No Sole Runner Left Behind!

The Green Girl joined the Sole Runners for another Tuesday night trail run with Rad Runner Girl.

It was my first run sporting my Team Jamba Juice gear.

My friend Brisa's sister-in-law, Vanessa, returned after having injured herself on a run with us a few weeks ago. She brought along her friend, Michael. She was still experiencing some knee pain and was wearing a brace.

As we took off, we fell into our natural groups - the fast runners in the front and the back of the packers faithfully trailing. Vanessa and her friend opted to walk and were actually the very the back of the pack.

When we crossed over to the trails, I ran back to Vanessa and her friend to make sure they knew where the entrance was. I reassured them I would wait for them at the next fork in the path and then I took off to catch up with Betty and Michelle.

At some point, Vanessa and her friend actually passed Betty, Michelle and me. When we reached the three-way intersection, there was no trace of Vanessa and her friend. This was disconcerting to me because the unofficial Sole Runners' motto is 'No Sole Runner left behind' but technically, they weren't left behind since they passed us. I tried to call her but she wasn't answering her phone.

Further up the trail, we encountered some cyclists and I asked them if they had seen a couple matching Vanessa and her friend's description but they had not. If they should run across them, I asked them to please pass along a message that the back of the packers had turned around and were heading back.

When we returned to the parking lot, Vanessa and her friend were not there and we weren't sure which car they had come in. Through process of elimination, we decided it was probably this one car but I had my doubts because it was a new car with dealer tags still attached and Vanessa hadn't mentioned buying a brand new car.

I alternated between calling my friend Brisa and Vanessa but neither of them were answering their phones.

As the night grew darker, some Sole Runners had to leave but some stayed behind to wait for Vanessa and her friend. I felt bad because I had no idea if they were still out there on the trails or back home safe and sound.

Finally, I decided I would drive back to the base of the trails and just see if I could somehow locate Vanessa and her friend. I asked Rad Runner if she wanted to hitch a ride with one of the other runners back home but she agreed to hang around.I drove my car up onto the dirt and directed my headlights into the mountains but I quickly realized that only granted us a couple hundred feet of visibility. We got out of the car and I switched on my headlamp to red light flashing mode.

We alternated calling out her name at the top of our lungs but only succeeded in attracting the attention of the wildlife. After a few rounds, it was as if we were participating in a two-way conversation.

All of a sudden, Rad Runner Girl grabbed my arm and pointed out two dark shadows in the distance. I yelled out Vanessa's name and she responded in the affirmative.

They thanked us for waiting and were grateful for the ride back to the parking lot. We discovered the suspiciously new car belonged Vanessa's friend, Michael. Ironically, in retrospect, it was actually advantageous that Brisa never answered her phone because had I talked to her, I would have thought Vanessa had left in her car and we would have taken off.

Rad Runner and I texted all the Sole Runners to let them know Vanessa and Michael had been located. One of the Sole Runners was about to head back to assist in the manhunt.

Driving home, I let out a huge sigh of relief. In the moment, I hadn't realized how stressed out I was but I could feel the tension throughout my body.


The Green Girl Tries Active Release Techniques (ART)

The Green Girl made an appointment with Dr. Sebastian Gonzales from The Performance Place Sports Care after work yesterday.

Dr. Sebastian Gonzales is a Certified Active Release Techniques (ART) Provider.

ART is a combination of examination and treatment. It involves evaluating the texture, tension, movement and function of muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments and nerves. ART treats soft-tissue injuries by moving muscle fibers, tendons, and ligaments through a combination of motion and deep, targeted massage to release adhesions, smooth the movement of tissues, release entrapped nerves of blood vessels, and promote healing.

The purpose of my visit was two-fold. First, I wanted to get some treatment for my posterior tibial tendonitis. Second, I wanted to get some advice on my tight calves, quads, and hips.

Dr. Gonzales started the session off with some range of motion and strength analysis.

He recommended I do some exercises to strengthen my glutes. He explained it's difficult to say if my psoas are tight due to weak glutes, or if my glutes are weak because due to tight psoas. He showed me how to isolate my glutes with some butt lifts to help re-educate my neuromuscular system.

Some aspects of the ART manipulation were similar to experiences I've had with Rolfing but I definitely appreciated Dr. Gonzales' holistic approach.

In the past I've mentioned that my plantar fasciitis sometimes manifests itself as an intense, burning pain in my arches and I would have a hard time differentiating the plantar fascia pain from the posterior tibial tendon pain. When I explained this to Dr. Gonzales and I pointed out the different pain locations, he explained my arch pain is actually a result of a sore flexor hallucis brevis muscle.

He spent a great deal of time showing me how to differentiate between the plantar fasciitis, the posterior tibial tendonitis, and the flexor hallucis brevis pain. He said it's easy to get confused because the tendons of flexor hallucis brevis run along the bottom of the foot, under the head of the first metatarsal bone, and attach to the small bone of the big toe.

I have a high pain tolerance but I must admit that the ART hurt significantly more than a deep tissue massage. Surprisingly, my left calf was much worse than the right side. He said my left posterior tibial muscle was extremely tight. I had to focus intently on breathing in and out to endure the intense pain.

After all that, I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to stand but my legs actually felt a lot better. He had me walk around a bit and I marveled at how my calves actually felt a little looser.

Next, Dr. Gonzales took me outside for a running gait analysis. He videotaped me running back and forth across the packing lot a few times.

It was both awkward and fascinating to observe the footage. My untrained eyes couldn't detect any abnormalities but Dr. Gonzales made the following observations (which immediately became glaringly apparent):
  • I have some issues with my left gluteus medeus which are causing pelvic instability
  • My spine rotation on the left side is restricted
  • My knees cross
  • My left arm hardly moves

He is going to have some more in depth analysis performed on my video and then he suggested I talk to my coach about techniques and ways I can correct these issues. In the meantime, he recommended I work on stregthening my glutes and do some exercises to improve my gluteus medeus stability.

I felt like my visit to Dr. Gonzales was really productive. I'm anxious to hear the additional feedback on the video.


Team Jamba Juice 2010

The Green Girl is a proud member of Team Jamba Juice 2010.

Team Jamba Juice is part of the Active.com's Active Ambassadors program. The Active Network created this program to help connect companies to like-minded consumers. As an Active Ambassador, you have the opportunity to become a brand ambassador and promote products you believe in on a grassroots level.

When I heard Jamba Juice was looking for 100 ambassadors for their 2010 team, I had to apply. I'm convinced I am one of Jamba Juice's biggest fans. At one point, I even set out to drink every Jamba Juice drink on the menu.

On the application, I let Jamba Juice know as a true back of the packer, I was their biggest bang for their buck. I mean not that many runners are out there on the course as long as me!

A few days after I submitted my application, I received the following email:

Dear Athlete:
Congratulations! We’re pleased to announce that you have been selected to become a member of the 2010 Team Jamba Juice Sponsored Athlete Team.
The selection process was tough, and we thank you for your patience. Your athletic accomplishments and individual interests are a perfect match for the sponsors’ goal of building a dedicated team of athletes who are passionate about their sport and community. Your 2010 goals, past achievements, future motivations, and overall dedication to the sport best demonstrate this commitment.

Shortly after, I received a package in the mail containing the team manual, my Jamba Juice branded apparel, $1 off Jamba Juice coupons, window clings, and tattoos.

As a Jamba Juice Ambassador, I will help promote Jamba Juice's current campaign, Jamba Juice's SuperActive Summer powered by Superfruit.

I will also sport my Jamba Juice branded gear when I participate in local events and hand out the coupons, window clings, and tattoos.

I think this will be a great opportunity for me. I'm really excited about this.

Go, Team Jamba!


The Green Girl's San Gabriel Riverbed Trail Run

The Green Girl had to work yesterday so she missed her Sole Runners Saturday run. Instead, I headed out for a run this morning.

I decided to run along the San Gabriel River Bed. The San Gabriel River Trail is a bike path that extends 38 miles from the base of the San Gabriel Mountains to the Pacific Ocean in Seal Beach.

The trail has designated bi-directional bike lanes. The runners tend to stay on the shoulder of the paved path or on the dirt alongside.

Since I started trail running, I've discovered I prefer running on dirt so I stayed off the asphalt as much as possible.

I headed south on the trail from El Dorado Park towards the bridge where the San Gabriel Riverbed intersects with the Coyote Creek Trail.

Some sections of the path were so narrow that I had to stop and walk gingerly along the uneven edge of the road.

At times, I would get the wind sucked out of me as the cyclists flew by.

I crossed the Orange Curtain and entered Seal Beach.

I was very grateful for the June Gloom today. It was humid but the occasional breeze made it bearable.

I ran out a little further than I had originally planned but I felt like I needed it after a long, stressful work week.

I passed the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power's Haynes Generating Station. The facility is currently undergoing some upgrades to reduce its future emissions.

I really enjoyed my run today. I had intentionally avoided hills to give my calves and quads a break.

I've had a lot on my mind lately and it was nice to be alone with my thoughts for a prolonged period of time.


Sole Runners Tuesday Night Trail Run

The Green Girl joined the Sole Runners for another Tuesday night trail run. I had missed last week's run after waking up with a broken neck. I was unable to lean or rotate my head for a couple days.

I always find the Palos Verdes ocean air refreshing and last night was no exception.

I was the only back of the packer but Coach Gary was kind enough to stay back and run with me.

Both my calves got really tight shortly into the run so I slowed to a walk to give them a rest. I didn't want to end up with intense cramps again.

I've been struggling a lot lately with muscle tightness. It's been so bad that I've been getting deep tissue massages on a weekly basis.

Luckily, after taking an extended walk break, my calves loosened up enough for me to resume running. I relished having the ground fly under my feet.

I'm going to make an appointment with a professional to get some expert advice on how to relieve some of my muscle tightness. I'd like to find some relief from my extremely tight calves, quads, and hip flexors. Stretching, rolling, and massage don't seem to be enough for me right now.


The Green Girl's Chicago Experience and Resort Run

In addition to doing the SkirtSports Skirt Chaser 5k, the Green Girl did her best to cover all the the obligatory Chicago tourist attractions.

I visited Millennium Park and admired the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. I took multiple pictures of my reflection at The Bean.

I witnessed people lining up for the annual Puerto Rican Parade. I walked by Shedd Aquarium. I marveled at the elaborate Buckingham Fountain.

I walked along Lakefront Trail and gazed back at the Chicago skyline. I ate a Chicago dog. I had mediocre deep dish pizza at Lou Malnati's and amazing stuffed crust pizza at Giordano's.

I was the 1,860,733rd visitor to the Sears Willis Tower's Skydeck. I smushed pennies to add to my collection. I walked around Navy Pier.

On Sunday, we took the Metra Rail out to the suburbs to the Oak Brook Hills Marriot Resort.

I woke up early Monday morning to try and beat the heat with a short run. The sky was filled with dark, ominous clouds that cleared as the sun came up.

I headed out towards the main road but quickly lost interest due to the lack of scenery.

I turned around and headed out to the Willow Crest Golf Club adjacent to the hotel. I had caught glimpses of the golf club through the chain-link fence and it looked like a runner's paradise. I saw beautiful water fountains and ponds. There was a paved path that wound through the course and even crossed over bridges.

I was happily running along the pavement until I spotted this sign that stated running or walking on paths is not permitted.

I couldn't believe it. I froze in my tracks and angrily snapped a shot of the sign. I was so disappointed. How could they deny runners and walkers the opportunity to experience this beauty?

Defeated, I walked back to the front of the hotel. That's when I spotted a small marshland area. I ran over and was delighted to see a gravel path.

As I approached, it was as if the scene suddenly came to life. Chirping echoed from all directions. Miniature birds with bright yellow bodies flew out of the trees. Giant dragonflies hovered above the foliage.

This little wetland was like a tiny wildlife oasis between the hotel and a subdivision.

I decided to run through the neighborhood just to check it out. From what I could see, there weren't any single family homes, only duplexes.

There was a large billboard advertising that the prices started at $699,000.

The morning had warmed considerably so I opted to head back to the hotel to shower and get ready to take the Metra back into the city.

SkirtSports Skirt Chaser 5k Race Report

The Green Girl did the SkirtSports Skirt Chaser 5k in hot and humid Chicago's Lincoln Park this weekend.

SkirtSports is a sporting apparel company created by a professional triathlete,Nicole DeBoom. Out of a desire to create active wear that made her feel feminine, she designed the first women's running skirt and actually became an Ironman champion wearing a home-sewn prototype.

This was Mr. Green Garmin's first time outside of California and his first time changing time zones. I had assumed he would automatically detect his new location and adjust accordingly, but that was not the case. I had to set him up for a second time zone*.

The race was well organized and everything was clearly marked.

With each race registration, the girls received a SkirtSports running skirt and the guys, aka the 'skirt chasers', got Skirt Chaser shirts. There was a changing tent conveniently located next to the registration tables.

There were Skirt Chaser stickers for the single girls to attach to themselves to indicate they were available to the male 'Chasers'.

After I picked up my bib, running skirt, and goodie bag, I checked my backpack at the Bag Check.

An ice cream cart went by and I got a strawberry popsicle to try and cool off.

The Skirt Chaser race features a 'Catch Me' wave. The 'Skirts' get a 3 minute head start ahead of the 'Chasers' so all the girls lined up in front. I headed straight for the back of the girl section. It was so amusing to me that behind me was all guys! They looked ready to chase.

The race started promptly without pomp and circumstance. I tried my best to block out the stifling heat and eased into a comfortably fast pace.

Aside from a couple of girls I spotted wearing shorts, all the female runners were sporting running skirts.

As much as I had dreaded the very thought of a running skirt, I was glad I ultimately decided to wear one because I blended right in with the crowd.

The route took us around Lincoln Park's Diversity Harbor. The occasional ocean breeze combined with the shady sections of the course made the heat bearable.

I did the first 2 miles at an 11:30 average pace but the oppressive humidity got to me and I walked most of the last mile. I was so consumed by the heat that I missed the last turn and ended up doing an extra 0.23 miles.

I skipped the Finish Line beer after-party, fashion show, and singles dating game and opted instead to walk back down to Downtown Chicago to get in some post-run carbo loading with an authentic deep dish pizza.

* Mr. Green Garmin was able to detect when he was back home and automatically switched back to time1.


Summer Solstice Watermelon 5 Mile Run Race Report

The Green Girl did the Summer Solstice Watermelon 5 Mile Run yesterday with Rad Runner Girl and her Sole Runners friend, Michelle.

The race management company, Try-Us Events, donates a portion of the proceeds from every race to support local school physican education programs. The race was held here in Long Beach at El Dorado Park.

As we were walking to the registration tables, we spotted Penny and her son. I admired her personalized technical shirt featuring her blog logo.

We picked up our bibs and goodie bags and dropped all the stuff at the car before we headed to the Start Line.

True to form, Rad Runner Girl made her way to the very front while Michelle and I settled in the back with some other Sole Runners.

The watermelon theme was consistent throughout the race. It made you feel like you were at a summer BBQ.

Although the race started at 6:00 PM, it was still really warm and I was not a happy green camper. So much for June Gloom. At least the trees provided some respite from the hot sun.

El Dorado provided a scenic route for the race. We ran the perimeter of a large duck pond and even passed an archery range.

I felt course marking was an area for improvement. Michelle and I actually got lost and weren't sure where to go. And we weren't the only ones - we encountered some runners who had strayed and were actually running in the wrong direction!

Since I'm familiar with the park, I suggested we head back when I felt like the mileage was appropriate.

Penny and Rad Runner Girl were faithfully waiting for us at the Finish Line.

I was thrilled to see there were still finisher watermelons left. I eagerly accepted my watermelon. They also had plenty of food and beverages. I love back-of-the-pack-friendly races.

The race organizers generously raffled off watermelon-themed prizes in addition to the age group awards. Penny got a watermelon umbrella and Michelle got a plastic watermelon sun tea dispenser. Rad Runner Girl got watermelon bubbles with a tiny watermelon cap.

The Green Girl was the exception to the watermelon rule. I won a digital camcorder!

Winning the digital camcorder totally made up for the poorly marked course and all was forgiven as far as I was concerned.


The Green Girl's New Revolutionary Foam Roller

After work yesterday, my coworker, Brandy, and I visited Sporteve in Downtown Culver City.

Sporteve specializes in women's active wear for activities such as biking, hiking, running, snow sports, and swimming. They offer a decent selection of high quality apparel and gear from brands not typically found in retail stores.

The Sporteve workers were friendly and helpful without being pushy. I tried on a few compression leggings and running skirts. The fitting rooms were spacious and the big curtains provided ample privacy.

I didn't end up getting any new running clothing, but I did pick up The Grid : Revolutionary Foam Roller. I wanted a compact foam roller to store in my trunk after borrowing a small foam roller after my trail run last week.

From past experience, I understand the importance of a high density foam roller. After flattening a couple of rollers, I finally purchased a 36" roller that contained a 5" PVC core with 1" polyethylene exterior foam from Perform Better. I love my PVC core foam roller and I use it religiously.

The Grid is manufactured by Trigger Point Performance Therapy and features their trademarked Distrodensity Zones, Matrix Technology and an environmentally friendly design.

The Grid is 13" long and 5" in diameter so it's perfect to store in my car and according to the description, it is designed to withstand constant, heavy, and repeated use without breaking down.


Wrigley River Run 5k Race Report

The Green Girl did the Wrigley River Run 5k this morning.

All the proceeds from this race go to the Long Beach Neighborhood Foundation (LBNF) to support programs for at-risk city youth. A couple of the Sole Runners are members of LBNF.

Since this was a local event, there were a lot of Sole Runners participating in the race.

The Sole Runners coach, Steve Mackel, gave a free ChiRunning workshop.

My friend, Candy, offered free massages at her Beauty & Wellness Day Spa booth. Phiten was taping up athletes with their titanium products. Road Runner Sports conducted Shoe Dog shoe fittings. Averyboo Arts also sponsored a bounce house for the kids.

Wilson High School cheerleaders were also on hand to show their support along the course.

It was really good to see Penny. She introduced me to her son and his girlfriend who were also participating in the 5k. I've seen her at few races but we had met for the first time at last year's Wrigley River Run. I was looking for Glenn, but Penny reminded me he had his son's graduation to attend this weekend.

I was thrilled with the cool temperature as the race started. Unfortunately, I went out a little faster than I should have and I had to stop for my first walk break just past the halfway point. It also warmed up and the humidity kicked in.

I tried to dig deep but I got really tired the last mile. It really helped me when Penny helped run me in. I cannot remember the last time I pushed myself that hard.

After the Finish Line, there were plenty of bagels and bananas along with lots of water. Buono was also serving fresh pizza slices and handing out coupons in tiny pizza boxes.

The Tadpole run followed and I spotted a tiny Sole Runner crossing the Finish Line.


Sole Runners Sunset Yoga

This evening, the Green Girl joined the Sole Runners for Sunset Yoga at Bluff Park. One of the Sole Runners, Larry, leads the weekly session.

I had an unusually stressful week and I felt like I really needed to unwind. My automatic reaction was to want to out for a run but since I'll be doing the Wrigley River Run tomorrow morning, I decided yoga was a better option.

I've mentioned in the past how I am not a fan of yoga but I always enjoy yoga sessions with the Sole Runner.

I really appreciated Larry's slower approach this evening. He did a number of moves to open up the hips and it felt really good.

My favorite yoga pose is Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (Pigeon Pose) because my hip flexors are always really tight. I could really feel the tension being released as we held that pose.

After yoga, I headed over to the Belmont Brewing Company with Betty and Jim for some dinner. The Baked Tuscan Tomato soup topped with a pastry crust was amazing.

I'm planning on heading over to the Wrigley River Run early tomorrow so I can help my friend, Candy, set up her Beauty & Wellness Day Spa booth. Candy and one of her massage therapists will be offering free massages to the race participants.
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