Week in Review: April 2-8, 2012

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a “week in review” post mostly because I haven’t had a whole lot to report. I’ll admit that there’s not a whole lot to report this week either, but I have started things up again:

Monday: 3 miles easy

Tuesday: 5 miles easy

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: Off

Friday: 3 miles easy

Saturday: 5.3 miles easy

Sunday: Off

Total: 16.3 miles

16.3 miles! That’ll be about the average long run if I decide to run the Walt Disney World marathon. After Monday and Tuesday’s runs, I felt a little soreness in my knees. I took Wednesday and Thursday off and the soreness went away. Friday morning’s run was very pleasant and we had a great group for the Saturday morning run.

Everything feels good now, so I’ll see if I can ramp up to (gasp) 20 miles next week. I’m still running very much by feel so I don’t really want to force myself into any kind of schedule just yet. Still, I’d like to get a little more mileage next week.

Posted in Training | 1 Comment

Running for Brews St. Pete

On Saturday, I showed up to my normal group run (the one I lead) planning on doing 5 or 6 miles. Inia was the only other person who showed up and she wanted to do 8 so I ran along with her. The pace was right around 10 minutes per mile and I held up well, though I was glad to be finished. My legs were sore most of the rest of the day.

In my new mission to further explore the local running community, I headed to World of Beer last night for the Running for Brews St. Pete group run. There, I met Tori for the second time in as many weeks and Rick, who ran with me two Saturdays ago. This group is just over a month old, but 33 people showed up. It was only a 3 mile run punctuated with 2 stops for lunges, sprints and other strength exercises.

I ran pretty comfortably with the two leaders for the first 3/4 mile before they stopped to lead the group in the strength exercises. Since I had already done some of that with the track team earlier in the day, I circled back to Tori and another runner (Erika) who had also decided to skip that portion of the workout. We continued on up the pier and back to World of beer at just under a 10 minute mile pace.

The running for brews group. Yes, this picture was taken a few weeks before I ran with them, but they haven't changed much in the last month...there's just more of them.

Afterward, World of Beer had some great half price specials for runners on about 10-12 draft beers. I had a Carlsberg lager because I don’t like heavy beers (especially after I’ve just run). I can’t say it was the best beer I’ve ever had, but it sure was cheap!

 

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I finally forgot

I ran my last marathon in February 2010. It’s been roughly 25 months. Late yesterday morning, I was browsing through some posts on the “Bling Whores” Facebook group when I suddenly forgot how much marathon training sucks. I forgot about Saturday afternoons lazing around on the couch or dragging my butt behind my wife at the grocery store because I ran an insane number of miles earlier in the morning. I forgot about what it’s like to not have any free time because it’s all spent running.

Woe is me. No bueno.

I forgot that the first time I tried to run a marathon, I limped for 8 miles, then spent 5 quality minutes in a port-a-potty before limping another 19 miles to the finish line (my limping caused some meandering) before limping through a maze of Powerade tables, food tables, photo areas and finally a baggage tent where I was greeted by my family and another quarter mile limp to a bus.

I forgot that the second time I ran a marathon, I was cruising along like a champ well on my way to the goal time before I decided that consuming my last gel seemed like too much effort. I forgot that my calves cramped up at mile 24. I forgot the sound of the voices on the crowd lined street and the man who said,

“He’s cramping, honey! Look, he’s cramping.”

Only half as far? Muy Bueno!

I forgot that I long ago decided that the half marathon is my favorite distance.

I thought for a brief moment, “Hey, wouldn’t it be fun to run the Walt Disney World marathon this year?”.

And the thought didn’t get immediately squashed. It’s the 20th anniversary of the Walt Disney World marathon and my first marathon was the 15th anniversary. Some people run it every year. Maybe I run it every 5 years. The Florida Keys Ragnar Relay is the weekend before the Disney Marathon instead of the same weekend. So, I can have a Ragnar team and still run Disney.

I’m not committing. It’s 286 days away. I’ve been whipping kids into shape at track practice and frantically putting together Ragnar Relay teams for adults. I’ve been working three jobs and my thoughts have been running into so many directions that I sometimes wish I could just go back to stocking the shelves of the grocery store everyday.

It seems I’ve forgotten how much that sucked too.

My point is that the one thing I haven’t been doing a lot of is running. While a race is often good motivation, I need to prove to myself that I still enjoy that level of running without the lure of a race.

From past experience I also know I need a good running group to help me through the miles. When I ran my second marathon, I had Richie, Steve and Justin running with me every Saturday morning. Their early morning good humor made the miles fly by and those long runs were often the highlight of my week instead of something to be dreaded. On any given Saturday, one of us was always feeling good enough to challenge the rest of the group to run a little bit faster. Because of them, that second marathon was actually a lot better than I made it sound. I PR’ed by nearly two hours, after all!

So, we’ll see how the next few months go. Maybe I’ll hit a few beer runs on weekday nights to feel out the rest of the running community. There are always plenty of locals running Disney!

 

Posted in Inspiration | 6 Comments

Walk Your Way to Optimum Health

Today’s guest post is written by my friend Rachel.

Andrew Weil, M.D., a world-renowned pioneer in the field of integrative medicine with a Harvard education and a lifetime of practicing natural and preventive medicine, now has healing-oriented shoes! His Orthaheel products are designed to provide a supportive walking shoe that will help align your body while you walk your way to health. His Spring 2012 collection features AMS (Aided Motion System) orthotic technology, great styles and fresh colors.

Tips from Dr. Weil

Here are the top 5 ways to proactively lighten your mood through the simple act of walking effectively:

1. Exercise Daily. The goal is to get physical activity every day, which will result in optimal results for both mind and body. Aside from physical body improvements, regular exercise also prevents and relieves mood problems. Dr. Weil recommends daily walking as the best exercise for most people to obtain optimal benefit.

2. Get Outside, Connect with Nature. Insufficient contact with nature predisposes us to depression. Take advantage of regular walks outside – city parks, gardens and forest hikes. Seek out beautiful, natural environments to walk in to lift your spirits.

3. Laugh! Walk With a Friend. If you are sad or lack social connection, spend time with people who make you laugh and join them for a walk outside. Avoid Facebook, cell phones or email as your only means of connecting.

4. Meditative Walk, Repeat a Mantra. Mantra repetition is portable, convenient and easy to implement anywhere at any time, especially while walking! This type of repetition can also make the time pass quickly if you find it hard to stay motivated. Select an appropriate word or phrase that can be used as a tool to interrupt negative thinking and depressive rumination. Find a quiet place to walk, as silence refreshes the spirit, reduces anxiety and makes it easier to be mindful.

5. Focus on Breath. If mantra repetition doesn’t work for you, focus on your breath while on a meditative walk and when you are stuck on troubling thoughts. Practice the 4-7-8 breathing technique to control anxiety. (Inhale for 4, hold for 7, and exhale for 8.)

I received a sample sandal from the fashion-meets-function shoe line from America’s leading wellness doctor. The line is set to inspire easier movement, greater endurance and enhanced energy. He collaborated with Phillip J. Vasyli, Australian podiatrist and founder of the award-winning Orthaheel® technology.

Because the shoes have AMS (Aided Motion System) orthotic technology, the inside of the shoe rounds up to aid in your foot’s arch. AMS ensures optimum comfort from the ground up, counteracting the daily grind of walking on hard, flat, unnatural surfaces. If you think back to how our ancestors learned to walk, the ground beneath them was not paved or black-toppped. Rather it was dirt, sand or gravel, something that curved with the arch of the foot rather than flattening the bottom of the foot.

“By allowing your foot to function the way it was designed to, the Weil Integrative Footwear line helps restore your freedom to move with ease,” said Dr. Weil, of the Dr. Weil Integrative footwear line. “Walking is what the body is designed to do and our goal is to promote movement with comfort and style.”

The pair I have is a leather flip flop with some studs and cutouts on top for decoration. They are stylish and comfortable. I like that the black leather has a distressed look, and the piece between the toes is a heavy nylon fabric, not pleather. I eased into wearing them, as suggested. First around the house a few times after work. Then while running some shopping errands around town. I didn’t have to do much easing. They were comfy and cute.

But the kicker – the day I KNEW I loved them – was the weekend I had a Gala on Friday night. After dancing in high heels for hours, literally, the balls of my feet were achy. My toes hurt as I crawled into bed. After removing all my layers of eye makeup, it was the last thing I thought about before drifting off to sleep. Then, Saturday morning, I had to wake up and be mom-on-the-go bright and early in the morning, and wearing these shoes massaged the balls of my feet and made them feels SO MUCH BETTER! They weren’t just comfy, they were healing. I was even able to do my shopping while walking around the Saturday Morning Market (it’s Florida, it doesn’t feel like winter here.)

I recently received a flyer in the mail from a local department store. They have some cute leather sandals with very similar styles. But they were completely flat on the inside. They didn’t have any of the added benefits of the Orthaheels. And on the inside of the strap of the Orthaheels, which you can’t see in this photo, there is a little sliver of elastic to help the shoe move with you too! The only drawback I have seen is that the woodgrain pattern inside the bottom of the heel is rubbing off after only wearing them for 2 months.

You can watch a video of why they work the way they do here:

The line includes stylish, leather flip flops and sandals for both men and women; as well as soft, supple moccasins and premium slip-resistant lace-up walking shoes for women. Hand-sewn stitching, full-grain leather and premium suede uppers are fashionable details seeded in comfort and functionality. All styles include built-in Aided Motion System technology: Tri-Planar Motion Control EVA orthotic footbed and 1st Ray Flexor Zone.

While promoting a healthy lifestyle, the Weil Integrative Footwear collection also promotes a healthy world! The shoes are eco-inspired, incorporating eco-friendly materials including water-based adhesives and some recycled rubber, and are packaged in recycled cardboard boxes and tissue paper.

Dr. Weil donates all of his after-tax profits from sales of Weil Integrative Footwear products directly to the Weil Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting integrative medicine through training, education and research.

So, no more excuses! Get out there and start walking! If you think you can’t find the time for exercise, here are simple ways to get at least 30mins of walking in per day, depending on your lifestyle:

City Dwellers: Walk an extra five blocks to get to the next subway station closer to your destination. Or walk an extra five blocks in any direction to find a new lunch outlet.

Career Focused: Take your 2pm conference call outside during a walk.

Parents: Walk your kids to school in the morning, if they’ll let you.. .or at least part of the way so you don’t embarrass them. (Bonus: Vitamin D boost if it’s sunny!)

Shoppers: Park in the last row. (Bonus: Quick and easy parking spot. Instead of wasting that time and gas searching the lot, spend that time walking!) or walk to a nearby store instead of driving. (Bonus: bicep and core workout carrying your purchase home!)

Yogis: Walk to the studio in these 3rd chakra color flip flops. (Bonus: Get a good warm up for improved stretching and muscle tone!)

The footwear collection ranges in price from $89.95 to $129.95 and is available at Dillard’s and select retailers across North America. For more information and to view informative videos on the health benefits of walking and the Weil Integrative Footwear collection, please visit www.weilbeing.com. Or view the whole collection for men and women at orthaheelusa.com.

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On the comeback trail

After last week’s promising performance in the Jingle Bell Run, I gave myself permission to head to the park for some mile repeats at threshold pace today. Based on an 18:47 in a 2.9 mile race, my threshold range for 1 mile cruise intervals is between 6:45 and 7:05.

I’ll admit that I was tired this morning and it took a lot of convincing to get myself to the park. My warm-up lap felt good, but after a quick stretch I was ready to drive home and crawl back in bed. I convinced myself to complete four 1 mile repeats with 2 minute walking rests in between. Here’s how they went:

warm-up: 8:30

mile 1: 6:36

mile 2: 6:35

mile 3: 6:39

mile 4: 6:41

cool down: 8:42

Mile 4 was pretty tough and I was really feeling it in my legs. So, my threshold pace predictions were pretty accurate. I probably took the first three a little too fast. The knee held up throughout the entire workout. It was a little sore afterward, but felt better after stretching and massage with “the stick”. I felt pretty wiped out the rest of the day, but it feels good to be back in the game and to be hitting these cruise intervals faster than my planned pace for the Rock & Roll half marathon.

Posted in Training | 2 Comments

2011 St. Petersburg Jingle Bell Run

The annual Wednesday night Jingle Bell run has become a tradition for our family and I think I’ve run it for the last four years straight. I’ve taken it fairly seriously in the past, but there are no race numbers, no clock at the finish, and often times several walkers lining up right on the starting line. The run starts on the St. Petersburg Pier and was probably 5K at one time, but as it became more popular, I think they moved the start/finish line further toward the base of the pier to accommodate more people. Thus, I’ve learned to look at it for what it is: a fun run and after a day of reviewing health insurance quotes for my company, I was ready for a fun run.

Still, with the knee on the mend, I’ve been looking for an opportunity to test it out before giving myself the go ahead to start speed workouts in preparation for the 2012 Rock and Roll St. Petersburg half marathon. So, I chatted with a few friends in the crowd at the starting line before moving up closer to the front of the pack as the jingle bells signified the start.

I went out at a brisk, but comfortable pace, not going out of my way to pass people, but accelerating whenever there was an opening in the crowd. Less than a quarter mile from the start, I heard my name called and turned around to see Meredith. I ran backward for a few feet as we briefly chatted, then turned and made my way ahead. There were still people walking on the course as I rounded the corner at the base of the pier, but I soon broke free of the pack. The knee was feeling good, so I started to pick runners off one by one.

I made it through the 1 mile mark in about 6:45, which I thought was pretty good all things considered. My legs were feeling a little sore from the week’s weight training but I was otherwise comfortable. I made my way toward the Northshore pool, passing a few runners along the way and I rounded the halfway point still feeling comfortable.

Gaps were starting to develop between runners, but I wasn’t really very concerned. I was just running on the edge of discomfort. I would accelerate past a runner, then back off slightly, revving my engine into the red briefly, then coasting for a while to recover. When I made my way past the two mile mark, my legs were beginning to feel tired but my breathing was going well, so I passed a few more runners.

When I made it back to the base of the pier, the half a pizza I had eaten just an hour before was starting to weigh on me. I was developing a side stitch, but I knew I only had a about a half mile to go. A police officer walked the median of the road and yelled out our placements. I was in 21st place, which I figured was decent, but in the back of my mind I figured I could probably pass one more person for 20th.

Although I felt myself continue to “stitch up”, I drew close to the runner in front of me, then hammered a hard acceleration. He immediately responded and we both passed the runner in front of him. Content with 20th place and not wanting re injure my knee in a fun run, I let him go and crossed the finish line in 18:47. Had it been a 5K, I would have been ecstatic, but my Garmin read 2.9 miles. The pace was still good for a sub 20 minute 5K, so I was happy with that. Better yet, my knee felt okay (and still does) so it looks like I can give myself the green light for some mile repeats next week.

It was a nice week of training:

Monday: 3 miles easy + lower body weight training

Tuesday: 4 miles easy + upper body and core weight training

Wednesday: 3 miles hard

Thursday: 3 miles easy + full body weight training

Friday: Off

Saturday: 10 miles

Sunday 3 miles easy

Total: 26 miles

 

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Injinji Performance Toesocks

They're like bionic feet.

For the last year and a half, I’ve been on a minimalist kick. I’m not a hard core barefoot runner, but I do believe that a whole lot of padding in the heel of my shoe isn’t helping me a lot and I’ve noticed that running requires a little bit less effort now that I’ve been running almost exclusively in minimalist shoes for over a year.

While I’ve yet to attempt a run in toe shoes, I’ve always been intrigued by the concept of toe socks. So, I obtained a pair of Injinji lightweight toe socks and took them out for a few runs. Like the Cabbage Patch Kid I got for my 7th birthday, my Injinji socks came with a little instruction memo.

Yes, I had a Cabbage Patch Kid.

Actually, I had two: Bernard Travis and Hannibal Victor, which sounds suspiciously like Hannibal Lecter but the thing never tried to kill me or eat me. Cut me some slack. I have an older sister.

In any case, the little memo that came with the socks let me know that the best way to get a feel for the toesocks was to simply get out and about with them. To quote the memo, “your first time wearing Injinji Toesocks may feel a little funny, due to unfamiliarity with the unique fabric-between-the-toes sensation. However, after a few wears and washes, you’ll soon find that they come to feel like a second skin.”

With that advice in hand, I slipped on the toe socks for the first time…or at least I tried to. I was first introduced to Bonnie Consolo by my high school Spanish teacher. She was born without arms and with the absence of hands, she accomplished many tasks such as peeling vegetables and playing the guitar using her very dextrous feet. I’m no Bonnie Consolo. The human hand is a wondrous thing. It is a precision instrument. We often take for granted the amount of control we have over our hands and how effortless it is to quickly and seamlessly slip on a glove. The feet, are more of a blunt instrument that we pound into the ground over and over day after day for our entire lives. It’s a little hard to get those toes going in new directions.

After a minute or two of wrangling, I was able to get the toesocks on my feet and you know what? They felt a little funny. I went for a run and after a little while I forgot I was wearing them. A high knit count makes the lightweight performance toesocks durable despite their ultra-thin fiber construction. They’re composed of Coolmax, Nylon and Lycra so they remain dry throughout the run and retain their 5 toe shape through all the punishment I dish out on the road and in the laundry.

One huge advantage of toesocks is that they position the toes in a more anatomically correct position and prevent skin on skin friction that causes blisters. I was lucky enough to be born anatomically correct, I suppose (thanks mom & dad) and I’ve never had any problems with toe blisters in the past. So, I can’t really speak for the toesocks’ effectiveness in that regard. I will say that the precision stitching in the heel, the arch support and the dual welt band at the ankle do a phenomenal job of keeping the socks in place. There’s no bunching and no slippage at all.

The best thing I can say about these socks is that I really do forget I’m wearing them and I’m not sure I could say anything better about a sock. I mean, who really wants to think about their socks after they’ve put them on? “Second skin” is certainly a perfect description for the fit. The worst thing I can say is that it takes a while to put them on. Fortunately, I’m not so busy that I can’t spare an extra minute to pamper my feet. I suppose they do deserve it after all.

***Disclaimer: The Injinji Toesocks were complimentary, but the opinions expressed are all mine. ***

 

 

Posted in Gear | 1 Comment

Training?!? What’s that?

I’ve got a streak going! This is my second blog post in as many days.

I’ll be the first to admit that my own training has suffered since I’ve started coaching more. Lately, however, I’ve been getting back into the groove. Maybe it’s the end of the cross country season, or maybe it’s the cooler weather. Certainly the time change and the open windows have conspired to deliver sunlight to my bedroom early in the morning and that gets me out of bed earlier.

Sure I’m captaining 8 Ragnar Relay teams in 2012, but I’m not officially running any of them. So, I’ve registered for the inaugural St. Petersburg Rock and Roll half marathon. It’s in late February and it’s in my hometown! I’ve run a few 5K’s and 10K’s in St. Pete, but I’ve never run a major race in my hometown. So, that will be fun. I figure that if I ran 1:36 and change at the Wine and Dine half marathon on very little training, then I should be able to get myself back under 1:30 on 12 solid weeks of training.

That, of course means speed workouts and speed workouts mean I have to get rid of this nagging tendonitis in my left knee. So, I’ve been getting up early and hitting a yoga mat in my living room. I haven’t been doing yoga. I’ve been doing my own body weight strength training routines.

I start with the Myrtl routine (which actually isn’t mine). It’s great for attacking the basis of the tendonitis in the knee. Then, I progress to the leg routine, the upper body routine and the core routine before going back for one more pass at the Myrtl routine. I go from exercise to exercise without stopping to rest in between so it gets my heart rate going too. In a way, it’s a little like P90X.

I’ve been doing it three times a week and running easy on the in between days. Sometimes I run with the cross country team in the afternoon after doing the strength workout in the morning. I feel stronger and my knee feels more stable everyday. I can still feel odd pressure there, but the pain is gone. I think in another week, I might be able to throw in a tempo run or some cruise intervals.

I’m also leading a run group on Saturday mornings and a lot of people attending that group are doing the same race. So, it’s nice to share that common goal with everyone else. My long runs are at 10 miles and I’ll have no problem safely getting up to 15 for a few of them before race day.

Posted in Training | 1 Comment

2011 Tennessee Ragnar Relay

I think the last time I posted about a Ragnar Relay, I used 3 full posts. Don’t worry, I’m not going to do that this time. After all, I didn’t really run this one. I was just the captain. As most of my loyal readers know, I’ve dedicated my life to bringing runners together for social running opportunities. While I’m always open to suggestions, the thing that has worked the best is getting a bunch of strangers together to run relay style for 200 miles in some of the most beautiful places in the country.

The 2011 Tennessee Ragnar Relay was my first such attempt and it couldn’t have gone much better. I announced that the Digital Running Club was putting a team together way back in June. Interest was slow at first and I started to doubt whether I might pull this off. By the time we reached the early bird deadline for the relay, we had 5 people signed up for the team. I had also promised all those people their money back if the team didn’t fill up by October 1st.

So, I took a very deep breath when I forked over a non-refundable $1200 to register the team for the relay. Fortunately, interest grew after the early bird deadline and the team filled with all 12 members only a day or two in to September. Now, you might think that putting a team of 12 strangers together could go very wrong. I was worried, for instance, that one or more of the team members would not show up. I figured that if that happened, I would just fill in. Then, of course there’s always the worry about how people will get along. Would there be drama in the vans?

Everyone got along great and they all became fast friends. Here’s how it all turned out in video form:

If you like that video, please, please, please vote for it by clicking HERE, scrolling past the sign up form (you don’t need to fill it out) and clicking the little “vote” square underneath our video. We’ve got a solid hold on second place, but we need to catch the Trunk Monkeys for the win. If we win, we’ll get a free entry into next year’s relay and I’ll sweat much less when I register the team. Go. Do it now. You can come back and read the rest of this later.

I did manage to get an 8.2 mile run in during the middle of the night. I decided I was going to escort John, our fastest runner through his nighttime leg. I followed him closely for about a mile and then he turned it up and dropped me. He ran that leg in just over 53 minutes. I think I squeaked under and hour. If it had been my leg, I would have been happy with it, but it’s always pretty sobering when they guy you’re pretending to escort comes in 8 minutes before you.

It was funny later when I heard people talking about the “young sleeveless guy” passing everybody on that leg. Sleeveless me passed 6 people. Fully sleeved John passed 11. Clearly they did not even see him run by.

I’m so excited that this relay went off so well, though I did learn a few things for our next relay. The Florida Keys Ragnar Relay team is full and it’s only a month and a half away from lining up at the starting line in Miami! We’re headed to Arizona for the Del Sol Ragnar Relay in February and we’ve still got a few spots left on that team, so be sure to sign up if you’re interested.

Posted in Races | 1 Comment

Hyland’s Muscle Therapy Gel

Get your own free sample - see below

Last month, I ran surprisingly well at the Disney Wine & Dine half marathon. One of the reasons I had low expectations for that race was that I had previously injured my left knee trying to out sprint a high school runner at the end of cross country practice. I was experiencing inflammation on the lateral part of that knee and had only maxed out my long runs at 12 miles. Both of those workouts were painful.

Shortly before the race, Hyland’s sent me a package of goodies. Enclosed was a huge bag of samples of their Muscle Therapy Gel containing Arnica. I had never heard of it, but the package read “Natural Pain Relief”, so I slathered the gel all over my left knee before I departed the hotel for the race.

The inflammation in my knee disappeared almost immediately. Honestly, I didn’t think much of it because I’ve used other products before that just seem to mask the pain with another sensation. This gel, however, is different. It’s a little runnier than most gels or creams but it’s not greasy or sticky and it dries quickly. Unlike other topical pain relief products, it has no detectable odor.

I ran the half marathon pain free until the 10 mile mile mark. With all the waiting around we did before the start, that was about 4 1/2 to 5 hours after I applied the gel in the hotel.

The next morning, Raffi woke up with a pain in her neck (not my fault). Since we were planning on hanging out at the Epcot Food & Wine festival all day, she wanted to be comfortable. I suggested she try the muscle therapy gel. She did and she described the same almost instantaneous relief of the pain in her neck and shoulder.

Being a studious scientist, I did a little research when I got home. It turns out that Arnica montana (also known as Wolf’s Bane) is a poisonous plant native to mountainous regions of Europe. It contains derivatives of thymol, which have anti-inflammatory effects. In fact, a study published in 2007 showed that Arnica gels were just as effective as daily ibuprofen use for relieving pain in patients with osteoarthritis and had fewer side effects. Another study showed that people with arthritis of the knee who used Arnica gels twice daily for 3 weeks experienced significant reductions in pain and increased mobility.

I’ve never been a fan of long term usage of ibuprofen because of it’s associated risk of myocardial infarction and stroke in addition to the potential for hypertension – not to mention the gastrointestinal effects. So, having an all natural alternative that actually works well is awesome. To be fair, Arnica gels do cause mild allergic skin reactions in a small percentage of people and they should never, ever be used on damaged on broken skin. All in all, however, Arnica gels are a safe and effective alternative to ibuprofen and I’m happy I’ve still got several Hyland’s Muscle Therapy gels left over. I only I hope I won’t have any reason to use them!

If you’d like to try it for yourself, Hyland’s is giving away samples of the gel. All you have to do is check out Hyland’s Fit Talk on Facebook, “Like” the page and let them know that Coach Brian from the Digital Running Club sent you. They’ll contact you and send you a free sample.

Alternatively, you can follow them on Twitter, then let them know that @RunCoachBrian from @DigitalRunning sent you. They’ll get in touch for your mailing info so they can send out the free sample.

Edit: The giveaway will close on Sunday 11/13/2011 at 11:59 PM ET. You will be contacted on Monday 11/14/2011 for the mailing address where you’d like to receive your free sample.

***Disclaimer: The Hyland’s Muscle Therapy Gel was complimentary, but the opinions expressed and background research are all mine. ***

Posted in Injury | 3 Comments