Does Massage Therapy Really Help?

Last night month [sorry, I’ve been a tad busy], I treated Nick to an hour long massage since I had a few extra months prepaid on my membership. As I was lying on the table with a woman releasing all the knots in my shoulders and stretching my hips, flexors, and quads, I started thinking about the benefits of massage therapy as a runner and athlete. There must be something good for you, other than the complete relaxation at the end, right? So, this leads me to these facts:

  • There are 640 muscles in the human body.
  • There are 5 million touch receptors on your skin alone.
  • A 60 minute massage is similar to 7-8 hours of sleep [so I guess I’m needing more sleep when I come out feeling exhausted, but ready to go when I’m fully rested].
  • At the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, massage therapy was offered as a core medical service for the first time [Athletes need it too!].
  • Massage stimulates the production of endorphins [Bring them ON!].


[Sorry, I can never get this scene out of my head when anyone mentions endorphins.]

Sources & more facts: Source 1, Source 2, Source 3

Now, no massage beats the many I enjoyed in Thailand last year. On the beach, waves crashing on the shore, a warm breeze = complete bliss.

However, I am now back to receiving massages regularly and am starting to see a difference in my recovery times after a long run. I am now not completely dead after running 10+ miles, but can easily jump in the car and drive for 6-7 hours with no problem <- post stretch and shower, of course! I’m ready for my foam roller at the end of it all, but I’ve improved my stamina dramatically and with the aid of massage therapy, I’m back up and moving again in no time [normally, the next day I’m lifting weights or running].

I know everyone’s experience and idea is different in the realm of massage therapy, but for me – it works. Massage + yoga = a happier me [and a happier life]!

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Where in the World have I Been?

Well, we’ve been a little all over the place lately. With quite a bit going on, from traveling for work to dog sitting, Nick and I have had so many activities going on that it’s been hard to find time to spend together. Instead of spending more time in front of the computer, we’ve enjoyed dinners together and nights out on the town. In lieu of deep-diving all my encounters, a photo album seems like so much more fun!

2013-09-05 06.06.18 My last Bodypump class for a few weeks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013-09-05 09.09.47 First PSL after I locked myself out of my apartment. Starbucks makes everything better!

 

 

 

 

 

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Beech Mountain sunsets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Afternoon on the Potomac

 

 

 

 

 

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Sunset over the National Mall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Capital

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In front of the Newseum, they print and post all Front Pages submitted from around the world.

 

2013-09-11 21.02.22 HDR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013-09-11 21.03.30 HDR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And I never fail to get a few runs in when traveling to a new place:

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Nope, never seen a Tweeps car or store before = necessary pictures!

 

 

 

 

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Not proud of the time, but so happy to hit 13.1 miles again.

Best Body Boot Camp: A Final Review

I wanted to put together this post to remind myself that I have come such a long way in 8 short weeks; it’s shocking! And to share my experiences as a first time participant in Tina’s Best Body Boot Camp.

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BBBC has shown me that in 8 short weeks, I can not only change my body, but change my mindset. I set out with the goal that I was going to make it to the end, I would keep going even when the going gets tough, make this a habit not a whim, and use everything I learned to develop new workouts, new training plans, and a new lifestyle.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I have dabbled in workouts, running and cardio for the last year, but this time it was going to be different. I was going to explore the world of strength training. This was completely foreign to me, but Tina provided excellent videos that I could follow along with [there were many days I had the video up and would watch the demo, complete that specific move, then watch the next move, and repeat].

I loved the community feel of BBBC, as well. Within our private Facebook group, members feel free to share their successes and failures with everyone and support is there. My biggest let-down [for myself] was not being active in the group more – this will change in the next round!

Personal Gains

Overall, I am much happier person these days since I have a way to eliminate all of my stress and worries. I lift weights and run them away! In turn, I have tons more energy. These days, I spend more time being active, but I love my runs and walks with my pup so we develop a quality bond that can never be broken.

Funny Pets Ecard: The best part of owning a dog is getting to leave places to go walk it.

Sizzle is my favorite workout buddy, she keeps me going when it gets tough and she loves every single moment of it. Maybe next time I can get a video of her ‘prance’ – head held high and tail up in the air, she is absolutely adorable. That’s not the only time she’s too cute…
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Fitness Gains

Not only have I become a happier person, but I am seeing improvements in all areas of my fitness. My runs have become faster and I feel strong at the end rather than dying at the end like I was last December and even just 9 weeks ago. 

My goals have now changed as well. Case in Point: the other day I was working on my current half marathon training plan and I ended up sidetracked – I was thinking about my first scheduled 5 miler last November. I had the goal to reach 5 miles in 60 minutes, now my goal is 5 miles in 50 minutes and I have succeeded! I’m hoping that getting back to my now-normal weekly 5 milers will help my longer runs as well.

Two weeks ago, I made the decision to take a BodyPump class at my gym. Best decision ever! Loved the class, format, music, and getting it all in before 7am = successful day!

Not going to lie, this class is intense, BUT I never would have had the courage to step foot into it before BBBC. And now, I am so happy I found it! It’s a great addition to my weekly routine, plus I can change things up a bit in my training schedules.

The one final piece of BBBC that I needed to complete was the original Fitness Test for 1 final comparison. So, here’s my results and progress:
Final Fitness Test 

If I have been able to spark your interest, today is your lucky day! Tina is offering the entire 8 week program for only $30 [that’s a savings of $10 off the regular price] and let me tell you, it’s worth way more than $30 or $40. Check out this link for your chance to make a difference in your own life. You know I’ll be joining up for Fall BBBC!

Weekly Recap: BBBC Week 7

Oh, the week after you return from vacation leaves your body in all sorts of weirdness…odd schedules, late bedtimes, bad eating habits. We all love and savor vacation, but the week after is always trying. We need to fix our schedules so we can be rested and ready for the week ahead, eat nutritious food to have energy, and get back on track with our workouts. It took me a few days before I was ready for weight training again, but once I refocused there, I was a much happier person!

 
{Source}

How’d I gain my happiness [and sanity] back? Here’s a breakdown:

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Monday: 2.8 mile walk to and from dinner

Tuesday: 2.41 mile run (27:29) before dinner and 1.86 mile walk after dinner

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I arrived home with some serious energy after work so I took Sizz on a run. Once Sizzle had her nap while we ate dinner, she was ready to go again! So, off we went.

Wednesday: 3.08 mile run (33:41) with NoDa Brewing Run Club


It still makes me smile to think many people doubted that Sizzle ran with me. They were all surprised when I shared that she runs up to 5 miles with me. We only did the 3 mile route, but both of us could have kept going!

Thursday: BBBC A + Yoga at Midtown Park

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Once again, I was ready to work out when I arrived home and BBBC was calling my name. Then it was off to yoga. I loved the experience having the city skyline in the background and outdoor yoga was awesome! Thanks Chandra from Yoga One

Friday: BBBC B

Best move EVER: The Breakdancer! image
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Saturday: 7.12 mile run (1:28:27)

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Second long run in my half marathon training plan. Mental note: must update!

Sunday: 1 mile walk

Easy evening walk with the pup.

Total Weekly Miles:  18.27 miles

By looking back at this week it doesn’t seem that I was too far off from being active daily, but seeing that I didn’t start BBBC until Thursday makes me realize that I lacked some motivation and went with the ‘easy’ workouts [which are always running and walking] for me. Part of my drive for running/walking comes from my pup – I always know she’s game to get outside and exercise! Next week is Week 8 of Best Body Boot Camp…I can’t believe how fast this program has flown. The workouts always leave me sweating by the end, so no complaints that you aren’t getting enough out of them!

Weekly Recap: BBBC Week 4

And the weeks just keep FLYING by! I just completed Week 4 of BBBC ( personal victory – yes, I’m finally holding myself to a program!) and am continuously thrilled that I took the challenge and signed up for Best Body Boot Camp.

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Let’s get to it, accomplishments of the week!

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Monday:Pilates @ Flex+Fit + BBBC Strength A

First ever Pilates class and I am a fan! Loved stretching out before tackling Workout A this week!

Tuesday: (AM) SPIN 50 @ Flex+Fit + (PM) 1.47 mile walk to/from dinner @ Brixx

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Love my early morning spin classes; hate to think these will fall away when my half training picks up.

Wednesday: (AM) 2.15 mile walk with Sizzle + (PM) HOT! Yoga @ Flex+Fit + 3.15 mile walk to/from Yoga

And another first for the week, I took a HOT! Yoga class with Jane. Although I doubted that I would enjoy it, I went with an open mind and LOVED it! Plus, you’ve got to love being able to walk to/from the studio.

Thursday: 5 mile run (49:31) + .15 cool down (1:42)

2013-07-11 07.33.03 Average pace: 9:54 for the first 5 miles, including waiting for lights to change (the price you pay to run in uptown!)

Friday: BBBC Strength B + .97 mile walk with Sizzle + wake surfing

Short walk, but I had to run to the office!

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 2.95 mile run (35:46) + 2.35 mile walk (45:00)

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This was my first real run in the rain. The sky was looming, humidity was high, but Sizzle and I took off anyways (way too late in the day at 6pm, too).

Total Weekly Miles: 18.2

Time to jump into Week 5 and get MOVING!