Therapydia NOLA – physical therapy with heart

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary run assessment from Therapydia NOLA in exchange for this blog post. However, all views and opinions are my own.

I recently had the opportunity to visit the Therapydia NOLA physical therapy clinic in Metairie, Louisiana to check it out and receive a run assessment. Being a runner with a history of knee issues, I’ve been through my fair share of physical therapy clinics. I know what I like and don’t like in a clinic and I know what will get results out of me. I immediately connected with the staff and atmosphere of Therapydia NOLA. They’re definitely one of the “good guys”.

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One of the first things you notice upon entering the Therapydia NOLA clinic is the friendly staff and the warm, inviting environment. I wasn’t in the door two seconds before I was greeted cheerfully by Heidi Ferry, the office manager. I was immediately offered a bottle of water and introduced around to the therapists in the clinic. They have a nice, little waiting area to sit and relax while you wait for your therapists to work with you.

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But, you won’t be waiting long with the way they schedule their patients. Each patient is scheduled personal time with a therapist and evaluated and re-evaluated for every visit. There’s none of the, “Go start your exercises over there and I’ll be with you in half an hour” mess that you often get with the large physical therapy clinics. It’s very, very personal and one-on-one at Therapydia NOLA. I witnessed therapists standing with and over their patient for that hour, giving them instruction on proper form and getting feedback from the patient on their progress and how they felt. It’s this personalized touch that gets patients to work harder, improve, and gain a greater quality of life back. They have a vested interest in that patient/therapist relationship. The therapists care about each patient’s quality of life.

They consistently have the patient in mind. They will work with your schedule to fit you in when it’s best for your busy life. Want to come before work? No problem. They open early several days of the week. Same thing goes for after work. They often adjust their hours to fit the patient. Heidi works with most insurance companies to take all of the headaches out of filing and paying via insurance. And now you no longer have to have a doctor’s prescription for physical therapy. You can call and schedule with them directly if you develop new (or old, familiar) aches and pains. They will perform a full assessment on you and put together a plan to get you back on track.

I loved too that every therapist was an athlete. They were a well rounded group with a CrossFit coach, triathletes, and runners. I know going into a therapy session with a fellow runner that they’ll understand my concerns and my drive to get back out on the road as soon as possible.

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As part of the assessment I had a change to sit down with the therapists and interview them about the clinic. Below are a few Q&A from the Therapydia NOLA team of physical therapists: Clinic Director Jonathan Burke, DPT, Whitney Braswell, DPT, and Jessica Hernandez, DPT

  1. Tell me a little bit about Therapydia NOLA and the services you offer?

Therapydia NOLA is a physical therapy and wellness clinic that focuses on treating all types of musculoskeletal and nervous system dysfunctions and injuries. We treat a variety of issues ranging from injury rehabilitation to sports-specific conditions as well as long-term chronic conditions. We also do injury prevention screenings to prevent future injuries from happening. Our goal is to work with you to create a unique treatment and wellness program that is designed for you and your body.

  1. What sets you apart from other physical therapy offices?

Treatment at our clinic is provided one-on-one by a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) throughout your entire treatment. We don’t use physical therapy aides or techs, you’ll stay with the physical therapist you’re working with throughout the entirety of your rehabilitation. Manual therapy, or hands-on techniques, is also at the core of our treatment program. Manual techniques are highly specific to the part of your muscle that’s injured and are used to treat soft tissues and joint structures. We use manual therapy as the foundation for treatment and complement it with guided corrective exercises. Our clinic also specializes in offering customized physical therapy services for Women’s Health and Trigger Point Dry Needling.

  1. What would a typical therapy session at Therapydia entail?

We’ll treat your injury by assessing your body’s biomechanics from head to toe. For example, having an ankle injury doesn’t simply mean treating your ankle. You’d have to assess across your lower limbs and core to see which instabilities could be putting extra strain on your ankle. If you come in for an initial evaluation, we’ll perform a screening and depending on your condition look at your range of motion, strength, flexibility, posture, and movement patterns. We’ll take baseline measurements of your movements and use that data to drive our treatment program. We’ll assess and reassess and tailor treatment to your needs throughout the process. For subsequent treatment sessions, exercise-based rehabilitation will be used alongside manual therapy to heal any injured muscles and joints.

  1. What is a run assessment and what are the benefits?

A run assessment is a screening specifically designed to apply to running mechanics. A physical therapist will put markers on you and you’ll run naturally while they observe and take a recording. Afterwards, they’ll use a video analysis coupled with a movement assessment to look at your angles and how you move through the 4 phases of running. We can identify any joint and soft tissue restrictions as well as strength and motor control deficits. The goal is to see how joints across your body move through their necessary ranges of motion and see what injuries you might be at risk for. It’s not just about how your feet hit the groundyour knee, pelvic, and trunk positioning all come into play to when considering your gait. It’s all about getting you to train correctly so your body processes force efficiently as you run. That way, you can prevent future injuries you’re at risk for and prevent joint and muscle overuse.

  1. What advice would you have for a runner dealing with a nagging injury?

Do not continue running through the pain in hopes that it will just go away. Seek out a medical professional that assesses movement to find out what’s at the source of any pain you’re feeling. For example, a nagging and achy knee may be the result of a limitation at the ankle or hip. I would also suggest trying out cross-training. Swimming, cycling, and rowing are great ways to improve cardiovascular endurance. Choose an activity that allows you to perform without pain and supplement this with your running until you are able to run without pain. Often times, athletes say, “I was feeling pretty good so I went for a 3 mile run today” only to end up discouraged because their pain came back. Make sure you have a solid return to a run program following an injury as well. Make sure you work with your movement specialist to work out a training routine that effectively gets you back into running without putting you at risk for injury. At Therapydia NOLA, we use a return to run program that is evidenced based from the University of Maryland.

  1. What’s the number one mistake you see new (and old) runners make?

Blaming any pain or injury on their running shoes or changing shoes to fix the problem. Not having the right type of shoes can contribute to discomfort while you run but the overall source of the pain will have to with your form and biomechanics as you run. Working on your running form and technique will guide you to have a better and injury-free training program.

  1. What is your best advice to prevent common running-related injuries?

I always tell runners to keep to the FIT principle: do not increase frequency, intensity, or time of running too quickly. Your body needs time to adapt to the increased amounts of force that you’ll be putting on your muscles and joints. Keep to proper running progression when increasing distances and keep up a cross-training program on non-running days.

In terms of form, you’ll want to shorten your stride and increase steps per minute (cadence) to reduce stress to your hips and knees during running. Try to land directly under your center of mass to eliminate breaking motion when your foot hits the ground. Make sure you stay upright but lean slightly forward at the trunk with a slight bent knee when your feet land. The hips are an essential area of the body for runners to work on. The musculature of the hips help to stabilize the pelvis during running. The muscles around the hips like the glutes especially keep the pelvis from dropping in single limb support. If this muscle has trouble stabilizing the pelvis then the knee will move inward and the arch of the foot will collapse. This results in improper running form that will be setting putting you at risk of injuring yourself.

Therapydia NOLA was a great physical therapy clinic. I really connected with the staff there and would highly recommend it to anyone seeking physical therapy for an injury or even a run assessment to see where they can improve weaknesses in their form. I’ll be writing up another post shortly on my run assessment and everything it entailed (*hint* it was SUPER interesting!!)

Stay tuned!

Therapydia NOLA is located at 2701 Airline Drive, Suite L in Metairie, Louisiana. You can call them at (504) 507-9375 or email them at hello@therapydianola.com to set up an appointment.

Staying hydrated with Ultima Replenisher™

Disclaimer: I received a sample of Ultima Replenisher ™ to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

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Summers in south Louisiana are brutal. The humidity regularly stays above 80% and the heat index is at least 10 degrees higher than the actual temperature. So, that 96° temp actually feels like 106°. Running and training in the summer is tough. It’s hot. Your pace slows a lot. You routinely sweat 2 to 3 lbs. of water weight off during a run. I am a sopping wet mess after a simple 3 miler. With the heat and added loss of fluids through sweat, hydration and electrolyte replenishing become extra important.

This is precisely why I was really excited to try out the Ultima Replenisher™ Electrolyte Powders.

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Ultima Replenisher™ was founded by a nutritionist and long distance runner and was created for the USTF athletes for the 1996 Olympic Games. The combination of electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals was essential in keeping the runners hydrated and aiding performance.

Ultima Replenisher™ Electrolyte Powders are:

  • vegan,
  • gluten-free,
  • contain no processed sugar,
  • carb-free,
  • zero calorie,
  • contain no artifical flavors or sweeteners,
  • caffiene-free, and
  • made with plant-based colors and real fruit flavors.

The powders are sweetened with stevia leaf. Compared to other sugar laden sport drinks, Ultima Replenisher™ has 3x more potassium, zero sugar, and five other electrolytes and support minerals that are key to performance and hydration: magnesium, chloride, calcium, selenium, phosphorus, and zinc. Replenisher™ also has 167% of your % daily value of Vitamin C in each serving. It’s almost like drinking a multi-vitamin!

What I noticed immediately about the powders is the flavor. These drinks TASTE GREAT. Really. I didn’t notice any of the strange aftertaste you experience in some sugar-free drinks. I tried several different flavors out and really enjoyed every one of them. My only issue is the full scoop was a little sweet for me. I like my water flavored subtly. Cutting the scoop in half was perfect for me. But my husband and kids liked the full scoop flavor better.

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The powders come in two sizes of bulk tubs: a 90 serving and smaller 30 serving canister. You can also get the stick packs (shown above) which are great for on-the-go and travel. I keep a couple of the sticks in my purse for work and in my hydration vest to put back in my water as I drain it repeatedly on my longer runs. The individual serving size package makes them really convenient.

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My whole family loves these powders. I even bought the toddler formula for my kids to get them away from the sugary sport drinks. They love it! They love making their “berry drink” themselves. I’ve actually been drinking a lot more water because of it. The great taste makes it so much easier to get in my water consumption for the day. Before I know it, I’ve downed 80 oz!

I highly recommend trying out the Ultima Replenisher™ Electrolyte Powders. Ultima Replenisher™ and BibRave have partnered to offer a great discount code.

You can receive 35% off your order plus FREE shipping with the code BIBRAVE2016!!

I’ve already used that code twice to re-order. Ha! Guess I’m kinda obsessed with the stuff.

 

Reindeer Run 5k recap

This weekend the entire Z Family went out to Ponchatoula, LA for their annual Reindeer Run for Restoration House 5k and kids fun run. We did this race last year and loved it. Little Z ran the kids run and loved that he got a medal at the end. This year they were passing out the cutest reindeer medals for everyone. Coming back from a week at Disney we were exhausted but we HAD to do it. Little Z had been talking about running to get his medal for weeks.

Of course, our family had to go in costume. In fact, there are specific costume award categories for this race. Almost everyone was dressed up in Christmas gear.

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Little Z wanted to be Santa and wanted us to dress up as either elves or reindeer. Elves were much easier to do so elves we were!

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He was soooo excited to run with Daddy as they lined up at the race start.

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Annnnddd they’re off! Apparently the gun/horn went off by accident and everyone started running in the wrong direction. HA! So they had to run another block in the other direction.

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But Little Z and Mr. Z did GREAT and finished up strong.

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He was so proud of his medal.

After the kids race was done it was time for us to line up for the 5k. We were pushing both boys in the double stroller and it was cold so I wanted to get it done quickly. Last year when we did this race I was just a few months off having Baby Z-peat. I wanted to crush that time this year. We started out pretty quickly and Mr. Z asked me what time I was going for. I just told him, “get this done as quickly as possible”.  But I did have a goal in my head. I REALLY wanted to get a sub-9:00 pace.

Miles 1 & 2 ticked by pretty easily. I had pulled up the holiday channel on Pandora on my phone as we were blasting Christmas music as we ran. At the start of mile 3 I started to get tired. We were both getting tired. But we were almost there and we were on track for sub 9:00/mile pace. We pushed each other and ran it in at a sprint for a 26:37 finish time! Whoohoo!

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Shortly after we finished I check the official finisher results and saw that we had both placed in our age groups! I took 1st and Mr. Z took 2nd! SWEET!

The race starts and ends at a cute park in Ponchatoula. They have a cute backdrop to take race photos and Santa is even there for pictures.

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There was hot cocoa, Chic-fil-a chicken biscuits (YUMMY!), chicken quesadillas, jambalaya, fruit salad and a cookie decorating station.

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There’s even a nice playground for the kids to run around and burn off some energy too.

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We even took home the best group costume! The prize was a HUGE box of chocolates. All in all, it was a great morning. We had a blast and we will be back to run it again next year.

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You can check out my race report on bibrave.com here:

Reindeer Run for Restoration House 5k

Inside the Mind of a Runner

While a day late (I’m always running late), I thought this would be an appropriate post for National Running Day. These are just some of the thoughts that go through my mind as I run.

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To run or not to run

Sitting on the couch, outfitted in my running clothes, I have visions of Cameron in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. “He’ll keep calling meeee….I’ll go.I’ll go….I’ll go”

Trying to motivate myself, I pull my sluggish body off of the couch, “I’ll go. I’ll go….I’ll go!”

Slowly I walk to the end of the block to my starting point – the stop sign. I bargain with myself, “One lap; that’s all you need to do. Just get through one lap. One point eight miles – you can do it. Easy.”

Ipod shuffle. Check. Shoes laced. Check. Deodorant. Check. Let’s go.

0.5 miles

The weather is great today. That rain really cooled things down. Nice breeze going, lightly blowing against my face. Ohhh… here comes a guy running the other way. OK, pick up the pace a bit. Look like you know what you’re doing here. Look like you’re an avid runner. Wave back. Smile and head nod. OK, he’s gone. Slooowww back down. Back to the agony.

1.0 miles

I hate the first mile. Man, this hurts. Where is that runner that was training for the half marathon? I liked her. She was smooth, strong, … confident. Where did this jiggly, spastic stride come from? Awww, what a cute dog. THEY won yard of the month? Would fajitas be good for dinner?

1.5 miles

OK, now I’m finding my stride! This isn’t so bad. I am an efficient running machine! Breathe in, breathe out…breathe in, breathe out. Relax your arms and shoulders. Ohhh…I like this song! I think I’ll speed up the pace a bit.

1.8 miles

OH MY GOD – that’s the longest song EVER! I hate that song! Fast forward. OK, coming up on one lap. How do I feel? Should I go for one more? Lungs, how’re you holding up?

“We’re a little tight, but holding on! Keep going!”

Heart?

“Still pumping away! Keep going!”

Legs?

“We’re just getting warmed up down here! Keep going!”

All right, knees you’re the weak link in the system. How are things with you guys?

“Wee’r givin’ ‘er all she’s got Capt’n but I don’ know how much longer she’ll hold.”

(Why my knees sound like Scotty from Star Trek I don’t know, but it makes me smile.)

Consensus – Keep going!

2.0 miles

Here comes the guy again. Head nod. Smile. I wish he would quit passing me! It’s hard to keep this pace up.

2.5 miles

I’m really finding my stride today. This actually feels great. How about adding a little speed work? Ok, sprint to the end of the street. Ready…Go!

2.7 miles

Ouch. That hurt.

3.0 miles

I’m rounding the last corner. Only half a mile to go. Relax the arms and shoulders. OK, time to trade out my tired legs for “NEW LEGS”. Commence with Operation New Legs.

3.4 miles

Bring it on HOME. Strong finish…The stop sign is only a few feet away now. I think I can, I think I can!

3.5 miles

Wow – what a high! I feel amazing! The runner’s still in there – I just had to dig a little for her. I feel like I could conquer the world right now! All right stop-sign, same time tomorrow. See you then.

#100milesinMarch update

Well, we’ve reached the halfway point of March (a little over, but I was on travel the beginning of this week). I figured I’d better check in on my progress with the #100milesinMarch challenge.

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I am happy to report that I have logged 73 miles so far this month. SEVENTY-THREE MILES!! I’m averaging about 30 miles a week. That’s a huge step up for me. I’ve got some of the  normal aches and pains, mostly in the form of achy knees but I’m feeling pretty great for the most part. I’m taking care of my knees by foam rolling, stretching, and anti-inflammatory meds when needed. My endurance has greatly improved. I feel like a 6 miler is a warm up. Ha! And I’ve actually lost a couple of pounds as an added bonus. But, I’m also hungry ALL OF THE TIME. It’s difficult to not grab a huge hamburger and fries and shove it into my mouth every day (well, OK, I did that ONE day). I’m getting excited for my race on Saturday! I think this challenge has kept me focused and helped prepare me for my first post-baby half marathon.

Weekend Recap – Half training, DST & spring-like weather!

Hello Spring Weather!! It was such a gorgeous weekend. The sun was shining. The birds were singing. And I was running! I had to take advantage and get out there and enjoy the beautiful sunlight. We’re supposed to have rain ALL WEEK LONG. Ugh.

I am super proud of myself though. I got out and ran this week. I RAN! I logged 30 miles! That’s the longest run week I’ve had in a long, long, long time (like over a year I think). I’m sore and a little achy, but not too bad actually. I’m pleasantly surprised. I definitely need to stretch and have a date with the foam roller this afternoon. That’s 30 miles toward the #100milesinMarch so far!

I took Baby Z-peat out for a slow and easy 4 on Saturday afternoon to shake the legs out in preparation for my long run on Sunday.

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We took our time waking up on Sunday and were hurting a bit due to cranky baby (up every couple of hours) and Daylight Savings Time. I have a love/hate relationship with Daylight Savings Time. I love that I have an extra hour of daylight at the end of the day to play with the boys and run, but I hate the loss of an hour and the impact it has on our bodies. It always take us about a week to adjust to the new schedule. I wish we would honestly just pick one time and stick with it.

I was a nervous wreck going into the 10 on Sunday. I don’t know why. Well, I do. I put a lot of pressure on myself. I’m running the Blue Angels Rock N Fly Half in two weeks. I don’t want to embarrass myself and completely bonk it. I know I won’t. I know I’ll finish it just fine. But there’s still that little voice in my head that nags at me. I really have to work on that self deprecation.

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We started it out slow and easy. My goal was a negative split on this run. I wanted to take the first half very slow and easy and then pick up the pace on the second half. I knew I’d be running on tired legs and that’s just what I wanted. It actually went really well. It took a couple of miles for my legs to loosen up and feel warmed up but then I just kept plugging away. I was feeling really good at mile 6 and knew I could finish with ease. In fact, I easily had 3 more miles left in me. I needed this run to build my confidence for the race. I’m super excited about the race now. It won’t be my best, but it’s a great start to getting back into racing again.

wpid-img_20150308_141744.pngI’m hoping the rain will hold off enough today to allow me to get a 3 mile walk in with the boys. I don’t plan to run today. My legs need a rest. Then back to training on Tuesday. I’m going to try and get a 12 miler in sometime this week. Whew. No rest for the weary or anyone training for a race. 🙂

Make it a great week everyone!

Chick-fil-a Race Series 10k Race Recap

I first noticed the information for the Chick-fil-A Race Series race in our local Chick-fil-A. Having a picky eating 3 year old, we hit up Chick-fil-A at least once a week. He loves their nuggets and fruit and indoor play area. I thought it would be a fun event for the whole family. I signed us up for the 10k. And then I learned that on top of the normal age group awards there was a Spirit Award for best costume. I am ALLLLL about some fun race costumes. It. Was. On.

I made a bee line to JoAnn’s for a ton of bulk felt in Chick-fil-A colors and set about my plan. Mr. Z and I would be cows, Little Z a chicken nugget, and Baby Z-peat a waffle fry. I was even going to decorate the stroller as a take out bag. Friday afternoon I got to sewing and gluing (felt glue is amazing stuff). I stayed up until 11:00 the night before but I got it all done. We were one Chick-fil-A spirited family. I was determined to get that prize!

Even the jogging stroller got a makeover!

Even the jogging stroller got a makeover!

Our little waffle fry.

Our little waffle fry.

Our crazy weather meant, of course, a cold front moved in the night before. We got up at 6:00 a.m. to start getting dressed and it was 34*! Ack! So we layered upon layered up. We got the whole family dressed, the stroller loaded and we were ready to roll!

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We got to the race and found our way to the start area. They had water and bananas available for everyone at the start. We filled out the spirit cards with our bib numbers at the Spirit tent and made our way to the start line. We met up with our friend Denise and her family there. The 10k racers were going first with the 5k folks starting about 10 minutes after us. We made sure the kids were super bundled up and we were off.

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The course took us on the back roads around several neighborhoods and rural parts in the area. It was actually very pretty. There were wonderful race volunteers at the turns pointing us in the right direction along with well marked signs. They cheered us on at each turn. We got a mile in and were feeling good when Little Z’s iPad app got stuck and he wanted something to drink. I got the iPad fixed, got him his water, and we were able to start running again. We were in this race for the fun of it, so I wasn’t too concerned with pace.

Around mile 4 the course took us by some construction they were doing on a back road. And the crew was actually working on a Saturday. Oh no. Two huge dump trucks were trying to maneuver out of the construction site onto the nearby road. Luckily it was a small race and the trucks didn’t have to go far before they were clear of runners.

We were feeling really good and actually keeping a pretty good pace. We were on pace to knock off several minutes from last weekend’s 10k! We rounded the corner and saw the police lights signaling the turn into the finish line. Little Z loved the police lights! We sprinted it in to the finish and the Chick-fil-A cows were there giving everyone high fives and handing out little cows. It was so cute!

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Little Z LOVED his little cow.

They had warm coffee and chicken biscuits waiting for all the runners. Ohh they tasted so, so good on that cold, cold day.

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They also had bouncy houses set up for the kids across the parking lot. But it was so cold that Little Z really wanted nothing to do with them. They weren’t handing out medals at this race except for the overall and age group awards. They had medals for each of these categories three deep. I’m not fast by any means, so I had no expectation of getting one but I can still ogle the bling!

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They had a cute finishers backdrop set up across the finish line for people to take pictures after the race. We were able to snap a Z Family picture in all of our costumed fabulousness.

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And Little Z was infatuated with the big cows. He was following them around, wanted pictures with them, giving them high fives.

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He even wanted to “shake his booty” with the cows. He got his dance on with the big one. It was hilarious. He had everyone in stitches.

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It was time to start calling the awards. They got to each of our age groups and shocker upon shocker we each won third place in our age group! Whohoo!

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Everyone was starting to leave and they still hadn’t called the Spirit Awards. I walked up to the award tent to ask if they were going to do those today or if it worked differently. She looked at me, grinned and said, “We’re just about to announce them. DO NOT LEAVE!” Ummm…OK.

They announced the third place winner. Then the second place winner. Then the overall Spirit Award winner….ME!! OMG! OMG! I was so excited!! She said it was the cow ears that put me over the top. HA!

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I won a huge stuffed Chick-fil-A cow and a coffee mug filled with free Chick-fil-A vouchers. I’m going to be a Chick-fil-A eating fool!! We had such a fun time at the race. Ok, here’s the break down:

Pros:

  • GREAT food after the race
  • Nice race distances for everyone and every ability: 1 mile, 5k, and 10k
  • Course was fun
  • Bouncy houses were a nice touch for kids – just wish it were warmer
  • Good age group medals, three deep for each race.
  • The Spirit Award contest added an extra element of fun to the race.
  • The race shirts were really nice – red tech t-shirts.

Cons:

  • I wish, wish, wish races would hand out medals for everyone in the 1 mile fun run. You don’t know how much it makes these kids light up to get a medal (no matter how cheap and chintzy) when they cross that finish line.
  • They were handing out Chick-fil-A biscuits, coffee, water and bananas but then wanted to charge $1.50 for a cookie. It was kind of odd to me.

Overall it was a great race and we had a really good time. We would definitely be back to run this one again if it’s offered near us.

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The run that you feel in your loins.

In my younger days I played a bit of golf. I remember one day in spring practice my golf coach was going over proper grip, back swing and follow through. We were at a par 3 hole and had to hit the ball over a river to the green downhill. Nervously, I stepped up to the tee and adjusted my grip and stance. It was my turn to swing. I arced my 3 wood back and smoothly pushed it through to connect with the ball. BING! It hit the sweet spot. The ball beautifully lofted up and over the river and plopped down softly 3 inches from the hole. It. Was. Epic. I remember my coach saying, “And that right there is why we play golf. You can take a thousand bad swings, but that one great one will keep you coming back. You felt it in your loins didn’t you?” I had. It was such an amazing feeling. Like for one instance, I had experienced totally and complete perfection.

While you don’t have a club in your hands when you run, you can still experience hitting that sweet spot while running. You know the run. The one where everything just clicks. You get in the zone. You start cruising along. Your legs feel like they’re flying. You find your rhythm and then you look down at your pace watch. “Damn! I’m killing my pace today!” The run feels like perfection. You feel it in your loins.

Those are the runs that we live for. Those are the runs that keep us coming back for more. That right there is why we run.

I had one of those this week. I’ve been struggling for a while to find my running mojo and get back my love of running. I’ve been doing several short distance runs trying to find my pace and running self. On Tuesday’s run I found it. Or maybe it found me. It was just a 5 miler but it was a 5 miler without stopping. It was a 5 miler almost 40 seconds off my current average pace. It was a 5 miler where my body didn’t feel beat up and tired. I saw some of the old me in that run. There was a spark of the old runner I used to know. Just like that sweet spot connect in golf, that run has me coming back for more! I can’t wait to lace my shoes up and head out the door. In constant pursuit of another sweet spot run.

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New Orleans Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon 2014 Recap

This weekend I had a lot of running friends run the 2015 New Orleans Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and Half Marathon. I loved seeing all of their expo, “flat runner”, tweetup and finish line brag pics! I didn’t sign up to run it this year because I didn’t feel like I would be ready to run it in time and didn’t want to put that kind of pressure on myself after the arrival of Baby Z-peat. I really just wanted to soak up my time with his sweet little face. But, I ran it last year. I never did a race recap on it. I thought it’d be fun to post a race recap one year later. Let’s see how much I remember!

This race was just doomed for me from the start. Everything that could go wrong did. I had every intention of running the full marathon that year. I trained hard all fall and PR’d a couple of my half marathons leading up to the race. I was feeling strong late December with two 20 milers already under my belt. Things were looking good. And then Christmas happened and then I got the flu. Ugh. I was sick for over two weeks. When I finally started to feel better my body was so incredibly weak.

Two weeks before, my friend Nicole was running the full too. It was going to be her first. She wanted to come over to my ‘hood to run with me for her last long run for a change of scenery. It was going to be a test run for me to see how my body would do. If I could manage the whole 20, no matter how slow, I would run the full. If not, I would downgrade to the half.

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We started our run and 6 miles in I just was not feeling it. I knew then that this run would be a real struggle for me. I stuck it out for 12 miles and then had to call it quits. I felt so bad for having to leave her to finish out those last 10 miles but I just couldn’t go any longer. (She rocked those last 10 miles anyway!) My body was spent.

My dear friends Sarah and Ryan were coming in for the race and I was so excited to see them! Mr. Z, Little Z and I met up with them the Saturday of the expo and had lunch before heading over to the expo to pick up our packets and peruse the running goodies. Funny enough, this is where I bought my first FlipBelt and fell in love with it. I was nervous though. I was supposed to run the full with Sarah and I was still feeling pretty crummy.

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To add insult to injury, Mr. Z was supposed to run the half. That same week he started having severe nose bleeds…to the point he had to go to the ENT to have a blood vessel cauterized. The Dr. told him under no uncertain term was he to run for 4 weeks or he could risk hospital stay. So, he was out. I convinced my friend Kerrie to come run on his bib with me. She’d been having some calf and shin pain but I twisted her arm and she relented. Yay!

Sunday morning I got up, still feeling crappy and exhausted. I had NO energy. My body felt beat down and tired. I had decided that I was just going to shuffle through the half and get it done. I’d paid my entry. I was going to get a medal one way or the other dammit!

I walked out the door to my car and was greeted by crazy, thick-as-pea-soup fog. FOG! UGH! Seriously? Kerrie and I were following each other across the bridge. When I got to the toll booth, I saw that they were caravaning people across at 35 mph due to the thick fog. 24 miles at 35 mph. Seriously????? Ugh! Luckily we had given ourselves plenty of time to get across, get parked, catch the shuttle, and meet up with Sarah. We were doing good on time.

We finally got across the bridge and the fog had lifted a bit. We got parked and were gearing up to go catch the shuttle to downtown. I couldn’t find my headphones. I tore the car apart. No headphones. Damn. Not a huge issue since I run without headphones most of the time but I like to put them in if I start really struggling or hurting for an extra bit of motivation. Kerrie and I always talk our heads off while running so It was OK. We started to walk to the shuttle buses and I had a nagging feeling in my head that I was missing something. I felt for my car key and it was gone. GONE!! I started to freak out. Kerrie, (thank God for her level head) ran back to car and looked for the key using her iPhone light (it was still dark out). We were hoping I had just dropped it at the car. I began to backtrack behind her looking as well. No key. Anywhere. I thought maybe I had just locked it in the car while rummaging for my headphones. At this point I was feeling crappy, exhausted and freaked out over losing my car key. We decided to say “F it” and just run the damn race since we were so close.

After all that, we were cutting it close for the race start. We caught one of the last shuttles to the start line and managed to still make it to our corral. Unfortunately I completely missed seeing Sarah at the start. We slowly meandered our way to the start line and I was still a stress ball and nervous wreck over losing my car key. We got to the start and began running. We were off! About a mile in I ran into Nicole and Karen! I snuck up behind her and goosed her. HA! She was looking strong and ready to tackle all 26.2 miles!

Our motto was to just keep moving/shuffling/walking until we crossed that finish line. The miles ticked by. I’m so grateful for Kerrie’s conversation and taking my mind off things. Before I knew it we were halfway done and in the French Quarter. It was CRAZY foggy in the Quarter as we got close to the river. It was very eerie and actually quite beautiful running through it.

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By mile 8 we were hurting. I still felt crappy. It was taking every bit of willpower to run and keep moving. I had zero energy. What was wrong with me? I was running 16 and 18 milers just a few weeks before with no issue! But we kept it fun and silly and just kept moving, moving, moving.

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The last few miles were a blur. I just remember entering City Park and wanting to be done so badly. Just keep moving. Just keep moving. I finally saw the finish line and it was such a wonderful site. We were almost there. Kerrie took off in a sprint. She wanted to be done. I didn’t have any gas left. I just kept moving slowly to the finish line. We. Were. Done.

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We got our finisher medals and walked back to the car hoping maybe we might see the key along the way or dropped right at the car. Nope. Nothing. Nada. Fuuuuddddggggeeeeee. I call Mr. Z and told him I had lost the key. He was so wonderful and drove across to bring me the spare key. We walked over to CC’s and had some warm coffee (I ALWAYS pack a credit card or a $20 in my belt for those “just in case” times thank God!). We waited there until he arrived with the key. Hallelujah! I drove home, got a hot shower and crawled into bed for a long nap.

All morning I was telling Kerrie that something was off. This was not me! I’m not this scatter brained! I just was not feeling well. No energy. Exhausted. Well, a week later I found out why!! I was pregnant with Baby Z-peat! No WONDER!

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I can honestly say this was one of the craziest, messed up races I have ever done. I have no idea how I made it through it but I did. Amazing what a little willpower and good friends can do!

My one resolution for the new year.

Welcome 2015!!!! I took a little blogging hiatus over the holidays to just relax and enjoy my family. We had an amazing, blessed Christmas. We celebrated…maybe a little too much. 😉 Now it’s time to look forward and start the new year fresh! I’m only making one new year resolution this year, to Lighten Up. I plan to do this in a number of ways:

1. Lighten Up a few pounds. I think this is everyone’s resolution at some point but I don’t want to say “lose weight”. I really just want to lighten up the few holiday pounds of fat and work on gaining lean muscle mass. I plan to do this by “Eating Clean in 2015!” Ha. I know…corny…but the rhyme cracks me up. I’m getting back on the clean eating band wagon. If I can focus on clean eating 80% of the time I think I’ll be in good shape. This means no dairy, no sugar (ack!) and limited wheat (only unprocessed) products. This is a very lean protein and veggie/fruit heavy diet. I felt amazing when I did this in November and dropped some significant weight.

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2. Lighten Up my pace. I am still struggling with finding my running mojo. I’m hoping once we get past the holidays I can get back to a routine where I can incorporate running more. Baby Z-peat is now old enough where I can take him to the gym and use the gym daycare for an hour or so. I plan to start using it in the mornings while Little Z is in pre-school and try and log a few miles and workouts. And if weather is permitting I’ll break out The Beast (double jogging stroller) and start run/walking again. I know that consistency is the key to getting my running fitness back and getting my speed back up.

wpid-20141206_092053-1-1.jpg3. Lighten Up the clutter. We have managed to accumulate a massive amount of crap over the years. It is time to purge, purge, purge. We started cleaning out a couple of closets over the break and managed to fill several garbage bags for the trash and several boxes for donation. It feels so good to reduce the junk and get it out of the house. I plan to tackle one closet and room at a time and just obliterate the junk and organize. Get ready to work Mr. label maker!

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One closet down! Gotta love plastic bins, bins, bins!!

4. Just Lighten Up. I need to lighten up the negativity and self-doubt. I need to not take things so seriously. I need to enjoy life’s little moments more. This one is difficult. It’s hard not to compare yourself to others and then be wracked with self-doubt, especially in this age of social media where everyone posts EVERYTHING. I need to remember to run my own race, at my own pace, in my own time. My situation is my situation. I need to find my own way and be proud of my accomplishments big and small. So for starters here’s one accomplishment that I’m super proud of: this little guy!

wpid-20141225_080835.jpgWhat are some of your resolutions for 2015??