Monday, February 28, 2011

How to Run Better

The other day I was wasting time surfing FB and came across a status update from one of my cousins about this cool new thing she learned that has helped her and her husband run better. There  were lots of replies about wanting to hear more so she typed up a note and I wanted to share that same info with you!

I, like Karina, do not claim to be any sort of expert on running. Honestly, I don't like to run at all but I have another Triathlon to complete this year and running is a must. Karina and her husband, Alan, are participating in Ragnar race in Cali. (very ambitious!!) This is great information for the person who wants to start running, the beginner runner and the advanced!

This is what Karina wrote:
"We took a $5 class at Runner's Corner in Orem and I really wish we had taken it a long time ago! The class was taught by a guy who does ultra marathons (100 miles!) and another guy who has been running forever and won lots of races, but I don't remember which ones! First they had us run around a track and took a video of us and then they had us take off our shoes and they took a video of us running around the track again (I'll get back to the video later--it blew my mind!). Then we gathered back together and they told/showed us the 4 most important things to remember when running to avoid injury, be more efficient, and reduce fatigue.

1) Balanced Forward Posture--stand tall and straight, looking ahead. Slightly lean from the ankles without bending at the waist while having your chest forward with shoulders back and relaxed. The way they had us practice this was stand straight and then lean forward from the ankles and when you feel like you need to step forward because you are going to lose your balance, start running! They called it "controlled falling".

2) Compact Arm Swing--Short, relaxed arm movement, elbows should not extend in front of the waist. Pump elbows back and relax/recover forward. Arms should not cross your body (it makes your body sway and causes hip pain among other things). I pretty much wasn't doing any of this and it was slowing me down/tiring me out!

3) Proper Foot Strike Under a Bent Knee--Landing on just your heel is bad (can cause shin splints and all sorts of other injuries and it slows you down because it pushes your energy behind you instead of forward) and landing on just the ball of your foot is bad, too. You should land on both the ball and the heel at about the same time (mid foot strike). The feet should strike the ground under a bent knee (to avoid knee injuries). Although the foot will contact the ground slightly in front of the body, it should feel like it is directly underneath. In other words, you shouldn't be taking gigantic strides in front of your body.

4) 180 Cadence--They said this is the most important of all because if you can do this, everything else falls into place. This is what I focused on when I ran a little over 7 miles and it was, dare I say, easy! Your goal is to run a minimum of 180 steps per minute. That means 30 steps per leg in 20 seconds. So they had us count how many times our right leg hit the ground in 20 seconds. Alan and I were both at 25, which is too low (30 is what you are shooting for). This was a revelation to us! It was as simple as stepping quicker. I was all focused on stride length before but when I focused on getting 30 right foot strikes in 20 seconds (I got a cheap watch with a timer from Target), my steps were smaller and lighter and it took way less energy because I wasn't spending too much time in the air or on the ground. You can also run to a metronome set to 180 or a song that has 180 beats per minutes. START BY FOCUSING ON 180 CADENCE.

Ok, so back to the video. I can't tell enough people about this part! We went back to the store and all watched everyone run in suuuuper slow motion. On the video of us with shoes, almost EVERYONE (there were about 25 people in the class) was landing on their heels when they ran. I kinda already knew heel striking was bad so I was making a conscious effort not to so I was shocked when I saw in the video that I was landing on my heel with a straight leg. I could actually see how that was causing all my soreness. I mean, just think about jumping up and landing on your heel with your leg straight. Not great. Also, I looked like I was LEAPING through the air. After all the things they taught us, I could self-diagnose what I was doing wrong before they even said anything. I had wayyy too much air time and I could see that my cadence was so slow. Also, I had the dreaded criss-crossy arms (very common in women; the ginormous forward and backwards arms are more common in men). It was making my body twist and that would explain my hip pain when I first started running. My posture was actually ok but a lot of people had "broken" posture (bent at the waist) which is bad for your back, etc. The awesome thing is that I would have never known these things about myself if I hadn't watched it. So I highly recommend taking a video of yourself running and watching it in slow motion, as painful as it is!

THEN, we watched the video of us barefoot/in socks. WHOA. Every person had near-perfect running form. What the...?! Everyone was landing midfoot with soft knees and we were leaning from the ankles and everything. And what they said made perfect sense. Without shoes our bodies naturally try to protect themselves, which is a good thing in running. I had seen a few barefoot runners and had heard about it and thought they were weird hippies but now I get it. Most running shoes are way higher and heavier in the back and they encourage heel striking. Some companies now make "zero drop shoes" that are super light and don't have a clunky heel and you also might have seen the Vibram five-finger creepy ninja-turtle-looking feet glove things. I'm a convert and I think I will transition into the barefoot/minimalist running world after the Ragnar. A survey was done with different groups of runners and by far the runners with the least injuries were barefoot/minimalist runners and ultra marathoners (because how else could you run 100 miles with inefficient technique?).

The good thing is, you don't HAVE to run barefoot or in minimalist shoes. I applied the 4 techniques with my normal running shoes and it worked so well it was liberating! I honestly felt like I could run longer when my 100 minutes were up because my energy was being conserved the whole time. My strides were much smaller than before because I am still not a fast runner, but that doesn't matter. What matters is that I am not taking gigantic and slow heel strides and I know how to be efficient now. I am so excited about all this that I had to restrain myself from saving random runners on the track from injury by telling them that they were doing something wrong.

Before this class I just thought I was still a beginner so I was just going to hurt everywhere in my legs every day. My legs would slow me down before my lungs would I was so sore I could barely sit down to stretch! After a few days off and running this new and improved way, I'm barely sore!

Anyways, running barefoot for 30 seconds before a run can help a lot. Also, they said you should run 1/3 of your mileage on natural or uneven surfaces to strengthen your stabilizing muscles. They warned us not to start running miles barefoot because your feet need to get stronger and stronger. You should just start with a minute and then keep adding to it on each run. Whew! That's a lot of info and it would make more sense if you could just see the videos. I found a link to this site on the Runners Corner site: and they talk about almost the exact same 4 points (go to videos and there are some good ones that can show good form vs. bad form and what a good cadence looks like). This turned into a really long note, but I wanted to share what I learned with the world so everyone who is a runner or wants to be a runner won't get hurt. Thanks, Runner's Corner!
Good Form Running"

So there you have it. I read this like 5 times and practiced it a little yesterday with the boys. We all ran barefoot down our long driveway several times while Scott taped us in 30 degree weather. Then, we ran with our shoes on and then counted our cadence. It was eye-opening! I am excited to practice it later today at the gym. I am excited to run!!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Art Work

 Here is some of Gavin's art Work. The top picture is of Joseph Smith, obviously.
And here is a drawing of Jesus healing a blind man. Umm, adorable!!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Free Running

 Jackson's friend introduced him to "Free Running" which was pretty cool to watch. (go on YouTube and there are some awesome videos!!)Coleman(Jackson's friend), Jackson, Tyler and Gavin ran around the yard (which seemed like 100 times) climbing, jumping, running, hoping and sliding off random areas.  They also went out to the church parking lot (right next to our house) and were running around everywhere. After, Jackson asked if I could buy him some Vans shoes. "They work so much better than normal shoes.

 (Gavin taking his turn jumping from the stone stairs on the side of our home)

It was fun to watch them be so daring and adventurous. AND I knew this fun new past time would suck the energy right out of those boys!

Surprise Birthday Dinner with the Ladies!!

Over my birthday weekend two of my dearest, sweetest friends surprised me and took me out to dinner to the Cheesecake Factory. Ladies' night!! It was such a wonderful surprise! It was so fun chatting and laughing with them for hours.
I love these two ladies with all my heart. Michelle and Jennica went to elementary school together but I knew them from primary. When Jr. High came along we all started hanging out with each other (with a few other extra special friends) and we've been close ever since! Michelle has lived in Utah for many years and Jennica recently moved here from being in Texas for a few years. I, of course, was in Cali and Arizona and now we're all FINALLY together.
They are smart, talented, beautiful, caring, wonderful moms, wives and friends. I am so lucky to know them and have them in my life.
Thanks again ladies for the extra special fun evening! I had a blast!


 The other night was the Blue and Gold Banquet in our new area. Jackson received his Bear award, a gold arrow point and two silver arrow points. Way to go Jackson!!
I was a super proud mama!

It was a nice evening and we are so proud of Jackson in all this hard work and effort passing off so many requirements from the Cub Scouting program.

Roommate from College REUNION!!

(Yea, I'm looking at the wrong camera.)

 Here is Kim and I; one of my (coolest) roommates from college! We had a mini reunion the other night at her house. Another one of our rommies was suppose to be there too but got sick at the last minute. Bummer!!
We chatted and reminisced about the good 'ol days of life in college. It was so wonderful seeing her and her beautiful family again! (FOUR girls)
 They had a ton of dolls, barbies, dress-up stuff, pink and purple whatever and all sorts of girly stuff. My boys were playing with all of it! It was so funny. Nathan especially loved this singing Care Bear. So cute.
 Gavin drawing away. The other kids were eating popcorn and watching a movie.
Here are all the kids (minus Will, he was at sleepover)

It was so fun being with Kim and her wonderful family again!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hogle Zoo

 Hogle Zoo offers free days in the winter time. And you know me, I won't pass up a good deal! So off we went! Look at this cute little monkey, and see how cute the furry thing is too!

 Apparently you can surf on a elephant's trunk. In the middle of winter. Cool!
 This cheetah was so close to us and kept growling at the boys in front. Thanks goodness for glass!
 Three of the tigers were snoozin' away while the fourth was playing with this teething ball on top of the roof. I hope it's strong enough to hold!

 Gavin asked which camel was "fuller". The one closer to him because it's humps were larger.
 Another cute monkey and a very large monkey in the back.

We kept throwing snowballs at each other as we walked through the zoo. The other boys are in a spider exhibit and Gavin is waiting patiently to chuck his snowball at Will.
We had such a fun time! I am so lucky to have such wonderful, adventurous loving boys in my family! We always have a good time!

May the Force be with you!

 Gavin had a birthday. He is now FIVE years old. What? Where has the time flown to? Seriously! FIVE? Well, this year he wanted a Star Wars party. And you know me, I love to throw a good party. That is something I am good at. I enjoy the planning, buying, decorating and during it all. FUN!
Gavin invited several of his friends and we ended up with 18 4-5 year olds. Wowza!
All my boys were dressed up in some kind of Star Wars costume. As the children arrived they put on their tunics and we played "Pass the thermal detonator" while we waited for the kids to arrive. (It's like Hot Potato. We used a balloon wrapped in tin foil.)
 Next the young Jedi trainees had to practice walking in space. They had to tip toe, hope and jump on the bubble wrap. Huge success. How doesn't like to pop bubble wrap??
 Next was a fun game. They had to place the bomb over a bad spaceship of planet.
 Next, which is the most important, was the actual Jedi Training. Scott had them come up one at a time and ask them  couple questions about themselves to determine which light saber they were able to use. (like in Harry Potter) We made the light sabers before the party started and they were a huge hit. Literally. :) A 3 foot piece of pip covering with a 10"  piece of pvc piping wrapped in black electrical tape. And then we covered the saber with colored duct tape. Easy and cheap. (Came to $1.50 each light saber)

 Next they practiced a little routine, like at Disneyland. Once they were ready, Will came in dressed as a Stromtrooper and fought each Jedi. Thankfully, they all passed! When Will first came out two kids became really scared and started to cry. Will had to take off his mask to show them it was just him.
 I used black table clothes to cover the basement windows and painted dots, planets and stars to make it look more like space.

 After opening presents we went upstairs to decorate and eat cookies. Besides making the traditional cake, I make star sugar cookies for the kids to decorate. I had frosting and a bunch of toppings to choose from.
Last, but not least, was the pinata. A party just isn't a party in the Thompson household without a pinata filled with candy! (you can't see it but it's Darth Vader's head!)
Happy, happy birthday Gavin!! I love you!

An extra special THANK YOU to my blog friends who helped me with the invite, training certificate, games, food and drink ideas and decorations! Tip Junky and Tip Junky again, At Second Street, and DeGreve!!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Swim Meet #2

 During the boys swim meet Nathan kept looking at me smiling while I was taking pictures of the other brothers. He is such a ham! And smiles on cue! (Not like Brigs and Gavin!)
 Here is right before the swim meet all the children are gathered talking about the rules and the coaches wishing everyone good luck. There were almost 100 kids involved in the swim meet. Everyone chooses 3 events.

Tyler chose 25 free (in which he swam 5 seconds faster than the last meet!!)and came in second, 25 breast (3.5 seconds faster) and came in second, and the 25 backstroke (he was almost 5 seconds faster) and came in third!! Great job Tyler!

Jackson swam the 25 free (almost 6 seconds faster than last time) and came in third, 25 breast (4 seconds faster) came in third, and the 25 butterfly ( 4 seconds faster) and came in fourth. Great job Jackson!!

Birthday Weekend

My birthday weekend was fun! My mom and Bill flew in and we had a jam packed 3 days. And, it snowed! It was wonderful!!

On Thursday night two of my best friends from Santa Barbara surprised me, kidnapped me and took me to a special dinner. It was ladies night and we had a blast! Thanks again gals!!

On Friday was Gavin's Star Wars party (more on that later) and it was a huge hit! It was so fun. I love planning parties and this was another great party. Gavin loved it too!

Friday night we (the adults) went out to Cafe Rio and met some of my favorite cousins there. The food was so, so good. I had been dreaming of the grilled chicken salad for a while. After, we headed back to my house for some dessert and games. We stayed up (way too late) playing golf, Rook, and Presidents. Thanks Boyce girls for making the evening ever fun!

Saturday was MY day. I turned 36 years old. I definitely don't feel 36, but those are my digit's. Jackson and Tyler had a swim meet (more on that later) and it was awesome. Each of them swam their events faster than the last meet. They did great. We went shopping. And some more shopping. Papa took me to Costco for a Costco run! THANKS Papa!! Then, we went out for another extra special dinner. That evening it started snowing! I love when it snows. It's so beautiful. We came home for more card games with the family. Fun, fun, fun!

On Sunday it was still snowing, yeah! My mom and Bill flew home, boo! For the rest of the day Scott and I sat in bed and watch tv shows that were being saved on our tivo. The kids joined us every once in a while. So relaxing!

Happy Birthday To me!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


A couple weekends ago I attended TOFW (Time out For Women) in Ogden, Utah with one of my favorite cousins. We had such a wonderful time and it was so refreshing to be able to put 100% of my focus on spiritual stuff. Sure, I missed the kiddos and the hubby, but I needed it and it's on "my list".

The topic of this years theme is "Choose to Become". One speaker elaborated on this and said "...a little bit more of the woman you're suppose to be!"

Friday night was Virginia Pierce and she spoke on mothering. We don't just have one mother, many women mother us. What a blessing that is! She spoke a lot about Eliza R. Snow and what a remarkable woman she was. (I now want to buy her biography!! I had no idea how influential she was in church history.)
"The Lord has laid high responsibility on us. Continue to help build the kingdom of God".

Also on Friday night Macy Robinson sang to us. She was funny and entertaining. She sang broadway songs about her life as a mother. It was a great night. I received a text around 8pm that night from Scott that said "When can mom get off time-out?" from Gavin! How adorable!

Bubbles (my cousin's nick-name) and I went back to our hotel, worked out, laughed, talked, stayed up waaay too late and had a blast!

More about TOFW later!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Great Picture of President Monson

I found this great picture of our sweet prophet on a great blog I read often. She has so kindly made this picture available to all of us!!
She is not selling this or making money off of it. There is either a colored picture of black and white one available. Please print it out as a 8x10.

Go here for the Black and white
Here for the color
And here is the blog I love so much!!

Happy Valentine"s Day!!


Happy, happy Valentine's Day...Love the Thompson's!!

Saturday, February 12, 2011


 We took Gavin to Burger King and Taco Bell for a FREE lunch. Then in the early evening we took him, and the other brothers bowling. Gain had been asking to go bowling since we moved here, and it's been years since we've gone. I found a BOGO coupon and we were off! He was so surprised when we pulled in the parking lot.
 Brigham is telling me his ball is over there, but wants it back. He got the hang of it and really enjoyed himself.
 Tyler and Jackson rocked at bowling! Jackson's first game was a score of 119. And look at photo of Jack and Ty. Umm, Gavin you're over the line!! :)

 I chose this shot not to show off Gavin, but look at Brig's in the back. Laying there with his ball waiting for the pins to be placed out correctly. So cute!
 Brigham really got into it and after he'd throw the ball he'd wait there. (and wait! He'd throw the ball so slowly it took a long time for the ball to finally get to the end of the lane)
 And finally when some pins would fall, he'd jump up and be super excited!
 Nathan stayed in his stroller but seemed to have a good time watching all of us.
 They turned the lights off, added some disco balls and those neon lights and we all started to boogie!!

 A worker came over, after she'd announced it was Gavin's birthday, with a cupcake for him!
Happy, happy birthday Gavin!!