Saturday, April 21, 2012


Hey followers!

So I recently had some problems with spammers coming to my site and with Blogger itself so I decided to move on over to Wordpress to continue blogging. After a day of learning how to use it (not as intuitive as blogger), I registered a domain name so I now have my own permanent website address. So cool!

Please come on over and follow me at !!!! I am so happy to have so all of you readers so I hope you come over to my new site and follow me there!!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Unique Race Alert: The Color Run

Today's Workout: 45 minute elliptical, stretching

 Even though I'm not running right now due to unforeseen circumstances, I'm trying to think positively and hope to be back ASAP. In the meantime, I'm always on the lookout for unique and super cool races to put on my bucket list for the future. I'm not talking just "themed" races like the NYRR Scotland Run (which was totally fun by the way!) but something incredibly original and out there. For example, the crazy Zombie 5K race and obstacle course. This one, of course, will never come close enough to NYC. Why? Because I want it to. Grr.

 Maybe if I ask nicely the race organizers will create an Zombie race near me. I may have to use the puppy dog eyes for this one.

So when I'm totally bored I usually peruse the web aimlessly and see where the wind blows me. Usually it blows me to pinterest, this blog, or to some random video of a baby laughing or something. What can I say, YouTube really gets me hooked!
Recently in my internet pursuits, I pulled myself away from YouTube and came across a race called the Color Run. For those who haven't heard of it, its a 5K race where you wear a white shirt and basically get sprayed by color as you run the course. According to the website, it works like this: 

Each kilometer of the event is associated with a designated color. 1k is yellow, 2k is blue, 3k is green, 4k is pink, and the 5k finish is a “Color Extravaganza.” As the runners/walkers hit the Kilometer COLOR RUN Zones, they will be blitzed by our volunteers, sponsors, and staff with COLOR.  The color is a special “elf made” recipe of magical color dust.  All products are 100% natural and safe.  You can eat the stuff if you’d like (we have tried it and don’t suggest it, it is surprisingly high in calories and leaves a chalky aftertaste).

To illustrate...

 And I'm guessing this is the "Color Extravaganza". Just a guess.

So I don't know about all of you, but I would LOVE to do this. Definitely a change from the normal Central Park loop, I'd say. This is probably more of a race just to have fun at and not think about a PR, which is probably good for everyone to have every once in a while. A change of pace! Literally. I figured I would mention this race because... drum roll... it is coming to New York City! Yes, a cool race like this is coming to me! While there isn't any information about exactly where it is going to be held, they did say it will be on August 25. So keep your calendars open New Yorkers.

And if you are currently on the fence... tell me this video doesn't make you want to run it.

In other news, be sure to register for the NYC Marathon lottery. Registration is only open until April 23rd so if you are undecided, get a move on it. I'm not running it this year but will be next year (ah!) after I complete my 9+1 for guaranteed entry. Good luck to all the applicants! PS. I totally love their slogan for this year. Who else likes it?


I know I promised to update you all about the quinoa and black bean burgers I made for dinner yesterday. Well, I'm doing that now and I have to say... they were SO GOOD! I was actually surprised how much I liked them. Karl even told me he would order them over a regular burger (since you don't know him, Karl hates health food and loves meat... so that's a huge compliment coming from him).

The only edit I would make to the recipe would be to add another egg white to the mix just to help it stay together a little better. The ends of the burger kept trying to fall apart. But overall, its a winner. I liked it so much I made the leftover mix into a patty for lunch today. When I like a food, I eat it so much that eventually I get seriously sick of it. That's a habit I need to break or else I'll have nothing left to eat in my life pretty soon! Plus, I want these burgers to stick around..

I had the burger with one of my flaxseed smoothies. So filling!

 Have you run or found out about any unique races?
Are you registering for the NYC Marathon lottery?
Anyone else doing the 9+1 program for the 2013 marathon? What races are you running?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My "Megan Day": Eating My Way Through Trader Joe's

Today's Workout: stretching, yoga video, 30 minute elliptical

Much to my dismay (and after a pathetically pointless internal struggle) I've finally admitted to myself that I will not be running the NYRR Run as One 4m race on April 29. I still can't run for about 2 weeks because of my dumb IT Band, so this race is seriously not happening. But I'm not giving up yet on my May races... I'll cross those theoretical bridges when I come to them.

Today I was off from grad school classes so I sort of made it into a "Megan day". Really its just a day where I try to relax as much as possible and do pretty much whatever I feel like doing. A much needed one, I might add. After a nice sisterly morning chat with my long-lost sister Jen on skype (she's away for medical school), I reluctantly changed out of my super comfortable PJs and decided I should do something with my life. So I put on normal people clothes, and in my world that means athletic clothing, and foam rolled the heck of of my leg. Felt good in the painful sort of way.

  My foam roller. I love to hate it. This photo is during one of our happier times.

I also did some stretching and one of the yoga videos I posted recently (the one from I was slightly better at the video this time around, which isn't really saying much at all. My balance is pretty bad in a lot of the poses, which helps explain why I'm always walking into things. But I do feel like this will help my legs and body get stronger if I keep up with it consistently. My sister Jen is really into yoga, so I'm banking on her to keep me motivated.

Since I was home today I decided to make myself some nice meals. Usually for lunch I have an almond butter sandwich or turkey sandwich at school. Gets seriously boring day after day but I'm so lazy with making lunches. So today I had an egg with whole wheat toast and greek yogurt with flaxseed and honey for breakfast. Both delicious and surprisingly filling. Kept me full all morning and until my late lunch!

 No Lean Cuisine for me today, NatalieDee! Although this is such an easier option than making my own food.

My lunch was basically an advertisement for Trader Joe's. Seriously... everything I ate (besides the walnuts) in my delicious salad was from TJs. Guess you know what my favorite food store is. Check it out..

BEFORE: TJs Arugula, tomato, fat free feta cheese, grilled chicken strips, and dressing. I should join their marketing department.

 AFTER: Those ingredients became this.. which eventually went into my belly. Yum.

Tonight I'm planning on making quinoa and black bean burgers with the quinoa I bought from Trader Joe's the other day. I'll let you know how those turn out. I'm not the cooking type of girl per se, so its always risky when I choose to do the cooking in the house. Hopefully I don't burn down the apartment or my eyebrows or anything like that. Seriously, that happens. Gwyneth Paltrow once burned off her eyebrows making a duck rotisserie. See... it IS possible. And I guess that's why a lot of celebrities have personal chefs.

The rest of the day I'll probably keep reading the Hunger Games, watch crappy but addicting daytime TV shows like Extreme Couponing (or anything on TLC for that matter), and continue to spend the day with hanging out with my buddy the foam roller. That is, until Karl comes home and I can hang out with a real life person and not a bright orange piece of foam and plastic.

Have you ever had any kitchen accidents?
What did you have for lunch today?
What's your favorite thing to buy from Trader Joe's?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Treating The Dreaded IT Band Syndrome

Today's Workout: stretching, lower body strengthening, yoga video, elliptical 30 minutes

The past few days have been absolutely gorgeous in NYC and its been killing me that I can't run. I've been watching all the happy frolicking runners with the smiles on their faces and secretly saying not-so-nice things under my breath. No, I am not cursing at the runners themselves but they are a reminder that I am sidelined. I am just jealous! Its as simple as that. I really, really want to rewind to a time when I was a happy runner... like 3 weeks ago...

NYC Half 2012. A happier time.

You may be asking yourself... "Megan, what happened to you?" For those of you who are new to my blog, unfortunately a week or so ago I was "officially" diagnosed by my doctor with IT Band Syndrome (even though I self-diagnosed myself at least 2 weeks ago). Since that time I've become slightly obsessive in learning everything I can about this injury and reading blogs, medical websites, and forums to see what the best treatment techniques are. I need to get healthy and back to running ASAP! You understand, right?!

I hate you IT Band. We are not friends.

Since this is a common injury, I know many people probably are wondering what they can do for it. I already described the causes and symptoms of IT Band Syndrome in a previous post, so I'm assuming this information is mainly for those of you who already know you have it.  I've decided to compile some of the information I know about this condition and tell everyone exactly what I've been doing for treatment.

 Treatment strategies

Disclosure: these are things I have found that helped me, but everyone is different. Also, I am not a doctor (the schooling takes too long) and these recommendations are only from personal experience. I recommend that you visit your doctor for additional information about your own injury.

Anyone with this injury will tell you that the first step in recovery is stretching, and lots of it! I found a lot of good stretches around on the internet, and this video below summarizes pretty much all of the major ones I use. I also do the pigeon pose (yoga pose), but be careful with that one at the beginning. Also, this stretch is great but its another one that I don't recommend doing while your injury is still really acute.

These stretches I do daily at least 2x each. You can do them while watching TV, but its crucial that you stretch for this condition. Its the only real way to recover and prevent it from coming back again. 

The other major thing I do is foam rolling. I use The Grid foam roller, but you can pick up a cheaper one at most stores like Target. Usually, I foam roll for 5 minutes then take a break and do 5 minutes more. I do that 2-3x a day. Usually while I'm watching an inspirational show or something.. like Millionaire Matchmaker (hm, not inspirational you say? I beg to differ). Honestly though, with foam rolling the more often you do this, the better. It WILL hurt like hell at the beginning but after a week or so the pain won't be as bad.
***This might be one of if not THE most important thing you can do for this injury.***

Ice baths and ice packs are also recommended since this is an inflammatory condition. The main goal here is to reduce the inflammation and ice is the way to do that. You can put ice packs on the side of your knee where the pain is a few times a day for no more than 15 minutes at a time. I usually take 15 minute ice baths instead since it covers the whole length of the IT Band. Once you are in there for a minute or so, your legs get numb and you'll barely notice the cold. It's not as bad as it sounds. Plus, feel like it's helped me so it might be worth a try.

No idea who this is but ice baths aren't this horrifying!
Also, there's no need to put ice up to your neck. Ever.

It is also possible that muscle weakness in the core and lower extremities played a role in your IT Band syndrome. The condition will only return if you don't focus on strengthening the weak muscles. Specifically, the most important areas to strengthen are your glutes and thigh and leg muscles. I have been following a really great routine that was posted by a runner. It provides 6 different exercises to use in order to properly rehab the IT Band (below). Do these exercises only when your acute pain has diminished or you may continue to irritate the band. I do these every other day 2x each.

Also, even though its a small muscle the gluteus medius is crucial to running, but is weak in most runners. It's job is to abduct the hip and stabilizes the pelvis. When it is weak, it can cause tension in the IT Band which can lead to inflammation (see the photo below).  I have been working on strengthening this muscle and have been using these awesome exercises. I typically do these every other day (to allow the muscles to repair themselves) along with the other strengthening exercises.

Imagine your IT Band stretching over your hip and knee joints in photo B. Not good.

Core strengthening is also recommended during rehab, since a weak core can have negative effects throughout your body and lead to injury. Since I definitely have a weak core (watch me do a plank... I'm pathetic), I have been doing yoga for this and also for general stretching. In a previous post I provided two yoga for runners videos that I do every few days as possible.

Once the acute phase is over and your pain diminishes, you may want to try some light crosstraining (e.g. elliptical, bike, swimming). I highly recommend swimming since it put the least amount of stress on your IT Band. But if you do the others, take it easy with minimal resistance. And ease back into these exercises slowly. DO NOT do any of these if they cause you any pain, you will only make your condition worse!

Other suggestions to help heal your IT Band include: taking anti-inflammatories (daily from a doc or Aleve), checking your shoes to see if they could be causing misalignment of your lower body, and eating right. A friend suggested to eat more protein during the healing phase so I am trying that (not sure if it works, but hey I'll try anything). I am also making sure to take my multivitamin, my random assortment of vitamins, and also Vitamin C. Vitamin C has been said to aid in healing, so why not give it a try.

Don't we all just love our vitamins?!

If you really NEED to run or are just returning to running after this injury, you can check out the IT Band strap. It helps distribute pressure to minimize friction of the IT Band over bone. This should not be used as a permanent solution by any means but is an option for some situations.

I really hope this information helps some of you. I will keep you posted on my recovery and how all these strategies are working for me. Heal well everyone!

Summary of treatment strategies:
stretching, foam rolling, ice baths/ice packs, lower/core body strengthening, yoga, light crosstraining (especially swimming), taking anti-inflammatories, IT Band strap, eating right, checking your shoes.. and just hoping your body cooperates!

Any other suggestions for IT Band Syndrome recovery?
What injuries are you dealing with at the moment?
What types of vitamins do you take?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Runner's Rule Book

Today's Workout: stretching, 25 minute elliptical, 12 minute bike

The foam roller was my best friend today. We have a really nice relationship with one another, even though it put me through hell at the beginning. Just like any normal relationship, right? Not.

 "The Grid" foam roller. That's not me on it, obviously. I look far less graceful that this girl.

I decided to take advantage of this beautiful Sunday by spending lots of time taking care of my IT Band Syndrome by stretching, strengthening, rolling, and working out. I even took a nice 15 minute ice bath tonight to decrease any inflammation after I spent some time at the gym (Thanks Claire@ Let's Go on a Living Spree for the suggestion!). I feel like the bath ices the entire IT Band, which a typical ice pack can't do. Plus you stay cold for a while.... I'm still defrosting from my ice bath.

So since I am still not running I decided to share some running wisdom from The Runner's Rule Book by Mark Remy. Its a great little book that has little tid-bits of information for runners. Plus its super funny and always gives me a good laugh. I would definitely recommend reading it and adding it to your running book collection, especially since its pretty cheap on Amazon (~$12).

Here's some funny and true excerpts from the book:

Rule 1.2. Expand your definition of fun
As a runner, your definition of fun--which previously might have included such activities as visiting water parks, watching screwball comedies on DVD, and scrapbooking--must be... well, let's call it broadened. For runners, fun might include:
-Waking up at 5:30am to run 10 miles
-Running in blistering heat
-Running in the rain
-Running in 400 meter circles
-Feeling as if your lungs are about to explode
-Paying a race director good money for the privilege of turning your own toes black and blue
-Any combination of the above

Rule 1.11 Signing up for a race is instant motivation
A race--weeks or months away--is the proverbial carrot, dangled out there for you to pursue. Even if you don't plan to really race your race (in the "run till you feel like puking" sense), registering for an event that is 6 or 10 or 26 weeks down the road remains the single most foolproof way to motivate yourself to get out there and run day after day.

Rule 1.26 Running plans must go on the fridge
...Nothing can replace the printed-out training plan stuck to the refrigerator... So put the plan on the fridge. Remove a child's artwork to make room, if need be. We won't judge.

Rule 2.32 Do whatever it takes to finish ahead of a costumed runner
Because being outkicked by Elmo is too much to bear.

Rule 3.5 Save the race shirt for post race
Wearing the official race shirt during the race is like wearing a U2 t shirt to a U2 concert. Not cool. Don't do it.

The Runner's Rule of Thumb (excerpts)
1. If you see a porta potty with no line, use it. Even if you don't need to.
3. If you have to ask yourself, Are these shorts too short? The answer is yes.
17. Whenever possible, begin and out-and-back run into the wind.
31. A long-sleeve shirt and shorts will always look better than a short-sleeved shirt with tights.
37. No one sleeps well the night before the race; the night before the night before your race is the important one.
51. If you even care a little bit about being called a jogger versus a runner... you're a runner.

Those are just a few examples of what's in the book. I definitely recommend getting this one, its a fun and light read! Plus, if you are a new runner there's some good running tips in there. Anyway, spring break is over for me and its back to the grind tomorrow!

Also, good luck to all the Boston Marathon runners this marathon weekend! Supposed to be a hot one, but just keep an eye out for this...

Have you read any good running books lately?
Got any good tips for fellow runners?
What were your workouts this weekend? 
Anyone running or watching Boston?!