Thursday, April 23, 2009

Interesting Article and Concepts

Last week someone from The Finger Lakes Runners Club posted a question and link to an article that caught my eye.  The article talks about the running shoe industry and how injuries may be linked to our expensive tastes.  It even has a picture of Scott Jurek running with one of the Tarahumara, a Mexican tribe that is well known for extremely long running in very minimalistic sandals called Huaraches.  They also mention how the human body is designed to run barefoot and how far we have strayed from that notion.  If you are a regular runner it might help to check out this article...READ IT HERE!

I have really liked the Inov-8's that I have been training and racing in for the last year or so.  They are all pretty minimalist and neutral and the design is meant to emulate the human foot (try looking at the bottom sometime and notice the fascia band from the heel to forefoot).  I think my injuries resulted from a combination of a few different things.

This article really intrigued me though and I may try doing some training runs barefoot (probably sticking to soccer fields at first) or may give those Vibram five fingers a spin...check those out HERE!

As for my running...well...I haven't been doing much :(  Probably about ten miles/week...just enough to keep me from going absolutely crazy.  I must say that it has been pain free though and the A.R.T. specialist and I are getting to the root of the problem.  I have been doing some swimming, calisthenics, stretching, and some light upper-body weight lifting along with some core workouts.  I had all these plans for the spring that quickly changed but I hope to be zeroing in on some races in June and July before I head out to the Pacific Northwest. 

Thanks for all the words of encouragement from really helps me out ;0)

Happy Running!!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Active Release Technique

The past ten days have been a bummer for me because I realized that I incurred an injury to my ilio tibial band.  At first I thought it was nothing major... just some tightness in that area that needed to be foam rolled out, stretched, and massaged.  I dealt with this injury about 3 1/2 years ago so I could recognize some of the symptoms as they escalated.  The day it finally went I was out in the middle of an 8-mile run when it completely tightened up and every time the tendon slid over the bone there was a feeling that had me just about to the point of sticking my thumb out for a ride. Instead I toughed it out and walked the four miles home in disgust because I knew I would have to stop or greatly limit my running for the next several weeks. 

I am human after all!  I guess I was starting to think I was some bionic man or something.  It's funny how the world has a way of humbling us when we don't listen to the signals.  

Since then I have done a lot of research, talked with many athletes that have experienced this, and have taken action to rehabilitate myself.  

After the initial feelings of anger, sorrow, and despair I realized that I just need to accept that these types of things happen especially to people that put huge demands on the body.  So a few days later I volunteered at the local Skunk Cabbage Half Marathon and 10K and had a wonderful time.  I got a totally different perspective and shared many laughs and stories with people and was glad to be of service.  I helped blow up balloons for the finish line arch and clipped runner's timing chips at the end and probably answered the question, "why aren't you running today?" about a thousand times.  In fact, while at the race I bumped into a chiropractor I know and have read about, who ran the half-marathon, that is trained in Active Release Technique.  He pulled me aside at one point afterward and dug into the side of my leg with his fingers and started teaching me more about the reasoning behind me having to stop the activity that I am so passionate about.  So I made an appointment to see him and things have been going great so far in correcting this common problem in runners and triathletes.

There are many informational videos on YouTube about A.R.T. and Ilio tibial band syndrome but this one seemed to be one of the best in terms of not being so boring!  Check it out to learn a little more about A.R.T. and see if it could help you too!  (You don't have to be an endurance athlete to benefit from this intuitive practice!)

I'm heading back tomorrow and Wednesday and hope to get rid of and find the root of the problem.  If you are in the Ithaca, NY area and are interested in experiencing the benefits of A.R.T. Dr. Gerrit Van Loon is a great person to know, not only because he is one of the few in the area who is trained in the field, but because he is also a runner.  Link to his informational website HERE.

There is always a positive side of every negative (that's what my momma taught me!) and over the past couple weeks I have been able to spend more time with Erica (planning our wedding), focus on doing well in my course work, and to be available for friends and family more than I probably would be running 80 miles/week!

The North Face Endurance Challenge 50-mile is not looking like it will happen but...ya know what?...there are plenty of other races coming up...I just want to be healthy for them and not string this injury along with me for the summer and years to come.  That said...I'm off to the gym for some hot tub/ stretching/ core work and I'll see you on the trails soon enough! 

For all of those you that are temporarily (or permanently) injured out there and are feeling down in the dumps hang in there and remember to be grateful for all the beautiful things we DO have right NOW!

Quote of the week:  "Before I was paralyzed there were 10,000 things I could do. Now there are 9,000. I can either dwell on the 1,000 I've lost or focus on the 9,000 I have left." 
W Mitchell