Category: Health

A New PB

So, we ran the Sportsman’s Warehouse on Sunday as planned!

We trained for four weeks according to the programme I drafted, and although it wasn’t easy, we did it!

programmeHere’s Lani and I before the race:

laniandyThe route was said to be ‘flat’ but this didn’t seem the case, as there were hills galore – the first half was almost entirely uphill.  It was run in Roodepoort, starting at Princess Crossing.  It was a nice vibe and atmosphere though.

I ran the first km in 5min20sec which is RIDICULOUS for me, I wasn’t trying to run fast but I find the adrenaline and the pace of the other runners makes me run faster.  I tried to keep up at that pace, which was a stupid idea and I got tired fairly fast.  Then, the weirdest thing happened – at 3km, both my feet went completely numb.  It was the weirdest feeling.  Now, I must have started running differently due to the numb feet as once I got to 7km my ITBS started acting up badly.  I insisted on pushing myself through the pain and managed to complete the 10km and got a PB of 1hr4mins (and 7 seconds if you must be nit-picky).  This is a massive improvement from my last time of 1hr10min, and it felt great.  Although, I was slightly disappointed in myself and felt I really could have done better – if my knee hadn’t acted up I’m sure I could’ve pushed those last 3km.

photoIt was a good race for all, I’d say – Ross and his sister Jenni both got pretty impressive PBs, Lani completed her first 10km ever and Stef completed 10km after falling really badly and busting up her knee – resilience!

Here’s our obligatory ‘biting the medal’ pic after the race:

postraceUpcoming races are the Sisters with Blisters 8.5km walk/run on the 23rd of November, as well as the World Aids Day 10km race on the 1st of December, who will I be seeing there?

The ‘Anti-Diet’

Have you been to The Londoner?  It’s such an awesome blog, I love it.

I discovered an old post of hers a while back called ‘The Anti-Diet’ with advice on how to lose weight, and be healthy, without being on a diet.

She talks about motivation, hunger, dehydration, levels of hunger, cravings and tons more.

As you all know, I am a major emotional eater, and I found this picture really helped me a lot in identifying whether I’m eating because I’m emotional, or whether I’m eating for true hunger.  This has helped me SO MUCH, I cannot even begin to explain.

antidietCheck out the blog post here – it’s worth the read!

Two Oceans Entries have Opened!

This morning, I bit the bullet, and entered myself and Ross (he didn’t really have a choice) for the Two Oceans half marathon.  Unfortunately, because we are novices and haven’t run it before, this means we might not get to ultimately run it as our names will be entered into a random draw.

They have so many entries, that they have to do a draw to choose 6000 novices (out of the 10000 odd entries) that can enter.  Fingers crossed we are picked!

Also, I may just be doing it for the T-Shirt.

Have you entered yet?  If not, go here.  Entries are known to go FAST (unlike the speed at which I ‘run’).

Halloween Trail Run

Last night, Ross, Lanz and myself took part in the Mag-Lite Halloween 8.5km Night Trail Run (hosted by Ilumin8 events).

While we’re training for our 10km, we knew it’d be a good idea to vary our training and move away from the regular road running and try out a trail or two.  Last weekend, we took part in the Delta Run which sucked didn’t go quite as planned.

It was with massive hesitation that we entered this Halloween run. We didn’t dress up (apart from having a spider on our headlamps), which we immediately regretted because we found most people went all out on their costumes.

Fearing for our lives..
Fearing for our lives..

Overall, it was pretty difficult.  There were massive inclines and declines.  One or two declines were extremely steep where I very nearly saw my ass.

I think I did a decent time – an hour and 6 minutes.  I was super happy, because my knee didn’t give me any problems.  I got stuck behind a couple for about a km or so – walking side by side and holding hands while she giggled, and kept saying, “Does my bum look big!? Don’t look at my bum when I walk baby! Heeheehee.” Cue death stares from Andy.

Once I got past them, I was much happier and managed to finish, despite being completely exhausted.  I also was genuinely concerned that I was lost once or twice, because as the crowds dispersed, I found myself in pitch black forest ALL ALONE.  Plus, I knew there was a guy running around wearing a ‘Scream’ mask.  That may have made me run faster.

Have a look at the ridiculousness that was the route last night:

Are You Freaking Kidding Me!?
Are You Freaking Kidding Me!?

 

Date Balls

I only recently discovered Medjool dates (*shock*horror*) and their deliciousness knows no bounds.  After my discovery, Andrea (we have the same name, how amazing are we), sent me a recipe to make Date Balls.  I made them for the first time recently and no jokes, these things are freaking delicious and really good for you!  So, heregoes..

Ingredients

14 dates (pitted)

6 tablespoons of almonds

2 tablespoons of coconut oil

2 tablespoons of cocoa powder

2 tablespoons of dessicated coconut

Method

Put all of the ingredients into a blender or food processor.

Blend until it’s smooth-ish.  It did take a fair amount of time until I was happy with the texture.

Roll into balls.

photo 4Roll in some extra coconut or cocoa powder.

That’s it!  It’s that simple!  They are delicious.  It genuinely tastes like chocolate truffles, and I am officially obsessed.  The key now is to make sure I don’t eat them all in one go – thereby, undoing the ‘health’ aspect of this recipe.

Delta Park Run

This weekend, I ran my first Delta Park Run with Ross and Lanz.  The ‘Park Run‘ takes place in a number of countries.  The Delta Park run is a weekly 5km Saturday run at 08:00 with a decent-sized group of people – 357 people ran it this week.  Due to it being in a park, it can be considered more of a trail run than anything else.

As part of my training for the Sportman’s Warehouse 10km, I thought it’d be a good idea to try something a little bit different to make sure I’m race ready in November.

The start of the run was fun, with a beautiful downhill – the best – and an awesome vibe.  Cute dogs running around.  Shirtless men running with dogs.  Great scenery in general. ;)

However, a little way into the run, we came to a massive uphill that was RIDICULOUS.  I am not good at running uphill, tried for a while and eventually had to walk the majority of it.  This automatically made me feel like a failure because I hate having to walk – if I don’t run the entire way, it feels like I haven’t accomplished what I set out to.  After that uphill, it wasn’t too bad but that’s when the knee started acting up and my ITBS made an unwelcome appearance, meaning I had to walk the rest of the way to avoid doing further damage, on the advice of my bio.

I think it’s the fact that I was running on an uneven, different surface and was needing to jump around – this meant that my muscles, which are already pretty weak, struggled to stabilize me, and this once again caused my ITB to over-compensate.

So, I left the run feeling disillusioned, sad, useless.  I’ll be back at it again soon but I am really hard on myself with these things.  I think I have a love-hate relationship with running – when it goes well, it feels like the greatest exercise in the world but other times I will hate it with all my heart and soul.

I will definitely try the Park Run again, especially once my quads, glutes and hamstrings are stronger and then I’ll be able to better navigate the route and hopefully complete it without walking.  If you want to try the Park Run, check out www.parkrun.co.za for a list of areas, and how it works.  If you’re with Discovery, you get 500 points for participating – BONUS.  They are also always looking for volunteers, if you’re not into the running side of things.

Snack Attack!

One of my favourite (fairly healthy) snacks is a slice of wholewheat toast spread with two teaspoons of peanut butter, one banana (sliced up) and a drizzle of honey.  This before a run gives me insane energy and endurance.  Plus, it tastes pretty damn delicious.  Try it!

Deliciousness IN MY FACE
Deliciousness IN MY FACE

 

Foam Rolling

After my issues with ITBS, a few people recommended that I acquire a foam roller which helps with self-myofascial release (SMR).  Basically, the foam roller provides similar benefits to that of a deep-tissue massage (without the expensive price tag).  This means it breaks down scar tissue and adhesions often caused my injury or overuse.  You can roll before you run, after you run, or both!  You can use it for any tight or sore muscles – but my main focus is on my ITB.  Now, the ITB is a ligament (and not a muscle), however, many people claim it can help release a tight ITB and I myself have felt the benefits of this.

ITBS
ITBS

It isn’t a pain-free process, and it is quite tender (especially over an inflamed ITB), but I have literally felt the incredible effects of rolling.  The foam roller is particularly helpful with ITBS when you use it for the glutes, TFL and hamstrings.  By removing tension from these muscle groups, you can decrease the ITBS you experience.

Although this helps greatly with ITB, you shouldn’t use it as a long-term treatment – rather seek professional advice as to what is causing your ITBS.

Here I demonstrate how to use the foam roller for ITBS – I cover the hamstrings, the TFL and the ITB itself.

Support yourself with your arms and hands behind you, and roll up and down the hamstrings slowly with moderate pressure until you feel a tender, tight or painful area.  Stop over this area and although it’s uncomfortable, try relax.  You will eventually feel the muscle release and relax – this can take a varying amount of time, but most people say between 5 and 30 seconds.  Go with what feels right for you.

Hamstrings
Hamstrings

If you want to increase the pressure you’re putting on your hamstrings, you can advance the move by putting one leg on top of the other.  This isn’t a pain tolerance test, though, and if it is too painful for direct pressure, rather change angles and gradually move over that area until it releases.

Hamstrings - Advanced
Hamstrings – Advanced

The TFL or ‘Tensor Fasciae Latae’ muscle is situated on the front of your thigh, more or less where your pocket would be and helps stabilize the hip in extension.  It is often thought to be a big contributor to ITBS in conjunction with the Gluteus Maximus, so it’s a good idea to roll out any tightness that may be in this muscle.

TFL
TFL

Lastly, is the ITB itself.  Now, remember that this isn’t a muscle, but I have found major relief from rolling over the ITB.  If you suffer from ITBS, this is a warning that it is extremely sensitive, and this should be done slowly and carefully, putting a lot of weight on your hands to reduce the pressure on your ITB.

ITB
ITB

If the pressure is too much, you can cross the unused leg over and place it on the floor in front of you for extra-stabilization and to reduce the pressure felt while rolling over the ITB.

ITB - Beginner
ITB – Beginner

Always seek medical attention prior to using a foam roller to ensure it is safe to use in your individual circumstances.  I bought my Foam Roller from Dischem for R299.99, but they are not hard to come by, and you can find them at all major sportsware outlets.  Check out breakingmuscle.com – I found this site very informative and helpful in understanding how to foam roll safely, and why it helps.  I’m definitely not looking back!

Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS)

I’ve been suffering from ITBS which is one of the most common injuries in runners.  It is a common injury of the knee that results from an inflamed or tight iliotibial band.

It occurs when the iliotibial band, the ligament that runs down the outside of the thigh from the hip to the shin, is tight or inflamed. The IT band attaches to the knee and helps stabilize and move the joint. When the IT band isn’t working properly, movement of the knee (and, therefore, running) becomes painful. IT band pain can be severe enough to completely sideline a runner for weeks, or even longer.  – Runner’s World

This has resulted in some pretty excruciating pain, that only kicks in when I’m already into my run (usually 2 or 3km into the run), and running downhill becomes unbearable.  I’d rather run up a hill – who’d have thunk it?!  There are a number of causes of ITBS.  As I have another 10km race coming up, I thought it’s best to figure out what was causing my ITBS, and sort out my problem before doing further damage, thereby exacerbating it into a chronic condition.  With that in mind, I went to see a Biokineticist.

The bio ran a number of tests – it was so interesting learning how and why they check things and how logically things work.  Through the testing, we discovered a number of issues.  I have a minor Lordosis of the spine (explaining my lower back pain) but this isn’t necessarily contributing to my ITBS, as well as a slightly skew pelvis (the right side of my pelvis is slightly more anterior than the left) – again, it’s unlikely this will be contributing in a large way to my injury.

The bio is 99% sure that the problem is due to two things: My VMO muscle (a part of the quads) which is misfiring.  The VMO is supposed to support my kneecap and provide stability to my knee.  With it misfiring, this means that my knee is not stable and with each step I take while running, I wreak havoc on my ITB which tries to counter it.  Another issue is that my glutes are very weak – this puts more strain on my ITB as it causes my pelvis to be more unstable.

ITBS
ITBS

The good news is that it is treatable.  I have a couple exercises to keep doing to retrain my VMO to fire properly and strengthen it, and further exercises to strengthen my glutes.  My bio believes that once I’ve done these things, my ITBS will be a distant memory.  I’ve also started using a foam roller to help with self-myofascial release (SMR) – more on this soon.

Wish me luck!