Muscle Massage and Everest on Grand

This is my new best friend, Mr. Shark:

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Mr. Shark was given to me by my physical therapist. It works like this:
1) Butter up your IT band, hamstring, knee, (problem area of your choice) with baby oil
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You could also use cocoa butter or any other sort of lubricant that won’t absorb.

2) Rub Mr. Shark down the length of the muscle you are focusing on, applying enough pressure that you can feel where the sore areas are.

3) When you feel one of the said sore areas, focus on it by applying moving pressure multiple times.

4) Marvel at how much better that sore spot feels the next day.

Seriously, Mr. Shark is a wonder tool. I ran 9 miles on Tuesday as part of my last-ditch effort to still try to run a half-marathon I’m registered for at the end of April. My hamstring was really bothering me after the run and throughout the day. I used Mr. Shark that night, and immediately afterwards my hammie felt better. It was incredible!

In other news….
I finally tried a restaurant in St. Paul that I’ve been meaning to get to for literally months. I went to Everest on Grand, a Tibetan, Nepali, and Indian restaurant. Several months ago, I had a friend tell me that they had a good lunch buffet, and I’d been interested to try it for myself since then.

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The restaurant was a lot smaller than I was imagining. There was one room with about 12 tables or so, and the buffet was served on two carts:

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One of the carts had hot food and the other was a salad bar. Here’s a close up of the hot food:

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There were a few vegetarian dishes, one type of bread, basmati rise, one goat dish, and one chicken dish. On my plate, I had a sampling of the vegetable dishes, some rice, and some chicken. Afterwards I had a few bites of kheer:

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The food was fairly spicy and my stomach was not the most appreciative after. I’m glad I finally can cross this restaurant off of my ‘go to’ list, but it sort of reminded me about my love-hate relationship with Indian food. I don’t think I actually like it that much. Weirdly, every several months I get an Indian food craving and really want it, but then when I eat it, I remember why I don’t like it very much.

Next time I want to go to Indian, someone remind me that I don’t really like it, okay? Thanks. ūüôā

Speaking of love-hate foods…I have that same relationship with cinnamon rolls. Do you have any love-hate foods?

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Foiled Again!

Remember how I was so excited last weekend to get new purple running shoes? Unfortunately, on my next visit with the physical therapist, she evaluated me running in the shoes and determined that they – in fact – did NOT give me enough support. Her instructions: “Return the shoes and ask for something with more medial arch support.” Oy. I have the shoes in my car but haven’t gotten out to return them yet.

The PT also scolded me for my 4.4 miler on Tuesday and said I should only be running a maximum of 3 miles at a time until my knee/IT band/weak butt issues are fixed. Whoops….

So, it was back to the treadmill this morning for a quick 3 mile run. Since 1) I was on a treadmill and 2) if I was only doing 3 miles, then I wanted it to be good, I decided to do a fast paced interval workout. Inspired by Carrots ‘N’ Cake’s 5k Challenge, I mixed things up a little and did the following:

Distance (miles)              Treadmill Pace
0-1.0                                         6.0-6.6
1.0-1.25                                    7.6
1.25-1.40                                 4.0
1.40-1.65                                 7.8
1.65-1.80                                 4.1
1.80-2.05                                 8.0
2.05-2.20                                4.2
2.20-2.45                                8.0
2.45-2.60                                4.2
2.60-2.80                                8.2
2.80-3.0                                   6.0

Big, bang, done. It was super sweaty but super satisfying, and the best part….ZERO discomfort in my knee/IT band/butt.

Afterwards, I was in a huge rush to get to work so I had to bring my breakfast with me in a tupperware. It was completely identical to yesterday’s breakfast.

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TC Running

I mentioned in my previous running post that I have been struggling with a little bit of an injury. Starting about five months ago, my knee would occasionally hurt after a run. The pain was always fairly mild and only lasted a couple hours before disappearing. About a month ago, the pain started staying around for longer and spreading into my IT band and hamstring. After an 8-miler left me in discomfort for a full 24 hours, I decided to go see a doctor. It is my personal belief that athletic injuries should be looked at by sports medicine doctors and not general practitioners – in my experience the sports medicine folks are the only ones who really get that “just take some time off” is not an acceptable solution to my problems. I want to get better WITHOUT taking time off! I’m tough to please, huh?

Anyway, my above prejudices led me to TRIA Orthopedic Center in Edina. I had been to TRIA last February for an ankle injury that they were extremely helpful with. This time, I was informed by the doctor that all my issues were stemming from weak muscles and I should attend a few physical therapy sessions to start doing regular exercises to strengthen my glutes. Booty camp it is!

I had my first physical therapy session this week at Institute for Athletic Medicine. I saw a trainer named Melissa, who seemed incredibly knowledgeable and carefully explained a lot about what might be happening inside my leg and how we could fix it. Her number one recommendation was to get new shoes by going to a running store with staff who could really evaluate my feet, stride, and what type of shoe would be best for me. Melissa’s first suggestion of where to go was TC Running in Eden Prairie. Not one to pass up an order to buy new shoes, I went as soon as I could this weekend.

You know any store with their own travel bus is the real deal:

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The exterior of the shop is definitely unassuming…

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…but the inside is a wonderland!!!

this is only a small sampling!

this is only a small sampling

In addition to several large walls full of shoes, TC Running also carries an extensive supply of running clothes, accessories, and fuel. When I walked in, I was immediately greeted by a staff member who offered to help me find what I was looking for. He patiently listened to my running woes, examined my current running shoes, and brought out several types of sneakers for me to try on. For each sneaker, he evaluated how my foot looked standing and walking and then brought out new options that might work better for my foot.

During the process, I learned that some of my problems may have been caused by wearing over-supportive shoes. I have extremely flat feet and had previously been told that I needed a highly supportive shoe to compensate. I also, however, wear customized orthotics in my shoes. The problem is that supportive-shoe models are meant to provide the same correction as orthotics, so by wearing both I was – in fact – overcorrecting the problem, resulting in my feet rolling to the outside. There’s no way to know if this was directly related to my injuries now, but it certainly seems possible!

After trying about seven pairs of shoes, we finally settled on the Nike Pegasus. Extra bonus: they are purple!

look at those beauties

look at those beauties

*modified, 1/22/13:¬†Unfortunately, turned out these sneakers weren’t so hot. I brought them to my next PT appointment to get the okay from the trainer. Turns out they really did not offer enough support, and I was told to return them and ask for a shoe with a stronger medial arch. Bummer…I really liked the purple.