And like magic, 2 weeks turned into 6. It’s been a good period actually, but in wanting to avoid any more roller-coaster accounts of “she’s up! she’s down!” I needed some real time to elapse before I felt ready to talk again.
Right after my last post, I had a couple weeks of suckage but ever since then, it’s been a steady trend upwards. The back pain (psoas) took forever to go and all that’s left is an occasional hip whisper, so as it stands, I’m going to cancel my Jan 30th neurologist appointment. I’ll wait until the week before to make super sure but at this point, I’ve no reason to see anyone. Yay!
As for the running itself, it’s pretty damn good. No screaming off the rooftops about how awesome I am, but my easy paces are back to normal and there are no mysterious anythings. Mileage-wise, I’m getting in a respectable amount per week though I won’t supply an average here because it’s in flux and will continue to be for a while.
The super cool thing is that I’ve begun adding extra stuff to my runs which is a major positive step. It’s all very informal, I don’t care about times, distances or reps at all, but just having the confidence to run harder without fear of wonkiness is magical.
Sometimes I do a few hilly reps by the museum that leave me huffing and puffing, but the fast grassy trip back down is gold, re-teaching me about balance and abandon. I had forgotten what it’s like to fly downhills. And last week I added fartleks and some faster miles. I was super self-conscious about how stiff I must look (certainly felt it) but after a couple surges my body relaxed and it became solid fun. And I had such a feeling of accomplishment afterwards, too!
It’s a happy time outside right now and I’m grateful as hell for it.
The last pieces of the supplement puzzle
A few weeks ago, I dropped my multi-vitamin because some of the ingredients had become redundant with what I was taking separately. Before ditching it, however, I read up on everything it contained so I’d understand the core vitamins/minerals I’d need to replace or could ignore. Minerals, in particular, work together so you have to be aware of the balance/ratios. Magnesium was a major discovery.
In all the years I’ve been supplementing with calcium (ever since I became a runner) not once did I pay attention to magnesium and at my age, I take a good amount of calcium (1200mg is the RDA for 50+ females) yet I had no idea that the ratio of calcium to mag should be 2:1, even 1:1. When I analyzed my ratio of cal/mag, it came out to almost 4:1.
The thing is, calcium contracts the muscle, magnesium relaxes it (besides being responsible for about 350 chemical reactions in the body) so for me, with these stiff-legged episodes that were almost like a temporary rigor-mortis or a painless cramp, it seemed like it might make a difference. I’ll tell you this, I’ll never be without it again. Within 3 days of adding magnesium, my back pain diminished dramatically as did that creaky neck I had complained about.
Besides the muscle relaxing properties, it helps mood and sleep, too – between the B12 and the magnesium, my sleep hasn’t been this good in years. It also helps you poop, which makes it easy to figure out your optimal dosage; if you take too much, you get the squirts.
Then there’s Vitamin D – wow, what a vitamin! I spent about 2 weeks watching videos and reading articles and studies because of how fascinating and affecting it is. I always thought I was getting enough from my calcium chews, but no. When I looked at my test numbers from March, I was in the normal range but as it turns out, slightly beneath the optimal range, which is something else entirely and has just been updated in recent years.
Major Vitamin D Tidbit: just because you run outside does not mean you’re getting enough, or any. If you live in a latitude above Atlanta, you get no Vitamin D from November to March (closer to NYC, it’s October to April) no matter how much you’re outside. None. And in the summer? You have to be out between 10-2pm to get any – it’s VU ray dependent completely. So if you’re like me and run early in the summer, staying indoors the rest of the day, you’re not getting Vitamin D from sunlight.
Another startling tidbit: the farther you live from the equator, the more likely you are to suffer several types of serious health-ills, such as MS and certain cancers for example, which is thought to be directly related to the lack of sun/Vitamin D the more north you go. So while I always only thought of Vitamin D for the sfx prevention thing, it goes waaaay beyond that. In fact, check out this chart of how D levels correspond to diseases. It really makes clear why the “normal” bottom range of 30 ng/ml is simply not enough.
GrassrootsHealth is a fantastic not-for-profit site to educate the public on Vitamin D. What’s cool about it is they’ve got the world’s largest vitamin D project going on where you can get a testing kit from them (costs the same as getting tested on your own) and they add your results to the study. Over 3600 participants so far and some of the interesting things they’ve discovered from it is that not only is Vitamin D toxicity extremely rare (the more you have in your body, the less adding extra affects your levels) but they’ve also figured out exactly how much you need to add to go from one level to a higher target. Check out the header at the top of their site, it’s a graphic with the table.
I’ll finish this little tirade by suggesting that in these winter months (if not year-long), particularly if you’re someone who gets Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), take an extra 1000iu/day on top of what might already be included with your calcium or multi. But really, everyone should do this.
I had to start tossing my shoes – gone are the days of testing how far above 500mi they can go. Since I’ve recently had such a strong reaction between asphalt and trail/grass, I’ve become a lot more mindful of cushioning and comfort. Not that I’m in heavy shoes now (though for a while, I was wondering if I should get a pair) but I care less about getting the lightest shoe or a low heel drop and more about transparency…I don’t want to notice the ground if I can help it.
As it was, I had bought some Kinvara 3s a few months ago and never did warm up to them. Long story short, after years in Kinvaras, I’m done. I’m now rocking Brooks Launches, a shoe I’d not have even noticed until they were recently on the chopping block, Brooks was going to get rid of them entirely, but their huge fan base raised a loud ruckus so they reinstated them. This blog post from a running store owner is a hilarious read and honestly, one of the reasons I tried them. They’re about an ounce heavier than my other shoes but are still in the lightweight category. What I love about them is their pure fabric upper with no hard plastic bits at all, the Kinvara rubber toe was always a bother to me, even when I sized up.
I also bought the Adios 2′s, another version I’d resisted updating since it included a harder heel cup, a stiffer sole, plus some added weight, but they were on sale and I’m on my last pair of version 1′s, so I got a pair. They are indeed stiffer which is a sad thing but not awful and the heel cup doesn’t bother me as much it’s cut higher in the back, so I got a teensy blister my first time out with them at the end of an 8-miler. I’m sure it’s nothing though, and they retain their status of making me want to run fast in them, so they’ll remain in my lineup.
It is funny though, after being so gung-ho on Kinvara’s 4mm heel/toe differential and now, with a plethora of low heel-drop shoes to choose from, I’m now exclusively in 9 to 10mm drops and don’t give a crap about it.
…is fabu. My holiday season with the new vintage designs was great, it seems I’ve really hit on something. In fact, it’s only January 15th and I’m already 4x ahead of the entire month of Jan 2012. I did take a long design break though so now I’m back at work and determined to see what a full year of elbow grease can accomplish. Pretty excited about it, actually.
In other news, or to be specific, in Adulthood Is Fucking Ridiculous news, I’m trying to get my credit history back. Yes, me, one who has always prided herself on having primo credit since my early 20′s is now offering this tip: if you ever get to the point where you can cut up all your credit cards to live debt-free, as I did about 10 years ago…DON’T! Because as virtuous as it might make you feel, I am now in the situation of having no credit history at all. Nada. It’s like I don’t exist.
It hasn’t been a pressing matter, I’m not buying a car or a house anytime soon, but I realized I’d been wiped off the credit landscape a year ago when I moved into this apartment and they couldn’t pull up anything for me. I’d forgotten about it till I wanted to rent a car from Avis a few months ago and wasn’t able to since they wouldn’t accept a debit card, so I figured it was time to fix it.
I applied for 2 cards this week, one to a bank with whom I’d had a Visa for 15 years and the other to my current bank, which I’ve been a customer of since 2002. I was turned down for both. Ultimately, realizing I wasn’t going to get anywhere via normal means, I ended up getting a secured credit card. This is what people returning from bankruptcy have to do! Grrr
Please know I’m not worried about it at all, like I say, it’s only a formality, but I do find it utterly ironic that being such a good girl, doing the most responsible thing with money now makes me untrustable. And building a new credit history at age 51 is just plain stupid. So anyway, never get rid of all your cards, keep your oldest one, at least.
And that’s about it for this ungodly long post. I appreciate the Facebook waves and hellos and checking up on me the past few weeks, so sweet, but all is well, knock on wood. Until next time, have some great running, living, laughing and fill in the blanking (make it dirty). Later, loves.