Registered for my first half marathon!

In my first post, I stated a goal of mine was to run a half marathon in early 2013. I have taken the first step in achieving that goal by registering for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series event in St. Petersburg, FL on February 10th! I am so excited for this one because the course mostly runs along beautiful St. Pete Beach, and it features live bands every couple of miles. What a fun way to keep everyone motivated and entertain the crowd!

This means I am going to get serious about training now. With the weather cooling off in Gainesville, I know I will be able to run farther than I have been with the heat. I am going to follow a more regimented training schedule starting next week to better keep track of my progress and be sure I can complete the 13.1 miles in under 1:45! I will keep you posted!

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Pronation: Choosing the right shoe for your foot.

The kind of shoe you run in is essential to the success of your long-distance runs. Many novice runners will make the mistake of bargain hunting for their first pair of shoes because they don’t know how long they will continue running. Running in the wrong shoe can lead to pain and muscle trauma in your entire foot and legs, so spending the extra time and money on a quality pair is definitely worth it! It took me a couple of pairs before finding my sole-mate (see what I did there?).

What is Pronation?

Pronation is the rolling of the foot from heel to toe through the foot strike. A proper (neutral) pronation is hitting the outside of the heel and up to ball of your foot evenly across the front. This is the least stressful on the foot from repeated impact with the ground. However some people over-pronate, or under-pronate.

Over-pronaters run mostly on the outside of their foot. They should consider purchasing a motion-controlled running shoe.

Under-pronaters run on the inside of their foot. They should consider purchasing a neutral-cushioned running shoe. 

Neutral-pronaters who run evenly through their foot should consider purchasing a stability running shoe

You can look at your current pair of shoes and see where the shoe is most worn to determine what kind of runner you are.

My pair of Asics are the perfect shoe for me and I am on about my 7th pair. I am a mild over pronator with wider feet. Their are roomy in the front and still fit snugly on the heel so I have never had any problems with blisters during long runs. They are also more supportive than Nike’s women’s running shoes in my experience, but I do have friends who prefer Nike over Asics as well.

Another Tip: Head to a real running store for help from experts and a wide range of shoes to chose from. A lot of stores also have treadmills so you can give your shoes a test run.

 

Tis the season! Healthy pumpkin loaf

Fall is here! You know this because Starbucks is serving the famous pumpkin spice latte. Cans of pumpkins greet you first thing at the grocery. And I even ordered a pumpkin martini at happy hour the other day. 

I love pumpkin goodies but they often involve lots of oil, butter, and sugar. I decided I wanted to get in the fall spirit by baking a pumpkin loaf, but one that I wouldn’t feel guilty about. I found this recipe that replaces oil with applesauce and greek yogurt. Cutting out LOTS of fat and calories. I was afraid it wouldn’t taste as good as the real deal but it was just and sweet, moist and delicious! The yogurt adds protein and pumpkin is chock full of health benefits as well. I am going to eat some tomorrow morning for breakfast before I complete my favorite stadium routine!

How do you all modify your favorite recipes to make them more nutritional? 

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Simple Stadiums Routine

Here is a circuit you can do at any football stadium or even just tall set of outdoor stairs. I love doing stadiums because you get your heart beating fast quickly and can start burning calories faster. Also I love spending time in the Swamp whenever I can 🙂

This fat-blasting circuit includes:

  • Burpees
  • Tummy-Tuck Push ups
  • V-sits
  • Tricep Bench Dips
  • Shoulder push-ups

You can do this whole circuit in about 50 minutes, get your cardio in for the day, and strengthen and tone your whole body!

This video is from the Tone It Up workout company and blog. Karena and Katrina are awesome and I use them all the time for recipe ideas, work out videos, and fitness inspiration. Check them out here : http://toneitup.com/index.php

Tough Mudder 2012: Yes? or NO WAY

 

A friend of mine recently asked me if I would like to join his team for the Tough Mudder event in Tampa on December 1st. I had heard of these extreme challenge courses before but went to the event’s website to get more information. According their site, a Tough Mudder event is a “hardcore 10-12 mile obstacle courses designed by British Special Forces to test your all around strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie.”. This video was also available, highlighting some of the obstacles and doing a very good job of intimidating the heck out of me.

Some of the obstacles include:

  • Swim through the ice, under a wooden plank and pull yourself out on the other end
  • Sprint through a field of live wires — some carrying as much as 10,000 volts of electric shock
  • Run through a trench of blazing, kerosene-soaked straw
  • Swing Tarzan-style across a series of hanging rings suspended over a pool of ice-cold water

And the list goes on and on. The question running through my mind is “Could I ever survive this kind of brute torture?”. I am a long distance runner, not a Navy SEAL. The only reason I want to complete this is so I can be a total bad ass. Because anyone who can finish this race deserves that title. Will keep you updated on my decision!

“Don’t Make Me Think” Review

“Don’t Make Me Think” by Steve Krug is a great asset to people trying to create user-friendly websites. Krug uses business websites for most of his examples but all of the tactics discussed would greatly improve the layout, functionality, and overall impression of any kind of webpage.  The title of the handbook, “Don’t Make Me Think” could basically be the tagline for his consulting business based on his teaching methods. He explains that webmasters over-estimate the attention users give their website. We don’t start at the top and read all of the copy, labels, or even look at all the pictures. We are scanning quickly and erratically for key words. We don’t want to have to think about what to click next or where to look for the search bar, the website should make it easy for us. The faster we find them and understand how to navigate the page, the easier our experience is, and we gain trust in the business and their website. Krug uses human tendencies recorded from his own research to guide webmasters in designing and writing for websites that are efficient and effective.

The fact is websites should be treated like a billboard for a company, not a brochure. Web users are looking for specific words or phrases. Good, clear design can help steer your customer in the right direction. Visual hierarchy draws attention to the most important details, and shows accurately the relationship between things on a page. Important text should be larger, bolded or a different color, to differentiate it from other words. Staying true to conventions also makes for user-friendly web design.  Some web designers fail here for the sake of trying to be creative or innovative with their designs. However, conventions work because humans are creatures of habit. For instance, I always look in the upper right hand corner of the homepage. I am conditioned to do this because it has become a convention most websites follow. If I can’t find it there, I may become frustrated and move on to another site. Or the quality of my experience and trust in this specific company or organization might fall. It is also important to make things that are clickable obvious. The idea is to get customers to move beyond the homepage, so this step is key. Using actual icons that look like buttons is the best bet in my opinion.

The home page is the most important page of a website. A Krug puts it; homepages are the “waterfront property” of the Internet. Users have a choice of what pages to navigate to away from the homepage, but everyone starts there, so it must appeal to all kinds of people. It should answer the following questions within a few seconds of glancing:

 

  1. What is this?
  2. What can I do here?
  3. What to they have here?
  4. Why should I be here?

If the homepage can answer these questions, while having a visually appealing layout, you have a much higher chance of reeling in the customer, and keeping them at your page.