Friday, June 28, 2013

Running in the New Balance Minimus Hi-Rez...

You are what you consistently do, right? So I seem to be a runner...  maybe I should start blogging more about that instead of just the occasional, not-very-consistent recipe post.

In some ways, I feel a little lost, a bit adrift right now. My next race isn't until September, when I will do the Capital City River Run Half Marathon in Lansing, MI. I'm looking forward to it. It's supposed to be a nice flat course, but I won't be PR-ing because I will be running alongside my friend as she attempts her first ever half marathon. Her current pace is about a minute per mile slower than mine, so I'll be out there encouraging her.

Having no race planned for a while, I feel a bit in limbo. Although, let's be honest, I'm not sure I want to be racing in the heat of the summer. WOW. Give me the 5 degree days of winter back instead of the 90 degree, humid days. I've been trying to get out the door by 6 a.m. for my runs to beat the heat, but my body isn't quite used to going that early yet.

In the meantime, I've been trying to work on my speed and my strength without losing my endurance. My current plan is to repeat a two-week schedule until it's time to ramp back up to double-digit runs.

1 mile max speed, strength
Run 4 miles
8 sprint intervals, strength
Run 4 miles
Run 6 miles
1 mile max speed, strength
Run 4 miles
8 sprint intervals, strength
Run 5 miles
Run 8 miles

As for gear... first, I owe New Balance an apology. After ranting and raving about the seam on the Minimus Zero, I worked with them and they decided my shoes must've been defective. They took them back, even with a ton of miles and sent me store credit. In the interim, I tried other shoes. I went to New Balance and tried on other models, but found nothing else in a zero drop that fit quite as well. If I went outside of a zero drop, I felt it, and it was immediately odd. Yes, even a 4mm drop felt strange. 

I tried a pair of Brooks from the Pure Project line. The first time I went out, they felt awesome. Every time after that... I could feel the padding, and I felt like I had a dinner plate strapped to my feet. If you're looking to get into minimal shoes, but want some padding still, they are a great shoe, and I would recommend them. They definitely weren't the shoe for me though. 

So with one pair on it's way back to NB, and one pair making me crazy with every step...  Problem. I had another Half rapidly approaching, and had no shoes. So... I went back to the Minimus Zero. Ahhhh.... like sliding into your favorite pair of jeans. I ran the Ann Arbor Half Marathon in a new pair of Minimus Zero, plus compression socks instead of sleeves. I got an EPIC blister from slamming into the front of the toe box as I went down Ann Arbor's lovely hills (can you feel the sarcasm?), but did not have problems with the seam. It is still there, so I may need some padding on my socks for long runs, but they are definitely the shoe for me. 

Now I owned a new pair of Minimus Zero AND had store credit to New Balance. After reading a few reviews, I decided to try the Minimus Hi-Rez. I wore them for my sprint workout yesterday and figured I'd give you all some feedback. 

New Balance Minimus Hi-Rez.

First, look at these. Weird, right? This is NOT the shoe to get if you are just transitioning to minimal shoes. I moved to these from the Minimus Zero. I wouldn't even recommend moving to these from the "minimal" Brooks shoes. These are next to barefoot. Putting them on feels like putting on a sock with laces. 

Bet you can't do this with your running shoe.

These shoes are extremely flexible. The soles look funny, but work to give you much, much more connection with the ground and what your foot is doing. Each individual piece truly lets your foot move freely.   As I said, I used these for my sprint workout. I jogged to the park at the end of our block (roughly two-tenths of a mile) and then did 8 intervals of 30 second sprints with a minute and a half of walking recovery, and jogged back home. 

The Minimus Zero is my go-to.. you know what's going on, you're connected, you're minimal. But wow.. when I jogged off in these... I could feel running. If you've ever questioned your footstrike, you will know it in these. I've gone for runs, sworn up and down that I have a midfoot strike, had the husband video me and yup, heelstriking like a champ. Ok, not that strongly, but you know what I'm saying..   in the Hi-Rez, I could feel every footstrike and adjust on the fly. 

Sprinting in these shoes was a blast! I was up on the balls of my feet and could feel it. It was actually... fun. Even the walking recovery was fun, feeling each foot land and truly feeling connected.  I did run entirely on sidewalk, which was still damp from rain. I stepped on a wet leaf at one point while sprinting, and felt slippage, but was gone too fast for it to effect me. Taking these out on a long run, I'm not sure how they would react to terrain, but I'll test that eventually. 

The one drawback I noticed was that I came home with a blister on the top of my pinky toe, and a teeny blister atop my foot where my big toe connects. It was my first time out though, and I did not wear a sock. It could be materials that need to break in a little, could be that I need a very thin sock. It did not feel like a sizing issue, so I'll play with that a bit. 

Overall, if you're a barefoot runner who wants just a little protection, or a Minimus Zero devotee that wants to try the next step closer to barefoot, try the Hi-Rez. I won't promise they'll replace your every day shoe, but you will feel the fun in running again. 

Note: This post was in no way sponsored or compensated. I purchased this shoe and wanted to share with you my thoughts on the gear I use. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Recipe: Paleo Sautéed Shrimp with Roasted Butterball Potatoes

Cravings. We've all been there. Yup.

Today, I wanted shrimp. I had NO idea what to do with it. So I bought shrimp, brought it home, realized I had some good ingredients hanging around, including the dill plant I'm growing.

Before you panic, rant, scream, or throw something at the computer, I know, I know "potatoes aren't paleo!!!" "And neither are those green beans on your plate!!!" I get it. They are 'grey area' foods. If you don't like them... make the shrimp and skip the potatoes. Even better, cook this and eat it. Period. Yum.

- 1 lb. shrimp
-1 Tbsp. fresh dill
-4 Tbsp. butter (Kerrygold is awesome)
-dash garlic powder
-1/2 lb. green beans
-1/2 lb. German butterball potatoes, diced into bite size pieces
-1/4 yellow onion, chopped into bite-size pieces
-3 cloves garlic, peeled and just barely crushed
-rosemary to taste
-olive oil to coat
-salt and pepper to season
-1 squeeze lemon juice

Preheat oven to 450. Add potatoes, onions, garlic and desired amount of rosemary. Toss to coat. Spread in a single layer on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Roast for 30 minutes. 

Cook green beans as desired. 

In a saucepan, melt the butter. Add dill, a dash of garlic powder and a dash of salt. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add shrimp and cook through. Once cooked, squeeze lemon over shrimp. 


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Recipe: Paleo Maple Balsamic Steak Salad

Hey! Summer finally arrived! I guess it's not fair to say "finally". Technically, it arrived right on time, on the first day of summer. Nice mild start... June 21, bam! high 80s!

The warm temps lent themselves to a couple things...  First, that first time you go run in the 80-degree weather? Yuck!! I planned for 5 miles. Then I planned for 4 miles. Then I got out there, wanted to pass out after 1.5 miles, finished up 2 miles and started walking. But I did not wimp out. Go me! Since I was still 2 miles from home, I finished my route by doing 8 rounds of 30 second sprints with a minute and a half of walking. Yes, I was smoked.

The other perk of the newly-found heat? Don't make me turn on my oven!!!  Don't trap me inside! Seriously, summer comes around, and it just feels... right to grill.

But what could I grill? I had thawed a grass-fed London Broil for a different recipe, and we had just received our Door-to-Door Organics delivery... Grilled steak salad!


Dressing                                                              Marinade
-1/4 C. balsamic vinegar                                      -1/2 C. balsamic vinegar
-1/2 C. maple syrup                                             -1/2 C. maple syrup
-1 Tbsp. dijon mustard                                         -1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
-1 tsp. garlic powder                                            -1/2 tsp. garlic powder
-dash salt/pepper                                                  -dash salt/pepper
-1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
-2/3 C. olive oil

-1/2 (or more) red onion, sliced
-2 (or more) pears, peeled, cored and sliced
-1 pound London Broil
-1/2 C. walnut pieces
-2-3 C. desired lettuce (we had a mix of kale, green leaf, and arugula)

First, mix the marinade ingredients. Place steak in a large bag or container, pour marinade over. Let sit in fridge for at least 2 hours (mine sat 5 hours).

Add all the dressing ingredients and mix until well blended. Let cool in the fridge until the salad is done.

Toast your walnut pieces at 375 for 5-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

Heat up your grill!  I found some grill toppers designed for veggies, and highly recommend using them so your pears and onions don't fall through the grill. Once the grill is hot, add your steak. At the same time, put on your onion slices. Cook the steak to your desire level of doneness. I cooked 5 minutes on one side and 8 on the other.

Add the pears approximately 5 minutes after the steak and onions. 'Stir' the pears and onions at least once.  Be sure to let the steak stand at least 5 minutes before slicing.

Slice the steak, add all your ingredients together, top with dressing. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Running On My Own Two Feet...

I'm not sure if it's my age, my slow descent from 'newlywed' to 'boring old married lady with no kids', or my constant state of life upheaval, but I feel like I'm constantly, daily trying to find myself.

On the job front, this is easily explained. My career is a series of intentional and unintentional interruptions. I feel like I've spent my entire career fighting really hard to make lateral movements. A fun year doing what I want, a year starting my 'professional career', almost a year trying to find a job after moving to a city I knew I loved, a bit more than a year working a job I enjoyed, a layoff, a move out of the city and another period of almost a year trying to find a job. I feel a touch like a football player with fancy feet who jukes left, jukes right, it all looks pretty, and in the end, he gained... one yard. Or the line of scrimmage.

In terms of fitness, it's almost more complicated. Say what you want, the fitness world is full of influence, and trying to find yourself once you're in can be just as complicated and challenging as the initial decision to make the commitment, jump in and focus on health.

Consider my initial battle with paleo/gluten-free vs. whole grains. My husband had gone Paleo, and I fought for at least a year. I liked bread, and the prevailing message is all about "healthy whole grains"! It wasn't until I made the personal decision to try a gluten-free trial that I made any progress, and now that I know I'm not very tolerant of gluten, it's a lifestyle that is truly my choice. But, especially given my husband, the lines between the Paleo and gluten-free communities constantly blur. We eat primarily Paleo, but we both eat some forms of dairy, and I will occasionally have rice. It's what works for me. So, easy, self found, right?

Not so fast.

I was at the Vitamin Shoppe and somehow the cashier, another customer and I began discussing Paleo. First, she stared at me in shock because I let her know that actually, I do eat dairy. Then she went into a long discussion with herself about how she's trying so hard to give up eggs because she's heard bad things about what they do to people. I left shaking my head. Eggs? And in the name of what? Was she having personal problems with eggs, or was it just the message her personal Paleo community was preaching to her?  Influence on self.

Consider working out. I have now run two half marathons. I am extremely proud of that. And yet, by following the Paleo community, I've recently been exposed to numerous articles warning me of the dangers of endurance cardio. It's not healthy, you won't lose weight, heck, you might even harm yourself!! Posted alllll over social media. So...  exercising isn't enough, you have to do it in the right way, or risk the scorn and judgement of strangers? Eyeroll.

Even within running, look at the schools of thought on shoes. Traditional padded shoes or minimal shoes? People will judge you no matter which choice you make.

Ultimately, it comes back to the lesson that I think we all struggle to learn..  do what is right for you, and stand firm in it. I enjoy running; I will run. I think running and strength training can live in harmony; I will push myself to lift heavy and run long. Minimal shoes work for me; I will run minimal. I like the occasional rice, a glass of wine, and darn it, I like cheese; I will eat these things. I will read the articles, listen to advice and opinions, consider the evidence, and come to my own conclusions about my own health. I will stand, or run, on my own two feet.

Me? I eat dairy, I drink wine, sometimes I eat rice or potato chips. I wear Nike shorts and minimal New Balance shoes. I truly hate pushups, and can't currently do a pull-up. I prefer organic. I eat clean. I lift heavy and I run long.

Now if I could just figure out all that other job, what to be when I grow up, what color to paint the room type stuff...