Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sock Review

I know random, who wants to hear a gear review concerning socks?!? Runners of course! You’d actually be surprised how many sock reviews I have been reading lately. I get terrible blisters right below my big toe and I’m ready to be done with them. They are a painful irritation after four miles. I have tried two different types of socks over the last couple months, one good and one not so good.

The first sock I tried was Wrightsock, a double layer, friction free running sock. They came highly recommended and I read review after review about how great they were. They claim to keep your feet blister free or your money back. I want my money back… I can’t speak for the double layering affect, but I can for the big fat seam along the front of the sock. The socks are my size and fit snug, but the seam is insane. I got blisters where the seam wrapped around my big toe and little toe. I don’t know what they were thinking. I highly recommend you give these socks a pass.

The second sock I tried was actually a Christmas gift from my bro and his wife. They are the Injinji toe socks. I have been wearing them almost every run since I started running again on January first. My big toes are blister free! No taping, no popping, totally fine. I’d be in love with them if… it wasn’t for one little thing. Since I started wearing them, when I do long mileage, I get a terrible cramp/soreness on the top of my left foot, I know weird. My little toes also get a little sore. For me, my little toes are very close together, so I think the strain of them being forced apart make them unhappy. So blisters gone, but other little oddities. I’m going to try and find a balance. Maybe try another type of Injinji sock. Overall, I give them a thumbs up and would recommend giving them a shot.

Hope that helps someone out there!

Good luck on your running!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Swimming! Who knew!

So I’ve been talking about getting a membership to the YMCA for way too long, but wasn’t doing it. I’m a little cheap when it comes to having to pay for monthly services… well I’m a little cheap when it comes to money. So one day, my manager who is also a very good friend showed up in my office with a week guest pass to the Y. How can I pass that up?!? If I stall on something long enough my friends and family tend to give me a little push every now and then.

I started the pass on Monday. After working a full day, I went to the Y for four hours! First, I did an hour and a half class of yoga followed by my originally planned run for the day. I have to say, treadmills are kind of… well… boring. I guess I needed someone to talk to or something. I did four miles on the treadmill and was heading down the hall to say goodnight to my friend when I got sucked into going to the Master’s swim class. What a challenge and somewhat embarrassing experience that was.

Swimming has never been my strong suit. The last time I was in the pool was seven years ago and it also happened to be when I learned to swim. I’ve never been comfortable in the water and I have never done laps. The coach started me nice and easy in the “slow lane”. I would swim down the pool, get in the corner where I would huff and puff for a minute or more and then try to make it back down the pool. My form and breathing were terrible, I knew that without really knowing anything about swimming and I was trying my best to stay out of the way for the other people in the lane, who were also amazingly supportive. The coach gave me great advice and suggestions and the lifeguard kept a close eye on me. I was pretty sure I was never going to show my face there again.

When I stepped out of the pool, the first thing I noticed was that my foot didn’t hurt! Not even a twinge and I’d run just before class! I was suddenly thinking the embarrassment might be worth it. The next scheduled class was Wednesday. I was there ten minutes early, this time running five miles before. Foot hurt before class… foot was pain free after class! It’s like I found a miracle cure! This time I was able to make it up and down the pool several times without having to rest. The coach was really starting to push me and started setting little goals for me. Except for the terrible calf cramp that had me crawling out of the side of the pool, I’m really starting to enjoy it. I feel like I’m starting couch to 5k all over again, just with a lot more water.

Sorry running, I think I just found a second love!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Bringing in the New Year Running!

Two 5k’s in two days! Ok, I only ran one of them, but I was at the other one cheering on my cousin. She was running her very first organized race and I really wanted to be there for it. The race my cousin ran was on December 31st in the evening. It was called ‘Til the Sun Goes Down and it took place on the Ventura beach front. The race was fun and had a great atmosphere. People were wearing silly 2012 hats, crazy feathers and there was even a fake afro among the runners. 

Start of 'Til the Sun Goes Down
I was disappointed that they wouldn’t give my cousin an event shirt because she’d signed up that day and the shirts were for the people that had signed up online. The race coordinators ended up taking a whole box of leftover shirts home with them. They also announced at the beginning that the route was not closed or marked other than a traffic cone at each end to let the runners know to turn around. That was a little disappointing, but the run seemed to go off without a hitch. The sun set as the runners made their way up and down the beach. It was a beautiful evening. I was so proud of my cousin!

My cousin at the finish!
The next morning I ran the Santa Barbara New Year’s Resolution 5k. We left the house at 6:30 in the morning in order to get the free parking. I’d woken up with a cold the morning before, so I was congested and had a terrible sore throat the day of the race. On top of that, I’d been battling a migraine for close to a week and it hadn’t let up. I still felt confident I could pull off a good race.

When Daddio and I started to warm up, that confidence started to disappear. My foot instantly made itself known! Three weeks of rest and it starts pinging at me as soon as I started jogging. I really hope the podiatrist can give me some good news about how to train on it. I was feeling rough and my breathing was horrible. I’m hoping it’s just the cold and not the fact that I’ve gotten that out of shape in just three weeks!

I knew at the half mile mark that I was going to have a terrible race, but I was determined to enjoy the experience. Daddio later told me we started too fast, which I tend to do during races. At the halfway point they had water, so I grabbed some, my throat was killing me. I took one big gulp and it went down the wrong pipe. I felt like I had water bouncing up my throat for the rest of the run. We finished in 30:43 making that my 5k PR since I’ve never run a 5k race before. Unfortunately it’s not nearly as fast I was hoping (it’s a slower pace than my half marathon!), but I’ll have a chance to beat it next month at another local race.

Daddio and I about half a mile to the finish.
It was a gorgeous morning and watching the sun rise over the water was breathtaking. I loved bringing in the New Year with my Dad doing something that we both love. To top it off, I got to see a couple of my local running friends doing the event and yelled out for one at the finish line. I hope I didn't embarrass her! Even sucking air and getting a "meh" time couldn’t ruin the fun experience.