A Welcome Surprise

I love my running shoes. These poor little feet are stubborn, and merely shopping for a shoe that fits won’t do the trick. If the shoe is too heavy or bulky, my knees scream in protest. If there is insufficient arch support my ankles turn inward and beg for respite. This fall my feet fell in love.

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The Nike Free 5.0 is meant to simulate barefoot running. What sounds like a strange concept comes from the idea that running barefoot actually strengthens your feet. From Nike: “Studies suggest that barefoot runners develop stronger feet. Natural motion builds strength, and strength means speed.” The flexibility of the shoe comes from the sole being deeply grooved, allowing it to follow the line of your foot as it leaves the ground.

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But is there enough support for longer runs? I find that there is. The arch support is just enough that my ankles don’t turn in, and conversely the support does not overwhelm or cramp my “delicate” feet.

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I am not always the biggest fan of Nike because of some of the company’s practices. Phil Knight, co-founder of Nike, practically owns the University of Oregon (where I received my master’s degree). The Knight Library is named after him. Of course Eugene, Oregon is famous as Track Town USA, and track/cross country star Steve Prefontaine attended the UofO under the coaching of Bill Bowerman (the other co-founder of Nike). So, when Phil Knight gives money to the University, where do you think it goes? To the struggling music school? To the English department? Nope. It goes to the sports teams. While I do appreciate the quality of many of the athletic programs at the UofO, and Eugene was lucky enough to host the olympic track and field trials last year (!), wouldn’t it make more sense to distribute the wealth a bit more evenly? Socialism? Regardless of my feelings about Nike, these are the first shoes that have made my feet happy.

Anyway, my run this morning was more intense than yesterday. I ran outside again, but this time I pushed myself to run faster. I had my eyes fixed on a tall man in red shorts running in the distance, and as I realized that I was slowly gaining on him, I made it my personal goal to overtake this unsuspecting gentleman before I reached my turn-around spot. Success! My pace significantly increased. However, when I turned around I steadily slowed my pace for what proved to be a mostly uphill journey. I ran 3.3 miles again, and despite the huffing and puffing, I was full of energy once I had caught my breath. At the gym I focused on leg strengthening. Eventually I’ll get around to posting my strengthening routines.

Once again, I had my pre-workout snack; a slice of Rudi’s Organic with almond butter. Breakfast was a bowl of Trader Joe’s steel cut oats made with almond milk and topped off with blackberries, blueberries, and Silk plain soy yogurt.

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The color green has been lacking in my diet over the past few days, so I made a salad for lunch. The tomato I used was simply radiant.

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The salad included red lettuce, tomato, cucumber, dried cranberries, and the last of the hummus.

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A substantial size, this salad held me over into the afternoon, but I did have a few spoonfuls of my favorite Ciao Bella sorbetto before heading off to teach.

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On the way home from teaching, it felt like the bus was just barely crawling along. I distracted myself with people watching, carefully diverting my eyes from any sideways glances. Within a matter of minutes, clouds rolled in and it began to pour. If possible, the bus began to move even more cautiously. By the time I arrived at my building, I was wet, tired, and frustrated. What had been a perfectly nice day had suddenly soured for me. I stepped of the elevator, digging for my keys, when I noticed what was to save the night. There was a medium brown box sitting in front of my solid black door. A package? Me? I hadn’t ordered anything in weeks, and my mom always tells me when she is sending something. Reading the return address, I realized that it was from very dear friends in Oregon, Jodie and Anthony. I raced to unlock the door, fumbling slightly with the keys. Throwing my stuff down, I found the scissors and tore open the package. There was a lovely note inside and these two beautiful bottles of goodness:

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Anthony and Jodie are big into home brewing, and have created some wonderful beer. I can’t wait to try this one (probably later this evening). Their wedding is in September, and James and I have already bought our plane tickets. We wouldn’t miss it for the world! This wonderful gesture made my week, and yes I’ll admit, a few tears came to my eyes thinking about the amazing friends we left behind in Oregon.

The will to make dinner now restored, I cut up some tofu into cutlets, and with the assistance of Veganomicon made tangerine baked tofu. I also had some baby bok choy to use, so I sauteed it in orange juice, Bragg’s liquid aminos, and ginger. All of this went over a bed of noodles (they are not rice noodles, they are not soba noodles, they are not spaghetti noodles; I can’t remember what kind of noodles).

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We have a friend or two coming over for a movie tonight, and I am planning on cracking open one of the home brews. I have no restraint!

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One response to “A Welcome Surprise

  1. Pingback: 8 miles! « Lost in the Neon Fruit Supermarket

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