Getting in Gear: Eight weeks to the San Francisco Marathon

June first means many things to many people… School is out, the weather is finally warm (almost) everywhere… And for many runners, it is the beginning of training season for the fall Marathons.

For those with a late summer marathon, it is also the time to check the training plan, and get the gear for the race finalized.

I am excited that tomorrow I will begin training with a new piece of technology, the Pebble Smart Watch.20140602-183535-66935418.jpg

In a unique partnership with The San Francisco Marathon, runners are offered an exclusive $20 discount on the watch. This is not a like other GPS Trackers – its interface works with Apps downloaded to the phone it is paired with. I am still figuring it all out, but have downloaded several different ones and will review them and give updates as I learn. I am a NIKE+ user – and really only use my watch for interval timing. There are several apps for this alone, and the watch will also allow me to control my iTunes Playlist, for a hands free run. Here is to trying something new and exciting!


Healing the Body: Thai Massage

There was a time when getting a massage was a part of pampering, an afternoon of luxury and an escape from reality. 

Not for a runner.

Massage is an essential part of a training plan. Not only will it help runners reach a higher level of performance, but will also assist in avoiding injury. 

There are many types of massage, both deep-tissue and sports massage are popular among athletes. Lately however, I have been exploring an alternative therapy: 
Thai Massage. 

Developed in Thailand, this practice combines massage and assisted stretching. It is preformed on large mat on the floor, with both the client and therapist dressed comfortably. 

If you read about the history and practice of Thai massage, it is often referred to assisted yoga. The moving and manipulation of the body is all preformed by the therapist. You may experience that the hardest task the client needs to complete during the hour is trying to relax and let the therapist work.

I received my first Thai Massage, and every one since, at The Studio Spa and Garden of Healing. This is where I go for all of my massage and facial treatments. 

There were moments during my first session that I questioned what exactly I had gotten myself into. Lying down on my back with the therapists feet working my hamstrings while his hands massaged the arch of my foot was mentally awkward – however, when I felt my hip flexors relax and my IT Band ease…. my mind got on-board with the movements. 

We spend a lot of money on race registrations, travel, and accommodations. Much of this is pre-paid, non-refundable, and paid month in advance. One injury can ruin these plans, and derail a training program completely. Making an investment in the health and maintenance of your body can keep you on track.

Many people who understand this concept and agree with the need for massage, end up jumping from therapist to therapist to get good deals. In this day of Groupon and Living Social Vouchers, it is tempting. I admit, it was Groupon that originally brought me to the Studio Spa, but it was the staff that made me a loyal client.

If you are looking for a new restaurant or experience – jumping around is fine, and even fun. When it comes to your body, your skin and muscles and bones and health – it is essential that you develop a relationship with your therapist. After multiple visits, they know what your body feels like, what is normal, and how to give you the best possible treatment. 

Recognizing the temptation to move around, and rooted in a core belief that Spa Services should be accessible to the average person, The Studio Spa has many methods of offering affordable services to their clientele. Their Facebook Followers and Email recipients are offered Daily Specials. These specials do not need to be used the day they are offered, but can be banked for future use. Spa memberships for even greater discounts are also available.

It is true. You can stretch yourself. You can get a foam roller try and smooth out those aches and loosen up your joints. It hurts, it is hard to do effectively, and ultimately  many of us do not do it the way we should. That is why I love my moments of Zen in the hands of my therapist, I know that this is a part of my running journey I cannot afford to compromise.

If you get massage, I encourage you to try Thai Massage. If you are in the Orlando area, The Studio Spa and Garden of Healing (1245 Michigan Ave, Winter Park – 407-332-4772) is the place to go…. you will not be disappointed.