Getting ahead of the game

Oh, Sunday.  The day where I attempt to accomplish everything so I can spend evenings at home all week long being a bum.

Tim and I went to church this morning and then to Target to pick up some groceries.  When we got home, I made a double batch of Milhouse’s favorite dog treats.

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He pretty much turns his nose up at regular treats now.  I created a monster.

All day long, I wore my new running shoes around the house to get used to the arch supports.  It’s weird feeling so much support there, but I would really try anything at this point.  I did laundry, I ironed, and I roasted a chicken.

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The star was this seasoning my mom got me awhile back.  It’s really salty, so I use about half what the jar says, but it’s delicious!0228 005

I also tried to hit up Macy’s to look for a dress for my shower again.  I actually contemplated buying this one.

photo-1 And then I realized I couldn’t be sure if I would look like a cupcake-y bridal asshole in such a frou-frou dress, got mad, took it off and pouted in the dressing room while I e-mailed a picture to my mom and called her.  You know what sucks?  Not having any friends to go shopping with. 

I didn’t buy it because my mom said the color made me look pale.  (Newsflash: I am pale.)  She suggested going tanning, and I suggested that I do not have the time, money, or desire to do that.  Back to the drawing board.  I think I’m just going to buy something online and cross my fingers.  (Even though the more I look at it, the more I like this ridiculous, frou frou dress.)

I also attempted to make some kind of tomato soup with lentils in it today and failed.  I put too much water in and it tasted gross.  Fail.  I think I just work better with a recipe.

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I did, however, paint my nails with my new favorite nail color (Essie “Lilacism”).  I’ve had a weird aversion to painted nails (they made me really self-conscious) for years, so I’m determined to break it. 

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And, finally, some interspecies love:

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Milhouse and Southpaw have been caught curled up together napping a lot this weekend! 

Nail polish—yay or nay?  What are your favorite beauty products?

Invitations out, new shoes in!

I had one thing on my mind when I woke up this morning.

0227 001 Getting our invitations mailed!  We are exactly 10 weeks away from the wedding today, and today was the big day.  No turning back now!  I can’t wait to get back some RSVPs.

This is an incredibly unflattering picture.  Yuck.

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Second order of business: going to the running store to see if they could help me with my heinous foot and leg problems of late.

For those of you who have been here awhile, you’ll recall that about a month ago, I went to get fitted for running shoes, again, after battling the world’s largest blister, AKA Blistersquatch, in my right arch.  The store put me in New Balance 769s, size 8.5, wide width.  Since then, I’ve had shin splints, calf pain, and a developing new blistersquatch on my left arch.   So, I was not happy with the shoes, to say the least.

I can’t say enough about how well The Sports Medicine Store handled my troublesome feet.  Certain other running stores have basically shrugged their shoulders at my problems, and told me to try lacing my shoes tighter.  I went in today hoping I’d be able to modify my New Balances because I simply cannot buy a pair of running shoes a month. 

The trainer I worked with, Bob, was incredibly helpful from the get-go.  He was 100% willing to work with me on modifications to my New Balances, but after really looking at my feet from every possible angle (on the treadmill running, standing, sitting, with socks and without socks) he told me, flat out, “We made a mistake and put you in the wrong shoes.  You should not be in a wide shoe, and you should probably not be in a stability shoe either.  We’ll fix this, and we’ll have you running Chicago this fall with a smile on your face.” 

Hearing that floored me.  How often do you get that kind of service?  They don’t usually take shoes back after they’ve been worn (let alone for a month) but they acknowledged that their staff fitted me incorrectly and were willing to remedy the problem.

I was there for over an hour and ran over a mile on their treadmill in different combinations of shoes.  He looked at the sockliner in my shoe and pointed out that it was very obviously rubbing against my foot—the pattern inside the shoe had faded pretty obviously.  We watched lots of slow-mo video of my feet—my arch was collapsing in the New Balances, and the vertical line on the back of the shoe was, well, not vertical.  I am also bow-legged, which affects my gait as well.  Oh, and the sports trainer recommended I see a dermatologist if I get another Blistersquatch, because “that isn’t normal.”  Poor Bob declared my feet “the biggest mess I’ve ever seen.”

After consulting with Bob, and their other athletic trainer as well, we concluded that these are the best solution to my problem:

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They are Brooks Defyance 2’s, in a size 9, regular width.  (As opposed to wide width, size 8.5s.)  My left foot is barely a size 8, but my right foot is about a size 8 and 2/3, so the larger size makes sense.

They also have some mods on them.  Namely, arch support insoles.  These shoes aren’t COMFORTABLE when I wear them—but my feet feel really locked down, and that’s what they suspect will help the problem.  If my foot doesn’t move in the shoe, it can’t rub, and can’t blister!  I ran in them, with arch supports, and they videotaped it, and the vertical line on the back of the shoe remains vertical.  Which means I’m not pronating in them.  Aack.  I hope these work.

They were happy I was running in Balega running socks, but they thought I might try out a double-layer running sock for extra blister protection.

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They also sent me home with a blister care kit to heal up the decent sized blister on my left foot before using the arch supports.  (Also, they actually put a liquid bandage on my foot IN THE STORE.  How’s that for service?)  I also got some new Gu flavors, per your suggestions, to try.

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Anyway.  I paid for the insoles and socks and everything else, but they exchanged my shoes for me free of charge and let me know that if I have any more problems, I should come in for more help.  I am absolutely floored with how good the service was.  Kansas City runners, get yourselves to The Sports Medicine Store ASAP. 

Then I went shopping.  Mission: find something to wear to the shower.  I big fat failed on this one.  Apparently, from what I can tell, the trends for spring 2010 are shapeless bags, ugly 70s throwback prints, and dingy gray or bright salmon-colored things.  Here are some of the horrors.

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Bleh.  And trust me, these are the best of the worst.  I have been trying to find something on a budget, but that has NOT been possible.  I may just break down and buy this dress online that I love.  (Or maybe this one.)  They’re both more expensive than I’d like, but I’m about to tear my hair out over this one.

Anyway, cross your fingers and pray to the foot gods that these shoes work.  I feel like my feet are the only thing holding me back from making a breakthrough distance and speed-wise with my running!  This is my fifth pair of fitted running running shoes (Adidas Supernovas, Asics Gel Cumulus, Saucony Progrid Rides, New Balance 769s, Brooks Defyance) and none of them have worked.  I’m desperate.

What do you think?  Keep shopping on a budget or spring for one of the dresses I really love?

Costco Trip

I am SO glad it’s Friday!  Working last Saturday just wore me down and put me behind on all kinds of nitpicky little errands, so I’m glad to have two full days off.

My legs are also glad to have some time off running.  Four days in a row of running is pushing it!  My Zensah sleeves have been making my legs feel so great lately, though—I really love them so far.

After not eating much at all post-run last night…I more than made up for it today.  Eep.  My body was craving food, any food, all day long.  I was hangry, constantly.  But, this is the perfect example of everything balancing out in the long run.  Yesterday, I didn’t eat much at all and ran a ton…and today, I ate a lot and didn’t run!   See?  Balance.  Kinda.

Work was really busy, so I don’t have any pictures of what I ate.  Frankly, it was not fantastic.  Instead of eating the can of soup I brought for lunch, I had some chips because they could be eaten while working.  Whoops.  I also had a yogurt mess, a cookie, a Western bagel, and two clementines.  And homemade pizza for dinner.  And I’m not sorry! 

I got out of work a little early and headed to Costco.  The haul?  New grain-free salmon and sweet potato dog food for Milhouse…

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Another giant box of oatmeal, goat cheese, and a book for me…

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And a massive package of chicken for everyone!

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I also got my passport photos taken.  I hope they work, because Tim saw something somewhere about how you’re not supposed to smile in them?  But we looked it up and didn’t see anything official about it, and they didn’t say anything about it at Costco, so….I hope we’re okay.  Because passport hoopla nonsense makes me cranky.

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Tomorrow’s plans: running store to be a difficult customer, shower dress shopping (AGAIN OMFGMAKEITSTOP), and dinner out with Tim.   Oh, and MAILING OUR WEDDING INVITATIONS!  Holy crap.

What do you buy in bulk?

Eight is Great!

Today I traveled for work.  It was about a 2.5 hour drive each way, so I left home around 7:15 and got there around 9:45.  I did my thang there until 1.  We were served (ta-da!) a standard corporate box lunch:0225 001

I got all excited when I saw they’d put the veggies on the side, but I picked up the wrapped turkey croissant and it was, surprise surprise, dripping in mayo.  Yick.  So, I ate the apple and the brownie.  I had prepared for something like this, though and on my way home, I ate a PB and raspberry preserves sandwich on an Arnold’s Thin:0225 003

And a Clif Mojo Mountain Mix Bar!0225 004

Since I was going to be done with work earlier than usual today, and I know tomorrow’s going to be really hectic at work, I decided to make today my long run day!  My Zensah compression sleeves felt so good last night today I wore them under my dress pants with my heels and knee-highs!  Classy, huh?

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Getting to the gym, though, was a comedy of errors.  I was in the middle of super-rural Missouri, and the main road I needed to use was closed, so I went way out of my way for about 15 miles, and then ended up literally driving on gravel roads to get where I needed to go.  Not cool.

After 3 hours in the  car, I made it to the gym and changed.  Except…where were my socks?  They were nowhere to be found.  I had to walk back to my car and tear the whole thing up from top to bottom to find them.  (They’d fallen in between the door and the seat.)

So, I got a later start than I’d anticipated, but still earlier than on a regular workday.  Today’s fuel of choice?  A strawberry Clif Shot Energy Gel.

0225 005I split the run into two 4 mile runs, since the treadmill will only run for an hour before it stops.  I took the first 4 miles easy at about 10:10/mile pace for most of the time and finished it in 40:30.  I reset the treadmill, took the Clif Shot, drank some water, and set off for the second four.

Honestly, this run would have been perfect if not for my feet.  My calves and shins felt great thanks to the calf sleeves (I didn’t wear them while I ran, but all day before), but my feet…oh, my stupid feet.  Apparently, I’m working on Blistersquatch v. 2.0 on my left foot instead of my right this time.

It’s not a great picture, but that red part is all blister.

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Anyway, aside from my feet, I felt great.  I think my lungs and cardiovascular system are getting on board with this running thing, so that’s good.  But yeah, the feet…I think I may need to go talk to the running store people again.  I can’t afford new shoes, but I think a cushionier sock might help.  I really pushed a little harder in the second half, and finished that in 39:50, so, in total, I finished 8 miles (for a new PDR!) in 1:20:30 even. 

Including warm-up and cool-down:

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Post-run impressions: I was SALTY.  Like, put me in a pan with some butter and I’d be delicious.  My skin, especially on my face and upper arms was CRUSTY.  Any of you seasoned runners know what’s up with that?  Also, I’m feeling barfy and nauseous.  I think I really didn’t eat enough today—before the run, all day, I’d had a breakfast cookie, an apple, a brownie, a small PB&J, and a Mojo bar…so not a lot.   Also, my buttcheeks chafed again.  I think I will need to get a dedicated butt stick of Body Glide, because I’d prefer not to put the same stick in my asscrack and on my feet.  (TMI, but hey, running’s not glamorous.)

Dinner was plain pasta with a little salt and butter.  Nothing else sounded remotely appetizing, but I knew I needed to eat.   Blech.

I did, however, come home to some fun surprises!  From Tim:

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Oh, hell yes.  Two red velvet with cream cheese frosting, two chocolate with peanut butter frosting.  Just because!  Isn’t he great?  I think later we’ll split two so we can each try both flavors once my stomach feels better.  (Running-induced nausea usually goes away within a few hours for me.)

And the rest of the flower girl/ring bearer gifts:

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These are SO cute in person, right down to the zipper pulls, good quality, and shipped to me with personalization in less than a week.  I highly recommend Etsy seller Deerpath Designs—I think these will make great gifts!

We also got a wedding invite for a wedding on May 22nd in the mail!  Eeek.  I guess we should get ours out ASAP since we’re the 8th.  Good thing we planned to do it Saturday anyway!

Anyway, I’m off to recuperate.  Any advice about blisters, saltiness, buttcheek chafing or running nausea?  Bonus round: what’s your favorite cupcake flavor?

lucy activewear review

Recently, the company lucy activewear sent me two pieces to try out and review.  I was super excited about this because I’ve heard great things about lucy stuff in the running world.  They sent me two pieces: the Propel Track Jacket and the Propel Run Tight.

The first piece I tried was the jacket.  I’ve been needing a running jacket that I can actually wear out running in the cold weather, but I also wanted something that was small enough to throw in my gym bag to walk to and from the gym in (so I don’t have to get my nice work coat all sweaty).  This piece absolutely fit the bill.  I’ve been wearing it for two or three weeks now so I could get a good feel for it, and I am 100% impressed.  Also, I didn’t wash it to see how it held up, and I’m happy to report that it does not hold stink in.

The jacket is two layers.  I’ve been wearing just the bottom layer for running and to-and-from gym travel.  It looks like this:

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Or like this:

lucy 006I got the size medium and it fits perfectly.  It’s snug, but I comfortably ran with it with a long-sleeved running shirt underneath it.  When I wore this out running, I was nice and toasty!  It was about 25 degrees that day, and I felt like it was a great combination.

This is what both layers look like together:

lucy 007The outer layer I’d wear, definitely, if I had to run in the rain or snow or sleet.  It’s a crop-top type, short sleeved jacket with a reflective zipper and reflective panels on it. The hood tightens with elastic, and stays put really well.

I also wore the Propel Run Tights out running.

lucy 010This is my second pair of running tights, and this one fits me far better than the others!  I will say that, while they are warm, they’re not super warm—my legs were still red and a little chilly when I came home from a quick two-miler.  I will definitely keep wearing them, though!  Just maybe when it’s not “total frozen tundra” weather.  I love the purple zippers, too.

What really strikes me as awesome about all of lucy’s stuff is the incredible attention to detail.  It’s obvious that the company tests their stuff on real runners and active women.  

Like this—they put a fabric tab over the top of the jacket zipper so you don’t get poked in the chin constantly while you run.

lucy 003And the pants have a zippered pocket on the back with a hole for iPod headphones to go through.

 lucy 011And the outer layer of the jacket has ventilated wicking fabric under the arms, so you’ll stay dry but won’t sweat to death.

lucy 009Oh, and the jacket has these cute little half-mittens attached, which are really nice for extra hand warmth on runs.  They also have little pockets in them to stash Gu or your keys or whatever.

lucy 005 All in all, I wholeheartedly love both of these products.  I appreciate a company that makes functional, fashionable clothing for active women.  All too often I’m out looking for running gear and my only options are pink, pink, and pink—as silly as it sounds, it’s so nice to be able to get some functional athletic clothing that doesn’t treat active women like a dog wearing a hat or some other spectacle.  These are just good, well-designed clothes without dumbing them down for women.  (If that makes any sense.)

  I am definitely going to be buying more from lucy in the future.  (Their website has a pretty awesome sale section, as well as great clothes for you yoga enthusiasts out there.)  I’m currently loving their Swift Knee Shorts (they look like the perfect length to be cool but not chafe) and this super cute gym bag.  Also, there is apparently a lucy store not too far from me and I think once we get out of this awful snow I may have to pay them a visit!

Note: I realize that I raved about these clothes like an idiot, but these opinions are all mine, even though they sent me this for free.  I’m open and honest, and if it sucked I would tell you.  (But it doesn’t.)

Hump Day

Wow, thank you all for your excellent insights in my post earlier today!  It seems like most of you agree that these magazines do more harm than good, unfortunately.

Confession: I didn’t bring a salad in my lunch today.  I ate them three days in a row and got bored with them.  I did, however, eat a lot of fruit at lunch today!

photoI ate another clementine before I took the picture, and only ate about a third of the banana.  It was both overripe and underripe and not at all delicious.  I also had some Chobani and Annie’s Bernie-O’s, which are basically moderately healthier Spaghetti-O’s.  I don’t eat them often, but sometimes I crave them! 

After work I went to tackle 4.5 miles at the gym.  It went pretty well.  I varied my speed between 6.0-7.0 mph and finished in 44:00 even. 

I came home to two surprises!

First, the flower girl bracelet I ordered on Saturday came in!  Talk about fast.  It is really adorable and the princess tiara will be perfect for Maddie.  I highly recommend Etsy seller Trendy Tatters for cute jewelry for little kids (and adults too)!

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The second delivery?

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My Zensah compression sleeves!  At first I was worried because they’re SUPER small when they’re not, you know, actually ON you.  See?

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But they fit!

0224 004 Lately, my new shoes have been leaving me with sore calves/shins after I run.  SIGH.  I cannot find the perfect pair of shoes.  Even though I don’t have a blistersquatch,  I have some blistering around the bed of my right big toe, as well as a small-ish blister on my left arch.  And calf pain/shin pain.  So far, my legs just feel a little weird—like they’re getting a hug or something! 

Runners, tell me—is there such a thing as a perfect pair of shoes that let you run totally pain-free?  In my running career thus far, I’ve had:

  • Adidas Supernovas (arch blisters, stress fractures in my metatarsals)
  • Asics Gel Cumulus (arch blisters)
  • Saucony ProGrid Rides (GIANT arch blisters)
  • New Balance (calf/shin pain, toe bed blisters)

I just can’t win.  Oh well.  The pain is tolerable for now!

Anyway, have a great night.  I’m traveling for work tomorrow, and I think I might attempt my 8 miler tomorrow instead of Friday/Saturday.  Woo for a new PDR! 

Talk to me about shoes and your philosophy on them in the comments!

WTF, Shape?

First of all, I shamelessly stole the idea of skewering a stupid magazine from Temerity Jane.  Specifically, her hilarious monthly reviews of Cosmo, which are so funny I cannot read them while drinking or in public because they make me snort.  Mine will actually be kind of serious, but if you want to die laughing check out TJ.

Moving right along.  My sister got me a subscription to Shape magazine for Christmas.  I got a few issues a few weeks back but I didn’t have time to read them until last night.  And I read one last night and ohhh shit, I was HOT.  First, check out the headlines on the cover:

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Friends, I thought we’d finally gotten over America’s ridiculous 1980s fat-phobia.  Not so!  Fat is BAD, everyone.  And you know what that fat trap is?  A damn wrap.  (Sorry, guys, I swear when I’m mad.)

Here is one of the first ads I saw when opening the January issue:

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Beer!  And cycling!  They go together like peas and carrots.  Also?  If you are Lance Armstrong and you are cycling a gazillion miles a week, I’m betting you are intentionally trying to take in as many carbs and calories as possible, what with glycogen stores and all.  Does. Not.  Compute.

But wait!  More diet beer!

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A hint of calories?  For fuck’s sake.  I drink beer for two reasons: a) I want to genuinely enjoy it with a meal, and b) I want to get trashed.  If I want to genuinely enjoy a meal, I’d rather use another 60 calories to drink a beer that actually tastes good.  If I want to get shitfaced, I’m pretty sure I’m not going to be counting calories.  Good lord.

And a final annoying ad:

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Have a little self-respect, Shape.  Don’t talk about how quick fixes don’t work and then run full page ads for trash like this.  There were more ads, but I got tired of taking pictures of them.

shape 007 I haaaate this kind of stuff.  You enjoyed a treat?  Now punish yourself with exercise!  Way to make exercise completely frought with feelings of guilt and self-hatred.  I prefer to think of exercise as something healthy I’m doing for myself, and not as punishment for something I truly enjoyed.

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Also, Kellie Pickler awkwardly pretends to eat some fruit.  And look, she lost weight!  (The article makes no mention of her exercising, just healthy eating.)

Then we get to the pages and pages of people who lost weight.  Not people pursuing fitness goals, or people getting healthy, people who saw the number on the scale drop.  I’m not denying that what these people did was healthy, but the focus on losing X number of pounds seems kind of intense here. 

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First things first—good for you, Missy.  I’m glad you got healthy and appear to be enjoying the gym in your picture, and I hope that low-end of the healthy range BMI works for you.  But this was included in an article about women who had lost drastic amounts of weight, going from morbidly obese to skinny in some cases.  My first thought when I saw this?  “Well, crap, I’m a heifer if I’m 5’6” and 160 next to this chick.”  Thanks, Shape, for inspiring fat talk in my head.  Also, with this:

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This woman is one inch taller than I am and weighs about 5 pounds more.  First thought?  “Criminy, I look like that?”  And the answer is NO.  No, I do not look like that, because I am in really great shape, and eat well, and my weight is largely composed of muscle mass.  But, yeah, the fat talk continued.

Basically, this continued on for several pages until I felt like crap about myself because it was all about the numbers.  Nothing was framed in terms of “Sally got healthy and is training to run her first 10K!  Good for her!” and it was instead "Sally went from fat to skinny and looks great in a bikini now!”

I will not say this magazine was totally awful.  They had an interesting article about emotional eating, and some sort of bruschetta recipe that looked appetizing and healthy.  And there was a pretty fashion spread that actually included some items I might wear.  SO, you know, not totally without redemption.

I don’t think I’ll be reading this magazine anymore, mostly because I don’t want to feed into a system that makes me feel like a lardass because of some dumb number on a scale.  I’m smarter than that.  From here on out, Shape will be seeing the inside of my recycle bin.  I’ll stick to Runner’s World, thanks.

Do you think the media’s obsession with weight leads to negative self-images in women?