Friday, October 29, 2010

Review + Giveaway: RUB-A535 Natural Source Arnica

(Sorry - this giveaway is open to readers in Canada only.)

I was recently invited to review a sample of RUB A535’s NEW Natural Source Arnica.

"Mother Nature’s Best Kept Secret"

New topical gel-cream from RUB A535 incorporates natural healing properties.

Arnica is a natural source that provides effective relief for sore muscles, inflammation and bruising and has been used for medicinal purposes since the 1500s. According to the University of Maryland Medical Centre, it is often the first remedy used today to treat bruising and swelling. RUB A535 has incorporated the healing properties of this therapeutic plant into its new RUB A535 Arnica, a topical gel-cream used to help treat swelling, bruising and muscle aches and pains.

Natural Healing Benefits of RUB A535 Arnica:

· RUB A535 Arnica contains a natural source ingredient used to ease sore muscles, stiffness and bruising

· Due to the anti-inflammatory properties of Arnica, this topical cream is especially effective for treating bruises and swelling from falls or blows

· Once applied, the gel-cream provides fast and effective relief to affected areas, focusing directly where the pain is

· When applied, the gel-cream has a refreshing soothing feel without an intense heating or cooling effect

· The fragrance free gel-cream has added benefits of both a gel and a cream. The gel provides fast absorption while the cream creates a light, non-greasy feel on the skin

I find this to be one of those products that is difficult to review objectively. Did it make a big difference in reducing aches, pains and swelling, or was it the R.I.C.E. therapy? I'll never know for sure, but I do believe they work well together.

I received this product just in time for my recent marathon. If there was ever a time that I need relief of sore, stiff, over-worked muscles, this is it.

What I can say with certainty:
  • the cooling sensation feels wonderful
  • there is an immediate soothing effect once applied
  • it looks a little funky when squeezed from the tube - but don't let that deter you!
  • it has a bit of a medical smell, but the aroma doesn't linger once you rub it in
  • it is non-greasy and doesn't leave any residue behind

I've been using it liberally on my feet, legs and back and thoroughly enjoy the cold, soothing sensation. Ahhhhhh, relief!

Win a RUB-A535 Prize Pack:
(Canada only - your odds are good!)
To enter:
1. Let me know why you would like to try Rub-A535.
2. Visit the website and tell me something you learned.
3. Bonus entry for followers!
4. Share this giveaway with another Canadian blogger; if someone mentions your name, you get a bonus entry!

Winner will be selected Thursday, November 4th!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1. Physiotherapy.

On Monday night I had a scheduled physio appointment with Dr. Pain Ron. I knew everything would be nice and tight post-marathon and surely a week of pure laziness (see below) did not help with that. Instead of getting right down to business, he sat me down and said, "First - a pep talk." (He knew all about my race after seeing hubs last week.) I may have talked it through to death by now, but it always helps to have a fresh perspective, extra support/re-assurance and another shoulder to lean on. Maybe I should start calling him Dr. Sensitive. ;)

Soon it was time to get to work and he had a field day on my legs, hips and back. In the end, the hour+ long session (which made me late for dinner with Sarah - sorry!) left me feeling refreshed and renewed both physically and emotionally. It was physiotherapy with an extra helping of therapy.

2. Back at it.

After being lazy to the max for far too long, I was feeling sluggish and blahhhhh. I knew I needed a break, but took it a little too far by doing almost nothing for more than a week. It wasn't doing any good for my spirit OR my body, so enough was enough. On Tuesday evening I headed out for a rainy slug-fest of a run with hubs and felt like I belonged on The Biggest Loser. [My week-long junk food binge may have had something to do this this. Oops!] The 5K felt more like 50, but it was still great to get out there. I followed it up with a 10K run with Run Club yesterday night in some of the most insane wind I have ever experienced. The street lights flickered as the rain came down in massive droplets. We had to shield our eyes as we were pelted by dirt, leaves and debris. I still felt pretty tired (surely the wind didn't help!), but got through it.

Tonight it will be something completely different: back to the gym for Spin + Yoga!

3. Freedom

I am loving running just to run. With no (serious) races on the horizon, I can run whenever/wherever and however far/fast I would like. Knowing me, I'll be ready to get back on a training plan before long (and thanks to hubs, my next one is already lined up!)... but for now, this is refreshing! I do have a fun little race coming up this weekend - the 4T aka Tom Taylor Trail Ten Miler. I'll be running in costume (how can you not? it's Halloween!) with a friend and it should be a great time!

Happy Thursday (almost Friday)!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Run4Rett Recap!

With all the hype surrounding my recent marathon, I haven't had a chance to recap another very important event which took place the day before: Run4Rett!

I am pleased to report that we had a tremendously successful day, with approximately 450 participants and more than $42,000.00 raised for the Ontario Rett Syndrome Association.

Juliana was the driving force behind this event and did a wonderful job overseeing every major aspect and minor detail - let me tell you, there is so much more to think about than you can imagine, even for a relatively small event like this one. I tried to do my part by coordinating and managing the volunteers, but played a very small role on race day given that I had a marathon to run the next day. Thankfully my awesome sister April (who was also responsible for procuring the majority of donations for our race kits) stepped up to the plate and filled in for me.

Our volunteers were absolutely wonderful, many of whom are a part of our training group. Having runners behind the scenes makes such a big in pulling off a successful event. They know how things should work and realize how important it is that everything happens the way it is supposed to. A huge thank you goes out to everyone who volunteered - we couldn't have done it without you!

Everything went very smoothly and we have received plenty of positive feedback. It's so rewarding to see months and months of hard work come together, especially for such a good cause.

A few pics from the big day:

Showing my (colourful) volunteer spirit:

Bouncy Castle:

Start line:

Post-Race Food:

Hubs ran a 22:30 5K after a 30K/18.6mi (!!!) "warm-up"

Congratulations to all who were involved! See you next year!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What Went Wrong

I promise this will (probably) be the last follow up post to my Toronto Marathon experience. Bonking so early in the race has led me to scrutinize every last detail in order to come up with a possible explanation. I don't believe any one item on this list is significant enough to have affected my race so much; potentially two or more factors played a role, or perhaps all of this is irrelevant. Either way, I needed to work through this in order to move on.

"Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward."  -Vernon Law

Start Time

As I emphasized in my race report, I was not a fan of the 9AM start. I think this is a terrible idea for any marathon, since it means the majority of participants are still running well into the afternoon. I think it could have been an issue for me since I never start running at this time; weekend long runs start nice and early (never after 8AM) and weekday runs are either very early or in the evening.  RoadBunner addressed this in her Humboldt Redwoods Marathon race report which also had a 9AM start, stating that her body starts "expecting all sorts of creature comforts like a real breakfast, bathrooms that flush, and lunch before my finish time." Exactly!

Menstrual Cycle (sorry gentlemen, you may want to skip this part!)

Thanks to BCP I have a completely regular cycle. I realized that I was going to end up having my monthly visitor on race day, so I decided to 'cheat the system' and continue taking hormone pills for the week when I was supposed to stop (thereby preventing me from having said monthly visitor). I've done this many times before without an issue, but never for a marathon. Maybe it wreaked havoc on my system?


Hubs thinks I didn't eat enough leading up to the race. I am more inclined to think that I wasn't eating enough of the right things leading up to the race. For some reason, I had a lot of trouble getting a grip on my diet over the last couple of months and I wasn't nearly as conscious of what was going into my mouth. As a result, my weight was also higher than I'm comfortable with. (This is something I will be working on in the coming months, starting with Matt Fitzgerald's book Racing Weight, which hubs and I are both reading at the moment - review to follow.)

Heart Rate (Nerves)

My nerves definitely got the best of me. I had a terrible time falling asleep the night before and noticed as I lay in bed (and then on the couch) that my heart was pounding. I could not get myself to relax. This continued on race morning as I tried to force my breakfast down, but that didn't go very well either. My nerves were literally making me sick to my stomach - no fun at all. Miraculously, I calmed down by the time we lined up and felt the pressure lift once we got started. Is it possible that I had worked myself up so much that it was detrimental to my race?

Too Much Taper?

I'm starting to think that less taper might work better for me. Some of my best races have been completed without tapering whatsoever (Chilly Half, Around the Bay 30K, Waterfront Half). It may be worth experimenting with less taper for my next marathon. This is something that hubs has been researching and is experimenting with himself. All I know is that I start to feel sluggish after a three week taper, as though I'm losing momentum. Correctly executed peak and recovery weeks with a less significant taper might be beneficial.


So.. those are my thoughts. As I mentioned above, I don't necessarily believe that any or all of the above factors had a significant impact on my race. I feel better for having worked through and come up with some potential ideas, though of course I will never know for sure. Thanks for sticking with me and for the continued support. Now we can move on to other topics. :)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Niagara Falls 10K and a bloggy meet-up!

Yesterday hubs and I were up early and on the road at 5AM for the 2-hour drive to Niagara Falls where he was running a 10K as part of International Marathon Weekend. Lucky for me, hubs drove and let me snooze most of the way there. :)

We arrived nice and early, found some free parking in a suspicious-looking grass field and made our way to race kit pick-up. Unfortunately they were all out of goodie bags, but hubs was able to pick up his bib, chip and shirt without issue. He had planned to run an extra 10K before the race, so I loaded my backpack with his extra stuff (my turn to play sherpa), sent him on his way and made the 10-15 minute walk toward the host hotel.

After texting back and forth with Anne along the way, we found each other easily outside the hotel where she and her hubby were waiting for shuttles to the half and full marathon starts. It was soooo nice to meet Anne (and her hubby) - she is just as sweet in person as I expected! Unfortunately we had limited time, but we chatted away for as long as we could. I'm so glad we had the opportunity to meet!

Before long, I knew I had to get back to the 10K start line, so we said goodbye (for now!) and I wished Anne good luck. I asked her to text me after her race and I was so excited to find out later that it went great! Make sure you stop by Anne's blog for more pics and her race report!

I made my way back and found hubs just as he was finishing his warm-up. We quickly got him ready with his bib and chip and I saw him off at the start line.

(that's hubs in red near the middle, but his face is chopped off - oops!)

The route was a straight out-and-back so I wasn't able to go out on the course. I grabbed a spot at the finish line and waited. Of course, I didn't have to wait long!

Hubs decided to forgo a PR attempt and treated the race as a "glorified tempo run". He ended up finishing in 7th place overall (445 finishers) with a time of 42:13. Definite success! He said it was quite a different experience running so close to the front of the pack.

The course is a straight out-and-back along the Niagara River with the big finish at the horseshoe falls (same finish line as the half/full marathon). Hubs enjoyed it overall and plans to return next year.

Taking the scenic route back to the car:

Friday, October 22, 2010

Foto Friday

It would appear that I had my own personal photographer at the Toronto Marathon. Check out this photo shoot! I may not have been having the best day, but I (almost) always smile for a camera!

The Early Miles

The Middle Miles

The Later Miles

Have a great weekend!