Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Several weeks ago, I posted a blog about my struggle with being a SAHM. I have a hard time with the lack of social contact with adults. Plus, we are so broke financially right now, and I WANT to help, but me working a "real" 5-day-a-week job is just not worth it with the cost of childcare. So, it seems like an endless cycle....
BUT, I am taking classes from a German trade-school, preparing myself to possibly have my own cafe or party service/catering business??? Not sure which. I just know I LOVE this sort of stuff, and especially cooking!! But I also lack a great deal of experience in the professional kitchen.
There is a cafe in my little tiny village that I live in here in Germany, and they are only open on the weekends. I wanted to possible get a job, just work a few hours a week, gain experience in the field, since that is what I am interested in, and have fun. Plus, it will give me an opportunity to get to know some other adults, especially people from my immediate area, which I think is GREAT!! My neighbors know the 2 owners (2 ladies from our village) personally, and spoke to the owners about me, putting in a good word for me! Of course, everyone in this village knows EVERYONE!! And my neighbors also gave me the names and phone numbers of the owners, so I could contact them.
So, this morning, I am out running. I had done my 4-mile tempo run, came back, changed into my Vibrams, and went out for another quick run. I am running along, when I noticed someone coming up behind me on a bike in the dark (very common occurance, really.) So, I moved to the side of the trail, and kept running, when I heard the lady say, "Excuse me, do you have a minute?" in German. I turned to see a lady who, oddly enough, I had seen quite often over the last 2 years while out on my morning runs. She was always riding a bike, and would always greet me with a friendly smile, like we knew each other, even though we didn't!!
As it turns out, SHE was one of the owners of the cafe!! She asked me if I was the one asking about the job (my neighbors told her I was the one who is always running!), and told me to definitely come by on Sunday evening! She said, I could work for a few weeks and try it out, see if it is a good fit. They don't pay big $$ or anything, but the cafe is a WALKING distance from my house, less than half a mile, and my husband would be home with the kids, so no child-care costs!!
This is going to be a great opportunity for me!! I am going to go in on Sunday, and see how it goes. This is also going to be such a HUGE help as far as my schooling program goes!! One of the owners (not sure which) is a "master" (as Germans call it) in the field I am studying, so she will have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share.
On a different subject, though job-related, my husband might have some MAJOR, MAJOR changes coming up in his job. MAJOR. DRASTIC. He works for his aunt and uncle (horrible people to work for, though we stick it out and make it work), who own a BMW dealership here in Germany. My husband is the "heir", so to speak, of the family business, though he has not always been sure if that is what he wants. Anyway, the BMW corporation has made some stipulations on their dealership that his aunt and uncle do not want to do, that is basically forcing them to either hand the business over to the younger generation (a.k.a. MY HUSBAND) or lose their BMW contract......
Not sure what is going to happen with this... We are supposed to get an answer on Friday about what my husband and his aunt and uncle will have to do to keep the BMW contract. As of now, it looks like my husband will have to start an entirely NEW dealership in a different city in our area, so he wouldn't even answer to his aunt and uncle anymore... This could be the break we have been waiting for... It's all very uncertain at this point, though...
Ugghhh. I hate the anticipation and uncertainty.
Anyway, Off to the gym this morning, my SparkPeeps!! Gonna go get my some ST in!
Monday, January 10, 2011
I ran just that one mile on Saturday with my new Vibram FiveFinger Bikilas, immediately following my normal run. The shoes felt great! Yesterday, I definitely had some tenderness in my calves!! But the soreness wasn't overwhelming, just a bit tender. It was about 42° out, and although I stepped in a bunch of ice-cold puddles, my feet didn't feel cold at all, even without socks. I did the same thing this morning, running my normal planned 7 miles, then a mile with my VFFs. This morning was colder - 34° or so - and frosty, but my feet were not cold. I think the fact that my feet are already warmed up from running helps greatly. I also like doing it right after my normal run, because my muscles are already warmed up, and I am already dressed for running. So, so far, I am very pleased!! Of course, it has only been 2 miles.... But I am optimistic.
Let's see, I am just starting Week 12 out of 18!!! Really, I only have 4 more weeks of real training before my TAPER! I am really feeling like I can do this. The training has not taken nearly as much out of me as I thought it might. And with only 4 major training weeks left, I am feeling very optimistic that I can do this.
This past week, I did a taper week - I kept my mileage lower, and just enjoyed the week.
Here's what I had planned, and my actual, for Week 11:
Sunday: Rest (Yep!)
Monday: 6-8 miles running, BodyPump
** Actual: Ran 5 mi, then did BP
Tuesday: Rest (Yep!)
Wednesday: run 4 miles
** Actual: Ran 5 miles, and did BP
Thursday: Run 5 miles
** Actual: Ran 6 miles
Friday: Rest (Yep!)
Saturday: Run 10 miles
** Actual: Ran 10.6 miles in normal shoes, then 1 mile in VFFs, so 11.6 miles together.
Plan for Week 12:
Sunday: rest (Yep!)
Monday: Run 7 miles, Pilates
Wednesday: Run 6 miles with Strides, BodyPump
Thursday: Run 6.75 miles with intervals
Saturday: Run 23 (?) miles
I am planning my LONGEST training run this Saturday. I put a question mark by the distance, because I am not sure exactly how far it is. I have picked a loop, and measured it with my car, but it is just an estimate. I strategically planned this run following my taper week, and also far enough before my race that I (hopefully) have a little time to recover and it not hinder me. I will take it VERY SLOWLY, and do the first half or more in strict Galloway 4/1 intervals, and then see what I feel like from there. So, that is my plan!!
Wishing everyone a wonderful week!! Happy Running!!
Sunday, January 09, 2011
I know, I know, I already blogged today, but THIS IS SOOOOOO IMPORTANT!!!
I have been missing my wedding ring since a couple/few weeks before Christmas. I normally wear it RELIGIOUSLY: to bed, to work out, in the shower... ALWAYS. But I am taking a schooling course here in Germany where we are learning cooking, and proper food prep.
Well, the last time I distinctly remembered having it was my last cooking class, on Dec. 7th, when I took it off, and put it in my pocket at school. I thought I vaguely remembered having it in my pocket the next day, but could NOT FOR THE LIFE OF ME remember putting it back on after that, or anything...
It made me extremely sad. I looked everywhere, stip searched my bedroom, the bathroom, the kids rooms, the livingroom, everywhere I could think of. I was beginning to think that it was gone forever. I have woken up several different nights thinking about it, and wondering where it was. I even dreamed about it on several occasions.
I kept thinking, "ok, right, it is just a possession, just a piece of jewelry. The ring is of less importance than my love and commitment to my husband. Besides, we can always get another one... well, someday when we have some extra money."
But I knew it would not have the same value that my original ring has. I prayed that God would help me find it several times. I mean, we are not talking just a few days here. It has been almost a MONTH!! I knew that God knew where it was, even if I didn't. That helped calm my spirits soooooo much. But I was still sad.
Last night, I had another dream about my ring: I dreamed I found it. I even SAT IN CHURCH THIS MORNING and TOLD my husband about my dream. I told him I was really worried that I wouldn't find it....
Then this afternoon, we were working on putting away all of our Christmas decorations. My hubby brought the boxes for the Christmas stuff out of the attic. I opened a box that had packaging paper in it, and some Christmas plates that I had not used... And THERE WAS MY RING!!
I have no idea HOW it got there. I would have NEVER thought to look there. I just started screaming... "Jan, guess what I just found!!" Almost hysterically. And I started crying. I can't believe I just found my ring. I really thought it was gone.... Forever.
Just thought I would share that special moment with you all today. "Thank you, Lord, for helping me find my ring...."
Sunday, January 09, 2011
Little late getting mine out this week. But I actually got a bathing suit!!! Since I live in Germany and don't need one that often (sadly), I only had a couple from 5-6 years ago that were too big and had saggy butt. So, here are my pictures:
Photos taken Dec. 4th:
Weight: 121 lbs
Photos taken today, Dec. 31st:
Weight: 125 lbs
Photos taken Jan 8th:
Yes, that is right - there was a 3-4 lbs GAIN from the first pictures to the second, so I have no idea why the second look so much better. Just goes to show you, you can't always trust the scale!!!
My whole goal with this challenge is to tone up my tush and abs more. My rear is quite flat, and has plenty of "cushion", shall we say? I would really like to shape and define much more, and lose some of the fat, BUT I am NOT looking to lose weight. However, I still have not changed my exercise program at this time, since the package I am waiting on has not arrived. Right now, I am doing 2 full body ST sessions a week, and would like to be doing 3, and I also want to add more ab workouts in....
So, those are my goals and my pics!! Happy Sparking, everyone!
Saturday, January 08, 2011
So, Yesterday, My VFF Bikilas arrived!!! I was STOKED!! After finding out about these, doing some research online, reading SP message boards, and other such things, I thought these might be a great shoe for me.
For those of you who aren't familiar with these, they are shoes (the Bikilas are the ones designed specifically for running) that similate being barefoot, only that your feet are protected greatly from the elements - sharp objects and other such things. The idea is that our bodies and feet were designed a certain way, which, if we learn to use properly, will prevent injury. For example, our feet work best with a forefoot land, which barefoot running (or running with minimalist shoes like VFFs) helps develop, and a shorter stride. Running with more "forgiving" conventional shoes leads to more heal landing, and longer strides, which leaves runners more injury-prone... well, in theory. I am courageously trying that theory out!! Tenderly and slowly though, because the transition must be done carefully or it can lead to INJURY.
Most of you already saw them in my new profile pic, but I LOVE the hot pink and orange! They are SOOOO me! You would think you would be able to see them a mile away....
But my hubby came home last night, walks in the door (where he could see me), walks around (as well as PAST me) for a few minutes situation his stuff that he brought home from work, goes to the bathroom, comes out (he's home for about 10 minutes at this point), and out of the blue says:
"So, where are they? I wanna see them!" In a somewhat demanding (though playful) tone.
I'm like, "Dude, there on my feet." To which he was really surprised...
ANYWAY, I am planning to keep you all up-to-date on my experience with these.
WHY I chose Vibram FiveFingers:
First off, I LOVE being barefoot. Serious, I hardly wear shoes. I grew up in Washington State out in the country, and I was ALWAYS barefoot. My dad teases me that I never wore shoes until I was 12 years old. In the summer, you will hardly EVER find me with shoes on, and if, they are flip-flops. Wintertime requires shoe-wearing here in Germany, so I do. But often, in the summer, one of my favorite things to do is to run around barefoot, playing tag with my son, which he LOVES too!
I seem to already have naturally good foot form and high arches. I have been properly fitted for running shoes, and since I have high arches, I was told to wear shoes WITHOUT support. Wearing support, I guess, when you don't need it, throws your natural foot posture off. Didn't know this before, so for years, I always thought arch support in my running shoes was important.
My forefeet are wide and toes spread a bit, which helps in transitioning to VFFs.
I already run with a shorter stride. I played around with my stride a LOT during the training for my first 2 HMs, and found that a shorter stride felt easier and less fatiguing, and when combined with a faster turnover, actually INCREASED my pace, but still felt easier!! After doing this, I read from several different sources that a shorter stride is actually much better for runners, because the further out your foot lands from your body, the more impact on your knees, heels, ankles, etc, and the more injury-prone you may be.
I am a naturalist at heart. I love cooking all-natural, I love natural products, natural furniture, things made out of real things like wood or leather. I just like the natural basics, so the idea of learning to run and use my body the way God naturally designed it appeals to me very much.
I already pay €120 for my running shoes, so they are not an increase in price. PLUS, since VFFS do NOT rely on synthetic cushioning, my suspicion is that they will last longer, for more mileage. My running FORM will be the key, not the padding in the shoe, since there is virtually none. So, my guess is, if I get myself transitioned into these shoes, I would need to buy shoes less often. ** However, this is JUST my theory, not based on any info I have read, simply my own reasoning! I will definitely be testing this out to see.
Here is my transition plan:
Even in my normal running shoes, focus on forefoot-landing, not landing on heel. I have already started doing this during several of my runs.
Wear them often, like around the house and such, to get used to the way they feel, and let my feet become accustomed to them. Not hard, since I am a SAHM and am ALWAYS barefoot, unless I have to go somewhere.
On my off-days from my normal training plan, or even after my "normal" run, go out for a quick 1-mile or less run in them.
Once I feel comfortable with them, do my shortest run of the week in them (usually 3-4 miles), and work up slowly from there.
Run on flat surfaces - not hard for me since I run on the pavement. (This is a tip I read referring to first trying them out.)
I took them out this morning for my first official run!! I ran 10.6 miles in my "normal" shoes, then came home briefly, changed shoes, and went out for a mile in my new VFFs! They are VERY VERY comfortable. They fit like gloves!! I didn't have any rubbing of my toes at all, which I was a little concerned about, because they fit so snug. I have bought too-small running shoes before, that felt like they fit in the store, but when I ran in them, the crammed my toes something terrible!! But my VFFs were NOT that way!!
This is what I noticed:
They felt very natural, very comfortable.
The traction was good.
They seemed to lead me quite naturally to a forefoot landing.
Running in them DOES work your muscles differently.
There was no rubbing, except for a little bit on the top of my foot where the opening was.
The socks that I got to go with them make them fit really snug, so I ran without socks. I might try to add the socks again later, we will see.
WARNING: I have read it, heard it stressed over and over that the transition to these shoes MUST be slowly and carefully carried out, since it requires different form and posture, and works your muscles differently. I also read that these shoes may not be for you if you already have achilles problems. Also, if you tend to be a very strong heel-runner or have had heel injuries, I would also think twice. If you require other forms of support in your running shoes, I would also be careful about VFFs. It could be, if transitioned carefully and properly, they can help your issues, but I would just be cautious. It might be a good idea to start running barefoot (a mile or so at a time), and see how it feels before purchasing these shoes. Those are just my tips....
So there you have it, SparkFriends!! My full report for my first day with VFFs!! Hope it is helpful!
Happy Weekend, and Spark on, my friends!!
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