Monday, July 20, 2009

Music Monday (cranky cripple edition)

I'm behind in my posting again. Sorry.

Went in for more muscle grabbing this morning, and it was easier in that I knew what to expect, but harder in that there was more of it. Chris fought my muscles for a little over half an hour and then handed me over to Dmitri and his Russian accent, who gave me some strength building exercises to work on. I left feeling better in some spots, worse in others. In addition to a variety of Pilates leg lifts and extensions to strengthen my core and gluteus medius I also have to work on a small muscle in my foot (I forget what it is called, but it is indeed Very Important). This muscle controls how I push off when I run, and if its underdeveloped, can affect the hamstrings, quads, hips and back. Basically, I have to push my big toe joint into the ground as often as I can remember throughout the day. That's it. The most important exercise I have to do is also the easiest.

I'm tired and cranky because I hurt too bad to do anything today, so here's a non running song for a painful Music Monday. Watch Grizzly Bear on Letterman playing a gorgeous version of 'Ready, Able'. It is my favorite song off their new album; Vekatimest.

Also, probably the best Madonna cover I've ever heard. Watch The Flaming Lips wail on 'Borderline'.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Thank You Sir, May I Have Another?

I got tired of running reduced milage because of my left hip tightening, so I went to a Physical Therapist this morning to find out whats up.

The bad news: It is my iliopsoas muscle that is tightening up as I run. Most likely caused by sitting at a desk for too long (like 26 hours straight? Thanks, job!), and the stoopid unproven shoes. Its a tough one to heal, and I was worried it was actually a sprain or strain, which would take me off the road for at least 3 weeks. The good news: it is not a sprain, and it is easy for a therapist trained in ART massage to fix it. I contacted a Physical Therapist in Soho (chosen for proximity to the N/R line, and because he has the NYRR/Marathon massage coordinator on staff), and got myself in to see him this morning. We talked for a bit, and then onto the table to dig around and release some muscles!

ART hurts. Here is a video showing the massage he used on me, if you are interested in seeing it. He makes it look a lot more gentle and mild than a psoas massage usually feels.

Chris told me to 'feel free to yell' just before he dug his hand in for the first pass. Thanks, Chris. I believe I will take you up on that offer. Here is a video that shows what it actually feels like.

We did a few more techniques that only hurt-ish compared to the psoas massage, but it was still pretty uncomfortable. And then...I got off the table. I could walk! No pain! Chris is thinking I need 3 more sessions of muscle grabbing before I'll be done. He suggested I try running tonight (but not to be surprised if it was too early), and I did...but it was too early. Tightened up fairly quickly, so I walked to the subway station at 81st street. Well, hobbled; it was so tight, I could barely move. Resigned myself to heavy stretching, heat/ice and painkillers when I got home. Then I got off the train twenty minutes later at 14th st. and had no pain, and my full range of motion was back. Amazing! Chris says I will probably hate him tomorrow, as it will hurt a little more while it continues to relax and release all the scar tissue, but this is still an amazing improvement on recovery time for me, so I'm pretty much sold on whatever he wants to hit me with.

Will be cross training on the eliptical and bike for a few days, and then will add water running once a week as soon as the new session starts, but I'm really looking forward to getting back on the road at full mileage!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Music Monday

Its time for some Indie Dance Magic at Music Monday. This one isn't about racing to find the coolest new band first, its about catchy hooks from bands you aren't totally embarrassed to have on your ipod (we'll do embarrassing musical inspiration in another post).

Franz Ferdinand- Can't Stop Feeling

Its become somewhat uncool to admit liking Franz Ferdinand, and they didn't help matters by releasing a relatively shit (IMO) sophomore album. The new album surprised me, and the video for 'Can't Stop Feeling' has a really fun, Talking Heads vibe. You win this time, Franz Ferdinand!

We Have Band- Oh

This band was set to bust out last fall, but they honestly just can't seem to get it together long enough to make it happen. A shame, because they are awesome. This is 'Oh', but also go to You Tube to see the video for 'You Came Out'. Fun song, weird video.

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs- Zero

Yeah, this one was kind of a lazy choice, but I've got a lot more Music Mondays to throw down the new stuff and c'mon...Who doesn't want to lookit Karen O?

Sorry you have to jump to the You Tubes to watch this one but she looks so awesome, you really should. If you just want to hear the song, click below.

Zero - Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Marathon Sunday: Boston Marathon

Finally back to Marathon Sunday with a look at the world's oldest annual Marathon: The Boston Marathon!

Check out this wicked awesome course

The Boston Marathon is one of the 5 World Marathon Majors and is considered to be the premiere American race for pro Marathoners. It is the only US Marathon that requires a qualifying time for entry. The qualifying time was instituted in 1970, but I'm sure that as far back as the beginning of the race in 1897, there were running nerds who were obsessed with 'The Boston'. That's 112 years of running nerds driving everyone around them crazy with their all consuming need to qualify. 112 years of runners wearing their Boston Marathon gear to EVERY other race they run, just to make sure YOU KNOW. 112 years of conversations being hijacked with 'That's interesting, you know it reminds me of when I ran Boston...' (FYI, I would shamelessly do all of these things if I qualified, which would mean I'd have to run a time of 3:40:00 at a pace of 8:24mi. Just sayin'.)

Check out this wicked old timey winner

In the 60's and 70's Boston was the site of many many women trying to break through the wicked stoopid rules that banned women from competing. In 1967 (5 years before women were allowed to compete) Kathrine Switzer registered as K.V. Switzer, and became the first woman to run with an official number. She ran with her boyfriend, who did a fine job of defending her when race official Jock 'Strap' Semple tried to rip her number off and pull her from the course.

Check out this wicked ridiculous gender oppression

Kathrine went on to win the 1974 NYC Marathon, and the following year hit the Boston Marathon again with a second place finish (and wicked amazing PR of 2:51.33). She has run 35 marathons in her career, and is considered to be a pioneer and undisputed Bad Ass in the history of Women's sports. Jock Semple redeemed himself in 1972 by officially allowing women to enter the race, and maybe he was actually an OK guy, but seriously Jock, you are still an ass for laying hands on Kathrine when all she wanted to do was lay down some lady miles in your wicked prestigious race.

In 1983, Greg Meyer was the last American male to win the race, with a time of 2:09. Greg was a key figure in the fight for the right to make $$ as a runner, and also was instrumental in opening the Olympic Games to pro athletes.

Check out Greg and his wicked 80's beard making history

The Boston Marathon is famous for 'Heartbreak Hill' at miles 20 and 21 of the race. The elevation climb is only 88 vertical feet (NYC runners, to compare: the Harlem Hills in Central Park rise 105 vertical feet), but at the point in the Marathon where most runners hit the wall, its not exactly an easy climb. The name came from the 1936 race when John A. Kelley gave race leader, Ellison 'Tarzan' Brown a 'consolatory pat on the shoulder as he passed'. What?! That is wicked uncalled for dude, and Tarzan rightly decided not to take his arrogant crap. Tarzan kicked hard and took back the lead to win, 'breaking Kelley's heart.' Whatever, Kelley. You had it comin'.

So there we are. Boston, you may only have 500,000 spectators to NYC's 2,000,000+, but your history is quite interesting, and you give me an excuse to say 'wicked' a lot.

Here's a video of the 2009 Men's and Women's finishers. The two strongest American contenders were Kara Goucher and Ryan Hall, both running strong races, but finishing a still respectable third place. Both are amazing athletes, and I will be writing about them later, but for now, watch Kara's race to the finish against Kenyan Salina Kosgei and Ethiopian Dire Tune.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

House of Pain

I have been dealing with inflammation around my knees and hips for a few weeks now. I suspect the cause is two fold; insane work schedule not allowing for me to train as I should, and running the Brooklyn Half Marathon in stoopid unproven shoes. Honestly, I was never 100% on board with those shoes in the first place. I have to partially blame the kid who put me in them, and mostly blame myself for not speaking up when I felt I wasn't being given the attention I needed in the purchase.

***Shoe Store Kid: You work at a fine store and unfortunately I let that store's reputation trick me into trusting you, though I had my doubts. I kept my mouth shut because I knew there was a slight possibility you were actually paying attention and thoughtfully helping me through the decision without pressuring me. Sadly, this was not the case. I now know for certain that you Sir, are an idiot, I am an idiot for mistaking your apathy for quiet confidence in your brief 'assessment' of my running form, and I will not be tricked again.***

Anyway, the pain and inflammation have been coming and going over the past few weeks, and I have noticed significant improvement recently since focusing on icing, stretching and taking anti inflammatories, so I thought I had solved the problem with a little bit of rest. And then I ran last night.

I didn't get it; I warmed up, I stretched, I ran easy. My right knee and left groin muscle slowly started to flare up in mile 2.5 of an easy run, and by mile 3, I decided to pack it in. Took an ice bath when I got home, and knee is now fine, but groin still a little sore. I suspect it is scar tissue from an old groin pull that has become inflamed and needs to be massaged out. Worked with my trainer today, and we have decided the weaker (left) side of my body was being twisted inwards because the stoopid shoes did not correct my over-pronation and I compensated with my stronger (right) side, creating the mess I now have to fix. So...I've made my first sports massage appointment for Friday. We're gonna work to break up all that scar tissue on my left side, I will make sure I DON'T skip yoga and weight training anymore, and will be taking my runs super slow for a while. My form is clearly suffering, so if I have to run 10 minute miles for a week to allow myself to focus on it, I'll suck it up and do it. I'm still in a good place regarding timing. I can still do The Half in August, and can probably start racing again in two weeks, but its hard to hold myself back when all I really want to do is GO!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Music Monday

Some indie rock for Music Monday. Three songs that I would use to keep me at a moderate tempo pace. The drums push me along, and I like the sax lines in 'London' and 'How We Exit'. 'London' was produced by Mark Ronson, and 'How We Exit' really reminds me of Bowie's 'Modern Love'.

I linked to YouTube videos for consistency-couldn't find all songs in one
place, and the video for 'How We Exit' is interesting.

Futureheads-'Hounds of Love'

This cover isn't new, and I've actually come to prefer it to the original.
I've had it on my shuffle for a while, and whenever it comes on, I always
manage to pick my pace up. This video has an added bonus of doggies at the end. Who doesn't love doggies and music? Win!

The Rumble Strips- 'London'
The newest of the bunch, the album isn't released until next week, so apologies for the cheap You Tube rip quality, but its the best I could do. Great song. I'm really curious to hear this band's recent cover of Amy Winehouse's 'Back to Black'.

Gentleman Reg- 'How We Exit'

I love how this video is styled. I dig the retro 70's/80's style workout wear, and this guy is just so interesting looking anyway. And hey...chick sports! Great video.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Retro Race Report: Mini 10k (06/07/09)

Lookit her skirt! She made it out of all her old race bibs! She gave me a curtsy, but I wasn't quick enough to catch it.

This was my first race after the Brooklyn Half. I was slammed at work (when am I not? Seriously, I'm starting to get bitter about this), and didn't have time to train, so I went into it thinking I'd take it easy, treat it as a training run. But noooooo.....

I chose this race based on my training schedule, and though I knew it was a woman's only event, but I didn't realize that it was kind of a big deal. I am usually slotted in the 4th or 5th corral, but due to the absence of men, we all moved up in the time ranks, and I was placed in the 2nd corral. Woo hoo!

Its a beautiful day for the Lady 10k

I could see the starting line, I could see the elite runners as they were introduced, and I could see the podium where Mary Wittenberg gave quite a moving speech about the history of the race and woman's distance running in general. We all got amped up on girl power, the national anthem was sung, the horn sounded, and we took off up Central Park West.

I am a solid middle of the pack runner. I never sneak into the faster corrals, and I usually finish towards the front of my pace group, so I'm not used to being passed by too many runners at the beginning. Sure, there are the usual few runners who blow out too fast, and then you see walking just after the first mile, but it is typically so crowded in that first mile, unless you run on the outside edge, there isn't a whole lot of high speed passing going on. Not so this time. I crossed the start line maybe 5 seconds after the elites, and then the course opened up to cover half the width of CPW. Amazing! I could see the lead car! I was running with the fast girls! I was getting PASSED on all sides like crazy! I kept my standard first mile pace until a dozen more runners passed me, and then I turned off my brain and RAN. Mistake. I could give the blow by blow, but just check out my ridiculous splits:

Mini 10k Mile Splits
Mile 1 - 7:36
Mile 2 - 7:54
Mile 3 - 8:10
Mile 4 - 8:28
Mile 5 - 9:01
Mile 6 - 8:25
Mile 0.2 - 8:30
Finish - 52:09

I managed to staunch the bleeding of positive splits in mile 6, but gawd almighty, that was a good lesson in how not to run a race. The heat really started to bother us all once we came off the Harlem Hills, and despite the water/Gatorade tables and the misting stations, we were just getting too hot. I learned my lesson from the Brooklyn Half, took fluids at all the stations, and...I walked. For the first time in a race, I walked. It was just too hot and I had blown out too fast. I walked the fluid station at mile 3, and then again in mile 4. I pulled it together and finished the race as strong as I could, and when I compared my time with my PR at the Healthy Kidney, I was only 22 seconds slower. How infuriating/frustrating! That race felt MUCH harder than it should have and I could have ran a PR had I just slowed down the first two miles and then laid down a couple of fast miles at the end. After we crossed the finish line, the girl next to me turned and said; 'Was it me or was that BRUTAL?' It was certainly not just you, lady. When I was told before the race that we got a pink carnation and a medal at the end, I turned my nose up at the idea. After the race...not such a bad idea, I'll take both, please!

So...lesson learned, and I'm looking forward to working on my pacing with the TFK coaches, and on the 18th will be running my first team race!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Rest Rest DMC

No posts lately because I was overwhelmed with work this week. After locking myself in the office and working for 24 hours straight last night, I got the worst of it behind me.

Will post more over the weekend, Happy July 4th everyone!