What to Do About Yoga, Sprinting and Hallux Limitus Toe Pain

Sit back, get comfortable, and let’s talk toes!

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I haven’t had a lot of problems with my hallux limitus recently because I don’t run as often as I used to. Interestingly (that is, if you find toes at all compelling), my left toe joint doesn’t bother me when I run sprints, whereas steady-state running causes it to get red, bulbous and angry like Trump after too much time in the tanning bed. So, if you’re someone who runs on occasion and has a hallux limitus problem, try doing sprints with walking intervals. Sprints are better for fat loss, too.

Quick side note…here’s my favorite sprint workout:

  • sprint 20 seconds, walk until your heart rate comes down
  • sprint 30 seconds, walk until your heart rate comes down
  • sprint 40 seconds, walk until your heart rate comes down
  • sprint 60 seconds, walk until your heart rate comes down
  • repeat until you reach 20 minutes (I aim for four rounds, but usually get 3 or 3.5)

In addition to sprinting and lifting weights, my husband and I recently started a beginner Vinyasa yoga course at a local studio. I am really enjoying it, but my hallux limitus toe…not so much.

Luckily, the instructor is awesome and showed me some ways to work around the annoying hallux limitus I have going on in my left big toe. Here are a couple of the poses that were bothering it, and how I am adapting the poses:

4 Limb Staff Pose (Chaturanga Dandasana)

This pose is similar to a plank, except you are down in the low portion of a push-up with your elbows close to your torso. Obviously, your feet seem like they would be flexed with your toes supporting some of your weight. As it turns out, though, you should actually be on the tip of your toes–like a ballerina.

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I know that seems difficult and super ouchie (technical mom term), but it is actually better for my lame, inflexible toe joint. Most of your weight, I learned, is supposed to be supported by your core and upper body. Your toes are really only involved for stabilization purposes.

Hallux limitus and yoga
4 Limb Staff pose on the tips of my freakish, big toes.

I know being on the tips of your toes sounds hard, but if you focus on supporting yourself with your core and upper body, you will discover that being on the ends of your toes is actually just fine. Just make sure your nails are trimmed if you’re one of those people who likes long toenails. Also, ew. No.

Crescent Lunge (Anjaneyasana) and Variations

Toey doesn’t likey. (I watch too many David Spade movies.) I figured this pose would be a problem because I have issues in other workouts when doing lunges and switch jumps. In the Crescent Lunge and also the Revolved Crescent Lunge (plus other variations I have yet to learn, I’m sure), the foot is flexed with the heel and the ball of the foot in line in a vertical position. Basically, the heel should be pointed up toward the ceiling.

Yoga and Hallux Limitus
How the back heel should look. (If you have a normal toe, you will have more flex at the ball of the foot and you won’t have your right knee tracking past your ankle–I simply can’t do it because of the toe joint).

But my yoga instructor said that with my hallux limitus, my left heel will have to be pointed back and my foot will be more at an angle than up and down like it should be. And he said that’s totally okay.

Hallux limitus and yoga
How I have to do the pose with the hallux limitus in my big left toe. Notice my left heel pointing back instead of up. But my right knee is in line with my ankle and I’m sitting into the pose better.

He emphasized that we are all built different and we need to accommodate our body’s structural differences.

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It has been my experience, so far, that even though my hallux limitus flares up a little bit after yoga, it is nowhere near as painful as after something like a half or full marathon. And because I have some other health issues that are keeping me from running very long distances these days, I don’t have to worry about it as much.

Buuuuut, if you insist on distance running, read my post on self-treatment options for runners with hallux limitus.

This has been Toe Talk with Kerrie. Good night and good luck toe you. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

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7 Tricks for Running a Magical 5K

7 Tricks for Running a Magical 5K

I have shocking news, you guys. Are you sitting down?

Well, stand up.

My husband has been running…and he is training for a 5K…race.

For those of you who might not know, my husband has lost more than 60 pounds since this time last year by walking and by eating well. But he got to a point this winter where he wanted to challenge himself and he started running using the Couch to 5K program.

And then he asked me to sign him up for a race. After I picked myself up off of the floor, I registered us for the Kirkland Shamrock Run 5K on March 11. (Psst: You can use my code MOMVSMARATHON to save 10% on this race.)

All this 5K talk has inspired me and now I want to train for a fast 5K again. Running a fast 5K is like magic. When it’s over, you’re not sure what happened, but you enjoyed the hell out of it.

Last time I did that was in 2014 at the See Jane Run 5K with my friend Kim. We both killed it and came in 2nd in our age groups. It wasn’t a PR, though. I think my PR is still 23:45 from the St. Paddy’s Day 5K in Tacoma in 2012. I’m not entirely sure because I don’t care enough to look it up.

See Jane Run 5K Race Recap 2014
Me and Kim at See Jane Run in 2014.

I can beat that, though, right? That course had a huge hill at the end that was like a half a mile long. I mean, I’ll be 40 in September, so maybe I should try to crush it in my 35-39 age group one more time.

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For this, I will have to call on my old “tricks,” to help me slay in a fast 5K either later this spring or this summer.

What are my tricks, you ask? Or maybe you didn’t ask, but I’m sharing them anyway.

Give myself time. If I really want to dominate in the 5K, I need to pick one that is far enough away that will allow me to get it right. I have to give myself adequate time to get lean and strong (see below), and then start my run training. In my experience, doing one thing at a time works best for me.

Get lean and strong. I am already doing this, as some of you may know. I work on strength 3-4 times/week. My favorite workouts are from Metabolic Effect and JillFit. The No. 1 factor in my ability to get stronger and stay on the leaner side is consistency. It’s my experience that one will not see resulst by working on strength one day a week. Ya need at least 3 days and ya need a plan or workouts that progress. I also recommend using heavy weights. The other part of the equation is eating well for leanness. That means lots of protein and fiber (fiber is vegetables, guys), and the right amount of carbs/starch for your body.

Run. This is crucial. I need to start doing this.

Find a training plan. Who has time to run every damn day? Not me. I have learned over the years to be realistic when I choose a training plan. Also, I’ve never had luck with free plans on the Internet (with the exception of Jeff Galloway’s Run-Walk marathon training). The plan I’ve used twice to get/go after 5K PRs is from Run Less Run Faster by Bill Piece, Scott Murr, and Ray Moss. I love this book because it is tailored to my current running fitness. It forces me to be realistic. It focuses on speed. And I only have to run 3 days a week. I like to run, but not as much as I used to. I’ve read and tried MAAAAAANNNNNY running books, and this is my favorite for the 5K and half marathon distances.

Warm up on the day of the race. I think Kim was hating me in 2014 when I made her warm up, but I have to. I cannot run fast on cold legs even if it’s hot out. You’ve all done long training runs, right? Isn’t it like Mile 3 where you finally start to feel good? Well, a 5K isn’t long enough for that. I don’t have time! I have to do some running and stretching before the race. Allow time for that. Leg swings, squats and lunges, and light jogging with fartleks thrown in is how I do it.

Stay focused during the race. I use an old tactic I learned on the cross country team in high school. I focus on a back and then I aim to pass it. Then I pick another back. If there are not backs, I pick a landmark and try to get by it as fast as possible. I know music is controversial, but I use it. There are certain songs that make me feel like I can fly. If music helps you, use it. This isn’t the Olympics, people.

Think of a 5K as a sprint. If you don’t want to puke at the end, you’re not doing it right.

Go forth and slay.

Struggling with Fat Loss Nutrition? Here are 2 Helpful Resources

Fat Loss Articles You Should Read if You Struggle with NutritionI don’t talk a lot about nutrition here because a) I’m not a nutritionist, and b) just when I think I have it figured out, I don’t.

But Point B is actually a good one (sometimes I am sort of smart!) because, from what I’ve learned through experience and lots of reading on the subject, nobody has it figured out completely. That’s because our bodies and our hormones are constantly changing and adjusting to our environments, and that includes the foods we eat and the type of exercise we do. This becomes increasingly clear as we age (you guys, I’m gonna be 40 this year).

Point B is also why I am super wary of one-size-fits-all “weight loss” programs like Weight Watchers. (Read this awesome explanation of why Oprah is doing Weight Watchers here—it’s not why you think. Thanks to my friend Marsha for sharing it.) I did Weight Watchers several times (before I knew better pre-2009) and each time I would lose and then gain it all back.

These types of programs don’t work for long-term fat loss and body change. Why? I’ve got a couple good links for you to check out at the end…stay with me here…

Our bodies are all so different. Okay, duh, we all look different. But did you know our insides are different, too? We all have different hormonal make-ups. The way our bodies use food is unique to each of us.

I could follow Weight Watchers and eat based on their points (or whatever they’re doing now), and still be eating foods that my body stores as fat. For me, sugar (even in the form of healthy foods like starchy potatoes and brown rice, etc.) is stored mostly as fat. But that’s just me. Your body is different.

And don’t take my word for it because…well, see Point A. Here are a couple not-too-long articles to read if you have been struggling with nutrition and weight or fat loss.

Naturopathic doctor and fat loss expert Jade Teta writes about it in an article called, simply: How to Reduce Belly Fat. I have read this many times, yet I always forget. This is an area of my body I struggle with quite a bit. While I don’t have a really big belly, it’s actually not a good size for my frame, and by that I mean it’s an unhealthy size. Story fat around the organs in your mid-section can be dangerous. But that’s a post for another time. Here’s an excerpt from Dr. Teta’s article:

“The single biggest influence over the levels of insulin in your body comes from the amount of starchy and sweet foods you eat. The biggest influence over cortisol has to do with stress levels which are probably most directly related to sleep quantity and quality.” source

Another great article by Dr. Teta is this one about Health Foods vs. Fat Loss Foods. It makes a great point, so check it out here: 10 Healthiest Fat Loss Foods. Here’s an excerpt:

“Healthy eating has to do with vitamin amounts, mineral concentrations, essential fat content, fiber, and phytonutrient levels. There are plenty of foods that have great nutrient profiles that are not going to help most people lose fat. These include whole grains, nuts/seeds, avocados, olives, and high fat dairy foods to name a few.” source

Both articles have helped me get back on track this week after near-constant sugar cravings last week. I hope they help you, too. 🙂

6 Things I Wish I Would’ve Known Before Buying Dumbbells

 

6 Things to Consider Before Buying Dumbbells

I used dumbbells for most of my strength workouts. I squat with them, I lunge with them, I lift with them. But I hate doing pushups with them.

I have adjustable dumbbells (these ones right here), and the plates are round and held on with a screw washer thingie (technical term). I was thinking…I wish I’d known more about types of dumbbells and the pros and cons of each one before I got mine, so I am sharing my thoughts.

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1. Round Plates & Planking Problems

Round dumbbell plates make it difficult to do pushups, squat thrusts, planks, pushup-rows, burpees, or anything you need to be in a plank position for. They want to roll away, which okay, is good for stabilizer muscles, but it causes the screws to come loose and it drives me crazy. Sometimes I go down to my 12-pound non-adjustable cast iron dumbbells simply because they are hexagonal shaped on the ends.

2. Adjusting Dumbbells Mid-Workout

Adjustable-plate dumbbells make it difficult to change weights during a workout. You have to unscrew both sides on each bar—four screws—and take the plates on or off, or add plates. It’s not fast enough for me. I do a lot of HIIT-style workouts with my dumbbells and there’ s no time for this. It would be okay for traditional lifting with long rest breaks in between sets, but that’s not my style.

3. Bar Material Consideration

The bars on my adjustable dumbbells have an engraved criss-cross pattern that kills the palms of my hands. It’s not too bad for regular presses or pulls, but if I’m trying to do pushups or something…ouch. I have to wear gloves.

What I Wish I'd Known About Dumbbells
Ouchie.

The other thing about my adjustable pair is that the bar is smaller and so it presses into my hand more when planking or doing pushups. Imagine someone digging into your side with their elbow versus their palm. The non-adjustable pair has a wider bar that seems to distribute my weight more evenly and hurts my hands less.

4. The Storage Solution Situation

There’s no way to get around it, dumbbells take up a lot of space—but not more than a barbell (which is why I’m a dumbbell girl since I don’t have a dedicated workout room). I try to fit all mine in a corner of my master bedroom. The hubs bought me this dumbbell rack for Christmas:

What I Wish I'd Known About Dumbbells

I thought that the adjustable plated dumbbells would take up less space, there are still the plates to consider. So, I don’t know that using adjustable plates takes up less space than just regular ‘bells like my 12-pounders, which you can see on the bottom row in the picture above.

5. Weight Problems

I am in between weights right now. In most cases, 15 pounds is getting to be not quite heavy enough, but 20 is too heavy. I need 17-pounders, but even with adjustable dumbbells, I can’t get that since you need to distribute the weight evenly all over. Finding half-pound plates is kind of difficult. Besides, I can’t change plates mid-workout (see point number 2).

6. Just Say No to Neoprene

As you can see from my picture, I have a couple of pairs of these. I find them difficult to hold—the bar is too thick for my delicate lady hands, which is ironic since these “colorful” ‘bells are usually marketed toward women. I also don’t like them becuase they look to girly. I’m a badass. I want badass dumbbells. Ha!

What I Do Like & What I’d Do Different

I like my 12-pound cast iron dumbbells with hexagonal ends that I bought at Play It Again Sports—a consignment store for sporting goods. They still aren’t that cheap, though, so maybe just buy as needed. I admit they are a little clunky, though. They also make rubber-ended dumbbells in a hexagonal shape, but the bar always has that criss-cross engraving! I think if I could do it all over again (or if I suddenly get rich and get to build and outfit my own workout room), I would suck up the engraved bar bit and buy a whole set of hexagonal dumbbells like these (plus find a pair of 17s) and a rack like this.

Okay, there’s my two cents. Hope it helps!

How I Make Myself Do Things When I Don’t Feel Like Doing Anything

How I get myself to do things when I don't want to do anythingToday I don’t feel like doing anything. Well…I’d like to sit down in front of a Real Housewives marathon and eat all the marshmallows out of my son’s Lucky Charms. But I know if I do that, it’s all I will do all day.

The thought of working out makes me want to take a nap. Thinking about running errands makes me want to take a nap. The thought of writing, which I’m actually doing right this second, is making me want to take a nap. And I’m terrible at taking naps!

I just don’t feel like doing anything.

But remember that high school physics class with the weird teacher dude who used to blast classic rock before the lesson started? No? Just me? Okay, fine, I barely remember it; it’s just that and one actual thing about physics—the Law of Motion. And, full disclosure, I didn’t remember that it is called that—I just Googled it. Anyway, the Law of Motion says that an object in motion will stay in motion. And an object at rest will stay at rest.

So, guess what? I just had to get the writing motion started and now I feel like I’m on a roll. I’m in motion and I will stay in motion until something knocks me off course. Unfortunately, for writing, that could be a number of things. So many, in fact, that if I think about it too much, it’s scary. Simply losing my train of thought could cause me to stop writing and then disappear down some Internet rabbit hole (see photo below).

newtonheygirl

The Law of Motion is super cool (and I’m a nerd) because you can apply to pretty much everything. Even exercise.

If you’re like me, then you know that it’s so hard to get motivated to work out sometimes. Here’s me when I think about working out: I have to change clothes, put on shoes—are they downstairs?!—open my program, turn on music, get my weights out, then I’ll have to take a shower and dry my hair, and oh man, let me just sit down and rest because that sounds like a lot. Overwhelming, right? That’s why I’ve trained myself to NOT think about it.

When I noticed myself starting to think about working out too much, I stop thinking about it and I just do it. I say, “Nope. Stop. Get changed.” It’s just that little hump I have to get over because once I’m changing into my workout clothes and putting on my shoes, I’m already in motion and the workout gets done and then, THEN…watch out!

How I make myself do things when I don't feel like doing anything

Watch out because now I have all energy. Just changing my clothes, just typing one sentence, is like a little spark that lights a fire that grows and grows. I’m ready to take on the rest of the day now. I’m in motion and you better get out of my way or I will roll over you like that giant rock ball thing that chased Indiana Jones. And can you see how my writing is getting better and funnier (please say yes) becuase now I’ve been in motion for about 500 words and I’m just feeling warmed up.

Look out, MS Word, I’m coming for you next!

Captain Jack’s Treasure Run 5K 2016 Race Report

Captain Jack's Treasure Run 5K Race Recap

Blimey! It’s 2017 and I still haven’t written a recap for the Halloween race I did last year. I also never cleaned my garage, but…

My son asked me over the summer if we could run a 5K together. He’s run kid races (like 1Ks and stuff), but never a 5K. I was not worried about him not having formal training since he is constantly moving, running and jumping around. The Captain Jack’s Treasure Run seemed to be the perfect race to do with my active 8-year-old.

A 5K option? Check. A pirate theme? Check. Dressing up encouraged? Check. Medals for every participant? Check. Free photos? Check. Beer garden? Check. (Okay, we passed on the last one. What do you think this is, Europe?)

Another reason I chose this race is for the later start time—a lovely 10 a.m. I know some of you parents drew the short straw and have kids that wake before the sun, but my kid sleeps in to a reasonable time. Getting him up early is actually chore. So, we rose at a normal time, put on our pirate costumes (my son wore his old Disney Captain Hook Halloween costume here) and headed out for the race, which is about 45 minutes from our house.

Parking was free and not too far from the venue—Red Hook Brewery—so we found a spot and walked to pick up our race bibs. It was a little chilly in the upper 40s/low 50s, so I wished I’d thought to bring warm jackets for before the race. Mom fail. But, hey, it’s all part of the experience, right? I’m usually standing around freezing before races, so my son was getting to see what the real deal is.

After we got our bibs, we jogged back to the car and warmed up. Along with the bibs, we got awesome race shirts, which I ended up wearing (wish they had a kids size, though, for my son) tattoos, stickers and eye patches.

Back at the pre-race festivities, pirates wandered around handing out treasure (free toys for kids), and a lively crew put on a fun and funny warm up that my son enjoyed and made me participate in.

Captain Jack's Treasure Run 5K Race Recap - start
Us with a random pirate.

The start area was a little narrow, I thought, but they started us in waves based on how fast we thought we’d run and so it didn’t up being that bad. Also, the race was small enough that it wasn’t that much of a factor. A pirate had an old pistol to shoot for the start, which was fun, but a little scary. It wouldn’t work and then, blammo! I thought he was gonna blow the man down for a sec.

But everyone was safe and running. We started in the back of our pack, so we had a slow start. Also, my son’s feet were cold and hurt with each step, so it took us a little bit to get warmed up. The course was nice and flat and paved if just a little narrow (simply a normal biking path). This would actually be a total PR course as long as you start in the front. Starting in the back will make it tough to get around people. The scenery was really pretty with the river and the valley’s green grass and fall foliage, and everyone was in good spirits (which is totally fitting since it’s at a brewery).

My son did the typical kid thing—sprint, then walk, sprint, then walk. And it worked for him. I gave him advice about running races, such as look before you pass someone since a runner might be coming up behind you, and don’t just stop running right in front of people, pull off to the side (that is my biggest pet peeve about races). He also ran the entire race with an eye patch on.

Toward the end of the race, he started to run more steadily. His pace was much quicker than I thought he could do for that long. Proud mom. He enjoyed racing a young girl maybe a year or two older than him for about a quarter mile till she gave in and walked. That made me laugh inside because I would’ve been that girl (No stinky boy is gonna beat me!). With the finish in sight, I asked, “Do you want to hold hands over the finish line or…” I didn’t get it all out because he took off in a sprint to beat me.

Finish Line - Captain Jack's Treasure Run 5K Race Recap
I mentioned the free photos, right? Love this one!

I had to run fast to catch up because I wanted to see my son get his medal. He looked so proud of himself. We then got some water and a banana. Another fun thing this race had was a treasure box. We lined up and then my son chose from three doors to reach into. He got an awesome Brooks trucker hat with a skull and cross bones that I immediately stole.

My son's prize that I wear now.
My son’s prize that I wear now.
Captain Jack's Treasure Run 5K Race Recap - medals
Our fun medals.

I loved this race and plan to do it again next year with my son and maybe even my husband because he started running last month. If you’re interested in signing up for the race on Oct. 29, 2017, don’t forget to use my code MOMVSMARATHON to save 10% on your entry. The earlier you sign up, the cheaper it is. Right now it’s only $30 for the 5K and $35 for the 8K. So worth it for all the free stuff you get, from swag to photos, and don’t forget the free beer ticket thanks to Red Hook!

Avast! Read my disclaimer: As an Orca Running Ambassador, I had free entry into this race. I’m not good at lying (clearly not a real pirate), however, so all my opinions are honest and truthful.

Remember Me?

I know it seems like I don’t blog anymore, but I actually do. I just never post them. A lot of pretty lame stuff has been happening and I didn’t want to be a bummer, so I just did what I’ve always been taught: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. This is actually super-not helpful advice to give to a writer. I mean, some writers make fortunes out of writing about every horrible thing that can happen on this planet–or even in space, come to think of it.

It all started when I lost my job. That sucked, and even though I tried not to panic and we were okay and I knew everything would turn out just fine, I was still a ball of stress. I threw myself into working out in August and then I had the wonderful distraction of my mom and nephew coming to visit, and then a family vacay to Disney World. But then school started and the reality hit that I still did not have a job and…now what?

Luckily, it wasn’t too much longer before I suddenly had three interviews scheduled–and they all happened within two days. Shortly after that, I accepted one of them. It’s part-time, and it’s great, except I have to commute (twice as far as I used to)…but, thankfully, only two days a week. Those two days, however, really throw my body off. My hormones are all messed up (mostly because of sleep), and I have still been a little stressed trying to adjust to the pace of a new job, plus keep up with being a mom, working out, eating healthy…you know the drill. I just was not feeling well, and was occasionally throwing myself a pity party.

And then my friend killed herself. I found out because I was on a list of friends she wanted to notify. My heart is broken–especially for her family. And I am full of regret for not being a better friend–the last time I talked to her was right around when I lost my job over the summer. My friend was suffering from some health issues that kept her in near-debilitating pain. She’d been hurting for close to a decade, and it is my opinion that she simply could not deal with it anymore. That doesn’t make it easier to accept, however. Her memorial was last weekend, and I wasn’t going to talk about all this, but I just need to. She is gone and everyone who loved her is hurting.

The plus-side (if there is one), is that her being gone has put some things into perspective for me. This is why you don’t see me as much here or on Instagram or on Facebook or Twitter or on–yikes–SnapChat. I am more focused on living in the moment, and being a better person in real life. I love social media, and I love meeting people through the wonderful Interwebs, but I also need to be present in my off-line life.

That doesn’t mean I’m going to stop blogging. I do like having this space. And, wow, I’m behind on my Halloween race recap. So, signing off for now, but hoping to be back soon…thanks for reading. xo