Monday, August 6, 2012

The Barefoot Running Experiment, Part 1


Lesson 1:

If you get a small pebble/twig/chunk of plastic stuck on your foot, it will behoove you to remove it, else return home with a pebble/twig/chunk of plastic-shaped blister on the bottom of your foot that will be hard to explain. And UGLY.

Lesson 2:

If it looks wet, do NOT run through it.  There are too many possibilities of what it might be to even risk it!  Think bodily fluids of people and animals – don’t try to figure out what it is, just go around it!

Lesson 3:

Run your route in shoes first, and look for possible dangers to bare, unprotected feet.  Are there sections of gravel?  Dirt?  Glass?  Debris??  Detours?!?  These things are helpful to know BEFORE you start running a new route.  

The next lesson will focus on grass.  Yes, grass.  Grass may look nice to tired feet, but there is more than meets the eye when it comes to grasses.  

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Glow Run 5K - Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Glow Run this past Saturday at the River Market was a glowly, glitzy, noisy, sweaty conglomeration of athletes from the very serious to the very silly – there was everything from tutu’s and tube socks to body paint and bangles.  I usually shy away from running events in the summer, due to the heat, but this one was a must-run as it advertised “one of the best race experiences of your life,” (  I had to see if it would be true.     

The Glow Run was slated to start at 9:15 pm, which was good for the glow, but didn’t do a lot to stave off the heat of the day.  My group, which included a few other runners (one a 60 year old male on a team called ‘Little Glow Peeps’ who donned a tutu for the race) and my daughter among others, had an hour to stand around, taking in the incredible atmosphere.

Of all the runs I have done, this one probably had the most free-flowing energy in the air.  There was really no pressure, because you can’t put a lot of pressure on yourself to run your best when it’s 95+ degrees in the middle of July.  It was more about being able to say, ‘I was there,’ rather than ‘it was my best race.’  The music was thumping loud, there were dancers scantily clad all around, strobe lights, throngs of people jumping up and down, a beer garden and a fairly flat, fast course.  They even had a contest for ‘glowiest team.’ 

This run also had the coolest medal and the best shirt of any run I’ve ever done.  The v-neck tech tee was a refreshing, fairly flattering change from the generic boxy, boring t-shirts you usually get.  I am sending out vibes to the universe that this is a change all the ‘cool’ runs will make.  There’s no point getting a t-shirt if it’s a shapeless hunk of cotton that will sit in your drawer for five years.  

If the Glow Run 5K comes back next year, I’ll definitely do it again.  It may not have been the best race experience of my life, but it was fun way to gauge my fitness, and motivated me to sign up for another race!  

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Barefoot Running Experiment, Part 1

Yes, so Part 1 of The Barefoot Running Experiment took place nearly a week ago, and it has taken me this long to write the blog on it.  It has also taken this long for the biggest blister on my toe to finally start to deflate.

I decided to try barefoot running because, well, why not??  I have heard so much about barefoot running, and I even saw a guy out running without shoes on when I hit the trails a couple weeks ago.  I was like, 'realllllly?! that guy too??'  I knew it was my time.

I happened to have some hours to myself last Wednesday, and decided that it was a perfect time to run barefoot since I had already ran four miles that morning (I didn't want to waste a good workout on a barefoot run, not knowing how it might turn out).  I figured I would go easy for my first outing without shoes, and only do 1 1/2 miles.  That was dumb.

I stepped out of the house feeling naked and exposed...after lacing up for years, it feels quite strange to go out there without the essential piece of running equipment - shoes.  I thought, 'what if someone sees me?!  what will they think??'  Silly, yes, but I was self conscious.

Determination led me down the sidewalk, which I quickly discovered is more hazardous than the road for bare feet.  It is more likely that you will find mud, sticks, rocks, trash, etc on the sidewalk than on the road.  Trust me.  You don't truly become aware of the minute details of sidewalk vs. road until you attempt them both barefoot.

At first it felt....good!  I felt free, I could feel muscles from my toes to my thighs in completely new ways.  I was excited!

I ran cautiously and a bit slower than my regular pace.  If I could run without shoes, it truly would be the most minimalist sport out there - nothing required except clothes to cover your back - and in some places those aren't even necessary!  The prospect was thrilling.  It would certainly lighten the load (and relieve the smell) if I didn't have to tote my running shoes whenever I went out of town.

At about the half mile mark, I noticed that the repeated slapping of my soft and supple toes on the hard pavement was beginning to sting a bit.  Then the inevitable happened - I stepped on some of those tiny little pebbles that hurt almost as much as stepping on a Lego or Littlest Pet Shop accessory barefoot on the carpet.  After that, a hidden tree branch in the grass nearly took me down.  Grass, like people, can look quite deceiving, especially to bare feet seeking relief!

It was time to go home.  Unfortunately, I still had a 3/4 of a mile to go, either straight ahead or turning back.  This was not well planned.

Needless to say, my feet and I arrived home battered and exhausted.  The sting has finally disappeared from my little toes, and tomorrow is...Wednesday!  Do I see another barefoot running experiment in my day?! We will see....I will not give up so easily!


Friday, April 27, 2012

Take Care...Or THEY Will!!

So....I work at a hospital.  As you know.  I am a nurse's aid, which means I do a lot of the dirty work.  I wanted to go ahead and take the time (in a very short blog to jump start things) to let people know to be nice to their children.  Really.  Be nice.  Be really, really nice.  They will be the ones who will decide which nursing home you will live in when the time comes that you can no longer take care of yourself (I saw something like this in a quote once, it's not totally stolen, but that's where I got the idea.  I cannot remember where the quote came from though).

There are good nursing homes....there are decent nursing homes...there are bad nursing homes...there are REALLY bad nursing homes...then there are the nursing homes where you send your parents who were evil and mean to you.  There are NO great nursing homes.  Know this now.  Please take my advice, and be nice to your children.  Be kind.  Love them, and perhaps you will get to live with them.  Perhaps they will change your diaper instead of some stranger who's just doing a job.  It could save you a bedsore or twelve!  Trust me, these things ain't pretty!

On a side note, take care of yourself!! Then, if you are a jerk to your kids, at least it will take a longer time until you have to be put in a home, or perhaps not at all!  I have seen some, not a lot, but some, 90+ old people still living at home by themselves.  They are few and far between, and they aren't able to do that because they smoked a pack a day and called a good night a package of oreos in front of twelve re-runs of bad sitcoms!  The more you damage your body now, the more you will pay for it in the long run.

Take it to heart.  I would hate to see any of you who are so graciously reading my blog wind up in one of these horrid places I have seen old folks come from.  They come from the nursing homes all the time to the hospital, and you can pretty much tell which nursing home they came from based on the condition they are in, physically!  And on how they smell!  No joke!  We do the best we can for them at the hospital, but then we have to send them back.  So take care of your body, take care of and love your kids, or you'll be sitting in a s*&#@y diaper for five hours with the waste eating away at your fragile sensitive skin before someone comes to change your butt!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Loose Dogs!

Nothing inspires terror in my heart faster than a dog running loose.  I believe that in a past life, I was once hunted down by dogs.  They chased me relentlessly as I tore through fields and woods, fearing for my life, very Willow-esque.  Their angry barks and snarls flew through the air, precursors to the pain I would soon feel as their long, sharp teeth tore through my skin and ripped off pieces of my flesh, eating me alive.  I just know that this is why the sight of a loose dog sends me into a panic.

 I have been lucky lately that during my runs, I rarely encounter dogs running loose.  Perhaps this is why I continue to run the same, safe routes, although my mind aches for new scenery.  It’s difficult to break down and take the risk of running down new streets knowing that there will come a time when I will encounter a dog.  He will bark, he will growl.  He may (probably) chase me.  If the stars align correctly, he will attack my leg or arm or whichever limb is flying freely most closely to his face.  I will scream.  Help will not be near.  It will be a battle between me and the dog.  Please, I beg whoever is in charge of letting these kinds of things happen, don’t let it be a pit bull. 

 Why do dogs feel the need to chase, anyway?  This I just don’t understand.  What do you want from me?  I’m not bothering you.  I’m not running on your property.  Why must you terrorize me?  I actually did run into a dog on my run not long ago.  It was a new route (see!  I tried a new route and what do I get!? A heart attack!) down a long and twisty country road.  Beautiful scenery, but about halfway through the loop, I see a creature out of the corner of my eye.  He is probably at least two hundred feet away, but he sees me too.  I know not to look at him.  I know to mind my own business and pretend he doesn’t exist.  For a few minutes I think I’m in the clear.  Just when I start to breathe easier, an eruption of barks and snarls tears through my sunny day, sending me on high alert.  My heart rate doubles and my body instantly goes into fight or flight mode.  The dog flies by behind me, barking and growling the whole time, so close he creates a breeze as he passes within inches of my calves.  I hear him gallop loudly as he quickly does a 180.  I know he’s turning around to attack this time.  I think my heart will explode, and still I do not look at him.  He’s too big to simply kick in the face as I imagine doing to any dog shorter than my knee who tries to bug me.  I think he’s a golden retriever but my eyes have been trained so decidedly on the road I can’t be sure. 

 By some miracle he no longer pursues me.  The panting subsides.  Perhaps he grew tired, and didn’t want to bother with the chase.  Perhaps he’d just eaten a large meal of kibble and shoelaces from other runners he’s taken down.  Or perhaps, and I feel that this is the most likely explanation, he was simply doing his duty by pretending he was ready to eat me and making me pee my pants.  He got his runner for the day.  Inspiring fear in runners is his God-given dog-duty.  A+, buddy, now I have to run three miles home with wet shorts.    
 On the bright side, I subconsciously sped up the rest of the run back, dropping an average of fifteen seconds per mile and giving me a PR on that 7 mile route.  However, I’m not sure if it was worth it.  I haven’t run that road since that day, and there's not a golden retriever out there (who’s safely corralled behind a sturdy fence) who doesn't get the stink eye from me.  

Monday, January 9, 2012

2012, the year of "What the *#%@!!"

Well, that last blog was a curse, because as you know, I haven't posted anything since then.  It's been a very strange few weeks.  2012 is starting out with a bang, and not the right kind.

I left Utah feeling very sad that we had missed our only opportunity since we were children to have a family picture taken together - I mean the whole family.  My mom and dad and all us kids and all the grandkids and all the spouses were all together...and yet we didn't have that photo taken.  That chance probably won't come again - everyone lives so far away...until...well, hopefully it comes before someone passes away.  As I've experienced both personally and through others, life will throw you a curve when you least expect it.

They say that death comes in 3's and 7's.  I am not sure if that is true, but I have heard of a lot of people passing away lately.  A girl at work lost her mother in law, another girl at work lost her uncle and grandfather, another girl at work lost her mother, a girl from my old job lost her mother, and then the most significant loss for myself was of a long-time friend and old boyfriend, Andrew.  He was someone I wanted to marry at one time and who wanted to marry me.  That makes six.  I hope that I have forgotten one somewhere, only because I don't want to hear about anymore for a while.  It's too sad...I was, and still am, so shocked about my friend.

We haven't seen each other or spoken in a very long time, but we still considered each other good, trusted friends.  We sent messages on facebook occasionally.  His last messages to me were on Christmas Eve and Christmas day.  On Christmas Eve he said, "Merry Xmas Sweetie!! Hope you and Scarlett have a great holiday."  Christmas day he sent, ":)p."  I was out of town, and didn't send a message back until Dec. 27.  The accident was December 26.  He never received that message, but I have to believe that he knew I was thinking of him.

What's even worse is that he died at the hospital I work at.  Since I don't really know any of his friends very well, and am not their friends on facebook, I didn't even find out about any of it until January 5.  He died January 3 at my hospital, two floors below where I work.  Had I known, I could have seen him one last time. I could have let him know, for the last time ever, that I have always considered him to be a very special person, and that I was so glad to know him for the time that I did.  It relieves a little of the heartache to know that he will be in heaven one day when I go.

I only had one picture of him.  For some reason, when I went to get it out of my photo album, it's missing.  I am not sure if a jealous ex took it out one time or what...but now I have none, except the pictures on facebook and the memorial flyer.  Scarlett and I do still have the teddy bear that he brought to the hospital for her the day she was born.  And I will always have that smile, that laugh, living in my memory to call upon whenever I want.  He will be missed forever, as he watches over us all from a better place.

I know that these challenges are given to us to help us learn to be better people.  I prayed last night that God would help me finally (even though I only found out about him last Thursday) wrap my head around the fact that he was gone and stop obsessing about it (I've been thinking and dreaming about him non-stop, it was such a shock to me).  I woke this morning still thinking of him, but I was at peace.  I know he's gone, I know it's okay.  I know he was meant to go when he did for a reason, and that reason isn't for me to know right now.

The rest of the year will surely be better.  It's been a strange start, but...I have hope.  "Dum spiro spero," or "While I Breathe, I hope."