supereli23

Running Through a Fulfilled Life


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Race Recap: Louisville St. Patrick’s Day 5K and Lessons Learned

It’s been a while since I’ve ran the Louisville St. Patrick’s Day 5K.  It is definitely a favorite, but I skipped out on it last year since I had run a half marathon the weekend before.  Louisville is usually dubbed the “kick-off” race to the Subway Challenge Series (which is the running series I have been participating in since 2009).  While it may be billed as a “mostly flat” course, the other “mostly” consists of rolling hills.  Mainly in the first 1-2 miles of the race.  Having not been doing much consistent training as of late due to my knee being kind of a giant B (that’s another story for another day), I was not knowing what to expect.  My goal was just to run a smart race.  Run an even pace.  And stay under 23 minutes.

It was not a great morning for running.  The cold weather was, but the wind and rain/sleet was as welcome as the stomach flu (which knocked my Mom out from running this one). Running into old running friends was great.  Seeing the Trex and his protege race walk like bats out of racewalking hell was great.

The race started with a single air horn.  Right away, I knew it was not going to be my best run ever.  My legs felt fine, but my lungs felt like they were full of hot ashes.  AKA they burned.  I cruised through the first mile marker in 7:03.  Slow for my normal first mile, but there were also 3 rolling hills in the first mile as well.  It was at this point that I realized my selection of outfit for the race was probably not the best.  I was trying to look festive with my Nike Pro Capris, but the choice of bright pink Under Armour boy short underwear underneath was a terrible idea.

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No Drawstring=High Risk for My Lack of Butt to Fall Out

The end result, my pants kept falling down!  I kept attempting to pull them up, but would grab my underwear instead and give myself a wedgie.  I realize this is fantastically far too much information, but I like to think the pants struggle made me run a little slower or at least that’s what I’m telling myself.  Whoever was behind me definitely saw some bright pink underwear for most of the race.  Mile 2 clocked in as a 7:07 mile.

I was just trying to hold on at the end.  Knowing you don’t have your best in you for a particular race can be frustrating, but pushing through it and finishing the best you can given the situation is what makes you a mentally tough person.  Mile 3 clocked in as a 7:21 mile.

I rounded the corner of the school and pushed hard to the finish.  Last 0.14 (because we all know my ability to run proper tangents is nil) was 6:56 pace.

 Finish Time: 22:29 (7:15/mile)
 Overall: 50/423
 Females: 7/253
 Age Group 2/24

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Moral of the story: they tell you to not wear new things for races for a reason.  I never thought my inner battle would be falling pants.  Lesson learned.  Another lesson learned, when attempting to start barefoot running on the treadmill, it may be a good idea to consider socks or just generally obtaining calluses before starting.

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Those black marks on my foot are literally a “treadmill burn”. The friction literally burned my foot. Huzzah.

Now I am off to enjoy the rest of my St. Patty’s Day with the Hubs.  How can I resist hanging out with this guy?
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I’m Another Year Older

I celebrated my 28th birthday on Saturday.  2 years away from 30.  I’m officially getting older than I like to pretend.  Which means I should probably quit wearing the majority of my favorite clothes.  AKA polka dot pajama pants.  In my head, I am still 22.  In grad school.  And hanging out at the Distillery every other night.  And then I remember…I am 28.  Have been out of school 3 years.  And go to bed by 10 PM every night.  What a difference 6 years makes.

A card from Hubs

A card from Hubs

My new favorite training shirt

My new favorite training shirt

Oh what could this conspicuously wrapped gift be?

Oh what could this conspicuously wrapped gift be?

Oooo a Pandora bracelet...aw shucks

Oooo a Pandora bracelet…aw shucks

Best picture ever of the TRex...with a Hubs photobomb

Best picture ever of the TRex…with a Hubs photobomb

Frolicking with his ball

Frolicking with his ball

I try to be cute but it fails

I try to be cute but it fails

Ay yi yi

Ay yi yi

My Mom and I

My Mom and I

BDay Cake

BDay Cake

Blowing out the candles...and failing

Blowing out the candles…and failing

Sad that I suck at blowing out 28 candles

Sad that I suck at blowing out 28 candles

My Broseph and his GF

My Broseph and his GF


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It’s All In The Hips

Females have crappy biomechanics.  Our hips are generally wider than males (for popping out babies), causing our alignment of our leg to be entirely different.  The angle at our knee (generally described for those wanting fancy terms as genu valgus) is slightly larger.  The angle at our hip and relation to knee (known as our Q angle) is greater.  We have higher levels of estrogen running amock in our bodies causing our ligaments to be slightly more lax.  We have less muscle mass.   What does all that nonsense mean?  That women in sports are generally at a higher risk for knee and specifically ACL injury.  I have been there, done that twice and I can tell you…a) it’s not fun at all and b) if you can prevent injury, definitely do it.

When it comes to running, our flaws in mechanics are magnified.  We can take 180 strides or more per minute.  That’s 180 times or more that you could be doing something completely wrong and detrimental each minute.  Over the course of miles, weeks, months, or even years it can lead to injury.  As most runners want to “run for their lifetime”, it is a good idea to keep our flaws in check.

A lot of mechanical issues start from the hips and work their way down to the foot.  Weakness of the hip external rotators and abductors or tightness/overuse of the hip internal rotators leads to the following consequences: Increased internal rotation at the hip at heel strike and stance–>increased valgus force at the knee–>overpronation at the foot—>decreased ability to “push-off” into the next stride.   This same movement pattern is exacerbated with fatigue, which is why our form tends to breakdown towards the end of a race.

Me demonstrating what NOT to do when landing a jump on one leg.

Me demonstrating what NOT to do when landing a jump on one leg.

So what can be done? Specific exercises to correct imbalance.  Stretching out your IT Band, Hip Rotators, Hamstrings, Gastroc/Soleus, and becoming BFF’s with your foam roller is essential.  Drills to practice running form.  Have someone video tape you running on both a treadmill and outside.  Change up your terrain.  Don’t overtrain.  Incorporate appropriate cross training into your routine.  If you are attempting to switch to a different strike pattern (heel strike, mid foot, forefoot, barefoot running) make sure you are training your muscles to handle that (i.e. barefoot running requires significant intrinsic foot strength).  Some of my favorite exercises to use to correct this faulty form pattern are the following:

Walking Lunges: Emphasize good form. Knee should not advance beyond toe.  Watch for knee collapse inward.

Walking Lunges: Emphasize good form. Knee should not advance beyond toe. Watch for knee collapse inward.

Chair Squats: Keep back straight, squat down to touch butt on edge of chair.  Stand back up.  Work up to 50  with good form (no knee collapse).

Chair Squats: Keep back straight, squat down to touch butt on edge of chair. Stand back up. Work up to 50 with good form (no knee collapse).

Side Step with Sumo Squat: Stay low.  Side step, squat, side step, squat.  I like to use a resistance band around my ankles on this one.

Side Step with Sumo Squat: Stay low. Side step, squat, side step, squat. I like to use a resistance band around my ankles on this one.

Clamshells: Lay on side with the leg you want to work facing up.  Rotate hip/knee upwards to ceiling.  Hold 1-2 seconds.  Relax back down.  Work up to 100 Reps each side.

Clamshells: Lay on side with the leg you want to work facing up. Rotate hip/knee upwards to ceiling. Hold 1-2 seconds. Relax back down. Work up to 100 Reps each side.

Bridges: lay on back with knees bent, feet flat on ground.  Lift butt off ground hold for 5 seconds.  Work up to 30 reps.

Bridges: lay on back with knees bent, feet flat on ground. Lift butt off ground hold for 5 seconds. Work up to 30 reps.

Single leg bridge variation

Single leg bridge variation

Fire Hydrants:  Get on all fours.  Lift leg you want to work, rotating out to side as if you indeed are peeing on a fire hydrant.  Work up to 30 reps each side.

Fire Hydrants: Get on all fours. Lift leg you want to work, rotating out to side as if you indeed are peeing on a fire hydrant. Work up to 30 reps each side.

Bird Dogs: Get on all fours.  Lift opposite arm and leg and same time.  Keep back flat and avoid rotation.

Bird Dogs: Get on all fours. Lift opposite arm and leg and same time. Keep back flat and avoid rotation.

Foam Roller Plank with Leg Lifts.  Get in full plank position, hands on roller.  Alternate lifting one leg up at a time.

Foam Roller Plank with Leg Lifts. Get in full plank position, hands on roller. Alternate lifting one leg up at a time.

Foam Roll plank with Donkey Kick:  Get in plank position hands on foam roller.  Alternating lifting one leg kicking back as if doing a "donkey kick".

Foam Roll plank with Donkey Kick: Get in plank position hands on foam roller. Alternating lifting one leg kicking back as if doing a “donkey kick”.

It’s also a good idea to work on balance and proprioception in a single leg position.  It’s good to alter your variables here as well.  Practice on even and uneven surfaces.  Eyes open and closed.  Up on toes.  Challenge your limits of stability by tapping your other foot away from your body.

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Finally, I like to work on challenging single leg stability dynamically.  Practicing hopping onto one foot and landing with an appropriate loading strategy (flexed knee, stick the landing, knee does not migrate inwards) helps develop the stability needs to land each footfall when running.

I obviously still need to be working on these but it is much better than the first picture earlier on.

I obviously still need to be working on these but it is much better than the first picture earlier on.

Thanks to Julie for giving me the idea for this blog post!