Tag Archives: Massage Therapy

Random Musings

I had a whole list of things I wanted to blog about, but since last Monday, I haven’t felt very motivated to write long posts.

But I do have some random thoughts I want to share…

+ The Bay Area is having really warm temperatures this week, as in the 80’s (which is equivalent to 100’s everywhere else). This makes afternoon workouts no longer an option (unless I want to punish myself). So I’m back to getting up at 5 am (or at least trying to) so I can get out the door 6 am. This used to be second nature for me, but seems so difficult these days.

+ I did make it to the track at 6:30 am this morning to do some speed work. It went really well (i.e., I didn’t feel like I was going to die). I’ve come to the realization that these are currently my favorite type of workouts.

+ After Saturday’s run, I discovered that I need to do more hill work and asked my Coach such workouts. I don’t even know who I am anymore.

+ I’ve used my Newton shoes on three long runs. During the runs they felt great and I loved them. But afterward the runs my calves were so, so tight. I feel like I’m somewhat back in a shoe conundrum again. Damn you Brooks for changing the Pure Cadence shoe.

+ Speaking of tight muscles, I had the most amazing sports massage yesterday. The therapist that I see is a competitive athlete and very experienced in soft-tissue work. Without me saying anything she traced a line from my ankle all the way up to my hamstrings that was very, very tight. I had not made the correlation of how all of those muscles were interconnected. The human body is a fascinating thing.

+ I’ve been using Yoga Tune-Up balls to roll out a lot of my tight muscles. I’ve found them to work better than a tennis ball, baseball or even lacrosse ball. I use all three sizes that they come in.

+ In the Chi Running classes that I recently took, the instructor told us that children have perfect running form. Ever since then I’ve been watching how kids run. In fact, whenever I see my 7 year old nice, I try to make her run so I can see her form. It’s gotten to the point where she yelled at me and told me that I make her hate running…point taken. I have a point to this…

During this past Sunday’s SF Giants game it was Little League Day. A Little Leaguer met each position player at their respective places on the field for an autograph. In the video below this little girl received CF Angel Pagan’s autograph, then ran – with perfect running form – across the field back to home plate. Everyone was in awe of her, including me.

{Here’s the link in case the video doesn’t embed}

She’s running in Tom’s shoes…I can’t even *walk* in them…

Tuesday Tidbits

Tuesday Tidbits…a day when I post random musings…

I got a massage last night. As my massage therapist worked on my bad leg, he found that my IT Band was “crunchy” at the insertion point to the knee. Unlike at the hamstring insertion point, this one didn’t hurt too badly when he worked on it and it actually “sounded” kinda cool. He was completely grossed out by it.

My wrist was also pretty tight. To release it, he worked on pressure points in my pecs and I literally heard the crackling release.

My neck was also feeling sore and I couldn’t turn my head all the way to the right side. When I complained about it my therapist started working on my right shoulder. Over and over and over again. It felt like he was pinching it. When I finally told him it was starting to get annoying he said, “I just released a knot in your trapezius muscle that was pulling on a vertebrae in your neck.” And what do you know – neck pain was gone and now I have full range of motion.

It’s all very fascinating…

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I was beginning to think I was no longer an early morning runner, but I managed to drag my butt out the door at 7:30 am (okay to semi-early morning) and had a decent run. The workout had timed intervals so I wore my Garmin and apparently didn’t work as hard as I thought/felt I did. There were points during the run where I wondered why I do this crap, but I had read this blog post just before I ran and tried really hard to grasp on to it and have a positive outlook. My optimistic takeaway is that my IT Band/knee felt better than it had in weeks. Probably because of the aforementioned massage.

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I worked from home today, something I’ve been doing more of recently. I am fortunate to have a job that allows such flexibility. On days that I work from home I find that I actually work longer hours and have fewer distractions, making it more productive.

I also love it because:

1. I don’t have to put on makeup.
2. I don’t have to deal with traffic.
3. I can run semi-early in the morning (as noted above) or at lunch, and when winter comes along, late afternoon before it gets dark.
4. I can make healthier, fresher lunches (like salads!)…
5. …And get a head start on dinner! I put some bbq chicken in the crock-pot at lunch and it should be ready in time for dinner!

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Since delving into the world of web design, I’ve developed an obsession for fonts. I have spent hours oohing and ahhing over Google web fonts. The problem is, when presented with too many options, I get overwhelmed, unable to make a decision and end up with nothing. Kinda like shopping at Sephora.

 

 

Tracking Your Progress

It’s about that time of year when everyone is setting goals for the New Year. Most people set fitness goals, so if you are someone who is just getting into fitness, I’m going to share a bit of advice that I wish someone gave me 8 years.

1. Take a Before Photo

Not only will it serve as motivation to stick with it, but also once you reach your goals, you will want to compare it to an After Photo to see how far you’ve come. This is something that I wish I did.

2. Take Your Measurements

When I first started training with Dave in January 2004, he took my measurements at the gym. I hated it, but he insisted on it, and once I started seeing progress, I would always ask him to send me a copy so I could visually see my progress. The things that we measured were: weight, % of body fat, fat mass, lean mass, neck, chest, biceps, waist, hips, upper thighs, and calves.

In the beginning we revisited these measurements every 3 months or so, then eventually every 6 months. We don’t take these measurements anymore, being that my fitness goals have changed, but I do like to do this at the start of every year.

3. Keep a Training Journal

I have periodically kept journals over the years, using different notebooks, spreadsheets, online tools, etc. As I just mentioned, when my goals started to change, so did the tools I used. The most recent ones that I’ve used are:

Daily Mile

This is an online social community primarily for those who run, bike and swim. It has a very strong community feel with people offering support, encouragement and motivation. I like to use it to read about the workouts that others, especially real-life-friends are doing.

I also use it to track the mileage on my running shoes, as well as to see charts like this:

Running Log

I started using this with a group of colleagues because we had a contest to see who could run 500 miles in a year. Since it started, almost everyone in the group has either quit the company or stopped running. There are only 2 of us left to use it and all we do is post mileage. There are no details about the run, no social aspect — it’s about seeing how many miles we are logging.

Daily Mile rounds off numbers, so if you are looking for exact mileage, this is a good one to use. I also like how it projects what your totals will be.

Buckeye Outdoors

My running coach uses this platform to post our training plans, so I upload my Garmin and other workout data for him to see.

To be honest, I haven’t used nor explored any of the reporting features here.

As for calorie tracking, I’ve used Calorie King, Daily Burn, and My Fitness Pal and now I just use the FitBit.

Calorie King and Daily Burn offers free vs. paid services. As you would expect, all the useful stuff is in the pay option. I found Calorie King to have a very, very good food database. At the time that I used Daily Burn, it was still relatively new and it’s food database wasn’t as complete. I had to keep entering the nutritional values of the foods I ate, which was too much work for me.

My Fitness Pal is free, offering the same functionality as the other two’s paid options. The interface was the user-friendliest of all 3 and the food database was more than sufficient. It also offers a free mobile app. And now, as of this week, I started using the FitBit, which interestingly enough, is about to introduce a partnership with My Fitness Pal. I’m intrigued to see how that is going to work.

All of the above tools are useful, but none covered everything that I want to track in the manner that I want to track it. So taking elements from each platform, as well as from the book, “The Competitive Edge” and the Believe I Am journal (a holiday gift), I created my own spreadsheet:

It has a row for each day of the month, as well as one last column on the end for “Comments” where I write anything else I want to notate about that day.

I like using Excel because I can sort and filter the data to see correlations, which is the whole point of why you should keep a Training Journal to begin with. And tonight, I experienced exactly why this is important.

As I’ve mentioned, over the past week my R foot has started hurting again. I say again because it is the same foot that I injured back in June that sidelined me for a month. Though it doesn’t hurt as bad now as it did then, the type of pain is the same.

As I’ve also mentioned, I’ve been doing lots of strength training that includes running lots of stairs and doing hill repeats. I’ve noticed that my calves, especially the R one has gotten REALLY tight. I have tried to roll it out and use the stick, but I can barely make a dent in it and it’s almost sore to the touch.

{there is a point to this story, I promise…}

During this evening’s massage appointment, my therapist told me that my R calf had 2 knots the size of golf balls (one on each side). As he worked through the knots; i.e. tortured me, he asked if I was having any foot issues. I said, “YES” and asked him if the foot issue and tight calf could be related. He said they absolutely were and then pointed out where different tendons and muscles (stuff way more scientific than I know about) would affect each other.

As he went on about this, I had a flashback to this past May. I had gotten a post-marathon massage where the therapist told me I had “something going on” in my R calf that needed to pay attention to it. Well I didn’t and shortly thereafter I sustained the aforementioned foot injury.

Although I faithfully logged all my workouts, admittedly they were mostly for selfish reasons so that I could see numbers on pretty charts. I haphazardly notated the details that Garmin doesn’t track. Had I done so, I might have made the calf/foot correlation on my own.

This is one of my goals for the New Year, to be thorough with recording the details of my workouts. Not only is it useful to go back and review your progress, but it also becomes reference material on yourself.