Stretching those hip flexors!

I had to run just a little bit last week when I went on a hunt for a new pair of running shoes. It mainly involved running for about 30 seconds in each pair of shoes I tried on, but I could immediately still feel my hip injury whenever I took off.

So I decided I should probably do what I had been putting off during my rest time: stretch my hip flexors.

Besides the butterfly, I didn’t really know any good hip stretches, so I took to Pinterest. I found these videos, which I really like:

It feels like the stretches are helping (as far as I can tell without actually running). Anyone have any other good recommendations?

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My Sunday walk

For the past few weeks that I’ve been on running sabbatical, I’ve been taking long walks on Sunday mornings. The first week I did a paltry 2.15 miles from my house to the Red Box at Kroger down to Publix and back. The next I wandered around in the awful humidity to do 5.65 miles around the nearby subdivisions. Finally, yesterday, I did an unprecedented 9.38 miles (15k).

I had just finished reading Born to Run (which was really good, by the way). The book mentioned drinking chia seeds (yes, this is what Chia pets are grown from), so I ordered some on Amazon while I was reading it, and they arrived the next day. You mix the seeds with water and the seeds form a gel around them, which then you can mix with smoothies, yogurt, or just drink in juice or water. They are known as a kind of natural energy drink used by the Aztecs, containing an abundance of omega-3s, protein, and fiber. ABC News has declared them the food of the year. Before my walk on Sunday, I decided to make myself a little chia concoction. I’m still perfecting it, but I’ll post some recipes at some point in the future.

That distance came about when I decided to walk from my house down to the greenway, which I plan on running during half marathon training. I knew it was about 3 miles there, so about 6 miles roundtrip. I figured it would be a good idea to make sure that it was a good runnable route, with crosswalks where they were supposed to be and whatnot. The first mile or so you get to walk by (and over) the Hermitage, so it was really pretty. After that, fast food and strip malls take over, and it’s not as scenic. As I walked past a newly built strip mall, they were watering the grass, and I enjoyed the little splashes that hit me. Once I got to the greenway (about 3.2 miles total), my legs felt great, so I wandered 1.5 miles down the path until I decided to turn around and head back.

I only decide to turn around because I didn’t think I could actually handle a 9-10 mile walk (and this was a brisk walk, not just a stroll). I’m not going to say that the chia seeds helped (it could have been the lower humidity), but my legs still felt great 5 miles in. They still felt pretty good when I got back home, although I did promptly take an hour long nap. This really got me excited to start half marathon training. I had to stop myself numerous times on my walk from breaking out into a run, but I knew from trying on running shoes a few days earlier (more on that later) that my hip still wasn’t 100% and still needed more rest.

Splits below (I use Runkeeper to track my walks since it separates the stats out from the running stats). The two miles on the greenway are the fastest, probably because it was all shaded, and I didn’t have to stop for traffic or cross streets.

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Planning out the rest of the year (and then some)…

With only a week left of my doctor mandated running break, I’ve been thinking ahead to how I want to spend the next few months. The first few weeks will just be me getting back into the habit: some one, two, and three mile runs a few times a week. Then I still have six weeks of Couch to 10k left, so I will attempt to finish them out before starting official half marathon training on September 23. This should put me in a good place for my 5ks this fall.

Right now I have two 5ks and two fun runs planned. The first of the 5ks is the Fremont Oktoberfest 5k while I’m in Seattle in September. I figured it would be nice to do a race there, and we were going to Oktoberfest anyway, so it made sense. (I’m also excited to get in a few runs around Green Lake while I’m there!) Then I’ve got two fun runs: The Zombie Run and The Color Run. The week after the Color Run is my second fall race, the Go Commando Clarksville 5k, where I hope I will get a nice PR.

Then November and December will mainly be spent upping my mileage in prep for the 13.1 I have to cover in January! I’m definitely not planning on truly racing my first half. Since it’s at Disney, I plan to enjoy myself and stop and take photos with characters. No matter what I PR, right? Then after Disney, I get to start prepping for the Country Music Half, where I do hope to PR.

I’m so excited to get back into it!

Waterlogged

Water bottleSince I’m not running, I’ve declared July hydration month! I’ve probably mentioned how dehydrated I get on runs and that it’s hard for me to even go out for a 3 mile run without some water on me. I think part of this is due to the fact that I’m not hydrating well during the day.

We have a company wellness program going on right now called the Swap, where we exchange one bad/unhealthy thing for one good/healthy thing. I don’t drink a lot of soda (maybe a couple a week), but I decided I wouldn’t drink any for the next month and instead drink at least 60 oz of water per day, hopefully getting me into the habit when I start running again.

This didn’t sound like much at the time, but then I realized that it’s about two liters, and I have a hard time getting through a 20 oz bottle. I bought myself a 32 oz water bottle off Amazon that I have to completely empty twice throughout each day. I usually aim for doing one bottle full before lunch and one bottle full after lunch at work, so that any I drink at home afterwards is just extra.

Hydration vestThe second thing I did was I bought a hydration vest for when I start half marathon training. I’ve been trying out various types of hydration systems (since I know I will need something that can hold quite a bit of water once I get to running over 6 miles at a time). I, obviously, haven’t tried it out yet, but I will let you know how it goes once I am running again. Comfort-wise, I do like it more than the hydration belt I had previously tried out, and it definitely holds more than my 10 oz handheld.

Cheers to water!