Month: September 2015

My Love/Hate Relationship With My Feet


It’s all about my gams


I am not a self described shoe hog by any means.  Do I have a lot of shoes?  No, that’s a relative answer because how you define a lot might be different from what I defineas a

lot.  My mom on the other hand has a lot of shoes.  Anyway I got rid of a lot of my shoes when our North Florida Girls on the Run had a shoe drive.  Now with that said, I do have a lot of running shoes even with donating old pairs.  I try to rotate between two-three pairs for a six month training cycle .  I still have my originals( my first pair I got fitted for), and my first marathon pair( I love those-they carried me for 26.2 without dying).  My shoes of choice, Brooks Adrenalines.  Those shoes are perfect for me, an over pronator, with lots of cushion and support.  For those of you running, walking, jogging in shoes from big chain sport stores-do yourself a favor and go to a real running store.  I recommend locally 1st Place Sports and Jacksonville Running Company.  The people that work there are runners who can get you fitted in the shoe that’s right for your foot.  You should never go with a shoe that matches your outfits.


me & my Brooks, my husband & his Newtons
Never ever try a shoe just because your friend wears them.  Trust me, been there done that and made an injury worse.    I had tried a new set of kicks once before( Owen, the owner of JRC, challenged the Jax Galloway runners doing speed work to try something different-maybe lighter), I bought the Brooks Ravenna and tried them for two weeks-uh can I get my Adrenalines back?  So when I got a severe case of  plantar fasciitis ( no it didn’t just happen, it was on and off for three years), I just wanted relief.  Yes, I had tried self treat with ice, tennis balls, special socks, etc.  

My best source of self treating

My husband loves Newtons and swears they cured his case of plantar because they made him run mid foot instead of landing on his heel.   I went to one of my local running stores and got fitted for my Newtons-I ran the Donna 5k in them, my foot became numb.  I blamed it on the cold weather.  At the Donna Expo, the Newton rep said I should be running in the Newton’s Kismet because of my over pronation.  A month or so afterwards, those were my shoes of choice.  What I noticed my plantar wasn’t getting better and my foot was in excruciating  all day pain.  I was still doing group runs and speedwork but my BRF’s were noticing how my gait was changing and how much I winced when I walked.  After my weekly run, I could barely walk all day.  I was miserable.

Then I took real action, doctor for a referral and then PT with Heartland Rehab!  Yay me!  Long story short, I am better and most importantly I am running back in my Brooks(Newtons are my cycle shoes)  and I’m running pain free!  My toes and my heel feel fantastic and I’m a happy runner who can’t wait until November-the new Adrenalines will be at your local running store.  I love that new shoe smell!   Happy running everyone!

It’s not about the destination it’s about the journey.


Why All The Push For Pumpkin?

I love this time of year…school’s back in session, Fall colors start appearing in craft stores,  college and NFL football is back, XC is happening, and Fall races are getting closer.  Looking forward to it all including my most favorite…Bath and Body Works start carrying seasonal shower gels and hand soap!  I remember years ago I was first introduced to these fun seasonal scents like crisp apple, vanilla sugar, peppermint stick, pecan pie, and sweet cinnamon pumpkin.  I love smelling and showering and washing my hands with these scents!  September rolls around and I’m stalking my local Bath and Body Works store for them.


waiting on the shower gels for these delicious smelling scents.

Now on the flip side, pumpkin mania, why is there such an obsession with pumpkin food, scents, candles,  or coffee?  Pumpkin is a pretty flavorless vegetable.  My mom would make garbanzo soup and add calabaza(Spanish for pumpkin), and it would be a different texture to the soup but nothing spectacular.  We used pumpkins for Fall or Halloween decor, but we used leaves too.  I just don’t get it.
I took a very small poll(my boys & husband), which do you prefer mom’s homemade pumpkin pie or mom’s homemade pecan pie?  80% chose the pecan pie.  Hmmm.  Okay I have seen just some of these items that have this seasonal gourd…pumpkin spice latte, pumpkin donut holes and doughnuts, pumpkin Pringles, pumpkin pancake mix, pumpkin yogurt, pumpkin cream cheese, pumpkin marshmallows, pumpkin coffee creamer, pumpkin granola, pumpkin craft beer/ale, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin spice bread, pumpkin butter, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin scones and muffins, pumpkin power bars, and pumpkin cheesecake.  I know I’m missing something, so if I missed something, let me know.  But I’m not done- pumpkin spice spray to have your home smell better( I remember overpowering sweet smelling flowers trying to cover up odors so long ago), pumpkin scented candles, pumpkin bar soap, and pumpkin plug ins.  

I think the reason people love pumpkin so much has to do with comfort food and childhood memories of holidays and family get togethers.  They get all warm and fuzzy about this seasonal flavor and companies are jumping on the bandwagon because this after all is a marketing/commercial genius!  I wish I’d thought of it.  So welcome Fall, welcome pumpkin-it’s not going away anytime soon.  Now if they’d only make…

Pumpkin Oreos, pumpkin hummus, pumpkin nachos, pumpkin soup, pumpkin egg nog, pickled pumpkin, pumpkin spiced butter…

It’s not just about the destination, it’s about the journey.  


Rediscovering My Reading Self

As you know I’m a first grade teacher, and a former librarian for an elementary school.  I grew up reading.  My mom would tell me what I considered a treat was not baby dolls or candy, but Little Golden Books.  I had a tall pile of them until they got ruined.  Fast forward, I was the typical nerdy girl who had a good classic novel in front of her when I should’ve been paying attention to the teacher lecturing or my friends latest escapades over the long weekend.  I would get yelled at by my parents for ignoring them while I read.  I read at the dinner table, hours during summer vacation, even staying up with a flashlight to read just one more page.  They knew  to really punish me, take away my books.  I was not a picky reader, I read the classics such as all the Thomas Hardy books(Far from the Maddening Crowd or Tess of the Dubervilles), Alexandre Dumas was one of my favorites!  I also read Margaret Mitchell, (Gone with the Wind), Danielle Steel, M.M. Kaye, Sidney Sheldon, and John Jakes(North and South).  When I started college, I discovered new authors and genres-sci fi, fantasy, biographies, and non fiction history.  

Then as a young adult librarian I read up on the latest YA authors Meg Cabot, Suzanne Collins, Walter Dean Myers, and Louis Sachar.  Finally as a school librarian for k-5th, I read and read to purchase good quality literature for the library.  I read Mary Pope Osborne, Richard Peck, Barbara Park, and R.L. Stine.  I loved reading! 


One day I started a new Kate DiCamillo book and couldn’t finish it.  What gives?  Richard Peck…  It’s a no go, I can’t seem to finish a single book I start unless it’s about…

Running, swimming, or cycling.  I devour books such as Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, Through Rose Colored Glasses by Donna Deegan, Running Until You’re 100 by Jeff Galloway, and I Run therefore I am Nuts by Bob Schwartz.  I know all about Alberto Salazar, Boston Billy, Joan Benoit before she became a Samuelson, Kara Goucher, and many more.  

I devour these non fiction informational biographical books just like I did before…then.    I started only reading Runner’s World or Running Times or Triathlete magazines.  What is going on?  I was an unhappy former voracious reader & people were noticing.  

Public Library?  Of course I’m a proponent of free accessible books so that wasn’t a problem.  Bookstores?  Sure but I don’t think they would want me in there all day reading when I should be buying something, so no. 

Back to our weekly jaunt to the library down in San Marco Public Library where I follow my younger sons and began combing the fiction shelves.  Any new Sharon Creech?  Karen Hesse?  Karen Cushman?  Avi?  Ooh a new Jennifer L. Holm- I liked her writing.  Two Patricia MacLachlan books I haven’t read-why not.  I did a whole research paper on this author when I started my master’s degree…good sign?  Maybe.

  And I began to read and read and read and actually finish the stories.  Wow!  I forgot how much I missed this.  It felt like coming home. I love reading again.  Was it a phase?  I’m not sure, I’ll let you know when I pick up my next book-tomorrow morning.


Reading is me time
Remember it’s not about the destination it’s about the journey,


Race Recap-Marathon High 13.1 Virtual

A little background knowledge of what Marathon High is and has done.  Started by Deborah Dunham, to encourage high school students who might not be involved in a high school sport to train to run/walk the 26.2 with Donna half marathon in February.  This awesome program is completely free for these students and what started small in 2011 has grown to over 20 high schools around the NorthEast Florida area.  In 2013 I signed up for the very first MH virtual so wanting to keep my streaker status, I signed up again.  After all, it’s all for the kids!


Marathon High Rocks

September 6th rolled around, it’s been virtual week and there are runners running from all over including England!  I love how running brings people together especially for a great cause.  Well back to my neck of the woods, I am running the MH Virtual with my Jacksonville Galloway group and we have water duty today.  My husband who is also a group leader, is out early(4a.m. to be exact ) training for MCM in October so it looks like I’ll be setting out six coolers by myself.  JaxGalloway had over 350 people sign up so they will need good water especially since one of our water stops is the turnaround.  Then back to Donna HQ to wait for the 6 a.m. start.
I am prepared since I’ve run a lot of long distance runs-hydration belt with BCAA in my water bottle( I prefer watermelon) since my stomach doesn’t seem to tolerate anything else.  I have my phone for emergencies, my Road ID , and directions.  Quick bathroom break, getting my group to sign in, saying hi to everyone, and then quick announcements from our fearless Galloway Directors & Deborah Dunham.  Then…group 1, fasties…group 2, & group 3-us!  The Pink Musketeers!  we’re off down Marco Blvd at 1:30/:30.  Did I happen to mention how dark it is at 6:00?  We are on a busy street so that means sidewalks-I don’t trust sidewalks, I’ve seen too many runners go down including me.  Not even a mile & we get a surprise, flip flops in the middle of the sidewalk!  Either someone was trying to do a good deed for the next homeless person who came along, or something scared the flip flops off of someone.  We’ll never know.

On to Kernan Blvd with nicer wider sidewalks and to make it more fun, two members have special speakers and their phone connected for motivational running music-like it!  Oh oh!  Are we picking up the pace?  Slow and steady please.  Deadly sidewalk coming up near UNF Alumni Hall but luckily no one falls. Running down Technolgy Parkway I’m reminded of our Magic Mile but luckily no one is in the sprinting mood except for the horsefly that tagged me on the back of my leg!  

Now onto UNF where we meet up with XC high schoolers trying to park.  Is the next Meb or Kara among them?  Running through UNF’s campus we see “buzzards”, geese, and more cars trying to find the XC meet.  Then onto the Town Center-halfway point here we come! 

We’re all a little hungry and giddy, everyone seems to be doing fine.  We’re even joking about stopping at Chik Fi La for chicken biscuit minis.  Then back to St Johns Bluff Rd and Central Parkway straight back to Donna HQ, but wait we still have about a mile and a half to go!  What do we do?  Rogue the course of course!  Right before Marco Place, a group of about 8 of us turned right back to Lot 18 at UNF.  At the roundabout, back we come to Donna HQ and crossed the Finish at 2:55:30 with cowbell!  I hugged my non sweaty friend Marcia and received my beautiful Marathon High Virtual medal from the student artist!  What an awesome run!  What an awesome day to share with friends!  And my streaker status continues.   

Nothing like cowbell at the end of a race.
Love my running family!

Remember it’s not about the destination it’s about the journey,