Sunday, March 17, 2013


I've been having a hard time running lately, especially the longer distances. Once I get over about 3 miles, the insides of my feet and ankles start hurting like crazy. It's weird because I've never had ankle problems before (in gymnastics my knees were always the troublesome body part). I do have extremely flat feet and pronate a ton, so I think all the repetitive motion makes my feet sad. I wear these Brooks running shoes because I've heard they were best for pronators and that's what they suggested at the running store, but they don't seem to be doing the job anymore-

I got to spend the day with Autumn yesterday and we went ice skating. I could barely hold my feet up straight, which makes ice skating very difficult! I don't remember it being that bad the last time I ice skated, but that was way back in high school. I'm guessing either my ankle muscles have gotten weaker  or I've gotten heavier, making it hard for my pronated ankles to hold me up when I'm up high on something like skates. FYI, this is pronation vs supination-

Anyways, it's become an annoying problem when I run and I haven't been able to run more than 5 miles because of it. I'm planning to go to Fleet Feet this week and ask them what their suggestions are. Besides getting inserts/ankle braces and strengthening the muscles, does anyone have any suggestions? Anyone have a similar problem?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Proper Earphones-A Running Essential

By guest blogger Robin Quay

My life has changed a lot in the last 3 months. I lost a gall bladder, started running, and have been leading (and therefore following) The Daniel Plan at work. If you don’t know about The Daniel Plan, it’s a bible study that focuses on health as stewardship, and on taking good care of the body God has loaned us, so that we are healthy and able to do what He wants us to. If you want more info, go to I've lost some weight and inches, I’m ready to run a 5K, and I feel really good.

Since this is a running blog, my contribution, of course, will focus on the running part of my recent life. I've been running with colleagues at work, and on my own. I quickly found out that a run is much more enjoyable, and I can run longer and farther, if I run to music. I made a sweet running playlist, and took to the route with my iPod.

There was just one problem. The earphones, especially the right one, fell out. Often. Wrapping the cord around my ears didn't seem to help. It was super annoying, especially since I felt like I spent a lot of my time during my run thinking about and managing my earphones.

I realize that my body is partly (mostly?) to blame for this annoyance. First, I have a very small head, so most likely the earphones were too big. I usually have to buy kid-size hats. Perhaps I needed kid-size earphones. Second, I’m overweight, carrying a lot of the extra poundage in my midsection, and I’m pretty straight up-and-down. This means that pants don’t really stay up well. I’m sure some of this is due to my size, but it’s been like this all my life. Even when I was a skinny little kid, my pants did not stay up. Then my mom found stretchy pants with elastic waists made by Danskin that worked for me… but I digress. The point of all this is that, with the movement of running, and the added weight of my iPod pulling them downward, my running pants start to slip down. The headphone cord is stretched to its limit, and the right earphone pops out. If I keep pulling up on the cord so there is some slack in it, the earphone stays in better, but again, I am focusing a lot of energy on the earphone.

I had heard that Yurbuds were great earphones that stayed in your ear when exercising, so I decided to try a pair. I got the Yurbuds for Women because, well, I’m a woman. And so far, I love them.

They come with 2 different sizes of enhancers (covers that go over the earphone), so of course I tried the small ones. They have a tube, or point, or perhaps a sound tunnel, that sticks out and has to be properly positioned-the left at 3 o’clock and the right at 9 o’clock. You insert these little tubes into the ear canal and then twist them into place. They felt a little funny at first, but I quickly got used to them. And, once they’re in, they stay there. I've walked the dogs, gone running, yanked on them, and hopped around on one foot like I was trying to get water out of my ear, and still they've stayed in. My iPod’s been in the pocket of my running pants, pulling them down and stretching the extra-long headphone cord to the limit, and still they've stayed in. the only time one fell out, it hadn't been put in properly. They sound great, too, and they don’t block out the ambient sound around you, so you can hear cars, or your running buddy talking to you.

My only complaint about them is that the letters that label them (L)eft and (R)ight are very small and light. I cannot see them. I had to take the earphones into bright light and put my glasses on to figure out which was the left and right. I've now marked the left one with a sharpie.
They come in a selection of colors (I got pink), and if neither of the sizes of enhancers that comes with them works for you, you can get additional sizes. I got mine from Amazon Marketplace for $29. I no longer have to think about my earphones while I’m running. And that makes them worth every penny.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Spring Weather

I am the slacker blogger of the group apparently - sorry girls. I have been trying to keep up with the training schedule that we decided to use to train for this 1/2 marathon but I haven't been doing the best job keeping up with all the runs. I have been able to do all the long runs however usually only get 2 runs in during the week and the cross training has been kind of non-existent. I really think that the cross training is beneficial, unfortunately, I haven't been making the time to do it. So ... my goal for the remaining weeks is to increase my cross training (by actually leaving work close to on time)- Jackie and I have a hike planned for next Saturday so that may help :) for this week at least. 

I never minded running in the cold, the wind is a different story, but I realized with the nice spring weather this weekend that I prefer running in the 50-60 degree weather. Yesterday I was able to run 7 miles with 1 short walking break after 4 miles to take the photo below ... 

This was the view from the side of the trail that I prefer to run and I just couldn't help stopping to pet the horses. I never thought I would be able to run 7 miles because I usually get my runners block in the first mile, but have realized that once I get past the first mile point the run is actually enjoyable - shocking - finally starting to realize why people actually run long distances. 

I use MapMyRun for all my runs and find that I do a lot better if I can keep track of my progress and am better able to pace myself. I like that I can look at other trails and routes that people have used to mix it up when I get bored of running my usual route. 

The trail that I use is mostly gravel and I haven't found somewhere to run that is mostly asphalt where I don't have to worry about too many cars. Since the 1/2 marathon is in DC, I am anticipating a lot of asphalt but dislike training where I have to worry about cars - that would require turning my blaring music down to listen for cars - and I really don't want to do that. Where do you run to prepare for 13 miles of running on asphalt? 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

6 Miles This Week, Can I Make It??

So far I think I'm doing pretty well. I've made all my runs thus far without walking. I think that is pretty darn good! My speed does seem to decrease a bit with the long runs, but that's to be expected. I'm definitely a slow and steady wins the race kinda girl! I have also learned in the past that if I stop and walk, I continue to do that the rest of the way. It kinda ruins my flow. I also tend to have this block from 1.5 miles to 2.5 miles. I just have to push through and get past it and if I stop and walk, I never get past that point and I continue the walk/run the rest of the way. I do live around a lot of hills so I have found that after running up some hills, running in place for a few seconds helps to control my breathing and allows me to continue. Do you have a running block and when does it happen?? How do you push through it??

I have missed a few short runs due to weather, working late, and random life things that have been getting in the way. I have been faithful to all my long runs though. It is definitely hard to juggle life and the weather. I have been looking at the weather on Sunday each week and our calendar to plan out when to do my runs. It is tough!! The weather has been terrible!! I was able to do my short runs at the gym if the weather was bad, but now we are getting into the 4 mile mark and I just can't handle that on a treadmill. It's just wayyyy too boring. I'm thinking after this weekend life will get a little easier. The 10 day forecast shows all 50's and with daylight savings times, life should be good! 

Since I don't have a running buddy, I run with my phone for safety, music, and to use the Nike + Running App to log my miles. It's amazing! I'm sure most of you remember these from a few years ago, where you had the foot censor and the USB port for your iPod. Well, the app now uses the GPS on the phone so it is much more accurate! It logs your miles, routes, shoes, longest rungs, fastest runs, calories, average pace, and more! It also allows you to state whether your run is inside or outside and on what terrain. It has an awesome feature of adding a power song to pump you up when your losing steam and feedback that let's you know how far, fast, and long you have been running. At the end of each run you select the terrain you ran on, shoes you ran with, and you rate how you felt during your run. I love the shoe logging feature! Big surprise right!!??!?!? This is amazing to keep track of your miles to ensure you constantly have good running shoes. :) It also gives you the ability to post your runs via social media. As I stated before, I'm sorta behind the times with social media. I'd never blogged before, I don't do twitter, and I mostly just have facebook to look at pictures and keep up with everyone, so I'm not a fan of posting every workout I accomplish. I do LOVE the audio feedback since I don't have a running buddy to keep me motivated. You can set it to give you feedback every so many minutes to miles. I have played around with the minutes and miles and found that every half mile really keeps my head in the game. It gives you some encouragement and keeps you updated on your pace so you know if you need to kick it up a notch or slow it down, depending on what you are going for during your run. I use Spotify as my music app and it works perfect with the voice over. I have no problems with it at all. The only issues I have had since I switched from the iPhone, back to an Android,  is the app hasn't been accurately logging treadmill runs. It says I'm running 1 mile in like 3 minutes! That is totally wrong! I haven't been able to fix it, so I haven't been using the app at the gym lately. All in all I'd say the Nike+ app is amazing and I'd recommend it to anyone! It's great motivation and I hope it continues to help me through the longer runs to come! What do you use to keep you motivated during your runs? What type of device do you run with to log miles? Do you listen to music? If so, what type of music do you listen to? 

I hope everyone else's runs are going well!! Good luck this week on mile 6!