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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Altra Mid

In case you missed it, I finally found a great shoe!  I am just so happy that I tried these because they are exactly what I’ve been hoping to find.  They are the Altra Lone Peak 3.0 mid height, neoprene/polartec trail runner.  My goodness, that’s a mouthful!

What do I like about this shoe?  well, everything!  Pretty much anyway… the fit is just like the Lone Peak 2.5 which I also have.  Most guidelines will say go up half a size in Altras and I have tried both the 9 and 9.5 and did go up to the 9.5.  I LOVE the extra toe box room.  If you aren’t used to that it may seem sloppy at first but believe me, it’s the best thing ever!  The rest of the shoe fits great as well.  I was concerned that the mid height may be annoying but it is fantastic!  Well cushioned so no uncomfortable parts.  The lacing system is great, nice and even and the metal grommets at the ankle make it super easy to snug up.  Yes, I know, I will actually have to tie and untie these shoes!  But the extra couple of minutes for that is well worth it!
Cushioning is fantastic.  it’s my favorite thing about Altras. It’s like a cloud for your feet.
Tread is fantastic.  No slipping on anything, wet, dry, gravel, mud, it was all good.
Zero drop….I’m a fan!  I know some people can’t stand it but I love it.
And here is the big, most fantastic thing about these, as a Pacific Northwest runner…..THEY ARE REALLY WATERPROOF! I intentionally ran through puddles and my feet stayed dry!!  The polartec lining also is a big bonus because I will be able to wear these through the winter and still be cozy.  Plus the Gaiter Trap will be uesful for snow.  The mid height also means less debris getting into my shoe and driving me nuts.  Where they debris free?  No.  But oddly, the only time I got little pebbles in the shoe were running on the paved road that connects to my trails.   But I got nowhere near the amount of dirt and plant bits that you would in a regular height shoe.
What I don’t like?  Well, let’s be honest….the price is staggering.  At $168 retail they are clearly the most expensive running shoe I’ve purchased to date.  That price makes it prohibitive to stock up with a second pair too.  But, considering what I spend on other types of footwear, winter boots, snowboard boots etc., and the fact that I LOVE them, I just have to go with that.
Happy Fall!  Have a great weekend~

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!!

Fitness Confessions

I had to go and look at my calendar to see when the last time was that I actually did a run.  Other than some short jogs around the neighborhood, the last real run was not this month, not June, oh, good guess but not May either!  April 4th.  that’s right….there’s a little hen scratched notation that I ran 31 minutes in new shoes, in APRIL!  Sure there are hikes noted, paddling in the lake, walks up the mountain.  But running?  Running doesn’t make an appearance on my calendar.  I have a long list of reasons why I haven’t been running, but let’s just say that other things in life have gotten in the way of running plans.  Some of them are unavoidable life events, others are just run of the mill excuses .  Drinking beer with Ben and Jerry in the summer heat for example!
I had the foresight to know I wouldn’t be running any races this summer but I did register my son and husband for the Refuse to Abuse 5k held in Safeco Stadium where the Seattle Mariner’s play ball.  (note I said play not necessarily WIN)    It was the first race for my son and he had a good time! My husband did a lot of runs with his dad growing up so this is a great family tradition to continue!
Part of the race goes through the parking garage

There are a lot of races across the country held in sports stadiums and they are such fun events!  You go through parts of the stadium that you may never normally have  access to and this one ends out on the baseball field!  Plus this was for a great cause, raising awareness and money to help those affected by domestic violence.
I hope your summer running is going great!  I’m looking forward to getting back out there and possibly registering for some fall races.  My son said he would do it again!  I think I’d better lace up my shoes and get running~

Things You Should Know If You Run With Me

Do you have a regular running partner? Do you run with a spouse, a friend, a buddy?  An entire GROUP?  Generally, I run alone.  In fact, on one of my playlists I even have a song that is my “running alone anthem”…. No One to Run With Any More.  It’s great, but sad, right?

The Allman Brothers  Give it a listen while I tell my tale….

I used to have regular climbing partners, snowboarding buds, mountain biking madmen and general badasses to get out with and share crazy things we used to do.  But life stuff, joint replacements, a continent between us has made that difficult.  In December, I was lucky enough to have my husband go out running with me a few times.  After only a few minutes on the trail he yelled, “hey! Watch it with that snot!”  And I realized that maybe I have a few bad habits. Maybe if someone runs with me, they should know some things.

July 2012, Safeco Stadium, Refuse to Abuse 5k

 As you can see in the picture, I talk.  I talk a lot.  Who knows what I talk about but expect some lengthy dialog, laughter and nonsensical chatter.
I’m SLOW.  Super slow….12 min/mile slow.  On a good day running downhill I can pick it up to a 10.  So if you need a recovery run or just bought a pair of sneakers and have never run in your life, I’m your girl!
I spit.  I spit and farmer blow my nose quite frequently.  I try to be directional on this but sometimes the snot just gets away from me.  I have “exercise induced hypermucosity”.  It’s a real thing.  I swear!
I am apt to push, shove, and grab your arm as we run.  No idea what that’s about but I do it getting off a chairlift too.  You’ve been warned!
I carry cash. That obscure pocket with the awkward zipper on your sleeve or butt?  Mine is stuffed with money.   You need a coffee?  Post run beer?  Lunch? A taxi to get away from snot and chatter?  It’s on me.
I don’t care what you look like.   Are you wearing tattered, smelly, drab running clothes?  Is your hat warm but stupid? Great!  We will be twins!  Sporting new running gear?  Looking like a cover model ?  Got a watch as big as your head that tells you where you are and how fast we aren’t running? Cool! Gives me something to talk about….and aspire to!
Run with me and you will be my forever friend.  Some of my best memories involve cycling, running, riding, climbing, not because of the athletic achievements, but because of the fantastic people with whom I’ve shared those moments.
So there you have it, a few things you should know if you run with me.  What should people know about running with you??

2015

There’s a wish most of us have, to start anew with the new year,  to reaffirm our goals, be they any of the many forms of self improvement: get fit, lose weight, eat better, be kinder, sleep more, drink less, give up smoking, give up smoking weed, take a vacation, take a break, take a yoga class, call friends, call for the colonoscopy, call the dentist, get new eyeglasses, get new sneakers, get a haircut, get a foil, save money, save a date, save a life, donate clothing, donate cash, donate time.   Perhaps you see something on this list familiar to your own life? Or perhaps you want something different.  Perhaps you merely want to maintain the status quo…… keep your job, keep your lover, keep your spouse, keep your sanity, keep on keeping on,  keep on trucking, keep it up.  Ask yourself, Are you hep to the jive?  Do you know the score, following the script, following the story?  Do you know your lines?  Do you know where you are?  Do you know where your cat is?

Well, deep breaths people.  It’s only January 15th.  Take a big chill pill.  Put on some soft music.  Pour more coffee.  Look out the window.  2015 is still out there, waiting, in all it’s bloated promise.  It’s waiting for you to get on it, get on your game, put your best foot forward, make a plan, get with the program, stir it up, kick’s it’s ass, grab it by the neck and shake the shit out of it.  Run with the pack, leave the fools behind, do what you must.  But don’t let 2015 be a big double goose egg on your back window….

Now go on out there and chase down that DREAM!