A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Ready To Run Book Review Part 3 (Chapters 13-19) THE FINAL SEGMENT!

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After being plagued by chronic IT band/knee issues, I finally went back to my chiropractor (who performs Active Release Therapy) in hopes of some relief. He recommended the book Ready to Run, by Dr. Kelly Starrett. I immediately bought it off Amazon and got to work reading it. I will provide you my review, thoughts, and anything else I have to say about the book as I am reading it. I have no clue what I will think of the book. All thoughts are my own and are in real time as I read through. 

No one is compensating me for this book review, and I spent my own $18 to buy it. (Okay, it was a gift card. Thank you piano student!!!!)

Chapter 13: Standard #10: No Hot Spots

Nagging pain during a run? Tweaky/sketchy feelings in your muscles or joints? This should not be. Starrett calls them hot spots, and they should be fixed.

I love what Starrett says here because it is SO TRUE: "The culture of running through pain and its badge-of-honor quality are interwoven into all sports that are categorized by the word endurance. When the athletic test revolves around how much can be endured, lines get crossed. Running through hot spots over months and years can lead to devastating consequences."

In big, bold type, he also says, "If you feel pain during or after moving, then what you were doing was not functional movement.

Starrett gives VERBS to fix these hot spots and recommends using the Voodoo Floss Band as compression to help this problem. Here are some ways the Voodoo Floss Band can help:

1. Restores sliding surface function
2. Restores ROM in joint
3. Floods the area with blood
4. Reduces swelling and revives the joint

Here is one session of me flossing my knee:

 If you are interested in flossing DO NOT USE MY VIDEO AS A HOW TO. Get the book or watch Starrett's Youtube videos. My video is not a how to! I am still a newbie and working on exactly how to wrap it correctly. ALSO: My chiro is undecided as to whether he thinks this works or not. So I am actually thinking about not doing this anymore...

Time Factor: Since I have an acute, nagging injury, he recommends flossing up to 5 times a day. It takes about 3 minutes from start to finish of one flossing session, so I am doing about 15 minutes of flossing right now. Dang, injury rehab is more time consuming than training for a marathon!
Money: Voodoo Floss Band- $14 (already purchased).

Chapter 14: Standard #11: Hydration

I wrote all about this standard here!

Time Factor: Just filling up the water bottle!
Money: $0

Chapter 15: Standard #12: Jumping and Landing

Dr. Starrett requires that you be able to jump and land with good mechanics. Since running is essentially an "endless series of jumping and landing", it important you can do it correctly to minimize any negative impact on your joints or tissues.

Test #1: Jumping onto a box.

Basically, a box jump. I jumped onto my front stoop. I have honestly never done that before. And the only time I ever did box jumps was a couple years ago when I saw a personal trainer. Box jumps scare me! But to my surprise, I was able to jump and land on my front stoop solidly. It's not a very high front stoop, though. (Sorry no video! I did this in the dark hours of the morning!)

Test #2: Single-leg jumps.

Starrett wants you to be able to do 30 jump rope rotations on a single leg. I felt confident I'd be able to do it on my right leg (my good one) and I was right. When I tried my left leg, I could do THREE. I knew it would be horrible but I didn't know it would be that horrible! I wasn't about to give up, and once I warmed up, I was able to do 30 on my left leg. The thing was, it felt so weak. I need to figure out how to get my left leg stronger! (Again, no video. It was dark out!)

Time Factor: I am unsure what to say about this. I am sure my mobility work will help just all around making my knee not sore and thus, my leg stronger.
Money: $0.

Chapter 16: Introduction to Mobility Work

In this chapter (quite a long one!), Starrett outlines some guidelines, principals, and techniques for mobility work. Mobility work could be anything from specific stretches, deep tissue manipulation, compression, strengthening exercises... It really is a catch all phrase, it seems.

There are some tools that can be used for mobility work and he outlines them here as well. They are things you may have in your house (tennis ball, resistance bands), or expensive items you might want to buy at roguefitness.com. I invested in some monster bands, a voodoo floss band, and the Supernova.

I am skeptical when anyone tries to get you to BUY something as a result of their book. But I do have to tell you the Supernova is one of the best things I ever bought! If the foam roller is not doing it for you anymore, I really recommend this!

Chapter 17: Mobilizations

So throughout this whole book, I have been testing myself on Starrett's standards and finding out where I'm falling short. In this chapter, each mobilization is demonstrated so you know exactly what to do and what tools to use to get your body READY TO RUN. There is quite a lot in here, and I didn't read everything. I only read about the mobilizations the will help my specific needs. At the end of the chapter, he gives a sample 28 day mobility overhaul plan- which is basically just a generic "tune up" plan. The whole point is to PREVENT injuries from even occurring in my first place. Sounds good to me!

Chapter 18: Attacking Common Running Injuries

This chapter briefly covers what to do if you are experiencing the following common running injuries:

plantar fasciitis
runner's knee
IT band syndrome
shin splints

I would have liked more information out of this chapter.

Chapter 19: Turbocharged Sports Medicine

Dr. Starrett shares two principals with us in this chapter that he firmly believes in:

1. "All human beings should be able to perform basic maintenance on themselves." -AKA we should not need to see our chiro or PT weekly just to be able to run. We should be able to help ourselves, too!

2. "When you visit a chiropractor, physical therapist, sports medicine clinic, or other body worker, go in with some hard-won knowledge to share." -AKA, be able the share what you have been doing on your own to combat the problem.


At the end of the book, Kelly shares a parting word, gives an example of a 4 week movement/mobility work plan, and shares some other resources for runners to educate themselves. The main point is that being Ready to Run is a journey- a constant journey of maintenance and taking care of your body!

My final thoughts: Coming to you in a future post!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Electronic Devices at Sushi

A few days ago I went out for sushi with a friend. A little after we were seated, a family with two kids (ages 8-12 ish?) came in and sat down right across from us. No sooner did the family sit down than the kids whipped out their electronic devices and shoved their faces in them. 

More members of their party began arriving, and it appeared to be a big family gathering. Two more kids came and after they sat down, immediately the electronics came out.

My friend and I dined for quite awhile- over two hours- and so did the family. The kids were on their devices the entire time.

I don't get what the parents were thinking? I know I don't have kids, and I shouldn't judge somebody's parenting decisions... but I am going to do it anyway! Why in the world do kids need to have their faces in electronic devices when they are out to eat!? They should JOIN THE LAND OF THE LIVING. They should converse. Bored? Make up a game. People watch. Talk to your cousin.

The most interesting part about someone's day should not be what is on their tablet. But those parents were teaching their kids it's okay to shut out the real world.

Things are just going to get worse. Because adults do it too. It's one of the reasons I don't have a smartphone. I don't want to even be tempted to resort to messing around on my phone when I should really be experiencing life.

Says the girls who blogs every day... :)

What's the most ridiculous place you have seen someone with their head buried in a device?
Parents, what are your rules regarding electronic devices in public?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Quick and dirty chiro update!

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This is going to be the quickest and dirtiest post you ever did see from me!

I saw my chiro this afternoon, told him all the drama that went down in the last two weeks... not running, lots of walking, lots of stretching and mobility work and knee/glute strengthening shit... Told him how my leg felt really jacked up when walking, but that I had two solid 5 mile pain free runs. (And by pain free runs, I should really say pain free POST runs. Rarely does it hurt when I run. It's afterwards that my IT band and/or knee pulsates!

My chiro was really happy to hear that I took 2 weeks off and that I had two successful runs. He recommends I run 2 times a week for right now. Hey, I can deal with that. I think I will save my runs for the weekends. Weekends are more magical when a run is involved....

I am not "better". Today, I felt my knee get "warmer" as the day went on. Now it hurts and my IT band hurts too, but that's from my chiro working on it, not from any exercise I did. (I lifted upper body.)

My chiro's take is that he is really pleased I am putting work in myself and not just relying on him. He checked out my back, it is all good. My knee range of motion is also a lot better as well- Thank you, Couch Stretch!

I will see him 3 weeks from today.

I will continue to do my due diligence with all the work I have done so far. SOMETHING I am doing has to be helping I haven't had a pain free post run in MONTHS, and this week I had two in a row!? Not sure what exactly is helping but like I said, something is working. Unless it is a fluke. Which I haven't ruled out. I am such a realist....

Sorry that this is a quick and boring post. But a lot of you have been asking about my situation and hoping for good news from my chiro, so I wanted to tell you in a timely manner!

It's not good news but it's not bad news. It's REALISTIC NEWS.

I am a work in progress.

And now I am hitting publish without anymore editing. So I am sorry if there are typos or nonsensical sentences! I will be back tomorrow with a more thought out post- one that took me more than 5 minutes to write!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

My First Run Back!

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On Sunday, I went for my first run in two weeks!

Here are more details than you probably ever wanted to know about it...

It was 38 degrees. Not bad! This is what I wore...

Before I left, I did the couch stretch for a total of 4 minutes on each side. Then I warmed up with a quarter mile walk.

I ran my "normal" neighborhood 5 mile route. I started off quite fast- I blame it on fresh legs. I reined it in and ran at what felt as a comfortable pace for the remaining miles.

During my run, I felt some mild "weirdness", but nothing crazy. No pulsating knees or IT band tightness. But it didn't feel perfect. I could tell I hadn't run in 2 weeks, that is for sure!

I cooled down with another quarter mile walk and 4 more minutes of the couch stretch.

This was what my Garmin said when I was done... quite normal for me. Glad to see I didn't lose any fitness!


It's good news, but it is also perplexing. During my time off from running, my leg felt all twerked up from walking and using the voodoo floss band. But I didn't voodoo today. Maybe that is why my knee wasn't pulsating?

As for the IT band... maybe the mobility work I have been doing is helping?

It seems to good to be true. Don't worry. I fully anticipate my left leg hurting tomorrow. I am not deluding myself. Today is probably a fluke....

You can call my a pessimist but I call myself a realist! How the heck has my leg been bothering me during all this time off while I was walking, doing mobility work, using the voodoo floss, etc....

Dang, I can't wait to talk to my chiro!!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

How to survive NOT running for 2 weeks.

You may or may not know I voluntarily decided to not run or do ANY cardio for 2 weeks!

Sound like something you could do?

It was definitely not fun. I was out of my comfort zone- BIG TIME.

This is what kept me sane...

1. I told people about my decision not to run. That way if I cheated, I would be held accountable.

2. I tried to eat a little healthier. When I'm running, I can get away with eating crackers/cheese/wine before dinner. I still did the crackers/cheese/wine thing, but only on the nights I craved it.

3. I planned out other creative workouts. If you have been reading my Weekly Workouts Re-Cap, you know that I still got a lot of fitness training in, even though I wasn't running or doing other cardio,

4. I lifted- A LOT! I discovered I can do 4 pull ups with a wide grip and 6 pull ups with a close grip. Woohoo!

5. For my walks, I stuck to my morning routine as much as possible. That meant using my Garmin, listening to pod casts, and all the other "routine" stuff I do when I run. It filled the void- a little bit!

Two surprising things I learned...

 1. Don't underestimate how tired walking will make you! One day, I walked 4 miles in the morning and 5 miles with a friend in the afternoon. I was exhausted- much like I am after a long run!

2. I enjoy my walks! I look forward to incorporating them into my weeks, even when I am running again!
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No questions! Just bookmark this page in case you ever need it for some motivation!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Weekend Wrap Up!

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What a snowy weekend! It totally went with my mood.
All I wanted to do was curl up and zone out...

I had a great workout at Planet Fitness!

My arms were shaking as I tried to apply my eyeliner.
That's how you know you had a good workout

After work, Paul and I didn't feel like doing anything. But we did need to go to the grocery store for chicken and cat litter. We always need chicken and cat litter! Well, Giant was CRAZY because it was supposed to snow all night long. I think it is funny. People in PA freak out when a snow storm is coming... but we get several snow storms a year! And I can't remember ever being snowed in for more than 1 day. (Oh by the way, on our drive home, we realized we forgot to get cat litter!!!!)

For dinner, we had a YUMMY frozen, rising crust pizza and... DIET MOUNTAIN DEW. I know, not the most nutritious dinner, but it was so good! We watched Vegas Vacation. Can you believe that movie is 18 years old!? Now I feel old...

I woke up to a beautiful winter wonderland...

Then I went for a long winter walk. When I got back, I was feeling blue. So after I did my stretching and mobility exercises, I laid in bed for two hours. My intention was to sleep, but of course my mind was racing, so I was unable to.

That evening, I went out for sushi with my friend Randy. We had a great time and chatted for over two hours! Sadly, there are no pictures from this event, so I will share an old picture of me and Randy...

Sunday morning was epic because I went for my first run in two weeks! I will write more about it in a few days, but just check out my pre-run excitement!!!!

Then we went to my brother and sister-in-law's house to play Hidden in Plain Sight... the most simple but extremely fun game I have ever played on the Xbox!

Paul brought his own gaming chair!

Ellie and I did a photo sesh.

I was able to incorporate the couch stretch into my afternoon of gaming!

Paul and I pretty much treated Sunday night as if it were a Saturday night. South Central PA was supposed to get a 24 hour snow storm resulting in 4-8 inches. I was convinced I would have at least a delay on Monday, if not a closure of school. We lived it up by eating brie and playing Jeopardy!

For dinner, I had a whole butternut squash... I had devoured most of it by the time I took this picture!

Ooh and during my final edit of this post, I just got the call that we have a delay on Monday! Woohoo! (I still have a feeling school will be closed...)
Have you ever played Hidden in Plain Sight?
Do people freak out (where you live) when it is supposed to snow?
Tell me something fun about your weekend!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

"Weekly" Workout Re-Cap!

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This was my second week of no running!
The first week sucked. I had a couple low days where I felt "fat" and bloated.
But I haven't cheated! Are you proud of me?

1/18- I went for a 4 mile walk in the morning by myself and then a 5 mile walk with my friend Bree in the afternoon. I was very tired after all that walking! I also of course did some mobility work. I skipped the glute activation for the first time in a week. Figured I'd give my ass a little bit of a rest!


Voodoo Floss Video Pt. 1 & Pt. 2

1/20- Super long walk before work!

1/21- 2 mile walk before work, then 2 mile walk at night- w/ Paul in the beautiful snow! It was gorgeous. We had an early dismissal, so when I got home, I did lots of mobility work and a couple upper body lifts. We were supposed to go to the gym but the roads were NOT good.

1/22- 2 mile walk and another chest and mobility workout- very similar to the one posted above!

1/23- Lifting back and mobility work at Planet Fitness!

1/24- Snowy 5 mile walk... and... you guessed it... mobility work.

I miss running but I do really enjoy my walks!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The F Word

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We're talking about the word FAT, people.

I have given up running and cardio (other than walking) for two weeks. I haven't cheated.

I feel fat.

First of all, feeling fat is different from saying, "I am fat." I know I am not fat. And I am not fishing for compliments, I swear to you I am not. Because for me, when I feel fat, it doesn't matter what anyone says. That feeling is still there.

Not running hasn't made me feel more energized. I feel bloated (running keeps me "regular"), slow, and unmotivated. My IT band hasn't hurt in quite awhile but my knee still pulsates. Not a fun feeling. I wish I knew what was wrong with it.

Technically, I am allowed to go for a run on Monday. But I am pretty sure I am going to hold off until I talk to my chiro again. I am toying around with the idea of just doing low impact stuff- like the arc trainer- for another two weeks. The arc trainer, while boring, still gives me the cardio high I so enjoy.

I wish my brain was past the whole feeling fat thing, but I don't know if it ever will be 100%. 

Do you ever "feel" fat? What triggers it and how do you get past it?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Ready to Run Book Review: Part 2 (Chapters 8-12)

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After being plagued by chronic IT band/knee issues, I finally went back to my chiropractor (who performs Active Release Therapy) in hopes of some relief. He recommended the book Ready to Run, by Dr. Kelly Starrett. I immediately bought it off Amazon and got to work reading it. I will provide you my review, thoughts, and anything else I have to say about the book as I am reading it. I have no clue what I will think of the book. All thoughts are my own and are in real time as I read through. 

No one is compensating me for this book review, and I spent my own $18 to buy it. (Okay, it was a gift card. Thank you piano student!!!!)

Chapter 8: Standard #5: Hip Flexion

The more researchers learn about running injuries, the more they learn that many injuries are caused by weak hips! Starrett says, "Developing and/or maintaining proper hip flexion contributes to the healthy hip function , which will enable you to run with good form and balance and channel power from your posterior chain."

Here is the video of me doing the hip flexion test!

Just like any standard in the book- just because you can reach it, doesn't mean you should ignore it. You should of course first address standards you are having trouble with, but also once a day do exercises to maintain the standards you can already reach.

Time Factor: Incorporate exercises into my mobility work- which has been 15-20 minutes a day for me. (Could be less once I feel strong again!)
Money: $0

Chapter 9: Standard #6: Hip Extension

This chapter sort of goes along with Chapter 8. Starrett says, "Taking care of your quads and hip flexors promotes healthy hip function and marginalizes the demonic forces that can torture your knees." Starrett really ingrains in the reader that you should: 1. Sit as little as possible. 2. Do the couch stretch every day.

What is the couch stretch? So glad you asked! This is me doing the couch stretch! I feel things I have never felt before when I do this!

Time Factor: I do this stretch at least twice a day- 2 minutes on each side.
Money: $0

Chapter 10: Standard #7: Ankle Range of Motion

I learned a lot about the Achilles tendon in this chapter! Did you know your Achilles is so tough that it could suspend a Ford Fiesta!? CRAZY. Starrett gives two tests to determine if you have proper ROM in your ankle.The first is the dorsiflexion test. You have to be able to get into a pistol position- a full-flexion single-leg squat.

Here is me trying to do this...

As you can see, I CAN'T! My heel is WAY off the ground on both sides!

The second test is a plantar flexion test. All you need to do is get in the kneeling position with your feet under your bum in full dorsiflexion. Here is me:

Yay! I can do it!

Apparently, reduced ankle range of motion the culprit for many nagging knee injuries. Looks like I am going to really have to work on mine...

Time Factor: I will have to include ankle ROM exercises in my mobility work so I can chase this standard.
Money: $0

Chapter 11: Standard #8: Warming Up and Cooling Down

I am ashamed of running for years without properly warming up or cooling down. Starrett recommends some easy ways to do each:

Warm Up: walking, air squats, jumping rope, mobility work, dynamic and non linear full body movements

Cool Down: walk, easy bike ride, rowing, body weight movements, mobility work

Time Factor: Anywhere between 10-20 minutes each, depending on the intensity of the workout. (The higher intensity of the workout, the more warming up and cooling down needed.)
Money: $0

Chapter 12: Standard #9: Compression

Starrett doesn't beat around the bush. Athletes should wear compression socks as they are an effective and budget friendly way to restore worked tissue after a tough workout. He talks more about compression in the chapter about hot spots, but here he is simply talking about compression socks, so I will wait until later to tell you all about the other fun compression I am doing...

Time Factor: Just the amount of time it takes to put on and take off socks. 30 seconds? I haven't worn them yet since I haven't run since I got them.
Money: $24 for compression socks (already purchased).

Do you have a favorite brand of compression socks?
How much time do you spend warming up and cooling down?
Can you do pistol squats? If so, I am jealous!