Monday, February 25, 2013

Pictures from Seaside Half Marathon

I'll get a race report up soon, but I wanted to post some pictures from this weekend's Half marathon!

Yeah, it was a gorgeous day!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Super Bowl 4 Miler 2013

Last year on Super Bowl Sunday, I ran my first four mile race. I set a PR that held for the rest of 2012. This year, I decided to run the same race again and I set a new PR! The Super Bowl 4-miler is one of my favorite local races. For one, it’s on Super Bowl and the second, it’s a great atmosphere. This year they even had medals for all finishers!

I went into the race not expecting to PR. Due to my IT band injury in December, my training took a big step backward. I hadn’t even run four miles nonstop before the race since my injury occurred. But man, I was hungry for a PR. On Thanksgiving, I ran the Santa Barbara 4 mile Turkey run and would have PRed if the race hadn’t been a quarter of a mile short. I felt robbed and was eager to improve my time.

I rocked a pink Tebow jersey!
I started the race easy and relaxed. I was running solo, so I was chatting with runners around me. During the first mile and a half, I got passed by a lot of other runners. I just kept my pace consistent and focused on enjoying the run. Around mile two and a half, I stopped getting passed and I started passing those who had shot ahead. Around mile three, I was starting to loose steam, but was determined to keep my pace. At that point, I could tell a PR was well within my reach. I chatted with a nice kid in a Bronco’s jersey who was eager to tell me all about his favorite player and team. I encouraged him to keep the pace up, but unfortunately had to drop him.

Action Pro Picture of race
Daddio came out to cheer me on
Down the home stretch, I was just about out of energy, but saw I’d easily PR. I had a woman right ahead of me and instead of my usual sprint to the finish, I let her beat me and finished at a relaxed pace. Thankfully she wasn’t in my age group! Haha! Should have thought of that before being so casual about it.

Running with my new Bronco buddy
I finished with a time of 35:38, beating my old PR by over a minute! I was all smiles! First race of the year and I start out with a PR! Ironically, I’d just announced that I wasn’t going to focus on PRs this year! It’s a week later and my legs are still fatigued, but my IT band is still pain free! I hope everyone had a wonderful Super Bowl Sunday and are enjoying a new year of running!
Surprise bling!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

IT Band

I have injured my IT band twice now. The first time occurred on my right side during my training for my first marathon. The second time was on my left side when running Santa the Sea Half Marathon in December of 2012. Injuring the IT band is called iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS). It’s usually due to over training. In my case, it was probably due to a combination of overtraining and muscle imbalance. If you have pain on the outside of your knee, the usual suspect is ITBS.

The time it takes for ITBS to heal depends on how badly it is inflamed. On my right side it took over three months. When it occurred the second time on my left side, I had it well under control in five weeks. The first time I didn’t know what it was and tried to train through it and then being so close to my marathon, I decided to run through it. Very bad idea! Mine was so badly inflamed, that walking was painful and I ended up in physical therapy for several months.

Image from
When ITBS occurred the second time, I knew exactly what it was and how to handle it. The moment you suspect ITBS, STOP RUNNING! If you catch it early enough, you may only loose a week of running. With the second occurrence, the moment I identified the pain, I stopped running for a full week. The inflammation went down and I was pain free. I was able to start easy slow interval runs within seven days of the initial injury. Listen to your body, don’t ever run through the pain. If it still hurts after a week, you need to take more time off. If you push through it, you will only make it worse.

The most important thing to do when you have ITBS is foam roll and stretch, stretch, stretch. The IT band will become extremely tight and the only way to get it healthy is to get it to loosen up. I was stretching and foam rolling several times a day while injured. I’ve now integrated it into my daily routine. I also extensively stretch the IT band before and after every single run.

It is possible to train through this injury as soon as the inflammation goes down, but you will have to drastically back off the mileage and the speed. I did intervals of four minutes running and one minute walking at a comfortable pace. You will need to find what intervals are comfortable for you and what distance you can run pain free. I could only run a mile and a half before I started getting warning pains. If I went further than that, the IT band would get irritated again. The second you feel any twinges from the IT band, stop your run. As your body slowly heals, you will be able to increase your distance and your intervals. Always listen to your body. You will have to be extremely patient. All it takes is pushing it too hard one time and you will be back to square one.

This video demonstrates my favorite IT band stretch:

 During my injury, I was able to stationary biking as a substitute for some of the running I was missing. Some people have had success swimming with ITBS, but I did not. In my case, swimming only made it more inflamed. Visit your doctor to conform that it is ITBS and if possible, visit a physical therapist to identify why it occurred so you can prevent it from occurring again. I got lazy on the exercises my physical therapist gave me and I believe that is why mine reoccurred. As usual, I’m not a doctor, this is all just advice!

Good luck!