Right before the Olympic Marathon Trials my brother came to San Francisco to do this video about me and my passion for running. It's finally up for viewing!
Thanks Bryan and thanks National Geographic.
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Just recently I received an email from a woman who has recovered from a hip stress fracture, but said she doesn’t trust her hips like she once did. I have been teaching a woman in the same boat who has just started running again. This is what I can say, I have doubts about my hips too --- maybe less frequently then in the months proceeding my come back, but there are still doubts. Anytime I get a weird ache even close to my hip or groin, I think I’ve broken again. Luckily, I get either Rudy or Megan (as mentioned in my last blog) to work out kinks and reassure me that is just in fact tight muscles.
For those that are dealing with this injury or recovering, it’s difficult. It is hard to trust your body and worrying about its return is natural. But, I’d like to offer what I’ve learned in the two years post stress fracture.
- Find a body worker that you trust, ideally a massage therapist and someone that practices A.R.T (active release therapy). Getting regular work has made a huge difference in balancing out my stride, increasing my recovery, and it’s helped me with being a smoother and faster runner.
- Don’t be nut. I learned the hard way. I ran high mileage, high intensity, and I hadn’t changed my shoes in several months. If I hadn’t gotten a stress fracture it would have been odd. Patience is a hard one to learn, but the body has to get used to demands, you cannot demand too much all at once. This is why I highly recommend a running log. I was able to look back at the months before August 2010 to see my many mistakes.
- Yoga --- I would be careful with high intensity stretching. As a yoga instructor I know there is a balance between strength and flexibility. I highly recommend stretching, ideally active stretching and foam rolling as a day-to-day routine. I am a big fan of leg swings, both front and back and side to side. Foam rolling can be done on glutes, IT bands, hammies, adductors, quads, and calves. Yoga can be incorporated, but one should be cautious about doing long runs and high intensity yoga classes on the same day. Yoga is very intense on the hips and this can put extra strain on an area that is already very strained from running. This being said, I recommend doing yoga on an easy day or day off of running. It can be incorporated as long as you pay close attention to fatigue, over-stretching, and keeping certain muscles engaged while stretching (so that you’re not relying on bones, ligaments, and tendons to get a stretch).
- Pilates --- Strengthening your core is a huge help in preventing injuries and running faster. On a daily basis, I see what a huge difference this makes in people dealing with all sorts of injuries, aches, and pains. On a personal note, this keeps me balanced and strong in the areas that running fails to strengthen. Working on a reformer is the best, but there are certain exercises that can be done without the reformer. My favorites for keeping the area around the hips strong and flexible involve the gluteus muscles, specifically gluteus medius, illiopsoas, hamstrings, abductors/adductors, quadratus lumborum, obliques, and low abdominals/pelvic floor. I am also a big fan of doing single leg exercise, which work on stability and coordination. Samples of good exercises that could be done at home are the pilates five or the side-leg series. I also recommend a thera-band exercise. You will need a partner and a strong thera-band. Come into a yoga lunge with the back heel lifted. Your partner will loop the theraband around your front ankle and pull to one side of your body (you will switch after the first set and pull to the opposite side). As they pull, keep your balance and bend and straighten the back leg. Make sure to keep your front knee straight ahead and your hips in alignment. 10 bends and straightens are sufficient. And, there are a slew of other beneficial exercises. I’ll try to work on getting video of some of them when I find some time!
- Take deep breaths and relax when the nerves or worry increase. Stress doesn’t help with recovery and may actually prevent it from occurring. So take some Epsom salt baths, practice deep breathing, and get good sleep!
- Get blood work done if you haven’t --- you may need some extra calcium and vitamin d. I did!
So those are some of my tips. Hope they help! And, try to trust those hips, our bodies are strong and resilient. We just ask a great deal of them!
Sunday, July 22, 2012
I’ve had three races since my last blog entry, but I have had a heck of a time writing anything. I’ll partly blame life as I started teaching at a sports rehab place in downtown Oakland (as well as still teaching at three other studios, coaching, and being at an occasional birth). I absolutely love being part of Inner-Action Sports Rehab. Both Rudy Gutierrez and Megan Brooks are phenomenal at what they do. I recommend them very highly if you’re ever in need of bodywork, dealing with nagging injuries, unable to run, etc. They are incredible practitioners and the reason I’ve been running so strong and healthy for the past two years.
Even in the midst of more work, I have been running well. I’m sure loving what I do has a great deal to do with that --- the body just absolutely amazes me. A client recently asked me what I was currently reading and my reply, an anatomy book. Ha, not the typical response for a fun read, but I enjoy it.
So back to running, I’ve had three races in the past month +. I ran the Trail Quake half-marathon in Saratoga (6.16), The Double Dipsea (6.23), and the La Sportiva Table Rock 25k (7.22). Not really sure how, but Sam convinced me that I should once again climb out of Stinson Beach and run some of the Dipsea trail today. Ultimately I am glad he did. It was a beautiful nice long run. The first climb was a bit rough, but I am sure running a tempo yesterday probably had a little something to do with that.
All these races had some things common:
One, they all started with one steep ass climb. And here’s what I learned, walk. Simply walk, let people pass, and stay relaxed. This made all these races so much fun because as soon as I was to the top of the nasty climbs, I could run and catch people. Well unless people were taking shortcuts like during the Double Dipsea. During that race I believe I passed the same person like four or five times. That is one nutty race, but worth the experience. Nothing like descending 700+ stairs --- I truly suck at running down stairs. I simply cannot. I did appreciate those on the sidelines encouraging a sideways run as a pointer. I’ll work on it.
Two, I got wins at these races, of which I am incredibly grateful. I’ve been changing up the training a bit. Doing more speed, tempo, and roads although I’m still keeping my staple of long trail runs too. It’s just finding that right balance and keeping it all fun. And, it’s all been really fun except those aches that Rudy and Megan help clear up! As long as I’m running and moving I’m one happy camper. One of my biggest pet peeves is standing on an escalator. Although it is moving me, I must walk. I cannot just stand. I’m working on this too. For the time being, I’ll just take the shavasana at the end of yoga or sleeping as my moments of being still.
Three, It is great living in the Bay Area as there are so many races to partake in. I highly recommend Brazen Racing events. They're fun and very well organized. I love that they have mile markers on the trails, great medals, and an awesome race series. I’ll be racing their Bad Bass half-marathon in Chabot next weekend. As mentioned above, do a Dipsea race at some point, whether it’s Dipsea, The Double Dipsea, or the Quad Dipsea. And a newer series in the Bay is Inside Trail Racing. They put on a great event out there today and did a very good job of marking the course! I would recommend any of their events as well!
Ok, back to my anatomy book!