7 Mile Morning Run

This summer is the first summer in three years that I have NOT been training for a marathon. So instead of working on slower longer runs, to build endurance, like I have in the past, I have been focussing on speed, natural running, and proper form.  As you may know, form earlier posts I have also switched my running shoe to the Newton Shoe.

On August 26th, I will be running the Annapolis 10 miler. This will be my first race I will be running wearing my Newton shoes. Honestly, this race will be the ultimate test. ¬†I do feel that these shoes have made me faster, or let me rephrase that… when wearing these shoes I run faster, but have they made me a faster runner over all? ¬†Honestly, I do not know, because I have not run in any other shoes (since April) to compare them to. Sometimes I wonder, what if I ran in my Asics or Brooks, would I run as fast? Has my over all speed improved?

These are all questions that have come to my mind lately. ¬†I am hoping after this race I will find some answers. And although, 10 miles is not that far, sometimes I wonder if these shoes will support me when I go farther distances. ¬†I have had some really awesome runs in these shoes, where I feel light on my feet, and so fast I felt like I was flying. ¬†But I have had a few really bad runs, in these shoes as well, where I just couldn’t wait to be back to my car. Are the shoes inconsistent, or me?

After writing this blog post, you are probably thinking, that if I trained properly for this 10 miler then I should have all of my questions answered. Well the fact is, is that I have been training, but in a different way then I am use to, working less on distance and more on speed.  I am using this 10 miler as a test to see my progress. I also have another 10 miler in October, and a half marathon in November. After this 10 miler I am going to take it up a notch, by adding strength training and cycling into my weekly workout mix.

By running in the Newton shoes, I have begin to see physical changes in my legs. They are longer, leaner, and more muscular, especially in the calf area. But I still need to work on high knee exercises and strengthening my ankles.

Daily Workout:¬†As for my 7 mile morning run, it went really well. At 7 am, Lina and I hit the Mount Vernon Trail, south of Old Town. ¬†The weather today was 70, over cast, with a slight drizzle of rain, perfect running weather. Unfortunately, my Garmin’s memory was totally full. This is the first time in like 5 years that I didn’t have my Garmin working,¬†but Lina had her’s and there were mile markers along the trail. I counted mile markers, but I have to admit, I missed my Garmin.

Anyway, the tail was gorgeous and hilly. It was beautiful to run along the water. And Annapolis will be hilly, so I am glad we did a hilly 7 miler. Plus I love hills. I can’t help it, I live in a hilly area, so it is something that is hard to avoid.

Overall my 7 mile run was pretty fast, pretty challenging, pretty delightful all in one. And my Newton shoes did just fine.

Future Goals: So as I said before I am hoping the Annapolis 10 miler will answer my questions about the Newton shoes, and my summer training. Before I run my 10 miler in October I want to continue working on Natural Running, but I also want to Strength Train. Because at the end of the day, it is not the shoe that injures you, it is your body’s weaknesses that injure you. When you body has weaker areas, the stronger area’s over¬†compensate for the weaker ones, and therefore, gets overused, causing injury. I also want to get on my bike. Cycling is great cross training, and the fall time is the perfect time to go cycling. If I had to choose between the two, short speedy runs, vs longer endurance runs, I would have to say I just love going the distance. And I actually miss running really really far. So I want to pay closer attention to my milage, and in the end, up my weekly milage.

Questions for You:

  1. What do you like better speed or distance?
  2. Do you have any races coming up?
  3. What shoes are you wearing?

 

© 2012

 

Recipe: Chicken Soup

When I originally started this blog, I really wanted to focus on my daily work outs. I wanted this to be my work out log. I wanted to write product reviews and race reviews. Although, I will still be doing this, I must say, I am just way to interested in too many things to just focus on just that. And I travel to, too many beautiful places, it would be a shame not to post where I’ve been, especially considering that my favorite thing about running is how I can easily do it anywhere in the world.

However, I will try to somehow relate my other posts to running in someway. Lets start with my Chicken Soup recipe. I have always loved cooking, but before it was such an annoying hassle because of my old apartment’s pathetic kitchen. But in late May my boyfriend and I bought and moved into our very first home. One of the best things about our vintage 1950s duplex is the amazing updated kitchen.

My beautiful Kitchen, that I can’t stop cooking in. And I clean it everyday, so it sparkles!

This last weekend was cold. Well it is summer and if you live in the DC area you would know that the summers here are like living in a hot swamp. Last summer was a heat wave. There were days that reached 105 degrees, but because of the humidity, it felt like 115. This summer has not been as bad, but there still has been some record breaking days. So when last friday rolled around and it only reached 86 degrees, it was pleasantly cooler. It also rained a bunch, which made me happy – I love summer storms. So with the cooler, breezy, rainy weekend, I decided to make Chicken Soup.

This Chicken Soup recipe that I am going to tell you about is actually from one of Rachel Ray’s cookbooks. But I have made it so many times that I know it by heart. It is loved by my family and friends, and is my “go to” meal. I love this soup for so many reasons.

The first reason why I love this soup is because it is NOT your traditional Chicken Soup. It’s secret is the combo of sweet potatoes and chipotle in adobo sauce. I would have never thought to put these two ingredients together, but boy is this mixture of sweet and smokey hot, tasty. ¬†I also love this soup because it is simple and quick to make, but also hearty, healthy, full of flavor, and extremely satisfying. ¬†Here’s what you do.

Ingredients List:

celery, carrots, onions, sweet potatoes, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper, chipotle in adobo, chicken stock, chicken, white wine, extra virgin olive oil, cilantro, bread, sour cream.

Directions:

1)Use a big soup pot and fill the bottom with about 2 table spoons of extra virgin olive oil. Place over medium heat.

Soup pot, with evoo, on medium heat.

2) Cut 1 large onion. Add to pot. If onions start to brown or burn add a cup of water and lower heat.

3) Cut carrots as many as you like. I usually use half a bag of the small baby carrots.

3) Add celery as many as you like. 

4) Add sweet potatoes. I usually add 2 large sweet potatoes.

5) Add chipotle in adobo sauce. This can be tricky. You have to determine how much smoky hot you want. Always remember that the spice is in the seeds of the peppers. I usually use 1 large pepper chopped. But if one is too spicy, then remove the seeds from the inside of the pepper. 

6) Add garlic chopped, dried thyme, dried bay leaf.

7) Add a cup of white wine. Let it boil for one minute, reduce for 5 minutes.

8) Add Chicken Stock

9) Add chicken.

10) Bring chicken stock to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Make sure chicken is cooked well done, and veggies are soft.

11) Serve hot. Top it off with a spoon full of sour cream and cilantro. Dip crusty bread in it for additional flavor.

cilantro!

Eat, Enjoy, Yummo!

So there you have it! My favorite soup!

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.