Saturday, March 6, 2010

City Running: Atlanta Chapter

Relocating to "Bucktown" (per Taylor) means no more long runs on the greenway. It's a bitter sweet situation/feeling. The Big Creek Greenway is p-e-r-f-e-c-t for long runs reasons being: it's secluded from traffic, a nice boardwalk subsitution from concrete, trail scenery (livestock, the creek, GA 400 :), and lots of trees (not only good for shade, but always pretty during Fall season). My only complaint of the trail is when it rains or snows (which has been a lot in Georgia these past few months) the trail floods in parts making it a very muddy and difficult run. However, we've moved on to city running. One top of of the amazing Spring-like weather today, running through downtown was exciting but dreadful at the same time. I don't ever remember all of Atlanta being one GIANT hill. I mean, really when did that happen? Our 10 mile run consisted of running through breathtaking Atlanta neighborhoods, on to Peachtree Road with a mix of waste, coffee, and bbq smell (coffee and bbq together actually sounded pretty appetizing to me around mile 7), continuing through Midtown into Piedmont Park, ending with Piedmont Road all the way home. Running through Piedmont Park was probably my favorite part of the run, mostly because I didn't have to give the sign of the cross when passing through a red light hoping not to get hit by cars since people in Atlanta don't like to look up while driving. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE ATL! I loved the unique smells down Peachtree, running over the I-85 bridge, running through Piedmont Park, having the city scenery to look at, passing all the other city runners (which is more than I expected), realizing we basically ran from Lindbergh Marta Station down to North Avenue (for you non-MARTA riders that would be 4 stations) and back, and finally stopping at Smoothie King on the way home to end our run. Where else can you get that experience? Well, not in Cumming.

My point is city running is much more difficult than trail running. Obvious, I know. However, the energy and atmosphere is more exciting. You would think since I go to Georgia State I would be used to the crazy motorist while crossing the crosswalks, but it's different when running. It felt like cars have more hatred for runners, bring it. My strategy is to not make eye contact, focus on the tires to see if they are rolling, give the sign of the cross (actively or passively), and speed up like a bat out of hell and get to the other side. Done and Done. Then resume normal pace until the next crosswalk. Give me a week and I'll have this city running down. Now, just if I can improve my hill running.

Exercise of the Week: Calf Stretches: I, for one, get major cramps in my calf muscles after a long or even a hard run. It never fails. If I don't stretch out my calf muscles, I will for sure wake up in the middle of the night with an unbearable pain down my calf into my foot. It's tear worthy pain. So, I have to remember to stretch and even roll it out that day or the next. I won't go into the physiological reasons of why cramps occur, but stretching/rolling out major muscle groups will help break up any "knots", relax the muscles, and keep blood flowing properly. A precursor to foot pain is lower leg pain, ie not stretching and returning blood flow in your lower leg properly.

Basic Calf Stretch
  • Find a wall and face it.
  • Place your hands on the wall for support.
  • Raise up on your toes and hold it at the top for a count of 5-10 seconds.
  • Repeat 5-8 times or until needed.
Basic Seated Calf Stretch
  • Sit on the ground with legs out in front of you with your feet together.
  • Keep your toes pointed to the sky.
  • Now move your feet from pointing up to pointing towards you. You should feel a stretch through your calf muscles.
  • Hold the pointed position toward your body for a count of 5-10 seconds.
  • Repeat 5-8 times or until needed.
  • Using a resistance band (or a towel) to help assist the stretch will add more tension. Place the band around the arch of your feet. As you move your toes towards your body pull the band towards you for more of a stretch.
Training Tip of the Week: Remember to keep variety of food in your diet. Not only does eating the same 5-8 types of food and fruits get old, but adding variety will ensure you get the proper nutrients. Most people will eat the same type of grains, fruits, vegetables, and even meats. Variety Ideas:
  • Grains: wheat, oats, barley, rice, quinoa, and more.
  • Fruits: apples, bananas, kiwi, strawberries, blueberries, grapes (black or red), starfruit, mango, or papaya.
  • Vegetables: Cucumbers, corn from the cob, asparagus, sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin, zucchini, or bell peppers.
  • Meats: Beef, pork, fish, bison, turkey, chicken, lamb, or shellfish.
I'm not suggesting you cut out what you currently eat, but to start adding different types of food to your diet. Be creative. Try picking up one new type of food each time you go to the grocery store. Variety is important for good nutrition especially for active people. Keep your diet healthy and fresh.

Training Songs of the Week: R&B/ Rap/ Hip-Hop songs remind me of Summer time. Why? I don't really know, but I am ready for some warm weather for running and tanning. Enjoy!

1. Break Your Heart (Remix)- Ludacris ft. Taio Cruz
2. Hollywood- Jay-Z ft. Beyonce
3. Nothing On You- B.o.B ft Bruno Mars
4. Rude Boy- Rihanna

Upcoming Events:

Countdown to the Atlanta ING Marathon:
14 Days (March 21, 2010).

Countdown to the Atlanta Live DOW Run For Water:
42 Days (April 18, 2010)

Happy Running,

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