Angela Yuriko Smith's Blog

April 30, 2016

runner_front_small-411x500I became interested in running barefoot a few weeks ago but decided not to focus on learning to run barefoot until after I ran my first 5K race. That was yesterday.

By happy accident, today is International Barefoot Running Day! No, I didn’t plan this but I do take it as an encouraging sign, an omen even, that my feet were meant to run nakey.

Today I did my first sans shoes mile and it wasn’t bad. I felt awkward while my body tried to find a new gait and rhythm but I think it will feel natural in a week. That’s my plan too–keep the barefoot runs to just one mile a day while I adjust and then I can start bumping up the mileage.

I don’t run completely barefoot. I wear running huaraches by Xero shoes. I talked about them last month here and did a three mile run in them on the first day. After my calves recovered I decided to take it slower as suggested by just about everyone.

Next goal–run a 5K barefoot!


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Published on April 30, 2016 22:00

April 29, 2016

Got our numbers for our first 5K!

Got our numbers for our first 5K!

This Saturday Mr. Smith and I will be running the Heritage 5K Run at Saturday in the Park—our first 5K ever! Afterwards we will be parked in the KidZone next to the bouncy house to sign books with Robin Wiesneth.

We will be giving away a giant tower of toys and goodies and Robin made up some awesome coloring pages from our latest book Snakespearethe latest in our Literary Lizard series.

It will be a long, fun day :D


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Published on April 29, 2016 20:46

April 27, 2016

I am still in a haiku mood today—it’s a good poetic form to think on when running. The lines come out like breathless mantra. This morning I was thinking about choices and how we have to choose and limit ourselves to a few… or we can just run faster ;)

Paths Haiku

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Published on April 27, 2016 07:13

April 25, 2016

I’ve changed my runs up again and have started doing 2.5 miles in the morning and at night for a total of five miles. The morning run charges me up and gets me in the mindset for a good day. The night run has a different set of challenges.

Being National Poetry Month… I wrote a haiku about it.


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Published on April 25, 2016 21:46 • 2 views

April 23, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-04-23 at 6.00.47 AMI woke up this morning to find Google celebrating Snakespeare…er… SHakespeare. Quite by accident we published our book, which pays homage to the brilliant playwright from antiquity, one week before the anniversary of his death.

You can find Snakespeare in Kindle and paperback versions on Amazon. The reviews are piling up already and our book has been hanging out on a few bestselling lists.

Here’s to William Shakespeare, still inspiring after all this time!

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Published on April 23, 2016 04:15 • 1 view

April 21, 2016

Snakespeare has been making friends since he first showed up in the latest Literary Lizard book! He’s also received 5 five star reviews—that’s 25 stars total. Pretty stellar :D

You can find Snakespeare on Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Snakespeare will also be available soon at Cafe Bienville, Artful Things and now L.J. Schooners! Come find Robin Wiesneth and I next to the Bouncy House April 30 during the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida‘s 40th Saturday in the Park event.

Here’s what some readers have said…

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Published on April 21, 2016 20:55 • 1 view

April 19, 2016

Fat angela skinnier angela2

Bye bye to XLarge in less than a year…!

I promised a last photo with this shirt. It’s been 19 days since I hit my goal and officially stopped trying to lose weight and so far I’m maintaining well. I haven’t gained anything back despite visiting a few desert tables.

All together I lost over 45 pounds in less than a year. I started tracking my pounds at 185. Clean eating was the key—no sugar, artificial sweeteners or processed grains. To help me stay on track, I relied heavily on 310 Nutrition Meal Replacement Shakes. They taste delicious, curbed my hunger, gave me plenty of energy and are easy.

Exercise didn’t factor in the weight loss in the beginning but was a key factor in the final pounds and keeping them off. I still try to keep my diet free of sugar, artificial sweeteners or processed grains but I have been indulging.

Running and exercise keeps the pounds from returning along with continuing to drink my 310 Shake for breakfast. One half hour of running in the morning and a shake for breakfast means I can now eat whatever I want and stay the same weight? Well worth it!

This #TransformationTuesday I offer up my before and after along with encouragement. Less than a year ago I had given up on ever losing weight and the best I could imagine was dropping 10 pounds. I attributed it to my age (47) and the fact that I have birthed four babies and have three grandchildren. I had given up.

In less than a year my life has transformed. The weight loss has affected all areas of my life and I feel like the me that was trapped inside has finally dug free and surfaced. Physically, there is less of me…but today I am more myself than I ever have been.

If you are dealing with weight and getting discouraged, don’t give up. Keep at it, one day at a time, and next year you will be sharing your amazing changes. I will be here cheering you on.

Previous posts on working out…

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Published on April 19, 2016 05:31 • 3 views

April 17, 2016

Hello running huaraches!

Hello running huaraches!

My running has been a passionate act of love since I began last November. I adore everything about it—the sweat, the challenge and the feel of my feet churning over pavement. Then my first pair of shoes needed to be replaced.

I also hate buying and changing my personal belongings. One reason why I almost always wear the same thing is because I hate wasting time trying to decide what to wear (and if it matches!). That’s why I have eight pairs of black pants and shirts in my closet that all look the same. When I needed new running shoes I went back to the same store and got the same shoes. The love affair continued for 300 more miles. Then those shoes wore out.

Goodbye old runners...

Goodbye old runners…

Trouble started. I went to the same store to get the same shoes and found none in my size. I decided to switch brands to something that lasted longer. I hated the new shoes. I started spending far too much time and energy thinking about shoes.

“I wish I could just run barefoot,” I complained to a friend. I was told I could—in fact their is a whole movement of barefoot runners who swear it’s actually better to run that way. I started looking into it.


The Xero DIY kit I bought to make my own running huaraches for $28.

I won’t get into the details of how much better running in bare feet or minimalist shoes is. I’ve seen it called naked running, barefoot running and minimalist running. There’s a ton of studies already published on the subject all over the internet. I decided to try minimalist running shoes in our area rather than go completely bare because of all the sandspurs Florida tends to have.

I found a pair I liked at Xero Shoes—they have pre-made shoes as well as a DIY kit. The cost was low. I paid around $25 for a kit that included everything I need to make my custom running huaraches including the hole punch awl and extra laces. I liked the DIY aspect of the kit because it made me feel crafty and it was half the cost. I pre-made pair of Xero shoes still only runs around $50 or less. I was dropping $70 on my old shoes. The best part is that the Xero shoes come with a 5,000 mile guarantee. I won’t have to swap my shoes for a long time.

Finished 3 miles in nothing but sandals and feeling great!

Finished 3 miles in nothing but sandals and feeling great!

Today I ran my first three miles in my new running huaraches. I had no plans for distance, just testing out these new minimalist shoes. I was skeptical and did a few test laps in front of my house before setting out. I expected to feel discomfort and have a slower, shorter run. The opposite was true.

While I did start feeling footsore, it was minor and didn’t set in until around the 2.5 mile mark. My pace was steady and relaxed at around 10 minutes per mile. I found myself focussing on my environment much more as I kept a look out for gravel. The increased alertness made for an enjoyable, in-the-now experience. I finished my run on the third mile, amazed at how well—and comfortably—the tiny pads of rubber and cord on my feet had performed.

I’ll have to keep testing these, but if the experience remains positive I may be running my first race on April 30 in nothing but sandals.


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Published on April 17, 2016 09:00 • 1 view

April 15, 2016

Keep your Focus—we will be back May 1

Keep your Focus—we will be back May 1. Image courtesy of Robin Wiesneth/

There have been some amazing things happening behind the scenes with the Panhandle Focus. We are upgrading equipment and software to bring a better Focus to our community. We are also welcoming some new team members.

Rather then rush and put out a substandard issue to our readers, we are delaying publication to May 1 while we make the changeover. We are excited to unveil everything soon and have fantastic stories and photos lined up.

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Published on April 15, 2016 21:07 • 1 view

April 14, 2016

Adobe Photoshop PDFSnakespeare, the second of the Literary Lizard books, is now finished and for sale directly from the printer. It takes a few days to become available on Amazon and other channels.

I’ve also ordered copies to supply our local fans at Artful Things and Cafe Bienville, both in Niceville, and I will be visiting the Kid Zone at the at the 40th annual Saturday in the Park festival April 30 from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The festival is from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Here is the schedule for when and where Snakespeare will be available—or purchase it from the printer now :)

Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 6.54.35 AM


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Published on April 14, 2016 05:35 • 1 view