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Slower runs and 2 book recommendations

I only ran twice this week, but did several hikes and walks, and went to one barre class.

Earlier this week I ran 5k. This was a very strong run (9:30, 9:27, 8:32). It takes me awhile to warm up, but I start to feel pretty good around 3-4 miles. I love running in Seattle! It’s very humid here, which is a shock coming from dry California, but it is much cooler. It’s been nice not having to get up super early to run.

running trail

Running 9 minute miles is pretty comfortable these days. It’s not too hard on my legs, and my lungs can certainly handle it. Even though I have asthma, I have really good cardio endurance. My lungs can go much farther than my legs. I would like to run my half marathon at a 9 min pace, but my friend has told my only goal should be to finish. I still would like to work towards a time though.

Ever since I started focusing on running strong, running in low drop shoes, and working on my form, I was surprised to see how much slower I became. I was much faster slamming into my joints, forcing them to absorb the impact of running, and running with a heel strike in high drop shoes. Now, for the most part I am running slower, and the strange thing is sometimes I feel really fast. Oh well, I can work on speed later.

Today I ran 6.15 miles around a 10 min pace. I read this post on Janae’s blog about running slow.

Tina wrote, “My marathon race pace is around 6:00 per mile, my recovery runs are about 9:00 per mile.”

I had no idea running slower meant that much slower. My goal each week for my long run is just to build endurance, and I only record my times so that I know how far I am going. I tried to run this run slower and just focus on the distance. It was pretty hard though. I was actually aiming to run this one more at a 12 min pace since my normal is closer to 9 mins, but that doesn’t feel natural. I run at a pretty steady pace, and I’m used to going at around the same speed. I might put myself on a treadmill for the long run each week. It will make controlling the pace a bit easier. Tomorrow I might do a quick run just to stretch my legs, or else I will wait until Monday.

I have read 2 books that I highly recommend you read!

Big Little Lies. Liane Moriarty. I got attached to this one, and plowed through it in 3 days. I’m a very fast reader. I do believe that anyone could like this book. The characters are so likable, and the small world twist is just unreal.

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll. I had just finished reading Big Little Lies when I started this one, and I didn’t like it very much at first. I don’t feel that the description on the back gives it justice, either. I can’t give the details away, but this is one you’ve gotta read. I recommend it to all my friends, especially those who had a hard time in school.

Both of these books would make excellent gifts.

Yesterday I started watching Blue on Lifetime. Julia Stiles plays “Blue,” a single mother who is working as a prostitute to earn extra money. If you like lifetime, you will love it.

Questions for you:

  • What’s new in your life?
  • Have you read any good books lately? I need another.
  • How much slower do you run your slow runs?


How many rest days do you take each week?

I ran some speedy miles today. Didn’t see that one coming!


I ran 4 miles total, and had to take some breaks due to downhills or uneven roads. My knee is doing a lot better, but I don’t want to push it, which is why I skipped my long run this week.

My plan is to go back to my long run one week from today. I really need to be careful, and cannot push myself too hard. I am doing a half marathon in November and want to be strong and feel good. It’s best that I scale my miles back when I feel an issue with my knee and focus on strength and recovery.

About 3 miles in I remembered something from pure barre. I need to remember to tuck my tail bone a bit. I didn’t realize how much I arched my back, which led to a disengaged my core. Being strung out doesn’t make for good running.

After looking at my improved times, I can tell rest is working well for me. Yesterday I rested completely, besides stretching my hips.When I got home I did some kettle bell squats.

Take-aways from this week:

I need more rest days. A LOT. It felt so good to not run after a weight day. Yesterday I was very sedentary and my legs felt great today.

How many rest days do you take per week?

Pure Barre Review

It’s sort of a fantasy of mine to be a ballerina. This was me on Halloween.


Lizzie was a character from Game of Thrones. I don’t watch the show so I don’t know who. 🙂

I could have been a ballerina. I have narrow hips, high arches, and broad shoulders, but I took up riding instead. It’s not that different. Riding is graceful too.


I had contemplated taking a Pure Barre class for a few months. Ballerinas are incredibly strong. Each time I thought about it I figured I already do strength workouts, why try something like this?

Two days ago I was too sore in the knee to run and thought I should mix it up. I found some barre style workouts on youtube and tried them out. It was very different than what I’m used to. I signed up for a class yesterday and went last night.

I was a little nervous and didn’t know what the class would be like. Would I be able to keep up?  Well, all my questions went away once I arrived. The teacher was super helpful. She adjusted me a lot.

The class was a segmented hour, and begins with strengthening muscles and then stretching them. We started off strengthening arms and shoulders, then moved to the barre for legs/glutes, and back to the floor for the core work. It went pretty fast.

I am always looking for ways to strengthen my hips and glutes because muscle weakness contributes to my knee issue. While doing isometric exercises my stabilizing leg was shaking, like when you do ab workouts and you get the side obliques “earthquake muscles” going.

These exercises were so difficult. Most of the time I had to stop and take a break. They were just so hard, with many reps. Each time I heard “30 more seconds” I was already barely unable to hold the pose. I had to take breaks but I tried to hold it for as long as I could. The barre is there to support you, which is something I need to learn. Hanging on feeling just didn’t feel natural to me, but it does make it easier to let the barre take some of your weight.

Will I go back?

Absolutely. I have read online that a lot of runners use barre for strength training, and I can see why now. Focusing on such small movements forced me to use the correct muscles. This is an issue for me. For example, I’m quad-dominant. When running my legs prefer to carry me a long, versus my butt and hip muscles. It’s better if you can get your glutes to absorb most of the shock instead. After a few miles of running quad-dominant, my legs will tire and my knee will hurt. And, I love any workout you do barefoot! For this class you just wear grippy socks.

How did I feel afterwards?

Blissful. Fatigued, but not spent. Tired, yet in such a good, clear mood. Sometimes after a run I’m practically in an alternate dimension. This workout was hard but it gave me a different feeling of exhaustion than what I feel after cardio.

My legs felt so limber afterwards. Any stiffness in my knee and hips disappeared. I felt so agile, which is not common for me.  For the help with flexibility alone, it was worth it to attend this class, and it was so much fun trying something new. I was in such an elevated mood. I cannot wait to go back!

Next day thoughts

Well, I’m not as sore as I imagined. I’m not as sore as I have been from lifting weights with my PT. I slept like a baby and feel good today. I will probably go for a long walk or hike today to stretch out my muscles.

Questions for you:

  • Have you ever done ballet?
  • Have you tried barre? Do you like it?

4th of July morning run

Happy 4th of July! This is my favorite holiday. If only I had this pair of shoes in red, white and blue!

I went running early this morning. I ran a half mile to warm up, then started recording my time.

My first mile was 9:01, second 8:23, and third 8:27. After recording I ran the rest of the way home but didn’t want to think about time, I just went off feel. My feet were a little tired yesterday so today I ran in my Nike Pegasus with superfeet insoles. They have plenty of support, but I have to make an effort to not land on my heel. I don’t plan to run in these shoes daily, just occasionally. I want to be able to run as fast as I did today in my flatter shoes. I could definitely feel that my calves weren’t working as hard today in the Pegasus. I will do my next run in my Pure Flows.

It was already getting hot but about half of this run was in the shade.

Yesterday one of my readers, Susan, suggested I eat a bagel in the morning before running. I didn’t have bagels in the house, but I had sourdough bread. I made toast with butter and rushed out the door. My stomach was happy and I didn’t get dizzy when I finished running like I had been before. Thanks for the tip, Susan! After running I had eggs, linguisa, and potatoes. That’s a good recovery meal.

We had burgers for an All-American lunch and fish tacos for dinner. I’m slowly getting back into the habit of cooking more!

fish tacos

If you haven’t tried Sierra Nevada’s otra vez yet I highly recommend it.. . It tastes like not very sweet lemonade. It’s so refreshing! I tried to buy more at Safeway but they were out. I will have to stock up any chance I get.

How was your 4th?

Training plan for the week

My friend was visiting the last two days and we were pretty lazy this weekend, but we had so much fun hanging out. I’m always active, and taking a day off was nice.

Before I started running today I did some dynamic exercises, single-legged squats with a 10 lb weight, single legged squats with a resistance band, and lunges. Then I walked to the track and ran a bit just to keep good form in my mind. I am really loving the track. The bounce is perfect!!

It’s nice to see I can run faster on shorter distances. Over time I will get my speed back.


After two laps warming up I kicked off my shoes!! FUN FUN!

Running barefoot felt great. It was still hard, but easier than the last time. My calves were not as hard as rocks and it felt a bit more natural this time.

Here is my plan for the rest of the week:

Monday: Run 3 miles (8:30 pace)

Tuesday: Weights and walking

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: 6.25 miles of running (10 min place)

Friday: Weights and walking

Saturday:  Run 3 miles (8:30 pace)


  • How’s your running going?
  • How many days a week do you run?




Post-run dizziness?

Last week I did my long run (6 miles) in Santa Cruz again. I just prefer to run alongside surfers, dogs, and in cool weather. I’m building up 5% a week in preparation for my half marathon and right now I’m at 6 miles.

It’s so beautiful over here, and much cooler than where I live. I was planning to run very early, but I happened to wake up 11 mins before my alarm went off and I was like “no, no, not happening.” So I turned my alarm off and I slept until 8. I definitely cannot run in my town at that hour due to heat.

I made nutty oats for breakfast, and then drove over the hill and ran 6 miles alongside the ocean around a 9:30-10 min pace. I am not worrying about timing my long run each week, I’m just working on building mileage. I have transitioned to running in shoes with a lower offset for all runs and it seems like it’s making me run slower. But Mark Sisson says you gotta slow down to get faster. I sure hope that’s true for me. Wearing the shoes with a lower offset has made running a lot harder. I want to start running faster but need to keep speed work for my shorter runs. My weekly long run once a week is just to build endurance.

pleaure poit

It was a lovely 57 degrees during my run. Sounds cool, but I still got super sweaty! I wanted to stay and have lunch but I was way too sweaty to be comfortable. I had to get home and shower. After my run I got in the car, and instantly felt dizzy. Unfortunately, this has now happened twice. The second I sit after running I am dizzy. Luckily I had some candy in the car, so I went to town on it. Starbucks sells this lemon and raspberry flavored candy that are like Starbust. It got my blood sugar up quickly and I felt okay within a few minutes.

After a shower I went out and got lunch and drank a tangerine wheat beer from the Lost Coast. This beer helped me recover from my long run. I hadn’t ran 6 miles in a long, long time.


My friend suggested I eat Swedish Fish while running. During her ten mile runs she starts eating a fish each mile.I am thinking I may need to start eating more carbs before running.

  • Have you ever been dizzy after running?
  • How do you prevent dizziness?


Pantry staples and chicken satay

Now that I’m off the Standard American Diet, SAD (haha), I am cooking more. It’s hard finding food at every restaurant that fits the diet. Most places tend you serve you a large amount of starchy staples and very little protein and fat. I need to have more staples readily available–it’s been years since I cooked consistently–since February 2014. Back then, I cooked nearly every night except Fridays. But I got out of the habit with work, and never got back into it.

Last week I cooked chicken satay.  I found a recipe online that I modified. I marinated chicken tenders in coconut milk, ground coriander, curry, and chili oil.


Then I cooked them on the pan. I addd a little sesame oil to fry them up, but I don’t think it was necessary.


After a few minutes I flipped them.


I served them with some peanut sauce, sautéed broccoli and leftover pad se ew. This is a really easy weeknight meal, especially considering how often I pick up thai takeout! The rice noodles dishes like pad thai and pad se ew last for a few meals, but we usually eat the protein the first night.

If I had the other items in the pantry, I would have only purchased the chicken and broccoli. I want to get to a place in my life again where I have all the staples and pantry items so it’s easy to just run to the store for meat and veggies. I want everything besides meat and veggies to be stocked at all times.

Some staples I’m keeping around:

  • Low sodium chicken & beef broth
  • Coconut milk
  • Quinoa
  • Almond flour
  • Flax seeds
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Baking necessities like cinnamon and baking soda
  • Spices–curry, coriander, cumin, etc
  • Salt & pepper
  • Dried herbs: Italian, oregano, thyme, parsley, basil. Dried herbs are great in salad dressings, marinades, and rubs.
  • Chili oil
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Sesame oil
  • Sriracha
  • Coconut water
  • Almond butter
  • Beef or chicken jerky

When eating primal most of your food comes from a plant or animal. Pantry staples shouldn’t make up the gist of my food pyramid but it will make it easier for me when making sauces, marinades, and dressing. I eat a LOT of Asian food, so my pantry list may look a little different.

Try this recipe and let me know how you like it!

Going off the wagon isn’t worth it

I don’t mean drinking. . . I mean eating primal. I have been religiously following the primal diet for about a month or so now. I have only veered off minimally for the occasional beer. Does beer count?

On Father’s day I made strawberry shortcake with Bisquick.  They were spectacular. I had some, even though they certainly contain grains. I love Bisquick. I absolutely love it.  I figure I am following the 90/10 rule, and I eat well nearly all the time.

Some of my biscuits stuck to the bottom of the pan and when I pulled them with a spatula, I helped myself to the crumbs. The second the flaky goodness touched my lips I was like an addict, inhaling them. If Bisquick tasted any better, it would be illegal.

Fast forward about 6 hours, and I made homemade whipped cream to serve with the biscuits. YUM. I just beat heavy cream on the highest setting of my hand-held mixer, with a spoonful of sugar, and a drip of vanilla. And topped them with strawberries. I love love the freshness of this dessert, even though I’m not even a fan of fruit.

I made myself a moderate portion. I never go crazy with portions, which is one of the reasons why I think it’s okay to eat most foods. Just watch your portion control. However, you may have read in a previous post, I have a real issue with carbs, crashing blood sugar, and hunger. I cannot eat pizza, pasta, bread, or anything with a high amount of carbs.

So what happened to me that night? At 3 AM I was awoken to the worst hunger ever, eating my stomach. I tried to sleep through it but I couldn’t, and I had to drink milk to go back to bed. What had I eaten for dinner? A protein-style burger wrapped in lettuce. I had a cup of 2% yogurt right before bed, but it didn’t matter. When I eat carbs, they catch up with me, wake me up, and make me hungry. Needless to say, being awoken during the day set me straight back to my primal eating plan.

Without grains I have been in a good mood, without hunger spikes, which was all the reminder I needed to avoid grain.

What have I been eating instead of grain?

There is so much you can eat that doesn’t contain grains. I haven’t missed them one bit! I have been eating oatless oats, almond butter, eggs, chicken sausage, avocado, chicken sandwiches wrapped in lettuce, cheese, almonds, sushi, salads with chicken, and small amounts of fruit. I have felt great, and haven’t been hungry!

Modified Oatless Oats

I modified my favorite oatless oats recipe. This is my go-to breakfast if I don’t eat eggs. The recipe in Grain Brain served two, but I only need to make enough for myself. Here is how I make it now:

In the magic bullet, combine 1/4 cup almonds, 1/4 walnuts, and 1/8 cup of flax seeds. Add 1 drop of vanilla, dash of cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. Crack an egg in, and add 3/4 cup of almond milk, and 2 T almond butter. I pulse it for about 5 seconds. You want it to be pretty gritty, not like soup.

Then I heat it in a saucepan on low heat, stirring often, for about 5 minutes. I highly recommend this recipe. Let me know how you like it!

Recovery after running barefoot

My calves are sore.. sore sore sore, and rock hard. I walked three miles today to loosen them up and stretch. When I got home I did my stretches and have been moving slowly. I can definitely feel the effects of running barefoot, but I will still do this again in a week.

How I stretch my calves

Before I head out the door I stretch my hip flexors, but I don’t stretch much cold. After about 2 miles of walking today I let my heel hang over the curb on the sidewalk, and held it for 30 seconds. I did this twice. After walking another mile, I did this again. This helps quite a bit.

When I got home I got into downward facing dog and “walked the dog,” trying to push one heel to the floor at a time. Down dog really helps me lengthen my legs.

This article was pretty helpful. I definitely think running barefoot was harder than the exercises suggested.

I haven’t foam rolled yet, but I might consider doing that too. Foam rolling can hurt so much I like to avoid it!

As long as I’m mobile tomorrow, and my calves have recovered, I will go for a walk to loosen up and then do my strength routine:

  • 3 planks for 1 min each
  • Squats, single-legged squats with 10 lbs,
  • Single-legged squats with a band
  • Sideways squats with a band
  • Lunges with 5 lbs
  • Warrior 3, 3 on each side

I hope I am limber enough to run Wednesday!


I’m getting a lot stronger. My muscles are absorbing shock. I know this because in the past my muscles were NEVER sore from running, but I would wake up with a sore knee. I always had joint pain, but never a sore muscle. Now, I have zero joint pain, and cramped up muscles. I’m glad I finally got my muscles working for me!

Barefoot running on the track

Sorry I have been so out of touch lately! I have been so busy reorganizing my life. My re-org is not complete, yet, but I’m working at it.

For months I have been working tirelessly to improve my running form. I have been working out a lot, and I’m getting much stronger, and I am ready to up my mileage now, too.

After my last session on Friday with my PT, only my glutes were tired the next day. That is a really good sign, which means that my glutes are working and I’m relying less on my quads. Being quad-dominant can lead to knee issues.

Today I was walking to the trail to meet my sister for a hike. We didn’t end up meeting so I went to the high school to run on the track. I was bummed because I wasn’t wearing the shoes I would wear running. I just got a new pair of Brooks Pure Flows, and love the lower drop (4mm) and neutral support. I used to wear Pure Cadence but I realized I don’t need pronation support, just some neutral cushioning. So I didn’t wear my Pure Flows thinking I was going to get filthy and didn’t plan to run. So I went to the track in my Brooks Ghosts, which have a much higher offset (12mm), and kicked them off and ran barefoot. It was a little hot, but with my socks on it felt fine.

barefoot running

One note on socks. These are my favorite! I like them better than thorlos, but those are good too. Wright socks are made of two thin layers, so you don’t get blisters. Any rubbing just rubs a layer of sock. They also feel nice and tight, like they won’t wiggle around at all.

My glutes are still a little sore from the workout Friday, so I only planned to run one mile. Perfect for a barefoot day on the track.

Observations running barefoot

  • Calves are tired. After the first lap, my calves were SCREAMING!!!! They were really tight, rock hard, and tired. I took a break to drink some water. It was 85 degrees after all. I tried a few different ways to land, and realized I need to let my heel lower right after the ball hits the ground. I have really high arches, so only the ball, toes, and heel touch the ground at any given time. Letting my heel lower more helped take the pressure off my calves.
  • Ground is a little hot
  • I felt like I was doing a bit of a dance learning how to land on the ball of the foot, let my heel lower, and push off. I was working on taking short steps and making my glutes push me off.
  • I was running… silently!!!! I didn’t hear any slams or thuds, which is nice. Sometimes I can sound like an elephant. 😉 The few times I didn’t land nicely, I felt it. I probably wouldn’t have felt that in shoes.
  • The flatness of the track was refreshing. The trail where I run has quite a few variations in incline.

I felt pretty awesome doing this workout. I have been enjoying training for my half a lot so far, fixing my injury and form, and becoming stronger. I will be back at the track for another barefoot run. I think I will start coming here once a week. I heard the University of Oregon track team runs barefoot once a week on the track. I could add this to my training plan.

What I was so grateful for

There was a little shade. About 5% was shaded, but gave me something to look forward to as I was running along. It was nice and cool on my feet. Hey, it’s the little things in life.

Have you ever run barefoot?

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