Sunday, September 14, 2014

On the Run: Head for the Cure 5K

Last week I raced the inaugural Head for the Cure in Detroit- my first 5K since Nain Rouge in March.  I had planned to work on speed over the summer so that come September, I could get my 5K time under 20:00.  Due to my hamstring injury, however, speed has not been my friend!  In the past couple of weeks - thanks to an oral cortisone taper and an anti-inflammatory drug - I've been able to pick up the pace a bit.  Not back to what it was in the spring at the peak of Boston training but I'm getting there.

So back to last week.  I had no idea what I would be able to do for the race and I didn't put any pressure on myself.  I just wanted to go out and give it my best.  I lined up at the front with runners of all ages.  Many of them were high school cross country runners. A few girls gunned it right out of the gate but several slowed down after the first turn.  One was WAY ahead of me and there was no catching her!  I passed the other girls quickly (and a few guys) to fall into place for 2nd female and maintained that position for the rest of the race.  Near the 3-mile marker, I chicked one more dude so that I was able to finish 6th overall.

I loved this race!  The course was awesome.  Out and back, flat, with just three main turns, plus a loop around a building at the end.  It started and ended on the Detroit River.  We got to run along The Dequindre Cut, which features some of Detroit's finest graffiti.  It was a good cause, raising money and awareness for brain cancer.  Best of all it was organized by RUNdetroit - my favorite running store!  I got to be there with several of my friends and they all had amazing races, as well!  It was great to support them, cheer them on as they finished, and celebrate their amazing PRs!  I loved the feeling of racing a 5K again!





Bring Me Your Loves / St. Vincent 
Animal / Langhorne Slim & the Law
Violent Shiver / Benjamin Booker  
Runaway Baby / Bruno Mars
Dance Apocolyptic / Janelle Monae  
The Walker / Fitz & the Tantrums
Heart Attack / Raphael Saadiq

Age Group Award - 1st Place

Monday, September 1, 2014

Injury Update - Still a Pain in the Butt

It's been 4 months since the pain in my butt started and unfortunately, it's still there.  It's a persistent bugger.  My diagnosis started as piriformis syndrome but now we know it's actually high hamstring tendinopathy.  Here are the things I've done to try to heal the injury:
  • 8 sessions of PT at Henry Ford Fairlane (30 min each, not very aggressive)
  • 10 sessions of PT at ATI - Ann Arbor (60+ min each, aggressive therapy)
  • 2 week complete break from running
  • Yoga 3-4 times per week
  • Deep tissue massage
  • Thai yoga massage
  • Acupuncture and cupping therapy
  • Daily stretches for hamstring
  • Strength training for accessory areas - hips and glutes in particular
While at ATI (which, by the way, is an amazing place to go for PT), the physical therapists used a few different machines - ultrasound, E-stim, and something they called "The Hammer" - all to help speed up the healing process.  They had me working hard while I was there and closely monitored my progress.  I had the chance to work with Tim Broe, who filmed me running and gave me exercises to help correct my form (posture, stride) so that I can prevent this injury from happening again.

The therapists at ATI did everything they could for me.  I had made progress but not enough.  It was time to see an orthopedic doctor.  Thankfully I was able to get an appointment right away at Dearborn Orthopedics & Sports Medicine.  I saw Dr. Plagens, the team doctor for the Detroit Red Wings.  He concurred with the inflammation diagnosis and put me on an oral Cortisone taper for 6 days (6 pills on day 1, 5 pills on day 2, etc), followed by an anti-inflammatory drug.  I am supposed to be stretching several times throughout the day.  He also advised to "take it easy" with running - whatever that means. I see him again 2 weeks from today.

It's hard to say how much better I'm feeling.  The pain is less intense when running - more of a dull aching than a stabbing - but it's still there.  I can drive for longer periods of time before it becomes excruciating but it's still uncomfortable.  My legs are seemingly always tired and my speed just isn't there.  Am I better than a month ago?  Yes.  But I am far from "better."  It's frustrating.  

So I will continue with the stretching and anti-inflammatory until I see Dr. Plagens again.  He said if things are not improved he will look into other options for me, including an MRI to see if there is more going on.  

I will keep you posted.

Monday, August 11, 2014

On the Run: Rock CF Jorts Jaunt

Last week I did a little fun run organized by Emily, founder of the Rock CF Foundation. She's such an amazing person!  She puts on THE most amazing half marathon out there, has some super cool Rock CF swag, and works tirelessly to raise awareness about cystic fibrosis. And I mean tirelessly!  She's going on a 500-mile bike ride in September to raise money and awareness about CF.  You can learn more about Jerry & Em's Great CF Adventure and support her here.

Oh, and did I mention she's freakin' hilarious?  Being with her is a laugh a minute!  And she's also one of the most positive people I know.  

When Emily announced a while back that she was planning a group run in August - The Jorts Jaunt - I was so excited!  I set out finding the perfect pair of jorts, both for myself and for my Rock CF groundhog.  Finding jorts for myself was easy.  I went to my local Goodwill store and found 2 pairs in my size.  I went with the pair that had a lower rise, were a bit shorter, a bit looser, and had more holes for air circulation.  They were basically the jorts version of my favorite Lulu Lemon shorts.  Perfect!

Finding jorts for my groundhog, however, was another matter.  He really has a most unfortunate body type.  Because he has short legs and no waist, he needed a custom pair. Lucky for him, my mother is great at sewing so she was able to make him some.  I'd say she did a fine job, wouldn't you?

The group met at New Center Park, across from The Fisher Building.  14 people RSVP'd to the event but in the end, only 6 of us were brave enough to flaunt our jorts.  (Plus one non-jorts wearer.  Emily let it slide.)  What our group lacked in size we made up for in enthusiasm as we headed onto West Grand Boulevard past the Fisher Building and turned onto 2nd Street.  We ran through the Historic Boston-Edison district, which has gorgeous homes everywhere you look.  Running through that neighborhood never gets old.  Then we turned on 3rd and headed back toward the start.  The route was basically a big rectangle (with one little detour down another gorgeous street) that brought us back to New Center Park.   

We had pockets of crowd support along the way as people cheered for us from their porches and driveways.  Some kids wanted to run with us and others shot water at us with their water guns.  We didn't get any comments on our jorts but we did hear compliments on the various Rock CF shirts in the group, which was awesome!

This was one of the most fun group runs I've done!  Good people, fun conversation, a great route, and hot sweaty jorts.  

When it was done I had to run back to my car, which was parked at RUNdetroit, 1.3 miles away.  So yes, besides the official Jorts Jaunt, I also ran 2.6 miles through Midtown in my jorts, carrying a stuffed groundhog.  Just another day in Detroit.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

On the Run: MOTTEP LIFE Walk 10K 2014

This past Saturday I raced for the first time in over 2 months.  Since I've been dealing with my hamstring injury and running (ahem) "less," I knew that racing would certainly not be a good idea.  After taking my recent 2-week break, however, I came back feeling good and had minimal pain during and after running.  I had a week of running before the race to test things out and felt confident I wasn't making TOO stupid of a decision.  (No comments allowed, SG!)  I also wasn't looking to win or set a new PR for myself.  I would be competitive but not like my last 10K.  I had to be realistic.

And to be honest, the real reason I signed up for this race was to be with my RUNdetroit friends.  This was a target race for the store.  Saturday running group was cancelled for the day.  It was the graduation race for the 3.101 group who had trained hard all spring/summer to move from walking to jogging to finishing their first 5K race.  I wanted to be there to celebrate their accomplishment, along with all the others who were participating in racing either the 5K or 10K.  Look at our huge turnout!

Photo credit Brian Wolski

The race was LIFE Walk, a fundraiser for MOTTEP (Minority Organ and Tissue Transplant Education Program).  People were there to honor loved ones, raise awareness, and support the cause.  It was small, well-organized, and everyone was cheerful and friendly.  I liked the laid-back vibe. It took place at the Belle Isle Casino, which is a beautiful and convenient place for a race.  There's ample parking, a good staging area for the start/finish and post-race snacks, and space for packet pick-up.  You also have nice views of the river and the city.  Since Belle Isle became a State Park it's been looking more kept up, too, which is awesome.  

We couldn't have asked for better weather - blue skies, sunshine, 60 degrees, and a slight breeze.  Even though I would know a ton of people, Brian went with me.  He hadn't been to a race with me since Boston and wanted to take his camera along.  We got there in plenty of time for me to get my bib, catch up with everyone at the RUNdetroit tent, take the group picture, and warm up. 

Photo credit Brian Wolski
When the race started, I went out a bit too fast, trying to keep up with the fast RUNdetroit guys (well, at least keep them in my sights!).  I quickly checked myself and settled into something more reasonable for someone who is still injured.  There were only 2 women ahead of me and I hoped they would make the 5K turn, allowing me to back off a bit.  One of them did but the other kept cruising onward for the 10K. No worries.  We were less than 2 miles in so I knew I'd catch her.  And I did.  For about half a mile we were neck and neck, as she fought to maintain the lead.  She was fighting a lot harder than I was and eventually dropped back.  

After about 3 miles I caught up to the next runner and easily passed him.  I was maintaining a pretty steady pace but felt like I was slipping around mile 4.  I was starting to feel hungry and little nauseous.  As I neared the 5 mile mark, however, I chicked another dude.  That gave me more confidence to push it a bit.  I also saw Justin (owner of RUNdetroit) who shouted some words of encouragement (he had long since finished the 5K).  This is when I merged with the 5K so I had some company, plus more spectators were along the course.  There was still a guy close ahead of me but I just couldn't catch him.  Plus as much as I wanted to push it and pass him I didn't want to risk hurting myself over it!

As we rounded the last curve into the final stretch, I was amazed to hear and see the Cass Tech marching band lining both sides of the path to the finish line.  Then I saw my fellow RUNdetroiter's clapping and cheering me on as I finished!  What a way to finish a race!  

Photo credit Brian Wolski

I ended up finishing 1st female and 3rd overall.  My 1st racing win!  Justin won the 5K in 17:00 and Arni, a fellow RUNdetroiter, won the 10K in 40:26.  I also got to cheer in the other 10K runners and some of the 3.101 group (most of them were already done).  Everyone did an amazing job and I was so happy to be a part of it!

Afterwards everyone from RUNdetroit hung out on the steps of the Casino, enjoying some post-race snacks, listening to the band, and catching up with each other.  It was great to be with so many of my regular Saturday group run friends in a race setting.  We're hoping to find another race to meet up at soon!

Photo credit Brian Wolski



Dangerous / Big Data
Fever / The Black Keys  
Best Friend / Foster the People
Happy / Pharrell Williams
Move Like You Stole It / ZZ Ward
Gotta Get Away / The Black Keys
The Innocent / Mayer Hawthorne
A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got) / Fergie ft. Q-Tip & Goonrock
The Walker / Fitz & the Tantrums
Rattlesnake / St. Vincent
After the Disco / Broken Bells

Photo credit Brian Wolski
This was the first race that I got to wear my RUNdetroit Women's Racing Team jersey.  I felt so professional!  

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Jumbo Pina Colada Muffins

I love muffins.  Not mini muffins.  Not regular muffins.  JUMBO muffins.  When done wrong, muffins (especially jumbo muffins) are no more than unfrosted cupcakes made with unhealthy ingredients and loaded with fat and calories.  And it's not easy to find good vegan muffins anyway.  It's really best to make your own.  But sometimes I get lazy.

There's a good bakery - Bizzy Lizzy Flourless Bakery - that delivers vegan muffins to a nearby market.  They use high quality ingredients, too, so I feel okay about the treat.  I like that I can stop and grab just one muffin here or there.  Anyway, I fell in love with their Pina Colada flavor and have made it my mission to find a recipe. 

Alas, I couldn't find one.  I did, however, find a recipe for vegan coconut muffins that I thought could be adapted and turned into pina colada muffins.  After some experimenting I think the combination of coconut and pineapple is right; however, afterwards I wondered if maybe I should have used rum extract instead of vanilla.  Next time... 

So here's my recipe for healthy Pina Colada Muffins - JUMBO-sized!*

Jumbo Pina Colada Muffins
(print or share)


3/4 c. oat flour (grind oats in a blender or food processor to make flour)
3/4 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ginger
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

2 medium bananas
8 oz. can pineapple tidbits, undrained
1 tsp. rum extract (or vanilla)
1/4 c. light brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar

1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
Additional coconut for topping the muffins


1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly spray your muffin tin with nonstick spray.

2. In a large bowl, stir together the oat flour, whole wheat flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, baking powder, and salt.  Make a well in the center of the mixture and set aside.

3. Break up the bananas and toss them in a medium bowl.  Mash them well with a fork until no chunks remain.  

4. Add the pineapple, vanilla or rum extract, and sugars.  Stir well.

5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry.  Stir until just combined.  Set aside.

6. Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the coconut flakes and stir constantly until coconut begins to brown slightly.  Keep a close eye on it - you want it to brown, not burn!  Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before adding to the muffin batter.  Gently stir until just combined, being careful not to over mix.  

7. Fill the muffin cups 3/4 of the way with batter.  Sprinkle with additional coconut flakes.

8. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until just beginning to brown around the edges and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in pan on wire rack until you can safely remove them from the pan.  

Yield: 6 jumbo muffins

*For 24 mini muffins, bake for 10-15 minutes.  
**For 12 regular muffins, bake for 20-25 minutes.