What’s up With the Pain?

It is my last week of spring semester, my finals are a week from today. I have papers to write, research to conduct, studying to do, and I can’t hold a pen. For the past 6-8 months or so I have been suffering from chronic inflammatory pain in my ankles, that moves up through my leg within hours. Once I feel the onset, I recognize it, but then dismiss it because it’s always there. For the past month though, I have been suffering from pain in the joints of my fingers. Sometimes I can’t even hold things because my joints are so stiff, that they will not allow for my fingers to close. As a waitress, I am constantly using my hands, even when I’m not at work. I love to garden, get crafty, cook, and write. I began to credit my pain to the constant use of my hands, and that there was nothing that I could do.

Until last night.

The pain in my fingers, hands, feet, ankles and various other parts of my body in the bones, made it difficult to fall asleep. It felt like my hands would not open back up once I put them in a certain position.

So this morning I made an appointment to get it all checked out.

For the past few weeks, I have been eager for the spring semester to be over so that I can get back into running, and hopefully run some summer races. I have an eight month old German Shepherd that would appreciate some trail time, and now I can’t even hold his leash.

So hopefully today, I will have some insight as to what is going on.

Wish me luck!

I Run For Me

Some days a run is just a run. Other days a run helps you to see something a bit clearer. Whether you are running out of boredom, desire to lose weight, or a goal to stay healthy, you are running for you. This morning’s run helped me remember that fine little detail.

As a woman battling endometriosis, it can be very easy for me to curl up in my bed and stay there all day. Dishes won’t get cleaned, laundry won’t get folded. Homework will not get finished. Those things may still not happen on a day like today, but at least I did my run for me. With every twinge of pain, I pushed myself harder. I ran faster, and in that moment I felt what healthy feels like. I have the power within me to be healthy, I just need the desire on days like today to push myself. The day is still young, and I may suffer in pain for the rest of the day for pushing myself this morning, but at least I can say I did it. I ran. I ran for me.

Determination is a funny thing. I am determined to be healthy. I will not let endometriosis hold me down any longer.

Welcome to November

The first day of November, and I’m lucky to be outside running at 4 in the afternoon with my best friend, my pup Rosco, and it’s eighty-five degrees outside. Eighty-five freakin degrees outside! Man am I lucky.

I took today’s run opportunity to wear my new INKnBURN tank and enjoy my time to myself on this glorious fall (eighty-five degree) afternoon 🙂

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Pro Compression Sock Review

I’m sure by now you have seen runners running through your neighborhood or local race with bright and colorful knee-high socks on. If your like some of the people whom I know, you may think that its simply a fashion statement, and not a very good one at that.

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Maybe what you need is a little background information.

Compression socks have been used in the medical field to alleviate symptoms of diabetes and to increase blood flow in to the arms and legs by constricting the muscles and holding everything tight. In the past 5 years or so though, athletes have turned to this type of support to help in training and recovery. There really is no real scientific proof that they do work, but I have noticed a decrease in recovery time whenever I use them.

They work.

With that said I was open to trying out another pair when I came across Pro Compression.

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After receiving the socks, I used them through different aspects of running; training and recovery. Each time I used them my legs felt significantly better than days when I hadn’t used anything in similar scenarios.

Things I liked:

  • The Color – Maybe color shouldn’t be the first thing that I mention that I like, but I already stated that they do work. The second most important factor is style. The website has so many colors and style options. That’s always a plus. I really liked the purplicious pair I received.
  • Ribbing- This is the first pair of compression socks that I have seen with ribbing. It gives them a nice texture and seems to make them tighter.

What I didn’t like:

  • Too Tight – The whole point of the sock is to be tight, but I shouldn’t have elastic indents on the back of my calf after just 30 minutes of wearing them. That doesn’t feel too good. I do have big calf muscles, but as I recall, the sizing depends on the size of your foot, not the width of your legs.
  • Too Hard to Get On – Once again, I know they have to be tight, that is not the problem. It was very hard to get my foot in the socks, and to take them off. In addition to my large calves, I also have big feet. The actual size of the sock was perfect, so that was not as issue.

Aside from that the socks did exactly what they were meant to do. I definitely noticed an improvement in the way my legs felt during and after my runs.imagesCACICGCZ

What to try your own pair?? Pro Compression is giving away a pair of compression socks to one very lucky reader!

To enter the giveaway, become a follower of Chronicles of Kate. You can earn more entries by sharing this post on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or any other site. Leave a comment and let me know how you entered!

Pro Compression is also offering 40% off online with coupon code BLG13 valid until 10/31!!

Happy One Year !

Today marks the one year anniversary of Chronicles of Kate!

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I remember one year ago, sitting down to get this thing started and thinking to myself, “what the heck am I going to write?” I really wanted to document my life in terms of running and different aspects of health, and looking back now, I’m so glad I did!

Thank you to all of my followers, and those who have just stopped by to see what the ramblings were about.

Here are some highlights and some of my favorite posts after one year:

My First Ultra : 50k Dream to Reality

Alpha Earth Runners Review and Giveaway

Practice of Love and Patience

Kate’s Campfire Chili

Lake Hodges Trail Fest 50k – Race Report

Ready, Set, Race: Sidewinder 10k Race Report

Please give me some feedback:

Alpha Earth Runners Review and Giveaway!!

A few months ago, I inquired about a pair of running sandals from Earth Runners, a company that creates minimalist running sandals that are inspired by the Tarahumara Native American Indians of Northwestern Mexico. These custom-built sandals provide comfort and protection while offering the satisfaction of a barefoot experience.

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On the Earth Runners site, you will see the different types of sandals that they offer. I decided on the Alpha Earth Runners because this version of the sandal is great for longer distances, as it provides a little more thickness in the sole of the sandal.

Getting Ready

The first time getting ready to wear these, I admit I was a little hesitant and skeptical. The strap lacing system that my sandals have does not look comfortable at all, and what if I laced them up wrong and kept having to deal with laces that did not fit properly? Well, for people like me, the Earth Runners website provides ‘How To’ links to adjust your laces, resize your laces, and tie your leather laces (if you opted for leather). The videos are so easy to follow, and honestly I think it would be hard to get lost. After wearing the sandals around for a few weeks with the original lacing pattern, I decided to change it up a bit, and go for a different look and approach to how I laced the sandals. What’s really cool about the lacing system is that the buckle attachment slides off completely allowing more freedom in how you choose to wear the sandals. In the ‘How To” section of the website, there is also a video on how to trim you laces if they are too long. I would advise anyone that is choosing to trim the laces to wait until they are sure of the way they choose to lace the sandals.

Let’s Run

I wore these sandals around for weeks before I actually ran in them. My foot had molded the sandal bed, and the straps were snug just where I wanted them. While vacationing in Reno, NV, I decided that my time to run in these bad boys had finally arrived. I found a series of gently rolling connecting trails, and I just started to run. This being my first time running in these sandals, I really took it easy, and with every step, I waited for the laces to pinch the skin on my foot, but they never did. The buckle, which seems like it would irritate or bruise the top of my foot, never bothered me at all. The leather sole of the sandal began to grip my foot. The tread of the sandal held me close to the trail, and I never felt as if I were sliding out of control. These sandals made running so fun! I had the freedom of running barefoot, but the minimal protection that allowed me to cover the trail in a way you might not be able to do being absolutely barefoot. I did still have to watch the trail to see exactly where my foot was going to land, and that’s perfectly fine. In fact, good thing I did because I almost stepped on a baby snake sunning!

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I don’t know if I can say that there is anything that I would really change about the sandals. I did notice that just after a few weeks in them, the tread already started to show wear, so that worried me. I have been notified though, that Earth Runners also caught onto that problem and changed the Birkenstock tread to a higher quality Birkenstock material, so that should not become an issue. I absolutely love the way they feel on my feet, and the ease of wearing them. These have easily become the most used shoes in my collection just over the last couple months. My favorite part about them is how easily they can transition from a sandal to a running sandal. Talk about minimalist!

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Check out the Earth Runners website HERE !

Giveaway!

Are you still skeptical about running in sandals? One lucky winner will win their own pair of Earth Runners!! What better way to try out a product and tell everyone how much you love it, than to win it!

To enter, make your way to the homepage and simply become a follower of this blog 🙂

After becoming a follower, additional entries can be gained by sharing this post on Facebook, Twitter, on your blog, or any other place online, or liking the chroniclesofkate facebook page.  Leave a comment in the comments section telling me where and how you shared this post, and additional entries can be yours.

Don’t wait! The deadline for entries is July 23, 2013 at midnight!

Good Luck!

Happy Running!

Pre Race Rambling – Holcomb Valley 33

Sitting next to a morning campfire with the rising sun casting light through the trees and a nice brisk chill to the air, gives a person a chance to think and reflect.

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By the time you will have read this, my race, the Holcomb Valley 33 miler will have already been completed. Since I’m a stickler for leaving technology at home while enjoying the outdoors, I didn’t bring along my laptop to type this all out for you before the big day. What I did instead, was bring along paper and pen to document my thoughts, ideas and worries before I take off to run my heart out through the hills of Big Bear and Holcomb Valley.

This race is my race of the year. At least that’s what I decided when I signed up for it earlier this year. I had a plan too. Take the family camping (which I love) and also spend one of the days running. The logistics were perfect since the race’s start and finish were located steps beyond our campground. Now here I am though sitting at the campground and realizing that in my planning for the event, I failed to include one very important detail. Training.

Two weeks ago I ran my first trail half-marathon and for a week after I was hurting. I knew though what the problem was, and fortunately for me, I can recognize these things pretty quickly. My training for this race was minimal if not really non-existent, and I went out the start gate like I had actually trained and was prepared for it. I had to keep reminding myself that this race was merely a training run for a much bigger race. That race did it’s job of checking me mentally and forcing me to realize that I’m not going into the Holcomb Valley race as prepared as I should be.

The Holcomb Valley Trail Run consists of three distances, 7 miles, 15 miles and 33 miles. Me being the badass that I am of course signed up for the 33 miler. Being that I’ve never run any of the trails in Big Bear area, although I have hiked some of them, I only have expectations as to what kind of challenge I’m up for. This is going to be no walk in the park. When I ran my 50k last year, I trained 80% on trails. I ran the course and knew the difficult areas before toeing the line, and I still struggled to finish under 6 1/2 hours. This one though, I knew when I signed up, could never be compared to the last or any other ultra race I ever run. So up until the last week, I knew that I would be destined to run 33 miles. Then I received one of the final information packed emails with last-minute instructions for the race. Those running the 33 miles have the option to drop down to the 15 mile race while running the course at aid station #3.

The Thoughts of Others

Nearly everyone who knew about my race in Big Bear said, “What about the altitude?” Yes, I understand that the altitude is going to play a big factor in whether or not I can do this thing, especially since I live in a nice valley in San Diego county. Did I ever run a practice run in an area of higher elevation? No. Is that going to alter my chances of completing this race? Perhaps not.

We arrived at our campsite on Friday and in the evening I had a slight headache which I credited to the altitude, but I think that giving myself a couple of days of camping before the race also helped me adjust. The air is definitely different here. Maybe it’s a shock to your system as you pass through the thick layer of smog on your way up the mountain, and you finally get to breathe good clean air. My lungs, as well as my mind are definitely appreciating the yummy mountain air.

People have also told me to just drop down to the 15 mile race before it starts. I don’t want to do that because I signed up for the 33. If I wanted to run 15 miles or thought that I couldn’t go anymore, then fine. That’s not the case though, and my stubborn competitive attitude won’t allow me to start off that way. If during the race I believe it’s a no-go, then and only then, will I drop down. Until then I have 10 hours to complete the race. 10 hours that I can take my sweet time with. I know my disadvantages coming into the race, so I’m not going to push it, but I do plan on enjoying myself, the trails, and the wonderful opportunity I have to be here and able.

The Cougar Half : Race Report

The morning was chilly and as I stood around waiting for the race to start, I realized that running a race that morning was what I was supposed to do that day. The Cougar Half Marathon put on by Dirt Devil Racing, was a race that I had signed up to do months and months ago. I was excited for this race at the time of sign up, but as the weeks got closer, and it seemed like more and more personal misfortunes came upon myself and my family, the less and less I prepared to run a race. It seems logical that training for a race would be put on the back burner as life gets busier and more stressful, but essentially going for a run probably would have made things a little but easier.

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Training schmaining.

As I stood in the gravel on race morning waiting for the race to start, I started to psych myself up for the events to follow. I was about to partake in something that I loved. Something that I signed up and paid to do. I was about to complete this race while most people I knew were stumbling out of bed. The feeling that I would have after the race, is all worth being there so early in the morning, cold and tired.

As I lined up with my wave, my adrendaline started pumping and I was ready to go! As the gun sounded, my wave took off like a pack of wild animals. I started out in the front of the pack, heading down the single track trail on a mission to get this race under my belt. I knew the course well and after about 2 miles, the trail spilled out into a gravel track along the side of the road. Running along the single track made me realize that I started out too quick in my wave, and I should have stayed towards the back. The pressure from the runners behind me kept me moving at a pace that was beyond me at that time, but I couldn’t slow down because I already had runners on my ass.

Almost from the beginning of the race I had to start with my mantra, “Slow and steady, steady and slow, that’s the pace I like to go. Slow and steady, steady and slow, that’s the pace I like to go.” This course is mostly flat with the exception of Raptor Ridge hill. If I were properly trained I maybe would have considered attempting to run the hill just to better my overall race time, but that was not the case. I had to remember that this race was nothing more than a training run. The Holcomb Valley 33 is the next race on the agenda in two weeks, and the Cougar Half race was merely taking place of a training run.

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About halfway into the race I had an overwhelming feeling of enjoyment and appreciation for the trail, and I remembered the reasons why I became a trail runner. The smell of the earth beneath my feet and the light breeze through the grasses are things that are unmatched in any other type of run. The sound of wild animals at the nearby San Diego Safari Park calling for mates as well as roosters crowing at family farms, are reasons I choose to leave my earphones at home when venturing on the trail. The elements of the trail are precious and priceless. Their is nothing in a road race that can replace these special details of trail running, and it was at this moment that I became excited again for the race.

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Continuing with my mantra, I found my place along the trail. The front of the packers, the ones whom actually trained for this race, started heading back my way, so I cheered them on as each one passed me by. Most of the runners thanked me for the encouragement, some reciprocated it, some ignored me and others didn’t hear me at all (they had earphones in, grr!).

So as I neared the end of the course, I happened to glance down at my watch and to my surprise I was at just about 2 hours with only 2 miles or so left to go. I knew heading into this thing that I could in no way compare this race to the others because it was a trail, and I had only completed road half marathons, and those of course I had trained for. So once again with so little to go, my adrenaline amped up again when I realized that I could actually finish in under 2:30, which was my conservative goal.

The best part of the race for me was the finish. I couldn’t wait to cross the line and get this thing over with. As I came around the corner, my legs wanted me to stop, but with the end in sight, I plowed on through and got blasted with a huge spray of water!

This race was hard, and as strange as it seems, it was even harder than my last 50k. Throughout I had to continue to play a solo mental game, work through the pain of a huge blister developing on the bottom of my foot, try to hydrate myself after a couple nights of drinking, and curb my boredom.

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Onto the next one…

Happy Running!

Running With Misty

Two weeks ago, while I was at work, I received the most devastating news, a friend of mine had passed away. Misty was not only my friend, but she was an amazing mother, beautiful daughter, and an awesome soccer player. She had the kindest heart, and cutest little laugh. The news hit me really hard, and as the week went on, friends and family pulled together to celebrate her and her life.

Running is a funny thing, and it solves many problems. It can make you feel strong, clear your mind, fill you mind with thoughts, and help you grieve.

I knew I needed to run to grieve.

My friend Misty was one of my biggest fans. She was amazed at how far I would run. She was proud of me, and always said she wished she could run as far as me. I would tell her that she could and she would reply with a ‘yeah right.’

As I set out on my first run in weeks yesterday, I knew I was going to run for Misty. Unfortunately I hadn’t been running in two weeks and I was on a time crunch, so I knew the distance wasn’t going to do her justice. As I ran by places that were familiar to both of us, my mind filled with happy thoughts and memories of her. I know that from above she has many people to watch over, her beautiful babies, her family and friends who are grieving for her, but I couldn’t help to feel that she was watching me run also.

Midway through the run I decided to find the biggest hill I could find and I was going to run all the way to the top for her. I knew that this was going to be difficult on my legs and lungs, due to my mild onset of a bronchitis-like sickness, but I didn’t care. I had my hill in sight and made my way over to it, and something amazing happened. I went to start my climb, and suddenly my song on Pandora changed to the song played at her memorial, “Don’t You Worry Child,” by Swedish House Mafia. As I ran up the hill, tears of joy and sadness and love ran down my face. It would appear to anyone that I must have looked like a  lunatic because through all of that I had the biggest smile on my face.

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As I made it to the top of the hill, an overwhelming feeling of emotion came over me. Like I said before, running is funny. Running can ease pain, and create more pain. It can relieve stress and anxiety. It can make you feel alive.

This run helped me heal, and I will always hear that song and be reminded of her. I will remember how she helped me get up that hill. When I run my ‘crazy, insane distances’ she will always come with me.

Misty left behind three beautiful children, an 8 year old and 7 month old twins. Please consider to donate to the future of her children.

Buff – The Original Multifunctional Headwear – Review

Two months ago I recieved a lovely package from a company called Buff’s Headwear. I knew the package was on its way, and the day it arrived I quickly ripped it open to see the contents in real life; two brand spanking new buffs.

What is the heck is a buff you wonder?

A buff is a type of head protection that can be used many ways.

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I received two different types as well as patterns of buffs. One was a regular standard sized buff, and the other was a half buff.

My running attire consisted of shorts, shirt and hat. I wanted to change that. I love wearing a hat for the fact that it keeps my hair pulled back and out of the way, and the brim keeps the sun out of my eyes. I was curious to see though if their was a more stylish and versitle approach to what a hat can do for me.

Since receiving the two buffs, I have worn them on almost every single run I have ventured on.

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Also another thing I found to be excellent with wearing a buff, is the fact that they also provide warmth. I am not a fan of running in the cold, or the cold period for that matter, and when wearing a buff, it is super easy to pull it down over your ears to help keep cold air from hitting the side of your face and irritating your ears.

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I don’t buy or want things that require mass amounts of care. I want to wear or use something and not have to worry whether it will last. Well, if you’re like me in that sense, you don’t have to worry with a buff. I wear mine everywhere, and when I’m done, I throw it in the washing machine, and dryer. They do not lose shape. They do not fade. The colors do not bleed.

Want another use? Sometimes I suffer from my beer glass being to cold for me to hold. Problem solved!

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Buffs are super easy, and their are so many different ways to wear them. On the Buffs headwear website, buffUSA.com they provide different learning videos, to teach yourself how to wear them in different ways.

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