Saturday, February 23, 2013

Making progress!

Just wanted to give a quick update on how training's been going. Apologies for the lack of posts-once I get done with the day, study, and work out, I have a hard time convincing myself to write!

For the past few weeks, I wasn't sure I was actually making any improvement. The furthest I could run at a time was 2 miles and on my longer runs, I'd have to take a bunch of mini walk breaks in order to finish. I'm pretty sure I looked like the bottom part of this photo:

Today I ran 3.5 miles without stopping though! I think just the persistence of running ~3 times a week finally paid off and for the first 2 miles it actually didn't feel hard at all. The last mile and a half was more difficult, but do-able. It was the first time I thought 13.1 miles might actually be possible after all. I was red, out of breath, and probably still looked like the spazzy little girl in the picture, but I also felt really good. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Preventative Therapy Thursday - First Post!

Hey everyone! Here is the first week of "Preventative Therapy Thursday"!

I thought I would back-track a bit to my rant about having the proper shoes and how it can affect your feet, all the way up to your back! You all probably think I'm crazy thinking your feet can affect your back!!!

Do you remember the song from when you were a kid: the foot bone connected to the leg bone, the leg bone connected to the knee bone, the knee bone connected to the thigh bone, the thigh bone connected to the back bone?? You probably didn't think anything of this song and thought it was fun and just silly right?? Well....... it's true!! Everything is connected and if you have ever played a game of dominos or mouse trap, then you know what happens when that marble starts to go or that first domino drops, right?? 

We are all born with a specific bone structure that we will carry throughout our lives We have NO control over this, but we do have ways to stop any problems that can occur because of it. Honestly, some of us just aren't made for running, just like some of us aren't made for dancing, gymnastics, soccer, football, etc. However, that doesn't mean we still don't try and continue the sports we love right? You just have to know how to protect yourself, know your limits, and know the consequences of going over your limits. 

In physical therapy, we like to call the little song above, the kinetic chain.  Here is a quick and dirty version. Let's start at the foot and work our way up. There are two main scenarios that can occur. Keep in mind these are extreme versions and these are principles. I guess this is a little physics, Heather. :) 

Kinetic Chain 1:
-Flat feet (no arch or flat arch)
-Knock Knees (kissing knees) 
-Internal Rotation of your hips  
-Strain on your sacro-iliac joint (often the "dimples" of the back or right at your pants line on your back) and low back

How does this affect me? Well, if your feet are flat and your knees turn in, it causes strain and tension on the inside of your ankles and knees and compression on the outside. This causes all the structures on the inside to get stretched out such as; ligaments, muscles, the joint capsule, etc. Then all the muscles outside muscles begin to tighten, like your IT Band. This band runs from your hip, down past you knee. This alignment also causes uneven wearing of the joints. Your knees will get a lot of excess compression on the outside of the joint and your hips will get a lot of compression into the pelvis. This can cause the joint to wear down faster, which may lead to a joint replacement later in life. You can develop a number of problems with this sort of presentation such as: IT band syndrome, hip bursitis, Patello-femoral syndrome, ligamentous/joint capsule laxity, meniscus problems, tendonitis, etc. Women are often prone to this sort of presentation because we often have wider hips, so are legs often "V" inward. 

Kinetic Chain 2:  (Yepp it's the exact opposite)
-High arch (more weight on the outside of your foot)
-Bow legged (your knees are far apart) - usually goes along with over extension or straightening of the knees
-External Rotation of your hips
-Compression on your sacro-iliac joint (often the "dimples" of the back or right at your pants line on your back) and low back

How does this affect me? If your feet aren't flat, you may be running or walking on the outside of our feet causing the compression on the inside and tension on the outside of your ankles and knees. Also, with being bow legged, people often over straighten their knees, causing compression at the front of their knee and tension on the back. This again causes uneven wearing of the joints and the laxities as stated above. Again, this can lead to a lot of the same problems as listed above.

Here is a few photos to help you visualize a little more easily:
                                                 Normal           Bow Legged     Knock Kneed
 , February 13, 2013.

                                                           Over extension of the knees., February 13, 2013. 

So what does this mean? Should I not run? Could I hurt myself? Remember these are the principles. Just because you have flat feet, doesn't mean you have knock knees, but it does mean you are still putting strain on your body from your ankles to your back.  It still means that the inside of your knees are straining and the outside are being compressed, as well as your ankles, etc. These pictures are the extreme cases, however some individuals do present this way. 

I cannot preach enough about being aware of your feet and wearing the proper shoes. Stand up and look at your feet. Are your arches high? Are they low? Is one different than the other? Take a walk around. Do you walk on the outside of your feet? Or on the inside? Pick up your oldest pair of shoes. Look at the bottom. Are they worn on the outside of the foot? Back of the heel, more towards the outside or inside? Is the front of your shoe worn down?  All of these things can tell you what your feet are like and what shoes you may need.

Being aware can help prevent injuries. Did you know that when you run, the impact on your leg, when you strike the ground is 1.5-3 times your body weight??!? Think about that. If you have a high arch or a flat arch, you are putting 1.5-3 times more weight on a joint that is not in proper alignment! This will lead to faster injuries. 

Make sure your shoes control your feet and have the proper cushioning for the amount of miles you plan to put in. Also, the barefoot running shoes and barefoot running has become extremely popular. Walking/running barefoot does help strengthen your foot to a point. However, if you would like to go in this direction, I strongly encourage you to consult someone at a reputable running store and make sure you have the proper feet. Also, if you are just starting to run, this may not be the best way to start. You may also want to consider how many miles you plan to run. If you are considering these barefoot shoes, starting with your short run days maybe be a safer way to go. 

I hope this gives you all a little more information and helps clarify any questions you may have had!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Lazy Days in the Sun!

I was lucky enough to spend most of last week in Naples, Fl with my parents and husband. It was so nice to relax on the beach, catch some sun, and do as we pleased! We tend to be so busy and I was completely content sitting, reading, and getting my tan on!! :)  While we were there, I read 2 books and started a 3rd!! I got hooked on the "50 Shades of Grey" trilogy along with a million other women last summer and was told to read a few more that were along the same lines.

Here are the books I read in case any of you are looking for a good read!! I read "Collide" by Gail McHugh - SO good! It wasn't as graphic as "50 Shades...", if you know what I mean. It was more about the story line, which made me keep reading the "50 Shades..." Trilogy. The second book is due out in the summer and I'm dying to find out what happens! I also read "Bared to You" and just finished "Reflected in You", both by Sylvia Day. Again, sooooo good! This was really similar to "50 Shades..."; the main guy and girl both had troubled pasts, which made it very interesting how they interacted. This book had a little more detail than "Collide". The third book is due out June 4th, perfect timing for our trip to Myrtle Beach!

So between all the reading and tanning, I did so some running, of course! I lived in Florida for a bit while I was in PT school and I learned to LOVE running on the beach. I was soo excited to get a chance to do it again, however this time it didn't go as well as it had in the past. Let's just say Naples beach was not so good for running. St. Augustine beach is very wide and has a large portion of hard sand; Naples beach was very short and had A LOT of soft sand. It was an AWFUL run, I ended up running down the beach further than planned. Naples has a lot of hotels, private clubs, and homes along the beach and finding a public access ramp was harder than I expected! I ended up running only about 2.5 miles and walking the rest of the 1.5 miles back to the condo. I was sliding everywhere, got sand in my shoes, a blister on my heel from the sand, and my ankles and knees were killing me from sliding and running on a slant! I was a mess!!! I would recommend sticking to the road if you come across a short beach with soft sand if you want to get a good run in! I kept the beach for my bikini and the road for my shoes the rest of the week! :)

One thing I am getting annoyed with is my laces. It seems like no matter what shoes I have, the laces never stay tied, or they flip around and bug my ankles. Any suggestions to keep them tied and off my leg?? 

Also, with running in the warmer weather, I definitely needed some water. It was quite the change from the 30-40 degree weather I have been use to. I figure Spring will be coming soon and as my miles start to stack up, I'm going to need to invest in some sort of running water bottle. I found this one on I liked how it was Neoprene so it wouldn't be cold on my hand or sweat onto my hand. It also has an expandable pouch you can put keys, nutrition, etc in. What do you use to stay hydrated? 

Here are a few pictures I took in Naples!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wednesday's Workout - Round Two!

It’s time for another installment of Wednesday’s Workout!!

Here's a little recap of a bootcamp I attended earlier this week:

We started off with a warm up, some dynamic stretches, and headed to the court to knock out a few sets of wind sprints. Then we headed back into the gym to do our first circuit, which consisted of four stations:

  • Down 1-2-3 pushups –starting at the top of the pushup, lower yourself slowly for three counts until you reach the bottom of the pushup, then press back to the top, repeat 10x
  • Sumo squat hold – hold a wide leg squat as close to 90o as possible, with toes turned out at a 45 degree angle, for the duration of time it takes the other stations to finish their 10 reps (approx. 1 minute)
  • V-sit hold – hold a V-sit for the duration of time it takes for the other stations to finish their 10 reps (approx. 1 minute)
  • Down 1-2-3 pull ups - starting at the top of the pull up (flex hang position), lower yourself slowly for three counts until you reach the bottom of the pull up, and then pull back to the top, repeat 10x

These stations were repeated in this order 3x

After this strength circuit, we then did a conditioning circuit, consisting of 8 stations, which we did in pairs for 30 seconds with 10 seconds of rest in between stations

1.       Bosu ball squats with curls (I used 20 lb dumbells)
2.       Tire flips
3.       Wall sit with scapula slides
4.       Flex hang
5.       Half push up
6.       Spilt jumps
7.       Rope slams
8.       Plate push

These stations were repeated in this order 2x

After completing the circuit, we did a lower body burnout doing body weight squats for 1 minute 3x
I actually did this workout on Monday and I’m still feeling a little bit sore today! Especially in my lats!

Do you like to circuit train? How do you incorporate conditioning into your workouts?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

What was I thinking?

Hi, I'm Autumn, and like Elise, I have never written a blog before, so this is going to take some work and is definitely a learning experience.
Tomorrow begins the 12 week training regimen that we have decided to base our training on (as previously posted by Jackie and Elise) and I am really wondering what I was thinking signing up for this! I grew up as a gymnast, which is not truly an aerobic sport, the longest routine was 90 seconds and this half marathon is entirely the opposite! I have never been much of a runner so I am going to need all sorts of help, advice and encouragement to make it through this, hence the rationale for this blog.
I have never been a fan of running on a treadmill or doing the same workouts over and over. I think I was spoiled by gymnastics - 4 hours of practice flew by and it was always something different. I have tried all sorts of workouts over the years and never found anything that truly holds my attention, so I am always trying new and different things to try to find something that works for me. A lot of people recommend classes at the gym but I have never found one that I like enough to stick with. If anyone has suggestions of new workouts let me know! 
I have always preferred running outside to running on a treadmill. I don't mind running in the cold, however with my work schedule, it is dark when I leave for work and getting dark when I get off so that eliminates running outside during the week for the time being. Treadmill running is going to have to suffice for now which means I am going to need new, upbeat music to keep me from getting overly bored! 
Elise and I are going to try to do weekly Thursday blogs about Preventative Physical Therapy so if there are any topics of interest let us know. I work as an acute care PT, so my orthopedics may be a little rusty but this will be a good reason to review and use all that knowledge we learned in school! 
Good luck with the first true week of training girls!

Avocado Smoothies!

So the other day I was browsing some other running blogs and I came across a post about avocado smoothies on Organic Runner Mom's blog. For those of you who don't know me, I am obsessed with avocados. I guess growing up in California will do that to a girl =)

I had never thought about making an avocado smoothie, so I thought "why not give it a go"? Plus, avocados are 2 for $1 right now, and I may have gone a little overboard and bought a few too many avocados (wait, is there such a thing as too many avocados?!)...

I used Organic Runner Mom's recipe as a starting point, but I made a few changes to prevent my having to run to the grocery store for additional supplies. Here is my recipe:

(makes two servings)

1 avocado
1 banana
8 strawberries, cut off the tops and cut in half
2 scoops vanilla protein powder (can sub vanilla Greek yogurt if you aren't a fan of protein powder)
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 cups skim milk (can sub rice, soy, or almond milk if you prefer)

1) put everything but the protein powder into your blender and blend it up until it's nice and smooth
2) add the protein powder and mix it in
3) pour into two cups and enjoy it with a friend!

This smoothie is delicious and kind of tastes like a chocolate milkshake. It's got lots of protein and healthy fats and carbs to help you recover post run!

What's your go-to post workout snack? Would you ever try an avocado smoothie?