A Love Story

Don’t worry, I’m not going to get all lovey dovey and sentimental on you guys. This love story isn’t about two people. It’s the simple tale of a girl (me, #duh) and her running shoes (Newton Running).

In the Beginning – High school was all about New Balance and Asics. In college, Nike staged an invasion, first with the LunarGlide, then with the Nike Free. I have no complaints about any of my past shoes, in fact, I still prefer the dynamic movement of the Free for the gym.

The Great Awakening – A friend (we’ll call him Princess) took me to Newton Running in Boulder, CO and I was fit to a shoe based on my gait. I struggled a bit because the shoe was light and airy and felt so natural. But it was… ummmmm…. freakin’ ugly, to put it nicely. But I gave it a try (luckily, Newton has put a little more effort into the aesthetic of their newer shoes).

You Complete Me – Six years, 1,817 miles, and eight shoes later and I am as in love today as I ever have been. My preferred shoe is the Distance Elite, which is minimalist and best for me because I pronate and run very high on the balls of my feet.

QUIZ: Find your Newton Running Shoe

Lug Life: The Science Behind the World’s Most Responsive Running Shoe – The true secret behind Newtons are the four to five lugs under the balls of your feet. These lugs do two things:

  • Action/Reaction™ Technology – Creates a responsive cushioning for quicker bounce-back. With a standard running shoe, your power is absorbed by the foam-core sole, but with Newtons you are boosted with each step.
  • % Grade – Many popular running shoes have a heel-to-toe drop of  12mm, which is an 8% grade (for reference, 8% is the grade at which truckers are given a warning about steep roads ahead). That’s crazy talk! This slope changes your running gait and puts added pressure on unnecessary parts of your leg and foot. Newton lugs help to level you out, creating a more natural gait with anywhere from a 1.3% to 3.3% grade. Much better! See below for reference of popular “flat” or minimalist running shoes that are anything but.

Happily Ever After – Wether you’re a heel-to-toe runner, or naturally stay on the balls of your feet, Newton Running shoes will help improve and power your stride. No more calf tightness, no more achilles pain, just a boost of energy with every step and a whole new view on running. Woo hoo!

READ: Taking my Newtons on the Road

How Do Others Stack Up, Literally – Here is the heel-to-toe drop and grade of some top runners in the market (I specifically looked at women’s, but typically men’s are the same or similar).

  • Newton Distance Elite – 2mm/1.3%
  • Hoka One One Clayton – 4mm/2.6%
  • Topo Athletic Ultrafly – 5mm/3.3%
  • New Balance Vazee Pace v2 – 6mm/4%
  • Asics FuzeX Lyte – 8mm/5.3%
  • Nike Lunarglide 8 – 9.5mm/6.3%
  • Brooks Ghost 9 – 12mm/8%

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Cold Day Layers

We got our first snow of the year in D.C., today, and I could not be more excited! I was born during a blizzard, and that’s my best guess as to why I love the snow so much. It’s always been my favorite weather.

Anyway, I digress. I decided to hit the streets for a long(er) snowy run and realized that layering can be tough. So here are a few layering tips for you outdoor enthusiasts:

Up Top: They used to say you lost half your body heat through your head. That’s silly, and totally base-less. HOWEVER, any exposed part of your body is a place for heat to escape, so it doesn’t hurt to wear a hat. Plus cold ears are the WORST!

Face It: Wind burn blows (ha! I’m lame). I recently got into wearing a Buff, thanks to my friend Tricia. I use my Buff as a neck gaitor, but they can also be used as a headband, ponytail holder, scarf and much much more. I like to keep my nose warm!

That Core: Here’s where things get interesting. I tend to be cold, but HATE feeling suffocated or too warm on a run, so I have a rule of 3 (not counting a sports bra). For instance, in the 23/feels like 11 temps today, I opted for:

  1. A tight t-shirt that I could tuck into my tights to avoid any cold air getting through at my waist.
  2. A fleece-lined running sweatshirt. It’s thick and wooly inside but the zipper allows me to control the temp a bit.
  3. Finally, a vest. They keep your core and chest warm, while allowing your arms to be free. If your chest stays warm, your arms are not going to be cold.

Gloves vs. Mittens vs. Nada: I just can’t get down with mittens. But I know they’re warm and if you don’t mind them, I’d suggest mittens all day long. Recently, however, I’ve decided that gloves do not keep my hands warm. Instead, they separate all of my fingers, leaving them on tiny cold islands of despair. So today was the first truly cold day in which I tested my new theory, and it worked! I simply pull my sleeves around my hands and I’d venture to say my hands almost get too HOT!

Stems: I hate bunching, and I’m pretty neurotic about it. So I don’t wear multiple layers on my legs. I simply shop for the right tights for the season. I have a pair of fleece-lined tights that I wear when it’s below 20 degrees out. And I also have an INCREDIBLE pair of tights that feature a wind/waterproof layer that surrounds your quad, which is genius for those blistering days. But anything above 20 and I am usually good with regular tights. If I stop, my legs start to freeze, so it’s just motivation to keep my ass moving!

The Double-Sock Myth: No matter what anybody tells you, it is not, I repeat NOT smart to wear multiple layers of socks. Foot warmth is all based on circulation. Your heart has to pump blood down to your feet, and if you have multiple layers of socks, you’re constricting the flow. Instead, buy socks for all weather. I wear thicker and higher socks in the winter, tucking my tights into the bottom. Wool socks are definitely the warmest. But make sure your shoes aren’t too tight with thick socks on, otherwise you’re back to the circulation issue. If you feel your feet start to get cold, use the downhills to open up your stride and wiggle your toes with each step. PS The same rule applies for skiing. Don’t double up!

And now, you have no excuse not to #optoutside, and kick some cold-weather butt! Have any other tips for layering? I’d love to hear them, share in the comments below!

loveB

#HikeVA

Hey D.C.-area friends! Who has some free time this week + needs to burn off some Christmas cookies? Me! Me! Me! Here’s a quick guide to some of my favorite hikes around the District.

Not Much Time?:

  • Theodore Roosevelt Island – It’s not so much of a hike as it is a great trail run (or walk). It’s about a 1.3 mile loop and has a lot of shade for those hot summer months. The parking lot for the island is located off of George Washington Parkway, but you can run there via the Mount Vernon Trail or the Potomac Heritage Trail.
  • Turkey Run – Also located off of GW Parkway, this secret spot is never crowded and is just about a 5-minute drive from D.C.. There are multiple routes, including about a 4 mile loop that I love. Most of the trail runs parallel to the Potomac, so it’s a great place to bring your four-legged friend for a quick swim.

Don’t Mind Crowds?

  • Scott’s Run – This is probably my favorite hike in the immediate D.C. area, although it’s generally crowded on weekends. There are multiple trails, so you can make your hike anywhere from 3 miles to 6 or 7 miles. It has steep grades to work those glutes and also has a few picturesque views of the Potomac.
  • Seneca Falls – I don’t even know if this is the name of this hike. It’s located out in Great Falls just a few miles off of Rt. 7. It isn’t always crowded, but you sometimes get horse traffic out that way. The trail is wide, and includes wooded areas and more open fields, as well as long stretches along the river. If you do the loop, it’s just about 3 miles.
  • Difficult Run – This one is very short, and mostly flat. It’s about a mile out and a mile back. But it runs along Difficult Run, which is a pretty beautiful area with a few small falls. There are places to stop for a quick dip during those hot summer months. (Side note: Back in high school, we used to go rock jumping here. Apparently we had a death wish.)

Want to Get Outta Town?

  • White Oak Canyon – I’ve only been here once, but it was awesome. The trail is fairly steep, so it feels like a great workout. Toward the top is an incredible natural rock slide. WARNING: The water is FREEEEEEEZING.
  • Old Rag – Surely I am not the first to tell you about this one. I’m admittedly a bit of a hiking snob because I’ve been lucky enough to live most of my life in Colorado where hiking can sometimes mean mountain climbing. Old Rag is the most like a Colorado hike. It has a nearly 3,000 foot vertical climb and features a rock scramble at the top. The views are to die for and it’s well worth the 2-hour drive from D.C.. WARNING: No dogs allowed on Old Rag. The terrain is too tough.
  • Falling Springs Falls – This one is not a true hike, but has a lot of wooded trails for exploring AND two fun rope swings! Falling Springs Falls is home to the tallest waterfall in Virginia. There are campsites nearby as well! TIP: Stand under the waterfall for a VERY loud and incredible natural massage.

What are some of your favorite hikes?

loveB

Set Your Intentions

Do you yoga?
Back in my mid-twenties, when adulting seemed to hit me in the face like a baseball bat every single day, a friend introduced me to CorePower Yoga in Boulder, Colorado. I made every excuse in the book not to give it a try, but when I finally caved…EVERYTHING changed.

Much to my surprise I fell in love. It activated my muscles in a completely new way that left me feeling totally detoxed. But best of all, it magically relieved stressors in my life.

3 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Practice

  • Set Your Intentions – Go into class with a goal, and focus on that goal the entire time. It may be to get a good workout, or to let go of burdensome thoughts
  • Take it Seriously – Even if you have trouble at first, continue to take each pose seriously and give it your best effort.
  • Take a Towel – You’re going to sweat, so take a towel with you! I invested in a YogiToes towel years ago, and it was well worth it. It prevents me from sliding around on my mat.

If you haven’t tried it, but are looking for something new to spruce up your daily workouts, I definitely recommend CorePower Yoga. It’s a difficult workout, a great stretch and if you allow it, an incredibly powerful mental health activity.

Give it a try, and tell me what you think in the comments below!
loveB