Monday, March 30, 2009

Keep Running and Triathlon Healthy: How Yoga Practice can Prevent Injury

Sunday night I attended a little mini discussion and workshop on how great yoga is for keeping triathletes and runners healthy and injury free. The talk (and following Power Vinyassa practice) was held at NYC's Upper East Side Lululemon store. Dr. Jordan Metzl, from the Hospital for Special Surgery and Erica Goss from Pure Yoga came and talked to a packed room of triathletes, yogis and novices alike. 

Dr. Metzl, who has completed 25 Marathons and 4 Iron Mans (what?!) spoke about common sports injuries, symptoms, prevention, and treatments. He made the distinction between acute injuries (like a freak accident: think Lance Armstrong's bike crash last week that resulted in a broken collar bone) and overuse injuries, which are much more common. 

He helped us better understand common injuries like runner's knee, shin splints, hamstring pulls, and Achilles tendinitis and what these injuries may really reveal. (He writes a regular column in Triathlete called "Doctor's Orders" which you may want to check out for way more detail). Both runner's knee and shin splints, for example, can manifest in two different ways and each means something different. Shin splints can be in the muscle or the bone, the bone being more serious because it can indicate a possible stress fracture.

He also mentioned two common mistakes he sees again and again. The first is people going too fast too soon with training. The normal athletic process is something like "athletic darwinism," where you start off running a mile, do a 5k, then a 10k or half marathon, and then one day train for a marathon. Today, he says, many people want to jump right into the marathon! Without the evolution! Next he says people commonly ignore injuries until they are at their worst and can't do their sport anymore. Early detection of symptoms can help prevent more complicated problems form forming.

Then Erica Goss led a fantastic Power Vinyassa series and we talked about the obvious ways yoga can build flexibility for triathletes and how it can also be an excellent part of strength training. Strength training, both Goss and Dr. Metzl stressed, is essential for triathletes and especially runners. Without it, the bones and muscles may not be able to support intense training necessary for competition. 

The discussion was very interesting and informative, and both Goss and Dr. Metzl were excellent! Thanks Lululemon, for hosting such great community events like this!

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

City Running Tours

So I have kinda of an exciting new gig. Today I shadowed a run for the tour company, City Running Tours...I'm going to be a running tour guide! The company is 4 years old and gives tours of difference distances and paces around six cities in the USA: New York City, Washington DC, Chicago, San Diego, Austin and Charlotte.

The President and CEO, Michael, started the company after a tourist stopped by the gym where his chiropractic office was located. He asked if any of the trainers would give him a running tour of the city. Since none of the trainers at the gym were really runners, Michael offered the tour the businessman. After the run he knew they were onto something and the company was born!

Today they run as many as 150 tours in New York City ever year. They're usually one-on-one or small group tours that can follow one of several different routes or a custom made route to see any of the city's specific sights.

This morning we headed west from Time Square to the Hudson River, past the High Line, through the Meat Packing District, the West Village, NYU, up 5th Ave through Union Square, Madison Square and finally back to Times Square. It was a chilly 32 degrees, but clear and crisp. The guide, the tour-ee and I talked about life in New York, the historical sights and legends of the areas we saw and of course about running.

So now that I've shadowed my first run I'll get to start leading tours sometime soon. It's a really great way to see the city: running allows you to pass lots of sights and sections of the city in a short time...and it also lets you, as a tourist, to keep up with your regular runs or training. Also, not to mention, it's very eco-chic! No carbon-emitting tour busses!

If you're traveling to any of the cities we run in, sign up for a tour! And if you come to NYC, I expect to see you!!!

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

One More Photo from Nationals

I thought this looked cool, all blurred and of the girls on our team took it (she's a photo major). It's me diving in during one of the Freestyle Relays...Action Shot!

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Eco-Chic Dolls: For the Aspiring Environmental Activist

Ok so no, I'm not a 6-year-old and technically I shouldn't care about this, but If I were, I would want one of these dolls!

I saw these Planet Pixies on Tree Hugger and absolutely couldn't resist! They're soft dolls for children 3 and up (which should have been a clue that I'm not the target audience...) made with certified organic cotton, water-based, all-natural dyes. They're each named for a different part of our planet in peril: Anyu the Ice Pixie from the Artic, Kayla the Marsh Pixie from the Everglades, and Maya the Tree Pixie from the Amazon.

They also come complete with information about the region they represent and what the tiny tots can do to help protect the planet from an early age.

OMG so cute.

I may be ordering one...(Now back to relevant 21-year-old girl blogging...)

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Sunday, March 8, 2009

2009 National Swimming Championships

The team after the last day of competition
We finally made it back to Manhattan after what felt like a week of nonstop swimming in Buffalo. I'm absolutely exhausted, and I'm also one of the only people on the team not fighting off some kind of cold, flu or other ailment.

But what an amazing week it's been! 

Erie College's Natatorium 
We started every day with warm-ups around 9 am. Preliminaries began at 10 am and went through until about 12:30. Then we'd grab lunch and some days we'd rush back to the pool for diving at 1 pm. After diving came nap time, and then back to the pools at 4:45 for another warm up. Finals began at 6 pm and went until about 9 or so. I really haven't done that much consecutive swimming...ever...and my body now feels a little like overworked taffy.

Captain Kristen, Coach Mike, me and Gwen at the banquet on the first night.
In between our races and workouts, it was so exciting to watch the rest of the meet. There were some absolutely amazing swimmers and we saw quite a few record breaking times (a 19 second 50 free and a 54 second 100 breast....INSANE). It really inspired all of us to work even harder for next season and to make sure to stay in top shape. One of my favorite parts of meets of this size is the finals when the top 8 swimmers are paraded out to the blocks to music. It's so much fun to watch! 

I swam four events, three relays and one individual. The 100 backstroke, the 200 Medley Relay, the 200 Freestyle Relay and the 400 Freestyle relay. 

To be honest, I didn't really have a chance to place in the 100 back. I'm so happy to have qualified (I qualified for the 200 back as well...but decided not to swim), but right now I really don't compare to some of the girls on the other teams. I held my own though and had a really strong preliminary swim. Then, to my surprise I was moved on to the consolation finals! (The top 16 from the prelims go on to finals: top 8 to the real finals, and the rest to the "consolation" finals...this is cool but also meant I had to swim it again in a few hours!) I ended up dropping a second off my time in the finals which is great.

The 200 medley relay had some pretty fierce competition as well. I swam backstroke and had a pretty good split of 35 seconds. We didn't place but were happy with the results until we found out our team and two others had been disqualified! (Apparently someone left the blocks a millisecond too, but oh well!)

The freestyle relays were another story. We had pretty good competition, but knew we could pull off some solid times. The 200 came first and to my surprise I swam a 29.5 second split! That's the fastest I've ever gone (in case you don't know swimming numbers: the guys that win do their split in 19 seconds or faster and the girls do it in 23 seconds or my 29.5 is relative, but pretty fast for me!) The other girls on our relay swam even faster and we won 6th place medals!

6th Place in the 200 Free Relay!
Then, the last night of competition, came the 400 freestyle relay. I think they save it to the very last second because it's pretty exciting and pretty competitive. We just wanted to place in the top 8 to get medals and more points, which meant winning our heat. Going into it we weren't sure it was possible because one of the girls from our rival team had posted a super fast time earlier in the 100 free individual event...faster than any of us swim. But the race came together well and we ended up winning our heat by a few seconds and securing 8th place medals! I swam a solid split even with water in my goggles!

My 8th place and 6th place medals from the 400 and 200 Free Relays
Overall FIT won 9th place in the meet (out of like 15? 17? something like that...) That may not sound super exciting, but we're a really small team and a first year team. I think we definitely proved ourselves and earned the respect of the other more established teams! We left the meet on a definite high and to be honest I'm really sad the season is over. I can always keep swimming on my own or with friends, but there really is nothing like competing with a team!

The essentials: cap, nose plug, goggles, and athlete credentials.

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Thursday, March 5, 2009

National Swimming Championships

So, our little first year team from FIT is way up in Buffalo, NY this week for the NJCAA National Swimming and Diving Championships. We've been here since early Tuesday morning (I was up at 3:40 that morning to catch a plane...) and leave on Sunday. 

There are at least 17 (maybe 19, I'll check and confirm) teams in the competition and all of them are amazing. The team that dominates is actually from near my hometown in Florida, and they are insane! I witnessed a guy swim a 19 second 50 free style this morning....!!!!! (That's actually why I wrote this post. I wanted to share the insanity of what we saw...he broke like three records!)

So, I swim this evening in the 200 free style relay, tomorrow in the 100 backstroke (yes, I qualified for this AND the 200 backstroke! How in the world did I miss that?!) and Saturday in the 200 Medley relay. I won't be breaking any national, state, regional or pool records, but I'm hoping to at least break some personal records now that I have all my season's times down on paper.

More posts and lots of pictures to come!

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