Category Archives: stretching

Sports Massage Monday


OUCH.

But before I get to the “ouch” I’m going to describe the YUM.

After work last night I went to the pool for a quick 1 mile swim. When I got home, Michael made turkey burgers.

I steamed some broccoli and Michael also made some fries in the oven.

Dinner was filling. Since I hadn’t swam my full 1.25 miles, plus hot tub, plus steam room/sauna, I had time to relax and enjoy dinner before our massages.

I had a glass of Sangiovese wine.

Instead of the relaxation massage I usually get, I asked my therapist to give me a sports massage focusing on my running muscles. I knew I was going to be tight.

The difference between a Swedish massage and a sports massage are basically relaxation vs. focused work.

He spent a lot of time on my legs. I told him about my recent injuries and my training. He worked on my calves and hamstrings for the longest. There was a knot in my right hamstring that had me LEAPING off the massage table when touched. He said that was probably a combination of the tiling we did for the kitchen remodel (squatting, bending, kneeling, stretching etc) and my sacrum injury. He said I probably overcompensated for my injury on the left side and that tightened my right hamstring. 😦

Jim, my massage therapist, mentioned that he’s also training to learn Thai Massage. He explained that it’s a massage that involves a lot of stretching and palm work. It sounded interesting and the stretching part sounded like something I might need.

He gave me a lot of good stretches to try. First, he said to stand up straight, then cross one leg over the other one and bend at the waist. That will stretch my hamstrings.

Second, he said to lay down and lift my leg. Rotate my ankle inward and then out a few times. Lower the leg to stretch and repeat it. It’s a really good stretch for the hips. I noticed that it worked immediately. It looked sort of like this:

It really worked! I will be incorporating those two into my stretching routine. He also showed me an ankle/calf stretch I could do.

My hips and legs feel MUCH better today.

My massage therapist recommended I do RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevate) when my muscles start feeling locked up. He highly recommended baths with Epsom salts.

QUESTION: Have you ever had a sports or deep tissue massage?

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Late Night Swim


After work yesterday I went to my friend’s house to help her move.I gave her this fridge magnet when I moved last year. It cracks me up.

Honestly, moving should be considered a workout! I was sweaty and tired but we finished moving a bunch of stuff early so I headed to the pool for a quick swim. But not before my friend sent me home with fresh mint from her garden:

Fresh Mint

I can’t wait to try the mint in my tea.

The water aerobics class finished at 7:30 and I arrived at the pool with 5 minutes to change. Perfect timing! I got a lane and started swimming my laps.

I pulled a muscle in my calf on Wednesday. It started out feeling like a Charlie Horse but I realized it was a pulled muscle either from running or gardening, or both. Swimming felt really good on the muscle!

I did a mile in 40 minutes, sat in the hot tub and then headed home.

Since Michael was on his own last night, I wasn’t surprised to come home to this:

AND:

BOYS!!! 😉 They really do need us in their lives.

Of course, I had two slices for dinner! I was famished and it was almost 9:00pm–too late to cook something.

I also had two scoops of light vanilla ice cream.

I was feeling dead on my feet but I did my Foam Roller and then used another roller just on my calf.

It’s sort of like a Tiger Tail. And it worked! I woke up this morning with the cramp/soreness gone!

Healing Yoga: For Aches and Pains


I got home from work tonight and decided to do some yoga. It’s been a few weeks (um a month?) since I attempted yoga at home and with my stiff, sore hip and possible pulled BUTT muscle (snicker) I decided it was desperately needed. A quick search in Netflix brought me to: “Healing Yoga: For Aches and Pains.” The description is such: “uses yoga to address and correct chronic injuries and illness. This installment of the series teaches moves that focus on relieving the symptoms of arthritis, back pain, neck pain and pain from injuries. Designed for all fitness levels, the simple moves help increase the range of motion to one’s spine and joints while promoting flexibility and fluid body movement.”

I got all my yoga and stretching gear out.

And my yoga mat:

I did the 35 minute yoga video on Netflix. It was a great video. I did a lot of really good moves that stretched out my hips and thighs. I realized pretty quickly that I am very, very tight. I need to be doing yoga more than once a month, clearly. I think I will dedicate 1 Rest Day a week to yoga and try to fit in another 30 minute yoga stretching video sometime on the weekends. Maybe after my “long” work outs that I usually do on Saturdays.

The video had a lot of moves with a chair involved. At first I was skeptical, thinking I wasn’t going to get a very good stretch with the chair. But I was pleasantly surprised! I was really feeling the stretch! In a good way! No pain. I took it easy and didn’t push myself.

I used my chair and did the suggested stretches. Not only did they work, I realized that I could do these stretches with the chair in my cubicle at work. Perfect!

Chair Yoga

Marie over at Cheaper Than Therapy also posted some links for me to try out. I watched and followed this Video three times. It’s from the Runner’s World website and show specific exercises and stretches for hips and thighs. Watch the video! It’s really good. I know for sure that these stretches will be going into my regular stretching routine now. I also did my Foam Roller.

Guess who helped me with my yoga?

Fat Kitty

Yep! Fat Kitty! He’s ALWAYS been a fan of yoga. Whenever I’m on my mat, he wants to be right there helping me out. He did a little of his own yoga! Just like his Mama: stretching those hips!

Cat Yoga

I did 50 minutes of yoga and stretching. I feel much better. I will ice later and use Icy Hot and my hope is that I wake up tomorrow feeling 100% better! If not, swimming will probably stretch my muscles out. All I want is to be able to enjoy my upcoming long weekend with the planned activities: walking, hiking, and biking! Summer is finally here!

QUESTION: What is your favorite yoga video?

95% is Better Than Nothing


Today I woke up this morning feeling much better. My hip feels about 90-95% better. No pain today so far. It feels a little tight and stiff. Last night I did my Foam Roller and used Icy Hot. I also iced my hip/butt/leg a few times last night. I took some Advil first thing this morning. My hope is that these rest days will help heal my issue. Tomorrow the plan is to swim instead of run or use the gym. I think doing so many stairs all of a sudden lead to a pulled muscle. 😦 Thank you for the tips, everyone!

Dinner was exceptional last night. On the way home, I stopped by my favorite local farm produce store. I got some potatoes, peaches, apples, bananas, and two corns!

Michael sliced up the potatoes to cook in the skillet. The first step is to boil them in water.

Michael’s really good with the skillet. If I tried this move, the food would be on the floor!

I love when Michael prepares these potatoes. He added rosemary to them and sliced onions.

I prefer my onions cooked down to almost nothing instead of eating them raw.

I made a salad with all the fixings. Lettuce, Spinach, cauliflower, yellow and orange peppers, Craisins, croutons, broccoli, carrots, cabbage. So good!

We were so hungry we ate the salads while we were cooking the rest of the food. Oil and Balsamic Vinaigrette as dressing.

Michael blackened the salmon and seared it in the skillet while the potatoes were cooking.

I’ve previously posted the recipe for Michael’s Blackening Spice Here. It’s excellent and you can make it as spicy or as mild as you want it.

I topped the potatoes with a little shredded cheese and sour cream.

I also cut my salmon in half and saved half of it for lunch.

Dinner was absolutely fantastic! The perfect amount of food for me. Even with some M&M’s for dessert I came out ahead of my calories.

On another note, my blog is 213 hits away from having 20,000 visitors since I started in February! What a cool thing! Thank you to all my readers who like to read what I write. 😉 Feel free to spread the word!

Today is my “Friday”. YAY!!! I have the next few days off for a mini-vacation. Partly because my brother and sister-in-law are visiting from Philly. I’m excited to see them!

QUESTION: Do you do yoga or stretching on “Rest Days”? Or just “rest”?

Back to the Gym


Last night’s swim was really good. I had no aches or pains while I was swimming. Last time my shoulder had been irritating me for some mysterious reason. This time, no worries! Neither Michael nor I were really into making something complicated for dinner Friday night. Michael made himself a hot dog and I had leftover quinoa and Trader Joe’s Chicken Shu Mai. It’s easy and fast! It only takes 2 minutes to steam the Shu Mai in the microwave. I steamed some broccoli and cauliflower.

There are 6  in a serving of Shu Mai but I ate 8. Calories for dinner are as follows:

Chicken Shu Mai (8): 213 calories

Quinoa: 225 calories

Steamed Veggies: 70 calories

Goddess Dressing: 150 calories

I like easy dinners!

Saturday I slept in until 10:30am! I was surprised when I rolled over and saw the clock. I got up and had an Atkins shake for breakfast.

I debated whether or not to go for a long run around the neighborhood or to go to the gym. I decided to hit the gym because it’s been quite awhile since I’d been. I needed to do weights, too. It’s been way too long since I did my weight routine either. 😦

I got to the gym and it was surprisingly crowded. All the stair-masters were taken so I did a 10 minute warm-up on the elliptical machine until one came open. I did 45 minutes of Speed Intervals and 5 minutes of cool down on the stair-master. Then I saw this machine:

Arm Machine

It’s a machine that does just your arms. It’s sort of like an exercise bike but for your arms. It was really strange but boy does it work! My arms were tired after just a few minutes.

I went upstairs to do weights. I focused on the ab machines that I love:

This Ab Machine is my absolute favorite:

It hurts so good! But I actually feel a difference after I use it. I did sets of 10 5 times. Ouch! I moved to the machines for the lower body and did a bunch of different leg presses. I also did the Standing Calf machine. It’s great for the calves and I definitely need to strengthen that part of my body for running.

Standing Calf

I spent a little time doing the Hip Machines:

The Hip Abductors and Adductor machines work the muscles of the hips. These muscles are often times a complaint for runners. It can cause pain in the IT Band and down to the knees. Michael often complains about his hip flexors bothering him from cycling. So I think there are many exercises other than running that can cause inflammation in the hips. Strengthen and stretch!

On one of the machines I started to feel a strain in my groin so I stopped doing the hip machine and moved back to doing my upper body. I don’t want to be hurting in a bad way!

After doing my weight routine, I discovered a new machine! It’s a stretching machine. I’d never noticed it at the gym before but I gave it a try today. And boy does it work!

Stretching Machine

I followed the instructions on the machine and stretched out my body. It felt awesome! I’m now wondering where I can buy one of these things! 😉

Stretching Machine

When I got home from the gym, I did my Foam Roller stretches and then ate a piece of Ezekiel toast with Organic Crofters jam as a snack.

Today’s Stats:

Calories Burned: 775

Time at Gym: 1 hour 27 minutes

I made a veggie-rich lunch. First, I steamed more veggies.

Steaming Veggies

Then I grilled up a Vegetable Masala Burger from Trader Joe’s:

I love these burgers. They taste so great to me. And I can taste the potatoes, corn, and broccoli in them.

Grilled in the skillet with some olive oil for a few minutes.

Then I topped the burger with a slice of Havarti cheese and left it on the skillet for a few minutes to melt. Lunch was served!

Lunch

It was a great lunch. I ate every single bite and kinda wished I could have seconds! It’s such a change from my “old ways”…I ate a lot of salads but I’d never eat the veggies like I do now.

Tonight is my friend Erika’s wedding! I can’t wait! 🙂

Adventures in Foam Rolling


I wanted to provide some photos of the wondrous Foam Roller. I firmly believe everyone–especially Runners–should own one of these! I use it every single night. It takes less than 10 minutes to do all positions and I always feel better afterward.

What is a Foam Roller? It’s a dense foam that when used acts like a deep tissue massage. Using it on a regular basis can prevent common injuries from training and working out. If there’s a certain spot that is particularly sore or tight, roll over it slowly for about 10 seconds at a time and it will loosen up the tissue. How the Foam Roller works is that you use your body weight to apply pressure on the sore spots.

There are different densities you can purchase. The one I used at the gym was too soft for me. The one I use at home is very firm and dense. It’s recommended that if you are a muscular person, use a denser foam.

I know it’s a tad dark, but the foam roller is the black thing underneath me. Here’s the first position:

Working the Shins: great for fixing “Shin Splints”.

Shins

Working the Quads: great for runners AND cyclists. Michael does this one every night and he commutes by bike to work.

Quads

Roll back and forth as slowly as you can and really feel the Foam Roller working your muscles.

More Quads

Next, work your calves. It takes some ab work and strength in your arms but do what you can and take a break if you need to.

Calves

Tight calves are another danger of cycling. Somehow I managed to make a ridiculous face in every one of these photos. Lame!

Next do your hamstrings:

Hamstrings

The most BRUTAL of positions is working the IT Band. Ugh.

IT Band

Finally, if you ever suffer from back pain, I’ve read on various websites that the Foam Roller can improve that as well. Fat Kitty decided to “help” with the Foam Rolling and strategically placed himself in almost every photo. 😉

Back

Finally, I have a new stretch that I’ve been doing recently and it really helps my legs.

Stretching

Here’s an internet picture to give you a better look at what the actual roller looks like:

To read more about the Foam Roller, check out the Running Times Magazine article Here. I bought my Foam Roller off Amazon.com for about $15. It was the best $15 I ever spent.

QUESTION: Do you use a Foam Roller? How has it helped you? Also, do you have any recommendations on yoga poses for runners?

Note To Self


Note to Self: Put on sunscreen BEFORE watch, Road ID, and bike shorts!

I woke up this morning to find some very funky sunburn patterns. Apparently I forgot to put sunscreen on my legs. BAD LISA! I now have pasty white legs to my mid-thighs, then sunburn, then my shins and calves are pasty white. Sexy. 🙂 I also have sunburn markings where my watch was.

Note to Self: Use heating pad on back and shoulders after bike ride. Last night while we watched TV, I pretty much had the heating pad on me the whole time. It helped A LOT. I did not wake up as sore as I thought I would this morning.

Breakfast was scrambled eggs and a little steak. We had a tiny bit left over and it was “use it or toss it”. It was tasty, though!

Note to Self: Bring MORE WATER on bike rides. I was definitely dehydrated yesterday during and after my bike ride. The headache let me know that! From now on, I will drink a huge glass of water before I leave, and drink water every 30 minutes of the bike ride.

Note to Self: Figure out better snacking options for bike rides. I want to prevent that dizziness and loss of energy half way through my ride. I think I need Sports Beans, Chewies AND protein bars. After yesterday’s bike ride, I realized we should have taken some Bagel Thins with Peanut Butter.

I am happy that my fitness level is so high now that I can recovery quickly from strenuous activities. I am not as sore today as I thought I would be. My legs feel loose and just fine. Weather permitting, I’m going to run at lunch today.

QUESTION: What are some tips of the trade you have discovered?