Donna P was the winner of the FREE shoes and Elements Therapeutic Massage contest for the Montclair YMCA 10K. Just one month after crossing the finish line at her first half marathon as a participant in the Fleet Feet Half Marathon Training Program, she completed the Montclair YMCA 10K. Great job Donna! Way to keep up with the running!
Read about Donna's journey below.
"The Novice Runner"
I would describe myself as the semi gym-rat, aka the Novice Runner. Ok, I seriously got into running last spring. I ran a couple of 5Ks and an 8k. Yes, I did complete my 1st Half Marathon which was in Long Branch for Cinco de Mayo and some would say (including me) that I was and am half-crazy for doing it. (Yes - the pun was intended! I was a 2013 Fleet Feet Half Marathon participant.) I have the muscle aches and blisters to prove it. That being said, on the night of completing the half marathon, I decided-- why not sign up for the Montclair YMCA 10K? And no, I am not a glutton for punishment, I find running to be a fun and relaxing form of stress relief. So, to begin this journey, I had to buy a new pair of running shoes. I, of course, went to Fleet Feet. Now, should I have gone right after work while wearing my work clothes and heels? I guess not. But, no worries, everyone at Fleet Feet were there to help.
At Fleet Feet, they had some socks for me to try on shoes. I have discovered with running that socks are a big deal to prevent blisters. Believe me, spending around 10 bucks or so for socks may seem expensive but it is so worth the investment. With the warm weather approaching, it is worth getting those Features or Smartwool socks so that I can walk around in my flip flops without worrying about blisters. Now, back to buying those sneakers, Glenn was very patient with me. He did F.I.T. approach with me. What is that?!? Glenn asked me about my activity level, the previous shoes I have worn (most recently the Asics GT-2000), he measured my feet, and even watched me as I walked. I would describe myself as somewhat active. I go to the gym 3 -4 times a week and run outside 2 times a week. Glenn told me that I have a collapsed right arch and I should use moderate stability shoes. He also told me that I should try narrow fit shoe which I never considered using before. He gave me: Asics GT-2000; Brooks; and Asics Kayanos. After running down Midland Avenue with each pair of shoes, (I could only imagine how I looked running with my work clothes on :-) ), I picked the narrow fit of Asics GT-2000 (which by the way is the shoe I used for the half marathon.) Hey, if it is not broken why fix it? Now, with my new shoes and new clothes, (I could not pass up the sale rack at FF), I am off to do my short Thursday run.
Handling the Tight, Achy Muscles
As a novice runner, I have felt pain and soreness that I have never felt before. I have learned a couple of things -- Hydration, Massage and Stretching the muscles are essential in running. Hydration is key with exercise. If you become dehydrated, you tend to lose concentration and form. For me, my muscles become really tight. So, I have been trying to drink water, as a substitute for juice and soda, for some time now. I walk with a bottle of water all of the time. Whenever I run, I carry my Nathan's water bottle which has gel packets to keep me hydrated as well. (I talk about the gel packets later.) I am starting to really loathe plain old water. I have been drinking sparkling water, seltzer water and even putting lemon in water bottle to give it some flavor. Not only have I been drinking water, Gatorade G2 for electrolytes during and after runs, I have also picked up drinking coconut water. Coconut water is great for electrolytes and hydration purpose. I do believe that not every coconut water is the same. I tend to like the coconut water with a splash of fruit (like the Naked brand).
I can't even bring to tell you how much I yearn for massage after a long run or after race. It is actually my treat after a race. So, I made an appointment with Elements Montclair. I was paired with Kelly who specializes in deep-tissue and sport massage. Let me tell you I was in heaven. It was probably one of the best massages I ever had. (I am not exaggerating). First, I received an email and phone call to remind me of the appointment, I was then asked to arrive 15 minutes early so that I could complete a questionnaire that is used as a reference for my massage. Now, when I arrived, there were two friendly (smiling) receptionists. One of them gave a questionnaire for me to complete. Next, I met Kelly who was extremely nice. We walked to Room 4 for the massage to begin. She told me that she could adjust the lights and music to whatever I wanted (I never went to a place which would do that). Kelly also said that she could apply whatever pressure I like. After the massage, she told me that she used different massage techniques on individual body parts. For instance, Kelly performed deep tissue on my calves and neck and Swedish on my back. I appreciated that this was not a cookie cutter - one size fits all kind of place. Rather, there was individual assessment of my need for most appropriate massage for my body. She also gave samples of BioFreeze to me and stressed the importance of stretching, massage (whether with foam roller or with regular massage) and hydration. Kelly told me that all of this would aid in loosening my tight calf and hamstring muscles. One of the things that I like about Elements was that they were not pretentious. They were extremely pleasant to me. They were also not trying to bombard me with a pitch for their membership (like other places). They let their work speak for itself. I am now off to stretch.