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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Avoiding Injury

In my 20's and early 30's, I ran, and sporadically I would strength train.  I had a tendinitis in my foot that kept me from running for nearly a year and a half.  Then I was plagued by plantar fasciitis that burned with every step I took.  And once that healed, iliotibial band pain kept me from running for another three months.  Ultimately, I realized that I needed to make some changes as an athlete to avoid more injuries.

In the past 9 years, I have remained injury-free, even as I train harder.  Here's how:

1)  Foam roller -- I spend a couple of minutes on my foam roller a few times a week.  I pay particular attention the the lateral aspects of the thigh, which is overlying the iliotibial band which can easily get inflamed.  If I find a spot that hurts, I concentrate on rolling out that particular spot.

2) Massage -- Get a massage every so often.  It will keep you limber and loosen up any problem areas.  I recommend either David Wachtel of LA Body Mechanics or Efren Jimenez at Joseph Lamar Salon.  Both of these guys are athletes and do great work.

3) Yoga -- Great for flexibility, stretching, and relaxing.  I incorporate restorative yoga into my training, and particularly love Melissa's Sunday evening restorative yoga class at Black Dog Yoga.

4) Get a coach -- I have a coach not necessarily to push me, but rather to rein me in.  I could be perfectly happy running and doing boot camp strength classes day in and day out, but that would be a quick recipe for injury.  Coach Gerardo Barrios of Fortius Racing knows my goals and gives me a schedule of training to follow so that I am strong on race day and stay healthy getting there.

5) Strength training -- A strong core and strong body make for a stronger runner. I strength train two to three times a week, once a week privately with Corey Enman of Burbank Fit Body Bootcamp and another couple times a week at Tru Fit Bootcamp in Van Nuys.  In the off-season, I also love Barry's Bootcamp, an hour workout consisting of 30 minutes of running and 30 minutes of strength training.

6) Swimming/cycling/cross-training-- It's important to use other muscles that you don't necessarily use for running.  I swim and ride my bike a couple times a week, even during running training and the triathlon off-season.  Cycling strengthens the glutes and hamstrings, and swimming is great for core stability and strenght.  Both are great for flushing out the legs after hard running.

And this is how I keep on training and keep from falling apart!!!


Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Phoning it in

Do you get annoyed when you come to a workout, ready to give it all your effort, and you are surrounded by people who seem to not care?

I found myself in that position at a recent boot camp class.  Two women in front of me, probably in their mid 20's, spent much of the class giggling to one another and generally not doing the workout.

START -- 100 jumping jacks.  I get to work.  One-and-two-and-three-and-four-and.....  And I'm starting to break a sweat.  Our two cutesy crop-pants-wearing friends do a few lacksadaisical slow jumping jacks.  When I'm counting fifty jumping jacks to myself, I see them stop and move on to the next exercise, which is supposed to be 50 sit-ups.

I bang out my situps.  One, roll up, two, roll, three, and so forth.  These two chicks slowly roll up, tousle their hair, one stops for like two minutes to fix the perfect pony tail.  They did, maybe, 20 of the 50 situps.  Followed by 40 mountain climbers, of which they each did about 10.  Then 30 squats by which each of these girls might have lowered her rear end about six inches toward the ground, possibly a total of six times. Then 20 push-ups, and I think each of them did 5-10 exercises that involved a slight bend in the elbows, before doing two or three of the ten thrusters that they were supposed to do, and finally followed by about 15 seconds of what should have been a minute long plank,in which one of the "planks" involved an ass way up in the air and resembled nothing of a plank.

It is nearing the twenty minute mark, I am sweating and finishing off a final 100 jumping jacks.  These two girls have been standing around for 5 minutes, I think they may have done a yoga pose or two to stretch and then walked over to check their cell phones for the remainder of the time.

Should I care what these two lazy twenty-something girls in front of me are doing?

The problem is, I do care.  And it annoys me, that I am working my ass off to get results, and they're barely making an effort.

Now, my point is not to mock people who aren't in shape.  I am mocking the people who don't care to try, who don't push themselves.  My point is that if you come to a fitness class, you should put in the effort.

So why does this bother me?  After all, I'm here at bootcamp for myself.  I'm not here to facilitate anyone else's workout.  Perhaps it's because I come to a class to have others push me, and watching others not put in the effort does not inspire in the least.

I look in the mirror at myself.  I'm fit.  I get results because I WORK HARD.  When I come to work out, I give everything I have.  Your body gains little if anything by half-assing a workout.

For me, I have to remember, I'm here for my workout.  I have to find the people who inspire ME and stick with them.  I find those types of people on Fortius Racing.  I find them at master swim workouts.  And sometimes I find them at my bootcamp classes, and when I see them, I stick with them.  I watch what they do.  I try to keep up, do more.  Because they push me, and hopefully I push them too.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Eating Healthy for the Holidays

The holidays are a tough time for those of us trying to stay healthy and stick to our fitness goals.

I knew I'd be heading to a couple social events in the evening, so lunch had to be healthy.

This is blended cauliflower, spinach, cabbage, and green onion sautéed in vegetable broth, with Trader Joes teriyaki baked tofu. When you blend cauliflower into tiny bits in a Vitamix, somehow it has so much more flavor.

In the evening, I was going to my friend Suzanne's "White Trash Christmas" party. It's a funny theme, and the food all fits the theme. Funny, and perhaps delicious to some, but definitely not healthy. Fried cheese sticks. Oreos. Pizza. Spam rolls. Chicken nuggets. In other words, stuff I don't eat.

I informed Suzanne that in spite of the theme that I was bringing a large salad to share. Yes, that's me, the healthy buzzkill.


I love a good salad! My strategy was to bring a salad that could serve as a complete dinner for me, or as an appetizer for others. Dark leafy lettuce, lentils, carrots, blended cauliflower (I'm on a bit of a kick with this blended cauliflower as you can tell), apple slices, organic cherry tomatoes, almonds, dried cranberries, and a Bragg's pomegranate dressing on the side.

And, even at a party where the theme is unhealthy food, my salad was essentially polished off.

Happy Holidays! And stay healthy!!!