Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Mac Part 2

Well, my Mac quit again...  but then it came back!  Then it quit again...  but that last time it did not come back.  I let it sit and let it sit.  Nothing.  Bummed.

Made an appointment at my local Apple store, took it in, told the nice young man my sad story.

He said the water probably finally got to it.  And since the warranty does not cover damage from spilling liquid on your computer, it would cost me $1,240 to get it repaired.  But...  he said...   they were going to waive the repair fee.  They would repair it at no cost!

This was this past Sunday, December 26, at 5 pm.  He said he would send it in and have it shipped back to my home within seven days..  no cost to me!

Wednesday, December 29, I got a package.  It was my Mac!  All fixed up and ready to go!

Amazing!  Apple is the best!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Runner's World, December 2010 Issue

Look on p. 40 of the December 2010 issue of Runner's World...   that's me!  Just a little blurb, but hey..

Look on p.61...  the whole page!  Steven is the guy I got my huaraches from.

Pretty neat!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Two Tales of "Survival, Resiliance, and Redemption"

Over the weekend I started reading a fascinating book - Unbroken:  A World War II Story of Survival, Resiliance, and Redemption, written by Laura Hillenbrand, the author of Seabiscuit. 

It follows the life of Louie Zamperini who, it was said, should have been the first to break the four minute mile.  Zamperini started out his childhood in California as a juvenile delinquent, but found that he had distance running talent and eventually became an unbeatable high school miler.  Circumstances were such that, though he had virtually no training for the event he raced the 5000-meter in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.  He set his goals on breaking the four-minute-mile barrier and running the 1600-meter at the 1940 Olympics, but war broke out (WWII), Louie was drafted and became an AAF bombardier stationed in the South Pacific.  Crashing into the Pacific, 47 days lost at sea on a small life raft, captured by the Japanese and tortured in a POW camp...  (that's where I am now) ...a truly incredible story of "survival, resiliance, and redemption."

Louie Zamperini:


Another story of "survival, resiliance, and redemption," this past weekend John and I saw the move, 127 Hours, the story of adventurer Aron Ralston.  In 2003, Ralston went out alone for a weekend of outdoor fun in the Utah canyons, telling no one where he was going.  A freak fall left him with his arm pinned against a canyon wall by a boulder.  The movie goes through the next 127 hours (how long Aron was pinned to the wall in the canyon) with Aron (played by James Franco), trying to get his arm out, move the boulder, chipping away at it with his cheap pocket knife... his emotions, thoughts...   until he eventually cuts his arm off below the elbow with the dull pocket knife in order to save his life.

Here is an interview with Aron Ralston:


And another:


You must read this book and you must see this movie!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Interesting Study Shows How Body Changes With Endurance Running

I like to read the online Science Daily.  A couple days ago they reported a study done by the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) to determine changes in body composition (whole body volume, body fat, visceral fat, and muscle volume) during an ultra-distance transcontinental footrace (Science Daily article here:  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101129101910.htm; RSNA paper here:  http://rsna2010.rsna.org/program/event_display.cfm?em_id=9014632 ).

The research team followed ultrarunners in the TransEurope-FootRace in 2009, which started in southern Italy and traveled north approximately 4,488 kilometers (about 2,789 miles) ending in Norway at the North Cape, over 64 days, running 60-90 km per stage.  Forty-four runners participated in the study (66% of the total number of entrants).  Daily urine and blood samples were taken, and ECG's and other tests were administered over the course of the race.  Using a mobile MRI unit, the researchers took full-body MRI's of twenty-two of the runners every three or four days.

Results:  During the race the runners lost an average of 5.4% of body volume, most of which happened in the first 2000 km.  40% of body fat was lost during that first 2000 km, with 50% lost by the end of the race.  Muscle volume loss averaged 7%.

A significant finding for the regular runner is that the greatest amount of both visceral fat loss (the kind of fat found deep in the body around organs as opposed to subcutaneous fat underneath the skin) and overall fat loss happened much sooner in the running process than was thought before.  And one of the more interesting conclusions they came to was that running through some types of leg injury is safe.  They say that, "if a runner has intermuscular inflammation in the upper or lower legs, it is usually possible to continue running without risk of further tissue damage.  Other overuse injuries, such as joint inflammation, carry more risk of progression, but not always with persistent damage."

This provides support for running on tired, sore legs.  According to Matt Fitzgerald (can't remember offhand which book of his I read this in, but I'll look for it), a short easy run within twelve hours of a hard workout helps in muscle recovery.  Most elite runners will do a morning hard speed session and an easy afternoon run.  When Jane and I were in marathon training mode, we would do our hard speed workout at 5:30 on Tuesday mornings with a total of around twelve miles, work all day, then meet up again for a short easy run that evening after work.  I try to have my runners do a very easy-paced recovery run the day after a hard or long run, if they feel like it, if not the evening of the workout.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My Mac

I cannot believe what I did..     I knocked a glass of water over onto my Mac laptop.  Zst, and it went blank.  I cried out in anguish.  I could not, could not, believe I did that! 

That was two weeks ago. 

After the initial shock of what I had just done, I called the Apple store.  They said, "Let it sit for five days then bring it in."  I guess they had heard this before; I guess I wasn't the only one stupid enough to put a glass of water next to my Mac.

The next day, I got on a plane to Wisconsin for the weekend, then on Monday on another plane to L.A. to visit my daughter, her hubby, and my three-month-old grandson. 

So my Mac sat for almost two weeks. 

A few hours after returning to SoFL I was at the Apple store with my Mac.  We turned it on and...

it worked!!

Could not believe it!

Jeff, the kid helping me, took it in the back and opened it up--no corrosion.  He ran some tests on it--seemed okay!

Boy, did I luck out!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I Knew It! Running in SoFL Has Its Benefits

Reading health fitness articles yesterday, I came across an article in the online Science Daily  (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101025161144.htm) describing a study showing that exercising in the heat could improve athletic performance, not just in hot weather, but also in cooler conditions.

I found the abstract at the online Journal of Applied Physiology.  Researchers at the Dept of Human Physiology, University of Oregon; and the Thermal and Mountain Medicine Division, US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine studied the effects of heat acclimation on cyclists' performances in both hot and cool environments.  Twelve trained cyclists performed VO2max, lactate threshold, and time-trials in cool (55 degrees F) and hot (100 degrees F!) (both 30% humidity), before and after a 10-day heat acclimation program (exercising at approx. 50% of VO2max in 100 degrees F).  Eight control cyclists performed the same tests before and after 10 days of the same exercise in cool conditions (55 degrees F).

Result for the heat-acclimated cyclists:

VO2max increased by 5% in cool environment, and by 8% in hot environment.
Time-trial performance increased by 6% in cool environment, and by 8% in hot environment.
Power output at lactate threshold increased by 5% in cool environment, and by 5% in hot environment.

The control cyclists had no changes in VO2max, time-trial performance, lactate threshold, or any other physiological measure.

The Science Daily article reports how heat acclimation "improves the body's ability ot control body temperature, improves sweating and increases blood flow through the skin, and expands blood volume allowing the heart to pump more blood to muscles, organs and the skin as needed."  It brings up how presently many competitive athletes use high altitude training to improve performance, and that according to one of the researchers, Santiago Lorenzo, "heat acclimation is more practical, easier to apply and may yield more robust physiological adaptations."

Cool!  Does that mean we will be seeing more elite endurance athletes training here in South Florida?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Time Out for a Laugh

Geico has the funniest ads...



Then there was this one...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Dipsea 2010 - Ladies Rule!

I love this...    an 8-year-old little girl and a 68-year-old woman competing, and coming in one-two, in the 2010 Dipsea Trail Race.

Run on a very challenging trail in northern California every June since 1905, the 7.4 mile race from Mill Valley to Stinson Beach is the oldest trail race in the U.S.  The race follows a unique age and gender handicapping system--male and female runners of different ages begin at different times--so that the field is equalized.

Runner's World Video of the 2010 Dipsea Trail Race - Winner Reilly Johnson, 2nd - Melody-Anne Schultz

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Milwaukee's Lakefront Marathon - A Good One!

In Milwaukee for the weekend, I watched this year's Lakefront Marathon this morning. Weather was a little chilly for me--high forties, but the wind was at their backs, as it usually is for this race, and it was nice and sunny.

I ran it in 2003, the year my hip started giving me trouble and just before I found out I was anemic. That year was really cold, 31 degrees at the start, and didn't warm up much--I froze!  The start is in Grafton, just north of downtown Milwaukee, at Grafton High School, which is directly across the street from my husband's company building.  The course runs at a slight downhill through mostly residential streets, along the Lake Michigan shoreline.

It was once a good marathon option if you didn't get into Chicago (which is usually run a week later), but it has become so popular on its own merits that they now have a limit on entries and it fills up quite early.  I would recommend it to anyone who wants a good qualifying time for Boston.

Milwaukee's LakeFront Marathon 2010

Saturday, September 18, 2010

New Position - Marathon Training Program Coach

My local running club, Boca Raton Road Runners, is starting its inaugural marathon (and half marathon) training program this fall, which I will be coaching.  There are plenty of programs around, but they mostly start in July targeting popular fall marathons such as New York, Chicago, Marine Corps (and here in Florida, Palm Beach and Jacksonville in early December and Disney in early January).  So, we have chosen to offer a program beginning a bit later, which allows for less training in South Florida's unbearable summer heat and humidity.

Our program is targeting marathons and halfs beginning next year, such as Miami on 1/30/11, a bunch in February--Tallahassee, Melbourne, another one in Jacksonville, Gainesville, and Ft Lauderdale--and extending the program through spring to encompass Boston in April, depending on interest.

For more info, go to the club website:  www.bocaratonroadrunners.org

That's me--second from the right...


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Getting Better

I am now in Wisconsin after almost three weeks in southern California--sunny L.A. where it never rains--with my daughter, her husband, and my newborn grandson.  Our days revolved around the baby's feeding and sleeping schedules.

My daughter wanted to try a healing Ayurveda diet that a friend of hers had done postpartum to help with recovery and breastfeeding.  Emphasis was on easily digestible foods, cooked well, soft, bland, vegetarian, lots of ghee (clarified butter), and the use of spices such as turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon, to mention just a few.  Some of the foods we cooked:  zucchini, yellow squash, green beans, garlic, white rice, quinoa, oatmeal, amaranth, adzuki beans, lentils, apples, dates, raisins.  Food preparation was fairly time-consuming, everything was organic and fresh.  My younger daughter was able to come spend a few days with us the first week, as she was in San Diego for a conference, and the three of us were totally into this diet (my son-in-law continued with his regular fare).  I have to say that I did feel good on the diet, and my younger daughter and I both felt like we were losing weight.  But after the second week, we kinda got tired of it, and couldn't just eat only that.  But, it did help me think about how important what you put into your body is, and I am eating healthfully for the most part.

I got a short run in most days, and though it was pretty hot (around 90 most days), my runs were wonderful, compared to sultry SoFL.  I hope to get out to do some trail running the next time I'm in L.A.

I did my stretching, yoga, and piriformis exercises for the first couple days I was out there, but then slacked off, as I was so engrossed in food buying and preparation, taking care of my daughter and the baby, and getting a short run if I was able to.  And the funny thing is...     I think my whole hip/leg stuff is better.  Weird.

Friday, August 6, 2010

What's on Your Playlist?

Do you listen to music when you run?  I never do in speed workouts, races, or if I'm running with others.  But with my everyday solo running, I go through phases.  Sometimes I enjoy it, and other times it's the last thing I want.

Currently, I want it.  The heat and humidity are insufferable right now in South Florida, so singing along to your favorite songs helps take your mind off it.

I have several playlists on my ipod and listen according to my mood.  Lately my list includes some Blur (Tender, Good Song, Sweet Song), Jimmy Buffet (Jolly Mon, Barometer Soup), Travis (Closer, Sing, Good Feeling, Follow the Light), songs from the movie Crazy Heart (I Don't Know, The Weary Kind, Fallin' & Flyin', If I Needed You, Feflecting Light, Are You Sure Hank Done It That Way)Willie Nelson (My Own Peculiar Way, Rainbow Connection, On the Road Again, Pancho and Lefty), Modest Mouse (Broke, Float On), David Gray (Silver Lining, Sail Away),  and just some random others:  Brian Wilson's Sloop John B., ABBA's I Have a Dream, Collective Soul's Run, Colin Hay's Waiting For My Real Life to Begin, Marc Cohn's True Companion, and Perfect Day by Lou Reed.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Inspiration

For a little inspiration please visit RunBare (http://www.runbare.com), a website about barefoot running.  Michael Sandler's story is pretty amazing.  Go on now, go read it...

Monday, July 19, 2010

Summer Running in the Midwest

The last couple weeks have been fantastic!  Since June 30, John and I have been living on the boat on Lake Michigan.  John took some time off work last week and we motored down to Chicago, staying at the Chicago Yacht Cub right downtown Chicago.  This was our third, and longest, stay in Chicago on the boat, and just more fun than ever!

One of the best things about staying at the CYC is that it is right on the Lakefront Trail, a biking/walking/running asphalt path that runs the length of Chicago along the lakefront, and goes for miles!  Our days started with a run on the trail, followed by shopping on Michigan Ave or afternoons at the various museums, eating at one or another fabulous dining spot, and Second City one night with daughter Liz and boyfriend Johnny.  Weather was typical Midwest summer, lots of sun and hot, which doesn't bother me at all!

And here in Milwaukee, we are next to the Oak Leaf Trail.  It has been undergoing some construction that shortens it somewhat but I can still get a good run in since I am not running anything really long.

I have been running a bit more miles lately, still slow.  I did a 10-miler on the Lakefront Trail when we were in Chicago, and this past Saturday morning, I did 12.  I don't have any problems doing it, as long as I don't try to pick up the pace too much.  I can still feel weakness in my hip, I can feel that the upper hamstring tendon is still not right, and my lower leg still feels funny.  So, I will not attempt any kind of faster running..  but longer is okay!

Oh, and one more thing..   I wear my huaraches everywhere!

John in Millennium Park in Chicago...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Croom Trail in the Withlacoochee Forest for my Birthday!

Saturday was my birthday.  John got me a cute little Sanyo video camera; I have been wanting something that's small and lightweight and easy to operate, to be able to spontaneously shoot some video of my grandson.

Also, for my birthday, John said we could do anything I wanted...  and mentioned going up to the Croom Trail.

Well, Croom is one of my most favorite places.  It is one of several tracts in the Withlacoochee Forest up in the middle of Florida, west of Orlando, northeast of Tampa (closer to Tampa).  I ran my first 50-miler there and many 50k's (see archives:  http://www.run2joy.com/search/label/Croom%20Trail).  But since my running has been so messed up, we haven't made the trip up there for years.

Drove up Friday afternoon and arrived at the beginning of the Withlacoochee Trail (a rails-to-trails asphalt path which people use mostly for biking) around 8 pm or so that evening, sat at a picnic table there and drank a bottle of David Bruce pinot noir while taking in our surroundings...   the moon rising, tall slash pines and big oak trees, an owl hooting in the distance, the stillness of the forest.  And lightning bugs!  South Florida does not have lightning bugs, so that was a treat!

We got a late start Saturday morning, which meant being on the trail at the hottest part of the day. (Mid-90's, full sun, 95% humidity!)  Oh, but it was glorious!  The smell of the pines, all the different bird songs and noises,  the greens of the leaves and grasses, and the blue, blue sky!

We chose the north side of the road, entering at the Tucker Hill Trailhead, to run first.  I started out before John, as he wanted to walk a while first, and ran a little more than three miles in, then turned around and ran back till I met up with John, and we walked the rest of the way back together.

I wore my huaraches both days on the trail and they were just great!  Didn't know how they would handle the soft sandy parts of the trail, but there was no problem there.  The only thing I had to be really careful of was watching for roots, and those are mostly at the entry points onto the trail.  Stubbing a toe hurts even with shoes on.

After a leisurely lunch (which we had packed beforehand and brought with us), we biked on the Withlacoochee Trail; only about an hour and a half...  John forgot his bike pants, and my back tire had a slow leak which we were too lazy to fix and so just occasionally stopped and pumped it back up.

Saturday, June 26, 2010, on the Croom Trail...  wearing my huaraches!
   

Sunday, we were on the trail before 9 am, the south side this time.  I ran about five miles in, took some video, walked awhile, ran another 2 1/2 miles, then walked the rest of the way in.  All in my huaraches.  I was in heaven!

If I ever get back to being able to do trail ultra racing, I just might wear my huaraches... :-)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Barefoot Running Controversy Continued

I just found more talk on Steven Sashen's site about the barefoot running controversy, that I didn't see before.  Steven's comments are really good.  Here is the link:  http://www.invisibleshoe.com/348/barefoot-running-is-bad-for-you/comment-page-1/#comment-128

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Barefoot Running Controversy

A few weeks ago I read an article by Matt Fitzgerald (http://running.competitor.com/2010/05/features/the-barefoot-running-injury-epidemic_10118) about the rise in the number of injured runners from running barefoot.  Matt quotes several podiatrists or physical therapists who say they are seeing an increased number of runners with foot injuries caused by barefoot (or nearly barefoot) running.  He also recounts his own experience with running in Vibram Five Fingers, becoming injured and quickly returning to regular running shoes.  The podiatrists/PT's basically say that most people need a shoe that helps them be able to run, as most of us are not "born to run" as the popular book by Chris McDougall contends, but are biomechanically disadvantaged in some way.  Matt ends the article pretty much agreeing with the opinion that running barefoot is not for everyone, or even most of us.

At the time I was entrenched in shower/event preparations (see last post), but I have been thinking a lot about this, and since then have read other people's opinions on the matter also...

From the barefoot running blog I follow:  http://barefootjason.blogspot.com/2010/05/barefoot-running-controversy-wtf.html

And from Steven Sashen (Invisibleshoe.com):  http://www.invisibleshoe.com/442/hbo-real-sports-on-barefoot-running-right-or-wrong/, who comments on HBO's Real Sports feature on barefoot running.

    ...all the while continuing to run and walk in my huaraches...

A little background...

I don't (for the most part) do any running in my huaraches on pavement, it's mostly on the trails in the park, which are mulched over a sandy dirt with pine needles and other leaves in places.  (There are areas that the only way to get to the next trail is to run on pavement, but not many.)  I run about half of my runs in my huaraches; otherwise I wear Nike Frees or Nike Moires.  I walk a lot in my huaraches; I wear them for almost all my daily activities outside the home (I go barefoot inside).   I have been doing this since the end of April, so it has been approximately eight weeks.

As a kid growing up, I did A LOT of barefoot running/walking.

When I began running at age 37 I ran barefoot on the beach at least once a week...  until I couldn't run because of the hip--the hip disease that went undiagnosed for five years (see archives:  http://www.run2joy.com/2009/08/my-return-to-running.html) really messed up my whole hip/leg so that I have had to recover/rehab since then.

 ...and I feel that my feet are getting stronger and my hip/leg issues are getting better.

I want to interject here with something that happened a couple weeks ago.  John and I were on a long walk, which we do regularly.  I had made a pair of huaraches for him and this was his first time wearing them.  Now, this was very dumb of us; I don't know why we did it, except that John regularly runs barefoot on the beach and does these long walks in flipflops with no problem, so I guess we figured he would be okay.  He wasn't--got several blood blisters on the bottoms of his feet.  So at about two miles out from home, he decided he couldn't go any further, and I said I would run home and get the car and come back for him.  I had my huaraches on and took off running and...  something really neat happened.  It was an asphalt path; I started out pretty slow...  and then my form gradually changed, naturally.  It was different from my running on the soft trails in the park.  I felt I was running closer to the ground, moving over the road.  And I had no issues, no pain.  It was such a nice little run!  It was only a couple miles, and I haven't tried it since then, as I was in Wisconsin just after that, running in shoes; I think I will need to work up to it again.

Now, I want to say that I greatly respect Matt's opinions; he's a scientist and I believe he bases all of his writing on evidence as much as he possibly can.  I have quite a few of his books; presently I am reading his Racing Weight and a book he co-wrote with Brad Hudson, Run Faster From the 5k to the Marathon.  In his Brain Training for Runners, he praises running in minimalist footware; he tells how he trained, "...as much as 60 miles a week in them...  and far from creating any problems of their own, these shoes clearly helped prevent injuries that my previous shoes were contributing to."  He says that (at that time, I guess), he also ran in Vibram Five Fingers, and that he is "...fully convinced that minimalist running shoes are less likely to cause injuries than conventional shoes..."   He qualifies these statements by saying that all of this "...has not been subjected to formal scientific evaluation."

In his recent article, Matt now says that, "despite easing into virtual barefoot running very slowly, I developed calf, ankle extensor and achilles strains immediately and could not quickly overcome them, so I went back to running full-time in running shoes."

The problem I see here is that he says that he "could not quickly overcome them..."

I have to agree that, of course, there are those who should not run barefoot or in minimalist shoes.  Many, many people have biomechanical issues that require special measures that enable them to run.  Many people have worn shoes all their lives, never going barefoot either walking or running, and should not expect to be able to run right away, or even after several weeks or months, in minimalist footware.  It could take many months or even years of building strength and changing tissue structure to be able to run barefoot.

But, even though I respect Matt's change of opinion (I think that it takes more courage to change your position based on evidence than to just stand by your position based on emotions), I think that, for those who can do so, running barefoot (or nearly) is the way to go.  I have seen my form change and my feet strengthened.  I don't know that I would ever go completely barefoot when running (things on the road--the "ew" and "ouch" factors), or race in huaraches, but rather use the minimalist footware as a tool to help my overall running.

And, of course, running in huaraches is a whole lot of fun!  Isn't that what it's all about anyway?

You just need to be patient and expect it to take as long as it takes.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Goals Revisited

I guess it was pretty silly thinking I should run a 5k.  My hip/leg still isn't right.  I am just so darn competitive when it comes to running.  Racing should be the last thing I am thinking about.

I have been lax on my yoga and strengthening exercises.  It always happens...   I get really involved in some project, in this case it was the baby shower for my daughter, and stop the exercise routine (except for running, of course).  Then I have a hard time getting back into it.  The baby shower was no ordinary baby shower.  We had 50 of our family and friends--girls, guys and kids--at our condo, in celebration of anticipating our new baby boy's arrival, the happy parents-to-be and other various children of ours flying in from all over.  It was great fun!

So...   my goal is to make sure I do my yoga and hip/leg exercises three times a week.  That's it.  Long range goal is to be healed by the end of the year.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Love My Huaraches!

I ordered another pair of huaraches (the kit--to make them myself) from Steven's Invisible Shoe--black laces this time.  I wear these things all the time now, not just running.  I REALLY like them!  I still don't do too much running on pavement--still need healing time on my hip/leg.  But I feel it is getting better...  slowly.

I have been getting some beach running in also--my very FAVORITE place to run!  Sunday morning, we took my eighteen-month-old grandson Jack to the beach, and he and Grandma RAN on the beach together!  So fun--he was just giggling and laughing.  I want to get some video of that and post it.  But here is Jack...

...having a "refreshment" after running on the beach!

Monday, May 3, 2010

American Men's 10k Record Smashed by Chris Solinsky - 26:59!!

You gotta watch this--I got goose bumps at the end watching Chris Solinsky just take off and power his way to the finish!  Enjoy!

Watch more Videos on Flotrack

Saturday, April 24, 2010

My Huaraches from Invisible Shoe - Thank You, Steven!

I'm in Wisconsin now, where we are looking at a rainy weekend and temperatures in the 40's...

It's just a long weekend here, then back home to Florida where it's nice and hot and humid!

A blog I follow, Barefoot Chronicles, recently reviewed running huaraches offered by Steven Sashen and Invisible Shoe (see review here:  http://barefootjason.blogspot.com/2010/04/huaraches.html).  I have wanted to try huaraches for a while now, so I went to Steven's Invisible Shoes website and ended up ordering a do-it-yourself kit to make my own huaraches.  You can also send Steven an outline pattern of your foot and he will make them for you, but I opted to try making them myself, and...

I did it!

My huaraches - thanks, Steven!


They are soooo cool!!  It really is like running barefoot, but with a little protective mat under your feet.  Your foot is completely free, unlike the Vibram FiveFingers where you have your toes confined in fabric.  I love the simplicity of the design and the fact that the huarache style has been around since pre-history, yet Steven uses modern materials (the rubber sole and nylon laces) that work so well.

The trails in the park are mulched and I was worried that mulch would constantly get in between my foot and the sole, but that doesn't happen.  The sole kinda conforms to the bottom of your foot; I had no problems with anything getting in between.  I am eager to try them in sand, maybe on the trails at Jonathan Dickinson.  When we hike on those sandy trails, sand gets in our shoes and ends up at the toe--really annoying.  I have worn Teva sandals also, and sand does get in and stays in.  So, I will try the huaraches next time we go up there.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Jonathan Dickinson Park

One of my husband John and my favorite things to do is go up to Jonathan Dickinson Park just north of Jupiter and hike the trails.  We were up there this past Saturday; the sky clouded over for most of the day, without raining, and the temperature was a very nice 78 degrees.

This is just a wonderful natural Florida park.  There is a main loop of 9.8 miles with some tangent trails that lead to campsites.  We haven't yet, but one day we want to camp out there.

John on the trail at Jonathan Dickinson Park...  with our lunch
on his back!



Most of the trail is soft white sand...


Deer Moss



Flowers on a Prickly Pear Cactus


We have biked and kayaked in Jonathan Dickinson as well.  The park is very popular--lots of bicycling, canoeing, and kayaking; but we very seldom see others on the trails further than maybe a half mile in.

One of these days, I am going to run on the trails.  The soft sand makes the going kinda hard, so I want to have my hip/leg in a little better shape than it is now.  Soon...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Goals

I am running again!

I started while still going to physical therapy, with just a few minutes of trotting interspersed with my walks on the trails in the park.  I have been gradually doing more running than walking, and yesterday I ran six (slow) miles on the road without taking a walking break.

PT ended, but I continue with the hip-strengthening exercises.  And the yoga.  Though it is much better, I can still feel the weakness in my left hip when I do the exercises and yoga.  My lower back is still giving me trouble.  I saw my ortho doctor; he and the PT gave me the okay to start running again.  We will continue to monitor everything, and if things start to worsen instead of getting better, we'll do an MRI.  But I really think I'm on the road to some normalization now, finally.  I just have to keep doing what I'm doing.

So....  it is time to make some goals.  I have to have goals; otherwise I start to STOP doing what I am supposed to do--the yoga every day, my hip-strengthening exercises...   I say, "I'll do it tomorrow."  Then tomorrow comes, and I'm busy with things, and again say, "Well, I'll do it tomorrow."  Then I get out of the habit, and...

That never happens with running.  For some reason, I can always get myself out there.  Even if I don't necessarily want to, I do.

Goals...    I'm thinking of targeting a 5k.  Just run it.  But not unless I am better.  So, I'll think about that and make a decision about it later today.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

It's All Good

I have some catching up to do...

A LOT of walking, physical therapy, and yoga throughout February, in Florida. Physical therapy finished up, but I am to do all the exercises on my own, which I WAS doing... until coming to L.A. to visit my pregnant daughter and her husband. She's 18 weeks and I got to go with them to the ultrasound appointment and... it's a boy! We've been baby shopping and having LOTS of fun!

I was in Wisconsin all of last week; not terribly cold, and I did get out a couple days for some walking, but mostly I spent time on the elliptical. The hip/leg are somewhat better. I didn't realize just how bad my hip was. Just running a few miles, the other muscles take over and can handle it, but jack up the mileage (like I was doing), and everything breaks down. The specific exercises I did (and am supposed to continue), plus the yoga, really show me where I am weak, and thus what I need to work on.

So, it's all good. Being balanced is soooo important--that is what I am learning.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Always Wear Your Seat Belt

Wanted to share this beautiful video from Sussex Safer Roads...



Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sciatica Solutions

Well.

A lot has happened since I last posted.

My back started giving me trouble, oh mid-January, making everything worse.  Too much sitting on planes, trains, and automobiles!

The last part of January, I was in Wisconsin mostly.  It was rainy, so--being January--it was not so cold (low 40's), which is still too cold to walk outside.  If I could run, I would have.  My first ultra was a 55k in the southwest of England, up on the moors.  It was 50 degrees and raining at the start and rained most of the time, staying in the 50's the entire race.  Running in the rain is okay.  Walking is not.

Just before going to Wisconsin, I found a book (or it found me, which I think is the case a lot of the time) about sciatica and piriformis syndrome, Sciatica Solutions, by Loren Fishman, MD and Carol Ardman; which led me to another book by the same authors, Cure Back Pain with Yoga.


I am now deep into yoga...  and I believe it is helping.  Several years ago, I started to do yoga and loved it. But I stopped going to the class and eventually quit altogether when my hip issues started to get really bad. I always thought I would get back into it once my hip was better.  Well, Dr Loren says I should start where I am and it will help relieve the pain.  And you know what...   he is right...  it is helping!  What is kinda funny is that when I last posted, I quoted the Buddha (who practiced yoga); and my "Quote for the Week" was "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are"...  kinda what the book says to do with the sciatica pain.  Was I getting some premonitions?  I don't know...

Also, I saw my ortho doctor last week.  He evaluated me again and we talked.  He doesn't think there is anything wrong in the hip joint; it's the hip/hamstring muscles and the herniated lumbar disks.  I told him I was starting a yoga practice, and he said that was good.  And he prescribed more physical therapy.

So, I started back this past Tuesday at the same PT, and again today.  I am doing about 20 minutes of yoga daily and it is really wonderful; I am looking at some yoga studios in the area to go to.  The weather here in Florida has been just beautiful and I have been going for long walks... down A1A and in the park.

And then there's my grandson, Jack...  I have gotten a lot of time with him lately, going for walks and to the park, where we swing and go down the slide and bounce on the teeter-totter.  That's the best!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

"It is to the one who endures..."

I guess I should talk about my hip/leg a little.  I still have lots of pain, and my insurance-paid physical therapy sessions are over.  I continue to do the exercises on my own, and I am not running, haven't run in over two months.  It's very frustrating.  My next step, I guess, is to go back to the ortho doctor; see what he says...

I am really trying to find the lesson in all this.  The Buddha said, "Endurance is one of the most difficult disciplines, but it is to the one who endures that the final victory comes."  So this is a different kind of endurance for me.  Maybe that's the lesson, the challenge...  Enduring not being able to do endurance events.  Weird.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year!

It's 2010... is that twenty ten, or two thousand ten?

However you want to say it, here's to a fantastic new year!

Talk about a white Christmas--we had 21" in Sioux City! It was not so cold--mid-twenties--and I got out for a couple 45-minute walks around the neighborhood as it was lightly snowing.

Snow in Sioux City on Christmas Day


It was quite wonderful, actually... quiet, where all you hear are your footfalls, slightly muffled, and the occasional snowblower or shoveler. And as the ultrarunners say, "There is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing."

We did get out on Saturday for an afternoon/evening of family bowling, pool, and darts. John's 84-year-old mom bested all the other women in bowling (me, John's sister Jana, and her daughter Amy)!

John's nephew Scott (who ran the NYC Marathon this past November--I was so jealous!), gave me as a Christmas gift the book Unthinkable, by Scott Rigsby. It is his story of how he has turned a terrible accident in which he lost both his legs, into his life's purpose of helping other amputees deal with their loss. Scott battled depression and alcohol while trying to finish college and start a career. After much searching, he found what he sees as God's purpose for his life.

Scott was athletic before the accident (though not endurance), and eventually stumbles upon participating in triathlons as something he can do--and greatly enjoy--with his prosthetics. He decides to train for and complete an Ironman as a way of showing others that they, too, can do the "unthinkable."

The story starts with the day of Scott's accident, shortly after he had graduated from high school. He and two buddies were riding in the back of a landscaping pickup truck, on the highway back home after a day's work. A semi-trailer truck tried to pass them and caught the wheel of their trailer. Scott was thrown from the truck, dragged as he tried to hang on and, when everything stopped, ended up with his legs under the trailer. His right leg was amputated immediately, but they saved his badly mangled left leg, and Scott went through more than twenty surgeries over the next twelve years to try to regain normal use of it. It never was right and prevented Scott from being able to participate in the sports he wanted to do. He made the decision to have it amputated because he felt he could function better with two prosthetics than with the bad leg and foot. And he was right! He was fitted with two prosthetic legs and his balance was so good that, when he was wearing pants no one knew he had no legs. Pretty amazing!

Along with the physical injuries, Scott suffered a traumatic brain injury from the accident, which greatly affected his ability to concentrate and control his emotions. This made trying to get through college a tremendous effort, but he did graduate. With his new prosthetics he finds he can actually run for short distances. He learns about the triathlon craze, decides that that is what God wants him to do, and so goes about training for and completing the Hawaii Ironman.

Scott writes in a very honest and sincere manner with bits of self-deprecating humor in just the right places to make the book a joy to read. I very much admire him for all he has and continues to accomplish.

Video of Scott Rigsby, double amputee...
I am here in Wisconsin till the end of the week, and it is cold! It's about 16 degrees right now, but the wind chill (wind from the northwest at 20 mph) makes it feel like -1. Too cold! I have been getting some time in on the elliptical every day since we got back from Sioux City--boring--but I just can't get myself to go walk outside. I will be glad to get back to SoFL! (Sorry, John!)

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