2016 Fitness Goals – Part 2

2015 was a great starting year for my fitness and heath so I’m really looking forward to seeing how 2016 goes!

I’m already anticipating a few new topics now that I’ve sort of gotten past the initial beginner stage:

  • Injuries and rehab
  • Injury prevention
  • Learning new, more advanced/refined techniques
  • Mental health and preparedness
  • Healthy eating (yay, food!)

It’s pretty important to know what sort of injuries can happen in any sport or activity that you go into, especially when it’s endurance sports like long-distance running and rock climbing.

It’s pretty obvious that rock climbing and parkour can lead to some really serious injuries, but there’s less extreme but way more common injuries in all three sports like strained tendons, plantar fasciitis,  shin splints, tendonitis, micro-tears, sprains, etc.

These common injuries definitely won’t land me (and you) in the hospital right away, but it could very likely lead to more permanent health issues in the future.

In general, it’s better to know what’s the most likely injury to come from any particular activity and learn which techniques are needed to prevent or minimize the risk of injury. For example, there’s a bunch of stretching techniques that can prevent shin splints, like the ones outlined here in Runner’s World.

Since I’m going to be ramping up my mileage quite a bit, I’ll be studying a lot of injury prevention techniques and putting away some money for some physio and massage therapy!

Compared to rock climbing and parkour, running doesn’t have as many performance techniques to learn since it’s highly dependent on the runner’s individual gait and physiology.

But, I’d like to learn how to do more strength techniques for rock climbing since I’m shorter than the average rock climber and I need more power to go further up. I don’t think I’m not bad a traverses, though.

I’m also a woman, which apparently puts me at a disadvantage due to the way routes are set. (Seriously. I’ll discuss this in a later blog post.)

As the distances get longer, it’s harder to get out the door to go for a run!

So far, I’ve only had bad issues going out to run in super hot and humid weather, which is something Toronto is prone to getting in the dead of summer. It’s such a huge challenge to get out there because I really have to persuade myself that the dread is all in my mind. I don’t mind winter training too much because I have a track membership at a stadium that’s quite friendly!

I want to be more aware of how my mental state affects my physical activity, especially during climbing since it demands a good amount of problem solving skills.

Last, but certainly not least, I want to share more of my thoughts about food, nutrition and fitness with everyone!

These may be my most challenging posts since I’m very invested in the healthy food sector and I’m very passionate about presenting the most accurate, evidence-based science I can, especially since there’s so much pseudo-science in popular media.

I’m considering making a separate blog to post about food and nutrition issues and simply copying them to this blog soon after. If I do, I’ll make sure to post the name and link!

If you’ve noticed, I haven’t put any solid numbers into this part of my 2016 Fitness Goals.

I don’t want to HAVE to learn a new technique every week because I’d much rather focus on my progress than having to force a new technique so often. Besides, it’s better to learn a couple of techniques and master them (somewhat) before learning more, right?

Also, these aren’t resolutions just for the first half of 2016. I want to make this something that I’ll do for the whole year, next year and beyond!

Hope I’ll be able to look back on this and see that I’ve hit all of my goals!

Did you make any resolutions? How are they coming along?

xoxo,

B.elle

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Weekly Fitness Update #11

 

I’m not a very good learner sometimes…

Here’s my results from last week:

Dec 1 – 7km @ 6’19” avg pace, 44:16
Dec 3 – 5.5km @ 5’39” avg pace, 31:20
Dec 5 – 1.85km

It was dark and wet on Dec 1, so my time definitely suffered since I was slipping on the sidewalks a little and I couldn’t really see very well due to my glasses being covered in mist!

I ran with the adidas Run Kru on Dec 3, thinking it was going to be a 10km run. Thank goodness it wasn’t a 10km because they run WAY faster than my usual pace! But, I did manage to break a really good time for 5km, so that’s great!

Bad news is that I suspect I sustained a micro-tear in my right leg from not stretching after that 5km and didn’t notice until Dec 5, when I started on my actual 10km run and barely made it past 1km.

I’m usually pretty in tune with my body and how it feels. Most of the the time, my brain goes, “This pain is normal, keep going,” or “You should slow down for a few minutes to readjust,” or even “Best course of action right now is to stop and stretch it out, then you should be fine.”

This time, my brain told me, “You really, REALLY should stop and go home because you are seriously going to destroy yourself if you keep going!” So, I actually listened, stopped and walked back home.

Turns out that one of my calf muscles has a micro-tear of some sort, which I found out through roll massages. It wasn’t fun, but at least my instincts were spot-on!

Rock Climbing – Dec 6

I wasn’t feeling the greatest on Dec 6th because of a party the night before and because of a suspected hops sensitivity in my lower GI. (Yes, that means I was pooping a lot.)

Top Rope – Most of the 5.9s in the gym are completely doable now, but they’re still hard to do comfortably. I even managed to get up halfway a 5.10a before calling it quits! I quickly learned that it’s more of a mental challenge after 5.9 than just a physical challenge.

At the same time, there’s a 5.9 that involves 2 walls, a directional clip and a pretty sharp incline that I just couldn’t solve. It’s really, really starting to annoy me that I can’t get through it, so I’m hoping that it won’t be replaced anytime soon!

Bouldering – Too tired/hungover to try after that difficult 5.9. Bah.

So, between the mostly-painless, slightly inflamed micro-tear in my right leg and the holiday season, I’m not gonna be running until maybe Wednesday. Even then, the Monsieur is only back for a couple days before going off on another business trip around that time, so I might only be able to squeeze in one or two runs!

Dec 9/10 – 7km @ 6’05” avg pace, 42:35
Dec 12 – 7km @6’05” avg pace, 42:35

Might as well make them count, right?

Dec 13 – Rock Climbing

My belay buddy’s leaving on the 21st, so we’re definitely climbing even if we’re hungover! (Again!)

Top Rope – I am absolutely aiming to get further up that inclining 5.9 and complete that route this time!

There’s a high chance it won’t happen, but that’s okay! I’ll have other routes to play with!

Bouldering – It’s very likely that I’ll just be focusing on top rope this time around. But if I make it to that side of the gym, I’ll be challenging the v1’s although I won’t be expecting to get anywhere beyond the more difficult v0’s.

xoxo,

B.elle

Cuboid Syndrome/Dropped Cuboid

On my last post, I mentioned that I injured my foot right when I crossed the finish line of the Nike race.

Here’s what it looks like right now!

That’s right… I gave myself cuboid syndrome. It’s apparently a semi-common injury that can be mistreated as a different injury like a stress fracture or tendonitis without a proper diagnosis.

Cuboid bone of the left foot. Courtesy of Foot-Pain-Explored.com.

What is it?

Cuboid syndrome – aka dropped cuboid, which sounds so much cooler and easier to remember – is when something dislocates and slips the cuboid bone out of alignment. It can be really painful and it weakens the ankle and foot quite a bit.

How did it happen?

People with previous ankle injuries (like me, who’s successfully injured both ankles on separate occasions in the past), flat feet, overpronation, and/or switching from highly cushioned shoes to more minimal shoes will be more prone to developing a dropped cuboid.

Also, it’s more likely to get a dropped cuboid if you suddenly change from flat, even ground like road or track running to uneven ground like trails or grass.

For me, it was a combination of bad ankles and training primarily on even surfaces before the Nike Race. Oops?

What does it feel like?

The initial pain comes from the outside edge, around the middle of the foot. I had my ankle and foot taped up right after I realized I was injured, but I had a significant limp since I couldn’t put any weight on my left foot at all.

However, I could limp along pretty well with a medium amount of pain. On a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 is normal, pain-free life, I would say that the 24 hours after the injury was about a 4.5 on average.

Of course, there’s a pretty high chance that I’ve got a high pain tolerance, so take my gauge with a huge dose of electrolytes.

Post-injury and pre-treatment days were extremely uncomfortable and annoying. My ankle had regained some strength and much of the pain had gone away, but it was nowhere near normal and I was walking with a very noticable limp even with the KT Tape on.

How should I treat it?

My best recommendation would be to get an appointment with your athletic physiotherapist ASAP! Even if it’s not a dropped cuboid, it’s so important to get yourself properly diagnosed so you can get back on the road faster and safer.

While you’re waiting for your appointment, take it easy. You might go insane from not running around, but try not to walk too much, either!

Get a lot of rest and do some massaging on your ankle and the outside of your leg. There’s a very thin, superficial muscle called the fibularis tertius (also known as the peroneus tertius) that’s directly connected to the cuboid bone and gets overused with a dropped cuboid.

Courtesy of F. Netter, MD

You could also tape up your ankle as I did before with a strip of athletic tape to help support your muscles. It definitely won’t heal it, but it’ll help stabilize it a bit.

The best way to wrap it is the way I did it with the green tape above! Start by securing the full-length tape to the bottom of your foot and wrap TOWARDS your cuboid to simulate the cradling tension for the cuboid. Just make sure that the end of the tape is secured to your skin instead of the tape itself or else it’ll come off with a shower.

How was physiotherapy?

It was good, thanks for asking!

This was actually my first time going to physiotherapy and I was really pleased! My physiotherapist is also a runner, which was really beneficial since she knows exactly what I was talking about.

After basically confirming that it was a dropped cuboid (the guy who did my initial taping had heavily suggested it was the case), she had me lie down on my front and did something called a high-velocity manipulation on my cuboid. It went from about 50% range to 75% in a few moments!

But, I was definitely feeling a little sore for a day because of the sudden realignment. Luckily, she told me that it was completely normal and to simply ice it for about 20 minutes.

What’s next?

My foot feels a lot better now but I can tell it’s still a little weak. I’m planning on going on a short interval run tomorrow, which my physiotherapist said that I could try if I feel like I can do it.

I also have a follow up physiotherapy session on Friday morning, so hopefully I can dive right into my sub-hour 10K training soon!

xoxo,

B.elle

Nike Women’s 15K Toronto Run – Race Report

I did it!!! I actually ran a 15K race when I couldn’t even run 5K this time last year!

I entered and ran on my own because I didn’t (and still don’t) know anybody close to my area who would want to train with me. All of my parkour friends who also run are so far away! 😦

Anyway, here’s my take on the Nike Women’s 15K Toronto!

Training

I had about 11 weeks to train for 15km, but I was already running at about 5km as “long runs” because I was being ultra careful with healing a shin splint while doing parkour at the same time.

So, I more or less followed Hal Higdon’s Novice 15K Training Guide as a general guideline rather than a schedule since I’m still searching for that delicate balance between work and home life.

Luckily, I managed to do a 14km long run to the Eaton Centre’s Nike store to pick up my race packet! Yay! Two birds with one stone!

Race Day

Yup, I bought a separate tank top because I knew I’d likely overheat in the tshirt that they gave out!

Nike Toronto Run

Bright and early and pre-gear drop off on the Toronto Islands!

Nike Toronto Run

Selfies are part of a healthy, pre-race breakfast

Even though the race started at 9:30am, I was slotted for the 7:30am ferry since it was probably dedicated to Wave 5 runners. Luckily, the Island had lots of music and amenities that Nike organized pretty well. They had a ton of photo op stations, a really awesome drumline by the name of 416BEATS (who were really impressive), a warm up location, MuscleAidTape tent, tons of Nuun stations, heat sheet tents, gear drop off and, luckily, a MASSIVE amount of port-a-potties to accomodate so many people!

Nike Toronto Run

The course was amazing to go through even though it had rained while we were in our corrals, but it dried up during the race. My absolute favourite part was running on the Billy Bishop runway while the planes were landing close by!

Combined with a pee break at the 3km part, it added about 5 minutes to my chip time, but it was totally worth it.

Nike Toronto Run

Courtesy of Nike Women Toronto

Courtesy of Nike Women Toronto

Here’s my official results:

City: Toronto

Province:ON

Bib#: 3429

Division: F25-29

Division Rank: 1284/2256

Overall Rank: 4707

Split Times: Avg. Pace: 0:06:44
3k:0:19:52 Start Time: 09:58:30
6k: 0:42:03 Gun Time: 2:09:09
9k:1:01:13 Chip Time: 1:40:50
12k: 1:21:13 Finish Time: 11:39:19
Betty L, aka me, courtesy of Nike Women Toronto

Betty L, aka me, courtesy of Nike Women Toronto

The gun time is so different from the chip time because it took about 30 minutes for Wave 5 to get to the start line.

Does the Nike Women’s 15K Toronto Run’s medal look awesome?

Nike Women Toronto Medal Nike Women Toronto Medal

HELLS YEAH! I’ve already worn it a bunch of times! It looks amazing and definitely wearable for all occasions!

Of course, I thoroughly enjoyed a glorious post-race meal of dumplings, noodles and delicious soup.

Post-Race Meal

I actually felt great the day after the race, so that means I’ll be training to do the Oasis Zoo 10K Run in September in under and hour!

Well… Not completely great.

I literally injured myself on the finish line and ended up with a dropped cuboid, aka cuboid syndrome. More on that later!

xoxo,

B.elle

Ouch!

I’m usually pretty careful when I’m training, especially for parkour. I mean, it’s a dangerous sport in the first place, so it’s incredibly important to keep practicing techniques and motions until you can’t get it wrong.

But, just like any other sport, accidents happen! Like this!

Bruised ribs

OW, right?

That would be my lower right ribs after practicing a precision bar swing and losing a bit of balance, making me smash my ribs into the corner ledge of the MV’s F-block!

Luckily, it’s just a bruise and nothing fractured, but I was down for a good few minutes since it was the 7th rib and it’s a weak spot on the human body.

Even with this injury, I’m probably going to keep doing some light running this week or get into the indoor track. Rest is for the weak!!

(I’m kidding. I know I should take it easy, but I also know that breaking my running and parkour habit would completely de-motivate me!)

xoxo,

B.elle