Idaho Falls, Idaho

After we stopped by the beautiful Shoshone Falls, we continued on to Idaho Falls, Idaho. Idaho Falls is four hours east of Boise, Idaho. Erik’s Grandma from his dad’s side, the one we had just visited ¬†in Boise, once lived in Idaho Falls for a very short time. She said it was the only place she lived that she hated so much that she counted the days until she was able to leave. For a quick visit, I didn’t think it was bad at all, I actually quite liked it.

IDAHO FALLS VS. BOISE

When you are driving down the highway in Boise, you will notice that everything is tan. When you look from side to side you will see foot hills, although they are tan and dried out, I actually found them quite pretty. It is a desert surrounded by mountains. The temperature got up to the low 90s. Being from DC I am use to humidity. In Boise it is a¬†dry heat so it didn’t feel that hot, it was actually quite comfortable.

In Idaho Falls, the land is much more green and fertile. There are no foot hills, but rather huge mountains in the distance with snow covered tops. It is much colder, but because it is a desert, it was 70 by day and then dropped to 40s at night. Most people that live in the town do not have air conditioning in their homes. They simply don’t need it. How awesome is that? It was nice to open the windows at night and breath in fresh air. However, we ended up closing our window in the middle of the night because the breeze turned into gusts. It gets extremely windy in Idaho Falls. ¬†The average winds are 70-80 mph. Because Idaho Falls has such powerful winds, there are farms that have Windmills to generate clean energy. Sometimes you will see one single Windmill on a property, and this Windmill generates energy for this property.

MORE ABOUT IDAHO FALLS

Finally we arrived to Idaho Falls, to visit Erik’s mom and Nana. The weather was so nice that we ate dinner outside and then later that night played with her guinea pigs.

Playing with pigs.

playing with pigs.

RUNNING IN IDAHO FALLS

Because running in a new place is my all time favorite thing to do, I bring my running shoes every time I travel. And this is another reason why I love my Newton shoes. Newton shoes are the perfect running shoe to travel with. They are extremely light weight and flexible, which makes it easy to fit in any travel bag.

You guessed it! Of corse I found time to run in Idaho Falls. I headed over to the Green Belt.¬†The Idaho Falls “Green Belt” is a paved path that runs along the Snake river for about 14 miles. I actually only ran a 3 mile loop, but it was a good 3 miles. I believe the altitude in Idaho Falls, is around 4900. So again similar to Boise, I was excited to test my body in a higher altitude. I felt like it was a little harder to breath, but that was about it. While I was running on the trail, I saw a variety of different people. There were some runners, but other¬†people were just casually walking. So the trail¬†didn’t have that athletes vibe that I experience here in DC and I also experienced in Boise. ¬†Because the people that make up this small town are either Farmers or Mormons. Mormon is part of the culture here in Idaho, Falls, so¬†I found it was interesting to run passed the Mormon Temple.

The picture above is a view from the Green Belt. In this picture you can see the Mormon Temple and the Snake river.

FOOD FOR FARMERS

In the morning we went out for breakfast. We went to this place that was attached to the local hotel. This was by far one of the best breakfasts I have ever had.  The place is known to have tons of local farmers as regulars. Farmers like a big breakfast, so everything was fresh and home made, and the portions were huge.

DOWNTOWN IDAHO FALLS

We then headed downtown, to browse the local yarn shop. I’m a knitter, so whenever I travel checking out the local yarn shop is a must. The yarn shop was very nice, but the rest of downtown Idaho Falls was just sad. Being from DC, I live in a bubble and have not felt the recession, but walking around downtown Idaho Falls, reality hit. Most of the shops had closed, and it felt like a ghost town.

Yarn Shop in downtown, Idaho Falls

So that sums up my trip to Idaho Falls, Idaho. My next post will be about my adventure hiking through Yellowstone.  So stay tuned.

©2012

MOODBOARD

So I have discovered a new app. for my iPad, called Moodboard. Yesterday, I was playing around with it, and I have a feeling it will be useful to me at work and on my blogs. It is a digital poster board, or cork board. It is a way to show and organize your photos more creatively. You can change the background color and add arrows. When uploading photos, you can change their angles, their size. You can add text, changing font and color. The possibilities are endless.

Good Reads

One of my favorite things to do is read, and one of my favorite types of books to read are running books! I just love to learn more, and be inspired. The last running book I read was the best seller, Born to Run.  I fell in love with this book. It opened my mind to explore a more minimalist way of running.

On Sunday, after my run in my Newtons, I stopped at Barnes & Noble, to check out what running books they had to offer. There I found Chi Running by Danny Dreyer. ¬†But then as I continued to scan the shelves I spotted, Natural Running, by Danny Abshire. What? I didn’t know the guy who invented the Newton shoe had ¬†written a book. Beyond thrilled, I scooped up both books and ran to the register.

Today I will finally get a chance to start reading. I can’t wait to dive in to both of these books. I am hoping I can get a better understanding of natural running, and also find some easy running drills to strengthen my feet and get me running more on my midfoot/forefoot.

Daily Workout ~ 5/14/12

Yesterday was my rest day, and although I worked, it felt good to just relax.

Monday, 5/14/12: Today, I woke up to a gray sky and a light rain. It was 62 degrees when I hit the trail, surprisingly because of the humidity it felt much hotter. Again I ran in my Newton shoes. I only ran a short 3.36 miles in 28:50.

When I first began my run I felt good and fast. When I headed back I felt a little slower. The whole time I was focused on running form. I tried to keep centered, slightly leaning forward. I tried to be bouncy and light on my feet, trying to land on my mid-foot.  At the end of my run, I felt more confident in my form. I felt like I was heal striking less and running good. I will admit I still felt some ponding, and some soreness. It was not pain, but even though I have been running in these shoes for a month,  it still is different then what I am use to, and a bit uncomfortable. I am not sure if this is just because of years of running in my cushioned Brooks and Asics, or if this is just how Natural Running shoes feel. I also could really feel my feet move in the wide toe box, stretching and gripping the ground as I run. I am still trying to decide if I like all of this moving and feeling of the ground.

P.S. Army 10 Miler’s Registration opens tomorrow, 5/15/12!

Daily Workout ~ 5/11/12

Because I didn’t have to work and had no other serious plans today, Saturday, 5/11/12,¬†I didn’t start my run until 2:00 pm. Again, I hit up my new favorite spot on the Mount Vernon Trail, the same spot that I have been running on all week. I find it quite fascinating how exciting it can be to discover a new favorite place to run, or to explore a new spot on the same old trail you always depend on. This type of excitement pumps through my body first thing in the morning, I wake up eager to run.

Anyway, today was sunny and toasty. It was close to 80 degrees, so although warmer then I prefer, I could still tolerate it. I also brought a water bottle with me, even though I was running short. I ran 3.59 miles in 30:32, in my Newtons. This is the 5th day in a row running in these shoes. ¬†I will admit that today, I had a love/hate relationship with the idea of feeling the ground. Don’t get me wrong, I love using my sense of touch when running. I love being able to feel the ground and be aware of my run. But because I still overpronate slightly, I still need to focus on form. And today, I was tired of concentrating on running form. I was tired of being concerned about my feet. I just wanted to run, run far, get lost in my run, be worry free. ¬†However, on a more positive note, my legs never felt heavy, and I still felt like I was running fast.

After I got home, my legs and feet were a little bit sore. Not painful but sore. I know this soreness is normal, because I am changing my stride and using different muscles.  Lets just say my feet and legs are excited for a rest day tomorrow.

© 2012

 

Update on my Newton Experience

So as you may know, I have been running in my Newtons for a month now, but today was my fourth time in a row running in them, while it was Lina’s first time running in hers. I am running in the Distance U and Lina is running in the Motion. There is not much difference between the shoes, except the Distance U is a little bit lighter and has less cushioning and support in the heel. I am a neutral runner with a slight¬†overpronation¬†in my right foot. Lina is a heel-striker who overpronates.

I am really trying to focus on proper running form, natural running. So far my stride has not transformed 100 percent, since running in the Newtons, but I have become more aware of my stride and what I need to do to change it. The one thing that I have noticed and love about running in the Newtons is how much I can feel the ground. Feeling the ground also makes me more aware of how my foot moves and how it strikes the ground while running. ¬†Here are pics from today’s Daily Work Out.

LINA: has had stress fractures in both lower legs. The shoes she has run in previously have not helped her stay injury free. Hopefully, she can changer her stride by wearing the Newton shoes.

Lina running in her Newton Motion shoes. Although, she is still heel-striking, she is confident that with time her stride will improve. She also loves the lightweight feel of the shoe.Lina again running in her Newton Motion Shoes. As you can see the shape of her elevated leg, shows she is over-pronating. Again, this is Lina’s first 3 mile run in her Newton shoe. Hopefully, with time her stride will improve.

MEG: I have never had any injuries, only a blister here and there. I have always run in Asics Nimbus  in a size 6.5 and just recently the Brooks Glycerin in a size 7.0. Both are good running shoes. But after reading Born to Run, I have always been interested in the idea of Natural Running. I am hoping the Newton shoes will help improve my stride and make me faster. There I am running in my Newton Distance U shoes. I am not heel-striking but rather running by landing on my forefoot/midfoot, the key to Natural Running. Also notice legs and ankles fall right under hips.

Again running on my forefoot/midfoot. Also notice legs and ankles in line, right under hips. Key to Natural Running.Again forefoot/midfoot striking, and legs landing right under hips. Demonstrating Natural Running.

I have always been a neutral runner, so I am having a little more success in the Newton shoes and in transitioning to a Natural Runner, than Lina is. However, I have also been running in these shoes for a full month longer than Lina. Today was her first day wearing them.  I still am not perfect and still heel-strike a little sometimes and slightly over-pronate with my right foot. Another awesome way to judge is to look at the bottom of the shoes. You can see more wear and tear on my right shoe.

Daily workout.

Friday, 5/11/12: Today, I woke up early, and hit the trail with my running buddy, Lina. The Mount Vernon Trail was super sunny, a tad breezy and around 60 degrees. It was Heaven out there, only a runner would understand. I felt like running far, but because Lina and I,  are both running in our Newtons, we are still transitioning into a more Natural Running form, so we still ran short.

Today, I ran 3.41 miles in 31:17. This is the slowest time, I have run this week . I think it is because I was with Lina and she is a slower runner than me. I started with her, but then went on and ran ahead. After we were done with our run. We practiced high knees and video taped our running strides. We also snapped a couple photos.  See next post for update on my Newton shoe experience and pics.

 

weekly workout recap

Monday: I rested. The weekend was overwhelming with Friday’s 2012 CrossFit Games, Saturday’s Crab Feast, and Sunday’s Photo Shoot.

Because I am running in my Newtons, I am still running shorter distances and paying close attention to the way my body feels and my running form. I am really trying to focus on

  • leaning forward
  • relaxing my shoulders
  • arm positioning
  • looking straight ahead
  • most importantly landing on my mid-foot

Tuesday, 5/7/12: I ran a short 3.41 miles in 28:39, in my Newtons. Honestly, I am not sure how accurate my garmin is being. Because Newton shoes are light weight, they are known to make you run faster than traditional running shoes, but I am still not sure how much faster.  When timing my mile using the markers I am running 8.30 min. mile.  But I think the best way is to run in my other shoes to compare, timing to milage. The timing is correct, but I think I am running closer to a 5K. There are mile markers on the trail. I have been paying close attention to those markers.  Tuesday was a hot and humid day, it felt good to really sweat hard.

Wednesday, 5/8/12 : I ran again a short 3.41 miles in 29:10, in my Newtons. It was overcast and breezy, but it felt fantastic. I felt like I was in Seattle, the trees were so green, and the sky so gray. I just love running outside. Being surrounded by nature, is so refreshing.  I also recently bought a 25lb kettlebell, that I always leave in my car trunk next to my yoga mat. I decided to take them both out an go by the water in the grass. I completed 3 sets of squats with the 25lb kettle bell 10 reps per set. In between each set I held plank for 60 seconds. Energy was pumping through my body for the rest of the day!

Thursday, 5/9/12:  Today, I ran again a short 3.69 miles in 32:25. It was cooler today, about 65 degrees. It was gusty breezy and sunny. My legs today were sore from the squats from yesterday. I ended my run with 3 sets of high knees. It was a good run and once again felt great to work up a sweat and be outside.

Running Form Clinic

On April 7th, I participated in a running form clinic, held at the Pacers Arlington.  Juda McGannon, who taught the clinic is a representative for Newton shoes. I first met her at the Cherry Blossom 10 miler expo. To my understanding, the Newton brand focuses on running form and the inventor himself, Danny Abshire, hosts clinics weekly, nation wide.

Correct proper running form has been a topic that has always interested me. I have never had any technical running training in the past, so I thought the clinic would really benefit me. Who wouldn’t want to learn how to run faster, further, safer? So bright and early, on Saturday morning I headed down to the clinic to learn about proper running form. I started the clinic inside the shop. Juda immediately took off her shoes, and began to demonstrate foot strengthen exercises, explaining that years of wearing protective/corrective running shoes actually make feet weaker. It is important to have strong feet, no matter what shoes you wear. She discussed many facts about the foot. A strong foot should ¬†be capable of spreading its toes apart from one another,and should easily be capable of grabbing and picking up items.

Then she had me balance on one foot. I closed our eyes. At points I wiggled around a little, loosing balance. When running we are technically always balancing on one foot. One foot is in the air while the other is on the ground. Everyone uses their sense of sight and hearing while balancing, but those senses should not be our dominate senses used while running. We should be using our sense of touch. Unfortunately, conventional running shoes, with all of its cushion, support, and protection makes it hard to use our sense of touch, impossible for us to feel the ground we run on.

Juda then explains what our feet do while we are barefoot. When we walk barefoot, we place our heel down first, then forefoot, then toes. When we run barefoot, we place our forefoot down first, then heel. When we sprint barefoot, we place our forefoot down first, but it is so far up the foot, it almost looks like we are on our toes. When we wear our traditional running shoes, there is so much protection, cushion, support, that we can barely move our foot with in the shoe, and it is impossible to use our sense of touch and actually feel the ground. Traditional running shoes, make 80% of runners heel strike. Heel striking causes injuries. Why would you run one way barefoot, and another way with shoes.  That is where the Newton shoe comes in handy. This shoe is going to help correct form, by getting us to run on our forefoot, preventing heel striking.

Running too slowly will also cause heel striking. That is why it is important to run with a quick, short stride. Soon enough,  I was getting fitted with the proper Newton shoe, and then heading out to the trail.  Juda had the group participate in some running form drills, which included high knees, and skipping. When running you should be light on your feet. The lighter you are on your feet, the less impact you will endure, and the quicker and shorter your stride will become. Juda also taught us to lean forward and breath deep from your belly.

I had been debating on trying a minimalist running shoe ever since I had read the book, Born to Run, two years ago. Although, the Newton shoe is not a minimalist shoe, for me it is the perfect shoe to try, because it is light weight, and mimics  Natural running, but also has the cushioning to help absorb impact. So after the running clinic I happily purchased my first pair of Newtons. The running form clinic, was awesome! I am very glad I participated in it, and highly recommend it for all runners, whether you have the desire to try Newtons or not.