Wednesday, 31 December 2008

a FiveFingered revolution in running

the last few years i have experienced more and more knee pain as i have run. which has meant i run less and less.

last july, when i ran the NYC triathlon i seriously didn't think i was going to be able to finish the run. as i ran from the eastside river park to central park (feeling like a true olympian with all the crowd cheering), my knees started to hurt really bad. i decided at about mile 2 that i would run a mile and walk a minute. a technique i heard about years ago. at about mile 3 it became clear that i needed to run a 1/2 mile and walk a minute. the run distance continued to shrink. it really really hurt. thankfully, i saw the finish line and was able to finish, but seriously didn't run for months after.

i want to continue to race triathlons, so this month i have been doing some research on running technique and knee injury prevention. i shared some stuff about chi-running or pose-running. the basic consensus from kinesiologists, physiologists, and podiatrists is that our feet are built to run with weight landing on the ball of the foot.

so for a few weeks i have run in my asics trying to get my body leaning over enough so that i can get the balls of me feet to strike the ground first. it has been really difficult and i felt like i was really combating my shoes. my shoes are designed to promote/facilitate a heel strike stride.

reading up on the kinesiology and physics of the heel strike it is clear that this is the MOST inefficient way to run AND can lead to injury. a heel strike is a natural brake. so each time i was landing it was like i was putting on my brakes and then trying to roll over to hit the accelerator (the ball of my foot). also heel striking increases the level of jarring and torque on the knees.

i started reading about barefoot running, which i have always loved but have no place in dc i can go run barefoot and i discovered the vibram FiveFingers:

i am SUPER in love!!! i got mine at hudson outfitters for $60. which is a killer deal if you are thinking of updating your trainers.

i have only run a few miles in them so far, because you have to build up calf strength. when you run on the balls of your feet you use WAY more calf muscles. but so far i can feel an INCREDIBLE difference.

  • first of all, i would always feel like my toes and the muscles between my tarsals and metatarsals needed to really stretch after i ran. they felt cooped up and yucky. when i would do yoga, it would always feel so good to go from downward dog to upward dog because my toes would curl and those muscles would stretch. when i run in the fivefingers, my toes are stretching the whole time and that pain doesn't exist. in fact, it feels like i am kinda ridding myself of stress stored in those muscles as i run.
  • i feel NO knee pain. my knees feel great (though my calves are totally sore)
  • it is obvious that our bodies are not designed to heel strike. i can't image doing that in these shoes or barefoot. it would jar my whole body and probably crack a tooth. so, the need to really work to run on the balls of my feet is eliminated with these shoes. it is the natural way to run.
  • and i am faster. i feel like i might have even picked up at least 30 seconds in pace if not more.
  • AND people on the mall really stare at my feet, especially little kids. though i am so fast, it might just be because of the blur (ha).

i don't know if i am going to run in these for the cherry blossom or if i will get these newton racing flats. these seem really cool and i have heard good things about them too.

plus they are kinda awesome looking!

if you want more info here are some good articles about running on the balls of your feet and shoes...

Saturday, 27 December 2008

calbee snack salad

please please please make them stop being so delicious!

i can't stop eating them!

Friday, 26 December 2008

christmas 08

as mentioned, my mom came to spend christmas with me. we had a pretty awesome and relaxing time. especially when you consider all the stupid things that decided it was a good time to need repair.

hours before picking my mom at the airport, my car decided to die
as mentioned before
here it is getting the tow

cheryl let me use her car and i got my mom without incident
the next day we spent most of the day getting stuff for the sushi party and getting the christmas tree
thankfully, my car was fixed by mid-afternoon!!!

we got a great tree at eastern market (and a tree stand because i had left mine at my old house)
but because of the pipe crazy at my house, the sushi party was canceled
but the mexican feast went on

they look pretty sad for having the best mexican food in the world...

here it is being heated up!
i wish i would have taken photos of all the food my mom brought. it was awesome!

cheryl and my mom strung the white lights and i ran to the store to get more
seemed like lindsay and i had about a million strands of white lights, but we only had 3
all they had at CVS was multi colored lights
but it turned out really really really awesome
in fact, i am pretty convinced that this is the best looking tree i have had in a long time!

i love how the shadow is making my unkept hair look even more like a bulb

me and mom

some of the plumbing repairs.
let me just say this
a melange of pine and plumbing is not the scent you want in your house!
i thought i was going to vomit!!!
luckily i got to take cheryl to the airport.

my mom, the botanist, gave me lessons in house plants
she cut tons of branches off and we re-potted some
i learned alot about airation, the importance of misting, and giving plants haircuts.
thanks mom!

on christmas eve we went to the ward christmas party at the pratt farm
it was super duper fun
tons of food
awesome people
and a live nativity

the barn

my mom re-meeting a guy who grew up on the same street as she did in phoenix
seriously, this world is small!

my favorite crazy ladies!

sister kamosie road with us to the party
it was a real treat because we got to hear the detailed account of their escape from the DRC
a CRAZY story that she most definitely needs to write.

diamond, destiny, and friend sang a BEAUTIFUL song!

one gorgeous shepherd

joseph being a wonderful father

shepherds keep watch of something...

the wisest of them all

the baby jesus started dancing to the singing
i kinda think the real Jesus might have too.

these two were the gabbiest of all shepherds
the wise man and his wiser daughter

on christmas day my mom and i opened presents (wink wink mom), went running, ate mexican food, and then went to the tillemann-dick christmas extravaganza

these are the puppies that dave is trying to pawn off on the obamas

they are really sweet!

kimber reciting the rules of yankee swap

zen being shushed during the recitation of the rules

don't ask


today my mom and i woke up early to see a movie, but then changed our minds and went to the big bear cafe for breakfast and then to the national gallery of art to see the Pompeii and the Roman Villa: Art and Culture around the Bay of Naples exhibit. it was really great! we saw a 30 minute documentary first which made it even cooler. simply because it gave some context to what we were about to see. then we got to go see the real stuff. unfortunately, i didn't put enough coins in the meter to stay longer. my mom could have stayed all day. (the next time she comes, diane you have to be here. yall would LOVE museuming together) i am pretty luke warm about museums, but i highly recommend this exhibit!

it really made my desire to go to southern italy even more intense. i hope to go soon!!!!

that was my christmas. it was super fun. thanks again mom for coming!!!


my ward (congregation) is called the D.C. Third Ward. so to make it hip we refer to it as DC3.

our bishop (mckeown) is leaving us soon. he is the chief of staff for HHS, so i see him both at work and at church. he and his lovely wife barb will be gravely missed!!!! i am hoping (and praying) that they will be coming back soon.

in light of their departure, bishop mckeown arranged for our ward to take a ward photo. i don't have copies of it, but i did have the presence of mind to bring my camera. here are some of the photos...

rich and chris smith (also from work)

the ward getting itself organized for a photo

the young women
see diamond?

the young men

brother kamose

pre-photo chaos

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

more baby wipes

they decided to snake my pipe just to be sure that it was all cleaned out...and guess what they found...
more baby wipes.

i was in the livingroom with my mom decorating the tree and i heard the plumber say "oh wow! this is some stinky $h!+". i of course had to run and see what it was. as i was walking over i hear them talking about it being a fabric of some sort...OH NO!!!

the baby wipes strike again.

miso for breakfast

i am up early this christmas eve morn because i am waiting for the plumber. this is the "plumber christmas" i guess.

for some odd reason i woke up craving miso soup. and for all sorts of reasons (most of which prove my awesomeness) i had all the ingredients. so now i am eating my miso, drinking my green tea, and happy... i am pretty sure that i am right about the afterlife and pre-mortal life. but if there is reincarnation, i am also pretty sure that i was a japanese princess or will be soon.

if miso sounds good to you, here is the recipe from my friend elaine q...

  • 2 teaspoons dashi granules (you can make it from scratch using komu seaweed and dried bonito flakes, but it is easier to use dashi stock. it has MSG...)
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons miso paste (white is milder, red is saltier) obviously i used red and even found an organic one
  • 1 (8 ounce) package silken tofu, diced
  • 2 green onions, sliced diagonally into 1/2 inch pieces
  • dried wakame seaweed

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine dashi granules and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and whisk in the miso paste. Stir in tofu and wakame. Add green onions right before serving.

just a side note, you can tell that elaine is part japanese because she has precise directions on how the green onion should be cut. I LOVE THAT!

which is further evidence that i was/will be a japanese princess and not a japanese laborer or chef. as much as i love it, i am too impatient and not detail oriented enough to even notice. i cut my onions the way they cut them into the miso at sushi taro (though i cut them too thick, mostly because i was being lazy). a princess doesn't have to worry about how to cut the onions like the chef or the laborer does, because she has people doing it for her. and see, i would love that.

this is what my morning would be like if i was a japanese princess:

when my alarm went off at 6:30am to call the plumber, it would have woken someone else up so s/he could call. then when i decided to wake up -- probably around 10:am -- i would have inquire after the state of the plumbing. chances are, because i was the princess, it would be fixed and all paid for out of my huge princess coffers. then i would have just mentioned something like: "huh, miso soup sounds really good right now" and all my little kitchen people would have started making miso soup (but they wouldn't use the dashi because of the MSG, they would have done it all from scratch). i would come down in my komono and then say something really awesome like: "you guys are so great, you can have the rest of the year off" and the whole palace would rejoice. but what is even more awesome, is that because of my servants love me so much, they wouldn't really want to leave. so we would hang out with my royal family and play rumikub and settlers of catan and stuff. and they would still want to do all the dishes, take the trash out, and all that stuff i really hate.

in other news, the plumber arrived. it will be a small $525 to replace all the old cast iron for this drainage pipe and cut out some stuff in my kitchen. it is going to take about 4 hours. i seriously can't believe i am spending so much stinkin money on plumbing. so so so irritating!!!!!!

please please please bless that this isn't a real money pit!

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

when it rains it pours: or freezes

as though an impending maternal visit, christmas, and a car dying weren't enough -- a pipe burst today. thankfully it is the pipe that ONLY feeds my outside hose, and it is just a small, odd, puncture looking wound... i am also thankful that my mom and i came home when we did. we had had lunch at the big bear and came home for a potty break on our way to get my car and a christmas tree. i was standing in the kitchen and heard this weird sound. it sounded like someone was washing a car, but since it is so cold, that didn't make sense. and also, it is the backyard, so they couldn't really get a car back there.

i decided to go outside and investigate.

to my dismay there was water shooting out underneath my deck. turns out the pipe my stupid horrible plumber matt smith put outside, as a feed for my garden hose, had busted. what is also lame about this pipe (as with most of the pipes he installed in my house) there is no shut off valve. if there was, we wouldn't even have to worry about it. i could just turn it off and we would be in business. but instead, i get to pay a plumber at least $125 to come and cap the thing off. and i guess we just deal with the whole other mess later.

so mad at that stupid idiot of a plumber.

in what i hope is just a bit or ironic coincidence -- the lame plumber matt smith drunk dialed me this morning. (that is right drunk dialed in the morning)

he called.
i didn't answer.
he left a message explaining that he heard that some other plumbers had been at the house and talking about what a bad job he had done on my house. he then explained that it was common practice amongst plumbers to bad talk other plumbing work in an effort to get jobs. he left about a 5 minute message. i kinda wish i hadn't deleted it, because it would be awesome to post here. it was weird, because that is all he said. just called to tell me he was a good plumber.

regardless, i am so glad i came home when i did, heard what i heard, and was able to find someone to come fix it!

hopefully this evenings tree trimming and sushi party will go ahead as planned!!!

so the plumber finally arrived. the cost went up from $125 to $220 because it is afterhours. totally bugs because i asked if i would be charged an after hours rate and i was told no. but, at least the thing is fixed. but seriously, why am i bleeding money!??? seriously mad at stupid plumber matt smith!

UPDATE #2 7:32 PM
the drainage pipe that carries the kitchen waste water is pretty much rotted out. so tomorrow, i get to have a couple of plumbers come and fix that for a few more hundred dollars...awesome!

UPDATE #3 10:21 PM
the sushi party fell victim to rotted out drainage pipes. so the tillemann clan bailed. which meant that cheryl, my mom, and i had an AMAZING mexican fiesta. we did get the lights strung, but the tree isn't decorated. too much drama for one day.
tomorrow the plumber comes to fix the drainage pipe (so long as they can fit it in) and then hopefully we can relax and have a nice christmas.

i guess it could have been worse:

Monday, 22 December 2008

a kia christmas present

about 11.5 years ago, i bought a kia sephia (1997, but i got it in 96 because that is awesome). it was a really weird thing to do. buy a brand new car off the lot and have it be a kia.

about 3 days into it i decided i didn't like it and had the worst buyer's remorse ever. funny thing is, i still own the car. she has served me well and i have not served her well. i treat her the way you do that annoying kid sister that just wants to hang out with you and your friends and you are super duper annoyed all the time, but then when you want to try your new crimping iron, you are glad she is around? yeah that is me and this car.

she has served me well and without any thanks. today she is taking her revenge.

it is WICKED ARSE COLD. too cold to bike (if you want to keep your nose)

so i got off a conference call this morning and decided i would drive to my office. i had coins and was all set. and i was feeling SUPER DUPER productive because i was really in my work zone. and it was my last day of work for the week and it was monday.

got in the ol'kia and started her up. with the intent of letting her heat up for a good long time. pushed in the clutch and it slammed to the floor. there was nothing there. so i thought, maybe the fluid is frozen or something. nope, no amount of heating or pumping was going to fix it.

luckily i have my mom's AAA number because there is no way to drive a car without a clutch (even tho i tried). so now i am waiting for a tow truck to take me to the shop. then i guess i will walk down to my office and pout. the car won't be fixed until wednesday and my mom comes today.

hopefully i can use one of my friend's cars. friends??

cheryl sent me this rap to make me feel better:

Yo my name is ktk and i be hangin
At Big Bear Cafe where the locals always bangin
Us skinny yuppie rappers into a yuppie pulp
Cuz we drink our spinach green drink while they drinkin their Big Gulp (hey)

i am pretty sure that as awesome as it is on paper, it gets more awesome when it is acted out.