June 24, 2012

Reader Questions & Answers #18

On Sundays, I will answer some readers' questions in a post. If you have a question that you would like me to answer here on the blog, just send me an e-mail with the subject "Q&A", and I may include them in a future Q&A post. They don't have to be about weight loss or running--anything is game!  (Remember, I'm not a doctor or dietician, or any sort of medical professional--I can only answer questions from my own experience).

Q. I'm a new runner who is up to running about 5 miles. I'm already finding it difficult to run that distance without water. I've read that you use a waist band for your water on long runs, but a friend, and fellow runner, said that it pulls your pelvis into an alignment that is slightly different than what it would be without the waist band. I was wondering if you had any advise on this, and/or what your thoughts were on the camelbak brand, that you wear like a backpack.

A. Very interesting! I never gave much thought to the belt changing my form while I run. I don't know how much truth there is to that, because I have no information to back it up. However, in my experience, I don't feel that it has harmed my running stride at all. 

It probably depends on where on your body you wear it, also. Some people like to wear the belt down over their hips, but I find that uncomfortable because it bounces too much. I wear mine up high, around my natural waist. It looks a little dorky, but it doesn't bounce that way ;)  I actually find it comfortable to wear, and it makes me feel like I have better posture.

I haven't tried the Camelbak backpacks. I would love to try one, because I've heard great things about them, but they are expensive--and my belt does the job for now, so I probably won't get one. But if the belt changes your form, I imagine that the backpack would a little as well. I think the best thing to do would be to see if a friend has one you can borrow to try out before you buy? I wore Jessica's belt before I bought one, just to see if I liked it. Or check to see what the return policy is--if you don't like it, can you return it? Doesn't hurt to ask!

Q. How did you learn to start your blog?  I'm thinking about starting one (not at all related to weight/fitness!) and don't know where to start.

A. I've been asked this question quite a few times recently. I'm certainly no expert on this! Everything I know, I learned from Google ;)  When I first started using Blogger, I was clueless. "Signing up" and creating the blog is pretty easy and self-explanatory (just go to Blogger.com and follow the prompts to set it up). But changing things around and making it more creative was the hard part. I would keep it very basic to start with, until you get more familiar with blogging.

One of my original banners, created in Photoshop ;)
Once you create the blog itself (which just takes minutes), you can start posting right away. From your "dashboard" (the screen you see when you sign in), you just click the orange button, which is to write a new post. Type out what you want to say, and you can add pictures if you'd like (just by clicking the little photo icon above your post). When you're ready for it to be published, you just click the orange "publish" button. 

After you get the hang of writing and publishing posts, you can start to get creative with the look of your blog. You can add "widgets" to your sidebars (I had no clue what a widget was, but I learned quickly). Blogger makes this VERY easy, because you don't have to know html or anything to do it. You can just click "add widget" and then choose from a list what you'd like to add (an archive of your posts? Links to your favorite sites? A search bar? etc). 

I know this is a cop-out answer, but you really should just play around with it. That's how I learned everything I know! I tried stuff out, and if I didn't know how to do it, I just Googled the answer :) Good luck!

Q. Would you ever consider doing a run like the Color Run or Run for Your Lives? Run for Your Lives is one reason I want to start training for a 5K. Running from zombies=FUN! :-) Then, I saw the Color Run on Pinterest, and it looks like it could be lots of fun too. Just wanted to know if you'd ever do something like that.

A. There are TONS of "fun" runs like these now, which I think is great--it's getting a lot of new people into running! I did do a Warrior Dash (mud run with obstacles) and learned that it just wasn't "my thing" ;) I don't like to get dirty when I run. I've heard amazing things about The Color Run, but that one doesn't really interest me either. I know, I'm a total dud! The Color Run isn't timed, and it's all about getting colorful (read: dirty) while you run. I've never heard of the zombie one--that sounds like something Jerry would be totally in to!
Warrior Dash 2010

I'm not totally against running in these novelty races, however--if one pops up that interests me, I would love to do it! I think these kinds of races are really great for people who aren't really interested in how fast they can go, but want to have fun and be active. And it makes for some great photos to post on Facebook! ;)  I think you should definitely train for that zombie 5K if it interests you. And then e-mail me some pictures!

Bonus Question: Since last night, I've gotten a few e-mails and comments about how I "accidentally" posted my last name on yesterday's post with my race results. I've always been VERY careful to leave my full name out of my blog, but it was actually intentional to leave it there yesterday.

I had no idea that Fitness was going to be publishing my full name in their magazine until I saw it in print. I was a little freaked out at first, but I know that if someone really wanted to find out my name, they could. Actually, some people have said they found it by looking up my bib number on races (a little creepy, now that I write that!). So anyway, I totally appreciate your looking out for me!!
Speaking of Fitness, I finally got my copy in the mail yesterday...

I have to say, it was VERY humbling to be on the same page as the "cool kid" bloggers like Skinny Runner and The Fitnessista! (Although I do kind of feel like the nerdy girl at school who was just asked to eat lunch at the cheerleader table, lol).


  1. I am running The Color Run in Philadelphia in 2 weeks, I'm excited to have that as my first 5k. I haven't run a full 3 miles yet, but am going into the run knowing if I need to walk I can. I know it's going to be really crowded, so I am not expecting to go fast. I'm definitely looking forward to having fun pictures to post on Facebook :)

    1. The Color Run in Chicago was my first 5k and it was a blast. Parts of my hair were dyed pink for a few days but it was worth it. And yes you will have fun pics for Facebook. :D

  2. AnonymousJune 24, 2012

    I never even realized I didnt know your lasy name after reading your blog for a long time now!

  3. I'm with you. I'm not interested in any obstacles, zombies, or colored powder in my races!

  4. Congrats on the article! I hope it brings more traffic to your blog so even more people can read how awesome you are!!!!!

  5. I read a lot of healthy-living blogs, and I just have to say I love your honesty. Some of them are so "butterflies and rainbows", but your blog is my favorite! You are easy to relate to, and a fabulous role model for all moms. Girl, you are one of the cool kids! Congrats!!

  6. thank YOU for mentioning me!

  7. You are way too humble--your blog is definitely one of the very best out there (and I'm pretty picky) :)

  8. Yay Q&A! I've often thought about changing my blog URL now that more "strangers" (aka internet folks I don't know!) are finding it. Originally my URL was laurelraab.com since only my family knew about it! But I suppose I do feel safer living on the other side of the world from most of my readers though!

  9. Wow I finally really know who you are. It's a little scary isn't it, when your identity gets out there? But what a lovely picture in the magazine with the "in" crowd! So proud of you Katie!

  10. AnonymousJune 25, 2012

    I actually use a Nathan Intensity Race Hydration Vest (Women's design). Its the same concept as a CamelBak but much lighter and sits higher on my back. Its got plenty of room for "stuff", really stable, and its cheaper than a CamelBak. You can find them in specialized running stores and REI.

    I LOVED the color run! It was just really difficult blowing black junk out of my nose for a week and I am STILL finding bits of hot pink in my car after 3 months. None of the color stayed in my clothes but RUINED my bra...so be warned! I'm so jealous of whoever gets to do a Run for Your Life! The nearest one to me is 5 hours away :(

    ...and congrats Katie! I've got a lot of weight to lose and you definitely motivate me to be healthier.

  11. Katie! YOU ARE one of the cool kids I try to sit at a table with! Out of all of the blogs I read, you are the one I identify with most. We have the same starting weight and our lives have a lot of similarities, small kids, same age, etc.. You're a big inspiration to me. I strive to be like you! I'm half way there now, 53.8 pounds to go! I've even started running! Thank you so much for writing your blog! And congratulations on the article!

  12. Tammy/texzanJune 25, 2012

    LOL,, the funny part was when I saw your name,, I thought to myself,, " Who is Katie Foster ?",, LOL then it dawned on me,, Duh !!!

  13. That is so exciting. In my eyes, you are a total rock star superhero!

  14. Congrats on being published in Fitness magazine, how exciting!

  15. AnonymousJune 25, 2012

    Congrats on getting into Fitness! So exciting!! And you're not a nerdy girl ;)

    I hear ya on the obstacle races! I did the Color Run and really liked it, but usually that style of race just isn't my thing. I'll probably avoid obstacle races because I'm so paranoid that I'll get injured on one of those. I'm one of the world' most uncoordinated people...

  16. I liked the Warrior Dash, but once was really enough for me. I was frustrated because the trail was too crowded and the race seems to have almost doubled in price from last year. I must admit that the zombie thing seems cool, but have no plans to do that one either.

    As for hydration belts, I use an Amphipod one. I like the belt itself. It is adjustable and pretty comfortable overall. I like the bottles it came with less so. The 10 ounce ones snap back into place and are more sturdy than the 8 ounce ones the belt came with. For my long runs, I have about 36 oz of liquid and a pouch for a phone and keys. Overall, I like it.

  17. Not sure if the original questioner will check the comments or not - but I L.O.V.E. my CamelBak water backpack. As my distances increased I desperately needed water while out running but I knew I didn't want to wear a waist pack nor carry a bottle... so I figured I would check out the hydration backpacks.

    I went to REI (they have a stellar return policy - 100% satisfaction guaranteed with NO time period) to check out my options since shopping online for these things is a bit tricky (determining size, bulk, etc...). I initially went with a North Face pack because the only CamelBak options the store had at the time were too big and bulky.

    Unfortunately, I discovered the North Face pack was next to impossible to clean properly since the drink tube could not be removed from the pack I bought... and in the process of trying to remove the drink tube, it broke off. I'm super glad I purchased it at REI - because I took it back and had no problems returning it.

    Thankfully their hydration pack selection had been restocked and I found a CamelBak LUXE backpack that was nearly the exact same compact size as the North Face pack I originally bought - except it had a 100 oz. capacity and much more space for essentials.

    I would highly recommend the 100 oz. - even if you don't think you need that much - you can just opt to fill the pouch with less water to suit your needs... but if you get into even longer distances or decide to go on long hikes - you'll wish you went with the 100oz. option from the get-go.

    I've used my backpack on bike rides and runs - it's great. It doesn't move at all (the initial sales associate at REI told me I shouldn't get a backpack because it would move too much while running and I'd end up holding onto the straps to keep it from moving - but he turned out to be wrong).

    For those who are currently striving to lose weight and wondering if the backpack will even fit... I'm still quite fluffy - currently 224lbs, 5'3" and very voluptuous - and the pack fits both my waist and chest, no problems (I may be pushing the limits on the waist circumference - but I can buckle it, no problem).

    Yes, they are expensive but in the long run, given their versatility - definitely worth it! (The CamelBak LUXE I bought was $100 - but I took advantage of a 20% discount at REI so the price was a tad better - although Amazon has a few options that are cheaper.)

  18. KATIE!!

    I follow both you and Skinnyrunner and I LOVED seeing you both on the same page. You are both so dang cool. :) Plus, I showed the pic to my husband and said "Remember when Katie emailed me back?" You are a total celeb to me!! Keep going and kicking ASS. I ran the Seattle Rock N Roll 1/2 on Saturday and thought about you as we met up with the FULL marathoners... Have a good one.

  19. Careful with the Camelbacks. They are made for bicyclists so it doesn't put the weight in the right place for running. Although it is all a matter of preference. :-)

  20. This is a timely post since I have been searching for the right fuel belt for awhile now. It has never bothered me to use one, but I haven't found the "just-right" one yet. What is the brand you use?

    You look gorgeous in your Fitness feature!! Totally worthy to be on that page. Go girl!

  21. I did the Run For Your Lives 5k last year in October and I'm doing it again this year. It's so much fun, but you do get sooo dirty!

  22. I've been considering starting a blog myself. thanks for the helpful advise.

  23. I bought my copy right after Jen and I took the picture with it at Duane Reade in NYC!!


I used to publish ALL comments (even the mean ones) but I recently chose not to publish those. I always welcome constructive comments/criticism, but there is no need for unnecessary rudeness/hate. But please--I love reading what you have to say! (This comment form is super finicky, so I apologize if you're unable to comment)

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