Running Form – Bend Your Knees!

As you know if you’ve been reading along I don’t run a ton of miles, but I do want to do the miles I run right.  I randomly think about my form and I feel like it’s pretty good but of course most everyone’s form could be better.

I had a non-running form wake up call the other day though when I asked my daughter to take a picture of me doing chaturanga and then took a look. Um, I felt like I was doing it so great!  Not so much from the camera’s point of view, I was much much higher up than I thought and my elbows weren’t as pulled in as I thought.  It’s my body, I really thought I knew what it was doing. Stupid everything.

Anyways, I’m going to start concentrating on one aspect of my running form at a given time for a while and see if it makes a difference in how I run.  Well, in how I perceive I run since that’s probably a totally different thing.

First thing to concentrate on is one of the most important according to Ken Bob Saxton, and who am I to argue with him?  Especially when it’s his book, Barefoot Running Step by Step that really got me started in the first place.

Bend your knees!  It makes a lot of sense after someone says it out loud.  If you run with your legs straight you are not allowing your knees to work as they are intended to and you are jarring your whole body with every step.   Keeping your knees bent while running allows them to absorb some of the shock that running can otherwise put on your body.

How much should your knees bend when you run?  I’d guess it’s different for everyone but here’s a video of an expert – take a look.

Puritan’s Pride Halloween Survival Kit Giveaway

Disclaimer: I was provided with a Halloween Survival Kit from Puritan’s Pride and one to giveaway to a reader.

This kit is really going to be more of a holiday survival kit, but that’s OK.  Once the holidays begin it is so hard to avoid cookies, candies, and just all around temptations!

What’s included in the kit?

Cinnamon 500mg
Stevia with Fiber
Green Coffee Bean Extract 400mg
Probiotic Acidophilus with Pectin
Ginger Honey CrystalsHalloween-Survial-Kit-b

From Puritan Pride:

Cinnamon helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels already within a normal range and contributes to healthy circulation and heart function.*

Stevia is a great tasting herb which contains no sugar, preservatives or artificial flavors.

Green Coffee Bean contains antioxidant properties.*

Acidophilus supports your digestive system and promotes healthy digestion.*

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

From me:

The first thing I tried was the Ginger Honey Crystals.  Positively addicting if you have a taste for ginger, which I do.  I often boil a few slices of ginger and mix in some honey in the evenings for tea and this tastes just like fresh made, but you just pour the crystals in a cup and add hot water.  I’ve been drinking it at work and I’m pretty sure I”ll be getting this in the future. Dropping ginger slices in the hot water from those water machines at work does NOT work, just trust me on that one. I also like that the only 3 ingredients in the package are cane sugar, honey and ginger.

I don’t ever use those chemically sugar substitutes, they kind of freak me out.  I’ve read in several places that stevia is a great, natural sugar substitute and I’ve been wanting to try it in baking but currently I’m using agave. The stevia in this kit is in packets like the kind you use in tea so it’s better for the convenience of keeping a few in you purse for when you are in a restaurant and all they have are those scary pink and blue packages of sweetener. I don’t usually add sugar to my drinks but I’m trying the stevia in my coffee now.  No weird aftertaste, win. Plus it looks like fine ground sugar and I tasted it from the package, tastes like sugar to me!

I didn’t try the other items though I have been told by everyone I know that I should take acidophilus for my ulcerative colitis, so I will have to try it out. Oh, and here’s an interesting article I found on green coffee bean extract.

Interested in purchasing from Puritan Pride? Use the code PPHLWN1 through 11/6 for $5 off $30 (Any Brand) + Free Shipping.

  Click here to fill out the Entry-Form

You can connect with Puritan Pride on Facebook ,Twitter or their Website.

Recommended Read – John Dies at the End

OK, so I said I was a huge fan of books.  What I forgot to mention is I’m a huge fan of science fiction and horror books, and then other stuff.  In my opinion unless the bad guy in a horror story is a human it’s kind of science fiction too.

So my second recommended read is the complete opposite of the first, sorry if you were looking for consistency here of all places. I was handed this book by my sister, whose husband had been reading it.  I asked why there was a bookmark after about the first chapter and she said he didn’t finish it because it was kind of weird. If talked to my brother-in-law for about 90 seconds you would be wondering how that could happen too.

John Dies at the End

Remember Pink Floyd’s the Wall? Bits of it anyways? This book has the same what did he just say – what did I just see? feel to it.  But in this case the fate of the world is in question.

The book begins with such a good riddle that I picked up my phone and started to call my boyfriend to tell him about it then realized it was about midnight so the call might not be appreciated.

The story is filled with just some of the knowledge that you gain after partaking in a fun new drug called soy sauce.  It’s all you need to see the other side.  What’s on the other side you ask?  Just pretty girls bursting into snakes, screechy (not normal screechy) insects, and of course the infamous meat monster.

But that’s not all! You also get the chance to run from the cops (who may be the good guys, hard to tell sometimes) walk into certain death more than once, and if you’re lucky live to fight another day.

John Dies at the End

John Dies at the End (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One thing about this that will make you either love or hate the story – it’s high energy don’t stop for a minute something is always going on; it’s you really have to pay attention or you’ll miss something, and it’s you really can’t take this seriously at all, all at the same time. If you like that AND you like insanity (kind of the same thing, I know) then go read this book now. If you don’t then, um, you could go either way.

Basically there were a LOT of parts in the story that literally made me laugh out loud, and plenty that were truly creepy. The two coexist pretty comfortably in this book.

If you decide to read this and then decide

you haven’t had enough, good news!  The movie is on Netflix and the website which spawned this tale is right here. You’re welcome.

Barefeet Really DO Talk to You

I ran 2.5 miles my last two runs, and I have to admit I’m pretty happy with myself.  Tomorrow night should be 2.75 and I’ll be at 3 by the end of the month! Of course it’s the passing 3 miles that always seems to get me, but I’ll deal with that next month. This whole consistency and planned improvement thing does NOT come natural to me but at the moment I’m loving it.  I’ve even been wanting to run on my off nights, which I know would not be a good idea, I need the rest.

The funny thing is it’s not my legs that get tired and I’m not getting out of breath, it’s the muscles in my feet that are getting sore.  It’s mostly the muscles on the TOP of my feet, which I find kind of strange, maybe because I’m trying to keep my toes curled up a bit to avoid letting the road (or treadmill) blister them. That’s never happened to me but I’ve heard it can and it doesn’t sounds fun so…

I know running barefoot uses different muscles, and also that one major benefit of running barefoot is that your body tells you sooner when it’s had enough instead of allowing you to run until to injure yourself. It’s interesting to me though to see it in action.  Everyone knows you aren’t supposed to increase your running distance too fast, but if I was wearing shoes would I physically feel it?  In this case I don’t think so, because nothing else in my body is telling me to take the rest days. Kind of cool, in my humble opinion.  I’d way rather have sore feet for a couple hours when I wake up than sore hips all the time!

A Goal Isn’t Enough! I need a Plan.

I went ahead and set some goals for myself this month, but I kind of did it wrong.  Luckily, it’s not too late to fix that!

I don’t know about you (obviously) but I know I’m a sucker for marking things off a list.  I’ll even make a list that includes stuff I already did, just so I can cross them off.  Don’t judge. But with a monthly goal it takes sooo long to get there.  How do I know if I’m doing what I need to get there? Where IS the goal?

I really only set one serious goal (though I DO want to do all of them), to be running 3 miles every time I go running.  It’s not that much but since I started off the month lucky to get to 2 miles most times it’s a good one for me.

So I set the goal on the 3rd and then only ran once the next week.   Par for the course in the life of me.  But wait! I am perfectly capable of accomplishing SOMETHING. right? So I thought about it. If I run 3 miles the last day of the month that hardly counts.

So then what does count?  I want to run 3 miles everyday the last week of the month. OK, now I know my definition of meeting my running goal. Step 1!  Well, lets call it step two since step one was deciding on the goal.  Look, I crossed something else off the list!

In that case, on to step three. How am I going to get there? I can’t just sit back drinking wine every night then jump up the last week of the month and go. Since I’d already lost some time to my typical procrastination I was kind of behind, but in this case it worked.  I ran 2.25 miles each run for the last week. 2.5 miles this Thursday and Saturday, 2.75 miles all next week, and that leads me to 3 miles the last week. Easy peasy, right? Right.

My last goal was to set a new running goal at the end of the month.  This time when I set my goals I’m going to use the 4 step plan.

1) Set a goal

2) Define what attaining the goal will look like

3) Make a plan on how to get there so I can tell at any point of time if I am on the right path

4) Get that goal and move on to the next one.

When you set goals do you make a plan to get there or do you just go out there and do it?


Why Barefoot?

I’ve been asked quite a few time why I decided to run barefoot.  After all, I don’t know anyone else who does and I live in Florida, land of creepy things to step on.

Well, last November I somehow hurt my hip and couldn’t run anymore. Heck, I could barely walk.  I don’t even know how I hurt it. Maybe it was running, maybe it was driving over 90 minutes each way to work or the combination of the two.  Maybe I was abducted by aliens, but whatever it was it was bad enough that I went to the doctors about it and that’s something I avoid probably a bit more than the average grown up.

While I was unable to run for a few endless weeks I started reading a lot more about running. I scoured the internet and even picked up a few books.  What causes hip injuries? How do I get rid of it? How do I not do whatever I did again?

I kept coming back to barefoot running. I picked up Ken Bob Saxton’s book, Barefoot Running Step by Step.  Really it didn’t sound all that different from how I already ran.  I knew not to heal strike and the rest just didn’t sound  like it would make that big of a difference. But the big thing that I read everywhere is that if you are running with bad form AND running barefoot you will feel it right away and adjust – not feel it after something was really hurt.

I had been unable to run more than about three steps without doing some serious injury, even after going off running and on some meds the doctor had given me for a while. I decided to give it an honest go, the right way. I started running just a quarter mile the first week.  It hurt.  Not my feet, my hips.  But not as much as before. and here is the kicker – after about my third quarter mile run it started hurting LESS. My hip actually started heeling after I started running again. Best of all? Although I have had a problem with my hips being sore for years, well before I even started running, they rarely bother me now. I think this also has to do with switching to a job that is half the drive.

Do I think running barefoot is for everyone? Maybe. I don’t think it is good for everyone to do exclusively. It does require the ability to set very small goals because jumping into it full steam is a recipe for disaster for most people.  It can heal one injury and cause another if you aren’t careful. The amount of people who toss off their shoes, go for a 5 mile run, and end up really injuring their achilles tendon is fairly high.

Since trying it out the first time (which was nothing like perfect) I’ve run very few times with shoes. It just works for me.

Have you ever tried barefoot running? Would you consider it as a supplemental ‘training’ portion of your regular runs?

It’s Monday. Enough said.

Today was one of THOSE Mondays.  I drove to the park on my lunch break, walked a very wee bit, and the sky opened up and started dropping huge rain drops on me.  Whatever, no big deal.  So I went back to work and someone had cleaned out the fridge on a Monday at 12:10 and threw away everything.  Like my lunch.

Really? Who does that? And it wasn’t even done out of spite it was just a didn’t-think-that-through-it must-be-a-Monday thing so I couldn’t even get mad.

No need for re-living the entire day but sufficient to say I came home in need of some pizza, a drink, and a laugh. which I got from Twitter, and figured I’d share with you in case you not only need a laugh, but also share my sense of humor.  If not, sorry.  😦

This sounds like being a vegetarian is as groovy as playing Minecraft! (although if Minecraft has levels I’m doing it wrong)

No reason

How is this not funny? and sad, but also funny..

And I have to add this one because it’s why I change my passwords weekly.

You’re welcome. And now, since I didn’t sleep last night because someone with the wrong number kept thinking maybe THIS TIME it will be the right number until I unplugged my phone, I am going to read and to sleep.

Here’s to tomorrow being a wide awake, eating whatever lunch I bring, not getting rained on to much, happy and joyfull kind of day.


Fear and Yoga in Port Richey

I went to my very first yoga class today. I do yoga all the time at home, but going to a class and doing yoga around people that actually know what they are doing intimidates me beyond words.

It’s a different spin on one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. One person’s good time is another person’s fear. It should be such a little thing really.  But I also feel extremely uncomfortable in a gym or any other organized place where people are doing something I enjoy doing. I don’t really know why, I think I’m afraid I’ll stand out as the one person in the room who has no clue. I’m fully aware that a bunch of strangers do not care how I do what I do, and on most levels I really don’t care what a strangers opinion of me is anyways. And yet… still I am intimidated.

The studio was amazing, it could not have been better. The class was small enough that there was a single row of mats, no need to worry about being in front of people or too far back. Everyone was incredibly nice and I was able to get tips on my form in triangle pose, one that I always do a bit sloppy. So it was a good experience and I’d like to go back.  But still, it would be a different class with a different instructor and I’d be really nervous about it all over again. I’m thinking I should buy a block of classes because I’m not a person to spend money on something and then not use it. I may not know why I am intimidated by such silly things, but at least I know how to trick myself into doing them anyways sometimes.

Oh, and by the way I can’t say yet how far tonight’s run will be but I did check the mail today. And do you know what? There was something from a friend – a Halloween party invite.  These goal things are kind of fun!

What about you? Is there anything that is everyday for most people but intimidating to you?  What are you going to do about it?

Lunch at the Park

I’m not feeling much like writing today, I think some nice relaxing yoga is calling my name, or maybe even just a couch and a book. Sometimes it’s best just to chill.

You hear people say relatively often that we all need to stop and smell the roses. Hmm. I had some awesome rose vines and a miniature rose garden underneath them in Arizona, but here in Florida I’m sticking to a palm tree and a great big basil bush.  Oh well. Sorry, that was that squirrel thing again.

My point was, how often do you take time out of your day just to exist?  Yes, I said your day, not your week and not your month. I’m fortunate to work about 10 minute from 2 great parks, one with alligators (on rare occasions, but I still claim them) and the other with a pier. Almost everyday on my lunch break I drive to one or the other and walk around for about half an hour then drive back to work. Why? Well one, I work at a computer all day thinking too hard for my own good and two, just take a look.  Pictures really are worth a thousand words, even my always slightly crooked pics.

Still Waters

BirdsAndaTree Towers shadows

You don’t need roses and you don’t need a lot of time to take the occasional moment to  just stop.

New Month, New Year

If you read a lot of blogs (guilty) then you’ll quickly notice that a lot of people set these things called goals, and they do it often.  Like, every month.  When I try that I have a high tendency to set completely impossible goals, or to set a ton of goals that sounds reasonable, until you ad them all up. So I just don’t set them very often.

This month however I think I’m going to jump on the bandwagon, since it is an admirable one. Plus, my birthday was the first so I’m not only starting a new month, I’m starting a new year.

But this time I’m setting nice and easy goals, nothing all crazy like a marathon or 10K (heaven forbid).  So I’m going to try and meet these four goals, and when the month is done I just might set 4 more.

1) By the end of the month I want to be running 3  miles every time I go out.

I usually run about 2, so this really shouldn’t be a stretch but for me a 5K is my breaking point.  Not because I can’t run further, but because every time I get back to running a 5K I lose all sense of motivation and kind of stop running.  Both stupid and weird? Yes.  But nevertheless true every time. This is my main goal so to get myself started I ran a mile three times on the treadmill last night, taking a few minutes between each one to walk around. Easy that way, but still mentally a start!

2) Check my mail at least 3 times a week, then look and see what’s in it.  Don’t ask, I don’t know why I hate to check the mail. I think it feels too grown up or something. Plus, it’s not like I get any letters from people I know.

3) I’m getting myself out on the paddle board at least once this month, it’s ridiculous how long it’s been since last time I went. Plus, I have to have a 100% fun goal.


4) At the end of this month I’m setting a new running goal for next month.  Even if it’s just to keep on keeping on.

So there you go, wish me luck because because while some people have an issue listening to authority figures I have an issue listening to myself.

Do you set short term goals for yourself? Do you tend to keep them?

Best question of all, do you reward yourself if you make your goals?  Maybe I’ll sign up for another mud run if I make all 4 goals, now that’s motivation!