Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The R5 has moved!

The R5 has been relaunched with an all new location and layout!

Check out the new site over at: http://rfivemainline.com

We'll be keeping this site up for a few more days. Be sure to check out the new site and leave your comments!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Last Week's Workout Recap / March Recap / April's Goals

March 24th - March 30th


It was freezing cold and miserable AGAIN so I decided to skip the running portion of my training regime and do an hour of cross training.  I lifted my arms and then did a lot of core.  I figured going to the gym and at least doing something was better than nothing at all!


Once again it was freezing cold and actually SNOWING on March 26th.  My arms were sore from cross training the night before, but I decided to hit up an extra Barre class so that I was again at least doing something. This class was more intense than the one I normally do, and with already fatigued arms, I was definitely feeling it.  It was a tough work out, but I enjoyed it as always.

You guessed it, still freezing.  I need to be more hardcore about getting out there in the cold, but I had a pounding headache from work and was depressed about the cold, so I skipped my run again.  Excuses I know, but it is the truth.


I was all set to go running and do a Tempo run on Thursday.  Unfortunately, we ended up having something pretty huge come up with the house that ended up taking up out entire evening.  I was dressed and ready to go out, but had to solve our house issue, so I missed my workout.  I was NOT happy as you can imagine.


I took another Barre class, my normal Friday one.  My parents were coming to visit for the weekend, but I still managed to get it in before they arrived.  After a week of missed opportunities I was glad to do something, even if it was just cross training again.


I FINALLY got out on a run.  I did a 4+ mile Tempo run at a pretty decent pace.  It was sprinkling rain when I started out and raining pretty steadily by the time I finished.  At least I finally was tough enough to get out there in the weather and do something.  I was pretty happy with the run overall, but unfortunately my left toe is still bothering me pretty badly.  I'm starting to get pretty worried about how the 15k is going to go on April 6th.


I was signed up to go to a Yoga class at the new studio by my house.  I left to head to class.....AND....the car wouldn't start.  I ended up having to call AAA and stand in the rain for 90 minutes getting a new battery.  SIGH. Obviously I missed the class and the gym was closed by the time I was finished.  It was still POURING rain, so I drained my sorrows in a bowl of mac n cheese that I immediately regretted.  The best laid plans...

Total Miles for March: 51.7 (Including my work out on Monday that I actually DID get in.)

My thoughts on March 2014

I'm actually pretty happy with this amount of mileage, even though I am NOT happy with the lousy March weather this month.  This is the most I have run by FAR since last July when my toe started bothering me tremendously.  It might not seem like much, but I only ran 14.6 in February, to give a comparison.

My toe is bothering me, but I am hoping to keep pushing through it and have some successful spring races.  I am also hoping to up my mileage a bit in April if possible.  I was a wuss in March with the weather (I really can't do cold. At all.) Hopefully April will be MUCH warmer with a lot less precipitation.  I'm not going to get my hopes up too much though.

I'm also thinking it might have been good to not push my toe/foot much over 50 miles my first month back into training.  I know some people can do that in a week, but with my injuries, 50 in a month isn't too bad ha!  I also was able to incorporate a good amount of cross training this month, which is normally my weakest area, so this makes me happy.

My goals for April are:

1) Increase Mileage

2) Increase Speed Work outs

3) Continue Cross Training Regime

4) Pain Management

I'd also like to have a solid 15k time (my first!) and a solid 5k.  I think it might be too much to ask to want to PR in my 5k...but I can dream right?!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Running Injuries: Chiropractors for Sciatica and Slipped Discs

When I was 18 years old and in my freshman year at Penn State, I was working out on the stair stepper and slipped a disc in my L5 S1.  Ever since then I have had a lot of problems doing any kind of distance running.  When I run I get a sensation of my "back going out" meaning that I have a pain in my lower back, my butt and hamstring get incredibly tight, and I can no longer swing my left leg forward at the hip.  It is a really weird sensation that is hard to describe, but it completely hinders my forward momentum and I HAVE to stop.

This is really not a recipe for good running, and was making it difficult to enjoy my favorite sport for years.  I was really frustrated that I would be out on a run and BAM all of a sudden my back would go out, and I would lose all chance of successfully finishing my run.  It didn't necessarily happen every time I ran, but was more likely to happen in a race where I was pushing myself harder and running faster.

The first time I ran the Broad Street 10 miler this was a HUGE issue and I was miserable the entire second half of the race.  The next day at work I could barely walk at work, and my co-worker forced me to visit his Chiropractor, something I had always been reluctant to do (for some reason I hadn't heard positive things about the process.) I only wish I had gone SOONER and I am so grateful that he pushed me to attend that first time.

I am here today to change your opinion on Chiropractors if you are worried, or convince you to try it if you have been on the fence.  Of course, I think it is important to find the RIGHT Chiro, mine is extremely knowledgeable and has also worked in spine centers in hospitals. He is also really interested in exercise science and what helps to strengthen the back and core.  Just like with any doctor or professional, not every office that you find is going to be ideal, but if you do research and ask around to others for recommendations, I absolutely think it is the BEST option out there for back pain!

My Chiropractor is able to keep my back adjusted so that everything is in place and where it should be.  This means that my slipped disc is less likely to push on my sciatic nerve and cause the pain in my butt and hamstring.  He is also able to help adjust my hips.  My hips are frequently out of place and uneven, which is also a huge hindrance to running.  I can feel a huge difference in my hips, and therefore my stride, when my back is adjusted correctly.

My favorite part of the Chiropractor, besides how much it helps my running, is that it is all NATURAL.  When I had gone to "real" doctors before they had prescribed steroid shots in my back, muscle relaxers, pain killers, etc.  None of these things ever helped, and if anything just masked the pain, instead of fixing it.  Not to mention the steroid shot made my face blow up and get puffy--NOT GOOD.

The office I use combines both spine adjustments and massage to help the back to be both loose and straight.  They also offer an exercise regimen that is designed to help stabilize the core region, another important factor in keeping everything in place.  The massages really help to loosen up the muscles and allow the spine  to more easily move into place.  The exercises are for strengthening and stability, which helps keep everything where it should be.

In summation, if you suffer from sciatica, tight hamstrings/butt, or any other lower back ailments, try finding a Chiropractor--it might completely change your running experience!

Does anyone else suffer from sciatica?  Does anyone else have any good (or bad!) stories about Chiropractors?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What I'm Reading: The Outliers Book Review

What I'm Reading: March Madness Part 2

With the weather STILL not staying consistently warm; I've found myself spending more time indoors and sitting inside than I would in a normal March.  This means that I was able to complete a second book for the month of March.  For my second book of the month I decided to go non-fiction and finally read a book that I have been meaning to get to: The Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.  This is a book I have wanted to read for awhile, and I am SO happy I was finally able to get around to it.  I am giving this book a 5 star ranking and highly recommending it,

Confession time: I read this entire book in ONE day.  Yes, that is HOW MUCH I enjoyed reading this book.  I was hooked and fascinated by chapter one when Gladwell begins his discussion on how people become successful.  The entire book is basically a discussion on how people do not become massively successful because they have some incredible gift of talent that no one else has, but rather because a variety of circumstances all come together to lift them to fame and fortune. Gladwell states that yes, talent is important, but a lot of what lifts people to success is actually a combination of many factors, some that are not even in their personal control.

The book discusses the creation of success through everything from birth month to cultural heritage.  A lot of his concepts seemed really obvious once I read them, but yet I hadn't necessarily thought of it on my own.  I particularly enjoyed the chapters on the concepts of hard work, genius, and cultural heritage. Gladwell points out putting 10,000 hours of work into a project is more important than having the highest IQ in the classroom.  He also supports the fact that where you come from and your cultural heritage will have a profound effect on how you approach problems.  It made me want to go out and practice writing and/or running as frequently as possible and see what kind of success was possible.  It also made me ponder what traits my Irish relatives had passed down to me that would help or hinder me in life.  It was definitely a book that got me thinking, to say the least.

I have never been much of a non-fiction reader; I tend to enjoy reading an actual "story."  I have been finding lately though that non-fiction seems to have taken on a new syntax and style.  The books I have been reading lately seem to be told in more of a narrative fashion.  It almost seems as if the author is having a discussion with you about what they have learned about a topic.  I find this style works really well for me and keeps me engaged, versus older non-fiction books that I found to be more straight research and information.  Gladwell also uses this narrative voice and kept me interested and reading his entire book, until I found it was midnight and I had to get up in six hours!

I would highly suggest this book, particularly if you are interested in how other people seem to rise to the top, while some people are never able to change their status.

5 stars.  Seriously, Read it. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Last Week's Workout Re Cap

March 17th - March 23rd


My left big toe and now my right big toe had been bothering me from the 7 mile run on Sunday so I ended up taking Monday through Wednesday off from training.  I decided to give it a rest in an attempt not to irritate things TOO much before the Hot Chocolate 15k on April 6th. Not to mention, it was also snowing on Monday, cold on Tuesday, and POURING rain on Wednesday.


Still having pain in my toe so I decided to just do a short, short tempo run.  I ran a mile out, then did a FAST mile, pushing the pace down to around a 7:30 at times, then cooled down with a slow jog.  My toe was still bothering me, but after doing 7 on Sunday, doing only  2 1/4 felt like nothing even with the speed. It was definitely a cold, windy evening though, only about 44 degrees by the time I got out there.  Not the greatest first day of Spring--but much improved from earlier in the week.


My new passion (besides running): Barre class!  I am actually hoping that this class might improve the strength in my toes, besides the obvious core and leg benefits.  The class was tougher than the previous weeks, and I REALLY felt like I got a great work out.  It was a warmer evening too, so the hubs and I were also able to take the dogs out on a walk afterwards.


I decided that it would be smart to do our long run in the same basic area as the Hot Chocolate 15k, so I decided to head down to the city.  Kelly Drive was closed for tree removal, so I headed over to MLK drive.  I believe the Hot Chocolate course is going to be on that side of the river anyway.  I parked near the Roosevelt Bridge, and ran down to the Art Museum, around, and back for a total of 8.44 miles, 9:23 average pace.  Unfortunately, my toe hurt so bad by the end I couldn't even stand it.  I also had to stop and stretch for a quick second at 6 1/2 as my back had gone out and I was no longer able to move my left leg at the hip.  I am a total mess.  I am hoping that my body magically just feels good and pain free for the Hot Chocolate 15k and the other various races I have coming up.  I know that isn't how it works, but I'm still wearing my Correct Toes as often as I can hoping they will work!


This was supposed to be my cross training day, but my feet were not feeling up to much after the run the day before.  I took the dogs for a walk at the park, but other than that just took it easy and did some errands and things around the house.  Shifting cross training to Monday since it is too cold (for me) to run anyway!

Total Miles in March (so far): 44.5 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Cross Training: Barre Amped Classes

I really don't like cross training.  I like to run...and that is about it.  This is also why in the winter I tend to gain weight since I'm never motivated to go the gym.  I don't like the elliptical; I don't like the bike; I don't like lifting weights.  I will do all of the above things, but it really takes some effort on my part to do these things.  I totally understand that cross training is important, especially strength training, but that doesn't mean that I have to LIKE IT.  I've also tried doing yoga, which I do like, but have never been able to get as fanatical about it as everyone else seems to be.  Then about a month ago I tried something new that has TOTALLY changed my thoughts on cross training: Barre classes!!

I had been hearing good things about Barre classes from various sources.  Everyone was saying that it was a great work out and a lot of fun.  After a horrible, cold, snowy winter/spring that was making it difficult to run consistently, I finally decided to try it myself and bought a package of Barre classes at La Maison in Wayne.

I love it.

No really.  I absolutely LOVE IT.  I'm not sure if I expressed accurately how much I hate cross training normally, but something about Barre is just different for me.  The class that best fits my schedule is one on a Friday afternoon.  This means that I am willingly and consistently going to the gym on a Friday afternoon to take a class.  I WANT to go and look forward to it.  If you know me, this really is incredible.

For those of you that aren't familiar with Barre, it combines ballet, yoga, and pilates into one class.  I love taking a class that combines all three disciplines.  This means that what we are doing in class changes and keeps me interested.  There is a wide variety of activities and movements that give me  a fantastic whole body workout.  I can already feel my legs and core getting stronger, not to mention my posture getting better.

If you get bored with group activity classes, or hate going to the gym, I REALLY suggest trying out Barre! I am HOOKED!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Correct Toes and Bunions

I have some pretty serious bunions (genetic) that have been irritated by years of distance running.  Starting last June I began to have some MAJOR pain in my left big toe while training for a half marathon that was making it difficult to run at all, let alone long distances.  I detailed some of what I have done in an attempt to cure this/avoid surgery in a previous post.  Today I wanted to talk about Correct Toes since they seem to be the best non-surgery option I can find through my personal research.

The reviews that are available for Correct Toes are INCREDIBLE and when I first learned about them, it made me want to order them immediately.  Correct Toes is basically a spacer that fits between your toes that can specifically eliminate bunion issues.  Review after review says that they have straightened people's feet and eliminated their foot pain for bunions and other toe related issues.  They seem to be a really great, non-surgery option for a lot of people. I can't even describe how excited I was to order them after reading the reviews this past fall.

I am still  wearing mine in the hopes that they will work, but so far they haven't seemed to help me very much.  I know this is probably because I can not wear them with my work shoes as any shoes that I own that are "work appropriate" would definitely not allow for the toe spread that is required for this product.  Also, I have been unable to run in them since the silicon in my toes hurts me when I run making it basically impossible, not the actual toe spacing, but the product rubbing between my toes pushes and puts too much pressure.

I try to wear them after work and to sleep in every night.  Today I wore them when I took the dogs on a short walk.  I still haven't seen much progress though.  My left toe is definitely getting WORSE if anything.  I was on a training run today where my toe hurt so bad by the end I could barely move.

I am SO INCREDIBLY FRUSTRATED because running is my absolute favorite activity and, honestly, a huge part of my personal identity.  Am I not using the Correct Toes correctly?  I want them to work for me as they did for so many others SO badly!  Anyone else try this product?  Anyone have any suggestions for how to use them better or to solve bunion related big toe pain?  HELP!