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My New Favorite Peanut Butter

I have a problem and unfortunately it comes in the form of peanut butter. 190 calories, 16 grams of fat, 8 grams of protein, and that’s just for one serving. But who can really stop at just one serving of peanut butter? I certainly can’t.

A few weeks ago my dear friend Emily brought us a sample of PB2, a peanut powder. To turn it into actual peanut butter, just add 2 tablespoons of powder and one tablespoon of water and voilà, you have peanut butter. The best part? It’s only 45 calories, 1 grams of fat, and 4 grams of protein. Now no, it doesn’t taste exactly like delicious fresh roasted peanut butter, but it’s quite similar. And there is even one with chocolate. Ingredients include peanuts, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt. Deliciousness.

Delicious peanut butter and chocolate

Delicious peanut butter and chocolate

Bell Plantation:

Peanut butter has always been a staple for the health conscious and physically active. But even peanut butter can be improved. PB2 reduces fat through a chemical-free process. Like all Bell Plantation products, PB2 and Chocolate PB2 are all natural, preservative free, and contain no artificial sweeteners. And that makes them a sweet alternative for active lifestyles, dieters, and moms who want healthy snacks for their kids.

You really can mix this stuff with any liquid you want. You can add it to smoothies, oatmeal, or even to your baking. It’s yummy, 85% less fat calories than regular peanut butter, and convenient. Thanks Emily for the sample! I now have a new problem, but at least it’s less fattening.

It comes in a powdered form

It comes in a powdered form

Happy Trails and happy Running,

Tracie

Recovery Update: I am actually feeling a lot better today. Hip is still sore but I feel like my back has opened up a lot and I’m doing a better job of engaging my lower abs when I walk. I’m crossing my fingers I can start some active recovery runs next week.

Boredom and Running

When I tell people I run, I often times get ask don’t you ever get bored just running? Absolutely not. In fact, it is one of the most stimulating experiences in my day, and I always come back feeling a little more energized and a little more connected.

To run 3, 6, 10 or even 20 miles out on the roads is to spend an extended period of time seeing new places, seeing new faces, and experiencing new emotions. How could that ever be boring? It doesn’t matter how many times I run the same route, I always see a new person and many times, I see a new building or a new landmark that I’ve never noticed before. I connect with myself and I connect with the world around me.

Boring? The complete opposite.

When you let it, running can show you a world you never knew existed. It doesn’t matter if you’re jamming out to your music or running the same route over and over again, there is always something new to experience. You just have to let go and let it happen.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

Recovery Update: I have to be honest, I’m not really noticing the great improvements on a day to day basis that I noticed last week. I haven’t been icing in the morning but that will change tomorrow. Today, I went to the gym and did some intense cardio. I’m such a cardio fiend, and I can’t stand not sweating (a lot) for a day. Maybe that’s keeping my hip from getting better?

Recording Miles and Running Shoes

The benefit of using my Garmin for practically every run is all of my runs are uploaded to Garmin Connect. Therefore, I am able to go back and analyze when things start to go wrong. I always include details about how I’m feeling and it’s very easy to see the progression of I feel great, my running is going amazing, to hip is a little stiff, hip hurts, OMG I can’t run. I can go so far as to pick out the exact date my running took a turn for the worse.

When I started training this season, I was running in my older Newton Gravity shoes. They had quite a few miles already on them and the lug in the front was pretty worn down. January 8, 2013 came and I got my new pair of running shoes in the mail. From there on out, the details of my runs include the words sluggish, a little off, hip hurts, leg hurts, etc. I wonder what went wrong? Read more

My Running Form

I just spent the last two hours learning what is tight and weak in my body and what the heck is exactly going on with my body when I run. It was actually very informative and very helpful. Those two hours were way better spent than the two hours I spent at the doctor last week.

Today I went to see John Stiner from Stiner Massage. I found him through an article I read in Running Times and it just so happens that he’s worked on a few of the elites: Kara Goucher and Galen Rupp to name a couple. To be clear, although John is a massage therpaist, the two hours were anything but your typical day at the spa. In fact, those two hours were intense, painful, and a far cry from relaxing. Probably the exact thing any injured runner is looking for.

We spent the first 90 minutes doing a lot of twisting, pulling, and stretching. However, the last 30 minutes I found to be the most helpful. After an hour and a half of being stretched into oblivion, I was told to walk, jog a little and stand still. Well that was the key to my runner’s injury hell hole that I often times find myself in.

Problem one: I have lower cross syndrome. In other words, I stick my butt out. My pelvis should be in a straight line with my shoulders and upper body. It’s not. I have an anterior pelvic tilt. Check out this video for a little more info.

Problem two: My hips go one way and my back goes another. I’ve always been able to feel this but it’s been hard to pinpoint why I do this.

Problem three: My glutes are always engaged. Instead of using my lower ab muscles to pull my pelvis in, I use my glutes to power everything. The other massage therapist I’ve been to see several times even told me he wrote in his notes holy s***, those are the tightest glute muscles I’ve ever seen. I think it stems from the fact I use to be a dancer and we were always told to squeeze our glutes like we had a penny we didn’t want to drop. I haven’t dropped that penny yet. 😉

We did a few exercises and I immediately was able to tell how I used my glutes instead of my lower abs. For example, when I did the bridge exercise, I was using my glutes, not my lower abs. As soon as I started focusing on engaging my lower abs, it was hard to go back to using my glutes. Muscle memory is awesome.

So how do I fix my problems? First, I have to focus on shortening the distance between my pelvis and my rib cage. I have to practice pulling my pelvis in. Second, I have to open up my shoulders. I let my shoulders roll in and that is no good for running. Apparently I also have inflexible ankles due to the fact I run more on the balls of my foot. Therefore, I have to practice pulling my toes towards my shins. Then of course there are the stretches I need to do to open up my lower back and hip flexor.

Driving home tonight was actually quite entertaining. I barely remember the drive because I was too busy focusing on pulling my pelvis in, stretching my toes to my shins (cruise control helped with this), and doing this neck exercise to help with my spine. I probably looked really silly to anybody driving beside me. Oh well, anything to help an injured runner. 🙂

It really helps to have someone tell me what I’m doing when I run and it’s so incredibly amazing how every part in the body affects another. Now I’m off to stretch my ankles and work on my pelvis…. I miss running so much. 😦

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

Recovery Update: Hip/Leg still feel off. I wasn’t able to go to the gym because of work and my massage appointment but I will definitely be there tomorrow. I feel so gluttonous for eating all this food and not working out.

Run to You

Happy Sunday! I am so glad this is the last week of the month. February has been a horrible, no good, very bad month for me. But if we don’t have bad months, then we can’t have good ones? Even though I’m not running right now, I’m starting to see my running shoes at the end of this very dark tunnel and I found this really cute video that brought me happy running thoughts. I thought I’d share…

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

Recovery Update: I no longer have a fever but breathing and sneezing are another story. I did Bikram hot yoga today and it felt great to sweat like that. I really do miss doing Bikram. I absolutely loved it when I did it every week. Tomorrow, I go see about my psoas. 🙂

The Psoas

Today, using my expert medical training, I determined what has been plaguing me and causing my injuries. In my expert opinion, it’s a very tight psoas muscle (pronounced so-aZ).

After my workout at the gym, I came home and googled all the words I could think of describing my pain. That brought me to this article, a description of the psoas and muscle pain. I felt like every section in the article described exactly what I am feeling. Remind me why I spent two hours at the doctor on Wednesday? Read more

Run for Your Life

I am sitting here watching Run for Your Life, a documentary about how Fred Lebow started the New York City Marathon. (Yes, this is my Friday night entertainment.) I’m about halfway through but I absolutely  have to stop and type this… Runners back in the late 60s and early 70s were bad ass. Period. They exhibited the pure essence of running, which I often times feel modern day runners (myself included) miss due to gadgets, training plans, and all of those other “running things.” They ran just to run. It’s actually quite beautiful to watch.

The second thing I have to say is I think I just found my new running hero – Nina Kuscsik. She was the first woman to run in the New York City Marathon, the first female winner of the Boston Marathon and a two time winner of the New York City Marathon. Besides being an awesome runner, she also didn’t start running competitively until she was 30. I’m still 29. She gives me hope.

There is a clip in the documentary where a reporter asks Kuscsik where she finds time to run. After all, she did have three children to care for. Her response was perfect. She said while other women may get a babysitter to go to the parlor or out to lunch, she gets a babysitter to go out for her long run. Obviously that served her well because 80 marathons later, she has been inducted into the Runner’s Hall of Fame. You can read more about that here.

I’m off to finish the movie now. It’s soothing my injured runner’s soul. 🙂

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

Recovery Update: My hip continues to get better. I went to the gym again today and focused on some lower back exercises, in addition to cardio of course. It’s interesting to me how I am so much more aware of the muscles on my right side than I am on my left side. I’m working towards finding that balance between the two.

Yoga in Schools

Today I found something that makes me even madder than the people who stand in my way on the sidewalk when I’m running towards them. In fact, I’d say this makes me exponentially madder. Parents are suing a school system in California because the school system is offering yoga classes. Yes, you read that correctly. A school system is being sued because they offer yoga. The reason being…. it is a violation of church and state. I think my face just turned a new shade of red. Read more

A Breakthrough

Yesterday my very wise G+ friend told me that perhaps one day I’ll look back at this race as my “breakthrough moment.” According to Google, the definition of breakthrough is “a significant and dramatic overcoming of a perceived obstacle, allowing the completion of a process.” In my heart and in my mind,  I think my very wise G+ friend is right.

My running is cyclical. Run a lot. Get injured. Bike a lot. Forgive me when I say I am fed up with this sh*t. Why can’t I just be consistent? I learned two very important things about myself this past training season. One, I learned how much I really do love running. It’s not something I do just so I can eat my turkey burger. I really do love it and I am completely addicted. The second thing I learned about myself is I am fast and I can be much faster. I know the runner I am and I know the runner I can be. I believe my goals are well within reach and one day I will surpass them.

As I’m dealing with this injury, I’m no longer mad and I’m no longer sad. Now I’m just determined. I realize that I may not be running for a month, and I’m okay with that. I’m okay with it because I want this time to really address my problems. I am reevaluating what I do, how I excel, and what my body needs that I’m not giving it. Maybe 50 miles a week is too much for me and I need to substitute a workout with cross training and strength training. Maybe my easy runs need to be about a minute slower. Or perhaps I need to do running drills every other day. I don’t know but I look at this as a complete breakdown and a chance to build myself back up. I’m not worried about losing fitness. I’m not worried about my next race. Right now, I really don’t care about those things. I care about realizing my full potential and giving my body what it needs in order to excel. I care about finding myself in this running world. I care about completing the process.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

Recovery Update: I’m walking much better today. I went to the doctor and it went just as I expected. It could be this or it could be that. Come to PT twice a week and let’s see how it goes. I think I now remember why I never go to doctors.

And check out one of my race day photos:

I never take good racing pictures

I never take good racing pictures

Gary Atlas

Runners are crazy. There is no doubt about that. We run really long distances at really early hours in the day, give ourselves blisters, chafe our thighs, experience something known as the “wall” and continue to run, and even eat gooey gel things so we can keep pounding the pavement. I’m happy to be part this special group of people. It’s nice being in such good company. Well today I learned just how crazy runners can be. I learned about Gary Atlas… Read more