Catch Up

20140730-214012-78012560.jpg

Oops! What a lousy blogger I have been. No post in sight for weeks. I haven’t given up on writing my post at all it’s just that I’ve been ill (we had some rather strange weather a few weeks ago) and as if things couldn’t get any better my allergy is here. Hooray! My energy was down to 0. My regular medicine only made it worse and it didn’t seem to work as efficiently as always. Walking around feeling like a zombie isn’t optimal now that I’m off from work and there’s nothing more I’d like to do than to enjoy the outdoors. Thankfully I’ve found an allergy medication that won’t make me drowsy or suffer from nasty side effects.

20140730-214012-78012978.jpg

Don’t worry I haven’t given up my running regime. Although I did have to go back a week or two to get back on track. Due to the tropical heat we’re having I had to change my routine and slow down a bit. Instead of running during the evening, I made the wise choice to run in the early morning (around 7-8 ó clock) when it’s “only” +20C outside. Running wouldn’t be as difficult if it wasn’t for that feeling of slowly melting away. So I’m rather thankful that I’ve gone back a week to ease my body into the summer heat. So children, always listen to your body. It knows what’s best!

As I’ve neglected my blog I’ll give you a short summary of my activities last week and the past few days.

21/7 Monday: Yoga (mostly back stretching as I was stiff as a board)

22/7 Tuesday: 4.60 km – 47m 18s (5 min warmup walk. Run 5 min. Walk 3 min. Run 8 min. Walk 3 min. Run 5 min + cooldown)

23/7 Wednesday: Yoga + Arm workout with weights 20+10 (as I’m such a weakling, well my arms that is, I’ve started weight lifting 2 kg in each hand)

24/7 Thursday: 4.34 km – 44m 8s (5 min warmup walk. Run 10 min; Walk 3 min; Run 10 min + cooldown)- it was so incredibly warm that day that I was barely absent during my run+ Arm workout with weights 20+10

25/7 Friday: Yoga + Arm workout with weights 20+10

26/7 Saturday: 4.51 km – 43m 8s (5 min warmup walk. Run 22 min + cooldown) + Arm workout with weights 20+10

27/7 Sunday: Beach day! Warmest water up to date. Went swimming and got back on land after 1 hour! Surprised myself. Arms and legs =spaghetti

28/7 Monday: Yoga + Arm workout with weights 20+10

29/7 Tuesday: Yoga + Arm workout with weights 30+10

30/7 Wednesday: 4.76 km – 44m 42s (5 min warmup walk. Run 25 min + cooldown)  + Arm workout with weights 30+10

I would have gone swimming on more occasions but the jellyfish decided to invade our shores on Tuesday. Please tell me I’m not the only one who freaks out when one or a gazillion of them touch your leg or when you accidentally step on one. Eurgh!! 😦  Shooo away with you jellyfish!!

20140730-214014-78014273.jpg

 

 

Advertisements

Review : Merrell Dash Glove

I’ve never really been a fan of running shoes before. Traditional running shoes always caused me pain, discomfort, my feet felt like bricks and I constantly got blisters from them. Not a very pleasant combination. However, after reading about and trying on barefoot or minimalist shoes I knew I had to get a pair. They were feather light and I could wear them straight away without any transition or walking in period! I was sold, and still am.

DSC01232

I got my hands on these colourful pair of shoes while visiting my cousin in Arizona in December. I’ve had my eyes on Merrell’s Barefoot Pace Glove running shoes for quite some time, but I wasn’t able to find the right size for me as there are no half sizes here in Sweden. A half size can make a lot of difference. Especially when they tamper with the width of the shoes. When I read on Merrell’s facebook page that they had recently opened up an outlet store in Phoenix I was overjoyed. Little did I know that I would leave the store with 3 pairs of shoes. My cousin thought I was crazy!  To my defence, two of them were Merrell’s Wonder Glove – incredibly comfortable and simply adorable ballerinas. Unfortunately most of the running shoes in my size were sold out. Not too surprising when most of  them were approximately 50% off! However, I was lucky enough to find a pair of the Dash Glove. They were a half size bigger than my regular size, but they fit like a glove! Oooh I love puns.

Despite of the fact that these shoes are discontinued (you may still find them on Amazon), I do believe there is a newer version out there and Merrell offers plenty of other great barefoot options that may suit any of your shoe needs. Nevertheless, these shoes have been with me on my journey from being a couch potato to soon being able to do a 5K run. I’m delighted to bring you the following Merrell Dash Glove review.

DSC01218

SPECS

Upper/Lining

  • Synthetic leather and mesh upper
  • DWR-treated upper repels water and resists staining
  • Reflective details for increased visibility in low light
  • Washable upper
  • Integrated microfiber footbed treated with Aegis antimicrobal solution

Sole

  • 0 mm drop
  • 11 mm standing height
  • Vibram Barefoot sole
  • 2 mm maximum lug depth

DSC01227

MY THOUGHTS

The first thing I always pay notice to when I put on new shoes is the heel area. Most shoes tend to be too loose for my small heels (I have very narrow feet) and if they fit right in heel they are usually a size too small. It’s very annoying! With the Dash Glove I don’t have this problem. They are still a bit loose but not that much that it would really bother me. I’m not sure if it’s the elastic bit at the back or the lacing system (that comes higher up) that gives these shoes such a good glove-like fit.  Either way, I really like the fit of these!

Another thing that I appreciate about these shoes is that they are slightly cushioned. They are perfect if you are looking for a shoes that will ease you into barefoot running. Please bare in mind that if you haven’t run in barefoot/minimalist shoes before, you need to take it easy on your first runs. If you generally run a 5K, 10K or more, you’re feet won’t appreciate if you run a race that long in barefoot shoes and you might end up hurting yourself. So make your first few runs shorter so that you’re muscles can built up strength and flexibility, and then you’ll be set to go.

As much important it is to have a good back and mid fit, there’s nothing worse than having your toes squashed in a pair of shoes. The Dash Glove is no exception when it comes to barefoot shoes. The toebox has plenty of room for my toes to splay during my runs and allows room for foot swelling during those longer runs.

The DWR-treated mesh has not disappointed. It has repelled mist, moist grass and light rain, leaving my feet dry and happy. However, I wouldn’t trust these shoes in heavy rain. They would be soaked. But then again they are probably not created to repel a huge amount of water, there are other shoes out there designed to deal with that issue.

I have really appreciated the flexibility in these shoes. The sole being Vibram is of a minimal nature and best suits for road running. I did a test run on some “light” trails with these and they did manage to hold up. They weren’t the best option and I wouldn’t dare taking them for real trail running, I would probably just injure myself on all the rocks and roots as the Dash Glove misses a rock-plate and proper luggs. Other than that, these shoes are really versatile.

With no seams visible on the inside it’s possible to wear them sockless, though I do prefer to wear thin or toe socks in these. The fabric on the inside isn’t as smooth as it is in other barefoot shoes and the top fabric left a red mark on my feet when I tried to run barefoot in them. This is probably the only negative remark I have on these shoes. I’m not sure I could manage to run barefoot in these for a longer run…but then again I have incredibly sensitive feet, so most of you won’t even notice it. I also need to point out that I don’t have this problem with any of my other Merrell shoes, I can wear them barefoot for an entire day without having  any issues.

Overall, these shoes have saved me on many troublesome runs and I love them to bits, I just need to wear them with socks that’s all. 🙂

DSC01229

Now that summer is just on the doorstep, I will need to switch up my Dash Gloves for a lighter and more breathable pair of shoes.

What kind of shoes do you run in during the summer? Have you ever tried barefoot/minimalist shoes?

The Handstand Challenge

I must be in a rather strange mood to overcome some of the fears I had when I was a child, things I previously couldn’t master now somehow seems to evoke an inner voice within me that keeps telling me that I need to give it another try. I gave running a try and now I’m almost ready to do a 5K run. I still haven’t grasped the fact that I’ve come this far. This time I’ve decided that I am going to take on The Handstand Challenge!

Surely you’ve done a handstand against a wall at school, I hear you ask. Well I tried, but never succeeded and it didn’t make things better that I was afraid of falling over. But that certainly was one of the reasons to why I didn’t manage to do a handstand at all. I leave the wise words to Master Yoda:

“You must unlearn what you have learned” – Taking on a new challenge is about letting go of all fears and believing that you can do it. When I found an epic step-by-step progression guide by Chris Salvato (handstand Jedi Master) for beginners on how to do a freestand handstand I knew I wanted to give it a tr…*ehem* I wanted to do it!  Whether you’re a Star Wars nerd, Padawan, Yoda fangirl or a mortal being, you definitely should read Chris’ inspiring and humours post on how to master the art of handstanding.

By practising for at least 5 minutes a day, I’ll be able to do a headstand within a month or two. Being able to spare 5 minutes a day isn’t very much when you think of it. The key to succeeding is to systematically and gradually introduce yourself to the handstand, to be upside down, and to rely on your hands to support you. Anyone can do it! I know it’s an odd date to start at (I should have started on the 1st of June), but I can’t have any excuses. I start The Handstand Challenge today! I’m going to document it as time goes by. It will be fascinating to see my progress and serve as a motivator that I’m getting one step closer to doing a handstand. Here we go Yoda…time to work on those fears, my inner core and those weakling arms in order to look super cool while being upside down.

May the force be with me!

Weekly Recap: 26/7-1/6

 

unnamed (1)

With 4 days off from work, I’ve been a busy bee this week. To tell the truth I’ve been busy cleaning the house, cooking, recharging my batteries by the coast and eating ice cream. The last two were incredibly exhausting! How dull it is to eat that much ice cream. Poor me! I’m actually right in the middle of scooping out Magnum’s new chocolate pint. I had my doubts, but this chocolate ice cream with chocolate sauce and chocolate sprinkle is a real chocolate bonanza! I was afraid that it would be too sweet, but it’s not. It’s incredibly rich in flavour, almost too rich. Oh who am I kidding, it’s a spoonful of pleasure! Excuse me while I lay down and have an ice cream coma…

Somehow I only fit in two runs this week. I needed to give my body some time to recover from the drastic increase in running. I am getting stronger by the day and I feel that running in barefoot/minimalist shoes has helped me in so many ways. I’m sure it helped me this Friday when I went for a 22 min barefoot run on the beach. That sense of freedom and being in touch with the ground got me to focus on how I placed me feet and improved my pace and posture. Surprisingly enough, I wasn’t sore at all next morning. I did however learn one very important lesson after that run – never go out for a run before visiting a toilet. It was not a very pleasant experience running around and slowly getting a stomach ache. It was the only thing I focused on and I could barely get through the first 10 min. So I had to pause my session and resume it one minute later after having “gone to the ladies’ room”. A bit disappointed that I had to pause, but if you gotta go, you gotta go. Lesson learned!

unnamed

Monday: Yoga

Tuesday: 4.27 km – 38m 42s (5 min warmup walk. Run 10 min; Walk 3 min; Run 10 min + cooldown)

Wednesday: Yoga

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 3.85 km – 36m 32s (5 min warmup walk. Run 22 min + cooldown) <– Completely barefoot on a beach

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Yoga

I’ve been thinking of incorporating another workout into my schedule. Even though I do yoga, it’s for relaxation and stretching on a beginner’s level in order to recover from the running. I like challenges, especially those that I’ve previously not succeed at. My next post will probably cover this challenge, but for now it will remain a secret (well some of you might know of it). All I can tell you it has something to do with Yoda and my hands. Oooh got you curious there now did I?!

Weekly Recap: 19-25th of May

What a week! I’ve had my ups and downs, but there’s a wind of change *whistles* approaching and I can feel that my body is starting to adjust to my new lifestyle. My legs are getting stronger and my endurance has increased so much that I even surprised myself and went for a run for 20 minutes without stopping.  The support from my family, friends and everyone reading my blog has been overwhelming. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart!

As I start to approach my goal of running a total of 5 km, I feel this calls for a weekly occurring recap in order to keep record of my progress.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

Monday: Yoga

Tuesday: 4.11 km – 42m 35 s (5 min warmup walk. Run 8 min; Walk 5 min; Run 8 min + cooldown) + Yoga

Wednesday: Yoga

Thursday: 3.97 km – 36m 57s (5 min warmup walk. Run 20 min + cooldown) 

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Yoga + pilates

Sunday:  4.44 km – 42m 7s  (5 min warmup walk. Run 5 min; Walk 3 min; Run 8 min; Walk 3 min; Run 5 min + cooldown) + Yoga

bild 1

“I’m learning every day to allow the space between where I am and where I want to be to inspire me and not terrify me” – Trace Ellis Ross

 

She believed she could so she did

unnamed (1)

I did it! Yesterday I managed to run for 20 minutes without stopping. I’m still in a state of shock and disbelief. Well perhaps not disbelief, somewhere deep down I knew I could do it, I was just extremely nervous of giving up too soon. But, I’m not one of those who gives up to easily! I really wanted to finish that run and I did.

The entire run/walk (still unsure what to call these C25K sessions) was rather smooth, despite of it being a rather warm day. Here’s a short run-down of how it went:

  • 5 min warm-up – How refreshing to get out today after a long day at work. Pleasantly warm and sunny! Feel light as a feather.
  • 2 min into the run – Still a bit stiff in my legs, but I’m sure I’ll manage.
  • 3 min – This stiffness isn’t going away and my stomach is starting to ache…great.
  • 4 min – If it’s going to continue like this I might not even be able to run for 10 minutes. How frustrating!
  • 4½ min –  The very least I could do was to focus on my breathing and drink some water. After all it was a rather warm day.
  • 5 min – My stiffness was starting to lift! Thank goodness!
  • 6-10 min – Well this isn’t too bad!
  • 10-15 min – Starting to get a bit tired, time to put in the heavy artillery and listen to Muse (Survival/Madness) and 30 Seconds to Mars(This is War). Badass mode is on!
  • 15-20 min – Phew! Almost there, but it’s getting incredibly tough to run in the sun so I’m trying my best to find high hedges or trees that cast some shadow over me. I have absolutely no idea what was going through my head at this point…it was blank! I do actually remember I had some weird idea on what it would be like to run next to horse (Scissor Sisters’ “Only The Horses” was playing at that moment). Went back to reality after hearing that I had only 1 minute left! OMG I could run a marathon (who was I kidding?). A smile started to spread across my face. “Begin your cool-down”. WHAT?! That’s it? I’m done? Ladies and gentlemen, I can officially say that I’ve run for 20 minutes without stopping! I was ecstatic and so proud of myself for not giving up.

At this point my face was scarlet red and flushed from the heat (I’ll spare you from a photo), but I didn’t care…I had completed the most feared day of all the weeks. 5K seems not too far away from now. I’m feeling more motivated than ever. I can’t wait for my next run. Did I just say that? Times are changing…

P.S. It might still require some work, but I’ve just updated the “about me” page section at the very top.

 

Review: Nathan Speed 2

Whether I’m at home, work, travelling or out and about, staying hydrated has always been a top priority for me. Staying hydrated enhances your performance and speeds recovery. You’ll always find a bottle or glass of water next to me. Needless to say, when I took up running I started to look around for a good hydration solution and I knew that a regular water bottle just wouldn’t cut it. What I needed was something that would ensure that my water would be easily accessible, close at hand, and never in the way. At first I had my eyes on the Nathan QuickDraw and QuickShot bottles. I wanted to try them on in order to know what it felt like wearing my bottle in my hand, but I was unable to find them in any of the stores near me (why do stores advertise a product when they don’t even have it in stock?!). To my utter disappointment, I had to rule out the option of wearing a handheld-bottle.

To be honest I’ve been quite wary of hydration belts and heard that many of them tend to bounce around, ride up or simply fall to the ground. I’ve always disliked buckles due to to my irrational fear of loosing my entire finger when closing and opening  it. But, there it was…calling out my name in the distance –  Nathan Speed 2

DSC01084

The Nathan Speed 2 hydration belt is constructed of a limited-stretch elasticized waistbelt for the best comfort and a bounce-free ride. Fear not fellow buckle-fearer (ehh is that even a word?), this belt is fastened with VELCRO for an easy adjustment on the move for a perfect fit.  The hydration belt is available in 4 sizes: S 26-32″/65-80cm, M 32-36″/80-90 cm, L 36-42″/90-105cm, XL 42-48″/105-122cm.

Two dishwasher-safe 10 oz./300 ml flasks are suited at the back, and are completely free of BPA. The belt is provided with silicone grips inside holsters, which prevents the bottles from popping out when you’re out for a run.

DSC01087

The back also consists of a “Power Stretch Mesh” pocket with an interior flat pocket, key holder and an incorporated waterproof ID and medical emergency card. In addition, the back has an airmesh moisture-wicking panel with cushions that prevents chafing.

DSC01092

A small water-resistant pill pocket is situated at the front for quick access to salt tablets, pain relievers or other tiny objects that may be of use.

IMG_4541

I’ve been trying on the hydration belt for a few weeks now in order to form an honest and truthful opinion. During my runs I’ve worn the belt on different layers of clothing and I’ve tried to determine which position would fit me the best. After some trial and error,  I would recommend wearing the belt low on your hips in order to prevent interference with breathing (and constantly having the need to visit a toilet). Having a low belt placement will also aid in bottle removal and replacement. I was able to wear the belt over my thin jacket (as seen above) without any issues, but I would have to say it’s definitely more comfortable to wear it underneath or a bit lower on my hips now that I’m just wearing a top.

The construction of the belt is incredibly solid and molds to your body once you’ve found the right fit. Never once did I feel discomfort or the urge to take off the belt when out for a run. At first I was worried that it would annoy me, but after a while it just felt like it’s an integrated part of my body. I must say Nathan did a great job with the bounce-free fit!

The water bottles are easy to fill and clean. They are even dishwasher safe, just be sure to put them on the top rack. The silicone grips holds the bottles in place and I haven’t had any bottle falling out, nor did I have any issues removing them. Having two bottles that are BPA-free, makes my environmentally friendly heart flutter. I try to stay away from harmful substances as much as possible, which is why these bottles get an extra plus.

The back pocket is extremely useful when you don’t want to jam your front pockets with items or leave them at home. It’s not the largest pocket out there, but it’s rather stretchy so it would hold your phone, jels, keys or medicine (perhaps not everything at once). I have my inhaler (should my mild Asthma suddenly catch me by surprise) in the pocket and it takes up a lot of space, so I’m unable to fit my iPhone in there as well. However, I’ve read that Nathan offers extra accessories/pockets for the belt, so that could be a solution if you want to bulk up.

IMG_4534

Plus:

  • Bounce-free fit
  • Easy access to water
  • Versatile – Great for warm days, longer runs or hiking
  • BPA-free
  • Velcro-strap

Minus:

  • Make sure to screw on the lid properly (which can be a bit tricky) or the bottle might end up leaking
  • Not the largest pocket

 

How do you drink when you’re out for a run? Do you have a favourite bottle?