Engineering, sore ankles, and birthday cake

It was another super busy week. I think as a working mom, they all are. But this was unusually busy. However, I brought it upon myself.

This week was E-Week, or “National Engineers Week.” Probably sounds kind of dry…but it wasn’t, really! On Tuesday I traveled back to my alma mater (University of Iowa) to speak to their WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) group at a panel session about interview skills. Also, I planned two engineering outreach activities this week. The first was on Thursday for “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day,” where a group of female engineers worked with middle school girls to get a real, hands-on idea of what engineering is. (And for the record, engineering is NOT sitting at a computer or doing math problems! We have lots of fun as engineers…but I digress!). I also planned an event on Saturday at a local family museum to introduce elementary school and preschool kids to engineering concepts. We built gumdrop domes with gumdrops and toothpicks. It was a blast.

And then today was my middle child’s 5th birthday. A mom’s gotta make time for that, right? We had a little party with a few friends. My stomach still hurts from all that sugar. (I also think it’s because I realized after eating it that there was shortening in the frosting. Ewwww.)

But all these activities took time away from running. So I only got two runs in this week. 6 miles on Wednesday night (which was a HUGE accomplishment for me to run that far that late in the evening), and 11 miles today. And through both of the runs, my left ankle HURT. Oddly enough it doesn’t hurt unless I am running.

Back in July, I rolled my ankle carrying the baby in a backpack. Extra weight on my back plus sandals = a big swollen foot for a week. Once it healed up, it hadn’t bothered me until now. But, during these last two runs, the ankle has ached. I’ve been questioning whether the shoes I have are substantial enough for marathon training, and I’m thinking perhaps I need to start looking for something with a bit more bulk. I love my New Balance shoes, but if I hurt after 11 miles, what will I feel like at mile 25 of the marathon?

So I’m considering going shoe shopping. But I’m a little nervous about this, because this means that yet again I haven’t found the perfect shoe. I thought the NB were going to do it. They feel awesome on, and my pace has picked up over 30 seconds/mile since I started wearing them. But perhaps they will have to be my “short run” shoes. I have really loved the lower heel-toe drop of the NB (heel-toe drop is the difference between the height of the heel and the toe – on the NB it’s 4mm, on many traditional running shoes it can be more like 12-13mm), so that will definitely be a requirement for any new shoes. I wore my old Asics running shoes around on Saturday at the engineering event, and they just felt weird. Bulky and weird.

In the end, I have to be willing to test out a few things. And honestly, now is the best time, because I still have time to recover if things don’t quite go right. So hopefully next weekend I will have a shoe update. And I am optimistic it will be a good one.

There’s always the chance my ankle will just stop hurting. Right? A girl can dream…

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