4.15.2015

Time to Fly!

At some group runs at Flatirons Running, I've gotten questions about HOKA ONE ONE shoes from runners who assumed I was a rep for the company like my friend and teammate Nicole. That was a fair assumption on their part, since I was often there to try to help Nicole when she had a shoe demo or other event and I always had the Conquest or Clifton on my feet. I always explained that I just really liked the shoes and that I was helping a friend.

But, I'll back-track a little to explain how I ended up with my feet in a pair of HOKA ONE ONEs...

Last summer, I was training for the US Mountain Running Championship. I was doing most of my workouts up hills to prepare and I was feeling really fit. Seemingly out of nowhere, my posterior tibial tendon became very inflamed and the pain on the inside of my ankle made it impossible to run. My chiropractor did some good work on it, but the pain would always come back if I tried to run.

I really didn't know what I was going to do... It was suggested that I try the HOKA ONE ONE Conquest, and it was just like flipping a switch: I could run again! A few times in the months following that, I tried to wear other shoes for a run here or there, but the pain always came back. As I got back in shape and the injury healed, I picked up a pair of the Huaka for my quicker workouts and races. I was hooked on HOKA!

As my coach recently said, "If it weren't for HOKAs, Amanda would be sitting at home with a cat, feeling sorry for herself." Bingo. The man knows me pretty well.

So, I'm very pleased and excited to announce that the newest member of "Team Amanda" is HOKA ONE ONE!  I'm really looking forward to representing them in my training and racing and at various sponsored events and I'm extremely grateful for their support!

Time to fly!


4.14.2015

Strong. Fit. Fierce.

Since I moved to Boulder in June 2012, I always thought it would be really cool to be selected for a featured athlete interview with Colorado Runner Magazine. I was surprised a few months ago when their Amanda Jamrogiewicz reached out to me and asked if I would be willing to do an interview! It went live on their site on April 5, and I wanted to share about it here in case anyone missed it and so I wouldn't lose it.

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Excerpt:

Do you have a saying or motto that you live your life by?  That you train by?
One of my college teammates repeated “Calm. Strength.” to herself during races, and I’ve used that along with “Strong. Fit. Fierce.” It’s just a good reminder to myself in every situation that I’ve done the work to prepare and to stay calm when things pop up that I have no control over.

What keeps you motivated?  Where do you draw your inspiration from?
My teammates are, no doubt, very inspiring. They help me keep going on a daily basis. But my real inspiration is my mom. Through four years of aggressive cancer treatments, I never once heard her complain. Even when she was really suffering, she was still concerned with the well-being of others. The day before she died, she woke up and said to me “Baby, can I do anything for you?” Wow. It really puts things in perspective.

Gear Feature: Hoka One One Huaka

With my marathon debut 12 days away, I've been getting some questions on what will be on my feet for the race. So, I thought now would be a good time to introduce my good friend, the Huaka, from Hoka One One:




In the past, I'd always raced in pretty traditional racing flats, usually so minimal that I could feel every pebble. I liked feeling like I was in close contact with the ground, and I liked the springy feel of the rigid soles. I plan to post about "Why Hoka?" in the near future, but for now, I'll just compare my three initial concerns with the Huaka and what my actual experience has turned out to be.

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Concern 1: It looks like a much more beefy, heavy shoe than what I used to race in. I mean, just look at how thick the midsole is! And at 8.2oz for a women's size 8 (I wear a 9), it really is considerably heavier than  my previous racing flat - the Saucony Type A6 at 4.5oz.

My Experience: Honestly, I don't even notice the weight difference between the Huaka and my old shoes. I don't know what to say about this. The actual number of the weight is what it is, but it really isn't an issue for me at all.

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Concern 2: With all that extra mid-sole material, it's not going to give me the "poppy" feel I've come to love in a racing flat. I used to do a lot of my racing in the adidas Adios, which was pretty low-to-the-ground and had 2 stiff plastic pieces along the sole that seemed to help propel me forward.

My Experience: Wow! Of course the Huaka feels different from the other shoes - it IS different! But, I don't feel like I'm sacrificing anything in terms of spring or propulsion. I would have to ask someone with a more intimate knowledge of the technology, but my guess is that the rockered geometry provides that feeling of springing forward that I was hoping for. When you take the shoe in your hands and bend the toes upward, it springs back nicely. That's a super unscientific way to look at it, but it works for me!

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Concern 3: Again, as I've already said, the Huaka has a substantial amount of cushioning for a racing shoe. I worried that it would feel mushy and slow and I was also concerned that it might actually leave my feet and lower legs feeling more fatigued after hard efforts if it felt like running through sand. Maybe this concern was a little extreme, but it was still something I was worried about.

My Experience: Hooray! The cushioning isn't mushy at all! I actually think the extra cushioning makes this a great shoe for longer runs and workouts because it makes me feel LESS beat-up afterward. And "slow" is definitely not a word to describe the Huaka! I've run the best workouts of my life in these shoes! After a recent race, a woman came up to me and said "I can't believe you ran so fast in Hokas!" That's a misconception I'd really like to dispell about Hoka shoes, that you can't run fast in them. You absolutely can! I've run fast (for me) in them, and pros like Matt Llano and Sage Canaday run super fast in them!







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In short, I highly recommend runners open their mind to trying the Huaka for their next racing shoe. It's got great cushioning but is still responsive, and your legs won't feel as trashed after the hard effort.

Go Hoka!

4.10.2015

Stick A Needle In It

I've spent much of my life with a deathly fear of needles. I can't even look at them. When I got my wisdom teeth out last fall, my boyfriend had to come in with me to hold my hand while they put the IV in. For some reason, I was fine when I got my tattoo but, in general, needles are not my thing.

Throughout all of my injuries over the years, I had heard people talk about dry-needling and acupuncture and had had both therapies recommended to me several times, but I just couldn't bring myself to try either of them. I stubbornly declined any time one or the other was offered to me.

I can't explain why, but something changed a few weeks when I woke up one morning with intense IT band pain. Until that morning, my IT band had been 100% pain-free, but it was suddenly so painful that I could barely walk down the stairs of my apartment.

I remembered someone mentioning "Boulder Acusport," so I did a quick Google search and made an appointment for the next day. Yes, I willingly made an appointment to have someone stick needles in me. I know, I know... I don't know who I am anymore either.

In our first session, Ginna did a thorough evaluation and found that my glutes are VERY weak and they really don't fire at all when I move. Basically, I have a lazy butt. And if your glutes aren't doing their job, other muscles have to take up the slack and you're practically asking for an injury. Combined with all the snow and ice I had been running on, this was probably one of the causes of my sudden IT band pain and my long-term lower leg injuries.

Despite my nerves, Ginna went to work putting needles in various spots including those lazy glutes. I wouldn't say the sensation was pleasant, but it really wasn't terrible. While we let them "marinate," we talked a bit, and I can honestly say I kind of forgot that I had needles in me.

The only not-so-nice side effects I experienced were some tiredness that day and some weird soreness that sometimes felt like the needles were still there for a few days after. But, I did notice how much easier the motion of running felt now that my glutes were awake. And I noticed that they got really fatigued, because they were actually doing work for the first time in probably a very long time. Am I and my butt 100% cured? No, but we're on the right track and now that my glutes are awake, I can work on strengthening them and I really think things are going to continue to get better.

So, thank you to one of the newest members of "Team Amanda," Ginna Ellis of Boulder Acusport for getting me back to running quickly and starting me on the road to becoming a better, stronger runner!