know how to swim .  And by don’t know how to swim I mean, if you dropped me in the middle of the deep end of the pool, I would drown. I live in the desert, so not knowing how to swim hasn’t really affected my life too much.

Aaron on the other hand was a champion high school swimmer in addition to you know, the THREE Ironman races he’s finished. So I’d say he’s qualified to teach me.

My first ever swimming lesson made me realize how far I have to go.  I have an irrational fear of drowning. For example, it took me several tries before I was able to snorkel without having a nervous breakdown and on those occasions I had a floatie vest and a breathing apparatus.

I don’t know to kick.  I don’t know how to move my arms.  I don’t know how to breathe.  Putting my head underwater is terrifying. And Aaron let me know a sprint triathlon is 400 meters….I did about 100 today and thought I was going to die.  Even being a runner, swimming wears me out.

But I am still determined.  This was only the first lesson.  I imagine after about 5 more I will be able to at least make it across the pool without stopping to rest. And someday I will be able to stick my head underwater without thinking that I will die.

At least let’s hope.

Road Trip Through the Painted Desert

The End of a Journey

I had the rest of this post written out last night, but how much can change in a few hours! Etta James’ death was unfortunately not the first one I heard about today.  Etta passed away his morning at the age of 73 after battling several health problems.  Even though it sounds like she was kind of the Lindsey Lohan of her day, I believe that At Last is one of the most beautifully sung and most  iconic American standards ever recorded.  That one song alone kept Etta relevant across generations, and based on my facebook feed, her death has affected many people.  So, before anything else, RIP Etta James, and thank you for your contribution to American Music.

 

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The trip from Albuquerque to Phoenix is 6 hours. It is a relatively short distance, but the terrain is so varied along the way.   

To pass the time during the trip, I pulled out the Canon and started snapping away. I still don’t really know how to use my camera, but I did learn that the little runner dude icon is “sports mode” which means I can capture stuff moving fast without it being blurry.  This came in handy when trying to take pictures at 75 mph.  Meanwhile, Aaron was embarrassed about how dirty the windows were. 

I prefer an ocean sunset, but I would be lying if I said that New Mexico sunsets aren’t some of the most amazing.  I only wish I was a good enough photographer to capture them with any sense of justice.

So, here is rural New Mexico and Arizona: desert, mountains, forest, cliffs, Route 66 towns, roadside attractions, Navajo Reservations, and open road.

Phoenix In January is Heaven

In the middle of a cold, dark January, Phoenix is a warm haven of happiness, al fresco dining, and palm trees.  During the summer it gets pretty dang warm (and by warm I mean cooking an egg on the sidewalk warm), but this weekend, 70 degrees has never felt so good.

In addition to the Rock n’ Roll race that brought in hoards of runner people, Tough Mudder Arizona  and some sort of big deal Super Cross event happened on Saturday, so the city and every restaurant/bar/hotel in it were pretty full of crazy athletic types along with Super Cross types (whatever that means…they were all wearing “Monster” shirts).

We went for the half-marathon and made a long weekend out of it.  Aaron actually lived in Phoenix for a few years during college, so he knows his way around the city.  This is a good thing because it is one of the sprawling urban masses and I would have gotten very very lost had he not been navigating. Not good when it seems every freeway exit lets you off in a different suburb.

Even though I’ve probably been there well over a dozen times, I’ve never really explored all there is to do in Phoenix.  Of course I’ve been to Scottsdale’s Fashion Square and toured the ASU campus in high school, but surely a city that size has more to offer than Louis Vuitton and dorms.  At least let’s hope.

Unfortunately we didn’t really explore this time either.  With all the race weekend activities, we didnt’ have too much extra time to get down and dirty in the desert.

But we did….

…stay at the Doubletree on 44th Street (all the rooms are suites, and you get free breakfast). We made friends in the hot tub with marathon people from Montana and Tucson.

…run through Papago Park (an inner city desert and likely home to lots of rattlesnakes but oh so scenic).  Also, I’m going through a weird phase where I make myself look ridiculous in  photos.  It just happens. I can’t stop it. I call the thumbs up pose “The Cheryl”  after its creator, my sister.

…ride the Light Rail ($3.50 for a day pass.  HELLO cheap public transit!).

…go to the awesome RnR Race Expo.

…enjoy the really good beer at Four Peaks Brewing Company (if you like microbreweries, this is the place for you in Phoenix).  I recommend the Oatmeal Stout and Kilt Lifter. Notice that we are seated OUTSIDE!

…carb load at Oreganos, where once again we ate OUTSIDE!

race our little Rock n Roll hearts out.

…jam to the B-52′s.

…eat at In n’ Out (a Phoenix/ California MUST in our book). We may have missed out on some of Arizona’s natural wonders, but by golly at least we got our Double Doubles with Cheese. You’ve got to have priorities.

…go to Four Peaks again to meet up with a Beer Runners Group (Run4Beer) I found on facebook (the couple who runs it is from Florida and they post running/ beer drinking inspiration all day long.  They were also in town to run the race and organized a happy hour). Very cool meeting people with similar interests from different parts of the country! If you like running and beer, you should “like” them on facebook!

meet my college friends Luke and Allie for dinner and drinks at Z-Tejas in Tempe. I’ve only seen them one other time since Allie and I graduated 5 years ago, so it was great catching up.  I’m also a little freaked out with how grown up we all look.  Weren’t we just 21 the other day?

Here’s what we looked like when we were 21 (College 70′s night.  It was the only picture I could find with all three of us in it…I promise we didn’t dress like that all the time!). How far digital cameras have come! (I’m the one in the center, Allie is to the left, and Luke is in the back).

shop at Ikea (we don’t have one so we have to stock up on the unassembled goodness when we can).

eat at In n’ Out. Again. Ok. If you are wondering why I would pass up what I’m sure is plenty of Phoenix culinary goodness to visit a fast food joint twice in a 24 hour period, let me just say, BEST BURGER EVER! Five Guys doesn’t come close.  Barbara Streisand used to fly to California just to eat there.  That’s saying something.

It was a short vacation, but a wonderful, somewhat relaxing and warm one. Even though we didn’t get to do a ton of stuff, we met some great new people, reconnected with old friends, ran the good race, and enjoyed some tasty food and beer. And really, what else is there?

Rock n’ Roll Arizona

Sometimes, I am an unintentional drama queen.

I kind of made a big deal out of not preparing adequately for this race.  But seriously. We only did 4 long runs (3 of them were under 8 miles) and our last long run was 3 weeks ago.  We did a total of about 4 speed workouts.  I was putting in a weekly mileage between 15-20 miles when I should have been putting in 35.  My sciatic nerve was bothering me (made worse by the 6 hour drive to Phoenix).  On Saturday I walked 3 miles in 4 inch heels resulting in 2 blisters. And did I mention that I bought new running shoes last Sunday out of desperation and didn’t really break them in?

Physically speaking, I was in no condition to run 13.1 miles much less run them faster.  I was, however, prepared to meet some hunky EMTs.

But, despite any reasonable explanation, 

I finished Rock n’ Roll Arizona in 1 hour, 44 minutes, and 54 seconds….A PR! (albeit a 44 second one, BUT A PR!).  I finished in the top 7% of the over 15,600 runners, and placed #52 in my division!

 

Does anyone else find this completely nuts? This isn’t supposed to happen.  Years upon years of research have shown exactly what you need to do to improve your speed.  I didn’t do them. I powered myself completely with an unmaintained base, positive thinking, good vibes from sympathetic people (THANK YOU FOR THOSE!), and the desire to not suck.  Apparently that was enough. Not that I’m planning to tempt fate again.

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Rock n’ Roll Arizona

There has been a lot of bad press about Rock n’ Roll races recently because of the December Las Vegas disaster.  This was the first RnR race since then, so the pressure was on Competitor Group to redeem themselves.

Most people (at least the ones on facebook) agree that they did!

Honestly, this race made the other two I’ve done look like amateur hour.  Granted RnR had 6 times the number of runners and cost twice as much. But WOW.

The Expo 

SO. ORGANIZED.  There was no waiting in line for your bib, they didn’t run out of t-shirts, and every station was neatly labeled.  Lots of quality vendors, lots of giveaways, lots of discounts, and lots of informative booths. 

Prep and Pre-Race

Saturday evening we carb loaded at Oregenos, an Arizona staple for casual Italian food.  It was tasty.

Sunday we got up bright and early ate a banana, then headed to the village.  There were plenty of porta-potties and the gear check ran like clockwork. I felt very comfortable leaving my stuff there.

***COMPLAINT ALERT****  Because we took the Light Rail (Arizona’s cheap public transit which was suggested in all the pre-race information), we had no parking issues.  They even doubled the number of trains on Sunday morning. But apparently, some people had a hard time finding parking. Um, DUH! Any time you have that many people trying to get into one place, parking will be hard to come by.  We talked  to several people who said they had NO PROBLEM parking because they followed the suggested routes and allowed ample time to get there (the pre-race packet suggested getting there AT LEAST 1 hour before schedule).  I even heard people in my corral saying that they were stuck in traffic…but they still made it.  But a small, vocal group got stuck in a traffic jam and couldn’t get to the start line in time.  

Obviously the parking issue isn’t my complaint.  However, the officials delayed the race start.  The half marathon started 10 minutes late (which wasn’t too bad), but the half marathon started 30 minutes late! If you are warming up/eating /planning your day based on a certain schedule, that delay could really throw you off.  I appreciate the race organization trying to make everyone happy.  But why punish what appears to be 90% of runners who were there on time and ready to go for the 10% who weren’t?

13.1 Rockin Miles

I was assigned to corral #2,  so I didn’t have to zigzag around walkers and slow people. I was the slow people.

The course is new.   Aaron said the new course is much nicer and more interesting/scenic than the old one. You travel through 3 municipalities (Tempe, Phoenix, and Scottsdale). The elevation is mostly flat with a couple of long uphills, but after San Francisco, this was nothing.  According to the course elevation map, the first 9.5 miles are all uphill, but I didn’t notice until mile 8.

{I was trying to wave. Obviously not what happened.}

A signature of Rock n’ Roll is the course support.  Every mile featured a local band, and/or a cheerleading squad.   Plus, there were TONS of spectators all along the way, so you were being cheered on or sung to the entire time!

There were ample water/Gatorade stations and GU at mile 7.  (I’ve heard about 10 complaints about the water making people sick and tasting bad.  Arizona water tastes bad.  And seeing as how like, 10 people got sick and 20,000 didn’t, I’m guessing the water was fine).

I started to get a blister on the bottom of my foot from my new shoes at mile 4.  My knee and sciatic nerve started hurting at mile 7.  My body didn’t want to go very fast, and if I looked away from my Garmin for a few minutes, I would look back at it to find that my pace had dropped significantly (check out my pace chart above.  Bipolar speed  much?).

{Promoting World Peace? Lord knows what goes through my head when I’m trying to pose for the race camera.}

But, I repeated GO! GO! GO! GO! and THIS FEELS GREAT! over and over again in my head and  I actually started to believe it!  Apparently my mind isn’t all too bright. The miles flew by, and at each mile, I was in disbelief that I had made it that far. As we hit mile 12 (and really, at this point I am GOING NUTS because I only have 1.1 miles left) I picked up my pace.  I crossed the finish line to Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin, checked my Garmin (GLEE!), and ran and jumped on Aaron out of sheer joy.

And then I got really dizzy and light-headed and thought I was going to pass out.  But I didn’t.

My mom texted me right away because the race website actually provides live updates for each runner as they progress through the course.  They knew our official times the moment we crossed the finish line!

In case you’re wondering how Aaron did, he came in at a “disappointing” 1:31:16.  He was sick all morning and didn’t feel well during the run or after, but I wish my good races could be as good as his bad ones.  He finished in the top 1% and was less than a minute off his Duke City time (which we actually trained for). He beat his San Francisco time by a landslide, and overall did really well considering he was combating a migraine the whole time.

Post-Race

Another signature of the Rock n’ Roll series is the concert.  After getting medals, Jamba Juice, Snickers,  Gatorade, water, and bananas handed to us, we made our way to the ASU stadium  to pick up our free beer (which, sadly, was Michelob Ultra…but we totally drank it anyway). 

The awards ceremony was inspirational. The third place female marathoner pulled her groin at mile 4, and ran the rest of the 22.2 miles in a total state of agony and STILL FINISHED THIRD! Completely insane.

The B-52s of Love Shack and Rock Lobster fame were the headliners (we were front row, center!).   The lead singer is adorable and rocks her fishnet tights and pink hair despite being 63.  Unfortunately, the male vocalist was rude.   Runners who raised lots of money for the MS Society got to be in a VIP area right in  front.   The male lead singer demanded that one of the fundraisers turn off his camera over the microphone.  I thought that was uncalled for.  He could have at least asked nicely without announcing it to the entire audience. But other than that, it was a fun show.

In other news, the race photos are already up which is UNHEARD OF! (I promise to order pictures, race picture people!).

So, that was our race.  It was a wonderful experience, and I hope to do more Rock n’ Roll races in the future (San Diego’s June race is seriously calling my name). I had to stop myself from signing up for another one right away (that’s how I got into this mess in the first place), but we will be taking a half marathon break for a little while. At least I can end my streak on a positive “PR” note!

   

 

 

A Mental Workout

Aron Ralston sawed off his own arm with a dull pocket knife after drinking his own pee for “127 Hours.”

THEN homeboy scaled a 65 foot wall to get out of the cave and deliriously hiked for 8 miles with his self-amputed arm before running into somebody who could help him (Lord knows how long he had to wait to actually be rescued after that). 

If he could do all that, then surely I can run through 13.1 miles of muscle tightening, side stitches, stomach discomfort, and blistered feet after not training into it. 

….Right?

(Since I haven’t done the adequate physical training to run a 1:40 half, I’ve been doing a lot of mental training for it!).

…ANYWAY…

I always have travelling anxiety.

I want the house to be cleaner than it is when we live in it.  I want all the laundry to be done.  I need to know if I die on this trip, people will come into my house and not judge me for being untidy and having dishes in the sink.

And I want to be sure I pack for every possible situation. Nevermind that most of the places we go have at least a Target (most likely laid out exactly like mine) and a mall.  But I’m always afraid of being in some foreign city (or you know, Phoenix) and being unprepared.

Plus, it’s not like I can go and buy another Garmin just because I forgot mine.  And what if my socks disintegrate while I’m putting them on at 5 am.  I need back-up.

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My nerve/muscle issue has been feeling better.  I’ve been nursing the area like crazy.  I can still tell that something is not quite right with it, but I don’t have the constant pain that I was having a few days ago.  I opted not to do any procedures I haven’t done before like acupuncture or going to a chiropractor before the race out of fear that my body would have a freak out session, but next week I’m going to make a commitment to taking care of my poor body.  We’ve been training for various half marathons since August, and even though we’ve incorporated yoga and weight training into our plan, I think our bodies need some adjustment. 

So, it is time to head to the gloriously warm land of sunshine.  Hopefully everything goes well, and hopefully I can buy myself a present for not having a complete failure of a race (thoughts of a Scottsdale shopping spree are definitely part of the mental workout). 

Thanks for all of the encouragement and well wishes! I hope to have good things (or at least not really bad things) to report next week!

7th Month Anniversary of Giuseppe Coming Home From the Farm

I realized that today marks the 7 month anniversary of us driving out to the middle of nowhere and coming home with a Giuseppe! I cannot believe how fast our time with him has flown by!

Last week was Giuseppe’s 9 month birthday, which makes him just about equivalent to a 5 year old child.  He is afraid of the dark, and it comforts him to sleep next to us, yet he still stubbornly declares his “big boy” status by wanting to do everything his way and by himself.  It doesn’t do us any good to spell out T-R-E-A-T because he’s big enough to know exactly what that means. And bathtime? Forget about it.  He’d much rather be digging around in the dirt.

He enjoys the luxury of being treated like an only child and by child I mean human child. It hasn’t occured to any of us that he isn’t a little human.  Sometimes I wonder if real moms hate me because I always realate their real baby stories with things Giuseppe has done. “How funny that your baby falls asleep in his food! Giuseppe does the exact same thing! Wanna see a picture? I have one right here!”

As puppy parents, I think we’ve managed to raise a socialized, curious, intelligent, independent, affectionate puppy. 

Westies are a wonderful breed. Like most Westies, Giuseppe is very smart and he enjoys being challenged and learning new things.  He has a TON of energy and he needs to get lots of exercise, otherwise he gets restless.  He digs (Westies are vermin hunters).  He isn’t very destructive (I thankfully haven’t sacrificed any shoes or furniture to his chewing needs) and he is too small to jump up on the counter and commandeer our dinner, so we have little to complain about.   

We couldn’t be happier with our decision to adopt a Westie into our home. I can’t imagine life without this little furry white bundle of energy even when he needs to get let out at 2 a.m.). Aaron is already wanting to get a second one, but I keep reminding him of the early days of fresh pee on the carpet every half hour.  Plus I don’t know if he could handle not having all of our attention.

(Thanks to photographer Aaron (and our new camera) for these amazing puppy pictures)! And of course, thank you Giuseppe for being so gosh darn adorable and amazing!

What Happens When Everything in Half Marathon Training Goes Wrong

“There’s a battle ahead, many battles are lost
But you’ll never see the end of the road
While you’re traveling with me

Hey now, hey now, don’t dream it’s over.”

Um, yes. 

Less than a week until Rock n’ Roll Arizona.  

Meanwhile I am sitting here hoping that this nagging pain in my glute/hip/ lower back isn’t what WebMD tells me it is…Sciatica (not that I believe everything I think I have on WebMD…ok, I do).  Whatever this is hurts me when I sit, hurts me when I stand, and hurts me when I lay down, and hasn’t improved over the last week.

So, for anyone keeping score: signing up for a half marathon 8 weeks in advance immediately following two subsequent other half marathons  +  not following a training plan + subfreezing temperatures + too much holiday fun and food+ getting a cold + weird back muscle/nerve issue = what not to do.

Coach Aaron has ordered me to limit exercise to shorter easier runs to make sure whatever is going on doesn’t get worse (where was he a couple of years ago when I would have died to be ordered to exercise less?).  I’m not supposed to be wearing high heels (which in all honesty won’t happen because I don’t own shoes that aren’t high heels).  I’ve been doing lots of “pigeon” stretches, rolling out with the massage stick, soaking in warm water, and applying heat to the area. 

I did buy new running shoes (Asics Gel 2160) because I think my Mizuno Wave Inspire 7′s were breaking down which is possibly the root of the problem.  We also bought a new mattress on Saturday because ours was old and sad and probably not helping the lower back pain either.  (We had a Groupon that expired next week, so we were planning on buying a new mattress anyway).   And then I did some low impact mattress jumping for my work-out.

So, I’m officially going to stop worrying about the race right now.  Arizona is going to be a nice warm place with palm trees.  I will eat In and Out Burger.  I will go swimming in the pool.   I will see college friends.  I will rock out at the B-52′s Post-Race concert. And I will shop my little heart out at Ikea and H+M.

And I will finish the race.  I don’t think I’ll do too terribly, I just know that I won’t meet my goal, and I won’t improve my time by 5 minutes like I wanted to.  But that’s ok. There will be other races and other chances to train. I’m obviously frustrated that I didn’t try harder over the last 7 weeks.  But too late to worry about that now. I’m not necessarily giving up (and I’ve promised myself a nice present if I manage to beat my San Francisco time and a VERY nice present if I PR) but I am going to chill out.  After all, I did manage to ace some college exams with minimal studying, so there is still hope!

Not every race can be my best.  I can’t always reach a PR.  All I can do is go in and enjoy running through the desert and be grateful that I have the physical ability to do so.  #firstworldproblems.

This week I will eat well, I will stay hydrated, and I will get plenty of sleep. I will stretch, I will not push myself, and I will mentally prepare for running 13.1 miles. And I will watch The Today Show because they are celebrating their 60th Anniversary this week! Matt and Katie will always be my favorites.

Fish...yum?

And then next week I can start working toward another goal.

In other news: Happy 30th Birthday to my girl, Kate!

Happy Birthday, New Mexico!

Today is New Mexico’s 100th Birthday.

{Incidentally, this right here is my 100th blog post…guess which I’m more excited about}

Way back in 1912, President William Howard Taft made New Mexico a state (yes, we ARE a state of this here United States, all of you naysayers). 

New Mexico Magazine

We are the 47th state, so…we were kind of late to the party.  But, hey, we’re here now and we’ve produced such valuable exports as Demi Moore, Neil Patrick Harris, Freddie Prince Jr., Minka Kelly, Brian Urlacher, and Janet Napolitano (who went to my high school!).

In order to celebrate, we’ve been asked to honk our horns for 30 seconds at 11:35 a.m., which apparently is the time that the official statehood confirmation occurred.  I probably won’t participate in this celebratory measure, and in fact I may even hide and cover my ears. But I WILL tip my Green Chile Beer Glass to the effort.

So, Happy Birthday, New Mexico, home of green chile, the World’s largest Balloon Fiesta, White Sands, Carlsbad Caverns, Santa Fe, Microsoft (HA! Bet you didn’t know that, did you?), Pueblos, Roswell Aliens, luminarias, Navajo Code Talkers, Gallup (of the Route 66 song fame), “Western” style, Tony Hillerman’s novels, Dennis Hopper’s Grave, Breaking Bad, The Manhattan Project, the first wine in North America, and the miraculous El Santuario de Chimayo Shrine.

You don’t look a day over…well…you’re looking good!

nps.gov

newmexico.org

newmexico.orgnewmexico.org