Archive for the ‘ Beyond Running ’ Category

The Doctor is In

doctor-02I’ve finally come to the realization that my injury isn’t going to get any better without some professional help. After weeks and months of trying to fix my injury on my own I wasn’t getting any better. I read about running injuries, talked to people at my local running store, asked advice from friends, but nothing seemed to be working. I’ve tried strength training, cross training, walking, stretching, and icing.

But to no avail.

Last week I made an appointment with a sports medicine physician to see if I could finally get a handle on this injury. And to figure out what’s really wrong with me, since I really don’t know what’s injured. I was just being stubborn about needing to get expert advice. I’ve learned my lesson! So this Thursday I’ll be hopefully getting some expert advice on how to heal properly so I can finally get back to running.

Here’s hoping it’s sooner rather than later!

Happy running! 🙂

Jumping Right In Part II

Once I’d reached the pool, I walked over, towel and goggles in hand, probably looking every bit as lost as I felt, to tell the lifeguard, a college-age looking guy, that it was my first time swimming laps and could he tell me how it worked and if there was any helpful info I should know. He was very helpful and it worked out well because a father and son were swimming next to each other and offered to join up in a lane together so I could have a lane to myself. They probably just didn’t want me to kick them in the head, but it worked for me!

I successfully swam from one end to the other, but as I looked around I noticed that the experienced swimmers were using a totally different form from the one I used (ie. no form at all). Wanting to at least try to swim a lap the “correct way” I plowed back toward the other end. Head down, arms flailing, turning every so often to breathe while trying not to suck in water. I managed to reach the end, more exhausted from my feeble attempts, and stood to rest a minute. I blinked. Hmmm…something seemed off. I blinked again. Everything looked kind of fuzzy. It took me a minute to realize that one of my contacts had floated out of my eye during my lap!

The lifeguard saw me standing there, probably looking like a confused drowned rat, and walked over. He asked nicely if I wanted a pair of goggles to wear. I blinked up at him and held up my pair of goggles. “I couldn’t get these to fit,” I said. He took them and adjusted them perfectly. He also gave me a tiny yellow kickboard and explained an easier way to swim laps correctly. I thanked him and began to swim again.

My efforts went, well, swimmingly, after that. I managed to complete 26 laps, which I was very proud of. I’m alreay looking forward to my next swimming endeavor! 🙂

Jumping Right In Part I

It’s amazing how time just slips away and before you know it three weeks have passed since my last blog post. Yikes!

In my last post I mentioned trying to pick up swimming to help facilitate the healing of my hip flexor injury. So this past Sunday I decided I would head over to my gym and try swimming some laps. The problem is I’ve never actually swam (swimmed? swumded?) laps before. I knew I could get from one end to the other without drowning – hopefully – but I knew it wouldn’t be pretty.

After throwing on my bathing suit, one I felt fairly confident wouldn’t slide, droop, or otherwise cause me embarassment while I was swimming, I packed a gym bag complete with goggles, towel and a change of clothes. I arrived at the gym eager, and slightly nervous, about swimming. How would I find the pool? How many laps would I be able to swim without inhaling water? Would I have to share a lane with some stellar swimmer who would, quite literally, blow me out of the water?

I told the woman at the front desk that I was looking to swim some laps, but hadn’t done this before and wasn’t sure what the protocol was. She pointed me in the direction of the locker rooms and said I could ask the lifeguard on duty how the “lane etiquette” worked. Who knew there was lane etiquette??

After finding the locker room and putting my stuff away. I somehow managed to find the entrance to the pool, a feat that seems like it should have been simple yet realized it wasn’t after winding my way through the locker room several minutes and having to double back more than once. Finally I reached the pool.

To be continued…

Spring Weather = Outdoor Fitness Fun

springbikingMy mood always improves as the weather grows warmer, the days grow longer, and the sun shines more. This means I can take full advantage of all the other outdoor activities I love. So while I continue with my strength training routines at the gym, I’m eager to bask in the sunshine. Biking, disc golfing, walks, maybe even a little pitch & putt.

Recently, my wife and I found an amazing place a short drive from our house called Duke Farms. At 2,740 it’s one of the largest areas of privately-owned undeveloped land in the state. With 18 miles of trails, paved and unpaved, it’s ideal for walks with children, biking, running, or hiking. There’s even a family of eagles you can watch or view over the farm’s Eagle Cam! Cool! You can hop on a little tram that goes around the trails if you get tired of trekking. While it’s open year-round, we visited for the first time a couple weeks ago – it was absolutely beautiful! Our family is already looking forward to our return visit. 🙂

 

Beer + Running

beerracesPeople everywhere are discovering the joys of running. And beer. With the number of running participants growing exponentially in the past few years, it’s easy to find a race to enter every weekend of the year. Creating new race themes also seems to be in vogue, so with craft beer on the rise around the country, pairing the two seems like the next logical step.

Some of my favorite races are the ones that incorporate beer into them. I’ve gotten pint glasses from a half marathon and a four-miler that I’ve run. I still feel a sense of pride every time I pull them out of the cabinet to use. Local pubs and bars often sponsor races and discounted pints after the race. And while I’m not a fan of running and drinking at the same time – I’d rather enjoy my frosty brew as a post-race reward – beer races are growing in popularity. There’s even a website devoted to beer races – willrunforbeer.com. Then there’s the Beer Mile where participants must follow strict rules regarding chugging beers in between running laps around a track.

Have fun finding your next beer race. Happy running and remember to drink responsibly! 😀

 

(Note: The illustration was created by artist John Hendrix for Peter Sagal’s article in the September 2012 issue of Runner’s World.)

Beating the Running Blues

sadrunnerEvery so often an injury will derail me from my running goals. Because running has become so much of my identity I rely heavily on being able to run to find peace of mind emotionally, physically and mentally. When I can’t run it really affects me on my many levels. Lately I’ve been faced with this challenge and have been forced, or, thinking positively, given the opportunity, to find ways to cope with not being able to run.

So instead of getting depressed and mopey, here, after much self-reflection, are:

Runner Sami’s Tips for Beating the Running Blues

1. Use the time off to become a stronger runner – Find cross-training activities that won’t exacerbate your injury. Biking, swimming, pilates, yoga, and strength training are all great ways to build up muscles that will help keep you injury-free in the future.

2. Invest in other areas of your life – Because running is my positive outlet, it’s important to reroute those energies into other outlets while running is on the back burner. Find ways to invest your time that make you happy. Writing, catching up with friends, spending time with my family, or planning a trip are some things I have found help rejuvenate me when I’m not able to run.

3. Read about running – For some people this might be too painful, but I’ve found that reading about running helps me feel like I’m still involved in becoming a better runner. Books or articles about running help me focus on positive ways to help my recovery. There are always ways I can better myself as a runner and it’s fun to read about interesting races I can sign up for once I’m at full running capacity again!

4. Be an active participant in your recovery – You’re not alone. There are a lot of resources online through blogs, social media sites like dailymile.com, or websites like runnersworld.com for runners looking for support or providing helpful tips and strategies for those coming back from injuries. Finding answers and lending support to others are great ways to aid in recovery.

5. Eat healthy, be happy – When I can’t run my mind automatically starts to dwell on all those extra pounds that are going to fly onto my body. Even if this is not realistic, eating healthy helps me keep a happy frame of mind until I can go back to burning the calories I’m used to burning. And eating healthy is always a great habit for helping me become a stronger runner.

Happy running! 😀

Winter Cross-Training

pilates benefits women  I’ll admit it, sometimes it’s just too dark and chilly out to go for a run. And although I still get my butt into gear to run regularly, I also work in more cross-training in the winter. I hardly ever feel like going to the gym during warmer days, so the winter months make an ideal time to build up other areas that will complement and improve my running.

Pilates – I love pilates. It is one of the best ways I’ve found to strengthen my body, keep me healthy, and make me a better runner. I take a weekly class at my gym that’s an hour long and kicks my butt every time. The key is to find a teacher that you are compatible with and that can push you in areas you can’t push yourself. I found a teacher who totally rocks and mixes up each class with challenging moves and isn’t afraid to add pilates props like exercise balls, rings, or bands to increase the difficulty of the moves. Also, pilates really focuses on your core which is essential for healthy running and staying injury free.

Strength Training – This is another great way for runners to build up muscles that assist in becoming stronger and staying injury free. Also, it’s really fun for me to see the looks of the guy dominated free weight area as I bench press next to them. 🙂 While there are a million things I could write about when it comes to strength training, there are two primary points to keep in mind: 1. Women who lift weights will not get huge, man-like muscles (unless they are purposefully working toward a competition or using *ahem* supplements) and 2. Please consult someone, like a trainer, who knows proper form before beginning any sort of strength training routine as bad form can lead to injury and won’t be as effective.

Yoga – Great for flexibility, yoga pairs nicely with pilates in improving your health as a runner. Once again the integral aspect is to find an instructor that can challenge you while providing good modifications to poses so you don’t over-extend your body into injury. There are several types of yoga too, so find the one that fits you best.

Spinning & Swimming – I combined these last two as cross-training areas in which I’d like to improve. I love to bike in warmer weather, but tend to set it aside during the colder months. Same with swimming. Both, however, are great ways a runner can keep fit cardiovascularly and easy to do if you belong to a gym. And if you want to make an investment, buy a bike trainer that you can hook your road bike up to and use inside your house – great cross-training without ever leaving the comfort of your home!

Happy Running! 😀