Sunday, December 12, 2010

Ask the Doc

Hi ~ I just started running 1 month ago. Should I take glucosamine or anything else for injury prevention?  Also, it there a powder/drink mix you recommened, as well as a certain gel, for the longer runs? Thx ! g

First off, good for you! It’s always exciting to hear about someone taking the first steps towards fitness.
Secondly, I don’t really know about Glucosamine…other than my general perception that it comes free with a prescription of Viagra for 60 something retired overweight dudes who eat lunch at the costco food court, and golf with their buddies between acting as general managers for their fantasy football teams, and camping out on the couch for endless hours of Mad Money with Kramer. I did do a quick google search and did not come up with anything immediately reinforcing the fact that Glucosamine has the ability to stave off injury. The information that I came across tended to point to the fact that it has the potential to alleviate joint pain; what that joint pain stems from is entirely subjective and in most cases seems to be linked to arthritis…which is hopefully not something that you struggle with.
I hesitate to suggest to anyone that they should consider “taking” something. At the most I am growing in my notion that one might consider taking a Vitamin D supplement, and some Omega 3 supplements to maintain OVERALL health and to help round out the parts of our diets that may be lacking. I have been known to occasionally take some NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs—advil, ibuprofen) on occasion as I am going about healing an injury, but rarely do I continue using them past a few days. The absolute best ways to stave off injury are as follows (taken from here):
Include rest days into your training plan by taking a complete break from training both physically and mentally. Get off your feet, rest your mind, rest your body for the day. I recommend training no more than two weeks consecutively without resting. Novice and/or masters athletes may require “off” days more frequently. Recovery weeks, typically less hours spent exercising or less miles trained, should be included every third to fifth week. Recovery days, easy non-intense training, should follow hard training days.
There are a number of ways to incorporate recovery into your routine. Biofoam rollers and massage sticks help sore, achy or stiff muscles recover from exercise. Watching movies, spending time with family, reading, listening to music or socializing with friends can all be effective relaxation strategies that allow you to disassociate from physical exercise and reduce tension while developing positive mood states of happiness and calmness.
Essential for physiological growth and repair, routinely physically active individuals are encouraged to aspire for 8 to 9.5 hours of sleep each night. Cardiovascular performance can be compromised by up to 20 percent with sleep deprivation while reducing reaction time, the ability to process information and emotional stability. Naps are always icing on the cake.
The goal of post-exercise nutrition is to restore muscle and liver glycogen stores, improve hydration and repair muscle tissue. You should eat 15 to 30 minutes after exercise, preferably as soon as possible, when the muscles are most receptive to fuel. Muscle replenishment and tissue repair can be accelerated if you combine carbohydrates and protein together in a ratio of 4 to 1.
Weigh yourself before and after exhaustive exercise to determine how much water you lost. Stay hydrated by consuming at least 24 ounces per pound of body weight lost within six hours after exercise. Performance begins to decrease after only a two percent loss in body water. Include electrolytes to eliminate the risk of hyponatremia if engaging in activity for more than four hours.
A proper warmup is a key component to preparing the body for the demands of any training session or competition. Developing a pre-race warmup is unique to each individual. Performing a warmup will elevate heart rate, VO2, and increase blood flow to the connective tissue and local muscles to be trained. This in turn will raise muscle temperature and help decrease joint and muscle stiffness, therefore improving range of motion. Warm-up periods of five to 15 minutes are recommended with the effects lasting up to 45 minutes. After 45 minutes of inactivity, re-warming may be needed. On the other side of the coin, the recovery process and preparation for the next day’s training begins with a proper cooldown. Low-intensity aerobic exercise, such as aquatic-based training, light jogging or cycling, are effective cooldown activities for clearing lactic acid and lessening the severity of muscle soreness.
Strength training is essential for preparing the body for the rigors of training and racing. It facilitates bone health and enhances injury resistance, including factors that contribute to overuse injuries. It can help bridge the metabolic power gap between swimming, biking and running by boosting lactate tolerance, as well as assist with delaying fatigue.
Correct equipment minimizes unwanted stress. A bike should fit you, not you fit the bike. Cycling posture and position is individualistic for maximizing aerodynamics, power, efficiency and comfort while minimizing injury potential and discomfort. Running shoes should fit your gait pattern. The road will wear your shoes faster than running on trails. How to know if it’s time for a new pair? New shoes may be in order if the grooves on the outsoles are worn smooth, or the upper appears stretched causing the foot to slide off the midsole. Note that midsole foam may take up to 24 hours to recover from a run, so training with a second pair of running shoes may provide more protection for your body.
Increase annual training hours, or training volume, by ten percent or less. For example, if you ran 20 miles this week, your total mileage next week should not exceed 22 miles. If you are training according to time, for example, and your triathlon program called for 15 hours of training this week, it’s recommended training hours not exceed 16.5 hours the next week.
The last one, the 10% rule is a huge…being that you are just starting out you may not be facing the temptation to go out and really abuse your body, but nonetheless it is an important factor in reducing injury. Another thing that is not mentioned above but is something that I tell just about everyone who is embarking on a newfound desire to improve their health/fitness is to go hike. Hiking (especially over relatively exhaustive terrain) is great on many levels, in fact I have read articles about the Chinese Olympic marathon team spending time early in their season hiking with heavily laden packs in order to build aerobic fitness, strengthen supporting muscles, strengthen tendons, as well as ligaments and connective tissue all as a means to reduce injury and increase potential for performance and reduce potential for injury once they move into the subsequent phases of their training cycle.
Regarding drink mixes and gel’s…I like to use Hammer Nutrition Products, but it really mostly comes down to what flavors are available…most all of them are built around the same components—sugar (usually in the form of maltodextrine, or fructose) and electrolytes. I would recommend (especially if you live in the San Luis Obispo area) to just go into Running Warehouse ( ) and ask for Trevor or Eric (tell them Brandon sent you in) and ask what they recommend and why…then tell them you want the RunningGrrl Team discount!
-Run ‘till it’s fun!

Website Update

Hello ladies!  
As you may have noticed we've added an "Ask the Doc" section to the website.  It pops up as a form where you can enter your questions, and we will get back to you with the Doc's response.  It is noted that our Doc is not an actual physician, but an experienced runner lending knowledge to help our team.  We will be posting those questions and responses over here on the blogspot blog. 
The website is a continuous project.  We've been finding out what works and what doesn't, what we want changed and what we don't.  We want to use both the blog on the website and the blog here.  We have both and would like to utilize both.  We're just still a little unsure of how it all is going to work, and the only way to find out is to try.
So I ask you to please be patient with me!  I like for things to be perfect, so there may be a lot of changes.  =)

Thank you!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mud Mash 2010

I don't know where I found out about this run.  I think Brownie Got Back posted a link to someone's wall on FB, and I caught wind of it.  I had always wanted to do an obstacle course thing like they do in the Army or Marines, whichever it is, but I never wanted to do it with some really big, mean, strong guy yelling at me.  This was perfect!

I even wore my army tee with face paint.  It seemed fitting.  There was a costume contest, but I didn't stay around for that.  The judging was post-race, which I thought kinda sucked considering most people's outfits were soaked and covered with mud by that point.  Michelle was the Notorious P.I.G., which was super cute.  Lisa was Juno, but couldn't run with a towel baby.  That definitely would have weighed her down coming out of the lake!

Lisa and I had no idea what to expect.  At the registration table there was a map of the course.  After seeing that I got a little freaked out, not gonna lie.  I was thinking "What the hell did I just get myself into?!"  Do we look a little terrified?

The first obstacle was a 60 yard water walk.  Here the water only went about waste deep.

Next was a 100 ft. long rope crawl through the lake.  Here the water was deeper.  Michelle went hardcore and totally went for it!

Climbing out of the water, you can see it was about chest high.  And it was cold!

After the rope crawl, there was a swamp walk.  Thank goodness we duct taped our shoes to our feet!  The mud nearly went to my knees, and the water nearly went to my neck.  I was half treading water/swimming to get out of that quick!  After coming out of the water there was like a reed tunnel that we went though.  I thought that was pretty fun.  The only complaint I have about that is it was 1 person wide.  The ladies in front of us were walking it, so we had to walk it too.  Sure, it would have been kind of hard to run through, but I was a little discouraged that someone else was setting my pace.

Then there was a 5 ft wall to climb over, which was actually taking us over a fence.  Then a few over/unders.  Spikes on top to make you go under, or spikes on the bottom to make you go over.  After  that you came to the cargo net wall.  When Lisa an I reached it there were a line of people waiting to cross over.  This is the only obstacle we went around.  I didn't have the patience to wait, because shortly after was another obstacle that we would have had to wait at too.  I just wanted to keep moving.

That next obstacle you reached was the 12 ft rope wall.  I had never done something like this, so I was really hoping I had the upper body strength to pull me up.  The rope was kinda slippery, but I just kept my momentum going and made it over without any problems.

After this was the mountain or as Michelle dubbed it "the hill from Hell."  It really was.  They had hay bales you had to climb over going up hill.  Torture, I tell you.  I mean, this hill was steep, and muddy, and rocky, and never ending, and did I mention steep?  There was a bag piper perched on a hilltop in the distance.

I found it to be such a fitting instrument to be played while walking (because I couldn't run anymore) up this mountain.  I told Lisa "It sounds like he's playing my death march."  Because by the time I was half way up and saw how much more I had to go, I totally felt that way.  I mean, look how big this thing was....

Can you see the little runners at the bottom right corner?  We had to run around to the left side of the picture and then up the side of the mountain to the top of the picture.  And this is only a picture of half the mountain!  The elevation of the mountain was 568 ft.  The terrain was really rocky.  I kind of jogged down, but didn't want to go to fast.  I'm pretty sure I would have been the one to totally eat it.  Can you see the runners coming down?

The mud pit was by far the funnest part.  I wish there was a group of us that went in and did it together.  Some teams were taking each other out, pushing and throwing mud at each other.  I could just picture us RGs getting feisty!  How much fun would that have been?

Coming out of the mud pit, I was so exited.  I thought I was done!  Until....

I'm pretty sure as I ran up I said "Are you freaking kidding me??"  The guy laughed and bumped me around a little.  I was not prepared to be confronted by strong, cute, muscular, shirtless men!  I mean....look at me.

Okay...maybe it's not that bad.  My clothes were soaked, my feet were sore, and mud was everywhere!  But I had an absolute blast and can't wait to to it gain next year!  I just hope more Running Grrrls come out.  It would have been much  more fun with a team.

This was the first annual Mud Mash event.  The organizers only expected about 200 people and over 400 actually showed up to race.  They were beyond pleased with the turnout.  Proceeds went to the Special Olympics.  

Oh, and I wanted to say thanks to Michelle, because I stole a lot of her pictures!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

City to the Sea!

What is it about race day mornings that are so exciting?  I didn't even run, and I was way pumped to be there.  Tons of people about to achieve something great.  Families and friends cheering and showing their support.  You can just feel the excitement, nerves, and adrenaline in the air.  I'm telling you, it's contagious.

My favorite part of races (besides the finish) is the start.  When everyone is piled behind the start line, jumping in place, doing a last minute stretch, taking that one last deep breath.  When there's like a minute till race time, and everyone is screaming and cheering and clapping.  And then, the take off....

When Lealah and I met up with you guys again at the 5 miles marker, you guys looked great!  You all looked like you could easily take on another 8 miles.  There were smiles are your faces, all still showing energy and enthusiasm.  This was what you had been training for, and it showed.

First to come through was Holly and her main man.

Then Jess and Erin...



And Cheryl.

Here Michelle comes....

And there Michelle goes.

Before I could even prepare for Drea coming, she was going!

Go Amy!

We were so excited to see Monse (I hope I spelled that right) and Jess come through.

Lealah, our dedicated cheerleader rolled up her poster and used it as a megaphone to cheer them in.

And my favorite part of this picture, is the look on that guys face as he was running by.

I tried so hard to get everyone's pictures as they came through the finish line.  Unfortunately, I didn't get everyone's.  I know some of you are probably going to be embarrassed by your post race appearance, but I figure the pictures are small enough that you can't see details.  So don't hate me!  =)  You all look pretty good for for racing 13 miles during a scorcher!

I'm gonna tell you guys the truth.  Even before I encountered this injury, I was really hesitant about training for a half marathon.  The idea alone scared the crap out of me.  It wasn't just the fact that I would be running 13.1 miles, but from San Luis to Shell Beach.  I mean, sometimes the drive alone seems really far!

Today, you all inspired me.  Like Lealah always says "Running is 10% physical, and 90% mental." I've come to totally believe the statement.  I was freaking out about this half marathon months ago.  The commitment to train seemed way out of my league.  I just did not feel ready.  Then I got injured and didn't have a choice.  I wasn't gonna be able to do it, like it or not, ready or not.

I am so proud of each and everyone of you.  You trained hard.  You believed in yourselves.  You overcame those voices in your head questioning your ability.  You are now amongst the (I believe) less than 2% of people who can say they ran and completed a half marathon.  


"The miracle isn't that I finished.  The miracle is that I had the courage to start."
-John Bingham, running speaker and writer

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


I've been sitting here for at least 20 minutes trying to figure out the best way I want to start this post. Honestly, I think the title says it all. You, the women of Running Grrrl, never cease to amaze me. I am so proud to be apart of this group and amongst women who inspire me.

After Sundays event, I couldn't even put into words what I felt.  Which I almost feel kind of silly for saying, because I didn't even do half the leg work!  It was the success of the event as a whole that really got to me.  When I got home, I called my mom right away.  I had to share with someone how awesome we did!  Well, my mom's actually in Holland on business right now.  I woke her up at 2:30 am, just to tell her how impressed I was that we raised over $2,000!  I said "Mom, we haven't even been a club for a year, and we just raised over 2,000 dollars!  Can you imagine once word gets out about our club?  When we become more prominent in the community?  Just think of the difference we can make!"  

But you know, we're already making a difference.  Not only in the lives of each of us as individuals, but in the lives of the family we just helped.  The gratitude shown by the one in need nearly brought me to tears.  I, in a small yet significant way, helped change this person's life.  No matter how small my role may have been, it was appreciated.  And all our roles combined, made for one kick ass, successful fundraising event!

People came.  They donated.  They played.  They sang.  They visited.  And a lucky few won some really great prizes!

 Unfortunately, I'm gonna be totally honest here and admit, I have no idea who our face painters were!  But they sure were some talented young ladies!  It was very nice and greatly appreciated that they volunteered their warm Sunday afternoon to come out there and do that for us.  Perhaps, they are Running Grrrls in the making?

I'm pretty sure we had the coolest carnival games ever.  Lori (and I'm not sure who helped) thank you so much for lending us your talents!  I had no idea you were such an amazing artist!  The games seemed to be a big hit amongst the kids.  I saw a little girl wearing her prize winning rings on nearly every one of her fingers on both of her hands.  I thought that was pretty cute!  She must have felt like a million bucks winning all those prizes!

I was glad to see a lot of the kids participating in the Cupcake Walk.  Cassandra made it easy when all they had to do was land in a chair and claim their goodies! I'm sure they just kept their eye on the cupcake prize!

It couldn't have been a more perfect day for a water balloon toss.  Although it seemed to be more of a water balloon throw for the younger kids.  I think they just enjoyed the splashing of the water.  At least most of them.... 

Overall, I don't think we could have asked for a better event.  We by far exceeded our expectations with the turn out we had and the money we raised.  The help of every Running Grrrl and her family has been noted and appreciated.  This wouldn't have been possible without you.

A special thanks to and Transitions Mental Health. We appreciate your efforts and for partnering with us on this event. Thank you for squashing the stigma associated with mental illness! Your efforts are recognized and appreciated. 

Also, to our talented musicians.  Matt Cross and his beautiful wife, Kristopher Stipech, and The Lakes (whom I unfortunately did not get a picture of).

And a HUGE thanks to everyone who came and donated their time and talents, those who couldn't donate time but money, and those who donated items for our raffle!  Mary Kelting Photography for her booth and the photo session.  Spencer's Fresh Markets for the water.  Something Sacred for the gift basket.  The Gym in Grover Beach for the 6 month free membership. The Garden Restaurant in the Embassy Suites Hotel in SLO. Trader Joe's of SLO for gift baskets. Starbucks in Los Osos for gift baskets. Tenaya Lodge and Spa in Yosemite. SLO the Stigma for donated t-shirt. The Growing Grounds in SLO for two gift baskets. Eclair Bakery in the village of Arroyo Grande for donated raffle prize. 

-- Lacy aka Lace Up And Go