As 2014 comes to a close, many of us create self-imposed resolutions for the New Year. While our intentions are a positive step, most New Years resolutions set us up for failure. Health clubs are packed in January, nation-wide sugar content plummets along with a multitude of other habitual indulgences. A more positive and lasting way to approach health in the New Year is to create a health revolution within yourself. Create a revolutionary change in how you view health and fitness. Rather than sacrificing and giving up indulgences in the short-term, revolutionize your health path.
The first step in improving your long-term health and fitness is to establish a long-term goal or goals. Make your long-term goal both a challenge and a reward. If your long-term goal is to complete your first half-marathon, then pick a race in a place you've always wanted to go. After the race, enjoy your accomplishment by taking in the sights of your race destination. If your long-term goal is a weight loss or smoking cessation goal, then reward your accomplishment with a health-minded indulgence.
Two years ago Sapphire PT had two customers who were trying to quit smoking. As a motivation, to add exercise (physical therapy exercise compliance, walking, hiking, running) into their lifestyles (short-term goal) as a means to quit smoking, I offered to give each individual a $100 gift card to The Runners Edge in Missoula to use towards the purchase of a new pair of shoes if they successfully quit smoking. Both individuals successfully quit smoking and proudly walked in the front doors of the Sapphire PT clinic sporting their new shoes!
Although the road to achieving your 2015 long-term goals may seem endless, the most direct route includes positive lifestyle and health choices. Each and every day we are faced with lifestyle and health choices: Dietary choices, exercise choices, sleep duration choices, tobacco and alcohol consumption choice. Revolutionize your health in 2015 by making positive daily choices along the road to your long-term goals!
-John Fiore, PT
Saturday, December 27, 2014
Saturday, November 29, 2014
The good, the great, and the painful (but still not ugly...except the legs afterwords)
By Anya Gue (formerly Wechsler)
The adventure began when Anya and Owen "sealed the deal" this August with a good ol' fashioned Missoula Wedding ceremony and celebration.
|The first dance|
Over three months later, we decided it was time for a belated honeymoon. So off to Hawaii we flew with not much planned other than 3 nights in Maui, and 5 nights in Kauai. I had spend the previous months pouring over Hawaii trail guide books, searching for the best running adventures. So intermixed with surfing, biking, paddle boarding, banana-eating and Mai Tai sipping, we scoured the trails. The following is a photo story of out favorites.
First up was the Waihee Ridge Trail, one of Runner's World's "Rave Runs," with beautiful views of the ocean and the wild West Maui Mountains.
The lack of wildlife in the crater results in the most amazing silence. We found ourselves alone on the desolate trail, feeling as though we were on a different planet. Impressive!
Once we made it back to the top, I was lucky enough to get to descend the 10,000 ft. volcano back down to the ocean on a borrowed road bike. From above the clouds, down to the sea...Weee!
After a fun-filled 3 days in Maui, we took a quick flight over to Kauai to check out the wild Hawaiian jungle...
Owen, beginning the 11 mile journey back from the beach to the car. It got hot. We ran out of water. We both kind of bonked, but it was totally worth it!
Other than the Napali Coast trail and the Waimea Canyon trails (sadly, I do not have any pictures of these), there was one more that I felt the enticed to explore. I had heard about the Powerline Trail that traversed across the Anahola Mountains to make a scenic 13 mile point-to-point. I had read varying reviews about this one: some saying it was an amazing and scenic trail, and others saying it was unmaintained and essentially impassible. It turned out to be exactly both of those descriptions.
I should have had a more realistic expectation for what an "unmaintained" trail in the Jungle would be like.
Of course, we did much more than seek out running trails during out trip, but I just wanted to share some of the pieces of our honeymoon that you might actually want to hear about.
Monday, November 17, 2014
BITTERROOT TRAIL RUN ADVENTURE
(Bear Creek to Big Creek loop and lessons learned)
By: John Fiore
|Big Creek Lake and Packbox Pass in the distance|
Allison and I had no idea what was in store for us when we left the Big Creek trailhead at 11:00 am. We cruised up the Big Creek drainage, admiring cedar forests, waterfalls spilling into the deep pools of Big Creek, and soaked up the warm rays of the sun. Big Creek Lake was full to the brim, and fording the spillway led me to question the upcoming stream crossings. Nevertheless, the trek around the massive shoreline of Big Creek Lake was uneventful. We crossed three raging creeks without incidence and soon found ourselves on the south end of Big Creek Lake staring at a solid snowpack. Big Creek Lake sits at 5,865 feet and the snowpack was solid at 6,000 feet. Bear Creek Pass (our route to the Bear Creek drainage) is at 8,000 feet, so we mutually accepted the ensuing snow travel. The heavy late spring snowfall and early season races had forced us to run in the Rattlesnake Mountains in the snow, so with trekking poles in hand (one pair between us so we each used one) we marched on….without the trail. On the slopes of Packbox Pass I was equally impressed by the gorgeous views and Allison’s ability to climb like a mountain goat up the snow-laden slopes.
|Sky Pilot Peak, Pear Lake (frozen), South Fork Lake|
We found the trail leading down Colt Killed Creek and after a few miles were fortunate to see the Bear Creek Pass trail sign posted on a tree twelve-feet off the ground (for riders on horseback perhaps?). The afternoon heat was sucking our energy at this point. One-mile from the top of the pass the trail vanished beneath four feet of snow once again. Onward and upward we climbed until we reached a precipice. “Holy %#@$ where’s the trail?” I exclaimed. The cirque below us was rocky, steep, and entirely snow covered. My Suunto watch read 20 miles and it was 7 pm. “So much for getting home by dark,” I thought to myself. We discussed our options: Retrace our steps back to Big Creek Lake and head out in the dark (we had one headlamp between us), or glissade down to the lake below from which a faint trail led out the Bear Creek Drainage. Packbox Pass was difficult enough to ascend and we both knew descending it in the dark would be foolish, so we chose to glissade and down climb to the lake. Once at the lake, we began following a roundabout trail which soon gave way to the thickest, most gnarly dead fall I have ever experienced. Three-miles of dead fall, multiple creek crossings, too many shin scratches to count, and two hours later we smelled freshly sawn logs and found a good trail. My Suunto battery died and it was now 11:00 pm. Our food was long gone but the excitement of finding the trail carried us onward.
Reduced to hiking due to the single dim headlamp between us, we both began to experience a supernatural Deja-vu feeling. First we saw a bridge which looked “just like the bridge in Big Creek.” Then we saw a choice camping spot tucked beneath a fire scarred rock face and we simultaneously exclaimed: “There’s no way this is Big Creek.” “I looked twice when we hit the trail and saw the sign and it said SOUTH FORK OF BEAR CREEK!” Our suspicions were settled when we reached the Big Creek Trailhead at 2:30 am and found the vehicle we left over fifteen hours earlier. Once home, I realized there was no way we could have found the Bear Creek trail due to snow. In fact, the Bear Creek drainage would be much more difficult to follow beneath snow due to the dense forest and its deceiving side canyons. We had glissaded down to South Fork Lake, entering the South Fork of the Big Creek drainage. We discovered first-hand that the South Fork trail had not been cleared in years.
|Ascending Sky Pilot Peak|
|Packbox Pass in October|
|South Fork Big Creek & South Fork Lake|
|South Fork Big Creek 1, Shins 0|
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
WINTER RUNNING IN MONTANA
(A RUNNER’S GUIDE TO SURVIVING WINTER IN MONTANA)
BY: JOHN FIORE, PT
Missoula is in the grips of a November arctic cold front which impacts the simplicity of running. Cold temperatures, shortened daylight hours, slick running surfaces, and snow packed roads and trails send many Missoula runners to indoor treadmill running or a winter of hibernation. Training through the winter, however, is the key to successfully achieving your spring and summer running goals. Winter is a great time to focus on strength training, circuit training, and skiing in order to give your summer running legs a break, build strength and restore muscle balance and flexibility. Although indoor treadmill running may be convenient, running outdoors is recommended. Treadmill running does not require the same muscle activation due to the treadmill belt moving beneath your feet. Hip extension and hip stabilization dynamics are greatly altered which results in an imbalance in hip & knee flexor versus hip & knee extensor function and strength.
A few simple preventative steps, however, can transform winter into a running adventure. Addressing footwear, clothing, balance & agility, and cold stiff muscles will enable you to run safely instead of watching winter pass you by.
Winter Running Footwear:
To avoid embarrassing and potentially dangerous falls on muddy, icy, snowy roads and trails, proper running footwear is a must. The experts and the Runners Edge carry many excellent winter traction shoes and removable traction devices. Kahtoola Nanospikes, Kahtoola Microspikes, or do-it-yourself traction screws have the same effect on running shoes as studded snow tires on your vehicle. Ice Bug (icebug.com) is a shoe manufacturing company based in Sweden which produces studded running shoes for a variety of terrain and uses. With so many excellent traction products on the market, there is no reason to fear slipping on ice and snow.
Dressing for Winter Running:
Winter temperatures necessitate warm clothing. Breathable layering is preferred so you can shed a layer while climbing or enjoying a brief moment of sunshine and easily add layers as the chill sets in. Overheating is dangerous in the winter as the trip home can be a near hypothermic experience. Don’t forget a thin shell to retain your body heat as temperatures fall. Gloves and a hat are vital as your body is constantly attempting to maintain your core temperature at the expense of your ears, hands, and feet. Fortunately, running tends to keep the feet fairly warm provided you have a good pair of breathable wool blend or polypropylene socks. On very cold days, hand warmers are a nice touch if your hands freeze as mine often do.
Balance & Agility Training:
Running in the winter poses unique balance and agility challenges. Shortening your stride length will allow you to maintain your center of gravity over your feet thereby reducing your risk of slipping. Relaxing your body will enable you to react naturally to balance challenges. Training your balance reaction skills and rapid weigh shifting through agility drills will give you the confidence you need for safe and fun winter running.
Preparing Muscles and Connective Tissue:
A comprehensive dynamic warm-up and cool down program is very important to increase muscle and connective tissue elasticity. Research has shown that a dynamic warm-up program is more effective than static stretching in preparing the body for running. Arm swings, hip hugs, butt kicks, lunges, toe jumps, and kick outs are great dynamic warm-up exercises and can are illustrated in the March, 2012 Runners Edge Newsletter. Winter is also a great time to focus on deep tissue mobilization and massage to restore muscle tissue health and extensibility.