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Archive for May, 2018

While I was reading an article about nutrition and running and beets, the article mentioned a beet smoothie that was included in Shalane Flanagan’s cookbook Run Fast. East Slow. “Hmm… I have that cookbook!”, I said to myself. Joel’s mom gave it to us a while ago and I kind of forgot about it. I am not sure why that was. As I was browsing through it, I could not believe how many delicious recipes it included. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by a new cookbook even though I really wanted to have it… I feel like I have to leave it and come back to re-appreciate everything that is included.

I love beets. We ate a lot of them growing up, as any other Eastern European has. One of my favorites is borscht, of course. My mom makes a superb borscht.

I also love them roasted… especially mingled between sweet potatoes and carrots. I have roasted pans and pans of the combination over the years, especially since having Julia. She loves the combination too. I am always excited when I find different beet varieties… yellow, candy striped, white. They are so pretty… they look like candy!

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Roasting whole beets is also super easy! You simply chop each end to create a flat surface and then place them on a sheet of foil, drizzle them with a bit of oil (I have used both olive oil and sunflower oil), and then close the foil to form a pocket. You can roast them in a 400 degree oven for anywhere between 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the beets. Once the beets are roasted and cooled, you can peel them using your hand… the skin comes off super easily.

Beets are also great raw. You simply slice them super thin (using a mandolin) and then drizzle them with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle them with some salt and pepper.

Another way to use beets is to include them in a cake along with some cacao… that’s right… beet chocolate cake. It is super delicious! Every time I make it, it gets eaten up. I even made it for Julia’s birthday two years ago and everyone loved it… even all the 4 year-olds!

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Including beets in a smoothie is such a great idea too! Shalane Flanagan’s smoothie includes roasted beets, blueberries, banana, almond butter, coconut water, and almond milk. Yum!!

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Lastly, I discovered these amazing crackers at Trader Joe’s. They also have a sweet potato version that is equally as good.

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Beets are super good for you! They are rich in folate, manganese, and other nutrients. They also seem to help improve sport performance, per the article that I mentioned earlier. What’s not to love! If you are not a big fan, try roasting them… it will definitely change your mind!

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On Sunday, all three of us ran in the Medved Madness Trail Race… Joel and I, along with our friend Marc, ran it as a relay team (My So Called Legs… of course!) and Julia ran the kid race.

As the race was nearing, I kept watching the forecast. The weather for this race has not been that good to us over the past two years, especially last year. Rain and snow greeted me during my leg. I was also training for a half marathon, so I ended up running a little over 9 miles in that miserable weather (read all about it). I was really hoping for something nicer this year. The weather Gods finally took some pity on us and the weather was fantastic!!

Marc started the race for us. He really wanted to run the first leg, since he has not done that leg before and he also wanted to experience a mass start. He liked the rush of being in the pack.

I ran next. I could not remember the exact route for this leg, but I really enjoyed it. I love running in pine forests and I ended up spending a bunch of time in it. The route also went through a grassy field, but it was not too bad. Also, my leg was not very muddy at all, which I was happy about! Ha! I was a little worried about my knee though… I rode my bike on the Wednesday prior to the race and it was kind of bothering me… I had a burning sensation when pedaling hard or while I was pedaling standing up. But it ended up being ok for the race. I tried not to go too hard. I ended up with a 10:48 avg pace for the 4.25 mile route, so I was happy with it!

Joel’s run was amazing!! The kid race was at 10:45 of that morning, so we were unsure if Joel would finish before that. My friend Jess and I joked that we should tell Dan, who is her boyfriend and the organizer of the kid race, to stall the start until Joel finished. The time was getting closer, but all of a sudden I noticed Joel running towards the finish line with 10 minutes to spare! He ran the leg, which was the longest at 5.46 miles, at a 9:07 avg pace. Incredible!!!

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Julia was super excited to run the kid race. She was even more excited that she had an official race bib! The kid race was well attended too… last I heard was that 34 kids signed up. That’s amazing!!

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As soon as Dan yelled “Go!”, they were off. Julia went full force for a while. I decided to run along so I can capture some photos. Not far after the start, I could see that she was slowing down and that she kept rubbing her left side. She made the rookie mistake and went off too hard… she got a cramp. I kept encouraging her to keep going, but then she got upset. I grabbed her hand and reassured her that it was ok and that we can just walk for a bit. And then the mud section came. It was chaos… the kids did not really want to go through all that mud… neither did I, again! We made it through the section and I can tell that she was feeling better. We passed this little girl who was crying uncontrollably since she was full of mud and lost her shoe in the mud deepness. I felt super bad. I saw Joel cheering Julia on so I told him to keep cheering for her and that I was going to help the little girl.

I went to her and tried to calm her down. I grabbed her hand and we walked together the rest of the way. I told her that many of us ran through that mud too and some even lost their shoes. I am not sure that it made her feel any better since she could not stop crying. As we got closer to the finish, her dad met us and he thanked me for helping her.

I ended up not seeing Julia finish her race, but I felt better that the little girl was not alone in distress. After our amazing feast of chicken BBQ, pasta, coleslaw, salad, rolls, and beer (yes, we even got some free beer from The Lost Borough!!), I did capture a photo of Julia at the finish line.

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Both Joel and I told her that she did such a great job. She disagreed saying that she got a cramp. Joel explained to her the mistake that all runners make where they start off too hard and then they cramp or bonk. I think that she got it. We further told her that the most important part was that she had a good time and that she finished. Because is that not the reason why we run… to have some fun in the woods?!?

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Enjoying her prize… an ice cream sandwich!

Thank you Medved for once again putting on a great race and providing us with a delicious feast!!

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My left knee decided to join the “I am the knee of a runner and I will hurt” group. It did not even bother to ask me if I wanted to join. Who does that?!? Not very happy at all!! And my hip just decided to start hurting for no reason, I guess.

I have always been pretty good at rolling before and after a run, especially after a run. I have not been very good at stretching though.

The first sign of it was last summer. Joel and I decided to run on the Auburn Trail, which I have done numerous times without any issues. Not even a mile in, my left knee started to hurt. I tried to run a bit more, but it was getting worse and worse. I had trouble even walking back to the car. But then a few days later, I ran on the trail and it was fine. I was unsure what to make of it. I thought that perhaps my road shoes were no longer fitting.

At the end of August, I ran the Midsummer Night’s Madness race as a relay with Joel and our friend Kristin. My leg was pretty much in a bunch of fields, so it was somewhat flat grassy terrain. After about 4 miles in, my knee started to hurt again. I was able to finish my leg, which was about 5 miles, but I had to walk/run pretty much the rest of it. It was very upsetting… I was doing so well too! After the race, Kristin helped me roll my muscles and any pressure on the left thigh was super painful. But then I continued running the rest of the fall with no issues.

We decided to downhill ski this past winter. We thought that it would be a good activity as a family. After about 7 or 8 visits, both my knee and my right hip started to bother me. Running was impossible too… I could only last 1 or 2 miles, if that. After another 2 ski visits, I decided to stop skiing. By this point, I was in constant pain… knee and hip. I was trying to think what I have done differently compared to previous years. I have never experienced so much pain before. Skiing was the only new thing, so it must have been the culprit. Both my knee and hip did get a bit better, but the pain was still there. I was so sad! I was not ready to give up running. It is my go to activity in the winter.

I was chatting with my friend Anna and she suggested that I should go to a chiropractor. I was super surprised that she recommended a chiropractor… I did not even think to do that. Usually chiropractors are for back and neck issues, no? She further mentioned that a bunch of runners go to this one particular chiropractor, Dr Burton, at Focused Health Chiropractic. I was also chatting with Molly, my yoga instructor, and she had only good things to say about that same chiropractor, so I decided to give him a try.

After a quick inspection, he mentioned that I had great flexibility and that I was experiencing IT band syndrome in my left knee. He also mentioned that I had weak hips so I was overcompensating in my legs/stabilizers. And sure enough, skiing was the culprit since my bad form caused pressure on my hips and legs.

“Easy stuff.” he said. I was so relieved! He suggested Active Release Therapy. I have read a bit about it and Molly also mentioned it, so I was set. After about 5 sessions and my home care of rolling, stretching, and icing, I finally started to see some results. I was so happy when I was able to run 4.33 miles without any pain! I did have a setback once, and that is when Dr Burton mentioned that I might have some cartilage issues in my knee. He also mentioned that I will have some bad days from time to time. I guess that I will just have to deal with that.

I am glad that my running days are not done quite yet. I do enjoy trail running a bunch. Now that the warm weather is here, I can start cycling as well, which the cross training will hopefully balance my knees and hips more.

So if you are having IT band issues, see a chiropractor and ask for the Active Release Therapy.

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