Free Weights

Things That Have Helped My Running

I was talking to a friend recently who is training for Hood To Coast and she was talking about how she hates running. Or at least, hates it until she gets out there and is actually doing it. Two things: 1) I think part of the reason I think a lot of people hate running* (*but want to do it anyways) is because it’s HARD and sometimes it HURTS….and 2) I love running. Love it. It’s hard. Sometimes it hurts. But I love it.

I’ve loved it since I started running 10 years ago. I started running because I was getting pretty close to my goal weight and I was full of ENERGY. Tons of it. Going from being obese and not very active to suddenly being athletic, I had tons of energy and it was just a natural progression for me to start running.   Some of my favorite running memories are the places I’ve run.

#1 – Hawaii! The below photo was from a run in Kona I did years ago. I absolutely loved running from our condo to downtown Kona, partially along the coast, and seeing the sights on foot. Whenever we go on vacation, my desire is to go for a run and see my new environment that way. Also, running with Michael in Maui on our honeymoon is one of my favorite memories of our trip, too. (And it started his interest in running!) The scenery was so gorgeous and the weather was perfect…and running along the ocean is amazing. It cannot be beat!

#2 – Vegas! I’ve run in Vegas many times and it’s so fun. You can see parts of the Strip that you don’t normally visit, a little off-the-beaten-path. The nice thing about running in Vegas is that you aren’t stuck in the Casino gym, you can people watch, and you are usually up early enough that it’s not as crowded. #3 – Santa Monica When we went to LA and Santa Monica a few years ago, I didn’t run in LA/Hollywood but I did run in Santa Monica on Muscle Beach. There was a boardwalk and path so you can run “on” the beach. 🙂 It was gorgeous. I seriously need to live somewhere with warm weather and beaches. 😉

#4 – Bend Back in May, we took a family trip to Bend for the time not in winter! It was so nice to be in the high desert in the summer time, with the sunshine and warm weather. And being in the desert, my body aches and pains vanished. I clearly need to move the desert. Basically somewhere warm where my body doesn’t hurt. #5 – Arizona Lastly, Arizona. I’ve been to Arizona a few times now and went for runs. The first time was with my dad. It was fun running with him (even though my 60+ year old dad was a faster runner than I was!) and we saw this snake: Obviously running with my dad was a fun memory. I also ran by myself the last time I was in Tucson for a friend’s wedding. It was nice just being out on the road with me, my music, the sunshine and the desert.

Running Injuries

This post is about tools and tricks that have helped me start running, become a better runner, and get over running injuries I’ve had in the past. It’s no secret that I am The Queen of Running Injuries. I think I’ve had most of them. Whomp whomp.

Runner’s Knee was the worst of them because it really sucked, it hurt even to walk during the worst of it, and it took forever to get over it. I think what makes me LOVE running so much is that for awhile there, I couldn’t do it. Not being able to run when you really want to makes you want it more. At least, it did for me.

Now on to the list!  

Knee Straps

For awhile there I was using K-Tape. I know a lot of people swear by it and I used it for a long time to help with my runner’s knee injury (that lasted several years) but the tape really did awful things to my skin. It ripped my skin, made it red, made my skin itch really badly…it looked terrible and if you were really sweaty, the K-Tape wouldn’t stay on. So, I did some research and found runner straps for my knees. CUE ANGELS SINGING. Thank goodness I found these “jumpers knee” straps on Amazon because they were seriously a life saver. They worked like magic with my runner’s knee and didn’t irritate my skin! I swear by these and still use them when I run, mostly out of habit now–not sure I still need them but slightly nervous to try running without them.

Garmin Watch/Heart Rate Monitor

When Michael got me a Polar Heart Rate monitor 8 years ago, I’d never used one before, didn’t really know much about them and didn’t understand why I needed one…until I started using it. It was like a light-bulb went off. I was suddenly able to see how inefficient I was at running and I used the heart rate monitor to help me train better and pay more attention to my heart rate in relation to pacing. Also? I was able to get a more accurate number of calories burned from each activity I did, instead of just guessing based on an internet website calculator. This REALLY helped me with my weight loss goals! I’ve recently switched over to a Garmin watch and absolutely love it. Check out my review here.

Foam Roller We now have a collection of foam rollers in our house and Michael uses them religiously every night. I use the foam rollers after running or some activity that I can tell I will be sore from (lower body weight lifting, for example). I seriously suggest anyone who is even sort of interested in running, or who does a lot of working out, to invest in your own foam roller at home. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a kink somewhere in my body that it fixed.

Strength Training and PT Exercises  A lot of things helped me become a better runner and get over my various injuries but I would have to say the most important has been strength training problem areas that are causing the issues. According to my physical therapist, runner’s knee is due to weak glutes. So I do a lot of focused work on that area and I’ve noticed a difference when I do it on a regular basis.

Check out these old posts about that:

Favorite Lower Body Workouts

Physical Therapy exercises

Oddly enough, what really seemed to help a lot with my Runner’s Knee issues was having a baby. After I had Logan and started getting back into running, I didn’t seem to have the same issues I had pre-baby. (Knock on wood!) One things I did have? Hip issues and low back issues after having a baby. Basically, I had no core. I’ve been working so hard for the last year to strengthen my core and get back into running shape. PT and core exercises have done wonders.  

Regular Massages/Chiropractor Visits Thank goodness for insurance! I can get 1 massage a month covered by insurance so I only pay $25 a visit in order to get a massage or see the chiropractor. In the past I could only get a massage a few times a year. Doing it monthly really has helped a lot to keep injuries from becoming worse. Check with your insurance company to see if they cover any of that “alternative care” options (sometimes they do but don’t tell you) and take advantage of it.

Runner’s Up: I wanted to add a few things to the end of this list. I think it’s really important to get fitted for running shoes at a running store, by a professional. It made a HUGE difference in the early days of my running. It’s often free, too, so what do you have to lose? Go get fitted! And don’t forget to replace your running shoes a few times a year.

QUESTION: What has been the biggest help in your running?

A Valentine’s Date and a Recipe

Logan has had a cold this week, which means he’s not sleeping well, which means we aren’t sleeping well….! I’ve been exhausted all week. So I was super surprised on Saturday morning when I went to the gym and had energy for days! It was a great workout! I did 30 minutes of strength training–body weights, free weighs and kettlebells, and then 30 minutes on the elliptical.

I could have kept going, too, but I had things to do! I went to the store to get groceries and then home to make this dinner:

SLOW COOKER 3-BEAN TURKEY CHILI

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 8 hours

Total Time: 8 hours, 15 minutes

Yield: 10 servings

Serving Size: 1 cup

Calories per serving: 231

From: http://www.skinnytaste.com/crock-pot-3-bean-turkey-chili-3125-pts/

Ingredients

  • 1.3 lb (20 oz) 99% lean ground turkey breast
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 (16 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (4.5 oz) can chopped chilies
  • 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 (15.5 oz) can black beans, drained
  • 1 (15.5 oz) can small red beans, drained
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • For the Topping:
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro for topping
  • optional toppings, shredded cheddar, avocado, sour cream, etc

Instructions

  1. Brown turkey and onion in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through.
  2. Transfer to the slow cooker with the beans, chilies, chickpeas, tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili powder and cumin, mixing well.
  3. Cook on high 6 to 8 hours or low 10 to 12.
  4. Garnish with onions, cilantro and tour favorite toppings.
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=51725

I’ve made several Skinny Taste recipes before and they were always really delicious.

Our friends had a baby last month (their third!!) and we signed up for their meal train dinner. It was so amazing when we had Logan and friends and family made us meals. It was so so so helpful and generous and we ate some really great food.

Originally we were going to do Michael’s mac n’ cheese but our friends are dairy-free at the moment so I decided to make them chili. I’ve been craving chili for awhile now.

I browned the ground turkey and onions. (I added a teeny bit of spicy ground pork for some flavor.)

The recipe called for three different beans — one being chickpeas! So odd. But I went with it and it turned out to be a really good addition. I did black beans, red kidney beans and garbanzo beans.

I mixed it all and it cooked in the crockpot all day. It smelled really good.

After lunch Logan took a nap and I decided to take a nap, too, and ended up sleeping for over 2 hours!! Catching up on sleep after four days of no sleep, was awesome.

When it was done cooking I packed everything up and we went to our friend’s house to take them dinner and meet the new baby! NEW BABY SMELL!! Oh my gosh the baby is sooo teeny tiny and adorable. I cannot believe that Logan was ever that tiny. It’s crazy. (Especially considering Logan decided to walk this week.)

So for the meal train I took our friends the pot of chili, a loaf of French bread and all the toppings: cilantro, chopped red onion, green onion, shredded cheese, avocado and sour cream (for the kiddos who aren’t dairy-free). Also in the bag was a bottle of wine and some homemade gluten-free brownies (from Bob’s Red Mill). 😀

We spent a little bit of time catching up and snuggling with new baby and then went home to get Logan to bed and open a bottle of wine for us:

There was just enough chili left over for Michael and I to have dinner, too. My one complaint about the recipe was that it said there were 10 servings in there but really, it was more like 5 or 6 generous servings. I guess she made the servings small to keep the calories low.

Ok I kind of loved this chili. It was so good! Lots of flavor and texture. I enjoyed the chickpeas, too. At first I thought they were weird to add to chili but the texture was great. The beans weren’t mushy.

This recipe is a winner! I would make it again for sure.

On Sunday I went swimming and then Michael and I got to go out for a Valentine’s Date Day. Michael’s sister babysat this guy:

I planned our date for this month. Our date started with lunch. We went to Ten Barrel Brewery. I’ve never been and it was a cool place with a fun vibe. We both got the Pearl IPA.

It was a pretty decent beer.

Michael got the personal sized pizza and the salad lunch combo:

The crust wasn’t anything special but the flavor of the sauce and the spicy pepperoni were really tasty. I got the Seoul Sandwich which had Korean steak with sauce, pickled carrots and shredded cabbage on it. It was really, really tasty! The meat had a fabulous flavor to it. I would have liked it a little spicier but it was a really delicious meal otherwise.

Next up was the highlight of our date day: A mini spa day! We went to Sole 2 Sole Reflexology in North Portland. I didn’t know what to expect because I’ve never tried reflexology before.

It was such a good experience! We both LOVED it! We were in a semi-private back room with two chairs. We sat down in our side-by-side chairs and then we soaked our feet in barrels of hot water while the therapists massaged our arms and hands. They also put some hot neck wrap things on us. Those were nice.

Then they dried our feet and started the foot and leg massage and reflexology. It was SO GOOD! I get massages once a month (thank you insurance) but they rarely spend that much time on my legs or feet, which is a bummer. So this was a really nice treat because it was a full hour on your feet and legs!

The reflexology part was really interesting. Hard to describe, but nice. It was a lot of pressure-point massage and the massage therapist did some massage around my knees, which was really nice.

Michael fell asleep. 🙂 I dozed in and out of very deep relaxation. It was so nice. The place was great and I would totally go back again. Michael enjoyed his surprise Valentine’s date and he said had he’d known what I had planned he would have run extra miles on Saturday to really get the full benefit of the massage. 😉

It was a great date and we went home to be with the baby and just hang out for the rest of Sunday. Kinda lazy, which was nice.