Let’s talk injuries…

The mind is a wonderful thing, it can be wildly constructive and lead to wonderful things and it can be just as destructive at the same time.

Back in July, after counting up my monthly miles, I had it in my head that I could hit triple digits. Heck, I was following loads of people on social media hitting 100+ mile months and if everyone’s doing it…

So in August I hit my goal of 100 miles ran in a month (110 to be exact), I felt great and unstoppable. Every day I was lacing up and heading out on 4 to 5 miles of pure running joy. I felt little to no pain or soreness, life was great.

Plantar Fasciitis, almost every runner that I know has had to deal with plantar fasciitis. It’s par for the course if you ask me. If you haven’t suffered from it, consider yourself lucky. I was able to identify the problem early and was able to treat it with a series of proactive stretches and massage. Remember that plantar fasciitis is the symptom, you need to treat the cause.

Treatment:

Stretches: SmashWeRX on YouTube, this series of stretches will help you prevent and treat your plantar fasciitis injury.

Self-Massage: Dr. Bruce has a video on an awesome technique and if done consistently I have found it has almost an immediate effect.

Stress Fractures, September rolled around and I was determined to hit my goal of triple digits again. And so every day I put on my trust shoes and out the door I ran. I noticed a twinge of pain in my left shin, but ignored it. After a mile or so, the pain would subside and it was easy to put the pain behind me.

By the end of the month my 100 mile goal was in sight, but my motivation started to dwindle. My mornings became a little harder to get going as well. I now would wake up to what felt like a bruised shin on my left leg. I could put weight in my leg without issue, but just the impact with the ground while walking would cause me to hobble. I would foam roll my legs, but as soon as I would hit a pinpoint spot on my shin, shooting pain would stab through my leg. And as the sun slept in and would rise later and later it started to take more coaxing to get out of bed. After much internet research, denial, and eventually seeking outside advice I have come to the conclusion that drastically increasing my monthly mileage lead to hairline fractures on both of my legs.

How to identify stress fractures:

I caution anyone looking to increase mileage to not exceed an increase of more than 10% each month. Treatment is no running for 6-8 weeks, and I would strongly suggest seeking the advice of a medical professional.

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Two Town Turkey Trot 2018

Thanksgiving 2018 marks the third year of this Annual Turkey Trot, and also my (and my family’s) 2nd year running this race. The course is semi-flat with slight inclines on some sections and perfect for catching a PR and laying down some speed. The scenery running across the river is breathtaking and running through the charming towns of New Hope, PA, and Lambertville, NJ on a crisp autumn morning has its perks. At $35 per registrant, the race is affordable and on-par with similar 5k race prices.

The first year we ran this race, everything met our expectations. The tech shirts were nice and comfortable, appropriate for the autumn weather. The medals were made with impressive quality and a real collector’s item. We missed the second Annual race, but the tech shirts and medals were also impressive and truth be told: I was slightly bitter we missed the race. This year carried high expectations, so I was slightly disappointed to find this year’s shirt was your standard cotton tee and not a tech shirt. The disappointment also carried on to find that participants would not receive finishers medals. I’m curious what happened? Why the change from tech shirts to standard cotton tees? Why stop with finishers medals?

I should mention as an avid runner I’m okay with not getting medals for 5Ks, and I’m fully aware that 5k races attract a wide range of experienced and inexperienced runners. And I understand a majority of these races help raise funds for local charities. This race supports the Delaware River Towns Chamber of Commerce and a local charity that helps feed local residents. But I can’t help shake the feeling that even though the entry fees remained the same, the entrants got less in return from previous years. Also for non-avid runners and those that are in it for the family fun aspect, not getting a finishers medal is kind of a bummer. My whole family runs this race, so the kids (and some adults) were disappointed no medals were involved.

Also for the inexperienced runners, no aid stations were offered, nor water for finishers. It was a little bit of a letdown, but not a deal breaker for me, but for the recreational runners, I’d expect at least one aid station somewhere along the course/finish.

I’m on the fence about registering for next year’s race. While I enjoy the course, I can’t see paying the entry fee for a family of 4 only to be dissatisfied again. I also would like to see the proceeds of this race benefit the local charity “Fisherman’s Mark” more than the chamber of commerce and its programs. It seems the organizers really stepped down the “swag” to their benefit. Eh, what do I know?

I finished 158 out of 680, finish time of 00:25:28

Book Review: Running with Raven

I’ve read my share of running books, some deal with addiction, overcoming tragedy, tales of endurance, fighting demons within… all of them captivating in their own way.  And all they have their place on my bookshelf, especially “Running with Raven” by Laura Lee Huttenbach aka White Lightning.

I couldn’t put this book down.  I know I’ve heard people say this and I have used this lightly in the past, but I literally carried this book with me and just could not stop myself.

“Running with Raven” is wonderfully unique.

Without giving too much of the entire biography away, the gist of the book is about Robert “Raven” Kraft, a dedicated runner who faithfully logs 8 miles every evening in South Beach Miami. Raven is a wonderfully colorful character that embodies all that is good in the world and in the running community. His commitment to the run gives new meaning to the “standing up for what you believe in” mantra. Reading this book riles your senses and you’ll find yourself believing in, and rooting for, Raven.

Runners who join Raven and run the 8 miles become a part of his story, it’s almost therapeutic reading of Raven’s empathy toward others as well as his remarkable memory of other runners birthdays, nicknames, and little details only a true friend would know. As much as Raven remembers about them, they too bring Raven into their lives and make him a part of their story. Running the 8 miles with Raven earns you Robert’s friendship and a nickname: your place in the Raven Run history – A rite of passage and badge of honor in the Raven Community.

The book has a documentary feel and draws you in as you learn about Raven and those that join him. Raven has touched the lives of many, and has inspired thousands. The book details all aspects of Raven’s life, so much so, that you almost feel as if your sitting on the couch right there with Robert as he shares his life’s story. You learn everyone’s story as Raven rattles off every detail of those that have earned their nickname.

Once the book was complete, I felt inspired and even reflected on my own running journey. Everyone is going through something, this book reminds me that running solves almost anything. Even though the book ended, Raven’s story continues to this day. Oddly enough, I couldn’t shake the feeling of wanting to know if Raven was still out there, faithfully running everyday. I wanted to know if the legend continues.

Raven recently “followed” me on Instagram and although I question the validity of the account it seems legit. Check out @ravenrunsouthbeach but maybe not after you read this awesome book!

September Miles! Triple Digits

Welp, I did it again! I got my monthly goal of 100+ miles in a month… and it feels awesome. It might seem like I’m going backward, but October I’m going to reel things back and reduce my mileage.

And here’s why.

As you can imagine, after increasing my average monthly mileage from 70 to 100 miles, I was bound to find new injuries along the way.  Calm down Uncle Jim, my knees are fine – what I did discover:

I was having issues with tenderness in my plantar fascia.  Plantar fasciitis is a fairly common ailment among runners and easily treatable.  I won’t go into all of the details (Google is your friend), but I found my heels and arches were often sore following a long run. After a quick YouTube search, I was able to pinpoint that the issue is in the calf-muscles and not properly stretching AFTER my runs.

I found that giving myself a somewhat painful and deep tissue massage along my calves and plantar fascia, I was able to reduce and relieve the pain.  Also, foam rolling after runs has helped drastically reduce soreness and tenderness.

Second, I’ve been experiencing some tenderness in my lower left shin, almost like a wicked bruise that won’t go away.  I’m not sure if this is a stress fracture on my lower leg, or if a tendon is just bruised and needs to heal. Either way, I’m taking it easy to hopefully not exacerbate any injuries, I don’t want to take any chances.  Also, I don’t know how to describe exactly what I’m feeling other than the pain is similar to a bruise.  I don’t experience pain when I walk or put weight on my leg, so it doesn’t seem like a fracture is an issue, again just soreness.

The Hershey Half Marathon next weekend, and for the most part, I have only logged 18 miles in the last 11 days.  This upcoming week (before the half marathon) I’m not going to run at all, maybe a slight jog around the neighborhood – like I said, I just want to take it easy.

iCare 5k

Every year a nearby food bank hosts a 5k almost in our backyard. Blessings of Hope has a huge yard sale, auction, food vendors, activities for kids, and of course a 5k race in beautiful Lancaster County. The company is predominantly Mennonite so it attracts the local Amish and Mennonite community at large. Turn out is always HUGE.

This year the 5k drew a much larger crowd as well. The course was the same as the previous year, a nice easy run on the back roads of Amish Country. There is a slight incline, at the very start, but for the most part it’s nothing too crazy and very runner friendly.

At the very beginning I noticed a lot of kids hanging around the starting line- in fact there were a lot of kids and I thought how fun it will be to blow past them at the half way mark. The announcer’s voice boomed over the handheld speaker as she yelled “GO!” and we were off. Truth be told: those Amish kids took off and I didn’t see a single one after that. Even though my first mile was complete in 7 minutes, and my second mile at 7:20, those kids were fast and long gone.

The course was beautiful as always, and the atmosphere and iCare event was a lovely experience. Even though I hit a few PRs, fastest mile (7:11), fastest 2 miles (14:31), I still finished 25th overall. I placed 3rd in my age group and received a fidget spinner medal- all-in-all, it was pretty fun.

Last year I ran a lot slower, with an average of 9:00 min/miles and placed 2nd in my age group. So this year I’d say the amount of competitors was a lot higher and the skill levels were just as high to match. This is a fast course and we saw some really fast times! Looking forward to next year!

It’s a GIVEAWAY! (kinda)

Honey Stinger Fans rejoice, I have coupon codes worth 37% off your total order when you buy all your favorites from http://www.HoneyStinger.com!  This is a one-time coupon, to be used at checkout, for 37% off your entire order so STOCK UP!

I’ve given away one coupon code to one of my amazing Instagram followers, and he’s also a pretty cool dude to boot, for correctly guessing the make of my car (Subaru). That leaves me with two remaining coupon codes left to share with the masses!  So if you aren’t following me on the Instagrams, I suggest you do, have a look at my latest post and keep those guessing rolling in!

Official rules:
1. Enter code at checkout to receive 37% off
2. Codes good for orders on honeystinger.com only
3. Codes valid for non-Hive athletes only
4. Codes must be used before April 1st, 2018

These are a few of my favorite things – Part II

Race day is a very exciting day, in my early experience I would show up, dressed and ready to run.  Part way through the race, I was itching for an aid station for a drink, or some boost to keep me going.  This would often slow me down – ever try to grab a water from an aid station with hundreds of other runners?  Yeah, no thanks.  It wasn’t until I started to prepare for my races that I really started to enjoy the process.  Arriving prepared, not just in gear alone, can make a race day experience so much better.  5K races I generally treat as fun runs without much fuss, but on long-distance runs, and races over the 10-mile mark I generally start to think about fuel on the go.

Please keep in mind these product reviews are entirely my own, my own experiences, tastes, preferences, and do not express the views of the manufacturer. Please proceed with caution, individual results will vary.  While I have an ambassadorship with Honey Stinger, the best in sports fuel in the industry, I developed this list prior to joining them so there is a bit of a variety.

In this post, I want to focus on two things: Gel and Hydration Race necessities.
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