Sail on silver girl...Sail on by...Your time has come to shine...All your dreams are on their way...See how they shine

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A LOVE-ly Weekend

After my "feel-good" run last Thursday I was ready to sign up for a marathon. After convincing myself that I was thinking crazy thoughts, I settled for signing up for a Valentine's Day race for Saturday.

What a great decision that was!! It was the perfect way to start off the long weekend and get out of the city.

Saturday morning my guy and I participated in the Bradford Valentine Road Race in Bradford, Ma. We registered as a couple, meaning one of us had to run the 5 mile route, the other the 6k. Since Mr. G is much faster then me, he ran 5 miles, I the 6k. (In the couples category, the couple with the lowest combined time wins). I was actually a little nervous, just because it has been quite awhile since I participated in a race, especially one of such short distances. Running a 1/2 marathon or a 10 miler is a lot different (and a lot easier for me ) then running a 6K. Running such short distances doesn't allow you to settle into your pace- it is all out from the beginning-something I am not really use to anymore! Anyway, we decided not to take the race too seriously, especially since we both aren't in the best shape right now. It was more about just going out there, having fun, and scoring the free box of chocolates. I didn't even look at my watch or worry about my pace, I just went out there and ran. The race course was really nice, hilly and scenic- just the way I like it. Winning first in my age group division, was just icing on the cake and a big surprise! A big surprise because in actuality I was second in my age group. When my name was called, I whispered to my boyfriend, should I tell them that they made a mistake? Well, It turns out that the woman who came in first in my age group, came in first overall, so the kind race organizers I guess decided to spread the "wealth" and instead of giving her two medals, gave me one instead!
After the race, we headed to Newburyport, MA for a wonderful weekend! We stayed at a beautiful inn, The Garrison Inn, and had an amazing dinner at David's.
Sunday we ran the streets of Newburyport, enjoying the town and all it has to offer. Monday, we took a really good yoga class at the local YWCA before sadly, making our way back to NYC. Unfortunately, sometimes having a day off makes you realize how nice it is to have a day off, and makes you want more!!!
All in All it was a great weekend!! The race was great, Newburyport was great, being out of the city was great, and just having some time away with my Valentine was priceless!

The best part of it all is that the fever for "Race of the Month" club is back! Hmmm.... where to race in March? That is the question of the day. Anyone have any ideas for another fun race to do in March? (preferably within driving distance of NYC)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Friendly Advice Friday-Returning from Injury Tip#1

Advice: Jump back into running!!!!

No, not the way you think I mean it.

Before a person can return to running pain-free, they must be able to jump pain-free.

During one mile of running, a person's foot contacts the ground ~ 750 times! The deceleratory flexion that occurs during the landing phase of jumping/hopping is equivalent to the early stance phase in running. Therefore, as a physical therapist, one way to give my patient (and myself) confidence that they are ready to return to running is to put them through a series of jumping/plyometric drills. By practicing jumping/hopping skills in the clinic before allowing my clients to hit the road or treadmill, I am able to observe their technique to ensure that proper alignment and control is being maintained when their foot hits the ground. If their body can handle 750 jumps/hops (and they are able to maintain their form throughout), then, in theory, they should be prepared to handle one mile of injury-free running.

The Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Inc. Department of Rehabilitation, has developed their own return to running protocol. I have found that putting my patients through their Phase II: Plyometric Routine has been a good way for me to critique their form, test their body’s tolerance to high impact and then determine whether or not they are ready to begin a return to running program.

I advise those contemplating returning to running after an injury to review Brigham and Women's protocol. I think that you may find some useful advice. I would also suggest trying the Phase II: Plyometrics Routine. Ideally, you want to perform these jumping skills in front of a mirror, making sure that your knees are staying in line with your hips. They should not be coming in together. If they are, it could mean a variety of different things, one being a sign of weak gluteus medius muscles. (See my post from last Friday for more information on that!)

Of course, I advise those that are seriously injured, to seek the advice of a physical therapist or other medical professional before returning to running. The article referenced above should just be used as a guideline/food for thought.

Happy, safe, injury-free running to all!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Winter Wonderland!

Finally we got some snow!! Yeah!! Central Park is a winter wonderland right now. I absolutely love running in the park after a big snowfall. This mornings run was absolutely beautiful. It is amazing how quiet and how peaceful the park (as well as the rest of the city) feels after it snows. I wish I could have stayed out there longer and taken a "fun in the snow" day today and not have to go to work.

I am also excited that my hamstring didn't bother me at all, despite some slippery ground and difficult footing at times. I hope this means I am on the mend and can start slowly upping my mileage and possibly start adding some speedwork and hill repeats and maybe even register for a marathon? or at least some races? Whoa! Slow down silver girl! Ok .. I know.. I am getting a little ahead of myself. It is just amazing how addicting running can be. You go out for one good run, and the next thing you know you are committing yourself to 3+ months of training for one big race.

I think I better get to work now before I do something I am not yet ready to do... like run 26.2 miles!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

What a glorious day!

It is absolutely gorgeous out: 28 degrees, blue skies and sunny. On days like these, there is nothing better then a run in the park with a good friend as the sun is slowing rising overhead. Who would ever think a "blizzard" is on its way? I wonder if we will actually get hit this time. Last weekend it seems as though everyone, except for us, got hit pretty hard with snow. I know some people would think I am crazy, but I was really disappointed that we got nothing. If it is going to be winter and cold out anyway, why not have snow?
The only good thing about not having snow on the ground, is that I got to attempt running outside again (yeah!). Today is the first day in almost 2 weeks that I ran outside. Perhaps that is why this morning felt so glorious to me. It feels so good to be out in the fresh air, rather then running in the nice smelly, stale air that my gym has to offer. I have been running indoors on the dreadmill lately, trying not to make my hamstring angry at me, running flat and slow (boring!!). However, it has seemed to help. I have not felt anything in my hamstring lately, and today I was able to run 7 miles outdoors, up and down the hills of Central Park, without any pain (double yeah!). I will try outdoors again on Thursday, pending the "Blizzard"!

In other news, I have been keeping up with my ab work, honoring NAM, 8 days in a row of ab work!

Off to work....Have a glorious day everyone!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Friendly Advice Friday -Preventing Injuries Tip #1

As a physical therapist and runner, I am always looking for ways to prevent injury and to help my patients and clients return to their activities in a safe and timely manner. Therefore, I decided to start "Friendly Advice Fridays" on my blogspot and share that information with you. I thought it would be a good way for me to keep up with the latest research while also creating my own "niche" on this blog.

I found the following research article very interesting. It provides a very easy take home message to runners: incorporating strengthening exercises targeting specific hip muscles into your current training regimen can help prevent injuries further down the road. Something I am sure we would all be happy about!

In summary, Research by Niemuth et al. showed a correlation between strength deficits of two very important hip muscle groups and injuries in runners. In the noninjured runners, no side-to-side differences in hip muscle strength were found. Among the injured runners, however, the hip abductor and flexor groups on the involved side were significantly weaker relative to the noninvolved side.

So where are these muscles and how can you strengthen them?

Hip Abductors:

The role of the hip abductors in running is to aid in stabilizing your pelvis during the single-leg stance phase. It prevents your pelvis from dropping down on the side of the free leg. Hip abduction primarily occurs via the gluteus medius muscle as well as the gluteus minimus muscle. (see above picture) There are many ways to strengthen these muscles. You can simply google "glut med strengthening" and a plethora of exercises will come up. I prefer doing them in a weight-bearing position, given that running is a weight-bearing sport. One exercise that I like to do with my runners for increasing glut med strength is the "sidestepping with theraband" exercise.

Hip Flexors

The hip flexors are made up of the Psoas and Iliacus muscles-together, they are referred to as the iliopsoas muscle. The function of the iliopsoas in everyday living is basically to bring the thigh up towards the abdomen. In running, it acts as a major core stabilizer and is the primary muscle for increasing velocity and speed.
One of my favorite ways to strengthen the hip flexors is again by using theraband. Tie one end of theraband around a low sturdy surface and the other around your ankle. Put a bench or box out in front. Step up on the box with the foot that does not have the theraband around it. Drive the knee of the leg with the theraband forward and up in front of your chest. Balance yourself and hold position for a few counts.

In summary, by incorporating exercises for your gluteus medius and iliopsoas muscles into your regular cross training/strengthening programs, hopefully, you can help to avoid lower injuries in the future!

Happy, safe, injury-free running to all!

Monday, February 1, 2010

National Abs Month (NAM)

I can't believe February is already here. Fortunately that means we are one month closer to warmer temps! Unfortunately, that also means we are one month closer to bikini season. Yikes! So what better way to start February off, then by taking part in National Abs Month (NAM).

I found out about NAM on The Beat of My Noisy Heart's blogspot. Basically it entails performing abdominal exercises daily for the entire month. My boyfriend and I have decided to make it a bit more interesting, and a lot more motivating, by rewarding ourselves with a tropical vacation (somewhere where I will have to wear a bikini!) if we stick with the plan for the entire 28 days.

Last night we took "before" pics. I've decided not to post them until after the 28 days, when I can compare them to the "after" pictures. After all, if there is no difference between the "before" and the "after" pics, then I will not post them, and I will have spared myself posting pics of my pale, naked stomach on the internet!

Day 1 of NAM: physique 57 Arm and Abs booster