fun finds & penguins

Here are a few of my fun finds.  This is the third time I’ve typed this sentence as my stupid thumb brace has somehow magically hit all of the buttons in tandem to erase what I’ve typed.  Maybe it was the blogging gods giving me a hint…

Anyway, here we go:

First and foremost this most fabulous gif ever:

I know, I can’t help it, I’m in love with these penguins and their sort of sack race fun!

Yep, rewatch it as many times as you need/want to.  I’m in total and absolute love!

2.  At the expo this weekend I found this sweatshirt:

yay! run MI friends!

A “Run MI” hoodie!  I love me a good hoodie, or long sleeve t so this was perfect.  Not to mention it was only $25 AND it’s a decent color that won’t show too much cat hair.  Oh and Michigander pride!

3.  Honey Maid Grahamfuls.  These probably aren’t the most nutritious snack out there but it reminds of when we used to put frosting on graham crackers as a kid.  I got the peanut butter/chocolate flavor but there are a bunch to pick from.  They are tasty.

4.  Adding mini chocolate chips to my Chobani snack size yogurt.  Mini chocolate chips are too fun so I’m compelled.

again, any reason to have dean on my blog

5.  Have you seen these Procompression socks?  Oh goodness, I LOVE polka dots!  I’m getting the sleeves.  They are the sock of the month so they are cheap (use coupon code BRD).

procompression sock of the month

6.  Did you know ants hate cinnamon?  I didn’t either and I’m hoping it’s true.  There must be an ant nest outside of my apt because I’ve been seeing a few of these bad boys.  They aren’t giant carpenter ants (vomit) but they aren’t the itty-bitty ones either.  I think they are the middle children of the ant family.  I’ve lined my window sills with cinnamon as it isn’t dangerous for Simon.  Fingers crossed this works and doesn’t attract other critters, which I didn’t even consider until office mate suggested chipmunks might like it.  Just something else for me to worry about when lying in bed at night.

7.  New sunglasses.  I ALMOST bought the white polka dot ones (see the above proclamation of love) however, they were just a bit TOO big.  Settled on another gem that are still bigger but don’t completely eat my face up.

I sent this pic to my sister and friend for opinions
I sent this pic to my sister and friend for opinions

8.  Yuengling – as I may have mentioned, I’m not a huge beer fan but more and more it’s growing on me.  Sometimes I find it odd that the running culture does include quite a bit of beer consumption… just a thought… I had one of these puppies the other night before the race and it was very drinkable.  I will definitely purchase in the future.

9.  Head scarves!  I’m wearing one in the above sunglasses pics and I adore them.  Headbands give me headaches and these are perfect.  I haven’t gone to bohemian in the styling quite yet but the option is there.  Target, friends – they are a bit shorter than the neck scarves although you can still wear them in this fashion as well.

10.  Some good songs.  Office mate is my personal DJ and he has great taste in music.  Many of my new favorite songs on my running mix I hear first at work.  Unfortunately, they are on my ipod which is currently somewhere so I can’t give you any names.  More to come…

11.  I guess I didn’t really find this per say, it’s more like I put it into action.  I’m trying to make working out more of a habit as opposed to something I do my best to wiggle out of on a daily basis.  I don’t want to THINK it’s optional.  I took mini post-its, numbered them 1-21 and get to remove one each day I do a work out.  I’ve also established how many days I can actually miss during this period before I have to start completely over again.  Like a reverse advent calendar, I’m loving ripping one of those suckers off the wall.  I missed 3 days in a row this week though so it’s time to start over.  I was going to give myself one more day to hop back on the train but time to be more honest with myself.

is it just me?  or does this 21 look a little smug?
is it just me? or does this 21 look a little smug?

Here I go again…  That’ll do for now me thinks.

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there’s a marathon afoot

There is a marathon happening outside my front door this morning.

I am wildly jealous of the runners!

Meanwhile, I am working.  Not my first choice.  Today is the Kalamazoo full, Borgess 1/2 and this year there are both  10k and 5k options as well.  It’s fantastic!  I really wanted to at least do the 10k or 1/2 but work commitments trumped.

Did I mention I was at work?

Alright, I need to breathe out the bitterness… Also happening this weekend is the Flying Pig Marathon.  I can’t even tell you how desperate I am to run this.  I collected pigs as a kid and these medals have flying pigs right on them!  I love the fun atmosphere and following them on facebook makes me want to run it even more (seriously, check out their website).  There is also a new run they created, the Queen Bee 1/2, which is in the fall.  Again, adorable and fun.

Now that I’ve lamented about the races I’m not running, I should probably make sure I’m ready for the ones I AM running.  Yesterday I set out for some miles and accomplished 5.  It’s funny because I kept wanting to stop.  “I’m tired.”  “My legs can’t go any further.”  “Why did I sign up for this again?!”

During this detrimental inner monologue I told myself that my brain was tired, not my legs.  Guess what?  This was true.  I could and did keep running.  I also asked myself, “do you want this race?”  I decided I did indeed want to run and finish my upcoming 25k; that I did indeed, want to keep running.  While I didn’t suddenly get a surge of power, I pep talked my brain and legs into running further.  Also, I came up with my mantra for the race:  “I’ll cross this *%$#$ finish line”.  Sorry for the profanity but I am going to need the aggression to boot scoot my booty along next weekend.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, my mental game sucks.  So, I reinstated my visualizing yesterday.  I can’t begin to express how helpful this technique is and sometimes I completely forget about it.  I imagine what it’s like to cross the finish line and the euphoria that always follows.  I also picture what the middle of the race will be like – when I want to curl up on the roadside and rock in the fetal position until someone takes pity on me quit.  While prepping myself to feel awful may not be a typical motivational practice, I need to arm myself with the weapons to defeat the negativity.  The only way I know how to do this presently is to figure out ways to encourage my feets to keep doing their thing, no matter what the rest of me is screaming.

I kind of want to make this a shirt…

I’ve got 10 miles on the docket today.  I bandaged up my feet yesterday in hopes that it would stop my Hokas from blistering my feet.  No such luck.  I was kind of surprised actually – I done bandaged them good.  What this does mean though is that I am going to need to wear my NEW shoes for the 25k.  Yet another reason my blog is called “Recipe for Disaster”… I’m going to take the newbies out tonight and the rest of the week to make sure my feet don’t catch on fire but I certainly have my concerns.  I was going to type, “it is what it is” but this doesn’t sufficiently convey my apprehension!

this does a better job…

It’s a BEAUTIFUL Sunday here.  I hope you all are having a wonderful day.  Good luck to everyone running and racing today!

ridiculous running shoe journey

I’ve mentioned it a few times many times that I’m on a search for the PERFECT shoe.  I want the clouds to part and rays of sunshine to fall on my beautiful, perfect new-running-shoe-fitted-feet.  This is the ideal.  But I will settle for something super-duper fabulous.

these are the emotions I want to feel

During Dopey, I saw a number of hokas running past me.  Considering I recently went from a stability shoe to a neutral with loads of cushion, I figured this would the PERFECT shoe.  Not to mention, Sweaty Emily raves about them and she runs a billion miles.  Then Kara from It’s a Dog Lick Baby World got them and I think she is very neato so I wanted to be like her.

did I mention I did this?!
did I mention I did this?!

A chunk of change later and I was the proud owner of a pair of Hokas.  Let’s just put it out there that these puppies aren’t the cutest things ever and they make my feet look giant.  Nevertheless, I was willing to overlook these for a sweet ride.

I wasn’t disappointed – at least not for a while.  They initially felt very large and clunky.  I kind of wondered if they were too big?  I ordered a size down so I could see if this was it and these rubbed against the side of my feet – the right side worse than the left.  So, I kept the 8.5’s thinking these would be the right choice.

Sadly they are not my earth-shattering dream shoes I hoped for.  The blisters on both feet are just getting worse and running is uncomfortable/painful.  I think my right foot is wider as this one is more irritated.  I thought I could push through it and I will but I need to mix them up with shoes that fit me better.  My Brooks Glycerin’s are good but my current pair are DONEZO.  I looked on amazon and they didn’t have any in my size so I will look somewhere else.  Amazon did suggest some Asics Nimbus though.  I started out my running career with Asics and maybe it’s time to go back?

p.s. NEVER look up “blister” under images… trust me

Clearly, I am incredibly wishy-washy when it comes to shoes.  My “journey” is silly and *perhaps* my standards are just a bit high.  OR I need to stop falling into the trap of hearing/reading about what others are wearing and thinking these will make me run like them.  While I don’t really believe this will make it true, some part of me wonders if there is magic in shoes…  I also should have gone to Hogwarts for my undergrad but you know… the owl got lost.

There you have it.  My Asics are coming today and I need to find the Glycerin’s right quick-like (just in case the Asics don’t work).  I have a 25k on 5/10 and I need time to break in the new shoes.  Not to mention, running in the Hokas on back to back days is making my feet all hurty.  I will stock up on some moleskin because Hokas last for 700ish miles.  I’m probably the only person who is disappointed by this.  I do want to say, I like a lot about the hokas.  The cushion is great and it definitely helps encourage mid-foot striking.  They also have a mad love affair with my treadmill.  I can’t explain it but running in these on the ‘mill is so much easier than in other shoes for me.

Oh no!  Another angsty post – here, look at this funny t-rex – maybe it will help you forget about my whining!

man, I love a good t-rex meme!
man, I love a good t-rex meme!

 

some wkend oopsies

This weekend I made a few mistakes.  I shall detail them for you in hopes I can help you all avoid them in the future.  Also, I’ve included a couple of things I actually got right so I don’t sound so grumpy.

1.  Running – the oopsie:

A) Way overdressed-I was wearing long sleeves & capris.  It was about 65*.  Not a smart plan.

I bet they were as toasty as I was

B) I didn’t bring any water.  I didn’t exactly hydrate all that well during the day so this kicked me in the bum.  Speaking of lack of water, I also did a crummy job with fueling.  For some reason, I didn’t eat much prior to leaving & I was extremely hungry during the run.  By the way, I repeated the hydration mistake on Sunday too and I didn’t have to use the restroom for 10 hours.  Yeah, ridiculous, I deserve to have a crappy run.

C) You know, it would have helped if I had done some decent running during the week.  I have some excuses (of course) but really, I could’ve pushed through on some of those days and I didn’t.  Lame.

2.  Watching lots of teen angst tv – the oopsie

A)  I found a CW series on Netflix & it seriously had some drama.  But I couldn’t pull myself away.  AND there is only one season so I am going to end up disappointed!  Did that stop me?  Nope.  I haven’t quite finished the first season and I’m committed; however it fed into my feeling all emo.  Excellent – this is what I refer to as not the best life choice.

3.  Spending a holiday weekend alone – the oopsie

A)  Ok, so this isn’t an abnormal thing for me but it did make me feel kind of blue.  Needless to say, number 2 didn’t really help with this.

4.  Going to the store when feeling said blueness – the oopsie

A)  I spent $30 on incidentals.  It started with some coconut oil mousse & it blossomed from there.  Then there was this candle warmer thing that I convinced myself I should purchase since it was Easter & I needed a giftie.

What did I do well?  LAUNDRY!  Yay!  Good gravy, my laundry situation was ridiculous!  It really is such an amazing feeling of accomplishment to get it done.  I seem to forget this…  Please feel free to remind me!

Going to the grocery store!  Yes, this does contradict my previous statement but I had two prescriptions to pick up & I really wanted to put off going-like I had for the last two days.  I’m terrible about just getting it done despite it meaning I’m out of meds.  So again, an “I’m proud” moment.

Running. While Saturday’s run was fairly miserable, I did get up & do it.  There was about a mile in there that was enjoyable & so at least there is that.  Then I ran yesterday as well.  Eh…  I started out wearing my old shoes since my Hokas are giving me blisters (more in another post).  Within the first few steps I knew this was a giant mistake and went back to change.  Different shoes helped despite my blisters getting worse.  I am attempting to give myself props despite the runs being lackluster.  Oh!  I did follow some Runner”s World advice!  I read an article about hills and pace. They advised not trying to keep the same pace rather keep the same effort.  It’s difficult for sure but I could feel the difference.

I guess that’s it.  I allowed the feeling sorry for myself-sometimes I think it’s important to just feel the emotions rather than pushing them away.  I also indulged in an alcoholic beverage which may or may not have helped but whatever.  AND I picked out my outfit for this morning.  Not sure why this is noteworthy but I going with it.

With that, I will spare you any further time commitment to my angst.  I hope you had a lovely holiday wkend (if this is your thing) & the beautiful weather that seemed to descend over everyone. I’m CONVINCED we have seen the last if the snow-enjoy!

c’mon quad, give your calf buddy a hand

I’ve definitely jacked up my calf.  I am less than thrilled.

For the last month and half, my left calf has been bothering me.  It’s been really tight and I didn’t pay much mind to it.  I figured it would work itself out naturally.  WRONG!  On my ill-fated run in Indy (yes, I’m going to keep linking to this!) the last mile and half, my calf was screaming.  This is the reason I turned around – when I would attempt to run, it felt like my calf muscle was trying to break free from my leg.  It actually scared me a bit.

Unfortunately, because I was in a hurry when I got back, I didn’t stretch at all.  I did a decent job of cooling down as I walked to Baskin and Robbins that evening and walking to the restaurant for dinner.  However, the knot in my calf was displeased with me in the subsequent days.

the unhappy camper
the unhappy camper

Saturday, I headed out for a run and within the first few steps my calf was bothering me.  I hadn’t even gone a mile before I had to stop and stretch.  I proceeded to do this at each stoplight and it did help a bit.  I also noticed engaging my quads really helped.  Hmmm… perhaps I’ve been relying too much on my calves as my source of power while running?

My purely unscientific theory is running on the treadmill this whole winter has changed my stride a bit and I’m not using my bigger leg muscles much.  So, I picked up my knees and did my best to put my quads to work.  The good: I was running at a quicker pace.  The better:  it made my calf feel better.  The not so good: WOW!  It was exhausting!  Haha, these muscles certainly are not as strong – I see some squats and wall sits in my future!

hmm… this holds true for both my arms and legs…

It could also be time to retire my Brooks.  I’ve been wearing them since Oct?  Early Nov?  This includes all of the training for Dopey so they may be ready for greener pastures.  I do have my Hokas but I’m still on the fence as to whether or not these are MY shoes.  I keep going back for my Brooks when leaving for a run so I think this probably means something.

I foam rolled, stretched, iced, compressed and rested on Sunday.  I had plans to run but I realized this was a dumb idea.  I took Monday off as well and iced away.  Tuesday was a mentally taxing day at work and I had extra coffee and work stress coursing through my veins.  Part of me was screaming, “THE COUCH!  THE COUCH WILL MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER!”  Then there was another part that was whispering, “what about a run?”  Somehow, the whispering part of me won out and I hit the streets.  I concentrated on lifting my knees and landing as close to midfoot as I could.

thanks for being there for me, couch!

Ta-da!  My calf felt much better during the run.  I also wore some compression socks and stretched 3 or 4 times at stop lights.  I wore newer shoes and spent some quality time working the knot out when I got home.  Funny enough, I had the energy to run 5 miles or more but I didn’t want to push it too much.  I think I ran somewhere between 4 and 4.5.  I originally thought I would only be able to run 3 so this made me happy!  A side note, picking my knees up is proving I’ve been shuffling about during my runs!  Just need to keep adjusting my form… and taking care of this little whiny calf!

fitsok… an unsolicitated review

I have a wild love affair with work out gear.  More specifically running gear, although I’ve never met a pair of sweatpants or a hoodie I didn’t like…

However, socks usually took a back seat when it came to spending available funds on new gear.  A black pull over jacket (again)?  Of course!  Oh!  What about a new tech shirt (even though I just got 6 from the Dopey Challenge)?  YES!  Can you see where I am going with this?  I lay down the mullah for compression socks but other than that I go to Target for some C9’s.

Until I found Fitsok.  My good friends and former Ragnar teammates do a Longest Run fundraiser.  They’re on their third year and their efforts are so impressive!  (Look for opportunities to donate and get hooked up with some sweet gear if you win the raffle!)  Last year, I donated and won a few items in the raffle.  Fitsok was a sponsor (which makes them even more amazing) and I got a package of 3 pairs.

“Give athletes the best in engineered fit and performance. We’re about building products that allow everyone to excel”  Fitsok motto

When I first got them, I thought they felt on the thicker side as far as running socks are concerned.  I wasn’t very interested to be honest.  Then a couple of weeks later the laundry mountain had sucked up all of my socks and I decided to give Fitsoks a whirl.

fitsok flower of hope - hope that spring will be here soon
fitsok flower of hope – hope that spring will be here soon

These are prime running socks people.  As you can tell by the title of this post, Fitsok isn’t sponsoring me (please feel free Fitsok!) nor are they showering me with socks (again, please feel free Fitsok!), I simply love this product.  And since I skimp in the sock department on a regular basis, this is huge for me.  What I notice about the C9 socks and many others I’ve tried, after a little while the socks stretch out and then do the dreaded slip to the middle of your arch thing.  Seriously, I feel this is the worst sin a sock could commit!  This resulted in me buying C9 socks in large quantities because I considered them cheaper.  And they were – in quality.

h_sock1
source

Fitsok offers arch support and a snug but not a too tight, fit.  While they do feel padded at first touch, once on my feet they do not feel thick.  It’s just the perfect amount of cushion!  I even wore them for my 1/2 marathon in Disney World with compression sleeves because they are so comfortable and supportive.  I love them as much as I did the first day and I’m always bummed when I don’t have a clean pair.

Last week I bought 2 new packages of Fitsoks because with only 3 pairs I was sometimes (gasp!) wearing them twice before washing.  Yes, I know this is gross but I really love them!  I’ve been wearing them for months now and they are still in great condition and don’t even slide down when I am wearing my Hokas – a sock-pulling-down-culprit.  They have a variety of lengths and I opted for the low ones.  You can find local places to order them here.  I ordered mine from Amazon since there isn’t anyplace around me to buy them.  The cost was about $15.00 for 3 pairs (not even that pricey!).

-1
a “mug shot” of shoe responsible for pulling socks down

Check out their website.  They have a much better technical description of why the socks perform so well.

As an important side note, I did figure out a smarty-pants way to avoid losing my precious Fitsoks in the dryer (or wherever they go).  I’m going to wash them in a lingerie bag all together.  YAY!  I’m protecting my investment and avoiding the inevitable one missing sock rage.

yep

how is it possible NOT to appreciate a snow day?!

Alright, I don’t have wee small children so I am guessing having the whole day to myself is probably a little different from attempting to entertain the kiddies.  Especially when going outside freezes their face “that way”.

I, on the other hand, embraced a snow day with open arms!  Yes, I still needed to work a bit but it was from home, on my couch, snuggled in a blanket.  It was wonderful.

this is how it felt  as I was working

Yesterday, I worked, cuddled with Simon while taking a nap and then did some running!  Wahoo!  The couch’s siren call is much greater than my treadmill’s but I got it done.  I did 6.2 miles and there were a few surprises:

1.  It was the longest I’ve run since Dopey.

2.  When I first started running, I almost felt like I had forgotten how!  I ran last week so this was a weird new calf learning how to walk thing.

or a dog in socks

3.  I did some running in my Hokas.  At first it was very strange.  I mean they are comfortable and not heavy at all, just different.

4.  After running in them for about a mile and half it started to feel more normal.  Usually, I’m a bit stop and go on the treadmill but I fell into a decent rhythm.  I’m going to credit the shoes.

5.  I did four miles in the Hokas, after doing the first two in my Brooks.  I don’t think I will run much more than that at a time until they are broken in a bit more so my feet and legs get accustomed.

used this to ice my ank
used this to ice my wonky ankle

6.  I can’t quite tell if the shoes are too big or not.  I tried them on at the Disney expo and the woman who fit me said “these feel about right”.  Is this a definitive answer?  Am I over thinking this?  They feel big but let’s face it, these shoes don’t look the most streamlined so I can’t tell.  I ordered a pair of 8’s so I can do a comparison to the 8.5.  At first, I felt my heel slipping out but once I tightened the laces it was better.  Enter some neurosis about wanting the PERFECT shoe.  Seriously, it’s an illness.

7.  I got to look at my beautiful organizational handiwork!

ooo - so pretty!
ooo – so pretty!

I know folks talk about how they lose fitness and whatnot if they aren’t running much.  Yesterday’s run felt great and the lack of pressure was welcomed with open arms.  I didn’t realize how much I fixated on the challenge with every run.  Many thoughts that consisted of, “if you can’t run x distance today how are you going to run 48.6?” or “if you don’t do this run you are never going to make it through the whole weekend!”  You know, lots of self-support going on there!

But things have changed.  As previously mentioned, Mile 14 changed my running world a bit and gave me the boost of ego that I needed!  Oh look, this picture just happened to fall into this post!

I might actually frame this
I might actually frame this

Happy winter y’all!