Monday, September 15, 2014

Will I Ever Run Again?

If you've been reading here for a while, you probably know that I have had some ups and downs with this whole running thing.  As you can see from my "PR Bin" on the right sidebar, my running seems to have peaked in the past, and although I've had some decent performances as recently as earlier this year, I am starting to wonder what kind of future running and I will have.

Recently, I happened to catch a replay of a Kona Triathlon in which one of my television staples, Gordon Ramsay (spotted by me at LA Marathon 2010!), actually completed the race.  To think that this busy older guy could become an Ironman was rather inspiring, as all of the stories are.  Of course, I know by my crampy-cramp-cramp tendencies indicate that I'm nowhere near the shape I need to be in do complete one of those.

But I don't have any ambitions to become an Ironman, though yes, I want to complete a triathlon someday.  Yet before all of that, I just wonder if I'm going to get back into the running game, and in what capacity.  I ran my last marathon in January, as I had sort of decided back last June that 15 would be a good number for now.  I just ran out of the time and patience to train so much and "fail," and not-training and "failing" was just as bad, only more painful.

I did my last race in Big Sur in April, which I barely ran at all because I was pregnant.  I mentioned in a previous entry that my original intention was to keep running.  I was running during the first few weeks of the pregnancy, only to stop due to feeling uncomfortable and paranoid.  I'm not sure if I'll try again before all is said and done, but let's assume that at almost 30 weeks along, I won't.  I've been pretty good about working out most days still, but with certain pains increasing, those days seem a bit numbered.

On top of the new baby, working, the slump I had even before the pregnancy, and all the fitness I've lost, will I run again?

Trying to be minimal, we only got one stroller, and it's a jogging one.  I don't think I'll be running with it (just using it as a normal stroller) for most of the first year, and even then, it just seems daunting.  "The Ukrainian" will probably get more use out of it when the time comes in that regard than I will.

Late last week, we were at an outlet, and I bought a running shirt to replace one of my favorite ones that has been falling apart over the past five or so years.  I couldn't even try the thing on, but here's hoping it will fit again soon enough.  Also, I registered for a 5k that will be taking place in March, which I plan to walk while carrying the baby.  (Please send me good babywearing vibes!)  Although I won't actually be running in that event, my goal is to be able to run/walk a 5k by then in general, which will be about 3 months postpartum.

Around 28 weeks in this one.  Super 3-D!!
I don't know what the future will hold, but my biggest hope is that I will be forgiving of myself in those first months but also that running will naturally fall back into my life as I get used to things.  At least it won't be 100+ degrees outside, right??

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Review - Airia One Running

Out of the shoes that I have reviewed here, these are by far the most interesting.

Airia Running is a European company, and the Airia One shoe is designed to make the most out of every step.  You might immediately notice the unusual toe curvature of the shoe and freak out, but this very design is supposed to help you run faster (see the FAQ section here for more details about that).

When I first opened the box, there was a warning included.  Yes, it's kind of freaky to find warnings for shoes.  However, it simply says that it will take a good 10k to break-in/get used to the shoe, so in other words, don't give up!  I find that there's a similar break-in period for any other new shoe I try, so nothing unusual there.

The curvature isn't really noticeable when you put them on, unless you're really looking.  You will, however, feel like you're stepping on something under the ball of your foot.  Below is me (huge, at the brink of my third trimester) with the "before" shot of the shoes.  Given their white color, I decided this was better than a dirtier "after" shot.  That is definitely a critique of mine, though I am notoriously bad at keeping my shoes clean despite my intentions.  Given its design, some brighter colors would definitely look good (plus it gives the impression of speed, right?!).

I admit that I was only able to actually run a little bit with these shoes, mostly because I'm out of practice and balance due to my growing stomach.  In those few moments, I did feel really springy and light on my feet, which is kind of rare these days.  The width, which I believe was standard, seemed to work with my naturally wide and continuously swelling feet.  Also, I felt the motion control in this shoe, which is something I have always needed.

The rest of my breaking-in period with these shoes were done in walking form, and I still appreciated the light feeling and breathability of these shoes.  I didn't really experience a lot of calf soreness or other biomechanical adaptation pains with these shoes, though that could be based on your weight, how you normally run, other exercises you do, and a variety of other factors.  I can't wait until I'm back to running more regularly so I can put more miles on these and provide an update.

In conclusion, I would definitely try these out if you've basically "tried everything" and are looking for an efficient shoe.  Airia Running has a 30-day money back guarantee.

FTC Disclaimer: I was provided a sample of Airia Running's shoes but was not otherwise compensated to provide a particular opinion.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

So Many Objects: Running vs. Babies

Running is a relatively simple thing.  All you really need are some clothes, socks, and shoes (and even all of THOSE are debatable), but then you wind up crossing those finish lines with stuff in your ears, something(s) around your arm, a fanny pack full of stuff, and socks way longer than they need to be.

From my many reviews on this site, a simple thing can have a lot associated with it, for sure!

I'm finding that preparing for a baby is kind of the same thing.  We set up a crib last week and have a car seat, and according to my parents, this is all we really need for now.  Being pretty minimal, I tend to agree, except we had been getting questions about a registry, which we finally opened recently.

We tried to take a minimal approach.  Knowing clothes would be outgrown and will somehow show up no matter what, we barely mention those things on there.  Many of the things are kind of "nice" to have but not necessary, much like, yes, it's nice to have compression socks, but not necessary.  Of course, because of two mobile people, we had to get two car seats.  And yes, the baby needs books!  Also, we're going to need first aid stuff and blankets, right?

One of the "we might need this?" items.

We decided to forego getting a changing table and will be using the top of a dresser with a pad.  We did not register for any swings or high chairs, too many toys, or anything that we don't foresee using within the next six months or things that might be handed down to us.  Still, the "want" list is quite long, though luckily most items are fairly inexpensive.

One thing I'm grappling with is the glider, a big-ticket item  I wanted one similar to the one below, but the reviews are mixed/bad, and it would pretty much be the most expensive thing we've needed so far (besides the stroller + car seat combo we got, but it's a combo...).  There are more ideal gliders, but they are way out of the price range.  Plus, since I haven't been able to try any, I don't want to deal with the hassle of hating it and returning it... if that's even allowed.

We have an office recliner that we barely use (similar to what's below), which might seem strange, but it actually reclines, and I wouldn't have to worry about an extra piece of furniture later on.  I am naively hoping that the baby won't need so much rocking (I have a stability ball for that).

If all else fails, I can make "The Ukrainian" run out and get one in a pinch, right?

The bottom line, though, is that my mother was able to raise all of us without so much stuff, so maybe cutting corners now wouldn't be so bad.  I mean, we all turned out fine. ;)  This baby already has so much more than we did, and it won't affect the type of person he or she will grow up to be.  Just like my running hasn't really gotten any better... though definitely more pleasant with stuff!