Archive for September, 2012

Race Recap: Color Me Rad

Last Saturday was the 5k Color Me Rad race here in Reno. I ran it with D, two local friends and three of their friends who came into town for it. We named our team The Gary Buseys, and we had a lot of team pride.

For those who aren’t familiar, these color runs are gaining in popularity and are being held all over the country. As you run the course, you go through Color Bomb stations where volunteers throw colored corn starch at you or spray you with colored water. At the finish line you’re given your own packet of color to either dump all over your friends (as I did) or you save it and do a big group color bomb at the end. You can also buy packets of color to get festive before the race, but we weren’t that cool.

In terms of the actual race, it went well, but I have no idea how long it took us. The course, which was on the local university campus, was crowded the whole way and in general the festivities were very distracting, but really fun and hilarious. I tried focusing on my form, but really I’m not sure if I stuck with it or not. After about half way through I was already feeling a little winded–so I think we were keeping a good pace?!–and my focus became finishing, staying calm and breathing. Even though I strayed from my training plan a little bit in the weeks running up to it, having the plan helped tremendously and I felt sufficiently strong and prepared.

Overall it was super fun. It was nice to run a no-pressure event, and be more concerned with ‘getting colored,’ keeping track of all the teammates, and yelling out “Gary Busey Whoo!” than worrying about finish time. Oh but do try to remember to keep your mouth closed going through the color bomb stations. Just saying.

I didn’t take any pictures except a few before and afters with my phone, which don’t do the mess justice, but a teammate did have a camera and I will update this post later with those photos when he sends them to me.



Gary Busey Face!

The only downside to these color runs? Cleaning up. We didn’t linger at the race too long but the color apparently saturated our skin quickly and it took some serious scrubbing to get clean. But would I do this again? Absolutely.

Have you run a color run? Any tips for cleaning up without scrubbing off a layer of skin?


September 27, 2012 at 9:48 am 7 comments

If Your Legs Hurt, You’re Doing It Wrong

Or maybe you’re running on uneven surface? Or maybe you need to stretch more? Or maybe all of the above?

During the three runs I’ve done in the last week, the lower right side of my right leg has been hurting. And I don’t mean sore or the pain of working hard, I mean sharp shooting pains down the side of my leg. They’re intermittent, but still…not cool. After doing some research, I think the muscle group that is hurting is my peroneal muscles, which I learned are comprised of three main portions; the peroneus longus, brevis, and tertius.

What are the peroneus muscles? I found this information here:

The peroneal longus and brevis muscles bend the foot downward (plantarflexion) and twist it outward (eversion). The peroneal tertius has a weak pull and lifts the foot upwards (dorsiflexion) and twists it outwards (eversion). 
The peroneal muscles help to keep the legs steady upon the feet. The action of peroneal longus is especially significant when one is standing on a single leg. The lateral pull of this muscle prevents from falling towards the side of the raised leg. 

Anything sound familiar with this? One of the basic drills, and biggest A-HA moments for me learning Chi Running was reading about One-Legged Running, and that Chi Running is about simply lifting your legs to keep up with your forward lean.

So, as I’ve been running more and, admittedly, not stretching nearly enough, especially my calves, it makes sense that this area of my leg would start to feel hot and bothered. After learning a little bit about this muscle group, I think that my pain is a combination of running on the right shoulder of the road, causing may foot to over-rotate, and not stretching. It could very well be my form, but during every recent run I’ve had this pain, so I’ve been focusing on my lower leg form–just lifting my legs; striking with a flat, midfoot strike; stride length–the form areas I’ve been working on since the beginning, but it doesn’t seem to work.  One form focus that I still struggle with is relaxing, and truly finding a passive lower leg, and I suspect that may be key.

So, for the next few runs I will be extra mindful of which side of the road I’m running on and focusing on relaxing my lower leg. Most importantly, I am going to start massaging, stretching and focusing on loosening and strengthening this area. I tend to neglect my calves as it is, and I don’t want to cause injury because of it. If I don’t do something about this, the pain will travel down to my ankle and feet and cause all sorts of other problems.

Here are some stretches I found.

Seated Ankle Stretch

  • Sit in a chair with one ankle resting on the other knee.
  • With your hands, point the foot (plantarflex) and turn the sole of the foot upwards (invert).
  • Hold for between 10 and 30 seconds.

Extended Leg Stretch

  • Sit on the floor with your legs in front of you and wrap the middle of a towel around the ball of your foot.
  • Pull back on the towel gently with a straight knee and hold for 30 seconds.
  • Perform the stretch three times on each leg.

Foam Roller I don’t have a foam roller, but I use a rolling pin and manually roll out muscles. As such, I won’t be laying on my rolling pin… :)

  • Get on all fours with either far end or entire roller on one shin.
  • Shift body to apply pressure to anterior tibialis (muscle on the front of shin) roll from knee to ankle.
  • Rolling to the outside to get an emphasis on the peroneus longus and brevis.

Standing Ankle Rolls and Stretches

  • Here is a good video:

So stretching should help, and down the road I should look into some strengthening exercises.

Do you have any tips for stretching or strengthening the peroneals?

September 26, 2012 at 10:40 am 10 comments

Peace, Love and Better

Seven years ago today one of my best friends Em (right), and her girlfriend Emily (left), also a good friend, passed away in a car accident in Oregon. They were beautiful people and everyone who knew them is still profoundly affected.









Five years ago we gathered at Em’s Aunt’s house in New York and after the bittersweet weekend I wrote this:

Better 2007

How do we navigate the loss of one of our own? Of a kindred friend, a lover that never was? We are forced to question our own lives, death, mortality, endurance of soul. Always studying, we don’t learn the answers until it’s all over, until the time when answers don’t matter anymore. Soon, in a few years, it will be longer that Em has been gone than when I knew her in life. When do we become ghosts? When does an entire chunk of time become fleeting, passing over our eyes like baby blue tule, or something. dream spaces.

It’s like when a building you lived in is torn down and you go back to visit but this time you can see the view from the parking lot. All your years of memories in that building, so many blood, sweat and tears in there!, now exist twenty, thirty feet in the empty air, where once stood walls and floor joists, supported by footers, somewhere something was anchored into concrete, which was reinforced with steel. You kick your feet around in the dirt, littered with foundation crumbles, and stare at the mountains, which never move. If time doesn’t exist, how do we keep convincing ourselvs that space exists, and that it’s important? Or, perhaps, why do we keep doing it, and how do we keep getting away with it?

I see her father. Hunched shoulders, downward cast eyes, shaking his head, holding a Budweiser. In his crows feet you can see a life line of pain and joy, decisions made, actions taken, consequences suffered, for both good and bad. Regrets, happiness, love, lost, struggle, hard work. The light in your life, enduring, refreshing, inspiring….gone in a second, wiped out by a Ford. How do you navigate the loss of someone else’s daughters?

She always knew she was going to die early. At the party on Saturday, I was in Bruce and Nina’s dining room, sending a text to a friend, and I had a really intense deja vu. I faintly remembered some dream I had had years ago, where I basically dreamt about this party, that we were all gathered at her family’s house and that it was because she had died. I don’t remember much of a response from her when I told her. She knew she was going to die young, but she didn’t tell us that too often. She didn’t want to freak us out. So she rocked her life and had the deepest laugh wrinkles I’ve ever yet seen among someone so young. She talked to the ghosts in her house; they showed themselves to her. She gave her heart to everyone she ever met because she knew she didn’t have much time to give it all away. Might as well give away everything you’ve before you die, or else the government gets it all. They didn’t get much from her, I tell you, except for some votes. Who pays off credit card debt when you die?

As I said to a coworker this morning, the weekend was simultaneously wonderful but intense and very sad. She replied, “So there was a lot of humanity.”

Yes. Overwhelmingly so.

My friends, we all mourned and grieved together, but this is an individual battle, and sometimes it needs to be released. But who am I crying for? Am I crying for Em and Emily, for two lives cut so short? Perhaps it’s for Jeffrey and Deb, who have to reconcile their lives and count their losses every day? Or for Helen and George, who wear their pain on their shirtsleeves, where Em and Emily wore their hearts. Or am I sad for the parents of the kid who killed them, who have to go visit their 20 year old son in jail for the next few months because he killed two girls from New England one Sunday two years ago. Or maybe I am crying for the humanity of it all–for the grief of all mothers and fathers who have lost their children unfairly–for the pain and struggle everyone goes through to acheive their salvation, whatever it is. But maybe I’m just crying for myself, because I can: because it will make me better.

Until next time…Peace, Love, and Better.

September 25, 2012 at 11:27 am 4 comments

Welcome to the family, Susan

Who is Susan?

This gal!

We picked her up last night from a really nice foster family and even though we are technically on a trial run, we LOVE HER. She is here to stay (hopefully, barring any crazy incidents this weekend that cause us to take her back).

She is a miniature pinscher/chihuahua mix, about a year and a half old, and she was almost put down in Modesto, CA before the awesome foster family saved her a month ago. She is so sweet and playful and hilarious and stinking cute. And best of all–totally quiet! She hasn’t barked once, but did whine when I left her in her kennel this morning. She slept in her kennel last night beside our bed and didn’t have any problems, so…fingers crossed…we might have lucked out on the best rescue dog ever. But it’s still a bit early to call it. She’s stubborn, needs to learn her name, and will need a friend down the road but for now we are having a great time.

First family photo:

Would your rescue dog give Susan a run for her money?

Any tips for first time dog owners?

September 21, 2012 at 10:34 am 4 comments

Review: Thai Massage

What is Thai Massage?

Well, simply, it is an awesome, dynamic therapeutic massage technique that I have recently fallen in love with.

Picture Source

I was referred to Reno Tahoe Thai Massage by Jen (my yoga teacher) and went to see Andrea before I went on vacation. I also saw her last night. Before I talk about my own opinion, here is some information from Andrea’s website that describes what Thai Massage is much more succinctly that I can.

Thai Massage, also called Thai Yoga Massage, is performed on a thai mat, on the floor. You stay fully clothed. No oils or lotions are necessary. The masseuse uses his/her hands, elbows, feet and knees throughout the session. You remain passive through the entire massage. 
Traditional Thai Massage is a form of bodywork that consists of passive stretching, muscle compression and the gentle kneading of muscles to allow for a better flow of energy, pain reduction and an overall greater sense of wellness. This is all done with flowing, rhythmic movements and gentle rocking along your body’s energy lines and pressure points. You will leave with a feeling of deep relaxation and rejuvenation. 
Thai Massage is never meant to be painful. Depending on your needs, Thai Massage can be performed more vigorously to awaken and rejuvenate you, or can be performed in a more soothing, gentler manner for a greater sense of deep relaxation. Both are extremely therapeutic and healing. 

The benefits of Thai Massage include:

  1. Providing a deep sense of relaxation and rejuvenation
  2. Reducing and relieving stress and anxiety
  3. Relieving muscle pain and tension
  4. Improving athletic performance
  5. Increasing flexibility
  6. Improving posture and balance
  7. Relieving pain from arthritis 
  8. Increasing range of motion

And I can tell you that this is all really true (except I’ll have to wait and see about improving athletic performance and I’m lucky enough not to have arthritis). I went to see Andrea right before I left for vacation, which also happened to be a few days after I aggravated my chronic lower back issue wakesurfing. I don’t know what she did, but I left feeling totally pain and tension free. I could bend over without feeling like I was going to pull something and it didn’t hurt to sit! She also worked on my calves and found tension I didn’t even know I had there. That was amazing–problems that I thought were due to my history of shin splints were actually due to my calves being crazy tight (which I realize are connected problems) and with some simple work the pain layers dissolved away.

Last night was my second appointment and we might have made progress were it not for the Great 108. As I mentioned yesterday, my hamstrings were really tight, so a lot of the work she did on my legs was to alleviate that tension. My calves had tightened back up and again she did magic on them and they loosened up. I can now touch the lower part of my shins/ankles without flinching! Yay! My upper body feels great–my shoulders aren’t as tight and my arms aren’t sore. Guess I could have done a few more chaturangas on Monday–that or Andrea prevented some soreness; I’ll go with the latter.

Why Thai Massage over traditional western style massage?

Well, I guess I like it because it is more dynamic, yet still so relaxing. I’m actually finding I’m able to relax more in the Thai Massage sessions than in a lot of the deep-tissue massages I’ve had. The Thai Massages also feel like a more authentic full-body therapeutic experience than a full body Swedish massage where you just lay there. Finally, the way I’ve felt leaving Andrea’s room is second to none. I feel deeply relaxed, yet my muscles feel alive, almost buzzing, like I feel after yoga. I guess they don’t call it Thai Yoga Massage for nothing.

For anyone who is in the Reno area and interested, here is Andrea’s website and her facebook page. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED and I can’t believe no one told me about it until now.  I will be going to her every three weeks or so over the next few months and, coupled with my chiropractic care and yoga practice, I am excited to see how my back continues to get stronger and my flexibility improves. Thank you Andrea!

(Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any way for writing about my sessions with Andrea.)

September 19, 2012 at 9:23 am 8 comments

The Great 108

Last night was a doozy (I’ve never actually spelled that word before) of a yoga class. Four times a year, on the Monday closest to the solstices and equinoxes, my teacher Jen holds a Great 108 class, where we do 108 Ashtanga vinyasa sun salutations to celebrate the changing of the seasons. This is the full series.

Picture source

Why 108? This is some information I found from the Yoga Journal:

The number’s significance is open to interpretation. But 108 has long been considered a sacred number in Hinduism and yoga. Traditionally, malas, or garlands of prayer beads, come as a string of 108 beads (plus one for the “guru bead,” around which the other 108 beads turn like the planets around the sun). A mala is used for counting as you repeat a mantra—much like the Catholic rosary.
Renowned mathematicians of Vedic culture viewed 108 as a number of the wholeness of existence. This number also connects the Sun, Moon, and Earth: The average distance of the Sun and the Moon to Earth is 108 times their respective diameters. Such phenomena have given rise to many examples of ritual significance.
According to yogic tradition, there are 108 pithas, or sacred sites, throughout India. And there are also 108 Upanishads and 108 marma points, or sacred places of the body.

So clearly there’s a lot behind the meaning and it is always a great class. I sweat buckets and feel so light and detoxed afterward. Yesterday was my 3rd time doing it and each time I can see how I’m getting stronger, but boy, it’s so hard! We do the salutations in groups of 20, with a one minute silent rest in between, and the last 8 salutations are dedicated to a different intention that you pick (love, acceptance, etc.).

For the first 25-30 salutations I felt really good. The practice was making me really happy and I had a big smile on my face. After about 30 I started getting fatigued. The 40-80 salutations were the hardest. That’s when my shoulders start burning from the chaturangas and when my wrists started really hurting and it felt never ending. But I just kept breathing and trying to hold my form and get through it. There were times where I was in such a trance I had to look at others to see what they were doing because I didn’t know where we were in the series, and there were times where I was positive I couldn’t do anymore but just had to beat the mental game. The last 28 were still physically tough but I was buoyed by knowing they were almost over and I was about to finish another Great 108. And I did!

Today my hamstrings are sore from the lunging and forward folds, my shoulders are pretty tight, but my arms feel okay. They will probably be really sore tomorrow. I am getting a Thai massage tonight so hopefully that will help. I still need to write about my first one, too. Hint: it’s awesome and you should go get one.

On a running note, we had a super busy weekend and I didn’t get any running in, and today is a rest day but I plan on getting out there tomorrow morning for one of my two last training runs before the Color Me Rad this weekend. Stay tuned, and namaste.

September 18, 2012 at 9:45 am 9 comments

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