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Nothing like suspense to get you running!

So nearly a year ago I became more serious about running and bought a new pair of shoes. I was back in the states for a little over a week, so I was able to get what I thought was my size in what I thought was a good shoe. I think the shoes (Asics) were probably pretty good, though the salesmen clearly had no idea what he was talking about. Unfortunately for me, though, when I got back to Japan, the shoes felt too small! I know now that the fit can depend on the time of the day you try them on, and that there should actually be room between your toe and the front of the shoe and so on, but I was kind of out of luck because it is nearly impossible to find my size in Japan. I ended up running my first 10K in October for the RUN10FEED10 race in those shoes, and then continued running in them until my knees started hurting (my last run was on New Year’s Day). After going to the clinic last week, I was told I could still run as long as I had supportive shoes and stopped if my knees hurt while running. Then, coincidentally, yesterday I actually found my size running shoe! I promised Chad that if I could buy new shoes, I would start running again, four times a week, with a minimum of 2 miles each time.

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These are my new, beautiful Nike Lunar Glides.

I wanted to be smarter this time than the last time I bought shoes, so I looked up lists of top running shoes and watched a video review of these on runnersworld.com. I also spoke extensively–at least, as extensively as my poor Japanese would allow–to the salesperson and she helped me a lot. (She, unlike the guy I had spoken to in the states, seemed to know what she was talking about!) Today was a moment of truth as I headed out the door for my first run in them. And…it was great!

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I usually run about a ten minute mile comfortably, so I was happy with my time today after having taken a break from running for a couple of months. The shoes felt amazing–very light, yet supportive. Also amazing was revisiting an Old Time Radio Show I used to listen to called Suspense!.

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Although I sometimes listen to music while running, I usually prefer to listen to podcasts. Last weekend I was listening to The Story on NPR and they were talking about Old Time Radio shows, so I decided to start listening to them again. I chose a particularly eery episode of Suspense! called “Zero Hour” (you can download it for free on iTunes, if you’d like!) to run to today. Nothing to distract you from any running discomfort like an episode of Suspense!, I’ll tell you that much! I barely noticed I was running, and if I did I usually still felt happy because there were so many Cherry Blossom trees blooming everywhere.

Do you like running? If so, what do you like to listen to while you run?

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I saw this inspiring quote on Facebook the other day…

Have a happy Thursday! The weekend is almost here.

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Seen: Pretty Heart Chocolates

I think I mentioned the Chocolate Wonderland I experienced a couple weeks ago. When Chad and I went in search of Koyama chocolates that day, I had commented on a few of the other pretty chocolates on display for the event. I don’t know what it was, but I felt elated to walk by all of the glass cases filled with artisan chocolates, imagining their tastes and textures. Have you ever felt that way?

I was brought back to the feelings from that day on Valentine’s Day last week. After a special surprise from me, Chad gave me a little surprise of his own:

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    Chad remembered me commenting on these pretty hearts at the Chocolate Wonderland!

Aren’t the colors of these heart chocolates beautiful? After regaining my sense of smell (I’m almost all better–just need my voice and energy back now!), Chad and I decided to split them tonight while watching some Modern Family. And now, we’re getting ready for bed. It’s a little later than we planned on, but we needed time to wind down!

What will you treat yourself to tonight? Sweet dreams~~!

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Heard: “Real Good Hands”

Say what you will about Valentine’s Day, but I love it. I love all holidays, in fact. I get that many of them are company-driven and that many people tend to focus on the more materialistic aspects of the days, but give me a reason to have a party, celebrate, or make an ordinary day extraordinary and I’m definitely game!

On this Valentine’s Day, I’ve been stuffed up and laying around all day trying to get some rest–there is no good timing for being sick, but right now is especially bad timing! Despite it all, I am still planning a little something for my handsome husband (maybe more on that another day?).

Since it is Valentine’s Day, no matter my sniffles and coughs, I’ve been listening to some lovely music to fit the mood. Last weekend I was listening to a segment on NPR’s American Public Media in which Gregory Porter was being interviewed, and I fell in love with his song “Real Good Hands.” In the interview, Porter said how he wanted to show his true intentions to his then-girlfriend’s father, and so he wrote a song about it. I love the way he reaches out to her father by saying her father was once in Porter’s shoes, that he somehow “paid (his) dues.” Such a great song!

I’ve been listening to this song dreamily all day (perhaps that dreamy feeling is sickness-induced?). What are you listening to these days?

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Thursday: Seen

This morning on the train I seemed to stumble upon one interesting article after another on twitter, and one of them was about the history of one of my favorite foods in the world: Pad Thai. The article even had a recipe for the dish, though I’ll stand by the one I got when we took a Thai cooking class in Bangkok a few years ago 😉

We just went back to Thailand for our winter holiday in December, and I can say with certainty that we ate Pad Thai at least once a day. So. Friggin. Good. Remembering our recent trip to Thailand immediately brings words like “paradise” to mind. We had an amazing time (though we were still homesick for a Christmas back home with friends and family!) and it was a much-needed vacation.

One of the things we did during our leisure time on our Thai vacation (besides eat amazing food all day…) was read. I was pleased that I had saved the book Talking with My Mouth Full for the trip. I first heard about the book on my favorite podcast, The Dinner Party. On the podcast there is a segment called “Eavesdropping” that features a short excerpt of a book read aloud by the author, and in one episode they featured Gail Simmons reading about her experience interning for Vogue food critic Jeffrey Steingarten. That was enough for me to add the book to my reading list, and I am glad I did!

ImageReading and relaxing~~ahhhhh…

I enjoyed the book for many reasons. Firstly, if you haven’t already gathered, I have a passion for food. In the book I was able to learn about the life of a chef, the life of a “professional eater,” different cooking techniques, and more. Secondly, I can really relate to Simmons’ love of travel, which is a huge part of my life. Putting those two things together makes for an excellent read, in my opinion.

“…immersing yourself in a totally different world than your own is the perfect way to gain perspective on the troubles that plague you. When you travel, you don’t have the option of closing the door and weeping in your bedroom.”

“Food is, naturally, an extension of this. Foreign flavors convey so many priceless lessons: discovery, elation, pleasure, nostalgia, comfort, and fear. The food of a new place teaches you so much about its culture. It offers you a window into other people’s lives, history and values. It allows you to see that the world is much bigger than you and your broken heart.”

I totally agree with what she says about food being a window into culture and history–I think that’s why trying new foods while traveling is my favorite part of going somewhere I rarely go to or haven’t been before. Even the process of eating and the intimacy of sharing a meal (no matter where you are) can be so revealing!

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Chad about to dig into salt-encrusted fish, Pad Thai, Tom Yum Kung…

Have you read any books or articles about food and/or travel recently that you found interesting?