Another day, another outfit

This post is third in a series of entries about Raja’s 21 Day Challenge, which is to wear the fabulous new clothes she helped me purchase every day for 21 consecutive days, in hopes that I will form a fashionably sensible habit. Find out more about Raja

This outfit is a lot of things: a splash of color, a scoop neck, very comfy skirt, a blazer thrown in for good measure (because it is inevitably always cold in the city–but not in Marin)…and a pair of shoes I’m not entirely sure works, but that are worn-in and comfy. New plan for the weekend? Break in those cute new shoes I bought!

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Pink!

This post is second in a series of entries about Raja’s 21 Day Challenge, which is to wear the fabulous new clothes she helped me purchase every day for 21 consecutive days, in hopes that I will form a fashionably sensible habit. Find out more about Raja

I own many different varieties of flat black and brown shoes. My main criteria for purchasing shoes is comfort and practicality. However, my shoes never really “pull together” an outfit. In fact, they probably detract from it more often than not, as I’ll wear them down until the soles start coming apart and the leather scratches on the surface make them look more like an art project than a black shoe.

Lucky for me, these new pink flats have the potential to be comfortable* and stylish. AND…pink. It doesn’t seem like it was that long ago when pink shoes would have been the norm for me. When I was 10, pink covered my walls, my pink-barret-covered-head-to-my-pink-ruffle-socked-feet, and my everyday existence. But why should 10 year old girls get to have all the fun?

*Throughout the day, my feet went from mildly irritated to extreme pain, making even walking to the printer a challenging task. These shoes should be comfortable, though, so I’m just going to chock it up to the “break in period,” and hope the blisters go away in time.

Fashionably fractured…to functional (hopefully!)

First, a running update:

My left foot has been bugging me since I ran the half marathon. It acts up after I’ve engaged in weight bearing activities (which are, essentially, the things I do for exercise/stress relief/my social life/you name it: cooking, climbing, hiking and running, for instance). All last week, I tried resting. I tried icing. I tried muscle rubs. And after all of that, my foot still ached at the end of a sedentary workday.

I decided to break down and visit my new bff, the podiatrist.* She made me move my tiny foot muscles. She poked each area of my foot, pulling each individual toe to see if it caused pain. She targeted the problem area (i.e., I was in pain). And then she took an x-ray of it. I learned a lot from that visit. My second metatarsal is bigger than my first. It’s not apparent on visual (like a morton’s toe), but it is obvious when you look on the x-ray. That means, my second metatarsal was doing way too much work while running and could have caused a hairline stress fracture. Inconclusive, because one xray said maybe, the other said nothing, but consistent with my symptoms.

This has all been very frustrating, as you can imagine. I finally figured out that swimming is an amazing low impact/low foot use workout, but I’m going to have to put a hold on my climbing gym membership for a month and NOT GO CLIMBING. OR HIKING. OR RUNNING. It’s good, in a way, to change my routine, but I will really miss those other things. They were such a central part of my life, and I look forward to the time when I can do them again.

*My sports therapy doc visits have definitely increased since I started training. I am not concerned, but I do wish I had better health insurance. I mean, chiropractic is preventative care, people! It should not be a $30 copay/visit. Don’t even get me started on the $60 copay for podiatry. I digress…

Fashion to the rescue!

In the meantime, I’m focusing on other things (like cello, swimming, fashion, etc.). For awhile now, I’ve been wanting to update my wardrobe with classic items that can be worn to work/on dates/at home. However, every time I entered a store, I got intimidated (in general, I feel metaphorically fractured when it comes to accessorizing or even matching items to make outfits). I kept delaying the inevitable shopping trip for various reasons (I’m sure I used the fav excuse: “I don’t have time; too busy running,” or “I’ll probably lose weight from all this running; I should wait until that stabilizes.”). It was time to make a change — after all, it was almost a year since I bought many nice work/date appropriate items at once, and I wasn’t really losing inches drastically, just gaining muscle tone.

This all led to one amazing evening with Raja, a desk warrior turned fashion consultant and painter extraordinaire! In 3.5 hours (ish), we covered many topics…including how not to hide behind baggy clothing, where shirts should fall on the pants, accessories, the every-day blazer, how to incorporate a sleek dress or two…just to name a few. She was gentle and firm, and very encouraging. At the end, I had a brand new wardrobe and a challenge: to spend the next 21 days wearing new clothes. The small print? I am to wear a blazer at least three times a week. And at least one accessory (my choice will generally be a necklace).

After putting everything away in its proper spot (blazers first, then dresses, then shirts, then pants) and moving old clothes to the smaller closet, I glanced over my main closet and felt a bit daunted by the actual item-pairing exercise. Then, I checked my email and found that Raja had laid it all out for the next 7 days. I breathed a deep sigh of relief and selected the items I put on today: skinny jeans, check shirt, black soft blazer, beige shoes. I put on a pearl necklace and a watch, and took a couple of photos (below).

I’ll do the same thing for the next 20 days and maybe this will turn me into a “fashion functional” human. Probably not a better fashion self-photographer, however.

Black toenails

Black toenails…and swollen feet…OH MY! I thought I was safe, buying the best possible shoes for the job, making sure they were a half size bigger than I would normally purchase, and even getting Podiatrist advice. Alas…no one can be fully safe.

My left foot feels like it has grown outward next to where the shoelaces were tied, and it presses painfully against my shoe when I run (granted, I’ve only run short distances since the race — and I don’t really know if this is real pain or just readjusting to the exercise).

My right second toenail is getting darker as the blister underneath grows bigger. I probably should have clipped my toenails ahead of time. In the meantime, I’m going to head to a running store this weekend to get new shoes — and I’m hoping it helps!

For more info on this topic, check out this Runners World article.

Recovery Week

On Monday, I became obsessed with finding the next big run. A few people were telling me I should just do another half in the fall. After all, I already had the training foundation for it, and anything I’d do until then would be maintenance. So, I found a couple of promising races:

The Big Sur Half will likely sell out soon, but it’s in the lead because it’s local enough and promises beautiful scenery. The Des Moines Marathon has a lot going for it (friends/family time, and being able to be there to support a friend who is running again for the first time since pregnancy), but it would mean I’d probably have to skip Thanksgiving in Iowa — and I’d have to take time off work for it.

Shortly after planning the runs, I downloaded a new, “moderate,” running schedule that would involve 2 miles on Tuesday, 5 miles on Thursday, and 8 miles on Sunday. All of that was thrown out of the window when I found myself sleeping in on Tuesday morning…and Thursday. This week, my training mostly consisted of climbing and practicing yoga. It was just what my body demanded, and I’m glad I did it. On Saturday, I went on a short, slow run with my roommate, and that went OK, but it was hard to motivate myself to do it. I feel like my strategy should really be to start small and increase up again. Maybe start by going for time, not distance (i.e., 30 mins of steady running one day, then 45, then 60 and so on).

I’m probably going to throw out any daunting training “plans” for the next week or so and see where that takes me. Then, maybe sign up for something in the fall. Maybe. I’m not going to promise anything, and I’m not going to be too disappointed if it doesn’t work out. There will be plenty of half marathon opportunities in 2013, after all.

Running Spam

A friend of mine (also a runner) recently posted an Onion article on her FB feed, focusing on how runners spam their friends with minute details about their running.

From the article:

“Mile split times, cramping, hydration levels, chafing—you’re about to hear all of that. Plus, I’ll be dwelling on one point around mile 17 when I considered stopping but then decided to keep going because I’d already come so far. There’s a lot to cover, so I want to be upfront and apologize right off the bat.”

Oh boy, am I guilty for that! I guess that’s why I have a blog, so those who don’t mind the spam can read it (and those who hate it can ignore it).

I like one of her friends’ comments: “at our age it’s a tough choice between marathons and babies, but marathons are the underdog so let it roll.” Ok, I don’t feel that bad after all…