Friday, April 29, 2016

Hurt So Good

Greetings from Injurytown, USA - Population: Me.

Pain sucks I'm pretty sure we can all agree on that. Pain especially sucks when it keeps you from doing things you really like, which is why in any sports store you will find a super fun little section called Injury Prevention/Recovery. While I was unpacking at my parents this weekend yes I bring an assortment of rollers with me wherever I go I was unloading about half of my roller collection while my cousins looked on in confusion and I remembered that not everyone spends their take home pay on torture devices. Runners just LOVE to spend money on this stuff and the time I've spent actually running vs. the time I've spent rolling around on the floor screaming obscenities is probably an even splitI always feel guilty when I find myself shopping for another recovery tool how is it POSSIBLE that you NEED another roller but I honestly use each of these on a weekly, if not daily basis. I rationalize a lot of BS purchases but these are legit.

Get ready to make it hurt so good with my favorite torture devices!

Obligatory I AM NOT A DOCTOR or Professional ANYTHING reminder - based off personal experience only! 

Grid STK Foam Roller This is probably the least used of my collection. I find that the grid while awesome makes it a bit awkward to roll over areas with any bone, but I will use it on my calves and quads. The BEST thing about this baby is the ends which I think they do actually sell separately. I use those suckers to dig. the. f*ck. into my hip flexors and it is epic. The length of the STK gives you a lot of leverage to wedge into these nasty tight places that nothing else really gets to.

GRID Foam Roller and Mini Foam Roller You'll be hard pressed to find a runner that does not own one of these. This is the bread and butter of my foam rolling, and if you're looking for a place to start your own torture cave - this would probably be my recommendation. Get at your calves, shins, quads, hammies, ITB, hip glute, back, it does it all. I'll also use it as a bolster for Yoga or psoas release, and sometimes as a head or footrest if I'm crashing on the floor I do that a lot. 
I bought the mini size to keep at my parent's house and while it is easier to travel with, I don't find the size to be all that effective. It constantly rolls out from under me and just doesn't cover enough surface area in my opinion. BUT if you are hurting, it's better than nothing.

The BFF  Meet your BFF 4eva! Out of all my torture devices, this is definitely everyone's favorite to play with. It's exactly what it looks like, a buffer for your body. When you hold it flat it just feels like a nice massage that warms up your muscles, but turn that thing sideways and you can start grinding into some really sticky areas. I use this ALOT on my calves and ITB/hip/glute - really dense areas that I feel like I can't always get to with a traditional roller. This is also great on your back and neck. If you travel with this in a carry-on TSA will stop you and give you the side eye, please like THAT'S the weirdest thing you've seen all day?  The price tag on this is hefty for sure, but I fell in love at a Rock 'n' Roll expo and it was a done deal  #yolo.

Ma Roller For chronic back-achers this roller really gets into that junk around your spine. I've also used it on my calves, Achilles, and foot. Use it gently though cause those grooves are serious.

Tiger Tail This was my first ever roller! I keep this guy at work to use on my legs guys my coworkers love me. You won't necessarily get a "make you cry" type pressure from this, but I love it for everyday use.

Trigger Point Massage Balls Another keep at the desk or throw in my purse fave, my feet would die without these. I generally use the spiky one since the regular ball always just ends up rolling away from me and I'm lazy AF. I grind the shit out of plantar fascitis with this and I would be lost without it. I'll put it on my desk chair and roll out my hammies, or even use it as scraper to get rid of fas
cia and tendon fuzz. So multi-dimensional and I've never even tried to heat or freeze them!

Roll 8 This is a beast! My Oiselle Volee girls got me hooked on this and holy crap it is not for the faint of heart. I have a really really high pain tolerance, especially when it comes to rolling true life I actually punctured a vein in my leg once because I was working at a calf muscle so hard. For right now this is a quad/ITB/hammie exclusive for me. I bruise really easily and I'm covered in marks from this one. But I have chronically tight legs and this gets into them like nothing else. like at all.

Now for some more unconventional but easily accessible options:

  • Mail Opener - don't want to spend bucks on a muscle scraper? Metal mail opener FTW I've also heard of people using butter knives, but I get a better grip/control of the mail opener. 
  • Roller Chair legs - they're literally chilling there right next to your feet. I'll work out my achilles, ankle, and feet all while pretending to work or pay attention in a meeting JK I'm a totally dedicated employee...
  • Kitchen Counters - people will look at you like you are a crazy person, and you kind of are. But presented with an optimal height counter lean and de-gunk those hip and glute muscles. There is nothing like it I promise! 
  • Fingers - especially with my feet and ankles, sometimes you are just able to find the tough spots best when you get in there yourself. Or even better pay someone to do it for you! Literally just booked a session with the Doc AND a massage because it is hot mess central up in here. 


Any glaring gaps from my collection? Am I missing one of your favorites? If so you better tell me now so I can Amazon Prime that shit STAT.

Do all athletes have an obsession with this stuff or are runners just over enthusiastic about EVERYTHING?

Favorite show to roll to? Seriously though, I'm still going through House of Cards withdrawal...

Monday, April 25, 2016

My Psychic Powers and Why They Can't be Used for Good

Well, it's been a solid 4 years, but my right leg finally decided to call it quits on Sunday moment of silence.
I can't even be mad because my right leg has been a freaking trooper. It's been picking up the slack for my bum left leg for basically 3 of those 4 years, and I guess it deserves a break.

Last week running did not feel great. I had been burning the candle at both ends and it was showing. My gait was off, I felt awkward, I was super tired and sluggish, my heart was not in it.  I was not super concerned because it was my last high mileage week, I had a lot going on personally, and frankly I had a lot of reasons to feel tired and wompy. I was flexible with my training schedule rearranging workouts so I would not drive myself into the ground on super hectic days and I never felt like I was pushing myself through pain, I was just on the struggle bus express. I  made it through the week relatively unscathed with one 14 miler left for Sunday. I was exhausted, stressed, and reallllly not looking forward to my last long run. Somehow I managed to scrape myself off the floor and started out for two 7 mile loops, so that I could stop at home for water and fuel if I needed to. Once I got started I knew that mentally I could make it through, the weather was epically gorgeous, and physically I felt the same if not a little better than I had the day before. But around mile 3 I knew something was off, my right ankle just wasn't right. My stride was super forced and awkward. I stopped multiple times to stretch and pump out my calf, but when I started to noticeably limp, that was it. I wasn't in any pain  - but I had to admit defeat. I plopped my ass on the curb, called Mom, and stared off into the downward spiraling abyss until she came to pick me up.

I am just so over this injury bull shit that I could barely muster up the energy to throw a fit in the car on the way home obviously I cried and whined but it wasn't one of my best efforts and went straight to our deck so I could pass out in the sun and at least soak up some of  the Vitamin D I was supposed to get that day. Even my pity party was fairly tame: Sushi, homemade chocolate chip cookies, a pep talk from Mom, and a long bath to keep me from trying to implement every injury remedy in my bag of tricks all at once.

I've always thought I was semi-psychic but really a legit psychic (guy I met on the street in New Orleans) said I was and I totally used to be able to use my powers for good.
Bid Day 2008
A day that will live in infamy
Exhibit A - My senior year of college I was convinced that my parents were going to take us to Disney World in all honesty not a huge leap there after January Rush Week. I had this picture in my mind of Me and Megs in matching Bid Day tee shirts at Magic Kingdom. Well, I got back from my Study Abroad in Australia, my mom told me to repack cause we were going to Disney World, and then we drove back down to school so that I could could spend Bid Day with my double sister who had just pledged my sorority.

True Happiness

Now that I'm old and jaded my psychic powers have dwindled down to more of an "oooo I've got a bad feeling about this" situation, which usually turns out to be the case.

Exhibit A - How My Psychic Powers Knew I Had An Injury Coming
  • Got all sentimental about how much I love running, how awesome it feels, and how excited I am to run all the races  just asking for it
  • I slept on my parents couch this weekend since we had family visiting -  as I was getting all snuggled in I was like hey the last time I slept on the couch was when I twisted my ankle twice in January foreshadowing blows
  • Made a list of possible challenges/things to try during my "off training month" I really do wonder how many hours I would last on Whole30
  • Tried on my costume for the Tinkerbell Half Marathon, wings and all I just can't
This is just begging for a deep dive into manifesting and all that junk, but good Lord that is a post for a different time cause aint nobody me got time for that right now. I am less than 2 weeks out from our trip to Disneyland/LA for the RunDisney Tinkerbell Half, my goal right now is to be healthy enough to run it, but that is not really under my control.
Where are you now that
i need you

Time to try some of that manifesting-ness again!

- Stay moderately caffeinated friends trying to cut back a bit this week

Friday, April 22, 2016

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today get through this thing called life

In my constant and more recently frantic search to figure out wtf to do my with my life, I’ve been coming across the word Legacy pretty frequently.  As a 29 year old it’s not a word I’ve felt the need to use just yet, it’s a biggie, it’s heavy and it seems a little final. But as I said, it keeps popping up, so I’ve been trying to look at it a little differently, letting it inform my day a little more than before. I approach decisions of all kinds with the same level of panic, what I’m having for dinner is equally as stressful as what my next career move should be. It’s exhausting and just completely rediculous. So I’m trying to take a step back from it all and consider Legacy. What is it that you’re going to want to remember at the end of all this, what would you want others to remember about you – whatever that answer is, do more of that, and maybe don’t worry so much about the other stuff omg easier said than done.

Now I appreciate Prince as much as the next person but would never  consider myself a super-fan, so when he passed away yesterday I was shocked and bummed but WAS NOT ready for the epic response to his death. I was completely unaware of his reach and the extent of his career. Someone said yesterday that what Bruce is to New Jersey, Prince is to Minnesota and I was like OH ok got it! I’m normally not one of those people who is big enough to be all “don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened” if someone is giving me a legit chance to lose my shit and wallow, damnit I take it. But watching the entire world share what Prince, his music, and his legacy, meant to them yesterday… made me happy? Everytime a new person, celebrity, whatever, paid tribute to him I thought holy crap, how awesome is this? This one person touched ALL of these people, from so many walks of life, he made their lives better in some way. I felt proud of him? I think sometimes we forget how much the world really does value uniqueness, creativity and somone who is willing to just be themselves unabashedly. It's so weird to call someone's passing refreshing, but it was for me, I was really moved by the outpouring and the celebration of his life and legacy there it is again. 

Unfortunately I feel like I did own a similar shirt

Obviously we can’t all be Prince no one wants to see me dressed like this but we can all be a little more aware of what we are leaving behind, be a little truer to ourselves than we were yesterday, kick a little bit of the bullshit to the curb and celebrate a little more of the good shit. And party like it's 1999 because the 90s were the best ever, Prince and I totally agree on that! 

Add waxing philosophical on Prince to the list of things I never thought I'd do...


1.  Prince Tributes, goes without saying
Holy balls get ya tissues ready / this teacher is everythingJames Cordon seriously stop making me cry everything is better with an accent

and for good measure: the best cover EVER, and Julia, because Julia…

2. It's Marathon Season! #MarathonMonday is easily every runner's favorite Holiday and this year was no exception.
Photo courtesy of @wotowineglass Photo credit my mom :)
The Boston Marathon is the reason I signed up for my first Marathon, and it is such a source of inspiration for me, and this interview with Dave McGillivray is awesome.
I had guaranteed acceptance into this year's Chicago Marathon (I deferred last year to run Marine Corps) but the lottery was pulled this week for the rest of the racers and there are SO many Oiselle girls running! All the talk of meetups, group runs, and being surrounded by teammates has me so excited for my 4th ?! go at 26.2

3.  Finally getting to experience the beauty of grabbing some Picky Bars in Trader Joes, and they were a special kind of magical let me tell you!
good for the tummy, bad for the wallet

4.  CLEAR YOUR DVR the movie marathon to end all movie marathons is upon us!

5. Summer Kicks! The weather has been pretty bad ass this week and it's got me in the mood for some summer clothes and shoes that are not running sneakers shocking I know currently have my eyes on these booties, finally getting a pair of these sandals and trying to decide which Adidas to get between this classic and this new pair?

What a random post but welcome to my life!
 - Stay Caffeinated my friends

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

WCW [#1]

It is no secret that I have just about the most bad-ass family out there.  This week in particular, I’m crushing so hard on my cousin Christine Marks (otherwise known as MarksyPants). I’m a whopping 22 days older and a couple feet taller than Chris but girlfriend has always been my idol. Here is one reason why. SHE IS THE WORLD’S MOST AMAZING ARTIST and way too humble about it.  Lucky for everyone she recently opened up her own Etsy shop and now I have to be unselfish and share her with the world.
I mean just look at the Christmas present she made me this year!

And then she totally saved my butt this past week too!
My sister is notoriously hard to shop for, she is one of those super non-greedy people whose all “but I don’t need anything” you can tell who got the gimme genes in this family for sure. But I totally had an ace in the hole this year: in March she was going on and on about this Limited Edition St. Patrick’s Day Jameson bottle not just because she loves whiskey because the label was so beautiful! I was totally ready to start scouring the internet to find a bottle for her birthday, but the girl has a whiskey bottle collection to rival Jameson himself, and having it sit on a shelf somewhere just didn’t seem special enough. Enter MarksyPants. I sent Chris a picture of the label to see if there anything she could do with it, and this is what happened…

Seriously the pictures don’t do it justice; this thing is a flipping masterpiece even the original artist thinks so!

Christine has always had a knack for design and making things beautiful and I am constantly blown away totally jealous of her work ethic and attention to detail.  I am just so so happy and proud as hell that she is getting the recognition she deserves.  So basically you need to have MarskyPants make you ALL THE THINGS and then follow her on Instagram to get sneak peeks at her custom work because it’s just the cutest ever.

Friday, April 15, 2016

That Feeling When... [#1]

You turn around and all of a sudden it's the middle of April, your baby sister turns 27 on Sunday AND you still haven't filed your taxes? Yea that's where I'm at right now!

Normally I turn into a TOTAL basket case annnd total bitch when things get hectic and I feel like I am not "in control" of every second of every day. I've felt that fight or flight mode pop a couple of times during the past week, noticed myself jumping on the defensive a little more, and my all time go to being anal AF about what food I'm eating lately. BUT you know what, the fact that I can see that all these "faults" as for what they are (a reaction to stress and an attempt to assert some control over my day) makes me feel as though I have grown up a bit. Doesn't mean I wouldn't love for those things to not be kneejerk reaction to stressful situations, I can just accept the fact that I'm a little on edge at the moment. Doesn't make me a bad person, doesn't make me a failure, just makes me ME right? Well, I'll tell myself that for now anyway.

In addition to my new found self-awareness and acceptance taking bets on how long that will last... a huge help in the stress area has been running. TYBJ. Since the first big injury in September, running had turned into the source of my stress and it. was. awful. I am in so in love with running right now and it makes me so. freaking. happy. I think we all have that thing in our lives where no matter what other shit is going down, whatever else gets fucked up, as long as  you have that thing to turn to - you know everything is going to be ok. For me right now that thing is running. I've even been doing my training runs after work and mid-day on the weekends, which is a huge departure from my usual schedule. A couple of hours in the sun with a good podcast on looking at you Running On Om and I'm usually as good as new. 

Anyways, that's pretty much where I'm at right now. Wading through the crap, jonesing for my next run, and next meal obvi.
Now it's time for Friday Faves! 

As part of the #fullhalfchallenge I finally subscribed to Oiselle fav Jasyoga. My original goal was to do 13 minutes a week, but I've been averaging at least 13 minutes a day. I am digging it! Peak mileage weeks are usually when my injuries flare up, so I'm trying to be extra good to my body this time around. So far, so good everyone go knock on all the wood. I LOVE that I can search the videos by length, category (pre-workout, cross-training, post-workout, recovery, even some meditation) and body part. If my back is bothering me my back is always bothering me, I literally just search "back" and get a list of all of the videos incorporating back exercises. It's really the little things in life that excite me. So yea, 2 thumbs up for Jasyoga, and if you're a person who finds it hard to make time for yoga and recovery I HIGHLY recommend it. Hips don't lie. 

When my #girlcrush Hungry Runner Girl said she used an Instyler to get her beautiful head of waves, I was instantly intrigued and skeptical that a rotating iron would ever work on my rats nest. But hey it was on Groupon so I got one anyway. I actually showered this week so I was able to try it out and I was pleasantly surprised! I got the wet to dry option, but still had to dry my hair 99.9% of the way. The Instyler was definitely faster than using a straightener and left my hair with a little more volum and polish. Not at HRG status yet, but a vast improvement! 

Life after House of Cards. Yes it exists. Spring Baking Championship is back on Food Network, and while I haven't been able to catch this season's episodes yet, I have been watching the last season online. Seriously the only way I can make myself do my Strength Training is while watching the Baking Championships... I don't get it either. My other fave EMPIRE is back on and right now it's the only show I am watching live. And I mean hello theme song!

Happy Weekend and Happy Caffeine-ating!