How to Recover Properly After a Race (published in Women’s Running Magazine)

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I hate to say it but it’s been awhile since my last post as Physiotherapy School has taken up most of my time but it’s time to get back to writing! So here we go…

A few months ago I was fortunate enough to get an article I wrote picked up by Women’s Running Magazine, here it is incase you missed it!

http://womensrunning.competitor.com/2015/05/health-wellness/how-to-recover-properly-after-a-race_40682

“There’s a secret race that most athletes neglect—the one that happens after you cross the finish line. That forgotten but tremendously important event is the “race to recovery.

Any athlete, recreational or elite, understands the importance of preparing for a race or run. In training you prepare for distance, hills and speed. You cross-train, stretch, taper and follow proper nutritional guidelines. You drink the right stuff, wear the right wicking, reflective and compression apparel and even swap in the right running shoe laces. But have you ever thought about what your body needs in order for you to fully recover and get you ready for the next event?

Regardless if that next event is a marathon, 5K or just getting back to walking around the office without two peg legs, the quicker and more you can recover, the better.

Here are some tips to help you win your next “race to recovery”:

1. Dine and Dash. Within 20 minutes of crossing that finish line, grab your medal and head over to bag check or the food tent and grab some grub. Your body has a window of opportunity to soak up the largest majority of the incoming nutrients. That food replenishes the stores that your body drained in order to fuel you through the race.

  • Dine: Aim for 10-20 grams of protein and a 3.5:1 carbohydrate-to-protein ratio.
  • Dash: Rehydrate and add a dash of salt for replenishment and water re-absorption.
  • Try: A small chocolate milk or crackers with avocado and a water bottle with a dash of salt.

2. Rock and Roll. Pull out your lacrosse balls and dollar-store bouncy balls–it’s time to rock and roll. Lets face it: No one likes stretching, but you need to do it. Even if you only take 3 to 5 minutes to stretch out the major muscle groups (quads, hip flexors, hamstrings, glutes, calves and pecs) it is better than nothing. You’ll thank yourself tomorrow.

  • Rock: Sit in a chair and place bouncy balls under the arches of your feet. Apply as much of your body weight as you can handle and start to roll the balls around under your feet. Think of it as a mini massage.
  • Roll: Place the lacrosse balls under the trouble spots that seize up and give us a post-race hobble. I recommend rolling out your pecs, piriformis, IT band and calves.
  • Try: Just make sure you don’t overdue it. Running places trauma on your muscles, and although they may feel tight, remember there are multiple micro tears throughout the fibers. Do a little bit on the first day and a bit more the next day, but listen to your body. Make sure you’re not doing more harm by aggressively rolling still-inflamed and aggravated tissues.

3. Float On. Throw a cup or two of Epson salt (aka magnesium sulfate) into your warm bath, or if you have the time and funds, take a trip to your local float house and let them do the thinking. All you have to do is relax.

  • Try: The DIY version is cheaper. There’s minimal science behind why it exactly helps alleviate sore muscles, but if all it does is give you an excuse for a warm bath, go for it!

4. Shelf the Shoes. Trade in those shoes for some barefoot yoga classes for a couple of days. Stretch out those muscles and focus on your core while you let those major running muscles repair.

  • Try: Classes are great, but they can be expensive. Search for a Groupon, Living Social or local ClassPass deal—or an even more affordable option is to download a recovery yoga session or podcast and do it at home. A recommendation for you: Blissology Project.

Read more at http://womensrunning.competitor.com/2015/05/health-wellness/how-to-recover-properly-after-a-race_40682#cgtyT4U4r3siAoVL.99″

Puppies and Babies and Bikers, Oh My!

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Spring has officially sprung on the calendar and  also on the Vancouver coastal running paths.  With a glimmer of sunshine today the optimistic heat worshipers of Vancouver emerged from their rainy cocoons and embraced the beautiful walkways and waterfront our city has to offer.  It felt like I was watching a scene from the Lion King where Simba is triumphantly displayed and announced to the animal citizens of the Sahara as the new royal baby.   As my feet carried my through Jericho beach along the seawall to the more popular kits beach I passed multiple couples having engagement photo’s taken, pregnant mothers having their growing bellies photographed, new dads fumbling with how to tuck their kids into their strollers, and puppies galore.  It was like everyone was out to debut their new baby or puppy and show them off to the rest of the walkers along the commonly used strolls. I think I fell in love 7 times today with various little fluffy puppies trying to eat their leashes.

Although it all felt a bit cliché out and about today, the cherry blossoms, puppies, babies, kids learning to ride two wheel bikes for the first time (and crashing and crying .. which I have to admit always makes me giggle as I have very personal memories of myself and my sisters struggling to ride a two wheeler and I think my parents wanting to kill us in the process) I must say Vancouver sure is purdy.  And happy! We’re notorious for being no fun, no smiles and definitely not a city where strangers say hi to each other.  While normally I would have to agree with this stereotype our city has, today was different today there was a sense of happy and joy and community.  Strangers talking and people saying hi, runners giving each other the “hi” hand up as we passed each other.  Maybe Vancouverites are normally so “unfriendly” because we are too focused on not getting stabbed in the eye from a passerby’s umbrella while avoiding the over the Hunter rainboot deep mud puddle blocking our path that we forgot to give a quick wave or hi to the people amongst us.  Maybe if we lived in a climate the encouraged light jackets and sunglasses we would be a friendlier bunch.

                                            Sidewalk Art imprinted in Kits – hidden gems

Run your race Run your pace

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A friend of mine recently joined a running group to train for an upcoming 10K.   She’s an active girl but up until now would not have included “runner” on her athletic resume.  When I asked her how the training was going I had to laugh when she said “well I thought I hated running but I’m actually having fun! I think I’m having more fun each weekly actually.”  I had to laugh when my response to her was “ya I hated running too a few years ago.”

Most people wouldn’t expect me to say that I hated running, but it’s the truth I absolutely hated it.  I would run as a means to an end.  I would run to stay fit for soccer, basketball or my other athletic pursuits but never because I enjoyed it.  I actually have vivid memories of dragging myself on a 20 minute run in the summer before training camp for soccer and literally thinking I was going to die the entire time, counting the seconds until the run would be over.  Teammates would drag me out and there would be a grimace on my face the entire time, it was never a pleasant experience. It felt awkward to me, running without a ball in front me or towards an opponent of any kind.    My pace was always rushed; my breathing heavy and the whole experience was uncomfortable.  Alternatively I could run 90 minutes during a soccer game without even batting an eye.   I would lose myself so much in the game that I wouldn’t notice how tired I was and heavy my legs felt, the game was the ultimate distraction.

When I look back now I can’t pinpoint an exact time or day when running became something I actually enjoyed doing but all I know is that suddenly I found myself excited to throw on some headphones, runners and just go out for an hour- me, my feet and the pavement.  There were incentives that drove me to that place of running enjoyment,  I would run with a friend and share the latest gossip or major life talks, run to a special bakery or coffee shop, or to catch the perfect sunset from a bridge, or just to catch up on my newly downloaded music without distractions.  The big difference was that I would run at whatever pace I wanted without feeling pressure to push myself to get “fit” for training camp. Overtime I found I didn’t rely on the distractions or incentives to get me through my run, and the pain of running had subsided.  As my personal pace became engrained into my muscles everything became more comfortable and all around fun.

This brings me back to my friends comment about how she hated running but now enjoys it. There comes a time when the body stops fighting and begins to ease into a natural running pace.  I think we all have a natural pace inside of us and over time if we can find, harness and accept that pace running becomes an enjoyable activity instead of a stressful and forced event.  There are so many stresses in life, really why should running be one of them? Run your own race run your own pace

Next Up: A Vacacation Run

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Although I definitely have the “travel bug”, Vancouver has always been my home base.  I grew up running on vacation in order to stay “soccer fit” but once my soccer days have subsided I started running for enjoyment, and some of my all time favourite runs have been on vacation.  I’ve realized that I’ve gotten to see some of the best places on all of my travel adventures by taking early morning runs.   From running I’ve found hidden alleys, and secret beach pathways that I would have never otherwise known existed.  I sheepishly admit that in retrospect not all of these little adventures have been my smartest or safest decisions (sorry mom!) but I definitely don’t regret them.

Highlights include morning runs along the Maui coastline finishing up at Kona coffee company (I hope to someday run the half or even full Maui marathon), through the twisted streets of San Paolo Brazil and olive orchards in Tuscany, Kensington Park and all about London, along the dusty highway in Cuba, through the morning market in El Salvador, as well as beaches in Mexico, Costa Rica, Tofino, all along the California coastline including Laguna Beach, Seattle and the city streets of Toronto and New York, just to name a few.

I’m pumped to have just registered for the Xterra Harvest 10K Trail Race held at St. Edward State Park in Seattle Washington on Oct. 12th.  This will be my very first trail race and I’ll be looking forward to having the more experienced trail racer, and part human part golden retriever, Elliott there to show me to ropes.  I figure that my eyes have already started training for this race by swallowing a multitude of fly’s and bugs on my past several runs.  Having your eyes spit out bugs several hours after a run is always exciting and very disgusting.  We’ve opted for the 10K version of this race after looking at the route and realizing that the 10K was a single loop of the park trails while the Half Marathon was 2 laps of the same route.  Personally I the running in circles and running the same course twice has zero appeal to me.  So the 10K, single lap it is.

We’re both excited for this run and we are joining it onto a pre-existing vacation to go down to Seattle to watch the Huskies vs. Oregon Ducks football game on Saturday and the Seahawks vs. Titans game on Sunday.  What a better way to kick off the Thanksgiving weekend then go for a trail run before tailgating and football watching.

Next Race: XTERRA Harvest Trail Race 10K

October 12th, 2013

St. Edward State Park, Seattle Washington

http://www.nwtrailruns.com/content/xterra-harvest-half-marathon-10k

AfterShock – Vancouver Scotiabank 1/2 2013

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Another one is officially done, dusted and in the books.  Van Scotiabank 1/2 2013 was a personally challenging day for me and I am happy to say I crossed the finish line on my own two feet, beating my personal best but unfortunately not reaching my target time for the race.

Looking around the starting carrell I realized these runners meant business…. two piece suits, no music, and an air of confidence that was undeniable.  The race gun went and we were off and flying, these guys were literally FLYING down the road and the remarkable part was they made it look so easy!  I struggled through some calf cramping and was able to hold a solid place at the 10K mark 41 mins… wait what? 41 minutes! I definitely was surprised not only at my faster then expected pace but also about how I was feeling, I felt great!  Well great may be an exaggeration but I felt like I could hold pace which meant I would definitely finish the race under my  goal time of 1:30… 8 minutes faster than I ran in 2012.  All was going well and I was coming into stride until the 13 K marker. The guy in front of me took a stumble and as I side stepped around him I pulled my right quad.  It immediately was painful, painful enough I seriously considered pulling out of the race,  but knowing I had killed myself through the first 13 K and I was over half way done on pace to meet my goal time I just couldn’t do it.  I had to keep going, in my mind I had no choice but to persevere even if I had to walk the finish   I was able to hold pace to see my parents at the 15 K marker an hour into the race but with just over 6 K to go I couldn’t hold pace.  Every step I took was excruciating and causing me to tense up my back and shoulders to try and take weight off that leg.  With no kick at the end I crossed the finish line and to my shock still was able to finish in 1:33.48.   As much as it just kills me that I was so close to my goal and didn’t succeed I’m still so happy to have been able to finish the race and beat my time from last year and still came 5th in my age category.

Thank you to my family, boyfriend and friends for all of the support I got both going into an during this race.  Knowing I had so many people behind me is what made it possible for me to mentally put the pain aside and push through.  That support and knowing I had an awesome waffles breakfast awaiting me after I crossed the finish line!Race Results 2013

Ps- the pictures below are slightly graphic… be forewarned! Post race feet… so pretty and feminine, poor Elliott!

blister IMG_1852

 

“Courage Without Fear”

It’s Scotia 2013 time!

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In just 12 hours I’ll be half way through the Scotiabank Vancouver 1/2 Marathon 2013 and if all goes to planned I should be coming up to kits ready to tear up the burrard street bridge and cruise into the home stretch. Cruise and stumble may be one in the same by this point in the race though.

My playlist is set and after several weeks of playing around to find what songs will do the trick to keep me moving and motivated this year there is a nice little selection of everything.  And I mean everything… we kick the musical features off with a handful of Disney classics like the Lion Kings- I just can’t wait to be King, before switching into some Lupe Fiasco, Eminem and of course Michael Buble and Luke Bryan.  All I can say is the people running near me in the morning will be continuously surprised at the lovely selection of tunes coming out of my ear buds.

I “Ran the Spit” yesterday in Campbell river as a kick off event for National Aboriginal Day, but more on that and the RUSH-2013 results another time as they both deserve more than a passing mention in this post.  As of yesterday I was happy with my pace-check at the 5K (which I ended up running almost 3 times at various speeds), so all looks good for tomorrow… except I completely lost a toenail tonight.. nail bed and all.. gotta love the joys of running!  I thought the toenail suicide would end after I stopped playing soccer but apparently not!

I’m excited to be able to write an update at this time tomorrow night with hopefully positive results!

  • Playlist set
  • Bib picked up and pinned
  • Eating like a monster
  • Drinking water like it’s my job
  • Motivational words picked
  • Relaxing movie night happening
  • Purple shirt and purple shoes laid out
  • Stomach in my throat because of nerves

Looks like its pre-race night!

 

 

Running with the Elites…ready, set, panic!

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elite entry

Apparently it’s time to get serious, and get seriously training!  I got a little surprise last week when I received notification that I had been accepted into the Scotiabank Vancouver half marathon Elite Category.

Needless to say I am now so nervous!  Having never registereed for a half marathon more than a week ahead of the event before this year I’m hoping having more time to create a training strategy will help me not embarrass myself amongst the group of runners I’ve been placed in. I applied for the elite category after talking with a coworker who handles the elite category in the local marathon.  Once I found out that I technically could qualify for the Elite category in this years Scotiabank 1/2 based on my results in the race last year and my times I figured I may as well apply… the big perk was free entry.  After going out on a limb and applying, I wasn’t expecting to actually get accepted .  When I found out I actually got accepted my initial (and current) thought is ..”Oh My God What Have I Done?!”  I’m getting over my initial shock and logging some longer runs 17-20K  at least 1-2 times per week mixed in with cross training in the gym and getting my fast twitch fibers ready by doing power and speed work to help my kick   on hills.  I used to just do the half marathon for personal satisfaction, it was never a “race” for me… until last year’s race package pick up. The worker handed me the bib and said “good luck in the race.” Suddenly my competitive side kicked in and the  fun little personal challenge Run Turned Into A Race.  I knew I was only racing myself and trying to beat my best time and that’s the mantra I am carrying with me this year… Yes it’s a race but it’s only a race against myself.  Beating my personal best is winning to me.

LIST OF RUNS UPDATE:

  1. The Sun Run: 10K Complete- 42:54
  2. Haida Gwaii Unity Run: 10K Complete
  3. Cranbrook Community Run: 10K Complete
  4. Rush Vancouver Scavenger hunt: June 15th Benefiting the BC Lung Association.  To donate click here :https://www.kintera.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=1031980&supId=381692207
  5. Scotiabank Vancouver 1/2 Marathon: 13.1 Miles June 23rd
  6. CIBC Run for the Cure: 5K Oct. 6th
  7. Night Race Vancouver: 10K Nov. 2nd
  8. Disneyland Tinkerbell 1/2 Marathon: 13.1 Miles Jan 20th in LA

Still need to fill a few run spots!  Going on the hunt for some fun runs the quirkier the better! The list is always evolving as I didn’t get to participate in a few of the runs that I had planned on doing because it was more important for my work team and I to work throughout the course manning registration, timing, water stations and giving runners encouragement!