Stilettos? Nah, Sneakers all the way

It’s that time of training again. I’m really excited about running the marathon.

That puts me in an overzealous buying mood and I want all-things-running.

Remember how I said I need new shoes? I went to Fleet Feet Winston-Salem last week after work and had a great fitting by a guy named Thomas. He was so helpful!

I’ve had my eyes on the Brooks Pure Project shoes since they came out last fall. Screen Shot 2012 07 16 at 7 39 08 PM
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Once I saw this post from Janae who got to visit Brooks headquarters, I was really intrigued and wanted to go in for a fitting. I realize it was a sponsored post, but I’ve heard great reviews from other runners as well. (P.S. Janae is one of my favorite runner/healthy living bloggers to follow!)

I have my heart set on the Flows or the Cadence. They’re basically the same shoe except different price points because the Cadence has more “bells and whistles,” so says the guy from Fleet Feet.

I was kind of bummed when I was talking to Thomas about the shoes because he told me it’s not a shoe you can just go out and run all of your training runs in right away. Since they’re considered minimalist shoes, you have to start out slow, going only one to a few miles at once. He said it can take up to 4-6 months to fully transition depending on how you currently run. He’s currently transitioning and he’s on month 2. Marathoner and all.

Apparently he’s seen injuries ranging from sprained muscles to stress fractures because people are too quick to up their mileage in them. One mention of the word injury and you’ve got my full, undivided attention.

I didn’t leave with the shoes.

My current running shoe is Brooks’ Ravenna 2. In February they came out with the 3 and like the saying goes, “if it’s not broken don’t fix it.”  I think since they’ve been such a good shoe for me during PT and after, I’m going to stick with these.


(Ravenna 2)

Except I’m probably going to upgrade to the 3’s for a few updates.


(Ravenna 3)

There’s actually another shoe I want for my long runs that Thomas suggested, but I’m not sure I need to buy 3 pairs of shoes at once. (You’re welcome, Brandon!)

In reality, my current Ravenna’s could last me a few more weeks, so that will give me some time to decide for sure what I’m going to do.

In other running news wants, now that I’ve fallen in love with The Grid as my foam roller, I really want The Stick.

I bought the grid as my travel foam roller for the NYC Half Marathon because it would easily fit on my carry on. I liked it, but it was a big step up in density (more firm) from the previous foam roller I used and took some getting used to. Now I love it and can’t get enough, the ridges on it make it hurt so good.


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I mainly want the stick because I can use it at work on my quads.


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I tend to feel the majority of my soreness there, especially the day after a hard run. Plus, it comes in travel size so I can take it on road trips to “destination” races.

Does anyone have The Stick and like it?
What running needs/wants to you have?

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Pretty Perfect Week

As far as I’m concerned, this past week was pretty freakin’ amazing.

Did I ever show you my new Brooks Ravenna 2 running shoes?

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Love them more so than the Ghost 4’s or Adrenaline’s. Highly recommend them.

I ran Monday for 4 miles (furthest since the marathon) without ANY pain the next day. I’ve never really had pain during my runs since I began running again in January, but the day after is always my tell-tale sign of my progress, so it was encouraging to be pain-free the following day.

I have a new routine when I run starting with a dynamic warm-up my PT taught me. (Here is one similar from Runner’s World.) This helps warm up my muscles before they have to do so much work.

After I run, now I do a series of static stretches, shower, foam roll, and ice my hip for 15-20 minutes. Then I normally pull on my compression socks to help speed recovery.

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I also normally sleep in them, I just love the way compression feels!

So far, this routine has really worked for me and I’m loving how it’s enabling me to run again.

Ever since I began PT I’ve been making gains, but 2 weeks ago when I started going twice/week I feel like I’ve really gained traction. When Justin (my PT) pinpointed my pain last week from the treadmill, and during manual manipulation, that was my last run on the thing. Since then I’ve run outside and haven’t had any pain.

Huge milestone for me.

Huge confidence booster.

Wednesday I ran 4.83 miles and it felt amazing. It was a little late after I got out of work so the majority of the run was in the dark, but I have my trusty nightlife running shirts to make me be seen.

That run was the most fun I’d had since the marathon with running. I felt so strong and free to be running so far. I also had no pain the following day.

Thursday I went to PT and we did more strengthening exercises. I’m working on balancing exercises too to recruit and strengthen my accessory muscles that support my powerhouse muscles when I run.

Justin told me it’s time to try running two days in a row now since we’re 4 weeks out from the NYC Half Marathon. Up to this point I’ve been running every other day. My instructions: I was to run 2 days in a row over the weekend, with the first day being the longest of the two runs. Saturday I pulled out a 6-miler on a beautiful 60 degree, sunny day. So perfect.

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The dreaded mile two. I always make up for my zealous mile 1 start.

That run felt great and I had a little pain last night, but nothing like I used to have. I iced twice last night and felt fine this morning.

Today, I ran 2 miles in the snow! It was my first run ever in the snow and it was actually really fun. It had been raining all day so when it turned to snow I thought this would be my best chance of the day to get a run in.

Before my run today:

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After my run today:

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My first run in my new running jacket, too! Fleet Feet had a winter blowout sale on Friday and I snatched this beauty up. I love it!

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Very good at keeping me dry.

Speaking of all this running gear, I got a new foam roller!

I knew I wouldn’t be able to bring my first foam roller with me to NYC..

It’s a bit..huge and wouldn’t fit in my carry-on luggage.

So I was on a mission to find a travel-friendly foam roller and have had this one in mind since fall. The Grid.

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There are different textures on this foam roller vs. my original foam roller which I was skeptical about. The squares are supposed to feel like fingers, the longer ridges are tubular feeling, and the flat feel more palm-like.photo (34)

As you can see, it’s hollow, so I can stuff socks and other running stuff inside and still have room for other necessities in my luggage. It’s also only 18” long.

So far I love it. I can actually tell a difference in the amount of pressure and it gives me a little deeper of a massage when I use the fingertip areas to get into those really tight areas that need worked out.

This upcoming week is my 6th week of physical therapy and is supposed to be my last. I may stretch it out another week or two and I’ll definitely come back after the half marathon in case I have any pain so he can work that out for me.

I cannot recommend a good physical therapist enough! I was definitely skeptical after not seeing any major progress for the first 2-3 weeks but then it’s like it all clicked for me. My PT is also a runner, so he gets it.

In less than a month, I’ll be running the NYC Half. I really believe I will be able to run it. Maybe I’ll have to run/walk it and that’s fine if I do, but I’m getting pretty excited about the possibility of running the entire thing.

Did you know there will be members of the USA Olympic Marathon team running this race? I SO hope to see Kara Goucher and Desiree Davila. Two of my role models. 20-something’s are still allowed to have role models, right?

Here’s to another positive week ahead!

Physical Therapy Day1

How’s your week going?

As I mentioned on Tuesday, yesterday was my first physical therapy appointment. I’ve been excited since I made the appointment last week and I wasn’t disappointed.

I was evaluated and treated by Justin, my physical therapist. He seemed very knowledgeable and I feel confident in his treatment plan.

We first talked about my history with how I got the injury (or how I think I got it since I honestly have no idea). I went into a lot of detail about my training for the marathon, when and why I switched my shoes (from a supportive shoe to a neutral shoe), how I didn’t feel any major pain other than what I guessed was “normal marathon pain” after running for 4+ hours at a 9:30 mile pace during the marathon. We talked about what the pain has been like since the marathon, when it flares up, what kind of activity am I doing when it flares up, and how I’ve been coping.

Whew.

To start, he had me run on the treadmill for about 5 minutes while he recorded my feet up-close from behind, my entire body from behind, and my entire body from the side. This helped him see how/where I was landing on my feet, how my hips were landing, their positioning during my strides, and also a general sense of how my running efficiency was.

A+ on the running efficiency; could’ve told you that. 😉 Being an efficient runner means you’re not flailing your arms expending extra energy or bobbing up and down too high. This helps you conserve energy and oxygen for more efficient delivery of oxygen to your muscles and less wasted energy on your arms or too much up and down movement vs. propelling yourself forward. When you look at elite runners (I’m by no means claiming that I’m elite..), they don’t have that up and down bounce that some novice runners may have. Here’s what it looks like:

Efficient runner: Arms tight to the body, propelling forward, head in a pretty even straight line.

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Non-Efficient Runner (brought to you by Beth’s artistic talent and Microsoft Paint): Uses energy to move up instead of forward, creating a bounce-like run.

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If you’ve never seen this episode of Friends where Phoebe and Rachel run in Central Park, it’s the epitome of non-efficient running. Although I hope none of you actually run like that. Haha

Back to the PT appointment.

The PT noticed my left foot rolls inward a little bit during my landing; something my neutral shoe is not helping with in terms of support. Before I switched shoes I was wearing Brooks Adrenalines but those, he said, are a little too much support than what I need. He instead suggested a mid-line support shoe like Brooks Ravenna (my favorite brand’s version of this line of support). He even wrote me a cute little “prescription” for new shoes to take to my running store. Discount, perhaps?

He also noticed my right hip drops when I land on my left foot. He said this could definitely indicate a sign of hip weakness. With that, he gave me three different exercises to do at home in between my appointments to help strengthen my hips.

I asked him if my left hip was trying to overcompensate for my right hip weakness, even though both hips are weak, and he said it was a definite possibility. So, more exercising for me!

Wanna hear the best news? (Besides an excuse to get new running shoes..)

He said I could run! Since my 2 mile runs didn’t really bother me last week in terms of pain, he said I might as well continue to run. I told him about the NYC Half Marathon and he said it seems pretty do-able.

He wants me to start running just for time instead of distance for now. 10 minutes the first couple of runs, then we can increase it. As long as I don’t run back-to-back days, I can run as many times a week that I want. He also said that since I’d tried not running on it or doing anything for the month of December, it’s probably better that I run on it anyway since we know resting didn’t help it. He also confirmed that running will act as more of a strengthening exercise. Music to my ears!

I’m hoping I’ll get to the running store and try on a pair of new running shoes this week or early next week. It feels too soon to get new shoes since I just got the Brooks Ghost 4’s in October and barely put any miles on them, but if it’ll help me run pain-free, I’ll do anything. (Buyers Note: My PT said Brooks is an excellent running shoe; just be sure to get fitted at your local running store or by a PT to know what kind of support/non-support shoe is best for your running style.)

I go back to PT next Wednesday and every week after that until the end of February. Let’s see what we can do!

Have you ever had physical therapy? Did it help your injury/rehabilitation?