Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Top Five Plantar Fasciitis Remedies

Have you ever had plantar fasciitis?
I'm talking Plantar Fasciitis based on logging mile after mile,
- as opposed to bone spurs, or flat feet. 
This is an annoying problem. I had this pain once before - one summer, about two years ago. Classic symptoms: pain in heel, especially in the morning, and problems running uphill (I know weird, right, since it's your heel that hurts?).
So I'm busy trying to get rid of this pain. 
Ech!
Thought I'd share my top five go to Plantar Fasciitis Remedies, avoiding the doctor, who usually recommends some stretching, maybe a boot, cortisone shots, or if fancy, PRP.
Here are my Top Five Plantar Fasciitis Remedies:

1. Roll Baby Roll: Anyone who knows me, knows I'm a big TP Therapy fan. For the Plantar Fascia, I take my TP Therapy Grid Foam Roller and their Footballer and roll out my gastrocnemius and soleus, otherwise known as calf muscle and the muscles in that little space between calf and achilles. I do this before and after I run.
I even do it while watching TV, at night 
- if I get the time to watch TV! 
Another roll I love, is with a little green ball, called Foot Rubz. I bought this little ball from my local running store, Fleet Feet. John, one of the store owners showed it to me while fitting me for sneakers one day. It's amazing how great this little ball feels on your feet!

2. Ice: I keep a water bottle in my freezer. I filled the bottle about 3/4 with water, (ice expands when it freezes), and when I get home from a run, I roll out my feet. If they're really sore, like after a long run, I'll soak my feet in an ice bath.

3. Stretch: The classic achilles runner stretch is a must!

I don't like to stretch before I warm up my muscles for at least 10 minutes, so I usually stretch out after I run, or after I do some warm up exercises, like abs with mountain climbers (love these and do all types - bringing legs in, to the side, in and across the body, you name it!).
Another good tool for stretching is the 

4. Coconut Oil and Message: After every shower, and every night before bed, I rub coconut oil into my feet. Coconut oil is a natural anti-inflammatory agent . It is also naturally anti-microbial - so hey,
Athlete's foot fungus: BEWARE! 
The massage is short and sweet, but like the ice, it helps increase blood flow, which isn't too great to this area of your foot, and why it takes so long for plantar fascia to heal (no pun intended).

5. Orthotics: There are two things I do here. First, I go to the local drug store, and pick up the Dr Scholls Orthotics specifically for Plantar Fasciitis. I just put a pair in my winter boots. The second thing I do is wear Dr Weil Orthoheels.
I swear by Orthoheels. 
When I had Plantar Fasciitis two summers ago, I lived in Orthoheel sandals. They helped massage my feet whenever and wherever I walked. Just the other day, I bought a pair of Vionic Orthoheel Sneakers. I can already feel my Plantar Fasciitis pain lessening!
That sums it up for My Top Five Plantar Fasciitis Remedies.
Hope these help you too!
Of course the best measure is always prevention, including
dynamic exercises to strengthen the calves, achilles, and toes.
This sounds like a good topic for another post!
Have you ever had Plantar Fasciitis?
What are your top Plantar Fasciitis Remedies?
Train Smart Today!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Curbing Added Sugar This Holiday Season

As we head into the season of apple and pumpkin pie, cider, cakes, holiday cookies and candy, sugar steadily creeps it's way more and more into our diet. It starts messing with our sense of taste and balance, making us want more.
So what, right?
Hey - just this morning I read an article that moderate consumption of sugary drinks aren't so bad for adolescents provided they are physically active - which translates to walking at least 8,000 steps for girls, and 10,000 steps for guys. 
I don't know about you, 
but for me, on days that I don't run, and just sit and work at my computer, 10,000 steps is a hard goal to reach. At least that's been the trend per my FitBit!
Maybe we just need to accept the consequences
 - like when we eat something sweet and don't brush our teeth. 
We get cavities. 
Big deal - we get them filled.
This is a lot less intimidating than what I read on that new website SugarScience.org
SugarScience says that sugar can make us 
fat, hurt our heart, and liver, and lead to diabetes. 
The big problem with upping the amount of sugar we eat during the holidays is that added sugar is already in 74% of packaged food and Americans scoff down about 66 pounds of sugar each year
The sad thing is that we are kept in the dark. 
Take something as wholesome as yogurt. 
I like Stonyfield Vanilla Greek Yogurt, but even with my yogurt there is no way to tell how much sugar has been added to one serving. Sure I know it contains 19g of sugar, but all dairy contains sugar - I want to know how much of this is "Added Sugar"? 
For that info, 
you're gonna have to read the ingredients list.

Reading the ingredients list is no easy feat.
Especially if your my age or older - you're out of luck if you forget your granny specs. When did print get so small?
Next, you gotta do like a word search because there are 
So, what should we do?
How do we stop sugar from ruining out smiles, our bodies, and our guts?
Here are Five Easy Ways to Curb the Amount of Added Sugar to Your Diet this Holiday Season to avoid craving more sugar:
  1. Reduce (or eliminate) sugary sweetened beverages, like soda, juice, iced tea, coffees. What's wrong with water? 
  2. Before you chow down on any sugary snack, ask yourself, "Is there something else I can eat?" Fruit? Veggies? Low Fat Cheese Stick?
  3. If the answer to #2 is "No Way, Baby - I need a sugar fix, and I need it NOW!" then check to make sure you are not HALT: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired - because those emotions aren't going to feel satisfied with one piece of chocolate, or just two cookies.
  4. Avoid simple carbs - whether it's pasta, crackers, or rice. Go for the whole grain. The fiber will help fill you up, plus it will keep your blood sugar from spiking up, which when it crashes and leaves you craving more sugar.
  5. You can do the math: How much sugar is enough? SugarScience.org recommends 25grams of added sugar for adult females (25g X 4cal/g = 100 calories of added sugar per day) or 38grams of added sugar for adult males (38g X 4cal/g = 152calories of added sugar per day). But if you're like me, you're gonna want to ditch this one. Eating should be fun and easy, right - well Don't ditch it - make it work for you another way ...like using it to compare which product to buy. Example: Low fat BBQ Sauce or Salad Dressing with tons more sugar (10g) or the regular BBQ Sauce or Salad Dressing with a healthy fat (like Organic Canola or Olive Oil), and less sugar (1g)? Or maybe there's some product in between that work best for you.
Bottom line: Knowledge is Key! Know what's in your food. Learn those 61 names of sugar. Also, go slow - and we're not talking about running here. But just like when you started to run, you didn't start out running marathons - you made small improvements, and added one mile at a time. Well, maybe this holiday season, you start with one snack or drink during the day - and if that's too much - maybe you practice less sugar for only one day a week. Try that for a few weeks, and challenge yourself again, eventually building a healthier holiday season while saving your figure, your heart and liver, and of course - your beautiful smile!
What do you do to avoid eating too much sugar?
Train Smart Today!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

TCS New York City Marathon

I DID IT!
I DID IT!
I DID IT!
My FIRST Marathon!
The TCS New York City Marathon!
And it was freakin' awesome!
I can't even begin to explain it. I trained so hard. Twenty milers, Jump Squats, One Legged Squats, Hill Runs, Pick Ups, Holding Planks for 3-4 minutes, Foam Rolling, Active Release Therapy, NormaTech Boots, No Alcohol - and, of course lots of Whole Foods, Timed Right!
Even though I was prepared, 
I was soooo nervous.
On Friday night, Side-Kick and I went in to get my packet at the Jacob Javitz Center. Steve, the 3:30 pacer, was there with his sign. I ran up to him and riveted him with questions. He was kind, and patient (Thanks Dude!). He even gave me some pointers - like how to drink water or gatorade and run at the same time. Then he turned toward Side-kick and said, "She looks terrified. Will she be okay?"
I was terrified!
I wanted so badly to make my goal time: 3:33!
But I never ran this far before. 
I didn't want to wake up on Monday morning 
disappointed in myself.
Last Friday, was also Halloween. NYC on Halloween Night is crazy. It's like going to a Broadway Show and seeing amazing costumes everywhere you turn. Actually, the whole night was pretty crazy. There were tons of people at the expo, and there was such cool running gear. It's like a candy store for runners! Surprise, surprise, I picked up another foam roller. This one is by RunMD,  called The Matrix. I love it. It gets into your piriformis - deeper than the TPTherapy Roller, but softer than the Rumble Roller. It's great for the calves too!
I was a ball of nervous excitement. 
I couldn't believe I was going to run through all five boroughs!
First, Staten Island
Then, Brooklyn
You got it baby, Queens is third!
No J-Lo butt here,
just the fourth borough!
Then ...Manhattan!
I love you, NYC!
Saturday was rough. It seemed to go by very slowly. I helped my son with some college essays, rolled out, stretched, planned my outfit, and my bag. I was smart to pack a Dry Warm Shirt to change into after the race, the Race Village Directions, Hot Hands, a Large Garbage Bag, a Blanket, a Tennis Ball and my MoJi Mini Massager to loosen up my muscles pre-race.
No sandals! LOL!
All in all, I slept 5 hours. Not bad considering the nerves. Sunday morning, Side-Kick took me to the bus in the Meadowlands for the New Jersey-ites to take over to Staten Island.
Waiting On-Line to Board the Bus.
Already freezing!
The bus was packed.
There must have been twenty or more buses. We left at 6:15 - we were on our way! On any normal day, it would have taken 20 minutes max to get to Staten Island, but this was no normal day! We were stuck in a terrible traffic jam! It took an hour and forty five minutes to get to Staten Island.
Plus side: We kept warmer, longer
Down side: I didn't have my morning Joe, I hadn't eaten anything, 
and my leg was getting a cramp from sitting. 
So glad I brought that tennis ball!
We arrived at the start villages at 7:30! I took my village map out, and headed for the Orange Village. Once I got there, I stood on line for a cup of Dunkin' Donuts Coffee. While on-line, I ate my oatmeal, with hemp seeds and walnuts. Next, I sat on my blanket, donned my garbage bag, drank my coffee, drank my beet juice, and gave the old muscles a massage with my Mini MoJi.
It was FREEZING!
The wind was relentless. It was bitter cold! 
Everyone was shivering! 
Eventually, I had to give my bag and my blanket (ultra sad face) to the UPS volunteers. The next thing I knew, it was time to head over to the start. People representing every country, speaking all different languages, announced to everyone in the Orange Village that they needed to go to their starting corrals. I headed for Corral D. All of us, didn't matter what country we were from, all huddled together to stay warm. I met an older man from France. He told me this was his 20th marathon! I told him I was shooting for 3:33, and showed him my Mercy Band. I told him that I was running a half in all fifty states to honor my husband who was killed in the World Trade Center, and that I wanted to run through all five boroughs for the same reason.
I love you, I love you, I love you!
3:33!
At the start of the race, I found Steve, the pacer! 
I stood by him, and did everything he did. When he took off his extra layers, I took off mine. When he did some high knees to get his legs going, so did I. We walked a bit further, only to wait some more. We were waiting for the cannons. And then ...
Bah-boom!
Felt it right through my chest!
We were off!
I can't believe I was in that sea of runners crossing the Verranzano Bridge - Trying not to get blown over by the gusts of wind blowing up to 40 mph. It was literally breath-taking. 
I followed pretty close to the pacer for the first nineteen miles. 
Keepin' up that 8 minute mile pace!
It felt very slow at times, but I kept telling myself it was going to save my legs in the end. At mile 15, we crossed the Queens Borough Bridge and headed up 1st Avenue in Manhattan. My legs started to feel it. The wind made it feel as if you were constantly climbing uphill. Keeping that 3:30 pace was getting harder. I pushed, but knew I was slowing down. I really felt myself slowing down at mile 23. There was a slight hill. I thought, "Really? Like who plans a hill at mile 23? The Devil?"
So many people were screaming:
Go. You can do this.
You're doing great!
You only have three miles more.
Finish Strong!
I screamed inside my head, "Even if you have to shuffle, don't stop! You are not allowed to stop!" The only problem, I had one more small incline from mile 25-26. I couldn't feel my legs. I just hoped my bones would catch every move I made. People were still screaming. Okay, Mile 26, I got this. I tried to muster some extra push to chew off those last few seconds. I pictured myself at a track work out, running that last quarter mile. 
Then, like an answered prayer, 
the end was in sight!
Hallelujah!
I ran my first Marathon!
3:35:27!
Me with my Medal and Mercy Band,
Holding Back the Tears!
I was 44th in my age group. I placed second in my age group for the 50-54 year old women in New Jersey!
The best part,
my Coach saw me finish (Thanks, Joel),
My Family saw me run (I'm sorry I didn't hear
you guys hootin' and hollerin')
And
I got to celebrate with my family 
at Carmine's Restaurant!
They made me feel so special!
I love you guys!
Thanks for all your support!
Love you, Freckles! 
Love you, Mini-man! 
Love you, Side-Kick!
Thanks for all your support!
Boston, next year?
A definite maybe!
Train Smart Today!