Category Archives: fun stuff

NPR: Summer Sounds Series

I love NPR’s current series on the sounds of summer; it reminds us all to appreciate the little things in life that make us happy. Below are a few of my favorites (click on the links to listen to the NPR story — each is between 1-3minutes long):

What sounds do you hear when you think of summer?
  • water splashing
  • waves crashing
  • ice cubes
  • bike wheels spinning
Who knew summer could be so fun to listen to! I can’t help but think of the Beach Boys when writing this. I did just see a Beach Boys cover band live…
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Bottled Water Infographic

About a year ago, I posted this video on the bottled water industry. Although it was effective in its own right in getting the message across, I’ve now found another way information and data can be shared effectively on the internet: infographics. Below is an excellent example of an infographic.

[Review] Merrell Women’s Pace Glove

Back in March, I named four running shoes I would keep my eye on this year as I was on the market for a pair of minimalist trail running/hiking shoes. After two months of deliberation, I picked the Merrell Women’s Pace Glove. I think Merrell, as a shoe company, is one of the few that has truly embraced the minimalist movement (rather than other companies that are just following the market). They’ve started their own barefoot race series (The Merrell Naked Foot 5k) and maintain a blog dedicated to barefoot running. At the beginning of this year they introduced a great barefoot/minimalist shoe line. One plus (for me) is that they’ve collaborated with Vibram to manufacture the rubber soles for the entire line; it makes me feel like I’m not cheating on my Bikilas!

Here’s a snippet from the website:

Merrell Barefoot (Trail and Pace Glove) named Best Debut by Runner’s World Magazine, April 2011.

Best Trail Running Shoe: Shape Magazine, 2011 Shoe Guide

Designed specifically for women, less is definitely more when exploring with our Vibram®-soled Pace Glove natural adventure shoe. All the protection your feet need from rocks and roots, and an ultra-lightweight upper with a synthetic leather foot sling for stability fits like a glove.

Construction:
Heel-Forefoot-Drop: The pace glove is categorized as a “zero-drop” shoe. This means that there is 0mm from the ball to the heel (no raised heel) — just like the way your feet are naturally designed!

Toe-box: When I first tried them on at the store, I thought it was a bit strange how much room there was in the toe-box. My feet fit them lengthwise perfectly and I knew that they were designed to be worn without socks. So it wasn’t until I finally ran in them, that it clicked why there was so much space. The extra room gives your toes a certain kind of freedom similar to that felt in Vibram FiveFingers. In this way, because the toes are not strapped down too tightly, it functions nicely to emulate barefoot running.

Other Concerns: I have seen complaints that the elastic heel can create blisters or cut into the heel. I personally haven’t run into any issues like that at all; I find it rather comfortable, actually. There’s always moleskin available for the rescue if that does end up happening.

Look
There are four available colorways on the website: Lavender-Lustre, Chili Pepper, Yellow, and Black. All are very pretty, in my humble opinion. Local REI stores currently only offer Black and Lavender-Luster for the women’s line. The male equivalent, the Trail Glove, is offered at REI in Smoke-Adventure Yellow and Black/Red. Note: if you’re used to the attention that VFF’s inevitably bring, you will not be getting it while wearing the Pace Glove. Perhaps people will be looking at my face more now as opposed to my feet!

Feel
I test drove them out on both treadmill and pavement this past week and they felt great; beautifully light, springy, and flexible. Surprisingly, it was quite a comparable experience to running in the Bikilas and will serve as a great alternative. What does set it apart is that I know I’ll be able to use these for trail running; I stepped on all sorts of surfaces and wasn’t phased by any of the changes. I’m really impressed by Merrell in their first line of barefoot shoes, and I can’t wait to see what they’ll continue to give us in the future.

PHOTOSHOOT

Flexibility Test: Pass

Top

Top 2

Elastic Heel

Lateral

Sole

Vibram Logo


Luna Sandals

A couple months ago, a friend e-mailed me a link to Luna Sandals, with the subject line: The next big thing.

CIMG0899.jpeg

It wasn’t until I finished reading Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Super Athletes, and the Greatest Race the World has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall, that I realized what I was actually looking at. The sandals above are called The Leadville, named after The Leadville Trail 100-Mile Run where sandals in similar construction were first run in the US (by the Tarahumara Indians from Mexico). Secondly, the name Luna comes from the Tarahumara Indian, named Manuel Luna, who taught Barefoot Ted how to make his own sandal to run in. Barefoot Ted is the co-founder of Luna Sandals and ran with the Tarahumara, Christopher McDougall, and others in the race that is depicted in Born to Run.

It was like a mini revelation all coming together in my head at once. The running world has such a close-nit community that not many people know about. I’m ready to keep spreading the word!

As for the sandals, I’m not sure I’ll be trying them for myself any time soon, but I love the idea. Perhaps someday it will be the next big thing.

Charley Bit Me!

I’m referring to charley, the horse, not Charlie the baby — a charley horse!

This past Sunday I ran my first road race of 2011, the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run. I finished within my projected time at 1:29:43 (I might have / probably would have PR’d if I didn’t have to use the porta-potty at the 4th mile, but that’s life).

Here are some fun running stats via RunPix.

Anyway, about 2 minutes after I crossed the finish line, I experienced one of the most debilitating charley horses of my life in my right calf. To my surprise, I was not the only one to have experienced this post-race.

So naturally, I Googled it and I shall share my findings here.

The 4 Ws [Ref: NYTimes]

What: A charley horse is usually referred to as a muscle spasm that occurs in the leg.

Where: Calf or thigh.

When/Why: 1) Muscle is overused. 2) Muscle is injured. 3) Dehydration. 4) Low levels of potassium or calcium.

Given these choices, I’m pretty sure my calf muscle was overused (especially with the style of running I practice), I was very likely dehydrated, and also low on potassium. One banana ain’t gonna cut it for 90 minutes of running! I shall see if I can prevent this in the future.

Tips for controlling the cramp via TopEndSports:

the muscle is trying to contract violently. Muscles will never stop a contraction in the middle, it has an “all or nothing” system. A muscle fiber contracts fully, or not at all. If you try to stretch it out, while the muscle is trying to contract, you will tear fibers. You need to assist the muscle in its contraction BEFORE you can stretch it without injury.

When the muscle goes into this cramp, tightly grab your calf with your hands: one hand at the top of the calf, just below the knee; and the other hand at the bottom of the muscle, at the top of the achilles tendon just above the ankle. Now, help the muscle complete it’s contraction by pushing your hands together. This will be extremely painful, but only for a few seconds. Next, just release your hands, and then replace them in the same positions. Now, again push your hands together, this time it won’t hurt nearly as much. You are now assisting any last fibers to finish their contraction. Take a few breathes, get back your oxygen that was lost while you were breathing heavily during the pain.

Now you can safely stretch the muscle.

Further Reading:


Here’s to future races without cramps or spasms!

CB2

Do you remember that 25 things list on FB that I said I would never do? Yeah, well… I ended up caving. I’m bringing it up two years after the fact because I’m currently in house-deco mode and I was reminded of one of my 25 things:

4. I used to love baking. I collected recipes and cookbooks all through high school while Crate & Barrel and Williams-Sonoma were my favorite stores. I even got a KitchenAid stand mixer for Christmas one year… one of the best presents ever! Unfortunately, my passion faded when I started college because I didn’t have an oven my first year. I now fail at pie crusts. I am sorry my roommates never got to see this side of me

Although I do not intend to resurrect that passion, I have been looking at these types of stores a lot lately. Most notably: CB2 aka Crate & Barrel for young people. Although the first DC store is opening sometime next month, I’m about to purchase these oliver appetizer plates online for PV’s new home; they are just too darn cute to resist.

Let’s Do This!

Greetings friends, family, and readers (whoever you are)!

As many of you know, I recently started a new job at the Primary Care Coalition of Montgomery County (PCC).  And you probably know I do something health related or something Komen related or something with related to the low-income and uninsured population, but you probably don’t know what it is exactly that I do.  I’m hoping to now clear up that vagueness with this post.

What is PCC?

The Primary Care Coalition is a private, non-profit, charitable organization working with public/private partners to provide high-quality, accessible, equitable, efficient, and outcome-driven health care services for low-income, uninsured County residents.

What do I do?

In September of 2010, I joined PCC’s Center for Health Improvement as the Komen Regional Project Coordinator. I am specifically working on the National Capital Area Breast Healthcare Improvement Initiative; and in short, I am working with safety-net clinics in Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, DC, and Northern Virginia to streamline breast healthcare services for low-income and/or uninsured women 40 and over. The “Komen” part of my title comes from the fact that Susan G. Komen for the Cure funded this entire program.

This morning I attended a news conference for the kick-off of the 22nd annual Susan G. Komen Global Race for the Cure and met Nancy Brinker, the founder and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. I was pretty moved and motivated by the event, so I elected myself to be PCC’s team captain for the 2011 Global Race for the Cure.  Why not combine my love for running with my passion for what I do?

You can visit my personal page here: http://globalrace.info-komen.org/goto/PearMoraras

For PCC’s team page, click here: http://globalrace.info-komen.org/goto/PCC

Let’s do this!

2011 TeamRaiser widgets