Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

As the New Year begins and resolutions are made, there is usually one about getting(or staying) healthy for the upcoming year. As physical therapists, people are always asking Amber and me what we do to stay healthy and fit. Do we spend all day in the gym working out(me definitely not, Amber maybe)? What does a healthy day look like? Remembering that I like to look at the broader scope, we will take it a step further and ask: what does a healthy week look like?

While the specifics vary from person to person, there are some aspects of health that should be considered on a daily basis:

• Prevention:

         o Probably the most important aspect of living a healthy life(and one often overlooked by many endurance athletes) is to thwart preventable diseases or injuries. Getting recommended screening, immunizations, wearing seat belts, recognizing injuries early before they require treatment, etc all play a huge role in staying healthy.

• Eat 3 well-balanced meals:

            o According to the Harvard school of Public Health half your plate should be colorful vegetables. A quarter of your plate: whole grains. A healthy source of protein, such as fish, poultry, beans, or nuts, can make up the rest. To quench your thirst drink a cup of water or a similar drink with little to no sugar added.

Aerobic Exercise: 15-20 minutes of vigorous or 25-30 minutes moderate aerobic exercise

            o The American Heart Association recommends a minimum of 150-180 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise a week and 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise to combat cardiovascular diseases and improve quality of life. We certainly get that a week but the key, as I've mentioned before, is moderation and balancing it with everything else in your life.

          o Remember: If starting a new program, always contact your doctor first for approval and find an aerobic exercise you like since you’ll be more apt to continue doing it.

• Brush and floss your teeth.

            o The American Dental Association recommends twice daily brushings and once daily flossing to prevent decay and periodontal (gum) disease.

• Sleep 7-9 hours.

          o Sufficient sleep has been recognized to help with chronic disease prevention and health promotion.

           o The Center for Disease Control recommends going to bed at the same time each night, and rising at the same time each morning. Additionally it recommends sleeping in a quiet, dark, and relaxing environment, which is neither too hot nor too cold.

Other activities don’t need to be performed daily but should be done a few times a week and include:

Strengthen your core and joint stabilizers 3-4 days per week.

• Challenge your balance

            o Whether it is tai chi, yoga, Pilate's or something else, improving your balance has been shown to help decrease falls and strengthen muscles.

Challenge your mind

          o Just as your muscles need exercise, so does your brain. The Franklin Institute states that with most age-related losses in memory or motor skills it is a result of inactivity and/or a lack of mental exercise and stimulation. As we say in therapy all the time: Either use it or lose it.

While this list of recommendations may not be comprehensive, it is a good starting spot for most individuals to start the New Year on the right foot. If you would like more information or are interested in receiving one-on-one guidance, please contact your health care provider.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

And the Results are In!

We just finished the first annual Cullen Ferreira White Christmas Invitational where I pulled off a miraculous win over Brandon White. Despite my last minute heroics, it wasn't enough to put the Ferreira's ahead in the couples category with Brandon and Genny taking that prize.

I have kindly reminded Amber it is time for her to step it up for next year's Invite.

 Check out the photos and results here.

Amber and I were however nominated by Andy Schachat as the co-winners of the Couple of the Year award for NH. Andy used to bestow these awards as part of his column in Foster's and has continued the tradition. What a great honor!

Amber has gently informed me that it is time for me to step it up so we're the sole winners next year.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tis the Season... For Competing

Happy Holidays to everyone! With Christmas and this impending storm approaching, most people may be thinking about taking it easy and relaxing. Not Amber's family. Instead, starting Christmas day evening, the Cullen Ferreira White Christmas Invitational  will commence. This 3 day competition, based on my family's Gold Jacket Tournament, will include activities like a handicapped 5k road race, Wii Sports, board games, Dance competition, drinking games, bowling and many more. Best thing of all?  You can follow it as we post results, and most likely photos and videos on the website. We don't quite yet have the technological savvy to post results live like but we'll get them to you as soon as possible.
So while you're singing Yuletides around the fire, look over to one of your siblings/children/parents and challenge them to some friendly competition in the spirit of the season.

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Slow Time of Year for Blogging About Running

As the temperatures fall, the race choices dwindle, and before the snow falls there is a period of relative inactivity in the Ferreira household. Amber has no long runs or bike rides yet scheduled and Danny, well not much has changed for Danny, but reduced racing on the weekend. Due to this lack of training and racing there hasn't been much to report.

Amber and I both did the Frozen 5k(mislabeled on Coolrunning as the Frosty 5k- so did it really occur?) to support the WLNH Children's Auction as well as to support Myles Chase owner of MC Cycles in Laconia. This was the inaugural race and yet nearly 100 participants came out to run.

Amongst the participants, were triathletes, Andrew Clemence, Sean Snow and Erick Anderson, nordic skier, Sam Evans-Brown, so I knew that I would be in for some stiff competition for top 3. As was expected the race started off FAST with Erick leading Andrew and Sam and me tagging along. My goal was to stick with them for as long as possible. An interesting thing happened though. At about the mile mark, I hadn't fallen off the back and more surprisingly my breathing settled. This isn't so bad. That thought process continued until about 2.5 miles when Erick decided he had enough of us following him. I tried to match his pace but fell off. In the process though I put a nice separation on Sam and ended up with a PR finish of 16:21 for 3rd Place.

Amber strolled to a 1st place finish with a 18:20 smiling the whole way.

Will report more as we do more.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Got Patellofemoral Pain?

A recent case study in the Journal of Orthopedic Sports Physical Therapy(JOSPT) found that runners with patellofemoral pain("runner's knee") were more likely to heel strike. Heel striking has shown to increase stress and loading on the lower leg and knee. Vibram(and a slew of other minimal heel drop shoes) has made a lot of money by selling people on the need to avoid heel striking while running.

The key to this study was, not that they needed to change their footwear, but rather they needed to change their mechanics. Within eight sessions of practicing to run on either mid or forefoot, the runners were able to then continue to perform this style at a 3 month follow-up. More importantly though, the runners reported decreased pain as well as one runner reporting a 5 minute improvement in her 10K time!

Things to take into consideration however was that this was a case study so there were only three participants. Additionally, these were people who already had had knee pain. People prone to Achilles Tendonitis may not find modifying their gait to benefit them at all since it could in fact put more stress on that tendon. Additionally, studies have shown a worse effeciency with running at any style other than your "own" so working on your mechanics immediately prior to an "A" race may not be of benefit.

If you have been diagnosed with "runner's knee" and already are doing hip and quadriceps strength to address any physical misalignments, working on modifying your foot strike may be something to consider. Or at least take a look at the article: Cheung RTH, Davis IS. Landing Pattern Modification to Improve Patellofemoral Pain in Runners: A Case Series. JOSPT 2011. 21(12).

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Full Circle- Vermont 100 Revisited

I finally did it. After several years of threatening to, I have signed up for the Vermont 100 again. I hope to finally get the Vermont 88.6 moniker(and monkey) off my back. Our very first blog post was a few weeks before the Vermont 100, and I had set up some rather lofty goals for myself. They were to:

1) Finish

2) Finish smiling
3) Finish under 24 hours
4) Finish under 24 hours smiling

Not all that unreasonable, right? Well, errr, actually on less than 25 miles/week of running, they were pretty unreasonable. It was an amazing feat of ignorance and stubborness that allowed me to make it those 88.6 miles.

Albeit my weekly mileage hasn't improved significantly in these last few years, I am a more "seasoned" runner and think the outcome will be a little different this time around. With this new registration in place, I have solidified my "A" races for the season. They are:

1) 1/22/2012- Greater Boston Track Club Invitational- 1 mile(shooting for sub 4:30)
2) 4/14/2012-Gansett Marathon(shooting for sub 2:40)
3) 7/21/2012- Vermont 100(shooting for sub 24 hours)
4) 8/18/2012- Ironman Mont Tremblant(shooting for sub 10:30)
What I've discovered through my racing, is how much I love cheering on other racers though too. So while I'm pretty excited about each of these races, I am also excited about all the triathlons that Amber will be competing in this year, as well as the road races that my sister, Marilyn(one of my pacers for the original ill-fated VT88.6) and cousin, Ryan will be doing this year. 2012 is looking to turn out pretty fun!
Up Next: Frozen 5k for Amber and Danny this Saturday in Laconia. Put on by Endurofun Sports and MC Cycles.

Monday, December 5, 2011

This weekend in Review

This weekend was the Northeastern Invitational for me on Saturday and the Mill Cities Relay for Amber and her parents and sister on Sunday. I had originally been signed up for the Las Vegas Marathon so didn't commit to the Relay, taking instead the role of alternate.
The Northeastern Invitational would be my first test to see where my baseline speed was at and to use as a guide of where I can hopefully get by the Greater Boston Track Meet on January 22nd. I'm hoping to run a sub- 4:30 mile there so I was looking to run in the 4:45-4:50 range this weekend. Barely pulled it off with a 4:49.81. Not a lot of breathing room but I figure with some speed work, I can hopefully end my mile down in the 4:40 range by the end of December and then, as Pre said, it's gonna be a guts race on the 22nd. I also ran the 800m in 2:14, out like a lion in 61 and in like a lamb in 73. Yikes!
Amber ran the first leg(5.6 miles) of the Mill Cities Relay for the Women's Open Gate City Striders team. I parked at the transition area and ran back towards her, thinking I'd catch her about the 3 mile mark. Well, apparently no one told Amber about that as it only took me a mile and a half to meet up with her. She had gone through the first four miles in less than 24 minutes. Here I was thinking I'd be kind and pace her in, and instead, I'm hanging on for dear life just not to be dropped by her. She ended up being the first women to hand off but barely beating out a strong SRR racer.
Amber outkicking Danny
We then hopped in the car to cheer on Amber's sister, Deidre, who would then pass off the baton to her mother who would then pass it on to her father who had the 9.5 mile leg. We would drive ahead, stop and run back to cheer him on. Every time we saw him we were amazed just how fast he was running. Here's a fifty year old guy that has only been running about six years running sub-seven's for over 9 miles. Pretty impressive. Guess I know where Amber got her speed. BUT her love for running may have come from her mother. After finishing her leg, Gloria, comes up saying: "I got ripped offfff! I only got the 2.5 mile leg. I want to run further!" Well Gloria, let's work on the speed and maybe they'll give you a longer leg:)  

Up Next:  Amber AND Danny: 12/10/2011 Frozen 5k