Saturday, May 25, 2013

Kinesio Tape and All That Hype

I haven't gone into a lot of detail about some of my physical struggles for two reasons:

1.)  Someone out there has it harder than I do and probably kicks ass, so what do I have to complain about? and
2.)  I don't want to come off as a whiny cry-baby.

We all have our struggles whether they are physical limitations, injuries, mental walls, negative thoughts or low motivation.  This post is about one step for me to overcome some of my physical limitations.

Let it be plainly stated now that I am not a doctor, have no medical training and am just some random person on the internet with an interest in running and prone to knee injuries.  My thoughts are only opinions and if you have any questions about any pain, injury, applying sports tape (of any name brand) or any other health issues, please seek the advice of a professional.  I'll let you decide if "professional" means a doctor visit, e-mailing for a physical therapist referral or visiting a big-box store on a day that they have personal trainers applying said sports tape.

So with that stated, let's begin my Kinesio Tape experiences and review of two brands.

Kinesio Tex Gold tape applied by my physical therapist on my left knee

This is Kinesio Tex Gold tape my physical therapist applied around my bum knee.  After wiping my leg down with alcohol (to remove skin oil, lotions or any other things that can effect the tape's ability to properly adhere), she took two strips and cut a slit down the middle of them, creating a "v" shape and placing on strip above and one below the patella.

I didn't notice a pain-free improvement right away, but by the time the day was drawing to an end, I was feeling much better about the ache and swelling that already existed from overdoing it that weekend (with a fundraiser walk in the morning and then a race that evening).

I was a believer in this whole "taping-thing" by that night.  I felt like my knee was stronger and less painful.  Placebo effect?  Mind over matter?  There certainly is some sticky issue over the science behind the tape.
Articles on the world wide web state that studies fail to find evidence that it works, yet so many people claim that it does help.

By morning however, my experience with Kinesio Tex Gold was over.  It had peeled off while I was sleeping!  I didn't shower with it,  I didn't run in it, I just did the normal routine-type stuff.

    It didn't even last 24 hours. 

A week passed and I ran another 5k race and wondered off to a health fair expo.  There, I found a booth doing free KT taping...

I confess that this roadrunner was NOT at my health expo.

Both my physical therapist and a friend's husband who is a physical therapist felt that the stuff available at most sporting good stores was not as good as some of the options available to licensed therapists.  So, with that in mind, I still decided to wait in line (over an hour) for this free taping.

KT Tape applied by a personal trainer on my right heel

KT Tape applied on my left (bum) knee by a personal trainer

 My physical therapist wanted me to keep the Kinesio Tex Gold on for three days-- that didn't happen.  I have awhile before my next appointment with her...  So I felt a little lucky when I found someone doing free taping at the health expo.  He used KT tape, and said that the tape is designed for an active life.  It can be sweat in, worn in the shower, and while swimming.

As you can see by my puckered up skin on my knee cap, he got me nice and tight while the knee had a slight bend to it.

(I asked him to get my ankle too since I had hit a cobblestone on a trail while training for the 5k I had that day.  I hit that stone and rolled my ankle weeks ago, but still had some slight pain in it.  The pain was mostly noticeable at night when trying to go to sleep, but an ache was always present.  After taping it, I immediately felt relief.)

I ran with this tape, showered several times, slept, ate, drank, played...  it stayed on.

After 4 days of it on, the only real wear of it was the "KT" starting to peel off the tape itself.

4 days after application
With no signs of the tape coming off, and my original therapy plan being three days with it on, I decided to peel it off.   I was told that it can stay on for 7-9 days.  Wow.  I suppose the Kinesio Tex Gold could have the same durability... but for some reason, the first go around had it peeling off right away.

Not being a scientist or reading up on all the reasons why this tape might be "junk science", I might not have a well-rounded opinion on this stuff...  but after my chronic pain being alleviated, I am a believer.  Placebo?  Maybe.  Would I recommend this as the only part of recovery or injury prevention?  Absolutely NOT.

Proper stretching, strength training and when needed, physical therapy are all vital to healing, recovery and injury prevention.   However, I feel that the pain in my heel is gone and the knee pain greatly subsided.  While running with the tape, I noticed that my knee did not flare up or swell.  So with the advice and direction of a medical professional, I will be using KT tape.

Is one better than the other?  Probably.  With both being in the same price range, I'll probably start using the one that is most accessible and go from there.  (Which happens to be KT tape available at my local running stop and every big-box store on the corner.  Sorry Kinesio Gold.)

Tell me below what you think of "sports tape", kinesio tape or athletic tape.  Do you use it?  Is it just hype?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

We Have A Winner!

Amanda P.  won the Nathan Sports giveaway and will be watching her mail now for the hydration "Triangle".  

Thanks everyone for entering and stay tuned for more product reviews, giveaways and just posts about my crazy life and running!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Race Review and Seeing Stars

May 18th, 2013

Hillsboro Park and Recreation is offering an "All Comers Family 5k" series with a 5k in a local park in May, June, August, September and the last one in October.

"Lace up your shoes and gather the family for the All Comers Family 5k Running Series...  Whether this is your first 5k or your fiftieth... run, skip or walk your way through to the finish."

This is a perfect series to introduce the family to a race in a non threatening, easy pace race that is also inexpensive.  $5 registration fee for 18 years and up and 17 years and under are free.

Living in Oregon, you can't be afraid to run in a little rain now and then...  The park was absolutely beautiful!

On my way through the park to the registration table (with a screaming knee injury) it occurred to me that though I had been to this park many times, I was really just seeing it.  I wanted to "feel my race, be my race" and not focus so hard on a PR that I ended up destroying any recovery my knee had made.  I needed to run and appreciate my surroundings a little more instead of being so intense on my breathing, pace, and gait.  All of those things are important, but I needed to back off a little and just enjoy this Saturday morning.

This was the first time that my new chapter of Moms RUN This Town was getting together for a race.  Though our picture is missing a few other shoes, it was very rewarding to see these amazing, beautiful women come together and support each other.

Throughout the race, if you weren't being passed by and given a high-five by a familiar face, there were encouraging notes on the ground.  Or attempts to help participants stay on the right path.  I wonder what Robert Frost would have to say about this?

Over all, this small community race was exactly what I needed.  I finished pretty poorly in terms of time and previous races, but my knee thanked me for walking those hills and I gained a lot more in the park that day.  I heard the birds twittering, the rain hitting the tree tops over head and bonded with my new running buddies.  

And with this cathartic quote about running and enjoying it, I'd like to mention that I spent the afternoon after my race at a Health and Fitness expo where Kara Goucher was speaking.  What a great close to a racing day!  Kara spoke a bit about her balance between who she is and how people see her.  Balancing her competitions and training and her family.  Something that I have been struggling with a bit lately...  It's hard to run at times, we all get that... but it's also hard to get that time in to run, meet the demands and responsibilities required of a mom, wife, friend, blogger, patient in physical therapy, volunteer chapter leader for a running club... You get the idea.

As I walked away from Kara, feeling inspired that she can handle these demands and still train, but not really getting yet how I was going to manage it,  I ran into Sarah Bowen Shea.  Yeah.  One of the authors of the book about balancing the role of "mom" and "wife" with running your heart out.  If that isn't serendipity, then I don't know what is!  I learned a lot yesterday... I still have a lot to learn.  I'll keep you posted on my journey.  :)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Race Review: Run For Boston (May 11, 2013)

May 11, 2013

We had a busy day and dashed off to a state park about 35 miles from our morning stroll.  We had a picnic dinner and relaxed among people playing frisbee and enjoying the great weather.  Later that evening we participated in a Run For Boston.  This was an event for "runners helping runners" and donations were collected for the Boston One Fund.  The park was absolutely beautiful and provided lots of shade in the soaring 80+ degree weather we had been experiencing.  I suppose summer really does exist!

Before the 5k started, a small loop was created for the kids to run a race of their own.  I love it when races have an event that kids can participate in.  I think it's adorable to watch kids run and see how they put all of themselves into it just for the sheer joy of running.  Bug-a-boo didn't care who was in front or behind her, all she cared about was running in her loop.  After the kids disbanded, we stretched, warmed up and listened to some local marathoners talk about their experience in Boston on April 15th and how they are not shaken.  To let terror be the deciding force behind what we hope to accomplish is not living.  Run.  Run with all of your heart.  And with that, we got behind the starting gate, and we ran.  Or some walked.  Those fitness walkers can haul it too!

The venue was a smaller one, and I think about 500 people participated.  This provided an intimate setting to chat with other runners and listen to the experiences of the other marathoners.  I wore my MRTT "Never Forget Boston" tech shirt and was very excited to see someone else there wearing one!

I hauled to catch up to her, and in the middle of huffing and puffing during a 5k is probably not the best situation to try and make friends.  :)   She humored me, but before long she was gone and way ahead again.  Oh well.  My pace will pick up.  I hope.  I was passed by a mom carrying her young son on her shoulders and her husband was encouraging the other to keep running, even though he was begging for a ride too.  i asked if I could get a ride too, and the older child eagerly said I could take a turn if I wanted.  Dad said he'd have to bulk up a bit first.  Ahhh, well, it isn't a race against yourself for your PR if you are getting a piggy back ride.  So i kept on going.  :)  I didn't get that PR, but I'm still proud.  Proud of myself for sticking with it since all my negative thoughts kept creeping in... "Oh my gawd!  It's HOT!"  "Where's the water station?"  "I think I should walk now."  "If I want to give up now... how am I going to do a 1/2 in October?"  and I kept tearing at myself and my progress, until I decided to cheer for someone everytime one of those stupid thoughts came in...  "Way to go!"  "Keep it up!"  "You're hauling it!  Go! Go! Go!"  ...I bet some of my fellow 5k-ers thought I was crazy.  I thought it was crazy to run so hard in that heat! 

When I wasn't cheer leading others near me, there were boy scouts along the trail who cheered us on too.  I made sure to thank every one of them as I passed and told them "Keep it up.  We need it."  We all could use some encouragement, I think! 

After passing through some very beautiful parts of the park, and the most amazing smelling flowering tree, we started honing in on the finish.   When you are going in to the finish gate, the announcer says something to you like "And here comes _____ giving it his all up this hill and into the finish!"  I don't remember what she said to me, but i was sorta amazed to hear my name!  Of course they know my name because of the timing chip in my bib and all of that... but I hadn't been in a race where my name was said over the PA.  I felt like a super star.  Even if I'm slow and didn't get my PR.   

I waved to all the race photographers, but I think I should learn how to jump and do a heel-click instead.  

I finished.  I ran strong and fought my internal battles and kept at it in honor of Boston.  In honor of those who can no longer run. 

I finished. 

Squeakers admiring the new bling

Race Review: Making Strides Against Breast Cancer (May 11, 2013)

May 11, 2013

     I spent the morning at a different kind of race than most might see in a review.  This one wasn't about weeks of training for the miles, it was about weeks of fundraising.  This wasn't a race to get a PR, it was about helping "create a world with less breast cancer and more birthdays".  My family, friends and some of the members of my local Moms RUN this town joined together to make a team for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.   We went for a pirate themed team and called ourselves the "Treasured Chests".

For the Portland, Oregon location, we had a leisurely stroll of 2 miles and it took us about 40 minutes.  Along the way we had cheerleaders and a large water station to help people stay hydrated with the warmer temperatures.  It was a little unfortunate that the event was held at a racetrack, so instead of trees and some of the natural beauty available in the pacific northwest, we had asphalt and an enclosed oval of ads targeted for race car fans.   Was it a drag (pun intended)?  Was it something not worth doing again, even if it is at the same venue?  NO!  It was fun!  Even if people were a little shy and it was the volunteers dancing to the music and having the most fun...  :)  I can't complain about that, despite dressing up as a pirate and having a pirate in a sparkly pink bra on the back of my shirt, I'm actually a bit of a wall flower.  You wouldn't see me over there dancing at the stage, even if the whole event was rocking out.  Well, maybe if I was the only one standing still, but that is yet to be determined.  

ANYWAY!  The event was a huge success and one team raised over $100,000!!  They even had a car given away at a raffle and gift cards galore for a local sporting goods store.  The grand total is still being calculated, but it gives me hope that my Bug-a-boo and  Squeakers will grow up in a world where cancer isn't such a nasty word to strike terror in the heart.  Just a "bump in the road".  Especially since the average is 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime and the odds go against her as she gets older.  So, with my daughters in mind, I hope to fight for a world with less breast cancer, and more birthdays.

Product Review and GIVEAWAY: Nathan Sports

I am so excited to share with you a product review and giveaway!!  Nathan Sports has sent me a QuickShot Plus and a Triangle to review and giveaway...  How exciting is that?!  I chose to try out the hand held and giveaway the awesome hydration belt!

As you may have read on Nathan's website about the QuickShot Plus, it is a 10oz bottle that is BPA free, has a convenient pouch on the handstrap to store your fuel, keys, driver's licence and whatever goodies you like to have within reach!     

Palm-side.  Just grip the bottle and squeeze for a shot of water! 

Thumb hole in the handstrap makes this a completely grip-free hold.  This side also features a small pocket good for your house key or other small items.

I've had the QuickShot Plus on every run this week and two races (and a fundraising walk.  May is kind of a busy month!).  Let me just say that I love it!  It took me a little getting used to it at first... but I was over and adjustments and trials within the first run.

I don't normally run with things "in" my hands.  But this really isn't something you are holding on to.  Okay, so maybe you can't pick something up with that hand (or not very easily) but it is still very comfortable and something I just got used to- I hardly noticed I had it.  The hand strap is adjustable and easy to secure so that you don't hold the bottle, except when it's time to grip it for a little squeeze.  I said little.  First time, I squirted myself in the face.  :-)  I bet it was hilarious!  Then as I was removing it, I pushed too hard on the bottle to my palm as I was messing with the strap... I squirted my 3year old in the face.  She thought it was hilarious, so it wasn't all bad.  This makes for easy hydration, since you don't have to mess with a cap or any other nonsense.

On my first 5k with it this last week, the weather was a scorcher.  Or, I am spoiled in my cloudy weather... but 81 degrees was more than my comfort level cared for.  I am grateful for the handheld water bottle, because the water station was out of water when I got there.  After a short distance of 3 miles in that heat, the remaining water I had in my bottle was a bit warm.  But seriously?  That would be my only complaint, and that isn't even something that would be Nathan's fault.  Come on, Nathan!  Bring the rain and cool temps back to Oregon!  ;-)

The pouch is very handy.  It isn't quite big enough to hold my smart phone, but it holds everything else you could need on a run!  I definitely will be bringing it on all my runs and would recommend it to anybody.  

The weather is warming up, and as it does... please stay hydrated.  I have been hospitalized more than a few times for dehydration.  It isn't fun.        

So with that, check out the specs on the Triangle and enter the giveaway for one in "Nathan Blue" color.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

We have a winner!

My facebook page had reached 100 "likes" so I offered up a little giveaway to celebrate!  That contest ended at midnight last night... and thanks to rafflecopter, hosting giveaways and picking a winner has never been easier!  Congratulations to Silvia B.!!

Oregon has been hit with warm weather... People are enjoying the sun and donning hats, sunscreen and running tanks.  Someone told me a rumor that it was going to rain on Mother's Day.  I really try hard not to complain about the weather, so when this person mentioned that rumor with a little dismay, I had to smile, because my first thought was "What a FANTASTIC Mother's Day gift!"  Of course, no matter how much science goes behind meteorology and trying to forecast our weather, it changes so rapidly, that it is just a rumor until confirmed.  And I love the sunshine, but a little rain could go a long way now and then.

This will be a busy weekend for me and the darling family.  We have a fundraising walk for breast cancer research in the morning, and then a 5k Run for Boston that evening.  A friend signed up for a virtual 5k run for Sunday, and I said I'd happily do that distance with her.  :)  Here we go!!

I have not forgotten my Nathan Sports review and giveaway... so please stay tuned for that!  I'm very excited for it!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Mail Call! (Huma Energy Gel GIVEAWAY and more!)

I have been crazy busy and meant my last blog post to be about all the mail I've been getting... but I got side tracked with my upcoming race and my adorable kids.  Typical.  Then the doorbell rang and I got another race-related package!

So... before I forget,  I have been posting on Facebook about a Huma Energy Gel giveaway that I am doing.  This giveaway ends on Monday!  So, if you haven't entered it yet, please click HERE.

I checked my mailbox and was so excited to see the package from Huma!  As I came into the house, I saw a package on my stoop from Nathan Sports for a future review and giveaway!! 

How could my day get any better?  AWESOME! 

Then my day did get just a little bit more awesome, because like I said...  I was interrupted from a nap-time break and an ability to blog a bit by the door bell.... AND ANOTHER PACKAGE!  Totally worth the kids waking up early from nap.  Sorta.  Okay- yeah.    

My shirt arrived in time for the Boston Run  next week! 

The back of the shirt

The front of Hubby's shirt.
These supper cool shirts are available for a very limited time through Recover starting on Monday (at noon according to their Facebook) or check with your local Moms RUN This Town chapter for more sizes and options!

Are you ready to RUN!?

So, I'm getting ready for my first serious run since 2011... and I'm feeling completely excited to be back in running shoes and working on getting healthy, but I'm also feeling a little anxious about not doing as well in my personal time as I did in 2011.  I know, it's silly... but I've lost weight since then and getting stronger!  So why am I so slooow?  Well, stay tuned for the race recap...  Whatever time I manage with.  :)

Oregon's Benefit run for Boston

And when it comes down to it, it's just one race.  One out of several in 2013!  I'm filling up my schedule and my time and endurance can only improve... right?  Anyway.... enough of my whining.  This race next week is a Boston Benefit race.  The Run for Boston is in the evening and I also have a fundraising walk for Breast Cancer that morning.  It should be a pretty action packed day!

I think my girls will love it!  They are getting used to the idea that Mommy runs and my 3 year old "Bug-a-boo" loves to go with me.  "Mommy runs?  Are you running today?"  How do you give in to excuses not to go when you have a little cheerleader waiting to go for a ride?

Time to get Bug-a-boo a double stroller
This morning, as I desperately tried to get out the door at a reasonable hour to meet my running partner, my sweetie was hollering through the house "I'm going for a run!!  Are you ready to RUUUN?!"  Yes... Mommy would be ready if you'd let me help you get into the car!  But the important note here is that I am setting an example to live an active life and they see it.  My girls will hopefully want to be active too.  I already am beat by "Squeakers" and her ability to hold a plank.  That girl is good!  And she's only 6 months old!  I seriously need to step up my strength training.