Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tweeting Nun

I have been in New Hampshire the past 2 1/2 weeks and am ashamed that I have not written a blog post.  There is so much I have to accomplish in my short weeks here, and so little time . . . Well, since someone else wrote up this nice article I thought I would share it here.  It tells the story of how I got started in Social Media.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Roman Catholic Sister on Daily Mile

I kept hearing Dailymile come up in the running blogosphere, and so I finally joined the network.  Dailymile has some similarities to Facebook, but it is geared particularly for active people.  When I first heard about it, I figured that excluded me, since at the time I was still trying to struggle out of the sedentary state.  However, when I got on Dailymile I was pleasantly surprised to find that it is easy to post workouts, no matter how small.  Similar to what our road race tried to be, Dailymile is equally attractive to fast, experienced runners and slow, inexperienced beginners.

For example, my profile from last week above logs the miles even though I am a walker and not a runner.  The green bar on the end without a number is a workout.  You still get the green bar, just no miles recorded.  I like clean, clear visuals, to this does the trick to motivate me to post workouts or walks.

Here are some reasons I like Dailymile:

  1. It is fun.  Even if my morning fitness routine is a mere 10 minutes, I can post it, and it appears in the timeline alongside the posts from marathon runners who are sharing their training.  I can also share pictures and videos. 
  2. It is easy.  There is even a pedometer powered by Google Maps to trace where you have been.  It calculates the miles you covered and your pace.  The only drawback to the pedometer is that routes are public, either to friends only or to the general public.  I think it would be safer, particularly for women who run alone, to have a private routes option.  One workaround I found is to use the map to calculate, but then don't save it if it is a route I don't want public.
  3. It is social.  You can tie in and publish all of your workouts simultaneously to Facebook and Twitter if you want.  I always liked the upbeat attitude of the running community when I was doing races in NH in the late 90s.  That same positive energy is present on Dailymile on a much wider scale.  
  4. It is motivating.  I was in a real slump about 3 weeks ago when I started.  Yet there is something really gratifying about posting a workout and having the data show up in an appealing visual format.  Between the encouragement of new friends I have met on Dailymile and the nice interface, I have managed to log 26 miles total in the past 3 weeks!
If you would like to check out my profile on Dailymile, this is the link:

To check out the site and sign up (yes, it's free) here is the link:

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Will the Runningnuns Ever Run Barefoot?

The short answer is, I don't know yet.  Sister Maximilian brought up the topic about a year ago.  At the time I had never heard of barefoot running and thought she was joking.  Never wanting to miss an opportunity, I teased her about the running barefoot idea before I returned to Southern California to continue my studies.  

Now Sister Maximilian can tell me, "I told you so."  I have come across many good articles about running barefoot and now I know the idea is worth further investigation.  What intrigues me is the fact that apparently the human foot was made for running long before all kinds of cushioned running shoes were invented.  If I understand the theory correctly, running shoes with a heel cushion actually cause the foot to strike heel first, and that can cause injuries.  Left to itself, the front of the foot hits the ground first and absorbs the shock of the foot strike.  I have only just begun to learn about this but plan to research more.  One blog post that particularly intrigued me was by Peter Larson when he took videos of a runner on a treadmill with different shoes & barefoot.  It was very interesting: check it out here.

So, back to the original question:  will the sisters ever run barefoot?  We will continue to do the research.  If we are on a beach, you might just catch us running barefoot.  If we adopt the practice at other times, however, you will probably see us in minimalist shoes or Vibram Five Fingers.  One thing I have heard is that the transition is hard for experienced runners:  they need to break into barefoot mode slowly, because all kinds of different muscles are used.  This is where I might just have an edge.  Since I am not able to run yet and will have to start from scratch when I do begin running, I might just be able to escape the re-training woes.  Who knows?  I will probably never beat Sister Maximilian in a race, but I might just be able to beat her to barefoot.