Monday, January 30, 2012

Blogging will start back up after I get over this insane bout of whatever it is I have; its been 3 days of varying degrees of sickness, but today is by far the worst (so far).

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Friday, January 27, 2012

Weekend Motivation!

As one of my BFF's says:  Don't call me skinny!  I am not skinny!  If you must call me something, then call me 'beastly strong'! 
I love her and that sentiment!


In other news, I actually was able to run yesterday!  It hurt (was still very sore from my 'date' w K), but it was managable and I was just happy to be able to do it!  I loosened up on the elliptical for about 15 minutes before attempting the treadmill. 
Tomorrow is my go at running outside again!  Here is to hoping the (sh)IT band behaves itself!!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Part 2 of Running Injury Stuff - How to Avoid Running Injuries

 A couple of days ago these 2 things happened:
So before we include the How To Avoid Running Injuries portion of this post let's update you on 2 things (see a trend here?):
  1. Once I gave K the all clear for him to work me out for legs and glutes, we made the session happen (which was Tuesday).  I posted the video yesterday and honestly I cannot tell you how accurate that thing portrays how I was getting around, which was barely at all.  It was so bad that I just said eff it to a walk on the treadmill (which I hoped would help) and a chest/shoulders workout at the gym and decided that I would walk a 5k there along one of our bayous.  We had had a lot of rain and I knew the sound of rushing water, not to mention the overcast skies, and the cooler temps would be nice for a change.  So off I went and good grief Charlie Brown that was brutal.  First off everything just hurt, and 2nd of all, do you know how long it takes to walk a 5K!??!?!  A long damn time.  I don't know how walkers do it!  Kudos!  Then after getting back home, I tried to stretch, but getting onto the floor was too painful and at the end of it all, the walk really did absolutely no good to ease the pain.  At least I did get a walk in.  Not a run, but thats OK.  So this morning I wake up and guess what?  Still painful to get out of bed and at least initially to walk.  Once I am walking a bit, its not so bad, but having to sit or kneel down is still excruciating.  So guess what?  There will be no running again today.  Now normally this sort of thing would freak me out, but I seriously first of all, knew this was going to happen once we initially starting training my legs with weights and that it would be OK if I was unable to run for a couple of days due to the soreness.   I forget that its been less than 2 weeks since the marathon, its not like I suddenly won't be able to run 8 miles on Saturday.  And furthermore, if for some reason I can't, that's OK too.  Sure I worry a bit about losing fitness but at the end of the day, I'm not training for anything yet!  And along with the (sh)IT band injury this is just actually helping because its forcing me not to run.  And each day I don't run, is another day of healing.  So looks like a day of walking on the treadmill (possibly TRYING to run) and doing a heavy duty shoulders and chest workout!
  2. So basically my real injury of the (sh)IT band is being attended to by me not being able to run because of a self-inflicted 'injury' of using muscles I haven't used in years!  :O)  But seriously I am still trying to stretch the IT band, but its painful to do so right now, and I am still icing. 
OK, on to the conclusion of injury stuff (for now anyway)...

How to Avoid Running Injuries
I Pull 400 Watts had some good suggestions and observations that I completely agree with as to some of the main causes that can contribute specifically to ITBS.  Additionally he has just recently written his own thoughts on over-training etc.; give it a read why don't ya?  :)  And thank you for the sample stretch!  I did it the first night, but was unable to last night due to muscle soreness and getting in that position was not going to happen!  I tried though!  Additionally obviously I am working on my glutes and my core strength to assist with any further damage to the existing IT injury or hopefully ward off in the future.

I think all of the items in the chart there are on the money, however...overtraining is left off!  And I think overtraining can quite possibly be the #1 contributor to running injuries.  They also left off core strength which is also important in my opinion.  So I will post a note about those 2 first:

Have you been increasing your training too quickly?  The rule of thumb is a 10% increase in mileage per week.  Are you running on a different surface to usual?  Concrete pavements and roads offer very little shock absorption.   Are you doing a more hilly route than usual?  Running up and down hills alters your biomechanics.  Its a good idea to keep a training diary so you can look back and see what may have changed in your training.

Core strength
If the central part of the body is not strong then you will be more susceptible to injuries especially when you become tired at the end of a run.  Make sure you do some abdominal exercises and glute strengthening.  Try and get your club to organize a circuit session, include all the basic exercises like squats, lunges and calf raises. You can find examples of core training exercises, from beginners to advanced just about anywhere on the internet.  I hate doing core, and most times I just blow it off, but the past 2 months I have been more dedicated to it and I can certainly tell a difference in strength when running.
Stretching before and after?  Eh.  Not when your muscles are cold thats for certain.  Usually a slow jog or even a walk can be considered 'stretching'.  Now in my case now, I know I need to stretch the IT band too before (possibly) and after (definitely).  Some people swear by a warm-up, others don't bother. However, while the jury is still out on the effectiveness of stretching in preventing injuries.

Level surfaces?  Absolutely!  I have no doubt whatsoever that all the damn roads we run on in Houston are so sloped that injuries abound.  I try really really really hard to run in the middle of the road(s) when I can where its really bad, but sometimes thats just impossible.  And I also have no doubt that because of the Houston Marathon route, its unevenness not only in slope but in surface (very uneven in some parts) that that contributed to my demise on race day as well.  It was an injury just waiting to happen.

Wear properly fitted shoes? Duh.  I wrote about this already, so I won't beat a dead horse.  Get fitted and get fitted often.  Things do change.

Drink plenty of water?  Sure.  But I think diet (as a noun not a verb) is more important.  Done together, a person is unstoppable (for the most part) or at the very least has a strong lead.  People make fun of my food all the time at work, but guess what?  You can kiss my ass...I'm eating it, not you.  
The old adage that you are what you eat is still true. You wouldn't’t put diesel in a petrol car! Eat a balanced diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and plenty of carbs following training and protein to repair muscle. And again its important to stay hydrated before and after training.

And last but not least:  RICE.  All great advice.  I don't do compression, but the rest?  Absolutely!

So what did I leave off?  Learn anything?

MeMe - For When You Need a Post (but don't want to be clever) :O)

I haven't done a 'meme' in quite some time, and when Xaarlin tagged me, I thought I will save that for when I don't want to overload on blog with fitness/running stuff; or when I don't have a lot of time (which is me right now)  :O)  Although coming up with random facts about myself is getting harder to do!  I hope I am not repeating any of these..of course we all change over time right?
So here you go!

The rules of this post:
1. Post these rules.
2. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
3. Answer the questions set for you in their post.
4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.

5. Tag those people.

Eleven random things about me:
  1. I do not believe in one person for one person forever.  We really aren't wired that way in my opinion.
  2. I don't have a lot of patience.  Most people think I do, but its totally fake and forced.
  3. While I do not have a sweet tooth persay, and chocolate is not my thing, if there are baked goods anywhere around, my knees go weak and my willpower does too.  I am 50/50 on win/lose ratio.
  4. There are 2 things I eat every single day, at some point in my day:  1) eggs   2) spinach  (in various forms)
  5. I am a news junkie.  I can have news on all the time and I'm good with that.  I don't even care if I hear the same thing on 3 different channels, its always a different reporter, so they tell the story differently and therefore its not repetitive to me.
  6. My fastest 5K was 25:50 in November 2009 (Turkey Trot).  Only it turned out to not be a 5K as a lot of people complained (damn local elites and OCD people!), and they ended up calling it a 3 mile race officially.  But to be honest it was short.  It wouldnt have been if the road guards/volunteers hadn't had us turn one street too early!  Ugh.  So really I probably would have ended up with about a 26:30.  Ohz wellz.  I hope to smash my PR at the 5K this Spring (God willing and the (sh)IT band gets better so I can speed train.  I cannot even remember the last time I ran a 5K to be completely honest.  Marathoning has consumed me apparently.
  7. When I indulge in a food 'treat', I take a reeeeeeeally long time to eat it, sometimes upwards of an hour.  Only taking a bite here and there, and as it gets to be less and less of it, I will slow waaaaaaay down.  I want it to last as loooooooong as possible.  A perfect example would be that just this morning I had my weekly breakfast taco and it took me almost 45 min to eat it.
  8. I have only ever really been in true true all consuming love once in my life.  His name: John  I still regret to this day ever thinking that my life would be better without him in it.  My sister thinks that its the reason I haven't been able to have a relationship or fall in love with anyone since him because I've never gotten over the loss and my mistake.  Its been 10 years.  I don't know that I will ever find anyone that (and this is cliche) completed me like he did.  This kind of negates #1 I guess...  :O)  Its going to take someone very special indeed to fill those shoes...and so far I haven't met one man that could.
  9. Its been almost 2 weeks since the Houston Marathon and my declaration of no more marathons.  So far I still have no (ZERO) desire whatsoever to ever run more than 13.1 miles at any given time.
  10. I once had the State police show up to my house looking for my (ex) fiance.  He was a wanted man.  Who knew?  Well I knew afterwards (like after I told him to get the fuck out!) what he was doing, but I had no idea he was actually wanted.  I gave them the information of his whereabouts.
  11. I am still having trouble walking, sitting, bending...everything today.  This is why I never wanted to work out my legs/glutes during marathon training.  Clearly my legs might be good for running, but thats about it.  I doubt very seriously that I will be able to actually run until tomorrow.  And thats questionable.  And yes, that's how bad off I am after the workout with Kyle on Tuesday.

1.  Favorite Color:  Purple
2.  What's your favorite season?  I love them all, but I guess Spring?  or maybe Fall? in Texas we don't really have 'seasons'.  While I do like Summer, just not so much when running in it :O)
3.  Do you have any pre-race superstitions?  Superstitions?  No.  Rituals, yes.
4.  Favorite food: Food is my favorite food.  :O)  There is no way I could pick a favorite food.
5.  If you could run a race anywhere, what would it be?  What or where?  Where would be Costa Rica.  What I don't would be a race, preferably not a full marathon.  In Costa Rica.  :O)
6.  Would you be doing a different career now, if you knew back then what you know now?  Absolutely.  I know I missed my true calling.
7.  How many states have you traveled to?  30 would be a good guess.  Possibly more.  I would have to look at the list of States.  I use to travel for work, so I was very lucky in that respect.  I have seen some amazing places.
8.  What's one thing that scares you?  Deep water.
9.  Where is your favorite place to workout?  Outside.
10.  Would you want to live forever?  Yes, if I was healthy, able to financially support myself and physically independent as well.
11.  What's the best piece of advice you have received?  Another difficult one indeed.  I have several pearls of 'wisdom' that I would say are the best.  All from my Daddy.


OK, so here are my questions, and I tag everyone who reads this who hasn't done it yet!  (I'm looking at you Jamoosh, MKeller, ChristyG, Racing it Off for certain):

Favorite time of the day?
What is your favorite meal to make?
Glass 1/2 full or glass 1/2 empty?
Last picture taken on your phone?
If money was no issue how many races would you try to do in a year? 8 or 9. I'm greedy.
Car, Truck, Van, or SUV?
Do you take part in any water sports ?
If you're walking down the street and find a $100.00 bill what do you do with it?
Favorite non sports related thing to do?
Have Pets? What kind?
Last movie you went to a theater to see?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Day After Marathon? Nope.

You would think that this would have applied to me after marathon.
However I haven't actually been this sore day after marathon for quite some time.  Like maybe only after my first.  Once you learn that ice baths, lots of water, and rest are your best friends within a few hours of finishing, you are much better off.

However yesterday...I had my first legs strength training with K at HG.  I refused for him to train me on legs until after these marathons were over, and when I'm right, I'm right.

I could barely get out of bed this morning, walking is painful, and forget about having to sit back down after being or having to sit down to go to the bathroom.   And having to walk down stairs at home and in the parking garage is a joke.

Its excruciating I tell you.  Excruciating.  You would think that someone that can run miles and miles, hours upon hours that a short session with her trainer wouldn't do much damage.  Ha!  Whole different ball of wax, and I love it.  I will love it more when I don't hurt so bad though.  :O)  Thankful I ran my miles before our session and we'll just continue in that fashion fo sho.  Tonight there will be NO running, just upper body weights (chest and shoulders) so that part of my top half matches my bottom half.  :O)

When I see K tonight, he'll be pleased that I am in agony I'm sure :O)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Common Running Injuries, An Update on my (Current) Injury and Later...How to Avoid Running Injuries

A quick update on my injury. 

I have full blown ITBS on the left leg.  The pain is, at least for now, in one area, and that is to the outside of the knee, just below it actually, but barely.  There is some tenderness just up over the knee on the side as well, but minimal.  The pain below though is another story altogether.

The pain is bad.  Especially when walking down stairs.  It doesn't hurt to walk, but the most pain is when you even touch that area.  It is inflamed, a bit swollen and just hurts like a muthafucker.

I have been advised to not run on concrete if possible, definitely no hills and no speed work.  And to incorporate some walk breaks into my runs as well.  Thankfully KW is still 2 weeks away, so thats great news.  With proper recovery, I should be more or less good to go by then.  Until then I will just be running on the treadmill the majority of the time except for Saturdays longer runs.

I need to stretch (specifically for the ITB), ice at least once a day (preferably after running), take Aleve, get plenty of sleep and eat right.  I am also not supposed to cross my legs at work, and I do a few stretches at my desk when I think about it.

Thankfully I took a full 3 days off after the marathon, as that began the healing process.

I ran last night on the treadmill, stretched before and after, did core (also great for helping prevent injuries and recovering from them), foam rolled, and then iced.  I was pleased this morning when I left the house and going down the stairs wasn't as painful as it has been for the past week. 

Something is working.  Probably mostly the fact that I am not running more than 4-6 miles at a time and on soft surfaces, but all the rest of it is helping it too. 

One of the things I pride myself on is my ability to step back, admit something is wrong and do whatever it takes to correct it.  I have always been able to come back from an injury quickly due to my willingness to just do what is needed.  Some folks I know refuse to do what is needed and therefore sometimes miss out on what might have been ... or just get further injured and sometimes never make it back to the sport of running.

It truly sucks that this didn't even present itself until the Thursday before Houston, but it was minimal at best and I had no idea what was going on.  And it sucks even more that it decided to take a nose dive late in the race, but shit happens.  I made it through, without personal embarrassment, but yes still decidedly a bit disappointed as I had goal A in the bag.
Que sera sera...

So are you a hard ass when it comes to dealing with injury, not letting her ego and pride get bruised, and just train through the pain?  Or are you a stickler like me, and do everything by the book so that I can run again as soon as possible...or have you just ever gotten injured, said fuck it, and completely went into full on couch potato mode and taken way too much time to come back to the sport of running?


Running injuries are almost always due to overuse/overtraining.  This is developed over time until continuing to run is no longer an option (sometimes). 

Running injuries are very specific due to the repetitive nature of the sport. Injuries are caused either by the bodies own intrinsic factors or by extrinsic factors.

The body works on a closed chain system when running i.e. when the foot is in contact with the ground, the forces and mechanics are transmitted along the leg to the spine. This is repeated every step and means if anywhere along this chain is out of line then potential injuries can happen. 

They are factors from inside the body rather than outside injury risk factors. Everybody has their own individual mechanics, some better than others. Some break down more than others, and some never do. Everyone has their own unique threshold of injury.  Thankfully I have only had a handful of injuries and really only one of them had me not running for 2+ months (early 2009).

The most common problem is feet that collapse and overpronate causing the leg to turn in and pressure on the achilles, shin, knee, hip and spine (thus opening the door for any and all kinds of injuries).  And if you aren't in the right shoe (also one of the main causes of injury)...well... It has been my experience, over the course of running since late 2005, that because I got faster, stronger, etc., that at periods along the way, my gait and step changed.  I went from a neutral runner (when first starting out and run/walking, or running very slowly), to someone when I got a bit faster, I pronated badly and needed stability, to now being stronger and still yet a bit faster than before, I was in 'too much shoe' for the distance and the level of training that I was doing in 2011.  And because of these factors, each and every time I usually ended up with some sort of injury (late 2007, early 2009 and now with ITBS). 
Behold the Common Running Injury Chart!
Common Running Injuries

Out of the 7 listed above, I lay claim to:  Stress Fracture, Plantar, Knee, and now ITBS.  I also had chronic shin splint issues for years, but it never hurt until the pedicure lady wanted to massage my calves and that made me want to just cut her...running though?  Didn't bother them, except maybe once in a blue moon.

My Plantar is also chronic and goes in different levels of 'pain', but for the past 3 or 4 months, I have had maybe one or 2 days of something that was a bit ouchy; nothing to write home about.  I suspect this might rear its head again once I start hill training again in a couple of weeks (if I am cleared to do so due to ITBS)

My first injury was my knee.  My patella to be exact.  It kept me from running the 2008 (full) Houston Marathon as I lost too much valuable training time, therefore I had to drop to the half.  With a lot of elliptical , patella band (which I still wear often) and running on treadmill and softer surfaces I was fine in plenty of time for the race.

Then I ran NYC in late 2008, Houston in early 2009 and then I was also working at the store 8+ hours on my feet 5 days a week (during my out of work period)...and I kept right on training after Houston, which resulted in a stress fracture, left side, tibia.  I remember in April, I ran a 5K race in the morning (grabbing 2nd in my AG) in complete and utter pain, and then at 3pm that afternoon I ran another race which was a 4 person relay with each person doing a 2 mile loop.  I finished in 18 min and then basically collapsed.  I didnt run again for a couple of months.  I was done and done.

I recovered by aqua jogging, biking and swimming and in that Summer was my first sprint triathlon so something good did come out of it.  And by the time KW started up in the Fall, I was ready to train for Houston 2010.  Alls well that ends well.

I rocked and rolled all during 2011, focusing on training and running Chicago, Dallas and then Houston.  It was probably inevitable that I was going to sustain some sort of injury, but damn I almost made it!  Who would have thought that 3 short days before the last marathon, the injury would manifest, even if ever so slightly?

So.  What's been your worst injury?  When?  And how well did you recover?

Coming Soon:  How to Avoid Common Running Injuries

Monday, January 23, 2012

Evil Lurks...When You Least Expect It

Every morning I do several things within 10 minutes of getting out of bed:  bathroom, water, brush teeth and then I either get dressed to head out to run or not get dressed to run.  And if I am not going running, I go outside on my porch and sit down for about 5 min taking in the quiet and stillness of the morning.  I think about anything that might have bothered me in the night, but mostly I just enjoy that its morning and that I get to live another day.

And 98% of the time I do this, its anywhere from 5:15am to 6:00am, but generally its right at 5:30am.  If I am running before work, I am up at 5 and out the door at 5:30am. 

This morning I knew I wasn't running (only running on treadmill for now except on Saturdays due to ITBS), but as I laid there contemplating getting out of bed, I kept hearing this squeaky vehicle that had passed by a couple of times.  This is odd because either you are leaving or you are parking.  I live basically at the dead end into the parking garage.  I really didn't think too much about it to be honest, just that it was odd to me.  There is one resident there that I know that has a squeaky vehicle like that so I figured it was them possibly.

As I walked onto my porch, said vehicle was coming from the back part of the property and had again turned into 'my drive' towards the garage.  I heard him in the garage, turning around and I thought WTF?  Is this guy stalking someone, looking for their car? 

As I was sitting there and he emerged from the parking garage he clearly looked up towards me and knew I was on the porch, and another car had just turned towards the garage...the truck then pulled straight into a parking spot ahead and proceeded to get out of the truck and left his door open.  As he began walking towards the garage, I got a bit spooked for some reason and got up to go inside, and he looked up at me as he was passing by.

I went inside, locked the door immediately and went into my room, shut the window and pulled the blinds.  I had no idea where he had gone and even though I live on the 2nd floor of 3, I did what I did.  I went back to the living room to look through the blinds on the door and I could see his truck still there, driver side door open, and lights on, but I still had no idea where he had gone.

I then just decided to get in the shower and when I emerged about 10 min later, if that, I went to the door again, and there was the guy next to his truck and a man dressed in an HPD uniform!  And it appeared the guy was in handcuffs.

Periodically in between all the things I do to get ready for work in the morning, I would check outside and it wasnt until close to 7am that an actual police cruiser showed up.  That is what was weird to me!  Where had this other cop come from in the span of 10 min while I was in the shower?!  There was no cop car that I could see anywhere.  Had one of the resident cops come outside to go to work and noticed creepy guy?  I had no idea.

So I leave for work, dude is in back of patrol car and his vehicle is being searched.  Are you freaking kidding me?  WTF? 

After I get to work, the first thing I am thinking about is that this guy saw me, knows where I live and probably thinks I am the one that called the cops!  So I email my landlord about something else but also mention the incident this morning.  When she writes back and tells me that 'A' is an onsite HPD officer (lives there) actually apprehended the dude, I just replied back with how uneasy I was, so she called me.

Here is what happened:  So remember when dude exited his vehicle, left the door open and headed towards the garage?  Well the one car that had went by that I mentioned...well dude was going in there to rob that person!  Only dude didnt know when he was almost to the car, the guy exiting the BMW?

HPD.  Full uniform.  Boom. 

So a lot of this and that and basically ended up with po-po taking down the creepy guy and then of course thats when I come out of the shower to see none of that (it was actually in the garage anyway), only to see the aftermath.  At one time when I first saw the guy I figured he was probably scoping out the bikes that are chained up on that first floor, but apparently when he saw the BMW guy going into the garage he figured he would rob him?

Now here is where I get creeped out.  What if I had stayed on the porch?  What if the guy hadn't been a cop?  And what if this guy robbed/shot whoever and then ran from the garage and I was still there?

And what if I had walked outside to freaking go run?!?!?  I get creeped out 99.9% of the time I run that early anyway, but run in the middle of the road, opposite side of traffic etc., but still.  Part of me figures had I seen this guy before or as I was going downstairs I wouldnt have continued on.  My senses are extremely heightened that early and I am hyper-sensitive to anything out of the ordinary.  And if I am running, and a car even so much as slows down, I am going to bolt.  I've done it a couple of times, and one time in particular on an early Saturday run where the guy actually got out of his truck.   Ugh.  That still spooks me when I think about it.

Now this guy has some ballz too, because honestly 5:30am is not such a smart time to be casing an apartment property.  People ARE beginning to wake up and ARE out walking their dogs and what-not.  And apparently his phone rang while HPD cop#1 was waiting for back up and it was his friend down the road.  HPD cop#1 acted like he was the criminal and the person on the phone said 'dude, whats taking so long?  Its getting to be the time people will be getting up'.  And also apparently the guy has a record and is on parole, so he's going to jail fo sho.

But even so, I must say I am still spooked by it, and thankful that at least for a while, I won't be having to run before work.  I don't know that I could given what happened this morning.  I will stick to the treadmill, and only after work running on the roads, except for Saturday morning group runs.

Even though I live in a nice neighborhood, in a gated community and surrounded by nice neighborhoods, there is always room for the bad people.  They could be just a few streets over (zoning is dumb in this part of town), or they could just be driving by and think 'oh that looks like a good place to case'..

So my message to people is to be hyper-sensitive to your neighborhood and anything that doesn't look like it belongs or is just 'different'.  And call the authorities!  You just never know!  Your instinct is typically right on target, and if it isn't, no harm done at all!

Looking back on it now, instead of getting in the shower I should have called the cops.  If that had been just a resident and not a cop, they could have been hurt and I was the only one that had seen the guy, his truck and his license plate number.

Product Review - PureFit Nutrition Bars

A few weeks ago I was contacted via email by a representative of PureFit Nutrition Bars to try their product.  Of course, I said!  I received a package with 5 bars, all different flavors.

A little about PureFit bars from their site:
PureFit was established in July 2000 with the express purpose of educating individuals about how to achieve optimum health and fitness through nutrition and exercise. Concerned with current trends in nutritional supplements that contain highly processed or even harmful ingredients, founder Robb Dorf insists on all-natural ingredients. PureFit bars are high-protein; they do not melt; they contain no wheat or gluten; they are non-dairy; they are Kosher-certified; they contain no sugar alcohols or artificial sweeteners; they have no hydrogenated oils and no trans-fatty acids.
PureFit bars were developed as 40-30-30 bars, consistent with weight-loss regimens like The Zone. Because PureFit bars do not contain wheat or gluten, they can be enjoyed by sufferers of celiac sprue disease. PureFit has proudly supported dozens of regional celiac support groups. PureFit has been named "Nutrition Bar of the Year" by Bike Magazine.

I will say that prior to being contacted, I had never heard of these, and never noticed them in the store(s), but then again I never notice anything that remotely resembles a PowerBar.  I loathe PowerBars and/or most bars for that matter.  I have tried a few but typically stay away from them because they are usually very dense, small and packed with calories.  If I am going to eat 300-450 calories it will be in the form of actual food.

When I got these in the post, I looked first at the packaging and immediately thought, ugh...PowerBars.  I looked at the back, noticed the nutrition and the calorie count etc., and thought OK, I will give them a go.  It was probably a week before I actually tried one.

Boy oh boy!  I love these things!  No where near what those yukky PowerBars are (at least to me!).  The taste is great, the texture is awesome and not like what I remember PBs to be which almost seemed to be waxy and difficult to chew.

I havent actually eaten a whole one at one time, but snacked on one throughout the day when I felt the desire to eat 'something'.  I usually break off half, eat that, then piece off the other half through the remainder of the day.  Most times I am not really hungry, just the act of eating is what I want, so just taking a small bite satisfies me and I'm good to go for another hour or so :O)

The chocolate brownie one actually TASTES like a brownie, or as close as one can get I suppose, so I really like that about that particular one.  I only have one left, the Berry Almond Crunch because I bet that is the one I am going to like the most, so I have been saving it!  Oh wait, thats not true!  I have one in my purse for emergency hunger!!!  We all know that happens!!

Quite possibly the most complete and health conscious nutrition bar available on the market today.  Although not as sweet, tasty and delicious as a candy certainly was not meant to be - and still pulls off being a very enjoyable bar to support a serious fitness/nutrition program.

I too have just usually resorted to a Lara Bar every now and then for a pick me up or before a long run, as until now I didn't know of any other bars out there that were quite as natural; still might not be as natural as Lara Bars, but I dont have one to compare side by side.

All I know is that I loved these, and if I see them in the stores, I would definitely pick up a few, to keep at home, in my desk and also always one in my purse.

Thanks PureFit Nutrition for giving me the opportunity to try these!

**this opinion for PureFit Nutrition Bars was my own and I was not compensated for the review.  I always give a honest opinion and these vendors know that when I try something, I might not like it! 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

No One Wants to Be an (Sh) IT Girl

So officially my 'injury' is my IT band (left side).

Definitely an over-training injury, and thankfully its not too bad.  If I am not careful though, it could get much worse obviously.  After consulting with a few of the know it alls at the store, an over-whelming majority of them were shocked at what shoe I had been training in this whole time.

I've been running in the Ravenna's for some time now, but apparently due to increase in strength, turn over, and the number of miles I have put out since May..etc., etc., etc., its just 'too much shoe'.

I tried several shoes of different brands, Brooks, Asics and Saucony and settled in on the DS Trainer by Asics as it felt the best as I was working at the store yesterday.  I loved the Saucony Cortana (or is it Cordana?), either way, but it just felt like not enough shoe, i.e. to go from the Ravenna to that, just didnt seem smart to me.

Not for long distances anyway.  And since I had just bought my last pair of Ravenna back on 1-2, I just exchanged them and ended up with a credit since the DS Trainer was marked down to $49, as the newer colors etc., are due out soon.

I ran on Friday, just 4 miles and I could still feel the IT band, and can feel it now actually.  Its more like a knot at the upper calf now (rolling seems to be helping as well).  When I got up yesterday morning and got dressed to go run 6, I walked to the gate.  It was hot/humid and sprinkling rain and then I realized I didn't have to run if I darn well didn't feel like it.  I could wait until this morning, which is exactly what I did.  I had brought the DST's home and laced them up this morning and it did indeed make a huge difference.

An easy 6 miles in the hot/humid weather at a 10:12 pace was just what I needed.

While the pain isn't as bad as it was during the marathon, or in the few days afterwards, I am still very aware that I have what I guess is an injury, but its not a debilitating one.

I worked a full 8 hours yesterday on my feet and another 5 hours today, so that certainly doesn't help it much, but I am pleased with how my 6 miles went this morning.  I rolled it several times at the store today, and am now icing off and on hoping that helps too.

I know plenty of folks, IRL and in blogland that have had severe IT band issues, but I am wondering if any of you have and if so, how bad was it, how did you treat it and how long until it was 'better'?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Periodic Freak Outs are No Big Thang

This is me not on marathons

I keep reminding myself that I said no more full marathons.
No more full marathons.
No more full marathons.

I have a slew of Spring races from 5K to 10 Milers to do.
I have 3 half marathons to train for in 2012 that I want to attempt my sub 2 hour..
So why do I start going nuts when I think about 'when does marathon training start' only to realize that ... it doesn't.
And then I think...oh just one more...I don't have to tell anyone...
And then I realize that that is beyond ridiculous...who does a marathon and not scream from the rafters that a) you're training and running a bazillion miles and b) you finished the marathon and are still alive

Isn't that why Facebook, Twitter and blogs were invented in the first place?  Or is that just me?

And then I go and read Last Mile Lounge this morning and there is Jamoosh already talking about doing more marathons when I thought he was gonna quit too :)

And he taunts me with his Go Big or Go Home mentality! 

I don't know who I am without training for a marathon.

And I get a bit freaked out that when KW starts back up that I have to at least start out the run with the 2:00 half marathon group, hold on as long as I can, and hopefully hold on a bit longer as the weeks go by...

And I am freaked out that tomorrow is Saturday and I don't have to be anywhere before the crack of dawn.
So much so that I am finding people to run (not many mind you) and they want to, but not at 6am.
Huh?  Why not?
Me no comprende.

I have a lot of really fast friends and they're running ... but I can't keep up with those show offs!  :O)

I know that I am in no danger of signing up for any Fall marathons (that I know I will never do again), but what worries me (already) is that I won't be able to resist the draw of training for Houston again.

I already know I have a spot if I want it, which makes it even harder...
When the time comes will I be able to stand my ground...?

I am going to do everything in my (will)power to ward off the evil lure and seduction of the full marathon from me and my mind! 

They say 'resistance is futile', but I am hoping to prove that wrong...

Olympic Marathon Trials - Lead Pack (Women) - First pass

Also early in the race, the women as they come up to the 5K mark
The women started 15 min behind the men's start
Obviously I had moved back to the side of the street where the fluids tables were set up and just before they make a right hand turn to head out on the 1st of three 8 mile loops

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Marathon Recovery Mode - Continued

On Tuesday I wrote about how recovery was going and things seem to be progressing nicely.

I came back to work yesterday, which actually was welcomed.  The calf was still letting me know it was unhappy, and then at some point in the day, my big toe (left foot) became increasingly painful.  Not the toe itself, but the toenail.

It had not (and still hasn't) changed color at all and today its a bit better, not as sensitive to the touch, so I am  hoping that after all these years of running, that now I am about to lose a toenail!?  I am hoping that is not the case, but will keep you posted ;o)

After work, I headed to the gym and since the calf was still ouchy, I had planned on just walking the 3 miles, but I just couldn't.

I ended up doing the 3 miles, but I allowed myself to run a song, walk a song...there was still just a tinge of tightness/soreness in the quads, but nothing I couldnt handle, and by the end they actually felt pretty darn good.

I hit the weights up afterwards for a hard hitting session on chest and shoulders and damn am I feeling it today!

They say 2 of the most important things for marathon recovery is 1) eat good for you food and 2) sleep/rest as much as possible ...  no problem.  For whatever reason, yesterday when I made it home from the gym it was all I could do to keep my eyes open.  I ended up falling asleep on the couch sometime after 9pm, woke up about an hour later, crawled in to bed and this morning still felt like I could sleep even more.

For some folks, the energy zap (and the run-ger) from all the excitement and the marathon itself will not manifest itself until days later.  I didn't sleep well at all Sunday night and even on Monday and Tuesday I had a hard time going to bed at 10:30 which normally would never happen!  After 2 days of being back in the gym, I guess it is all finally catching up to me and my body is letting me know about it.

Today is a full on rest day, and while I would love to go and do another short run, I will abide by the 'rules' and rest.  Maybe a walk around my 'hood.  :O)

As far as my eating, its been pretty exemplary (sp?). 

I did eat an entire medium pizza on Sunday (and half a pint of strawberry Blue Bell ice cream), (not all at once though!), but other than that my diet has consisted of: tons of veggies (I ate 2 lbs of roasted brussel sprouts on Monday!!!), eggs, bananas, whole grain bread and chicken.  And coffee.  Lots of coffee.  I do not know where this coffee craze came from all of a sudden! (started a few months back)

I still plan to eat Whataburger (fries!!), I just can't seem to bring myself to do it.  I keep thinking I want to save it for some other day/evening, but I wonder if I do that, will I just keep making 'excuses'?

Really the only craving I have had consistently is for ice cream, although today I can't seem to stop thinking about a big bag of potato chips!  (figure its my body wanting the salt).

So for now, I will just rest as my body tells me too and continue to fuel it with what it needs and not what it wants.  :O)

What is the most outrageous post marathon meal you have eaten?  Do you tend to just go hog-wild for days or even weeks afterwards?  When do you usually do your first post-marathon run?


Edited to include link to a post I wrote just a while back...until those individuals at Rowan Companies can keep their nosy eyes away, I will continue to post this link; and actually post an email that I sent to SSeiden... and SRodr... as well.  I can assure you they wouldn't want that.

Olympic Marathon Trials - Video 1 - Lead Pack (Men) - First pass

Early in the race...only at 5K of 26.2 miles
Isn't the narrator grrrrrrrrrreat?  :O)
And yes I know I say Meb's name wrong, but I can never seem to correct myself!

I had scooted across the street from where the tables were set up and where they made the turn so as to get a better shot of them without being in the way so much.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

2012 Olympic Marathon Trials - Houston, Texas

Last year during marathon weekend, we were the host city for the half marathon championships and instead of being held on Sunday as they normally are, they were held on the Saturday prior, on what was the first shot at what the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials course would be (it ended up changing).

As early as one year out, volunteers were selected for the Elite fluid stops along the course, and during that half marathon championship, we tested how we would operate on the actual Trials day.  It was great fun and since the likes of Ryan Hall etc. were actually running in the half marathon championships we actually had real elite fluid containers to 'practice' with.  If you want to read more about all of that, I have it under the Label: USATF and possibly the label: Half marathon championships (sometimes I forget to set a Label to a post).

Anyway with the change in the route, where I was last year was not where I would be this year.  And my 'job' had changed which I was perfectly ok with! 

Instead of actually standing behind a fluid table, I worked hospitality for that particular site of tables/volunteers.

What this meant is that my alarm went off at 4am as I had to be at a certain locationby 5am to load my vehicle up with enough breakfast tacos, coffee, orange juice and bananas to satisfy 100 volunteers.

With Memorial Drive due to shut down at 5:30am this shouldn't have been an issue, but since SBux wasn't ready with the LARGE carafes of coffee, we had to wait and thats where I was ever so thankful for this little baby:
"Let her through!  She's got a red tag!!"

Yes indeed I had that All Access pass and thank the baby Jesus too!  Because getting all of that food/drink to the site downtown (our set up was at the 3/11/19 mile mark of the route) would have been mucho difficult.
As it was, only one police officer in DT pawned me off to the officer at the next block, not really caring that I had All Access or not :O)

Let me tell you one thing:  they had downtown locked down and locked down early.

It was nice just to roll up and unload all the goodies and the volunteers were so thankful it being cold (low 30's) and windy.

What was also nice about our station is that it was mostly BCRR folks, and we were lucky to have not one but TWO heaters for warmth.  That is if you werent working an actual table.  Once I was done unloading and parking, I pretty much stood around, talked to cute fireman, stayed warm and watched the Trials unfold right in front of my eyes.
Hospitality Tent (my work station for the day)

The porta cans were just a bit down under Memorial along Bagby, and as MK and I were going there, there were times were just lone runners would be running down the middle of the street...

The elite fluid stop was also right along Bagby as well (there was a turn here so the Red Station was split along 2 diff roads), and the Occupy Houston area is here, so I took a picture on our way back to our station

Lovely...just lovely  :O)  I had on 2 pairs of socks, tights under my jeans and 2 long sleeve shirts under my super thick 2008 NYC marathon finishers hoodie.  I was so snug as a bug!  Even though we had heaters, I rarely used them.  I was more interested in the race even though there wasnt always runners in front of me to cheer for!

Elite fluids have arrived!!!
Each box is for a table that is numbered and each compartment is for a specific athlete.  They usually decorate or mark their bottles so that they are easy to spot, but each athlete knows what table and what spot on that table is assigned to him.  Additionally athletes will also sometime put the color pipe cleaners on their bottles to use as a 'grasping' mechanism.  Easier to grab instead of trying to wrap a hand around the body of the bottle.  Since both the men and women ran the same course and 15 min apart start time, each table had boxes for M and for F and once the elite males went by, then and after the back of the pack guys would go by, they would get ready for the females.  If you werent considered an Elite there were tables at the very end for water and Powerade

Looking down McKinney towards the 3/1//19 mile marker.  This is the direction they would come from each loop, then you could jump over one street to wait for them to pass by again (but it would be a while since they were just beginning the loop of Memorial/AP).  We always knew when they would be coming soon as we were at the corner and could see when they were at Bagby and Allen Parkway
Pre-Race - MK - Poor thing she froze the entire time and even spent too much time in front of the heaters which resulted in very red/chapped thighs.

Discarded fluid bottles.  I snapped several pics of these after the first pass, and finally determined that the blue one was Mebs.  He is my dreamboat and I just love love love him...and there are no words for how I felt knowing that he 'beat' Ryan Hall...not just beat him, but spanked his booty.  :)  I know it wasn't about 'winning' on this one, but ... yeah ... you know each one of all of them wanted to beat the other one...

And speaking of my man!!!  This was taken on the 2nd pass I think...
Meb!  Meb!  Meb!

Some shots I am posting are just random and of no one in particular.  I took so many pictures I just kind of randomly selected.

Lead pack women...first pass.  Deena!  Deena!  Desi!  Desi!!!
Oh how I wish Desi could have pulled out beating Shalane.  Those 2 are great tho, and probably our best chance in London thats for sure!

Random women pack

After the men had passed by for the 3rd time, I took the opportunity to head down to the PoP and snapped this random photo.  The guy was painted up in front but he turned right as I was snapping the photo.

Watching them change the sign from 11 to 19 while I was waiting in PoP line

One of our heaters and John was using the top of it as a warming mechanism for breakfast tacos later in the morning :)

Yours truly...long before the race had started...

I also have video, some that video'd great and then a couple of them are 'rotated' and I haven't had the time or energy to spend on fixing them (not like with pictures where you obviously have the little rotate button! grrr!) ... Anyway, I will post video soon as well!  I know the first pass of the Elite men and then the Elite women came out right, so those will get posted first.

Overall basic thoughts:
  1. Glad about Flanagan and Davila.  Both strong runners and capable of something in London.  Surprised that KG made 3rd to be honest; thought she'd choke harder than she did, but kudos to her.  Hope she can get it together for London but I'm not holding my breath.  She and her husband are whiny butts and I personally think she should have stayed at the 10000m
  2. Davila is my favorite, and I know that it wasnt about 1, 2, 3, but I still wish she would have beat Shalane.  Like Shalane, I just like Desi a whole lot more!
  3. So so so happy Meb crushed Hall.  Another over-rated long distance runner in my opinion, and in my mind Meb can do no wrong.
  4. Devastated that Ritz was 4th and I think had he had 800m more he could have caught Abdi.  That whole having issues taking off that long sleeve shirt was a nightmare for him and I couldnt believe my eyes as I was watching it.  Who the hell wears a long sleeve shirt to a marathon where the temps were as warm as they were????  ugh!!!
  5. We should not be sending Abdi to London.  I think Ritz is the better runner and we have a better shot, but guess nothing we can do about it now
What are your thoughts?

    In The Meantime...Race Photos of Yours Truly

    While I am working on the Olympic Marathon Trials post, I give you a few photos from my own marathon. I can always tell when I am doing what I should be doing by my photos in races as it pertains to diet and other forms of training (other than running).

    Everything that is wrong will surely show up in a race photo, and typically ALL the photos will be bad. And since I really only hated a couple of them, I blame angle and camera shot timing :)

    Its always nice too when people give compliments.  I am very pleased with my progress since mid-November!!

    I hope to have part one of the Houston 2012 Olympic Trials post up at some point today...

    Finishing.  With both feet off the ground.

    The only time your feet are gonna be off the ground is if you are going 'fast' enough.  I guarantee you that if you are, the pictures will show it.

    One thing that I HATE about not wearing Lululemon shorts?  Means that I have a bulky SpiBelt the 1st half of the race.  Lululemon Speed Shorts have the awesome 2 hidden pockets that I use for gels.

    Have no idea where this was taken, although I'm guessing somewhere in the first half of the race

    Allen Parkway.  Where sometimes dreams are broken.  Not this year m'er f'er.  :)
    I ran those underpass hills and you did not break me.  Lots of underpass hills to conquer this Spring.  :O)

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012

    Recovery Mode

    They say that recovery for a marathon should equal one day for every mile ran. 

    Personally I always assumed that this meant you did not run for 26 days.  And personally I have never followed this rule.

    I typically will run my first run anywhere from 2-3 days later, nothing crazy, 3 miles or so and oh so very slowly.

    However when we were at the expo on Friday listening to Joan Benoit Samuelson, someone asked about Bill and Joan's recovery style.  Joan brought up the one day per mile thing, but also said that that does not mean you don't run or do anything at all.

    That those 26 days should be done slowly, and as your body feels its necessary for recovery.  I thought 'oh good..thats what I have always done'.

    Yesterday was pretty darn rough.  The roughest day after marathon that I have had since that fateful day after in 2007.  THAT was horrible.

    My calf/achilles was still very sore and it hurt pretty badly.  Obviously my quads and hamstrings were sore but a bit more sore than in marathons past.  I attribute this to the fact that for once I did not jump in the tub full of ice.  I don't know why I didn't this time, but it was a mistake for sure.  Other than getting out to return some things that we used for the Olympic Trials, all I did was some laundry and lay around on the couch watching DVD's.

    This morning I woke up with still sore quads/hamstrings/calf, but better than yesterday.  After going to breakfast with friends then taking a nap :O) (must have been some sleeping pills in the food!), I headed to the gym.

    I hopped on the treadmill and walked for 3 miles then hit the weights for an hour, even hopping on 2 leg machines (one for quads and one for hamstrings on low weight).

    I don't know how folks walk for more than a mile.  Its mentally hard for me and I give kudos to those that walk half marathons/full marathons because damn it, that shit is hard!  :)

    My plans for now are to attempt to run 3 miles tomorrow (on the treadmill), but if the calf/achilles are one bit ouchy, I will trash that and just walk the 3 miles again.  I don't want to run too soon.  And I have no plans of running on pavement until Saturday or Sunday (not certain which day I will get out and its nice to not have to worry about mileage/time etc. for a couple of weeks until Kenyan Way starts up again)

    I find myself starting to replay Sunday in my mind, and the fact that I had all the endurance/stamina in the world and was still running those 7's at a good clip...if it hadn't been for the damn leg!  My back is not even bothering me!!!  And no foot numbness so I am thrilled that I didn't further damage that (at least that's apparent as of now).

    I am looking forward to starting up with hills and speed again with Kenyan Way, and thats not for 2 more weeks, or is it 3?  AND anxious for races that I have scheduled for March. 

    Anyway, until then it will just be running on my own or with friends and training with Kyle.  He is anxious to get to work on training/strengthening my legs and while thats all great...I know that after that first leg workout, I will probably be in more pain than after the marathon!

    What's your MO for marathon (or half marathon) recovery?

    Chevron Houston Marathon (Aramco Half Marathon) Expo

    I had made plans to meet up with a few peeps at the Expo on Friday, most importantly CG as we both wanted to a) hang out which we never get to do and b) see and hear Joan Benoit Samuelson speak.
    We both secretly were hoping to get to actually meet her.

    To our surprise Bill Rodgers showed up with her and was also on stage talking and taking questions from the crowd.   Thankfully we got there just early enough to snag 2 seats as there weren't a lot anyway.

    Prior to CG getting there, I picked up race packets for myself and a friend, met up with S and R and we walked around a bit, running into a million people I knew...

    I have to say that I love the expo that CHM has every year.  This year I noticed a few new vendors, one being 26.2 Apparel who I have heard good things about and I ended up getting 2 cute shirts (using Christmas gift cards!).  I have been wearing one of them today and it is SO soft!  Definitely these 2 shirts will become some of my favorites!  Can definitely wear as casual or at the gym.  I wouldn't run in it (although a short run probably wouldnt gag me too much), but will save it from the excessive sweat!

    I also got a cute charm necklace that has 26.2 on one side and Running On Faith engraved on the other side (thank goodness for gift cards again!)  I haven't taken it off since I bought it and even ran the marathon in it...a few times I reached up to make sure it was still there during the marathon and the Running On Faith message made me think of my Momma...

    The one 'blech' that I have is that UA is the CHM sponsor of their gear and I don't like UA.  I still ended up buying one long sleeve shirt (never have before) mostly because the Finisher shirts are short sleeve and I am not a big fan of them and a 40th anniversary coffee mug (I have the 35th one from my first marathon and I wanted the 40th signifying the start and finish of my marathoning days :)... its a MUCH bigger mug!  I also got one other thing, but that will have to wait until it makes its appearance here on the blog :)  Best thing is I still have $$ left on gift cards!

    There were a lot of vendors that actually gave product and not just samples so I loved that as well.  I didn't spend as much time there last year, but this year I was there for FOUR hours!  And it went by so quickly!!

    Of all the marathon expo's I have ever been to, Houston is #1 (year after year) and Chicago is #2...

    A few photos...

    Finish line ahead!  I loved all the flags as the Olympic Trials were the next day, so there were a lot more flags than I remember from years past, if at all.

    Taken from inside the GRB as I was going up the escalator

    I really liked this hanging Nike swoosh!

    Brought tears to my eyes!  Low!  Low!  Low!

    Loved these guys!  Had a chocolate fountain, and were giving out samples of Ghiradelli squares as well as little pretzel sticks with a huge marshmallow dipped in chocolate!

    New sticker...

    Bill and Joan on stage answering questions from the crowd and handing out advice.  Bill is NOT sleeping.  :)  I actually took a few photos, but they came out as looking awkward.

    Hate this picture of me but Joan and CG are in it, so I love it  :)  wtf hair???

    My marathon bib signed by Joan Benoit Samuelson!!!!