Saturday, January 28, 2012

We were tagged

Jeff at Barefoot Inclined tagged us. How exciting, this is our first blogging tag. This should be fun.

1. Post these rules.
2. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
3. Answer the questions set for you in your tagger's post.
4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
5. Go to their blogs and tell them you’ve tagged them
6. No stuff in the tagging section about "you are tagged if you are reading this." You legitimately have to tag 11 people! (I left it at 5...)

11 random things about us

1. We have 7 children under the age of 10 

2. We currently homeschool 4 of them, Grade 4, 2, 1 and K (we'll homeschool the others when they are old enough)

3. We met at youth group at our church, I thought Kyle was a dork. (still do) (Kyle: I've made her into one too. Dorks FTW!!)

4. We love Dr. Who

5. We are slightly addicted to Apple products

6. Robbie is the lead singer at our church

7. Kyle play the bagpipes, complete with Kilt, sporran, skean dhu, tall wool socks and ghillie brogues.

8. We drive a massively messy 15 passenger van complete with 4 carseats and 3 booster seats

9. We have a Bearded dragon, Crocodile Gekco, and Dwarf hamster. We have had 5 dogs, a Guinea pig, cannibal mice and a handful of hamsters in the past, they have all found better homes except the mice who ate each other.

10. Kyle bought me a Roomba for my birthday, it is my favourite gift ever!

11. We are not sure if we are done adding kids to our family yet. Waiting to see what God has planned.

Jeff's Questions:

1.  What is the most physically motivating song on your playlist? 
Robbie: I listen to audio books 
Kyle: Move by Mercy Me 
2.  Do you have a bucket or "life" list?
Robbie: No
Kyle: No
3.  If yes, how many have you checked off?  If no, why not?
Robbie+Kyle: too busy living life to write one
4.  Why do you blog?
We blog so that we can talk about barefoot running, no one will listen to us otherwise, and this way we can't be interrupted by 7 demanding kids
5.  First foolish thing you would spend money on after winning the lottery?
Robbie: tummy tuck and a servant
Kyle: ipad 2, iphone 4s and a 17in macbook pro (see I told you we have an Apple problem)
6.  Best Christmas memory?
Robbie: the year my youngest son was born, I had 3 babies under 2 that Christmas and it was crazy fun
Kyle: Our oldest daughter's first Christmas, we all woke up at 4am to let her open presents
7.  Favorite part of the day?
Robbie: workout time, it is my 'me' time I look forward to it all day
Kyle: bedtime!!!!!
8.  What was the last movie you saw?
Robbie: Pride and Prejudice 
Kyle: Real Steel
9. Last book read?
Robbie: Choosing to see by Mary Beth Chapman
Kyle: The Monster in the Hollows by Andrew Peterson
10. What country would you most like to visit and why?
Robbie: Where ever Kyle wants to go because I like to be with him (I don't really want to travel)
Kyle: Scotland because it would be awesome to see the castles
11.  What was for breakfast today?
Robbie: full fat honey greek yogurt (mmm it is like yogurt crack)
Kyle: strawberry smoothie with a gluten free banana muffin

Okay so that was fun but we aren't going to tag anyone because we are lame and have no friends.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Off topic post.

Well it has been a long time since I have sat down to blog. I finally got my coaching post up, but I haven't been doing much blogging lately. Things around our home have been crazy!!! First off Kyle and I are foster parents. We have had a very special little girl with us since Dec. 2010. She came to live with us straight from the hospital. She is now 1 and should be going up for adoption soon. We are in the process of trying to adopt her. This process is hard and much like a roller coaster. Some days we are hopeful and others we are sure that the workers are crazy and have no idea what they are doing. It is also a very long process. I believe that trial won't be set until some time in the fall of this year, and that is only to terminate parental rights The trial to finalize the adoption probably won't happen until sometime next year. Anyways with all of this there is a lot of stress. Thank God I am running. I think that I would have lost my mind if I couldn't run to relieve the stress. I am amazed at how much better I feel when I run.

On top of this stress I have been having multiple health problems. It seems so weird to me that now that I am a healthy weight I am falling apart. When I was morbidly obese I never darkened the door of my Dr's office and now it seems I am making an appearance there weekly. Back in July I had my gallbladder removed by emergency surgery. I knew that I had problems a year before that but I was able to keep the attacks away because of my diet change, but all it took was a piece of pizza and I was in extreme pain. The surgeon found too many stones to count and so my gallbladder had to go. Fast forward to now and I have had nothing but trouble with my stomach since. I have had pain everyday since the surgery and I have had a lot of trouble eating most foods. Seriously I think I eat 10 different foods and that's it. I finally went in to see my Dr earlier this month and we got ultrasounds and blood tests and tried to see if there were stones in my bile duct. Nope, no stones. The symptoms were even getting worse landing me in the ER again. The ER Dr believes that I have a blockage somewhere between my stomach and my small intestine. I am also not digesting the foods that I eat. They took x-rays of my GI tract and found that I was full (blush). No wonder I was in so much pain. After a week of killer laxatives and other drugs I was actually feeling worse. My stomach has been swelling when I eat since my surgery but now the swelling made me look 8 months pregnant. I still wasn't  moving anything and I was in pain. I went back to my Dr and he suggested that I was probably suffering from Celiac disease. Celiac can be triggered by abdominal surgery. The idea is that I had latent Celiac disease that was triggered, or turned on, by my gallbladder surgery. So for now until I can get in for testing, I am gluten free. I have had a good experience so far, the swelling is coming down and the pain is better. I am still very constipated (TMI sorry) but I am hoping that this is the answer. It hasn't been as hard as I thought to avoid gluten. I didn't eat many grains before this so I am not missing anything too terribly yet. I am sure that it will be going out to eat that is the worst. I will need to eat gluten again for 2 weeks before my test so I am saving all of my cravings for those two weeks. I figure if I am going to be in pain from the gluten I might as well eat what I want.

On top of all of this craziness I have also had heart issues. Way back last fall I had a bunch of tests, blood tests, EKG, urine test all to check what my new normal was now that I am half my prior size. Everything was great except my EKG, there was an abnormality. My Dr was sure it was nothing and just a fluke of the test, so he had me repeat it. Well I didn't get around to repeating it until I went in for my blood work a couple weeks ago. Any guess what, it wasn't a  fluke. I have a non-specific abnormality on my EKG. I have no idea what that means. I am going to see a cardiologist on Tuesday. My Dr wants an echo cardiogram (fancy ultrasound of the heart) and a stress test to make sure my heart is ok. So far I am allowed to run. I am supposed to wear my heart rate monitor and be sure that my heart rate isn't jumping around and I am to stop if I feel faint or unwell. Fun times. I figured I would update you all about the craziness going on around here. I am so thankful that I have an outlet to get rid of this stress. I am not sure what will happen if I have to stop.

Anyone else gluten free? What are your favourite meals?

Natural Running Coaching

I am sure by now if you are following the barefoot movement, you have heard the debate and commentary for and against barefoot running coaching. There are those who say that to run barefoot without injury all you need to do is ditch the shoes and listen to your body. Others say that while ditching your shoes can be good, it is more important to learn to run with proper form with a coach. Both schools believe that form is important. Trust me if you have ever heel striked in bare feet you know that form is important. Ouch! When I first began to run without shoes I really felt like all I ever needed was me and my feet and the information that the ground gave me to help me run injury free. Unfortunately I live in a climate that really only allows for complete barefoot running about 5 months of the year. At least for me this is true. I know there are some hardcore barefooters out there who would run all through our nasty winters without shoes, but I just don't see me doing this. So after a few weeks of blissful barefoot running I had to put on some shoes to keep my feet warm and safe. For me keeping my feet warm is crucial as I have Raynaud's phenomenon so when my fingers and toes get cold I experience a lot of pain. Not so good for running without shoes in Canada. So I started running in minimalist shoes, first vibrams then in water shoes. The difference in my running form was slight but significant. I began to experience tightness in my calfs and running became less fun. If you look back here you can see that I was less than thrilled about running. It seemed like so much work, trying to get my form right and dealing with pain when I couldn't. This is when Kyle and I decided that a Natural Running Coaching session could really help. See it is quite hard to get the feedback from your feet when your feet are covered by thick wool socks and shoes, no matter how thin those shoes are.

So after that long introduction about why we chose to get coaching, let me tell you about my experience with it. Tina sent us a video of the basic mechanics of running. It detailed that there are 3 main running forms. Heel striking over strider, Forefoot striking over strider, and the elusive Natural running form.

The heel striking over-strider is the form most shod runners, and some minimalist runners use. The heel hits the ground first way out in front of the body and then the trail leg follows. There is a large distance between the front and back leg. 

The forefoot striking over-strider is where most barefoot and minimalist newbies fall. This is where I was. basically I was landing on my forefoot but reaching to far forward with my feet thus not landing under my body.  As you can see in my video I was leaning way back. I was my way of being sure I was leaning forward but like with many things I took it too far. The coaching helped fix somethings immediately but I was very disconnected with my body and I had a hard time adjusting and doing the things Tina told me. I couldn't for the life of me tip my hips in the right direction. I was disappointed after the session, not with Tina or the coaching but with my inability to 'fix' my running form. I may or may not have a problem with not being perfect at the things I do. I wanted to be a natural runner without needing to change anything.

Thankfully, Tina sent me home with so exercises to do and some ideas about how I can get my hips and feet under me. In the next weeks I practiced and practiced and I noticed my running form was getting better. I could figure out where my hips should be and I was able to shorten my stride. I still have to work on my cadence, I am a little slow. Every time I up my cadence it feels like hard work and I stop doing it. I really love running but I don't like running to feel like hard work.

Kyle and I met up with Tina at Martin Parnell's Right to Play run in Cochrane on Dec 31st. She offered to tape us running again. I was so surprised at how much better my form was.

My feet were under my body, I wasn't leaning and my cadence was getting better. I am so thrilled!!!

I now understand that Natural Running Coaching isn't a one stop fix it. It is a lesson, a tool to use in this journey to natural and barefoot running. I would do it again and probably I will check in with Tina every now and then to tune up any sloppiness that I am sure will come. I recommend getting a coaching session at some point in your journey. It is amazing how great running feels now. I am injury free and I feel like I am flying again when I run. An added bonus, I am faster now too, without really any added effort. How cool is that?

I highly recommend Tina and her coaching. She is offering coaching in person right now and I have heard a rumour that she may be adding some online coaching as well. Check her out, you will love her, I know that I am thrilled and so happy that we jumped in and had our coaching session. If you have had natural running coaching, did you like it? Did your form change? If you get a hold of Tina for coaching I'd love to hear how it went for you.

Take care,

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Almost Barefoot Running in January

Well the snow finally hit again this morning. I am so thankful that we have had such a dry and mild winter so far. When I first started running barefoot I was sure that my time was limited with the winter approaching but I have been pleasantly surprised.

I wanted to comment on my run last night. Run Here I started out for a 5 miles run. I cannot believe that my next race is just over a month away. I began in my water shoes and felt good. I was being sure to pull myself back and keep my pace slow and easy. I have been working on my form (I'll post soon about my coaching session with Tina) and as my form has been improving I have been getting faster. It is quite hard to go slow now but I know that it important for my health that I have some easy runs. A mile in I was feeling quite warm and I saw that there was very minimal ice on the sidewalks, so I took off my shoe and ran the rest of my run in my wool socks. Ah Freedom. It was wonderful. Of course the ground feel in just my socks was great, I even noticed that I could run over the tiny rocks that they use to sand our streets, without feeling pain. I felt them and knew that I was running on rocks but somehow it didn't register as pain. I ran over some ice and it wasn't a big deal, I slipped a little once but I didn't fall or even really have to catch myself. I did run on what I thought was ice but it turned out to be a small puddle my toes were immediately wet but somehow dried very fast and I was never cold. My only complaint of the whole run had nothing to do with my shoes or socks. The Running Room has a run clinic on Monday evenings in my neighbourhood. I have often seen them out running and have run past them on a number of occasions. Last night I ran past the group twice in the opposite direction (face to face). I was annoyed. Twice as I ran past these women they were running 3 wide and THEY DIDN'T MOVE! Yes I am yelling. Both times I had to jump into the grass and run (somewhat dangerous in my socks and in the dark, there could have been anything in the grass and I wouldn't have seen it). Seriously it seems like they think that because they pay for this run and are running with the Running Room that they own the sidewalk. This isn't even the first time I have noticed this with Running Room groups. In the past I have encountered groups that run 2-3 across the sidewalk, groups that run on the wrong side of the path, and every time they DON'T MOVE.  Not sure what they teach in those clinics but I would think that basic running etiquette would be nice. Seriously, who does that? Next time it happens I am going to stand still and let them smack into me if they decide not to move. Really it's so maddening. (sorry vent over)

When I got home from my run, I checked out my socks and my feet and I am super happy that my wear patterns were right where they should be. Between my first and second toe and on my heel (from when you put your heel down after the initial contact with your forefoot).
See the darker spots between my 1st and 2nd toes.

I have been very guilty of not letting my heel touch the ground ever. This has lead to sore calves. After this run I was pain free and feeling good. IF only the snow hadn't come today. I was looking forward to getting out in just my socks again. I am noticing that after being in just my socks my watershoes feel tight. I have wide feet and even a bunion on my left foot and really need a super wide shoe. Kyle and I are looking into ordering Stems soon. Oh and I won a pair of Invisible shoes from Jeff over at Thanks again Jeff. I am crazy excited to get these, I never win anything so this is so sweet. I think I will be ordering a pair of custom shoes, I just have to decide what colour of laces I want.

My sweet wool socks from Marks Work Warehouse.
So that is what I've been up to lately. I will be posting about my experience with Natural Running Coaching right away. It was so awesome. A little birdie told me that very soon Tina will be offering online coaching as well as in person coaching. I cannot express how wonderful and helpful the coaching session was. I recommend it to anyone and really everyone who wants to run naturally, it is like a fast forward button to learning how to run without shoes. But I'll save my full review for my next post.

Take care,

Monday, January 02, 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!!

Yeah, I know. It's been quite a while since we have posted. We have been a little busy with the holidays and not much in the mood for posting I guess. Ah well. Even though I haven't been posting it doesn't mean that we haven't been running. Thankfully we have still been doing a lot of that. My last post I talked about a run on the 20th of December where I was able to get out barefoot. Well I was able to do the same again on Christmas Eve.

Christmas Eve this year landed on a Saturday, which is my long run day. Since Robbie didn't want to add in a long run on Christmas as well as all the other stuff we had to do (Opening presents, going to Church, driving her sister to the airport, and then going to my parents house for Christmas) she had her long run on Christmas Eve too. Thankfully we were able to squeeze both in without too much trouble.

My long run was set for 12 miles and it was great. I started running in my water shoes. It wasn't too cold and thankfully the pathways were pretty clear. Oh wait, that reminded me of Robbie's run earlier in the day. She warned me that some of the less maintained pathways were really icy. She proved that by finding a nice downhill section while she was going pretty fast, being unable to find somewhere with traction and slipping on the ice trying to slow down. Down she went and she slammed her elbow and her head into the ground. Ouch. She phoned me at that point. I was all set to drive out and get where when she decided that she was okay and that she wanted to finish out her run. She's a Rockstar.
The pathway that took out my wife.

Anyways after Robbie's warning I stuck to the well maintained pathways running along Deerfoot Trail. Got 6 miles down and then started to head back. At that point I decided that it was warm enough to barefoot it for a while. And so I did. Wonderful. I do love the sensations of it although I did get many stares at the weird guy running with no shoes on. So that was my Christmas Eve run. My runner's knee was bugging me off and on, which sucked, but it was okay.

The pathway I ran on. Nice and clear.
Water shoes?
Off they go for 2 miles! Woot!
One annual tradition that our Church does is to have a family Communion on Christmas Eve. It may not be the most convenient thing, but it is definitely one of the most special things that we as a family do. In what is such a busy time, with rushing here and there and the pressures and everything else that happens at Christmas, it's nice to have some time to just stop, relax, breath and meet with God as a family. The Church is always done up very nicely with candles everywhere (which freaks my mom out) and it's always a much needed time.

Then we had Christmas. The kids got spoiled like always, although Robbie and I did a lot better at not giving them too much. The kids didn't get too many presents but you know what? They didn't even seem to notice. So happy about that. For Christmas Robbie got me some CEP compression sleeves, which I love and have been so thankful to have. I got her a pretty purple running jacket from MEC.

After Christmas I had a couple shorter runs. 4 miles in my water shoes and 5.3 miles in my Neos. Not much to say about those runs except that my knee was bugging me. The second run was supposed to be 6 miles, but I had to cut it short because my knee was bugging me too much. It was at this point that I decided that after the half-marathon that Saturday that I was going to take a week off (at least) to try and get my knee to feel better. I hate feeling limited strictly by my knee and I need to get better. No sense in being stupid about this.

Next was the Martin Parnell race in Cochrane. This was an annual race to help fund-raise for Right to Play. It started at 9 for the marathon distance. Robbie and I both decided to do the half-marathon distance. It was a super casual race, well not really a race, more like a run. The course was just a 2.5 km out and back along a pathway (that was also an off-leash dog run. Almost stepped on a couple of little dogs. Fun times. Thankfully there were no aggressive dogs out). So we went back and forth about 11 times until my Garmin said we had run at least 13.1 miles. I decided to run in my Neos and Robbie chose her water shoes. Here is my Runkeeper link for the run so you can see how exciting the course was. ;)

Martin Parnell run in Cochrane.
This was a fun run. No pressure, just get out and run. The wind was pretty strong going one way. So I froze my bits off going one way and warmed them up going back. The difference between running the one direction and the other was quite startling. We managed though. :) The aid station had water, hot chocolate, coffee, shortbread cookies and fruit leathers. Not the typical aid station but you could stop whenever you felt like it for however long you felt like it. Martin Parnell was there as well as ultrarunner Ellie Greenwood. Kinda cool running with people you see on the cover of running magazines.
Robbie rocking it.

Even better though was meeting up with the other barefoot runners we know. We ran with Toe-Girl Tina for a while and near the end ran into Paul and family and Barefoot Neil and family. It was a great time and we were glad to get out there.
Paul. He ran ~8k barefoot (after wearing his Kevlar socks for the first little bit)

I hope everyone else had a wonderful Christmas holiday. Tomorrow I'm back to work, but the upside is that since it it now January I can go to Riva's Eco Store and buy my Neo Trails. Woot!!! So looking forward to that.