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″

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Crowning Canada’s New Marathon Princess

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While working at the BMO International Vancouver Marathon last weekend I was witness to the crowning of Canada’s new Marathon Princess.  The indescribable, but so recognizable, emotion of relief and euphoria swept across young Kim Doerkson’s face as she stepped across the BMO Finish line at an outstanding time of 2:43:04. I was lucky enough to be working with the elite awards team over the weekend and was right there to see Kim cross the finish line.  Just as she strived to be she was right up with the boys, man she was flying on Sunday!

Not only did Kim burst onto the scene she did it in style under some awful conditions.  Being in May the BMO is usually a warm(ish) typical Vancouver springtime race. Last year I actually burnt my legs while cheering on runners along the Kit’s beach corridor.  This year I wore a polar fleece, under armour top and mittens as I huddled under my BMO rain jacket (Saucony provided team captains with gear this year and I must say that rain jacket is fabulous! I will be keeping my eye out to pick up another one because the cut allows movement while keeping you dry and warm.) .  Needless to say at my 6am call time downtown I was oh so thankful that I was Volunteering on that particular day and not running 43 soaking soppy Km (although beautiful).

All of the elites were the most humble, warm and genuine group of athletes I have ever met.  Not one ego stood to as a thorn and all the athletes shared what appeared to be a sense of camaraderie.  Each athlete competing obviously with each other but more so with themselves, all working towards doing the very best they can do on that day instead of focusing on specifically beating someone else.  That’s something you definitely don’t see in all sports.  Legendary UCLA Basketball coach John Wooden would have been proud of the elites competing at this year’s BMO.  Wooden has said multiple times that he always tried to teach his athlete’s that success is determined against yourself, doing the best you can do and being the best you can be. Wooden also felt that when the game was over he shouldn’t be able to tell which players had won or lost from their body language because each person should feel proud for doing the best they could do.  Last Sunday each athlete won, each athlete that crossed that finish line and struggled through the natural elements for 43 gruelling kilometres is a winner in my eyes.  Whether it took them 2 hours and change or 5 hours and pain I am proud of them and proud of this city I call home for supporting them.

#StunningRunning

#BMO 2014

#RunVan

 

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

Stark Juxtapositions

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Isn’t it strange that sometimes to see the true beauty in a scene you need to appreciate its direct opposite?

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After feeling uber lazy last Monday morning- Canadian Remembrance Day- I donned my cold weather gear and headed out for a run.  I had no plan or intention on where I was going or for how long, I just knew I wanted to get outside and fill my lungs to clear my head.  90 minutes and 20km later I was back home and couldn’t believe how quickly the time had flown by.  The day and scenery of Stanley Park propelled me to go further than originally anticipated.   There were so many instances where I wished that I were walking with my camera to capture the moments happening around me.  In these moments I realized that the most strikingly beautiful things I was seeing were paired with the ordinary. 

 

There was a constant flow and activity on the ocean, paddle boarders coaxing their way into the cold waters, birds flapping and cyclists whizzing by me.  That all stopped in an instant when the cannon from the Remembrance Day Ceremony sounded.  After the cannon a distinct calm spread over the water, so much calm and stillness that even the birds looked fake as they bobbed there- seemingly scared to make any ripples in the ocean.  The sounds of the chatter of a downtown city centre ceased for a moment.  It felt like someone pressed mute in the middle of a live concert.

 

Then as I waved to a fellow jogger coming around Lost Lagoon I saw the vivid white of a Swan against a dark figure on the nearby bench.  It was a man in a dark large coat who appeared to be sleeping and the swan was curled up  so close that it was almost touching him.  It was as if they were keeping each other company- two lone entities surround by a city that was full of life and commotion that day.

 

It was the image of the swan and the man that struck me as strangely beautiful and made me think about the juxtapositions that surround us daily.  For instance I like to run alone because I enjoy the quiet and the time to let my mind wander but at the same time I always have my headphones in love listening to music when I run.  Listening to music lets me do my best thinking- it is as if filling my ears with other people words can help me make sense of my own thoughts.  Or that athletes get satisfaction out of knowing they worked hard by feeling the pain and the pleasure of the post exercise endorphin kick along with the aching muscles in the bodies?  

Running Shoes and Fairy Wings

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Run.Sweat.Sparkle

I AM SO EXCITED to announce the launch of Run.Sweat.Sparkle – 3 girls and our journey to Disneyland for the Tinkerbell Half Marathon and our goal of raising $10,000 towards BC Children’s Hospital Foundation

Check it out!

www.blondeswithwands.wordpress.com 

A Winning Weekend

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A winning weekend

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Elliott and I embarked on our whirlwind sports trip to Seattle during the Thanksgiving long weekend.  Along with going to watch the UW Huskies Football Game vs rivals Oregon, as well as the Seattle Seahawks Game vs the Titans (Yes I will take all the girlfriend points I can get for thinking up this weekend), I registered us for the Xterra Harvest 10K at St. Edward State Park.   This was a full-blown trail race and needless to say I was beyond nervous, as I had never run a trail race before.  I knew this race was going to be right in Elliott’s wheelhouse but I wasn’t so sure I could keep up… Especially in my traction-less Nike Free’s as I look around at all of the intense water belts and trail runners that all the other runners are wearing. But before I could process what was going on off we went into the trails. I think the fact that I was freezing my toosh off propelled me through the first half of the run fairly smoothly.

 

 Halfway through I made the minor error of stopping- I saw some kids hanging out after a running workout and mistakenly thought that they were part of the race.  Not until I actually looked at them standing beside me and realizing that they were about 12 years old did I realize my error.  So off I went again, down the hill, up the hill, down the hill, sliding down the hill and slowly dragging my butt back up the hill, falling spiderman style down the hill and wait what I am passing people going up a hill now (Thanks for the forced hill workouts Lauren I owe you!).  I see two girls in my sights and I know if I can tail them up the hill and gain some ground that I can put up a chase on the flats.  So I start singing myself my uphill mantra “don’t stop now, use your butt, engage your thighs”, and sure enough I passed the first girl and was coming within steps of the second girl that I could see.  I realized we were about .5K away from the finish and I started to gun it and couldn’t have been happier to see my boy cheering me into the finish line!  The confusion came when the race director came up to congratulate me.. I had come 3rd overall and won the female division and I had no idea! I thought that there were for sure a few more people in front of me so I was elated.  And I was even more elated to find out that Elliott had won the Entire race!  What a surprising and phenomenal way to start the weekend!  We had a great time eating and drinking our way through Seattle and watching some awesome football for the rest of the weekend!

 

Biggest lessons learned:

  1. I have come to realize that the post / during run treats at trail races is 1000% better than large scale organized road races.  Homemade goodies, chocolate cake and Chilli, hellllloooo goodness!
  2. Trails are single file so only pass when there’s room– no pushing other runners off the cliffs
  3. I should probably get some better trail shoes
  4. I should most likely start doing some more hill runs – ughhhhhhhhh

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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