Tuesday, July 29, 2014

NormaTec Recovery Boots are Awesome!

I recently started using the NormaTec Recovery Boots
and they are freakin' 
AWESOME!
I was practically crippled after last week's repeats at the track: Five X 300 meters, then 5 X 100 meter hill repeats times TWO! I thought for sure I did some damage to my achilles - it was sore, stiff, swollen. I pushed it though, knowing that I would be putting the NormaTec Recovery Boots to the test.
Would they work? 
Or is this a gimmicky waste of time and money?
THEY WORK!
NormaTec Boots Sequential Pulse Technology
Recovery Power for Legs
at APRCNJ
They first fit the boot part onto your feet, position the leg section around your legs - up to your thigh/groin area. Next, they zip up the boots, and try different levels of pressure, so you feel a comfortable squeezing pressure.

I laid on the table for 30 minutes - studying for the New Jersey RD Exam  - 'cause God Forbid I go anywhere without squeezing in some study time!
Studying with NormaTec Recovery Boots
Aaaah the Summer of 2014!
It's not expensive - $20 a session, and I go once a week or less - depending on my need. If you have an opportunity to try them - I highly suggest you do. I literally walked out to the parking lot and started skipping to make sure I wasn't imagining their recovery power! My ankle and achilles felt great! In fact, I ran a hilly 14 miles on Sunday in a light, balmy drizzle averaging a 8:31 minute mile pace. Pretty good for someone who thought they wouldn't be able to walk after last Wednesday's track work out!
I'm going back today.
It's my last session before my 13.1 race 
in San Leandro, Ca on Saturday.
Have you tried NormaTec Recovery Boots?
What's your favorite Recovery Technique?
Train Smart Today!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Recover Faster: Three Great Strategies

Over the last two years, I've completely embraced the ACSM's "Exercise is Medicine" Theory by employing nearly all exercises promoted by Dr. Metzl in Inside the Doctor's Office - and then some. Still, something was missing: 
RECOVERY
I could do all the exercises in the world to strengthen my glutes, hammies, quads, core - you name it, but without the proper recovery - 
I'm doomed!
As runners it seems we all fall victim to getting lost in our goals.
We must get our long run in, a track workout, hill repeats - or even a simple recovery run - and ugh if we don't - it's like we'll turn into pumpkins by midnight or something!
We get so lost - we forget how to touch base with our bodies. 
Even Dr Metzl states in his videos: 
'If it hurts, STOP, because you can make it worse.'
This is so intuitive, but sometimes it just doesn't register!
That's why we must include Recovery Goals!
I don't want to feel sore or hurt every time I go out for a run. I like running (duh)! I want to keep running - heck, I got the NYC Marathon in four months and I want my name on that 1st page listing of Females 50-55! 
Fit For Life Half Marathon in Boise, Idaho
Finally realizing I need better Recovery Techniques
I know there are lots more recovery strategies besides the three I've listed here. Like my previous post, The Four R's to Recovery, which talks about nutrition - and stretching  - which can be fun if you take a yoga class or employ the Thera Band Stretch Strap. But I've been practicing those recovery strategies - I don't need to just recover, I need to
Recover Faster!
By incorporating the three following three recovery steps, I've noticed an immediate change -  I ran 10 miles yesterday at an 8:20 pace like I was taking a stroll in the park!

# 1. Sleep Baby, Sleeeeeeep:
When I was completing part of my elective rotation with Heidi Skolnik at the 92nd Street Y, she stressed that besides nutrition, sleep is super important in our efforts to recover from strenuous exercise. If our sleep is too short, the body doesn't have time to repair muscles, or release hormones that help with tissue repair (and appetite control).
The big question is how much sleep is enough?
Like food, this is very individual - it depends on age, health status - check out the National Sleep Foundation, they have some good guidelines.
#2.  Massage your Muscles
Massage helps to reduce swelling, muscle inflammation, and accelerate the return of strength after exercise. If the thought of lying on a table while someone plays soft music and has musk permeating the room doesn't appeal to you - that's okay - because there are lots of things you can do as an athlete that are "massage-like". My fave is foam rolling. 
Did you know that if a muscle is giving you problems 
Another form of massage I started again is Active Release Therapy (ART). I'm seeing Dr. Mike again at Advanced Performance & Rehabilitation Center (A.P.R.C). After seeing Dr. Mike in December 2012, I set my 1/2 marathon PR! I don't know why I stopped? Well, maybe it's because ART can be a little painful - but it's so worth it!
Another massage-like therapy I'm going to try after my track work out this Wednesday is 
This technology is designed to help speed recovery using three compression strategies. Can't wait!
#3.  Take a Bath: 
Try both: An Ice Bath and a Mineral Salt Bath. 
Most recent research shows that ice baths should last for 10 minutes and be about 60*F if you want them to combat micro trauma (small muscle tears) and delay onset muscle soreness (DOMS). They do this by restricting blood vessels, flushing out waste products in the blood, and reducing further tissue breakdown. Then, as the tissues warm, blood flow is increased, bringing blood back to the muscle tissues to begin the healing process. 
I admit - these are a little tough, too.
I've been doing them post long runs and 
Brrrr! 
As for the Mineral Salts - you don't have to go crazy, Epsom Salts will do the trick. I went a little exotic and bought some Dead Sea Mineral Salts. The theory here is based on the minerals which detoxify tissues and promote healing. Haven't seen any peer reviewed article on benefits to athletes who take a soak in Mineral Salt Baths - only some interesting stuff on drinking deep ocean mineral salts - but buyer beware because they're also designed to clean you out! If interested in using mineral salts for recovery, check out the Epsom Salt Council Website for more info. 
Personally, I believe getting enough sleep, 
foam rolling, and the Active Release Therapy
along with the ice and mineral baths 
are definitely helping speed my recovery.
It's exactly what I need so when I'm ready to hit the road, I've got fresh legs, ankles, and feet!
What are your top recovery strategies?

Train Smart Today!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Boise, Idaho Fit For Life Half Marathon

 Technically Boise is State #19, but because I ran DC, I keep telling everyone it's state #20.
Either way, I'm almost 1/2 way done!
We flew out on Thursday, July 10th. I'm glad we flew with some time to take in the sights and enjoy a few good meals. With the thunderstorms, we were delayed flying out of NJ and almost missed our connecting flight in Minneapolis St Paul. Finally, around 12:26AM, we landed. It would have been rough coming in that late and running a half the next day. Especially post internship, I've been so tired! 
Mini-Man in the airport at midnight in Boise, Idaho
We stayed at the Marriott in Meridian just outside of Boise.
It was convenient.
I was glad their gym had an elliptical machine
for my recovery work out on Sunday!
The next day, we took in some of the local sights ...food, and beer!
Boise State Capital
Heartfelt Memorial at the Capital
Thank you to all our troops!
Yes I dared my son, and yes
it was really loud!
These Idaho Potato Chips were delicious!
So wanted to keep this glass from
the Battlecreek Alehouse
The waitress at Bardenay Restaurant was so cute! She's from Iowa and she's going to Boise State University. At first she was afraid to move to downtown Boise because it's "such a big city". Boise is great - it's clean, friendly, has great restaurants - mostly owner operated - not the big chains you have out here in the East because no one can afford the rent or taxes, but there's one thing Boise is not - and that's "big". There were no lines for anything, there was no traffic, parking was plentiful - and very inexpensive:
All Day = $10!
WOW! In NYC - just a few hours is $50!
The race started at 7:30AM. So after a day of sightseeing,
I wanted a good night's sleep. 
It was pretty hot on race day, Saturday - lots of the locals were saying that they were surprised the race wasn't started earlier. I think it was unusually hot weather for Boise - it got up to 103*F the day we left!
My biggest complaint 
~ and yes I got my Jersey up and it wasn't pretty ~
There was a tiny sign on the ground at the turnaround.
And who do you think missed it?
Yup, yours truly!
They couldn't have had a volunteer stand there with a cow bell?
I figured it out about 50 meters later. By then, the women I had just, just passed in a bright orange shirt - the one I was set on catching and passing for the whole 6.5 miles - was long gone by then. 
I also thought it was odd that she didn't yell out, 
"TURN AROUND" 
- but that just made me want to catch her even more! 
When I finally realized and turned around, there were two men running together - they asked me, "Is this the turn around?" I shrugged, "I guess so!" It would have really helped if there was a volunteer there directing people.
Anyway - you bet I kept my eye on the women in the bright orange shirt!
 I was determined to catch ... and pass her! 
I told you  - my Jersey was O-U-T!
It took awhile - but about 3/4 of a mile later, I passed her.
I was so determined!
Another mile and a half in - about mile 9 - people started dropping like flies. They just stopped running and started to walk. I think it was the heat. 
Personally, I wanted to jump the bikers peddling by, 
throw them off their bikes and ride back to the finish. 
The thought of begging them for a ride
back to shade crossed my mind too!
Especially about mile 10 when I started to get some heal/ankle pain!
And then again about mile 11, when my stomach started to breakdown. You would think that would get me to run faster ...so I could get to the bathroom! Nope - my time dropped. I went from running a 7:40' mile pace to an 8:23' mile pace. Even though I thought about beating myself up during those last few miles, I stopped myself because
At the start of this race there was an amazing gentleman
 - he was racing in a wheelchair. 
I wanted to stop and hug him and tell him how awesome I thought he was
- but all I could muster was, 
"You're amazing Dude. You're an inspiration!"
and
"God Bless You!" 
How dare I be anything but grateful for being able to work at my goal of finishing a half marathon in every state. And this time it was on this beautiful path through a "greenbelt" (a paved path) into the Julia Davis Park next to the Hawks Memorial Stadium and the Boise River.
Skies were beautiful and clear on the way to the race!
Hawks memorial Stadium was a great host
I got to spend an extended weekend with my two favorite men:
Sidekick and Mini-man
And I came in 3rd in my age group!
Cheers Mate!
I'm so grateful to have run in state #20, I mean #19
Train Smart Today!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

RD Eligible, Boise and my Achy Achilles

Finally, after many rotations, learning a different medical charting systems every few weeks, and spending countless hours researching, doing homework, and case studies ...
I am RD Eligible!
Over the last 10 months I spent many hours with patients who were struggling with their health. This brings an emotional compartment that is very heavy. Life is so very precious - and our health is so, so very important. No one really talks about how the sadness of seeing people struggle with their health effects the professionals working in hospitals. I have a completely different level of respect for doctors, but even more so, for nurses. Nurses are truly unbelievable people!

The graduation ceremony was great!
I was happy to share it with my children and my partner. I hope my kids take something with them from seeing all the hard work I put into trying to reach my goal to become a Registered Dietitian.


Just this past week, I received an e-mail:
I have been approved and authorized to sit for the State Registered Dietetics Examination! 
I have been studying 5 hours every day - and plan to sit for the exam in August.
I hope I pass!

On another note, my training for the New York City Marathon has been going so-so. 
I blew off my 14 mile run yesterday because I had some achilles pain after my track work out on Wednesday. I know enough to realize that the achilles tendon is not something you want to fool around with. I've been icing, doing eccentric stretches off the steps, and using the TP Therapy Total Body Kit Footballer. I'm nervous. I haven't run since Wednesday - just an hour on the elliptical yesterday.
I'm also signed up for a Half Marathon in Boise, Idaho on July 12th!
It will be my 20th Half Marathon in completing 50+DC.
I hope my achilles won't give me anymore problems - 
'cause I have my heart set Boise, possibly California, but most of all
NYC!

Have you ever had achilles pain?
If so,
What did you do about it?
Train Smart Today!