Fueling for Long Runs + St Jude

Ok, this is my last post on the St Jude yoga fundraiser, I SWEAR! And it’s only to talk about how much of a success it was! I’ve never organized or put on an event like this before, so I had no idea what to expect. The amount of people that came out and donated totally blew me away – 36 people showed up, and over $400 was donated to St Jude!! 

St Jude yoga fundraiser Land Grant

We all squeezed into the brewery, and I led a 45 minute vinyasa flow. People that had never done yoga before showed up and did amazing! And the support from my friends.. no words.. The entire event just filled my heart up. This was such an important event to me, and I could not have done it without the support of strangers, friends, New friends, & family.

Yoga St Jude Yoga Fundraiser

So thank you, thank you, to everyone who has supported St Jude… These children need all the help they can get after being diagnosed with cancer, and your donations help make the journey to recovery much less stressful.

If you would still like to donate, you still have time – a few days left to raise the last $600. And did I mention I’ll be matching every single donation that comes in?? So really, only $300 more!  Every dollar is appreciated!

You can donate to St Jude here 🙂

Ok. So just to give everyone a recap of what’s been happening in my life:
– New part time job (in addition to my full time AND teaching yoga) – and I don’t even really consider it a job, because it’s fun!
– Planning/packing for my NYC & Florida trip in 2 weeks!
– Teaching an arm balance workshop next Sunday
-I’ve cut my runs down to spare the tendinitis in my foot. So 3 runs a week instead of 4, and doing acupuncture 1x week, cryotherapy after my long runs, Rolfing, and Active Release Therapy. (let’s just say i’m taking a hiatus from running after this half marathon for awhile…) But, so far, so good! I am going for a 14 mile run on Saturday before I begin to taper… the race is 2 weeks away!!

Old woman running

Sometimes I feel like an old woman with my running injuries

I’ve been experimenting with fuel for my long runs, and I think I’ve figured out exactly what I need:

  • Oatmeal + banana + protein bar 2 hours before run
  • 1 gu w/caffeine 5 minutes before run
  • jelly beans/sports chews every few miles
  • 1 Gu + 1/2 banana at mile 5/6 AND mile 9/10 (I mix together beforehand & put in ziplock bags or reusable food pouches)
  • Taking sips of electrolyte water from my 12 oz handheld water bottle  every once in awhile (I grab plain water along the route when I eat my gus).. BTW – just bought this, and I don’t know how I lived without it before!!!

My metabolism is fast and I burn through food really, really quickly. I joke that I need to run with a burrito in my back pocket to eat halfway through my runs.

hamster burrito

Yes, this is a hamster eating a tiny burrito

Side note – I found out about Enduropacks online and it has been AMAZING for electrolyte replacement during my long runs. I struggle with that anytime I workout, so about 5-10 sprays in my water helps keep my levels balanced (the spray lasts a long time!). And no, I didn’t get paid or get anything free to write this… just another runner sharing tips that have helped me! 🙂

So what does everyone else take with them on long runs? Any tips on what to drink, eat, do, or NOT do?? 

Have you ever ran a race for charity? If so, what charity did you support & why? I’d love to hear your experience!

Yoga for St Jude

Hello!

With 1 month away from my half marathon in NYC, I have been working hard on putting together an event to raise money for St Jude. So far, I am only about halfway to my first goal of raising $1500 for the children of St Jude ($2500 being my stretch goal!).

Luckily, Land Grant Brewing in Columbus, Ohio has joined forces with me to help! For those of you in Columbus, Ohio – mark Saturday, February 27th on your calendars! I will be teaching a 45 minute donation-based yoga class at the brewery beginning at 11 am. Following the class, $1 from every beer purchased will be donated to St Jude!

You can sign up on the Facebook page here – please arrive at 10:30 to fill out a waiver & secure a good spot to practice in the brewery!

For anyone not in Columbus, please consider donating to the children of St Jude. They are cheated of their childhood by having to battle cancer, and every child deserves to be stress free!  St Jude takes care of every expense for the child AND their family, including treatment, lodging, flights, etc. St Jude is such an amazing organization, not just for taking care of children with cancer, but also researching/finding cures for cancers.

You can learn more about St Jude here!
You can donate to St Jude here – even if it’s $1, every penny counts!!

Thank you all for your support <3

Yoga For St Jude Nina Elise Yoga

Weekend Update: Aerial Yoga, Acupuncture, Cryotherapy & More!

It’s been a while since I last posted, and a LOT has happened! After coming back from California, I had a sinus infection that lasted over 2 weeks! Between being sick and taking the last 2 weeks off from running (WHAT?!), I found other ways to fill my time that were less stressful (I can’t NOT be productive, it’s just not in my blood to be ;)).

So to start off – I have peroneal tenonitis. I don’t know how, and the only thing I can think that could have caused this is 1) my shoes, and 2) upping my mileage too quickly. I ran 9 miles the weekend I got back from San Francisco, and the next day I my foot started to bother me while teaching 2 yoga classes in the morning, and a 2-hour handstand workshop in the afternoon. By the end of the day, I couldn’t even put weight on my foot. It literally came out of nowhere! So, with less than 1.5 months before my half marathon, I couldn’t walk, and had no idea why. Cue panic.

DCIM100GOPROG0331299.

Take me back to running in Sunny SF!

So what did I do? Research like crazy, begin LOTS of stretching and rehabilitation, and stopped running immediately. The peroneals are actually these skinny tendons that run up the outside of your calf. The tendons connect to a bone on the outside of your foot, which is exactly where I had my pain. Most people have pain around their ankles, but mine was closer to where the tendon attaches. [Tendonitis generally occurs due to weak/tight calf muscles, running too many miles too soon, running a lot of hills/uneven terrain, or bad tennis shoes.]

Thinking I wasn’t going to be able to run in the NYC Half marathon, I tried several different methods to try to heal up my foot as quickly as possible:

  1. Stop running & stretch the peroneals, using a lacross ball to loosen up the calf/legs (so.painful.)
  2. Do Cryotherapy (Basically standing in a freezer that’s NEGATIVE 170 degrees for 3 minutes). Some of the benefits of cold therapy are increased muscle recovery, increased energy, and reducing inflammation.

ohio cryotherapy (2)

After stripping down to my underwear and putting on 2 pairs of gloves & socks, I got to hang out in a freezer for 3 minutes. Definitely not the most enjoyable experience, but a ton of athletes use it, so I was down to try anything to help my foot!

ohio cryotherapy gahanna

Freezing my buns off

3. Acupuncture: I’ve done this before, but with no results. However, I found someone who does more of dry-needling – a liiiitle more intense, where the needle goes deeper into the muscle to release myofascial trigger points, muscular, and connective tissues. Definitely painful. Definitely worth it. After just 2 sessions, I’ve noticed relief in the tightness of my tendon, IT band pain on my left knee gone, AND increased energy (bonus!). I go for my 3rd session tomorrow morning, and I’ll be continuing this a few times a month (or at least until my race is over!). Thanks to Jess who blogged about her acupuncture… so glad I gave it another try!

4. Rolfing: Treatment is described as a “holistic system of soft tissue manipulation and movement education that organize(s) the whole body in gravity.” (Wiki) I did this about 1 year ago – you can read about it here and here and here – but decided I needed a refresher. My hips have been super tight and out of whack since august, and no amount of stretching or chiropractic adjustments have been able to help. My first appointment consisted of working on the feet & lower legs – breaking up scar tissue & working with the soft tissue. Def not a pleasant experience, but I’m really hoping that these sessions will be able to bring relief for this tendinitis, as well as help my hips/lower back. More to come on this!

5. Sports Doctor – I had x-rays done, just to be sure nothing was broken. My dr gave me a brace & an anti-inflammatory, and said to just continue with cross training. I also didn’t need physical therapy, and I should be fine (my foot was starting to feel better after ~ 1 week). So Good News!!

In my time off, I did cross training like cycling & surreal stride to keep up with leg strength & cardio. I also decided to try Aerial Yoga – this requires a bit of thinking, as you have to figure out what part of your body is in the hanging silks when you are moving around… but it was a lot of fun!

Nina Elise aerial yoga

Upon walking into the room, there are special-cut yoga mats on the ground with silks hanging from the ceiling.

Yoga on high ariel yoga

The best part was Savasana – the instructor gave you a little swing – wrapped up in your silk – and it felt like you were hanging over a lake in the mountains. It was so peaceful!

nina elise yoga on high aeriel yoga

So after all this madness, and after all these different treatments for my tendinitis, I finally began running again – 2 miles this past Saturday, and 3 on Monday. I only had a bit of uncomfortable feeling the first mile or so, but after that, my foot felt fine. So fingers crossed I can finish training & run the half marathon in NYC!

Regardless, the main reason for doing this race is to raise money for St Jude – so I will still be making the trip out there, and plan on hitting my goal of raising $1,500! (You can donate here :)) Also – I’m putting on a Yoga charity event – I’ll be posting more details soon, but you can sign up here! It’s a donation-based yoga class at a brewery.. can’t go wrong with that 😉

What has everyone else been up to? Have you ever tried acupuncture, rolfing, or cryotherapy?

Marathoners in Training

Hi all!

In my last blog post, I mentioned that I had joined MIT – Marathoners in Training, a local running group that was highly recommended by my boss & one of my favorite bloggers, Nikki at Will Run for Pizza. The cold and the cost ($120) has always deterred me from signing up – but, since it’s been a fairly mild winter, and I felt like running 20+ miles a week on top of my already busy schedule, I decided to join!

So far, the community has been great! My holidays were not the greatest, and I have been grumpy gills for basically the past month. Top that with getting up at 6:30 am on Saturday morning to run 7+ miles in the 15 degree cold on my only day to sleep in, you would think that I might hurt someone that early in the morning. Fortunately, I’m not that awake that early, and everyone in MIT is so welcoming! I ran the first half of my run listening to music, and trying not to focus on my frozen legs (NOTE: I went out and spent a few $$$ on warm running clothes after my run!!). The second half, I started chatting with another member in my pace group, which made the run much more enjoyable AND go by quicker.

Nina Elise Running

By the time I finished my run, there were bagels & water waiting for everyone, and I was able to chat with one of the running coaches about training afterwards. Overall, I feel pretty confident about running my upcoming half in 2 months, although not so much about PR’ing. Ideally, I want to break 1:45, but I am completely ok with just breaking my last half time – 1:53. However, if not, totally OK – it’s all for charity, and I am going to enjoy my run through the 5 boroughs of NYC!

(Side note – if you would like to support my run by donating to St Jude, you can find my fund page here. Every cent helps, and your support is so much appreciated!!)

Anyways – a few things I have learned so far:

  • Always go slower, as you don’t want to wear your body out
  • Save fast runs for interval training days (I normally like to sprint at the end of my runs – I guess it’s better to just keep going slow & let your body rest!)
  • Get your miles in! The more miles, the more your body will be accustomed to long-distance runs
  • Run 14-16 miles before my half marathon – this will build confidence, and your body will be better prepared to run the 13 miles (coming from a yoga student & fellow MITer)
  • Test out drinking water/when to eat/different types of food to eat when training a few months out (I am awful at this! I eat a feast AND gu before my long races and get burnt out by mile 5… I am considering bringing a burrito with me to eat during my race ;))

I’ll be in California in less than 2 weeks, so I am going to have to figure how to get my miles in before or after my 10-hour yoga training days while traveling! With that being said – are there any good running spots I should know about in San Francisco? I have 3 entire days to roam about and do whatever I want, and running is the best place to explore & get to know the area!

For all you runners out there – have you ever trained with a group like MIT? If so, what have you learned from it? I’d love to hear from you!

Yoga for Breast Cancer

Hello!

Unfortunately, Cancer has become a common, everyday word that we hear. Friends, family, coworkers – we are all affected, whether its someone close to us or someone we see on TV. The chemotherapy process is long, and it leaves those going through treatment drained of energy and unable to live their every day normal life.

After learning that a dear friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year, I began to brainstorm ways that I could help make her days a little easier while going through chemotherapy (Did you know 1 out of every 8 women will be diagnosed with Breast cancer in her lifetime?!). There isn’t much besides comforting words and actual gifts, so I decided to do some research and put together a few simple, modified yoga poses that could help increase energy, and even help manage pain.

Below are a series of poses I have researched and put together information for my friend – and for anyone else going through cancer treatment. It can be hard to summon up any energy during treatment, so for those who are used to being active, these poses are a nice way to incorporate a little workout in your life. They will also help bring relief, as well as encourage movement to fight the fatigue and pain!

**Hold each pose below for 5-10 DEEP breaths. This helps brings body awareness, increases energy circulating throughout the body, and helps with fatigue.

Child’s Pose
Benefits
: relaxes the spine, stretches muscles in back
Modify: Bring arms to side
Body Position: Sit hips back on heels and lower your chest to your thighs, and head to ground. Bring arms over your head, or keep them at your side.

Childs Pose_2 - Yoga Cancer

Childs Pose - Yoga Cancer

Hero Pose
Benefits:
 Improves posture, stretches thighs & ankles, promotes circulation, reduces swelling
Modify: Kneeling, knees together, on toes; towel or blanket between calves & hamstrings
Body Position: 3 ways to do this pose

1) Sit back on heels, then slowly lower down to butt and let feet splay out to the side

Heros Pose - Yoga Cancer

2) Sit back on heels, knees together, feet tucked under

Hero Mod2 - Yoga Cancer

3) Sit back on heels, knees together, on toes

Hero Mod - Yoga Cancer

Crescent Lunge
Benefits:
Helps manage physical pain pre – & post op; stretches/lengthens lower & upper body; opens chest
Modify: Cushions or chair under front leg (optional), back knee on floor, hands rest to sides on blocks
Body Position: Front leg bent, knee over ankle; back knee bent, resting on the floor; arms rest at side with chest raised, or hands are resting on blocks at sides for support.

Crescent Lunge - Yoga Cancer

Warrior 2
Benefits:
Encourages deep breathing; nurtures lymphatic system
Modify: Chair under front leg (I used a side table with a blanket for cushion)
Body Position: Front leg bent, knee over ankle; hips open, back leg straight, grounding foot into the ground; arch of back foot should be in line with the heel of the front foot; hands at hips, or arms up, gaze over front fingertips.

W2 - Yoga Cancer

W2_2 - Yoga Cancer

Bridge
Benefits: 
Improves Circulation, stretches muscle tissue around breasts
Modify: Towel or pillow under back
Body Position: Lay on back with pillow underneath the small of your back. Place your hands on your hips or keep them to your side.

Bridge - Yoga Cancer

Seated Twist
Benefits: 
Releases tension; wrings out toxins in organs; gentle stretch
Modify: Do not bend knees as much; do not twist as deep
Body Position: Come to a seated position, feet in front, knees slightly bent. Chest up, spine straight. Twist slightly to the side, bringing one hand to knee & other arm behind hip. Option to sit cross-legged as well. (Don’t forget to repeat on other side!)

Side Twist3 - Yoga Cancer

Side Twist2 - Yoga Cancer

Reclined Twist
Benefits: 
Helps blood flow to chest; lymphatic drainage
Modify: Lay on side, with pillow in between legs
Body Position: Lay on one side with pillow between legs – bottom leg straight, top leg bent. Place your hands on your hip, then slowly raise your arm up over head, then back to hip. Simply laying in this posture while deep breathing is also beneficial. (Don’t forget to repeat on other side!)

Side Twist 2 - Yoga Cancer

Side Twist Arm - Yoga Cancer

Side Twist_3 - Yoga Cancer

Savasana
Benefits: 
Helps release stress & muscle tension
Modify: Towel/pillow under back (not much to modify when laying on your back!)
Body Position: Lay on back with towel/pillow under the small of your back. Close your eyes and relax all muscles in your body! You can stay in this pose for longer than 5-10 breaths 😉

Savasana - Yoga Cancer

Hopefully this helps bring some relief for anyone going through cancer! There are a lot more poses that you can do, but I wanted to just give a few specifically focused on breast cancer.

For those who have had cancer or know someone who has/is going through treatment – have you heard of Yoga benefits for cancer? If yes, what have you heard? I would love to learn more!

PLEASE NOTE:

The information I have provided is not intended to be used in place of professional medical advice. This is information that I have gathered on my own through a variety of sources, and if you decide to use/apply any of the ideas from my site, you are taking full responsibility for your actions. This information is not meant to diagnose or to treat any medical condition. Please consult with your primary care physician holistic doctor to diagnose/advise of any medical condition if you have any questions. I am not liable for any damages or negative consequences resulting from any action by any persons reading or following the information on this site.

Sources:
http://breastcanceryogablog.com/
Being Her Rock
http://www.everydayhealth.com/pictures/yoga-exercises-that-help-with-breast-cancer-recovery
http://www.breastinvestigators.com/content/yoga-pose-breast-cancer-side-body-stretch-twist-%E2%80%93-extended
http://www.prevention.com/health/health-concerns/diana-ross-uses-restorative-yoga-heal-breast-cancer-patients

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