Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Words That Keep Me Going!

I am not big into sayings but I love this one and think of it often when I am struggling!

(Source: A sign from Umstead 100 Mile Endurance Run)


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

EricG's Running Tips #24 Get Some Balls

My first ball!
Post run care is important. Stretching, ice baths, massage and so on. I wish I could get a massage every day, especially from my rock star massage therapist Noelle. Massage therapy however, is expensive and time consuming. So the next best thing is self massage right?

There are a number of tools geared to help make self massage more effective.  These include crazy vibrating things which I think are useless, The Stick and the Foam Roller. I am sure there are others but these are the ones I have used. I find The Stick to have very little impact because it's difficult to get leverage and it has too much flex. The one area I have found some success are on my calves. The Foam Roller works great but on limited areas as well, working best on my quads, hips and IT areas (I think because I can apply the most pressure). I like the black one in the foam roller link because I think the white version is too soft.

Roll me under your feet
Two of my most consistent problem areas are my glutes/sciatic pain and my feet.   What you need to do to massage these areas is...........GET SOME BALLS.  

I recall when running my first marathon, one of my co-workers Jordan, who happened to be a 2:50 marathoner told me to get a tennis ball after experiencing pain in my arches and butt.  I did and found it helped somewhat.  I would roll my feet on the ball or sit on it while at my desk working, or home watching TV.  In fact, I still have the original 2001 tennis ball in a drawer in my desk.  That however is where Penn stays.  I just don't find I can get enough pressure with all the give in my old friend.

Put me under your butt cheek
Now it's all about Rawlings and Titleist.  Roll your feet on a golf ball and you will experience pain pleasure like never before.  Place two baseballs under your butt cheeks while laying on the floor and simply work it out? WOW!!!  I have found this to be the best form of self massage for these areas.  Again, while I think massage therapy with the right therapist is the most reliable alternative, these tricks have helped me with maintenance between sessions.  By the way, Noelle is the one who told be to drop Penn and get some new balls.

Thanks Noelle.  Peace

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Catskill 155 - Part 2 Thoughts From A Friend (Guest Post)

My friend and author of this post, Matt!
A long time ago I took an anthropology class in college. My favorite discussion was about what draws us to watching sports. What excites us about a 70 yard touchdown pass? A grand slam? Those crazy gymnasts in the Olympics? The crazier members of Cirque du Soleil? The underlying answer was that we humans enjoy watching other humans do things that we simply cannot do.

On Mondays I like to drink my morning tea in Eric’s office as we exchange stories of our weekends. My favorite Mondays are after an ultra-marathon when I pepper him with questions about how he felt, how many calories he took in, the terrain, the elevations, when he hit the wall, when it seemed impossible, how it felt to finish etc… I couldn’t hear enough because I was hearing someone I knew very well describe doing something I simply could not do.

One day in late spring Eric asked me if I would be willing to crew for him if he did a “very long solo charity run”. It seemed like a fleeting thought until the next day when he asked me which weekends in August I was free. Within the week the details were pretty much set. A 155 mile run from his buddy Jeff’s house to his parents’ house. The crew was set: me, Cori (my wife), Sean, Rich, Cheryl, Tani and one person I had never met but heard a lot about, Tony, a seasoned utra-nutjob who was the only one on the crew who knew what Eric was going through.

Watching Eric struggle through this was a learning experience like no other. The start was pretty anticlimactic. I kept feeling like it should be bigger than it was. Eric was about to run 155 miles! Shouldn’t there be a news crew? Fireworks? Instead, we all met at Jeff’s house in Oneanta, NY, took a bunch of photos and watched Eric trot off down the driveway to our own loud but meager cheers. Exactly as Eric wanted it. This was his solo journey and it was going to be one hell of a ride.

There were times in the beginning when he looked great and Tony, who was clocking his time religiously, would beg him to slow down. There were times half-way through where he seemed incoherent and broken. And there were times toward the end where you felt like you were watching a train wreck in slow motion. I kept feeling like we were abandoning him every time we drove 2 or 3 miles ahead to the next check point. But then, sometimes much faster than we anticipated, and sometimes much, much slower, we would see his form bobbing up and down in the distance like Sisyphus pushing that damn boulder. That guy just kept going! Despite the blisters, the chaffing, the swollen ankles, the lack of sleep, the lack of mustard (sorry, inside joke) …

It wasn’t until the end that I finally put this all together. Despite all of the memories there were two key moments that stuck with me. The first was when the crew gathered at the 154 mile mark with the same meager cheers that started us off to acknowledge that Eric has “just a mile to go”. The second memory was watching Anita embrace Eric at the finish line. A slight, bald, cancer-ridden woman hugging the smelliest man on earth at that moment. His struggles were nothing compared to what she has gone through. But his struggles were his choice.

From children we were told to never say “can’t”. I am proud to say that there are many things I can do better than some people. But I can’t throw a 70 yard touchdown pass, I can’t hit a 95 mph fastball, I can’t flip off a balance beam, and I can’t run 155 miles straight. But my good friend Eric can. And if my anthropology class is right, I will always be there to marvel at that human in action.
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