Sunday, January 30, 2011

Foam Roller. Best Purchase. Ever.

The Foam Roller shown to scale in front of the stairs.  I know, right?  That's it?
I don't know why I just now bought one of these.  Heaven for my IT Band!  Should have bought this a long time ago!  A friend had suggested it weeks ago and it took a very painful ITB to make me crawl to The Running Store and finally buy one.  If you have ITBS, you need one of these.

Honestly, I did not know what a Foam Roller was until today.  For some reason I imagined it to be more - complicated - for some reason.  When the store showed me to the Foam Roller pyramid display, I literally was like, "What?  That's it?"  Foam Rollers are these firm foam logs/cylinders that help get rid of muscle knots in your body. You get a choice of 6" rollers or 12" rollers.  Most runners use the 6" foam rollers so I went with that.  You basically use your body weight to apply pressure against the roller to ease tight muscles.  For ITBS, you have to lay on your injured side, position the foam roller under the injured thigh, while using your other leg for stability, and then roll the foam roller under the injured thigh.

If that didn't make sense, see the illustration of the lady below doing leg lifts below?  You are in that position with the foam roller under the side of your right thigh and you roll back and forth the length of your IT band.  For support, you don't have your left leg up like that.  You have it crossed over your right leg.  For more pressure, you stack your left leg on top of your extended right leg.  Did that make sense?  :)

Cool thing I learned too is that the foam roller is used for Pilates.  I would love to learn how to use it for other things.  I am slowly learning how to use it to loosen tight knots on my upper and lower back as well.  It's like getting a deep tissue massage and it feels really good!  I'm not expert on foam rolling, but just google it and you'll discover many ways of using it.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Lessons Learned from Injury

Last time I ran was January 2, 2011.  Running those 7 miles was THE best way to start the new year.  It was the longest distance I've done.  So far.  It felt so good.  A half-marathon didn't seem so far out of reach.  I felt empowered....until my right leg started to bother me.  A lot.

The Iliotibial band (ITB) is this long, wide stretch of muscle on the outside of your thigh.  It becomes painful and inflamed when it stretches and rubs against your femur (Iliotibial Band Syndrome or ITBS).  This could be caused by many things from lack of stretching, incorrect shoes, worn shoes, too much downhill running, or over-training.

In my case, I ran too far too soon AND my shoes were so worn out I should not have run in them that day.  Ugh.  Lessons learned from all this?  First one, stick to a training plan - those training plans were designed for a reason - to reduce the risks of injuries as you increase your mileage/speed.  Second, never let your running shoes expire.  Log in the miles you put in them so that you can order/buy the next pair in time before your old pair wears out.  Otherwise?  You will end up waiting - like me - for the new shoes to arrive (it didn't help too that the new line of shoes were coming so the running store near me did not have enough sizes in stock!).

In the end, the wait is good.  Need to be off my feet anyway to heal.  But it is killing me to not be able to run.  I get so jealous when I see a runner outside.  But first thing first.  Need to focus on healing and treating my ITB.  Ah, lessons learned, indeed.  For next time.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Hood to Coast Movie Encore: 02-10-11

If you missed the movie on Jan 11, here's a chance for you to catch the one time encore screening on February 10 at 7:30pm, only in select theaters.  Check out Hood to Coast Movie for a sneak peak and for more info.  My little movie review of it HERE.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Inspiring Runner: Ben Davis in Ben Does Life

I love being inspired by other runners. Meet Ben.  Back in 2008, he found himself in a not-so-happy place in his life.  He was overweight and depressed.  So one day he decided to go for a little run.  He is now a happier man, 120 pounds lighter, a marathoner, and with an Ironman in his belt.  More power to you, Ben!  

Ben's 120 pound journey

Ben's interview and on becoming ambassador to Active Network

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Inspiring Runner: Steve Prefontaine

"You have to wonder at times what you're doing out there. Over the years, I've given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement."

"A lot of people run a race to see who is fastest. I run a race to see who has the most guts."

"To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift."

Steve Prefontaine, legendary U.S. runner who viewed running as an art, an Olympian and former US record-holder in the 5000 meters, died in a car crash at age 24 on May 30, 1975. He would have been 60 years old today.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Inspiring Runner: Terry Hitchcock in MY RUN

I am always moved to tears by everyday people overcoming hardships and doing extraordinary things.  I stumbled upon this trailer for the movie, MY RUN, today.  In this inspirational documentary, Terry Hitchcock shares the power of the human spirit and proves that nothing is impossible.

After losing his wife to breast cancer and having to raise 3 kids alone, Terry's incredible 2,000+ mile journey took him from St. Paul, MN to Atlanta, GA, running 75 consecutive marathons in 75 consecutive days to bring awareness to the struggles many single-parent families face daily.  Terry had very little running experience prior to his journey, running only 2-3 miles everyday for 17 months.  His story is another testament to how far one can go if you put your heart and soul into it.  So inspiring and encouraging!

There is no word yet about screenings for this movie.  I hope there is one near me!  You can follow updates about the movie on MY RUN's Facebook page.

Movie trailer below:

Friday, January 21, 2011

Facing the Numbers. The Truth. The Ugly Truth

Facing the numbers wasn't so bad and scary.  I finally got Sarah Binette of Imagine You Fit to help me design a fitness plan for me.  Sarah leads a group of stay-at-home moms every Monday morning through an exercise circuit.  According to my husband who sampled a typical circuit, "I have a lot of respect for your workout.  This is not a 'chick workout'.  This workout kicks ass."  Sarah delivers and kicks our ass every Monday.  It's a good kind of sore that you feel afterwards, especially when you miss just 1 class.  I am grateful every Monday for her and the moms I workout with.  Humor and sarcasm help us through that 1 hour workout.

Anyways, about facing MY numbers, as in my measurements.  I've been avoiding it only because I am amazed at how much weight I put on after not running for 2 months.  I get all doughy.  Not very motivating.  So while Sarah started measuring my waist, hips, even pinching me here and there, I thought, well, I HAVE to start somewhere, right?

I was relieved to find out I am average and I have the good kind of fat - the good kind of fat that's soft (sounds gross, huh?) because soft fat is easier and faster to get rid of than the hard beer belly kind of fat.  That's good to know.

Sarah was very professional and thorough, asking me about my exercise habits, health history, and goals.  I am excited about my goal of being a stronger runner, with a stronger core, and ok, having a bikini-ready body by summer wouldn't hurt either.

If you are in the Northern Virginia area, I highly recommend Sarah as a personal trainer.  If you are not in my area, Sarah also offers email support for your fitness goals.  You have to check her website out for details.  Oh and I'm not getting paid to say this.  Just helping out a friend whom I highly recommend!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Shopping for Running Shoes

 All the talk about Ragnar DC Relay Race got me itching to run.  Like NOW.  I am also way due to get new running shoes anyway, since my old pair were almost 2 years old!  Yikes!  So off I went to The Running Store today to do some shopping.  What I love about this store is that they will analyze your gait while you run on their treadmill.  Their treadmill is hooked up to a camera that records your gait as you run.  From the gait analysis, they will be able to tell you whether you are a pronator, a neutral runner, or an under-pronator.  It is an awesome service that they provide.

So I asked to have my gait re-analyzed since I have been having this pain on the right side of my right thigh.  They also analyzed the wear pattern of my old pair of running shoes too.  Their analysis?  I have majorly messed up feet.  While my left foot remained neutral (like last time), my right foot is now slightly pronating and also supinating.  Is that even possible?  The wear pattern on my old shoes show lot of wearing on the outside (sign of supination).  The camera analysis showed a slight pronation on my right foot.  I did not know that your gait could change like that.

The store recommended Stability Shoes.  I was shown 3 models that apparently were best for my condition, best for slightly pronating runners:  Saucony Pro-Grid Guide 3, New Balance 860, and Nike Lunarglides.

I can't help but be drawn to the look of a shoe.  I grabbed the Nike Lunarglides first.  I think it's because they're not white.  They're not your typical running shoe.  I love the darker color shoes.  Anyways, I know that's a big no-no in running shoe shopping:  don't get drawn in by the way it looks, go by how it feels.  Sigh.  And sure enough I was devastated to hear that the Lunarglides do not come in wide widths.  Dang wide feet of mine.

So I grabbed the Saucony's.  My old pair were the Saucony Pro-Grid Ride 2 and wearing them is like walking in slippers.  Very comfy and cushioned.  But the store did not have it in my size, and they promised they would order one for me.  The New Balance shoes felt a little stiffer to me.  Not sure, but it wasn't so much that I wouldn't consider it.  Not a good first impression, no doubt, but I will consider it with the Saucony's.

Leaving the store without a new pair of shoes was frustrating.  It only drove the fact that I can't run yet.  Sigh.  In a week, hopefully, in a week!  Can you tell I am a wee bit antsy about getting out there again?!

Friday, January 14, 2011

OMG. I want to do Ragnar.

So I saw the movie (Hood to Coast).  And I am hooked.  I want that kind of experience.  I want to see if I can do it (even though I'm scared as crap).  I emailed my best friends who also run and basically said, I will run Ragnar DC only if they do it.  One of them ran it last year and had been pushing me to do it.  So now we are talking!

But then why does it sound so crazy, scary, exciting and fulfilling all at the same time?  What is the allure of being one of 6 stinky runners in a van, running in pitch darkness at 2am, running when it's 100 degrees out, and feeling like crap?  Why WOULD I want to do that, right?

Not sure exactly, but a huge part of it is the huge bonding moments and everlasting friendships that could come out of it - but then again, we could all end up hating each other's guts in the end too.  It's expensive, there's a lot of logistical organizational stuff that has to happen, I have to be away from home for 2 nights, it's going to be one of the most challenging runs I will ever do.....there are so many reasons that keep coming to mind as to why I shouldn't.

But somehow I keep going back to why I SHOULD RUN Ragnar DC:

- Experience
- Camaraderie
- Adventure
- To get out of my comfort zone
- To see how far and how long I can go.
- To show that "I can kick a**!"
- If not this year, when? I am not getting any younger! LOL
- I need a running/fitness goal.
- Because I love to run!
- Because I think can do it.
- Because I know I can do it.

I think that's enough reasons to do it, no?  I'm still a little freaked out,  but we'll see how this journey goes.  Excited!!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Hood to Coast Movie Review

My friend and I braved the icy and snowy roads last night (I know, crazy!!) and drove 12 miles to see the one time, 1-11-11 theatrical release of Hood to Coast.

What an incredible, crazy, wicked journey!  I have not done a relay race before so I felt like one of Team Thunder 'N Laikaning's "Hood to Coast virgin" members, learning about how a relay race works and feeling the excitement that goes with doing something so ridiculous as running a 200-mile relay race in 2 days.  Non-stop.  With little sleep.  And that includes running in pitch-blackness up a mountain with only a flashlight and headlamp to light your way.  Sorry, ok, it's not ridiculous.  It's only ridiculous on paper until you experience it.

The Hood to Coast movie followed four teams as they ran the 200-miles from Mt. Hood to the Oregon coast.  Twelve runners per team take turns running non-stop.  You could not help but cheer each team on as they pushed towards the finish line, sleepless and getting progressively exhausted, but so full of spirit to finish.  Each team had their own story to tell of why they are running this incredible relay race: from running in memory of a son/brother/husband/friend to running the race because they've never done it before.  I laughed and I cried and felt the rush of the race with them.

I hope this movie comes out on DVD soon.  It was beautiful movie, and I came out of that movie theater feeling very encouraged and inspired to run my first relay race (ahem, more on that later).

Here's the trailer for the movie again.  Did you get a chance to see the movie?  What did you think?

Hood To Coast Movie Trailer from HoodToCoastMovie on Vimeo.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Hood to Coast Movie tonight!

Wishing the ice and snow away so that my friends and I can watch the Hood to Coast movie tonight!  I have not run a relay race yet, but know a friend who has.  Definitely looking forward to see what it's all about.

Have you done a relay race?  Which one?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

why i run

The pain I felt from running that race will never compare to the pain you endured
while fighting that dreadful disease. (Race for Breath 5K Virginia Beach 2009)

I started running two years ago (January 2009) for my mom.  I lost my mom to lung cancer 3 months before that.  My mom never smoked a cigarette in her life.  While her passing was somewhat comforting because it  meant she was no longer in a lot of pain, I had a difficult time getting used to life without her.

The day I became a runner was when a very dear friend invited me to exercise with a group of moms who was training to run the Race for Hope 5K in Washington DC, a race which supports brain tumor/brain cancer research and awareness.  They were running as a team to support another friend who lost her father to brain cancer.  The thought of running just 3 miles was overwhelming to me then.  I was not a runner.  I hated running.  I dreaded those runs we had to do for Presidential Fitness Challenge in elementary school.  But the thought of running to support a fight against cancer never left me because I knew I wanted to do the same and run for my mom.  I needed to go through the challenge of learning how to run in order to cope with my loss and eventually to start healing.

Thus began my journey to run and to heal.  Inspired and encouraged by these moms, I took on the Couch-Potato-to-5K training plan challenge with one of my best friends and in two months, ran my first 5K race in DC for colon cancer - Scope It Out 5K - in memory of her mom who passed away from colon cancer.  Two months after that, I joined that same group of moms and ran the Race for Hope 5K in DC, pushing my then 1 1/2 year old son in a jogging stroller.  Finally the day came when my husband and I ran the Race for Breath 5K in Virginia Beach for Lung Cancer.  I was unprepared for the emotion that came over me like a waterfall right at the start line.  I didn't think I could start the race that was so important to me.  But I did. I ran and ran and ran with all my heart for my mom and kept running since.

These days, I still run for my mom and I also run for me.  Depending on the day, I run for many different reasons......

I run to fight cancer and honor lives touched by cancer on race days (Please visit my current cancer fundraiser HERE)
On other days, I run for the pure joy of it, because it makes me feel alive and free.
I run so I can watch the sun set and marvel at the colors it leaves behind.
I run to counteract the cookies I plan on indulging later in the day.
I run to see just how far I can go.
I run to play over and over, the memories with my mom.
I run to erase stress so I can go back to the day's or week's tasks, refreshed.
I run so I can be a better mom, wife, daughter, sister, and friend.
I run to vent frustrations, usually with a friend.
I run to watch butterflies fluttering to clear my running path (hello, mom!)
I run so I can think about what to do in my next art project.
I run to be inspired.
I run to find out where the miles will take me.
I run to hear my mom telling me to be careful.
I run so I can be faster (still working on this one!).
I run to feel that runner's high at the end.
I run because it is part of who I am now and because I can.

What about you?  Why do you run?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...