2017, The Universe, Yoga I Can Stand

Hello and Happy New Year!  It’s 2017!  Can you believe it?  When I was a kid I used to calculate how old I would be in THE FUTURE…Well, I don’t think I ever went past the year 2000.  And here I am, in 2017.  No hover car, no personal robot, no trips to Mars….But it’s close, right?  I have the mars curiosity rover on instagram and that just blows me away!!  Pictures of Mars, the red planet, on my phone?  Way cool!

Ok enough of my ramblings….here’s the photo of Mae you’ve all been waiting for, waiting in the snow for snowballs.

I have a couple of things to share with you….remember the Altras?  The shoe to end all mountain running shoes?  Well sadly, I ended up returning them after about 3 months.  They were perfect, great shoe, scrambling around the mountain, running , hiking.  they kept me comfy and dry through October, the wettest October on record in Seattle.  They were warm and great into November.  And then, one day, my feet were WET!  They were leaking at the seams and also had really broken down after only about 100 miles of use. No cushion, dead shoes.   I spoke to a rep at Altra and he confirmed that because they are new shoes/boots for them they didn’t really know what to expect.  The “neoshell” is not actually neoprene but a gortex like material.  Anyway, they went back….I couldn’t justify the $160 retail price (I paid $140 thru Road Runner Sports and they have an excellent return policy).  I got a really ugly pair of Asics that are doing the job well enough for half the price.
Ok, The Universe….so I don’t mean this in a Carl Sagan way, though I LOVE Mr. Sagan.  I am talking about all that Karmic stuff, you know, things working out in the end?  squaring up the score. settling accounts…. My daughter was complaining about how she didn’t get a discount on her rent after a friend said she referred her AND a manager called and told her she would get $300 off rent….a different manager told her NO.  Because the friend didn’t fill out the referall form correctly.  What??  As my daughter was telling me the story, the Boston Irish in me came out and I wanted to call said manager and tell her what a *#@! she is, but then….and this is pretty amazing for me….but then I thought “no, the UNIVERSE can handle this”.  You know why?  Because the Universe can dole out some really nasty shit!  What can I do?  Swear into the phone?  Use my wit and language to come up with some mean, but to the point, derogatory insults?  sure…But the Universe….the Universe takes care of revenge and getting even in a BIG way. I have seen this first hand .  I have seen some terrible things happen to people that have not been very nice to me.  Really awful, life changing things.  And that’s sad.  So, I am letting go of anger (yeah right, at least this month ok?) letting go of righting wrongs.  I’m not using my life energy on that pursuit.  I’m gonna just let Good ol’ buddy Universe do it’s stuff.  I will stand up for my rights, take matters into my own hands when it’s logical.  Ask me how this is going in a few months though!
Yoga.  So I have always tried to do yoga and have literally hated it!  Hated the often false, mumbo jumbo breathing crap (all that breathing!) and the little outfits and mats and the stupidly presented calm.  Plus, physically it kills me!  And I am no slump when it comes to athletics.   But….I have this friend.  He is a really awesome person, the 70 side of 60.  I met him in grad school more than 25 years ago and, well, he’s one of my favorite people on the planet.  He’s an antsy one.  Always on the move, he runs, works out with weights, swims and DOES YOGA.  So, if your friend, a friend whom you love and trust, tells you something is good?  That’s right,  You gotta check it out.  I managed to find YOGA I CAN STAND!!  Yoga, I will admit, I actually LOVE!  It’s Yoga With Adriene, and I am 10 days into the 30 day yoga challenge.  She’s real!!  She’s like “yo, dude, we are gonna DO YOGA”.  Well, maybe not quite like that, but the presentation fits me, fits what I look for in any fitness instruction, honest, straight forward, no nonsense guidance.  Fabulous personality,Yoga with Adriene works for me.  If you are thinking of adding yoga to your life, check out her youtube channel .  There are a lot of sessions to choose from and they are short and so do-able!
Happy 2017!  Hope the year is filled with all good things for you!  We will be out playing in the snow, enjoying this beautiful mountain day~ ciao!

 

dec63
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Love Match

Oh. my . GAWD!!  I just took the new Altras for a test run….it’s a perfect match!!   They are the Altra Lone Peak 3.0 Mid height, neoprene/polartec trail shoe.  They look like this:

 

Briefly, I am going to be bold and say that they are the best running shoe I have ever worn, IN MY LIFE!  Ha ha ha, no, really.  I’m being serious.
I will have a full review soon.  For some reason my photos won’t upload to my server from my phone today, but I have a few from our jaunt around the mountain and if they ever show themselves in my mail folder I will share.  These shoes are awesome.  Comfort and performance perfectly melded.  Tell my husband I won’t be home later because I’ll be out romancing my Altras…..
Also, a quick nod to The Running Schlub for the inspiration for my post-run pbj!!  If you haven’t checked out Schlub’s blog you should do so!  He’s one of the most enthusiastic, motivated runners out there and I always enjoy his posts.  He’s taking on the BIG TRAIL RUNS and training for his first 50k trail race !   Need a dose of inspiration and positive vibe? He’s your guy!!

Fall Color

We’ve had some GORGEOUS fall weather up to this last weekend, then we got slammed with lots of rain.  I think we had a couple of inches on Saturday!  But precipitation is good….that rain will soon be snow!

 

And then there’s fall color of another kind….these new Asics trail shoes!
I finally found a shoe I can run in and that fits relatively well!  Is it a perfect match?  No. But it’s close.  It’s the Asics 2000-4 Trail running shoe.  I had the road version last year and liked it well enough.  When I  first put this shoe on the big thing I noticed is the lack of toe room.  I think this runs small, as did the road shoe, so I sized up half a size.  However, I have gotten used to shoes like the Altra with great space in the toe box, and while this is long enough, and wide enough, there isn’t a lot of space up and down in the toe area and the top of my toe actually rubs on the fabric!  SO annoying.  I think it will loosen up, as will the entire shoe, as it feels a bit stiff all over.  Great heel cushioning, if that’s your thing.  I think it could use more forefront cushion.  Though when I started downhill I immediately appreciated the extra cushion in the heels. Awesome tread!  Pretty much bomb proof, no slipping whatsoever.  I ran on everything from grass and forest duff to recently dug up gravel and loose dirt roads.  This however was under dry conditions.  And THAT, is one thing that hurts this pair…when the rain came and the conditions were wet (Hey it’s THE NORTHWEST),  my feet were soaked instantly! The fabric has no water resistance at all and in fact seems to soak up water like a sponge.  Not very enjoyable.  The tongue also is a bit short for me….I am one of those weirdos who hates to tie and untie shoes.  I like to get them just right and then put them on with a shoe horn?  So when you go to put these on, the tongue is rather small and doesn’t open up enough for me to slide my foot in….again, one of my strange peeves but if you get what I’m saying?  Then you have strange peeves too!
Overall, this shoe is adequate.  I gave it an 8 when I first put it on but by run’s end it had crept up to an 8.75.  They cost me $95 on Road Runner Sports.  meh.  not super thrilled as far as cost to worth for me personally but these days it seems anything under $100 is a score.
Next up….that pair of neoprene shell Altra Lone Peaks….They are sitting right here awaiting a run up the mountain.   Should I say that I wish it was a rainy day??

Still Looking….

I really thought that I had a match.  I’ve been looking for new running shoes for so long and I picked up a pair of La Sportiva’s .  I’m not sure what I was thinking with them , as they were the opposite of most shoes I like.  But you know, they felt good in the store.  Dont’ they always??

runshoes

But on my feet, on the trail, up and down the mountain?  They felt like WAY too much shoe. After wearing shoes like Altras, Newtons and even my favorite original Brooks Pure Grit, this shoe did not have enough room in the toe box .  I had even sized up half a size, but my toes were hitting the very hard toe guard and that was fairly uncomfortable.  The laces were annoyingly long.  Sure, I didn’t lace the top hole but that was because the tongue was also huge and uncomfortable. The laces also tended to come undone, despite double knots.   They did have excellent traction, especially descending, I’ll give them that.  That feature was probably the only thing I did like about them.

brakes

But overall , it was just too much shoe.  They seem more like a nice hiking shoe (for someone else) but I was not comfortable wearing them running , or actually wearing them at all.  So glad REI has such an excellent  return policy.    I’ll have to keep looking…What are you wearing ??

 

Do I Still Run?

2012 at the Refuse to Abuse 5k

Well, here’s an update to answer that question.  It’s more one of self-reflection than anything but the answer is clouded with all sorts of issues.  Short version, “No, not right now”.   When I moved back to the mountain full time in the fall of 2014, I was still running.  Because that was a drought year, I ran off and on through the winter months and was still in decent running shape.  When we got the puppy my running schedule took a nose dive and we did a lot more hiking and walking that spring and summer than running.  Last fall however I was still running into October.  Then things went south… real snow meant limited access to running routes and I ended up doing a lot of hiking around in the snow, snowshoeing, xc skiing and snowboarding.  All of this is great.  It’s just the “specificity” principle that started to hurt my running.  What else?

Shoes…yup. I have had a terrible time finding shoes that are “right”?  has that happened to you ?  They change shoes so often that even shoes I have loved became, in new versions, terrible!  This spring I was in love with my Altras but , being that I pronate and have some other alignment issues, I only wore them for two months before they began to bother me.  The Asics road shoes I purchased also didn’t seem to last very long before they became squishy and lopsided.  I wear them still.  In the lake.  I’m hoping for my birthday, next week, to go purchase a pair of shoes that work for me.  I may go back to Adidas trail shoes , which have always been my go to shoe.
Menopause….son of a bitch.  Menopause has been kicking my ass this past year. My journey through it began several years ago but this year I had some really bad, strange set backs.  First of all, I don’t sleep. Not sleeping is just not okay.  It messes with your ability to recover from anything , let alone if you are doing anything athletic.  That 3 mile run or hike becomes like a marathon to your sleep deprived body and the changes in hormones also inhibit your recovery.  The two together, nice combination! I’ve tried lots of ways to remedy my sleep issues .  I’m still working on it.
Muscle aches,  leg cramps, fatigue….back in April at the end of the ski season I was doing a lot and more or less dealing with the recovery problems.  But then I got hit with this stretch of awful leg and muscle pain, night time leg cramps, muscle fatigue and general weakness.  I went to my doctor (all my blood work was normal) and also to a physical medicine specialist trying to solve the problem.  Some of it was related to previous issues, like the bursitis in my right hip, an old groin pull that popped back up and piriformis syndrome in that same leg. But the pain at night, feeling of exhaustion and complete melt down was something new.  what was it?  well, it finally subsided in June.  What was different?  I had a period after not having one for 11 months and 2 weeks!  When it was over, I felt totally fine!!!!  Son of a BITCH.  Then I realized that I had other clues that all along it was hormones messing with me. But because I hadn’t had a period in so long I didn’t recognize them.  My asthma was really bad, which can happen with menopause, and definitely was an issue in the past few years.  I also had experienced the same type of aches, just not to that extreme.  Oh and I admit….some changes in mood.  (well who wouldn’t at that point?)  I never experienced any of that stuff when I was younger so it came as a big surprise.
Anyway, there’s the long version to what happened with my running routine.  I’ve started back at it and have been doing a little walk-run stuff around the mountain, really paying attention to my hydration and nutrition needs, trying to sleep, and trying to not let menopause mess me up!  If it’s been kicking your ass what do you do to kick back?  If you had problems during the transition have they gone away?  Body chemistry is a really complex but intriguing topic.  If you , as an athlete , have any insight to the aging body and how to get the most from it, I’d love to hear it!  Mostly I just try to  ignore it and overcome it by sheer will!  Happy Running friends!!

Morning in the Mountains

No one would ever describe me as a morning person.  But when you wake up in the mountains and get outside to such incredible scenery, well, it certainly wakes you up!  Had a very enjoyable morning walk around the mountains with Mae.  There was sun, blue sky and fresh snow.  A few photos….

 

The fog is starting to roll in now, which is fairly common here, but we will get out again later for some more snow fun!   Hope your Groundhog day is going well!