I closed up my bead business yesterday. After almost 16 years, I was done. That's it. There are longer explanations, but what's important here is now I have time to do what I consider to be my real work - making beautiful vegan food, and helping other people learn how to eat better and get healthier. If you're curious about the job I've just quit, you can visit my bead website at KimMiles.com. I know some people think I'll go back to beadmaking as a career. I hope they aren't holding their breath or betting large sums of money on that. I don't believe in going back. Only in going forward.
That said, I ran 10 miles this morning, not feeling that it was necessary to keep up the 12.5 mile distance I ran last week. A friend of my daughter's, who runs full marathons, told her that you only need to train your body to run 10 miles, the rest is in your head. I'm all for that. Can I admit to you that I get a little bored on the long runs? I have yet to find that zen sort of head-space that some runners go to, and as for endorphins... I'm not at all sure I have any. I'm good with 5 or 6 miles, and then I'm ready to do something else. I'm pretty sure I won't be progressing to ultras, or even full marathons. I don't have that much to prove.
The race is just over two weeks away now, and while I'm running, I'm mentally packing and taking stock of all the gear I've collected. When I started this in February, I thought all I needed was good shoes. Sure, shoes are the most important bit of running gear there is. But while I think I could get by without a lot of the stuff I've gathered, I really like my stuff, and want to have it with me on race day. Through trial an error, I've found a few really good things that work for me. Starting with the shoes, here they are.
I like Brooks shoes. They fit me right, and they're vegan. I bought a pair of their trail runners in February, but I knew they were messing with my stride and making me feel all clunky and dorky. So then I bought another pair of Brooks when we were in Seattle, and had several good running stores to try things on in. I tried on several shoes, by several companies, but the Brooks PureCadence made my feet feel like "happy little bunnies." That's what I told the sales guy. Really. They're sort of in between a traditional runner and a minimalist shoe, and I love them beyond reason. The only problem with a lighter weight shoe is that it wears out faster than a heavy one. These dirt and gravel roads around here eat shoes. I wasn't sure if my shoes were losing some of their spring, so I ordered a new pair just like them (but in turquoise!), to see if there was a difference in the feel. I put one of each on, side by side, and it felt like one leg was shorter than the other. The soles and cushioning had compacted to a very noticeable point. And when I ran the 10 miles today in the new ones, my feet were happy bunnies again. I really can't afford new shoes every 4 months, so I might need to look for something a little tougher. Or maybe Brooks wants to sponsor me. They could market me to real people. Good idea. Meanwhile, I'll go back and forth between the new pair and the old ones, and will use the original trail runners for walking on my in-between days. I'm really glad I have the new ones for the race! I hear most runners have a "shoe pile," and now I know why.
The next thing I have and like and use all the time is my water bottle, a CamelBak Performance 22 ounce. The reason I like it is it doesn't leak. My needs are simple here. It needs to hold water, all the time, and it does. This is my third water bottle, and the other two leaked no matter what I did. Those were the Nathan Quickdraw Plus 22 ounce handheld, and the Amphipod 12 ounce, which besides leaking, was just too dinky. I did keep the bottle carrier from the Nathan model. The CamelBak fits in it perfectly, and I like the little zippered pocket on the side for stashing my snacks.
Clothes are important too. I have several things to choose from, but my favorite by far is my Skirt Sports Women's Lotta Breeze Capri Skirt. It's comfortable, stays put the entire time I'm running, and well, it covers my butt and makes me feel cute.
A good sports bra is something a girls needs, but that and shirts are something you all can figure out for yourselves. If you really want to know, I get my bras at Target. They do the job, and they're cheap. And on race day I'll be wearing my Plant Powered tank top. I had it made at CafePress, and it's the only one like it.
Socks, like shoes, have to be perfect. Lauren turned me on to Drymax socks from Roadrunner Sports, and they're my absolute favorites for serious running days. I also love my bright pink "run like a girl" socks, which were a gift from a friend. They make me feel happy every time I look down at my feet.
I carry my iPhone when I run, part for "just in case," and part for music. OK, mostly for music. I usually use Pandora radio on it, with a single earphone, because I want to be able to hear approaching trucks and dogs. I carry the phone in my super-nifty Spibelt, which I love because the pocket stretches to fit more than just a phone if I want it to, and because it doesn't bounce around.
And while we're on music, I'll admit to a preference for the Monkees station on Pandora when I'm running. I created the station when Davy Jones left this world. I love Davy, and I know many of you secretly love him too. Before I started listening to that station, I was playing Vivaldi or Latin Essentials. Both are good, but the Monkees station plays more than just Monkees - like Van Morrison, the Beatles, Mamas and Papas, Youngbloods, Queen, the Foundations, Stevie Wonder, the Turtles, the Guess Who, the Beach Boys, Norman Greenbaum, and Tommy James and the Shondells. Crimson and clover, over and over... It takes my head back to a younger place, and fools my body into feeling younger too. I run better with the Monkees than I do with Vivaldi. Amazing.
Last on the gear list is my Timex Ironman watch. I got this particular model because it has GPS, and because it's huge and I can see the numbers without reading glasses. Yeah, I'm old, remember? It also has an interval timer, which helps me keep my pace. It took me a few days to figure out how to use it, but now I just set it as I head out the door, and when I get home it can tell me how far, how fast, how many calories, and a whole lot more. I love my watch.
So there you have it. All the most important, can't do without 'em things that will go with me to Disneyland. I'll also bring some food, just to be safe, like almond butter sandwiches and my favorite (so far) eat-and-run snacks. GoGo Bites are the easiest recipe I've ever come up with - only 4 ingredients - but they also have lots of room for experimentation and additions. I pop one of these every so often when I'm running, and my energy level stays really good. Rick and our grandson think of them as tiny little cookies, but I like knowing they're good for them too.
1 cup raw almonds - soaked in water 4 hours or more. Overnight in the fridge is fine.
1 cup pitted dates - cut in half (to be sure they're pitted) and soaked in 1 cup of water for the same amount of time as the almonds.
1 cup cooked quinoa - leftover quinoa works great for this.
1 tsp sea salt
Drain and rinse the almonds, and chop them in the food processor until they're as coarse or fine as you like them. Since I eat them on the run, I chop them pretty fine.
Add the dates and their soak water to the almonds and blend for a few seconds.
Add salt and quinoa and blend a few seconds more, until everything is mixed.
Spread the mixture about 1/2 inch thick on a cookie sheet with either a non-stick silicone liner or parchment. Bake at 325º for 45 minutes to an hour, until the top is browned, and the edges are a bit browner. You want them to be firm and fairly dry, but not burned. Let them cool before cutting into little one-inch squares. (You can also "cook" these in a dehydrator if you want to do the low-temp raw thing. I've tried it, and it takes about 10-12 hours.)
If you like, stir in additions like unsweetened coconut, raisins or other dried fruit bits, cinnamon, chopped walnuts, or vegan chocolate chips before spreading batter on the pan.
Here you go. Take two, they're small!