Photo from Mount Royal, Frisco, Colorado.

"That is happiness; to be disolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep." - Willa Cather

Sunday, 24 January 2010

When I look to Asia for help

My life is filled with routines. When I am stressed and running short on time or happy and under no stress at all, I find comfort in doing the same things over and over. This does not help my training or my recovery time or my health (or really any other aspect of my life). I have thus found ways to make variety itself part of my routines. I have not always been successful at implementing them.

1. Running on uneven surfaces. I can run longer and return to running faster after injury if I avoid asphalt. This is of course a tradition that has been promoted for a long time in Chinese culture, although in the slightly different form of walking barefoot on uneven surfaces. This involves a transfer of energy between the feet and the earth. And if that doesn't excite you, you also work different muscles, which helps to avoid overuse injuries.

Here is a path for walking barefoot on at Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland.

A practical problem is it is hard to run with a baby jogger on snowy trails, so I find myself often back on the sidewalk.

2. Yoga. I try to make time for it, because it works. I had a terrible SI joint-related muscle strain in medical school. I went to the doctor and was given an expensive, pointless bone scan, Vioxx, which had tons of side effects and was told I was too thin. Thanks for the help. I could not run for 6 months. Then I started going to yoga and it became clear how tight my muscles were and what an inability I had to just sit and relax. While practicing yoga regularly, I avoided injury for years until I became pregnant (again the SI joint). I can clearly feel the difference when I run, if it has been a while without sun salutations and other hip stretches. I went to three yoga-tai chi classes following the marathon, which did wonders for my SI joint and hip.

3. Fish and vegetables. Okay so these aren't Asian per se, but they're more Asian than Western. I have been good at eating these regularly. But wow, did I fail miserably these last two weeks. Here is a little honest insight into what an obsessive compulsive lady might eat when busy with call and research. The following is a list of everything I ate during the first 10 days after the marathon: rolls, chocolates, flødeboller (cream-filled chocolate), coffee, diet soda. No, that was not one day or one morning, but 10 straight days. Gained no weight, lost no weight and felt surprisingly fine. One really can live on just bread and water... for a while. It's just good it takes around 3 months to develop scurvy.

I started eating normally again on Friday, thanks to the fact we had two of Natali's friends over for dinner.

It's good someone here likes to cook. :)

Today I was finally fully recovered. I went on a great 3 hour run (first 1.5 with the baby jogger, second on snowy trails) and then 45 flights of stairs with SR.

As long as I'm praising Asia. Check out this graph (sorry the writing is so small):

That is money spent per person on health care to the left and life expectancy to the right. The thicker the line, the more doctor visits per person. If you can look past the absurdity of the US, take a look at Japan. One has to wonder if it is simply genetics and if not, what exactly it is they are doing right.
Running song of the day: Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of War Drums by A Perfect Circle (good one, Danni! Very different than what I usually like)


Olga said...

Aha! Agree, agree and ditto. Yoga saved my ass before I even started running, veggies are awesome, and don't even get me started on trails vs asphalt:) Have I mentioned I love Danish CD? And speaking of SI joint, Larry is having persistent issues with his hip flexor area, tight and extremely painful, so is glut med, which I massage occasionally (and not as often as he'd like), and he goes to yoga 1/week (just started in Jan), but doesn't stretch (lazy forgetful men). Ideas would be helpful:)
Glad you're back to normal! Was thinking of you last 2 days on long runs, thanks to music.

Helen said...

You are def recovered! Funny post - your recent diet made me feel a little better having had a large chocolate bar for dinner last night and a choc muffin for lunch today - but hey, I then ran a fast 7M so who cares, right?!

I'm guessing you guys heard Chippewa is back on? A bit late I'm sure since you've made other plans. I won't be there this year either but am very happy the race will continue.

I'm with you on the yoga - def works wonders for me in so many different ways.

OK, back to watching THE GAME - not that I can follow any of it except the score - which is currently 28-28 with 19 seconds remaining... and if it ends like this I have no idea happens!

Danni said...

I wish I had the patience for yoga.

SteveQ said...

Some of the reasons that Japan has good longevity is due to diet (I'm a big fan of the Okinawa diet), to a respect for the elderly (not many people living alone getting meals on wheels or in nursing homes), to ethnic homogeneity (the few Ainu left have the same life expectancy as American Indians - not high) and to access to health care. Getting drunk at noon and working 16 hours a day, however, brings the numbers down a bit.

sea legs girl said...

Olga, As for Larry. I always used to wonder if yoga worked such wonders for men. Then I got my dad into it and the back problems he had for many years are gone.

Helen, Oh, don't mention Chippewa. I might start to cry.

Danni, I gotta wonder how you have the patience then to run 100 miles. But that may be a little different :).

Steve Q, I think I need some easy Okinowa diet recipes stat. Or could you send me an already-made dish in the mail from Minnesota?

Olga said...

Larry's got super-tight back, and hens the lingering into glutes and so on. I put him on strict regime of stretching and local massages (yours truly). he already feels better:) Now he just needs to stick with it!
Yoga saved my back from surgery 10 years ago. That's why I started running.

小巨蛋 said...