On January 23rd I limped into work only to stand up from sitting and felt the most intense pain I've ever experienced. So much, I had to be carried out of the gym and into Urgent Care. After an MRI I learned I had a stress fracture. There was no major incident but I could only assume it was a lack of recovery from a previous race. My leg finally said, no more....so did the Dr. With 3 races already on the schedule, I pulled out of all of them fearing my Boston Marathon reward race would be non-existent. I admit, I felt a little sorry for myself. Daily activities were awful. I couldn't shower, go to the bathroom, or work without assistance. I finally developed a routine of rolling around in a desk chair (this even worked to coach in at the gym). I was injured, trapped inside, but not defeated. Each day I was performing mobility movements on the soft tissue surrounding the knee. Then I stopped using the chair and focused on only using my crutches. Unfortunately getting to and from my car was an adventure. It took me 3 walking breaks to get there, which soon went down to 2, then 1. Each day I had to re-evaluate every step, every move. Some days I was by myself and even just getting out of the car took 5-10 minutes longer than usual.
It's getting crunch time for the Mountains 2 Beach race weekend! If you're interested in learning more about the race course, check out my newest video as I talk you through sections of the race.
Super excited to announce that I am Ventura County's First Pose Method Certified Running Specialist.
You can find me coaching at Ventura's first fully staffed Mobility WOD certified gym at The Vent
Human Performance Center.
With both certifications I can not only make your running more efficient, I can assess and fine tune
your overall range of motion, educate functional movement, and help prevent injuries.
All my services are listed on my coaching page. Feel free to contact me for all your running needs!
Pose Method is the only method of teaching running technique with scientific and clinical evidence of reducing impact on knees by virtually 50% and dramatic reduction of pain and disability associated with the chronic compartment syndrome.
The certification educates coaches to use specific corrective technique drills and strength exercises to prevent running-related injuries to their athletes.
Related scientific research and clinical studies will be presented and discussed.
This weekend marks the anniversary of a HUGE shift in my life. It also involved the sudden passing of a family member, wrong directions, a flat tire, and almost missing my certification test.
I decided to be brave enough to chase after something I once laughed at and questioned "Why did you even take your Level 1? Do you even know what you're going to do with it?"
I spent a month POURING over the 200+ page handbook and HOURS listening to youtube videos of Greg Glassman teaching. I was beyond stress about this weekend. It also was the same week my grandma suddenly passed away. I was distraught but I had to push all my emotions aside and focus on this test.
The first day went well. I didn't really talk to anyone but I was comforted in that fact that all my studying paid off, most of their lectures were review for me. When I originally made hotel plans for the seminar I got the gym directions off of google. However, it wasn't until I started driving there I realize the gym directions we MUCH different than the ones on google. My hotel was almost AN HOUR away, in the middle of nowhere. On my way back to the hotel, I was a mile out when I realized I had a flat tire. I was FURIOUS. I was able to drive the final mile to my hotel. Everything in the town closed at 9pm and being that tomorrow was Sunday nothing opened until around noon. Luckily, I had a spare in my car and figured I could change it and get to a tire center after my test. That night I changed it and went to bed feeling a little better. That unfortunately didn't last long. I woke up to a flat spare tire...now what? I called AAA and had to come to the realization I was going to miss the first half of my seminar that day. I tried calling the gym multiple times but no one answered. I had NO contact information and realized there was nothing I could do. The tow truck took over an hour to reach my country town and then had to drive the hour back to San Diego to a local Walmart. There was a wait time of over an hour. Seeing my desperation a mechanic took me in, in front of other people, and rushed my tire on in Nascar fashion. 45 minutes later I was on the road back to my testing site.
I walked in with my head low, most people giving me the "someone forgot to set her clock" look. I explained my situation to the staff and they recommended I wait until the next seminar to take the test. I refused and took my seat, "I got this." The multiple choice test was complicated but I was able to flip through some pages and quickly answer the ones I knew. Afterwards I went back to methodically think each one though I had been unsure of. It was such a random collection of questions, some were about nutrition, some about form, some about client case studies, I was So glad I had came prepared.
Afterwards I sat in my car and just put on some music. The whole weekend was overwhelming but I did it. I took the test ( 7 days later, during a delayed flight home from the funeral, I received the email I had passed.)
2 years ago someone asked "you love Crossfit so much, why don't you coach it?" I laughed and said "I'd never be good enough to coach."
Each day is a small step. Each day I read something, practice moves, and ask questions. Each week I'm put in a situation where I'm out of my comfort zone, BUT each day and every class I'm smiling. Kelly Starrett told me "coaching is NOT a sexy job." There are early mornings (my alarm goes off at 3:30 4-5 times a week), there are days I'm too tired to do my own workouts, days I spend 12-14 hours at the gym working/coaching/learning, and multiple days spent putting others before my own needs. But, I wouldn't change it. I LOVE this journey. I work SO hard every day reading, researching, conversing, and writing, just so I can be better tomorrow.
You finished a run or a workout. You find a bench and perform the standard quad stretch, pulling your knee behind you. It's held for a few seconds then switch to the other side. Boom, you stretched, good enough? ...No.
Stretching and Mobilization seem to be an interchangeable term we throw around a lot.
" did you stretch today? Oh, your knee hurts because you didn't stretch your muscles"
For full range of motion= "your muscles, joints, and tendons need to be strong enough to absorb, load, and release energy into movement"....like a cheetah. - Nicholas Romanov
So, it's common to think "in order to be a good athlete I need to be flexible" Broken down into two words = Flex & Ability aka, the Ability to freely move the joints. Notice how I said joints, not muscles.
Another, BIG misconception.
When we get into an uncomfortable position our bodies conscious thought is to instantly tense up to protect itself. By breathing/relaxing through the movement we allow our muscles to relax , releasing the tension.
"Gentle stretching with short holds can also relax the muscle involved, releasing tension, which in turn makes the muscle longer but not more responsive"
By relaxing the muscle, rather just holding it in its end range/static position, we now have access to the joint area that is impinged. Through mobilizations involving distractions and flossing, we can free up the joints allowing them to move them through full range of motion.
Doing this not only improves the surrounding tissue, joints, and surrounding muscles, it prepares the area for further energy production.
For more info check out Mobility WOD's website for more information.
Also check out Ventura,California's only fully MWOD certified staff Gym @ The Vent Human Performance Center where we educate full mobility movements on a daily basis.
I bought my first new pair of shoes at a fancy shoe shop in Florida. I told them I have knee pain when I run. They got me in a pair of stability shoes, had a me run on a treadmill, said I looked good, paid, left, and hooked. For the next 4 years I was in and out of tons of stability shoes and knee braces. The shoe store salesman said I needed stability shoes and I never questioned their logic.
Evolution of my running shoe collection
The picture above depicts my stability to minimal transition. The purple and teal shoe, on the far left side, was my running shoe 7 months ago. The heel is 26 mm off the ground, aka 1 Inch. I ran every step with my heel an inch off the ground, crazy. After reading Ready to Run, I became more aware of the amount of pressure I was putting on my Achilles tendon.
Could this be the cause to some of my shin and calf pain?
Over the next few months I slowly worked my way down into the red and blue shoe, 20 mm drop, and eventually into the black and pink shoe that has a 5 MM drop from heel to toe.
The two shoes on the right side of the picture have become my everyday/ Crossfit shoes. Both are considered neutral/minimal shoe styles.
I was Introduced to Kelly Starrett's Ready to Run book by fellow coaches. This book is a blueprint for runners to develop a better approach to injury-free running. His 12 standards focus on implementing everyday strategies to maximize our running ability. I realized if I really wanted to improve I should include each standard into my running as well as my clients'. Standard #2 brought the biggest change of them all
Standard #2 = Neutral Shoes
"You don’t lift weights with mittens on, or do shoulder exercises with a sling on do you? The same with our feet. You should never try to strengthen them wearing shoes." Dr. Nick Campitelli
I dare you to test out something right now. Take you shoes off and run around the house or outside on the pavement...Go!
What did you notice? Were you landing on your heel or were you landing on the padding on the ball of your feet?
I would safely say you answered on the ball of your feet. By landing on your heel on the pavement you should have instantly felt the pain and correct the next landing.
In the 1970's Running companies invented that thick padding, that you find on the heel of your shoe, to alleviate the pain that runners felt when landing on the heel. You can see on the picture, once the heel hits the ground the force radiates up through the knee and on to the lower back. Over the course of a marathon, think about how much stress that puts on your entire body.
So, Why should we be so concerned about our shoes?
Think of shoes like a crutch. A crutch doesn't fix the broken knee or fracture, the crutch is a short term device to alleviate the pain. Unfortunately it takes more than just changing your shoe to become less prone to injury. It takes time to restructure our feet as well as developing a more efficient stride (that's a whole other post) to run at our most athletic capacity. By walking/standing/moving barefoot more consistently we build up the muscles and tendons around the foundation, creating a stable, functional base for the rest of our body to stand and move upon. For example, If our arches aren't strong and collapse every time we back squat, regardless of how much time we spend building up our leg muscles, the tendons in our feet will eventually stretch to the limit and ankles will collapse in. Our foundation will ultimately fail before we reach our maximal squatting depth.
Some key components on strengthening our feet mimic any other conditioning program starting small first. We must find the form, then gradually add volume and speed. In this instance volume would be time on our feet with speed following later after a few months of initiation. Walk around your house barefoot first. If standing next to the stove look down and ask yourself "are my ankles caving in or are they under my knees?". Next step is to slowly adapt to wearing a more minimal shoe to work.
"The more we use our toes and walk without shoes, the stronger our feet become and the more resistant to injury they become".
Injury, when transitioning to different shoes, usually occurs when we increase in mileage/wear in too little time. The link below does a great job at emphasizing how important it is to strengthen your feet to improve the entire infrastructure encompassing the foot, arch, ankle, and hamstring area.
1) Strengthen your feet- Walk barefoot around your house
Take a glance at this website that did a great job at combining 3 informative videos of how
2) Have patience and start slow
Start by running very short distance intervals, such as 200m or less, just to see how it feels. Then, walk for the same distance. This helps toughen your feet without creating as much impact as running. Switch back and forth between walking and running as your body allows. The 10% increase rule applies here - start with very short runs and add no more than 10% of an increase in mileage (or time on your feet) in one week.
to restructure your feet.
3) Adapt a running stride that focuses on landing on the forefront of your foot.
Again, this is a whole other topic for discussion but this link can you lead you in the right direction. If interested in learning more, contact me and I'll get you running in the right direction in a more efficient style
Suggested Further Reading:
Suggested Minimal Shoes by Dr. Nick Campitelli
Barefoot Running: How to fix and strengthen your feet
Strike Movement is my FAVORITE shoe to wear to my gym as well as for everyday use.
Ready to Run by Kelly Starrett
2 Year Case Study, Orthotics to Minimalism
Feel free to comment below or check out my coaching opportunities on the coaching page!
I unfortunately been recently diagnosed with a stress fracture on my femur. There was no major accident nor incident. All I can relate it to is lack of recovery after a 50K I ran. After looking at my MRI scans, my Orthopedic surgeon started my appointment by asking me
" Just how serious is long distance running in your life?".
The most important part of these next 6 weeks is focusing on resting my leg. He cleared me to swim (with a foam piece between my knees to keep from kicking.)
In 4 weeks I have an appointment with a more Athletic focused Ortho, hoping he has better suggestions to rehab for a better running career. Regardless I'm still coaching 2-4 hours a day at the gym via a office rolling chair and crutches. It has helped me really focus on my verbal cues.
For my own fitness, I've been finding ways to work around my leg. To prove to myself, and my clients, life doesn't stop when you get injured. I've been working on assisted pull ups with a smith rig, swimming, and course jazzing up my "legs" with some wonder women, inspirational flare.
For my legs I've been focusing on mobility work and constant, but slow, contract/relax techniques.
I've had to pull out of 3 races and unfortunately Boston is questionable this year. Anytime someone brings it up I get a little teary eyed, however I can't let the unknown stress me out . All I can do is focus on my recovery and make sure I'm doing everything with my fitness and nutrition to bring me back up to speed.
When you hit a bump in a road, instead of falling, spread your wings and fly.
Most liked pictures of Instagram.
Lot's of hard work went into these pictures that wasn't documented.
Such an AMAZING year.
Started my own Private Running Coaching business
Became a Coach at The Vent
Became an Ironman
2- First place Age Group Sprint Triathlon Distances
2- Overall Female Half Marathon placements
1st Boston Marathon
2018 Boston Marathon Qualified
Discovered Pose Method
Mobility WOD Certified
Made more friends this year
Visited my 15th National Park
When I began coaching, my biggest hesitation was coaching lifts I had been struggling with during my two years of Crossfit. Thankfully, I was given the opportunity to basically earn a degree in proper movement mechanics functional for in and outside of the gym.
In November I began watching 2-5 videos (and completing their tests) on a weekly basis. It was a big undertaking to finally understand archetypes of movement through the lifts I had been performing and how to coach through them. It's like my eyes and brain can read a special schematic to the body and movement through motion, sort of like the matrix formula.
Mobility WOD, a program designed by Kelly Starrett, guides coaches and athletes towards eliminating pain, preventing injury and maximizing athletic performance. This performance includes lifting, recovery, running, and/or any athletic endeavor, much more than just Crossfit.
"Athletes were simply missing an understanding of basic mechanics and the tools to improve those mechanics. Equally important, we recognized that any distinctions between injury prevention and increased performance were essentially meaningless. Athletes’ safest movement patterns are also their strongest. Gyms should not only be a place to sweat but should be a setting to observe, diagnose and correct movement errors that lead to pain and injury."
As of January 2018, all the coaches at The Vent Human Performance Center will be Mobility WOD certified.
The MWod Story
I'm passionate about running, fitness, nutrition and all things that make me and everyone else a better version of ourselves.