Saturday, February 27, 2016

Skechers!?

Before I hit "publish" on every post I always double, triple check and make sure it doesn't sound braggish, arrogant, or all about me, me, me.  I struggle a lot with social media/blogs - - they all seem very self serving, and make me feel a tad uncomfortable :( It's difficult to strike a balance between providing updates to friends/family, and what seems like complete and utter bravado? But if I write about my mom's life  - well...I am just not sure that goes with the theme of the whole blog :)
So I really worry about this one, I do not want to come across as look at me, I am sponsored, yadda, yadda...but I get quite a few messages on why Skechers, and so I thought I would tell you why I chose Skechers and why I love the brand/company like I do.


1.  The blatant obvious one that everyone sees - they sponsor arguably 2 of the best runners in behind Meb and Kara.  So their stuff must be good, right? :)  It's the classic if X wears/uses it, it must be good.  Jordan with Nike, Speith with UA, Messi with Adidas, Manning with Gatorade/Papa John's, and the list goes on.  And in all honesty - there is some truth to this.  Typically these athletes provide a lot of input into the products, and change the design/features based on their experience.  I can tell you for a fact both Kara and Meb have inputted and most of their newest releases are all a result of this feedback/input.  Also, I know when I need something in a 'new" arena that I am not comfortable in - I buy what the "experts" use - example, yoga mat type - I saw what the best teachers at my studio used and boom - bought that.  BUT, more importantly it's the type of athletes Skechers went after that made me love the brand. Meb and Kara are SALT OF THE EARTH, I have personally met both of them, and they are what you see on TV/social media - real people, down to earth, passionate about the sport, human, genuine, hardworking, awesome.  I have so much respect for both of them as runners, but more importantly as people.  So the fact that Skechers chose to support them, I think, says volumes about the brand's values.

Most recently Meb and Kara showcasing the LA Marathon...


2.  Their statement in the running community - - wow!  They are committed and you can see it.  Just in the past few years they have become the title sponsor for major running events - Houston, LA, Bolder Boulder to name a few.  These are not your neighborhood 5k's - this is a HUGE investment and they probably aren't making money on these - it's more a statement that they are here for the long run (no pun intended), legit, and supportive of the biggest, and best running has to offer in terms of events.  I love that! (I secretly am hoping they sponsor the Chicago Marathon- my favorite marathon!!)

3.  Athlete community - - This is one of those ones, where I think like attracts like.  We have a FB group and I follow a majority of their sponsored athletes and I can tell you it is the most humble, down to earth, hardworking group of athletes I have ever seen.  Their is no bravado in the posts, it's just stories - and I am so proud to be a part of it.  We all support each other and it's so fun to cheer each other on every weekend.  Skechers hand picked a bunch of athletes who not only can compete - but have the same values /attitude  - it's pretty cool.
3 of us at one of the three races I ran last year - we all won our respective races - a good showing for Skechers for sure!
4.  Support of athletes - - Very personal for me, sponsorship is a journey.  In year one it is difficult to find your groove, you are testing all the products, seeing what works for you, feeling out the brand, etc.  And then add to that the fact I was injured 10 months of the 12 last year.  I thought for sure they would bag me this year - - but they didn't-  they believe in me and my dream, and signed me again for this year.  (Now, I assume it helps the 3 races I ran I won 2, and top 5'd the third, but none the less I was on the bench most of the year).  Being an athlete on a competitive level, chasing a dream puts you in a vulnerable position, and they get that - and they had my back.  For that reason alone, I have never been prouder to represent them.  It's probably why I work for the company that I do, P&G, they are the same way, and have similarly had my back.  For those reasons my loyalty runs deep.  Furthermore, they just get it  - I run for the Sonoran Distance Project (my other love) and they allow me to put the SDP logo on the racing kit - we all work together!

This is the 2016 racing kit!  I love it, I might have already tried on the shorts and singlet - maybe :)
5.  Products - - And the number one reason (ignore that I numbered these backwards, :).....they have GOOD stuff.  I spent a year tinkering, and now I know exactly what I like, and they have good shoes and training gear.  They  have a lot of different models pending your fancy (trails, track, road, short, long), foot type, preference - just like Brooks, Asics, Saucony would.  My coach believes in rotating between a few models to keep the feet alive and working in different ways.  So my rotation is as follows:
The GOrun Ride 4/5:  This is my main staple, I currently am wearing the 4 (but the 5 is out and I am saving that until I burn through my 4's).  It's lightweight which I love in 8.4 oz (size 10 womens), and a 4 MM heel drop.  I can feel my foot on the ground, which I prefer, yet it has enough stability for my goofy ankles.  I really despise a heavy shoe, my legs feel like they are lifting weights if I wear them.  So these allow me to run long and still be lightweight.  Net I would say I do about 80% of my miles in these.
GRR4 - -BCA version, which also I think is wicked cool that they did that

The GOrun Forza:  These are my 'feeling a bit beat up' "just did a harder effort the day before', or 'just want comfort shoe'.  They are a heavier, at 10.8 oz, but they are Skechers best (IMO) stability shoe, you just  feel good in them, no matter what you did the day before, that morning (if it's a shakeout jog), etc.  It's an 8MM drop , which is as FAR as I would go anymore - as more then that and I think it alters my form.  I wear these typically after a harder effort day, so for example I did a fartlek effort last Wednesday  - as I break myself back into speed work - and the day after I ran in these, felt amazing.

The Forza, a newer shoe to the line-up, been wearing it since I came back (6 weeks now) - and love it, this is the exact model I wear too.

The GOrun Meb 3's:  These are my special sauce - reserved for only racing and speedwork.  Rather minimal, and my feet know when I put these on, we mean business :)  These are extremely lightweight - 5.3 oz!  Still a 4 MM drop though so enough stability to run a marathon in.   The newest version of these have a knit upper and I am wicked excited to test these out (and that day is coming  rather soon!!!)


CB Special Sauce shoe, only for "fast" occasions!
BONUS SECTION*(I am too lazy to re-number everything & I just thought of a few extra things)...
So Skechers is also just a cool, fun brand.  Every pair of shoes comes with an alternate color laces, personalize it baby! Our hashtags are so fun too, #GOlikeneverbefore #Haveafastday (which you can make into HAD, which is fun!) #Getyourmilesin....they spur conversations, and fun journeys vs. blatant product promotion.

Anyways, I hope this answers all the questions. If not as usual send me a message :) I am proud to be a Skechers athlete and humbled they stuck with me, and support my dream, commitment to my team, and me....I am determined to make them proud!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Injury Musings

So I thought I would follow-up on my previous post with a more informative, update post!    I am back running now, and have had 3 really great weeks of pain free, happy miles!  It took a year but I have a new body and rebuilt pretty much everything.  So this post is a little about the ins and outs of working through an injury cycle.  If you are an athlete of any sort - whether you walk the Breast Cancer Awareness 3 Day, play the occasional flag football, or are a crazy runner like me - -I am hoping some/any of this might be helpful to you!?

This is basically my top nuggets from a year of injuries.....

1.  Modern Medicine vs. Natural Healing
So I am starting with one that I know is going to cause a lot of conversation.  I will put my marketing super* in now - *I am not an expert, this is my opinion!  So first off, I classify modern medicine as:  go to sports med doctor, get an xray/MRI, take advil, boot it, surgery, or rest, get PT.  I consider Natural healing things like: trying massage, acupuncture, yoga, herbs, diet change (eat more fish to get out inflammation), ART, shockwave therapy, KT tape, chiropractic, etc.  Having said that, this past year I leaned 90% on natural healing.  Here is my conclusion.  I think modern medicine gets you back on the field faster - - I think Natural healing truly solves the problem and makes you stronger in the long run.  This year, given the goals I had, I probably should have taken the modern medicine route, and once I tore the ligaments in the ankle, got quick surgery, healed and I would have been fine.  Instead, I worked endlessly to FIX the root of the problem - fallen arches, weak ankles (years of basketball sprains), weak feet.  In the process I irritated my hips and my whole chain got angry.  So it took a year to rebuild my body, and I am still working on it - but we think I am close :)  Net, I have NEVER felt better, but it took a long time.  The upside - the best is yet to come baby!!!

2.  Avoid Google at all Costs
No further explanation  needed, you can turn a blister into a deadly foreign virus and determine you will never run again.  Let the experts tell you what it is and what to do - and then do it. Justin frequently has to be remind me to stay very far away from Dr. Google. (slight obsession on my end)

3.  Have your circle of "people"
So prior to this year I got massage when I was REALLY run down, I went to a chiropractic when I couldn't turn my neck, etc.  Net, I reacted to everything.  Now I have built my "circle" and am going to develop a cycle to keep me healthy all the time - before stuff gets out of whack - Becky, is my go to for everything, just an amazing, PT, stretch therapist, trainer, talk you off the cliff person.....Rachel is my massage therapist - it's not massage though - it's tear inducing body work.  She is phenomenal. And Doc Maynard is my Chiropractor - best in the business - doesn't crack bones, he keeps my hips even :)  Point is, do not wait until you break down, build your circle ahead of time so they get to know your body and you.

4.  Nutrition is key?
Mixed Emotions on this one?  So this year I REALLY cleaned up my diet and supplements even more.  Did it help me heal?  I do not really think so.  But I will say the 2 months I did run, I ran really well - 2 PRs, on basically no training.  So no conclusion yet on this one, I'll report back after an amazing 2016 :)

5.  KT Tape, Rock Tape, etc.
I laugh just thinking about this, Justin and I have many funny stories regarding the KT tape.  If you ever want humor, ping me let's do froyo and I will have you in stitches.  Ok so first, does it work?  Yes I believe it does, it braces and you can feel,  in my opinion, it holding whatever you messed up in place.  BUT - - if you tore your hip flexor - - you still tore it and no piece of tape is going to hold that in place if you are running 6 minute miles :)  SO, my thoughts - it is awesome at the very beginning of injuries and at the very end of them, when you are 90% ok just need a little love.  Don't tear 2 ligaments in your ankle, and then race a 1/2 marathon on it and hope to win.  (not that I would do that), GULP.  And for what it's work - Rock Tape is 100x better then KT tape.

6.  Cross Training.
Pool running, swimming, Elliptigo, elliptical, Step Mill are my mainstays.  I  use to hate swimming, honestly I did it so much this year, I am not going to lie, I am pretty darn good at it now!  I can swim 1.5 miles!!!  Legit.  And after awhile it becomes kind of peaceful, NO one can talk to you underwater, it's very meditative, and totally YOUR TIME. I had one of my best years at work and I think it was because I would be in the water with just my head right?  No teammates or music, so I would come up with all these ideas.  In fact I know I drove people at work nuts because I would get home and spend a good 20 minutes just emailing out my ideas!!!  But in terms of what keeps you in best shape, I think it is swimming, it's total body, and your lungs really get strong, my endurance is sick deep now.  Pool Running just doesn't do it for me really and your head is outside the water so I freeze.  Elliptigo I love, but it makes me yearn to run SO bad, Elliptical I fart around on too much, it's at a gym right?  So I chat, watch TV, etc and don't really work hard enough.  Step Mill is killer, and I like that, so probably a close 2nd to swimming.  Net - nothing replaces what you love to do when you cannot do it.  Nothing :(

7.   The Mental Piece of Healing.
This one, I cannot stress enough how important this is.  And I realize I am the kettle calling the pot black here. But what is in your head is GOING to effect how your body reacts.  Stress has a CRAZY influence on the body.  Scientifically proven, it causes inflammation which is the root of all injury.  This year by far was the most stressful for me in a long time - My job scope increased significantly, wedding planning, future planning with fiancee, deaths in the family, moving,and not to mention the stress of  qualifying for the Trials.  You have to to have an outlet and let that go - - I internalize EVERYTHING and say "I'm great".  It's not until the last 2 months here that I began to actually throw-up the garble in my head....and it's helping.  A lot.  Net - - Fix your head, your body will fix itself.

8.  People.
They're amazing.  In a year with a lot of not so cool things happening out there in the world, this year showed  me personally the beauty of people.  I had so many people help me  through this, the skin off their back.  Selflessly give hours and hours to try and get me to the line.  Others to just hug me when I couldn't  talk it out, and others to be  there for me even when I wanted to crawl under a rock.  I could tell you 100 stories - about the amazing Becky, Rachel. or Doc Maynard, about my Mom, my hero Mrs. Cyr, My coach, my teammates, my sister, about Paul who owns the Pilates studio, or Sumit and Dayna from the Yoga Studio,  my amigos out East (Brooker, Z, Jeff), my Cincy amigos(too many to mention), my Chicago amigos, work peeps, my PHX amigos (Ted, Rosy, Kristi, Shelly, Lauren, 'W", Katie Tina) and on and on, but instead I will tell you one that will give you chills.  My last post generated so many texts, messages, comments, emails it was very overwhelming, I was...well floored.  I got messages from people I did not even know who follow my blog.  One of those, I am not sure I should mention her name? so I won't, (well heck I can say her first name!  Julie), reached out to me, and asked if she could run the Houston Marathon and dedicate  it to me.  I know what that means, b/c I do it every race I run,and I take it VERY seriously.  I won't tell you the details of the conversation but it brought me to tears, that someone would do that for me.  Net, people are amazing, they have really big hearts.  There is more good out there then bad.  And if you let them in, you'll be better for it.  We're here in this world together for a reason.

9.  Pilates/Yoga

One thing this year did was really get in me into pilates and yoga - and in all honesty for not having surgery on 2 torn ligaments in my ankle I am pretty sure the combination of these 2 practices naturally healed and strengthened my ankle.  Now don't get any visions in your head of me being this elegant yogi - my standing tree looks more like a burning bush - but my balance has gotten noticeably better, it mentally takes the edge off for me, and my hips/glutes/total core are 100x stronger thanks to pilates.  Most importantly they each have these pockets of community that are totally separate from running that can be kind of a nice escape; just different circles that are humbling, yet welcoming.

Pilates Buds (this picture was much harder then it looks) :)
My yoga peeps..don't they just make you want to hug people?  It's like an aura they carry that screams LOVE :)

10.  Time

It's amazing....but time, well it heals EVERYTHING :)


Anyways,  that's a wrap.  I hope there was something in here that maybe could help you at some point, and as always if you have ANY questions just holler.  I've been there :)