Saturday, February 28, 2009

These Headphones Rock!

I was getting tired of my headphones falling out of my ear mid-run every 2-3 minutes.  I was tired of fiddling with my headphones throughout my run.  

I have gone through 3 or 4 different types and styles of headphones, and finally found some that I absolutely love.  If your looking for some great running headphones, you need to check out the Sennheiser PMX-70 Neckband headphones.   

They have an arm that goes around the back of your neck, they stay in your ear great, and they sound awesome.  I was tipped off to these through the Runner's World forums, got some, and tried them out today on my 6 miler.  I couldn't be happier, these headphones are great.  There is your consumer tip for the day!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Biggest Loser and Back on the Road Again...

Biggest Loser Thoughts

I totally did not get why Bob got so upset last night on the Biggest Loser. Or any of the contestants for that matter. Many of them had to switch teams, but big deal. Bob and Gillian are both good trainers, and they are still all about helping them lose weight. I know there are attachments that can develop with a trainer, but seriously several of them were in tears over it, and Bob was just acting weird. I didn't get it. It was sad to see the father and son brown team split up though.

I definitely have a favorite team now-the blue team, cousins Sione and Filipe. I was bummed they didn't win the "mud" challenge, but did anyone else think that Tara was not going all the way down to the ground on that challenge? I thought she was cheating. I hope she goes home soon, she is getting on my nerves. Part two is tonight, so we'll see who gets the boot.

Running Update -Back on the Road Again

These last few weeks I haven't been able to run much but now that my foot is feeling much better I feel like I'm getting my running mojo back, and I 'm getting back into my half marathon training groove.

I don't want to overdue it too fast, so I'm easing back into longer distances. I ran 3 miles yesterday, took a 3 mile walk with the family last night, and ran 3 miles this morning. Tomorrow I may or may not run, haven't decided. Tomorrow night I have a big basketball game against the top ranked and undefeated team in the league, so I need to conserve my energy. (our team is in 2nd place) I'm also using ice after all my runs, even short ones, for 5-10 minutes. The results seem to be great, it is reducing soreness and increasing recovery.

Along with running again, I feel like I have a renewed dedication to eat healthier. It is so easy to not eat right when you are injured and aren't exercising. So it's leftover spinach and chicken salad for me today for lunch.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Ice, Ice, Baby.....

 So I am still nursing my left foot back to full health, and have been taking it easy with running for the last 3 weeks.....I am taking anti-inflamatory medicine, stretching a lot, and giving my foot plenty of time to rest.......

I have a really good book on injury prevention and recovery called "Runner's World Guide to Injury Prevention:  How to Identify Problems, Speed Healing, and Run Pain-Free."  
This book is a great resource on injuries for runners. 

 Yesterday I re-read Chapter 8, entitled "I'm Injured: Now What?"  In  this chapter it talks about all the things you should do if you experience an injury from even has a list of things to consider when deciding whether to continue to run or not that I think is many runners (including me) want to keep running even when injured..this book breaks is down like this.....

Run....when you're feeling muscle aches that are not localized but general in nature or when the pain subsides as you run, but also does not return in more severe fashion after you finish.  
Don't Run....when you are experiencing a stabbing, wincing pain, or the pain clearly forces you to limp or alter your stride it, or when the pain grows worse upon running, etc.......

Another good tip from the chapter is to treat your injury with PRICE (many of you are familiar with RICE, but some doctors now add the "P" for protection as a reminder not to do more damage to the injured site.  PRICE stands for--Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.   There are tons of great tips in this one chapter alone, I plan on re-reading it as needed to get help on dealing with my injuries.

I realized as I was reading this book that I have never iced my injury, or my body period, to help with recovery or healing, so I decided I needed to try it.

This would be my first ice bath.  I went for a "test run" of about 2.5 miles, just to see how my foot was feeling. I stayed near home in case I needed to stop and walk, but overall the foot felt pretty good...just a little twinge towards the end.  But after reading so many other people proclaim the wonders of ice baths and ice treatments, I decided to give it a try.   I appreciated Aron's post recently about how to do an ice bath, although mine was just a foot bath today, and I must say it wasn't too bad. I could only last about 5 minutes with my foot in the ice, and the foot felt pretty good afterwards.  Of course my two sons came in and had to stick their feet in as oldest lasted almost a minute with his foot in the ice and my youngest, pictured below, lasted about 17 seconds.  We had a fun male bonding moment icing our feet together...

Finally, check out Every Gym's Nightmare for a giveaway!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Running Barefoot.....

I have heard about people that run barefoot, and for the life of me I don't get it. Why in the world would you subject the bottom of your feet to such abuse? Heck, my feet hurt from running in nice shoes, with thick sock, and gel insoles. 

I ran across an article about a barefoot runner that I wanted to share with you all. This guy has run about 40 marathons barefoot, and he now has over 550 consecutive days of running can see the article here:

The runner's name is Rick Roeber and he lives in the Kansas City area. Evidently, running barefoot helps resolve his knee issues, and he is convinced that running shoes give people a false sense of security and teach you to run improperly. I am not so sure. He says that he he is saving money (probably true), but he also says "I've probably only had to pick a half-dozen pieces of glass out of my feet in the last five years." That's a half dozen more than me.

Friday, February 20, 2009

TGIF Foto Friday....

Yes, it is Friday, which means my contribution to NikeMom's Foto Friday....this is a picture of me and my twin brother (yes, I know we don't look alike, but we're still twins)....this was on our birthday last year, and we are holding the cakes that my mom made...these are the same cakes we had for our 1st birthday, which I thought was very cool.   Notice my 6 year old son peeking out from behind the cakes....he just had to get in the picture........

Also, I ran across a great post over at the Runner Inside blog...check it out here .   He took up running after being invited to run in a 5K with some friends at his work, and got hooked...this is  a great post for any runner --"You know you're a runner when....."

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Staying Fit at Work...

I am very fortunate to work for a Fortune 500 company that tries to make it easy for us employees to stay in shape.....we have a very nice workout room (that honestly I rarely use), my company provides discounts at various gyms and fitness centers, and we even have a Health & Wellness Committee that does various incentives/activities to promote fitness among our employees.....

Last year the Health and Wellness committee sponsored a Step Challenge and sold employees little pedometers to track their steps for 3 months, and those that had more than a certain number of steps were entered in a drawing for a Wii fit...... many employees participated (including myself) and it was a fun event.

I decided that the committe should build on the Step Challenge from last year and have a "Become a Runner" challenge. Originally I was calling it the "Half Marathon" Challenge, but then I changed it to make it more accessible to all running levels. This past week I made a presentation to the committee, asking them to sponsor this challenge for our is how it would work, as I presented it:

2009 “Become a Runner” Challenge

The Become a Runner Challenge basically is all about getting our employees involved in running/walking a race together. I think the right distance would either be a 10K or a half marathon. ( I later revised this to say 5K or whatever would get the employee moving)

We could identify a race or several races that we as co-workers could participate in together, and have them sponsored by the Health and Wellness Committee.

We would invite our employees, spouses, friends, etc to run in these races together. The goal is not to win, but to finish. It would be great if we could get 10% employee participation.

The Challenge
For employees, we would issue the challenge and encourage people to register for designated race(s). Then, they would notify the official team coordinator (TBD) that they plan to run the race.

Then, if they complete the race---even if they only walk—they will receive the following:

--An official Team t-shirt. We will all wear these the day of the race.
--Reimbursement for their registration fee.
--Official public recognition at the next All Employee Meeting following the race.

In addition, we could measure improvements in all kinds of things for our employees, such as BMI, weight loss, heart rate, cholestorol levels, blood pressure, increase in distances ran, etc, etc.

I then gave the committee a list of all the health benefits that runners experience. Much of it was what I shared it one of my previous posts.

I also floated the idea of employees traveling together to a race destination, and also the idea that the company could reimburse 3 or 4 race registrations a year for each employee as an ongoing benefit.

I do not know if any of these ideas will go anywhere, but the committe seemed very interested...I will keep you all posted.................

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Good Run and Some New Stuff...

As a new runner, I am constantly learning new things,  discovering new things, buying new things, etc related to running.   However, today I had the opportunity to try out 3 new things in one day.  Woo-hoo.

Running Update

First let me say that I have only ran about 4 miles in the last two weeks because I am still recovering from my foot injury, which by the way I decided was a Stone Bruise (which I guess is the same thing as a deep bone contusion, as diagnosed by the doctor).   I believe I know exactly where it happened and I am not going to run that path anymore.

Anyway, my foot is still healing and today was my first run of any distance so I took it slow, 4 1/2 miles at about a 10 min pace.   This run counted as my Freakishly Flexible 5K run.  It felt good to be back out running, and my foot only bothered me slightly the last half of the run.

The New Stuff.

My wife surprised me by getting me this water bottle/fuel belt for Valentine's Day.  I wore it during my run today and it worked perfect.  Thanks sweetie! (I know you read my blog).   I really think she got me this so she wouldn't be embarrassed by me wearing my fanny pack anymore.

The second new thing I tried was these shoes.  This past week I got some New Balance shoes in the mail to try out as part of the New Balance Wear Test program.  Today was my first chance to try them out.   I was instructed to specifically pay attention to the sole of the shoe, which works out great because with my foot injury that is exactly what I am paying attention to.   They felt really good today and I look forward to running in them more over the next couple of months.

Finally, thanks to my friend Adam, I finally broke down and bought some stretchy running pants.  These are Starter brand from Wal Mart, only like $15-20, and they kept me nice and warm today.  Okay, it's Wal Mart, but I'm glad I didn't have to spend $60-70 and they work fine.

With my foot injury I also tried out some Molefoam padding on the ball of my foot, and it works okay, although I didn't wear any on my run today.  If you have calluses on your feet, I would recommend the  Molefoam.    

But there is another new thing I have a question about, if anyone has advice...


I've been considering getting insoles for my running shoes, to give extra shock absorption and padding for the bottom of my feet.  Does anyone use insoles?   Do they really work?  Any recommended brands?

Friday, February 13, 2009

TGIF Foto Friday....

Here is my entry to Nikemom's Foto Friday.    This past September, to remember the events of 9/11, my son's elementary school had all the kids wear different colored shirts and took this "USA" picture of everyone in the school next to a fire truck...I thought it was pretty cool, and they even got to be on the local news that night.....

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

My Running Scenery.....

I have seen many of you bloggers post pictures of the awesome scenic places that you get to run and I am jealous......I'm stuck in Kansas, so my scenery is fairly lacking. Still, I decided to take a few pics of the places I run and share them with you all....

I usually run around my small suburb town, around houses, etc. Sometimes I'll run on the outskirts of town, past fields or through a couple parks nearby, or run to the next town over and back.......mostly I run near fields/roads/trees/houses..........even the fields I run by aren't that exciting or glamorous......I often wish the scenery was nicer, like along a beach or with mountains in the background...but like I said, this is Kansas......I will say that we do have some nice running paths nearby (along the river, through a wildlife park, etc), but those require a drive and I like to be able to just open the door of my house and take all these pics are near where I live and where I run......

The one picture is a cemetary I get to run past on some of my runs.....

A few of my runs take me onto dirt roads, which my feet enjoy...

We do have nice sunsets in Kansas, I will say that much....

Life is a highway, and I'm gonna run it all night long..........

I get to run past a now defunct amusement park called Wild West World (seriously, that's what it's called)

A creek and a road through a park near my house.......

There you have it....some of my running scenery! Now don't all rush out and move to Kansas at once.....

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Why You Should Become a Runner.....

For those of you that run, you probably already know the benefits of running.  That's why you do it.   Let my list today serve as a reminder for you.    For those of you that don't run, I would like to make a case for getting involved in the wonderful form of exercise known as running.

First let me say that running can be hard on the body.  There are overuse injuries, knee injuries, foot injuries, strains, sprains, pulls, tears, etc, etc, etc

But, if you will give it a shot, I think you'll find that the good far outweighs the bad....

Here are just a few of the benefits of running:

running relieves stress/anxiety/depression
---running really can alter your mood, and make you happier than those that don’t exercise….call it endorphins, runner’s high, whatever…try it and see for yourself, it works….when you run you are focused on the road in front of you and all those work or family related stresses just seem to disappear…

running can help you achieve/maintain healthy body weight
----you burn calories when you run, which means that running can be a great way to lose weight….and the beauty of it is that it doesn’t matter how fast you are…it’s not about speed, it’s about duration…I have seen this first hand in my own life, by losing weight myself….running and a healthy diet can lead to a proper BMI

running gives you a sense of accomplishment
---running is a very challenging activity…even running a few miles a day can bring a great sense of pride and accomplishment to your life…and, as you run longer and farther, the sense of achievement will grow and you’ll learn more about setting and achieving goals, and you will have an increased level of self esteem and confidence…

running can lower your blood pressure
---yep, it’s true…running can lower your blood pressure….running causes your cardiovascular system to pump blood through your body much faster….it causes arteries to expand and contract more than usual, which keeps your arteries more elastic, leading to improved blood pressure…

running improves lung capacity
---the deep breathing required when running causes using more lung tissue, which leads to stronger and more efficient lungs…

running strengthens the heart---
another great one…my dad had a heart attack a few years ago, so I know how important it is to have a healthy heart….the sedentary person has a heart that beats 36,000 times more each day a runner….why?  because running keeps the arteries open…hearts become stronger because they are contracting more, which leads to a more efficient cardiovascular system and helps in the fight against heart disease…

I could go on and on about the benefits of running---there have been studies that show running helps reduce the risk of high cholesterol, cancer, and diabetesthat it boosts the immune system and slows down the aging process……but really,  the reason I think you should start running is because I think running will help you to enjoy life more, help you to become a better person..…running clears your mind and helps you feel more alive by bringing you closer to God’s creation….

And something I’m discovering is that running can make you feel a part of a greater community----even though I run alone, I know I'm not alone....I know there are others experiencing the same agony and pain and joy that I am experiencing during runs and races and a sense it seems that we understand each others experiences…..

To my fellow runners, I want to say keep running, and keep encouraging others to join us on the road……let's get some of our friends, family, and co-workers out there with us on the path to a healthier, happier life....

Thursday, February 5, 2009

My Running Journey....

I thought I'd share about my journey to becomming a runner with you....not real exciting, but writing it down helped me to put in perspective where I've come from, and maybe where I'm going.....

My Running Background

I ran track in junior high, mostly because my friends and cute girls were all on the track team. My event was the 800m and I wasn’t very fast.

In high school the only running I did was around the bases as part of the baseball team. And since I didn’t get on base too much, I didn’t have to run very often.

And then in college I think I ran once or twice, not sure exactly why. Probably bored.

But I remember living with a guy right after college, Richard, who was a runner. He ran most mornings, and I remember seeing him get really fit. He lost a lot of weight and got into great shape. Though I didn't start running at that time, the running seeds were planted.

So years go by, and I'm working on a career, married with kids and overweight.

And it's been more than a decade since I ran.

But I remembered Richard, and how running worked for him to lose weight. Besides, it seemed like all the runners I knew were in great shape. So I took up running. And got hooked. And I lost weight.

But it didn’t happen overnight.

My Running Begins

I still remember the first time I went for a run, for exercise. I couldn't even go down the street and around the corner, which was about two blocks, without stopping to walk and being out of breath. I was way out of shape.

My first 5K was brutal. My body was not even close to being ready to run 3.1 miles. But I had a free entry offered to me through work, so I signed up. I don't remember my time, but I think I walked pretty much half of it, and felt soreness in my legs for a week afterward.

But, much as I would have liked to, I didn't give up. I kept running. My second 5K was much like the first. I wasn't ready, and my body got pounded. But it was at that race that I was first attracted to the whole "runner community" thing. So again, I kept running. And observing. And learning.

I started to really enjoy going for runs. My one mile loop didn’t seem as far or as hard as it did before. I started running further distances. And, I started losing weight. I lost about 30 pounds in a year, largely attributed to eating right and running. I felt better about myself and I had more energy.

Somewhere in there I think I decided that I was a runner. At least I started to think of myself as a runner. I was reading running blogs and running books. I found some great running podcasts. I ran a couple more races, and started to feel like I was a part of the running community now.

My Running Continues

I am still not very fast, but I have discovered that it doesn't really matter anyway. It's all personal. And I am surprised to find myself saying something like “oh, I’m just running 4 miles today,” as if 4 miles is not that far. It just shows how far I’ve come. And I am learning about things like speed work, tempo runs, and GU.

And, I have decided to challenge myself to run farther than I ever have. To run a half marathon. 13.1 miles. I am doing one in the next 3 months (barring injury), and am looking forward to the accomplishment. From there, who knows, maybe a marathon?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Not a Stress Fracture (So Far)

Well I went to the doctor yesterday for my foot. After he took one look at my foot and saw the bruising and tenderness, he said "we need to get you in for an x-ray, and I don't think it's going to be good...." Not exactly the words you want to hear your doctor say.

The good news is that the doctor didn't see a stress fracture in the x-ray, but he did say that sometimes a stress fracture won't show up for a couple weeks because it's so microscopic. He diagnosed my injury as a deep bone contusion, whatever that is..... I'm still trying to figure out how I injured myself....the only thing I can think is maybe I landed on a sharp rock and hit my foot on it just right. There a couple of spots where I run that there are some larger rocks along the shoulder of the road. Might be that. Might not. I don't know.

Anyway, the doctor said I can't run (or play basketball) for 2 weeks, so I am going to change my fitness routine to try to include elliptical or spinning. Anything that doesn't put stress or pounding on my foot. I also want to use this time to work on my core. He said if it still hurts after that two week period, I'll need to come back for another x-ray, to see if there really is a stress fracture. If not, I can start my running training again. If it is, then I'm off for another 4 weeks. Either way, since the OKC Half isn't until April, I should have plenty of time to get back on track with my training plan.

ChicRunner is giving away a book on eating healthy, called Eat This, Not That, check it out on her blog to enter to win!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Agony of The Feet...

Foot Notes

I went for an 8-miler with my friend Isaac on Saturday.  My breathing felt good, my mental was on, it was a sunny, beautiful day...everything was great.....except, for my foot.

See, sometime this past week I tweaked my left foot, not sure when or how, maybe playing basketball...anyway, I thought it had gotten better so I was amped for my long run.  But,  for the last 6 miles of the 8 mile run, my left foot was killing me.  

The latest issue of Runners World  , their Injury Prevention Special, has a good article about taking care of your feet.  I pulled it out to see if I could figure out why my foot was hurting.  The article talks about several types of injuries your feet can incur when running -- black toenail, calluses, bunions, neuroma, and the one I am familiar with, plantar fasciitis.

However, none of these matched what I am experiencing.  My foot hurts at the base of my toes, where the toes meet the foot, between my 2nd and 3rd toes (next to the big toe), and is very noticeable when I put pressure on the front part of my foot or if I move my toes forwards or backwards at all.    The other day there was a bruise on the top of my foot, like I had dropped something on it (which I don't remember doing, but I'm not ruling it out), but the bruise is gone and just the pain in the inner foot remains.   It hurts really through the center of the foot.

I am thinking maybe it's a  strain, or sprain, or stress fracture, but hey I'm no doctor I'm just guessing here.  If anyone has had anything like this drop me a line as to what it might be and how to treat it.  For now, I'm going to take at least the next 3 days off from running and see how it feels.

Yes, I have a Fanny Pack

I have been planning on getting a water carrier for running, and have found a couple I like even, I just haven't gotten around to buying one.   On my long run Saturday, though, I wanted to have water because I was going to try to use GU during the run.  Then I remembered, hey I have a fanny pack.   I know, I know, fanny packs went away in the 80's, but for some reason I still have one.

So I dug it out, stole one of the kids smaller bottles, and filled it with water.  It actually worked perfect, because I can put my GU in there and whatever else I might need (money, cell phone, etc)   Okay, so I look like a total goober wearing it, but now I'm thinking hey I can save $30 and just use this for staying hydrated during my long runs.