Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Now Roll It Out

West side roll it out
South side roll it out
East side roll it out
North side roll it out

Sorry, couldn't resist.

I'm referring to this innocent looking cylinder:

That is my foam roller, and I'm in a dependent relationship with it.  And I think it's going to be long-term.  Let me start from the beginning.  A few weeks ago, I did the week 3 workout of the Fitnessista's Winter Shape Up program.  The thing is, I am NOT a runner.  I can do cardio classes back to back, walk for miles at a time, etc., but running and I do not get along.  This goes back to the first time we had to run "the Mile" in 5th grade - it was horrible and I just wanted to lie in the grass and sunbathe instead of run.

But the week 3 workout included a treadmill plan.  I could have done it on the elliptical or bike, but I wanted to give the treadmill a shot and challenge myself.  I definitely had to make modifications and take it at my own pace, but I felt awesome after completing the 30-minute routine.  Except for one little thing - a sharp pain on the outside of my lower left knee.

I had felt this pain before, at least since I was a teenager, but it was always fleeting and I didn't think much of it.  This time, though, the pain was much more intense and did not immediately go away. From reading other blogs and fitness articles, I had a feeling I knew what it was:  my IT band, which runs from the hip to the knee.  IT band injuries are common amongst runners, and while I would not consider myself a runner, I didn't think it was a coincidence that I felt the pain after running (and after being the most consistently active that I've ever been).  I did a little online self-diagnosing and found that my symptoms matched those of IT band injuries.

I really did not want to get a full-blown injury, so I elevated and iced my IT band (with a bag of frozen corn - classy!), ordered new tennis shoes (the ones I had been wearing were a couple of years old), and ordered the foam roller pictured above.  This video shows how to use a foam roller to release your IT band:

I had NO idea how painful this would be.  The first time I used the foam roller, I could barely put any weight on the outside of my thigh; my IT band was incredibly tight.  Tears came to my eyes as I was writhing in pain on the floor - lovely, right?  I've used it every day since, ideally before and after working out, and before bed, and I have noticed a huge difference.  Now I can put my full weight on my IT band on both thighs, and I only get a slight twinge of pain once in awhile.  Huge improvement.

This is another video that shows other ways to use the foam roller:

If you work out regularly, and especially if you run, I would highly recommend getting a foam roller - it allows you to release muscles in ways that cannot be achieved merely from stretching (but don't forget to stretch, too!).  Plus, using a foam roller is like an at-home massage!  Also, a lot of gyms have foam rollers if you want to try it out before getting one for yourself. 

On a sweeter note, I baked these lemon squares and brought them to school today for the Environmental Law Society's bake sale. 

This is not a healthy dessert in the slightest, but it sure is delicious.  As I was cutting them last night, the first square stuck to the pan and was difficult to get out - since it was falling apart and was not in any condition to be sold, I happily claimed it as my own and had it for a midnight snack while I was finishing up my school assignment.  I set two aside to take over to my neighbor (a cute old lady who lives across the hall from me and has been in the apartment building for 50 years!) and the rest will be sold for a contribution to the Ohio Environmental Council

After school I did the week 3 workout and am so glad that this time around I'm not having shooting pains like I did a few weeks ago.

Now it's time to shower, tackle my dish mountain, and get something to eat for dinner.  Have a great night!

When's the last time you had a bake sale?  Before I started law school, I heard it was a lot like high school, and that is so true - we have lockers, our class sizes are relatively small so you get to know each other pretty quickly (read: lots of gossip), we have bake sales...

Song of the day:

"Lonely Boy" by the Black Keys.  The Black Keys are from my hometown of Akron (!!!) and I love their gritty rock vibe.  And this is a pretty awesome music video, too.

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