10.19.08 – Nike Marathon, phew that’s done!

October 21, 2008

Congratulations to everyone who ran the race of a lifetime yesterday at Nike’s Half and Full Marathons. We all did a fantastic job! A million thank you’s, kisses, and hugs all around go to our own precious Ann who really showed what a PowerGal is made of by running the few last miles with anyone who needed encouragement and help. In the end she probably ran a full marathon herself. Who loves Ann? We do!!!

From the point of view of someone who generally despises endurance training, here are my thoughts:

1. It is disheartening to me that the gals running the full marathon ended up running by themselves at the moment when they could have used the company of their friends the most. For future events where we sign up as a group, we stick together through “thick and thin,” and finish together. There is no point in running by yourself unless you are vying for the Olympics. You can do that on your own time. We don’t go to a restaurant together and then get separate tables. We don’t come to boot camp together and then disperse around to train on our own. Adrian/Josh say “No soldier left behind” and they are right. Nuff said.¬†

2. On that note, I’m not keeping track of race times anymore. We are not competing against each other. ūüôā

3. On another note, official race times are always screwed up. For example, Ann, Maria, and I crossed the finish line together (i.e. holding hands) yet our overall and gender placement is off by the thousands. It also shows that our times are off by hours and minutes. It also shows that Celinda ran a half instead of a full. So don’t put a lot of stock on numbers and go by your own, or better yet: just be glad you completed a grueling race. If you still want to look because you are a masochist, click here to get the “official” time for the Nike race. ¬†¬†

4. Maria and I had a grand time. We almost feel guilty about that. Ha ha…Not once did we complain. Heck we didn’t even hurt! We chose to believe Smokey’s spirit was carrying us through and somehow that made the task easy to endure. The moral of the story is to have a cause, person, thought, etc. that you recur to when times are tough. Future group events should have a cause attached to them.

5. It has now been proven that we don’t need to train excessively to do this or any other race (big part of the blame goes to me for putting together the marathon training schedule- bad bad coach). Of the three girls who ran the half marathon, exactly none trained at all, yet they were able to complete it fine and more importantly without injuries. In fact, we all felt like we could have easily finished the full marathon. Granted, we were not running for time but we would have finished it nonetheless…which is THE ONLY POINT.

6. Building on the above, we need to start training smarter. Training for volume is only an invitation for a lifetime of injuries. I’ll say this until I’m blue in the face “you only have one body for life.” Please, please, please, take care of it. Sometimes you get second chances but what if you don’t? One of the most important components of training is rest. Heed your body’s warnings, it knows what it can and cannot do. Follow your gut feeling and you’ll be fine. Also, we are not 15 anymore. Ha ha.

7. We need to diversify. Running races is not the only thing we can and should be doing. Step out of your comfort zone and try new things. That is the true measure of fitness, when you can translate your current training into sports you haven’t done before. Future group events will include things like white water rafting, swimming, snowboarding, underwater basket weaving, or a night at the arcade…you get my gist.¬†

These are my thoughts anyway. From the bottom of my heart. I’m sorry if I offend anyone but I don’t want the group to lose its focus and fabulousity!


what about recovery?

July 22, 2008

Up until recently I thought “rest day” meant actively plop down on the couch, prop your feet up on the coffee table, and proceed to watch all day reruns of Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Alas, I was wrong.

Turns out there’s a whole methodology behind recovery and it doesn’t resemble my protocol at all. ūüėČ This is something that athletes know and take seriously. In fact, many experts will tell you that proper recovery is a big part of being a successful athlete. Recovery takes more planning and discipline than the exercise program itself.

The recovery process is a very active one inside the body. Picture the efforts to rebuild a city after a bomb has been dropped. It takes a lot of energy to rebuild a city and within the body most of that energy will come from stored fat. Bonus!

Now in order to help your body regenerate itself you must step into the equation and lend it a hand. Your tools will be: nutrition, sleep, stretching, cold/heat hydrotherapy, massage, chiropractic adjustments, meditation, acupuncture, laughing, stress relief, and many others. 

It really doesn’t matter that you are not a world class athlete. Her needs and yours differ by degree not kind. Maybe it’s not practical or cost effective to get massages every week but it would be highly beneficial to get them once a month.

And here’s an array of free ones:

  1. Hydrotherapy can easily be accomplished in your shower by alternating hot and cold water bouts
  2. Changing the way you eat to keep to promote recovery and performance is free! It will even help you sleep better by keeping your insulin blood levels stable…
  3. Don’t understimate either the importance of 8 solid hours of undisturbed sleep; this is the time when your body patches itself up!
  4. Stretch 20 minutes a day. It reduces muscle tension, increases the range of movement in the joints, enhances muscular coordination, and improves your overall performance

So there you have it, recover properly and you shall reap the rewards.


insomnia relief

June 11, 2008

The body and mind need to rest every day in order for you to be able to function well, restore energy, grow, fight infections and maladies, and just plainly feel better. Enter sleep.

For some of us it is an elusive dream. The culprit of insomnia is usually stress. Stress can come in many forms: anxiety, anger, grief, worry, frustration…you name it.

All of these have a way of cutting into your down time, just when you need it most. What to do? 

Some time ago I was in this predicament. Not only did I barely sleep but when I did manage to snooze, I would have very vivid dreams that left me feeling restless. After managing to survive like this for a long long time, I was desperate to try anything. Herbal teas, new bed, counting sheep, no lights in the bedroom…and just when I was getting ready to ban the husband and dog from the room, someone suggested¬†acupuncture.

No surprise that the ancient practice of acupuncture can relieve you of insomnia. It aims to restore your internal energy balance by correlating imbalances to emotions and body organs. I was a convert when I noticed that I fall asleep during each¬†acupuncture session…a deep, restful, wonderful dreamles sleep.

Read more about it in this article (I know I’m a sucker for Martha Stewart, what can I say?): http://www.marthastewart.com/article/acupuncture-for-insomnia


the fitness wagon

June 9, 2008

Stumptuous.com has a brilliant write up on staying motivated to exercise: http://stumptuous.com/cms/displayarticle.php?aid=62

Posited:

  1. decide to make working out a priority
  2. keep a workout journal
  3. make it fun
  4. surround yourself with motivational things
  5. have someone else motivate you
  6. keep a routine
  7. keep yourself free of injury
  8. consider the alternative

Awesome quote from Charlie Moody of misc.fitness.weights:

I look in the mirror: if I see any trace of the sad, exhausted, pale, weak, fat, whipped wage-slave desk-jockey I used to be, I’m ready to lift some weight. I’m reminded of my sister (nothing personal), who’s spent her life doing all the stuff other people want her to do, and all the stuff she figures she should do. A couple of weeks ago, she asked me with tears in her eyes when would it be her turn to have a life and do what she wants? All I could tell her was, “It’ll be your turn when you get off the hamster wheel and take a fucking turn.” It’s up to you. No one else. You’ll find the time to work out when you DECIDE you’re gonna work out. You’ll eat and rest and take care of yourself because you decide you deserve it, you need it, you want it, and NO ONE is going to keep you from it. Not even you. I’m a beginner, too, and no-one’s gonna watch what I eat for me, no-one’s gonna lift an ounce of my weight. I can make up any story I want about it, but stories are bullshit: I can be a warrior, or I can be a victim. For the warrior, no excuses; for the victim, only excuses.

Bottom line, it happens to the best of us. Life (and shit) happens. You have to be ready for the unexpected and plan accordingly. If everything else fails and you cannot exercise, take a breather, regroup, and get back on the saddle as soon as possible. All is not lost just because you missed a couple days at the gym.

Fitness and being healthy are not¬†optional. Here’s your Rx.


we need to rest!

June 2, 2008

overtrainingHere are some articles that posit¬†that too much of a good thing, in this case exercise, can actually be detrimental to your health. Overtraining is often not a problem of training too much but of resting too little. ūüėČ

Yay for couching it once in a while!

University of Maryland Research – Is too much exercise a bad thing?

 

Smith College – How much exercise is too much?

 

Runner’s World – Are you overtraining?

 

 


when to skip that massage

June 2, 2008

I love a good massage. If possible, very often. However, CNN.com has an interesting article about when getting a massage might be a bad idea.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/05/30/hfh.no.massage/index.html

Besides doing many good things for your body, massage essentially increases blood flow to muscles, which generally is a good thing. However, there are instances when increased blood flow may actually cause inflamation and irritation around nerves, delaying the natural healing process. Do not massage under any of the following circumstances:

-there’s existing damage to muscles or bones such as slipped discs (I found this out the hard way with a neck pain that got much worse after a massage)

-the skin is affected by a rash, burn, eczema, or irritation 

-the person has high blood pressure and is not on medication

cat massage