Hurts So Good – The Addaday Pro Massage Roller

Disclaimer: I received an Addaday Pro massage roller to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

Since my labral tear diagnosis a year ago, I have had to really commit to self-massage, in the form of a lot of foam rolling and utilizing other tools. And let me tell you, I have tried a lot of tools. I have an entire box of self-massage tools. I had heard others raving about the Addaday Pro massage roller, so when I got the chance to try it out, I was absolutely in. After all, what could it hurt?

Okay, well as anyone who has done self-massage knows, it does hurt, but in the good way.

Though the strength work I’ve been doing on my hips and legs has done wonders to help balance the effects of my labral tear, the muscles in my left leg generally have to work a bit harder than those in my right leg, simply because not only are they working to make me run or bike or swim, but they’re also doing extra work to keep my hip in place. That means that I often end up with tightness in my quad. The foam roller is great for working out that tightness, but it’s not really all that portable, nor is it easy to use.

Since getting the Addaday Pro massage roller, I’ve been taking it to work almost every day and periodically rolling out my legs for a few minutes, occasionally while on a conference call. It’s so easy to use, and don’t let those cute little massage balls fool you, they can get in there and hit those sore spots.

Wet hair, don’t care

The Addaday Pro has three types of rollers on it – two firmer rollers, two softer rollers, and one pinpoint roller, which is amazing on my shin. Personally, I use the firmest rollers the most, but I’ve also spent over a year doing self-massage, getting regular Graston work, and generally torturing my leg into behaving. Many people will likely prefer the softer rollers.

Where I think this roller rises above some other products that I have tried is the fact that you can do more pinpoint work with the massage balls. Many rolling products (including my beloved foam roller) are flat, and while those certainly have a place, the Addaday Pro really lets you get into those knots and work them out. I have a spot near my knee that always tightens up and this tool lets me really get in there and work out the knot. It’s not the most enjoyable experience, but it works. It’s great on your IT band too. And you’re controlling the pressure, so you can go as firm or as gentle as you want.

(I let my coworker try the roller and the response was “This is terrible. But it feels so good!”)

Given the portability and ease of use, I think this roller is moving to the top of my list of self-massage tools. Thanks to weather, I had to cancel my last PT appointment, so I’m overdue for Graston and dry needling in my leg, and yet I’m not noticing any crazy stiffness, and I think that I owe that to all the time I’ve spent with the Addaday Pro. No, it’s not going to replace my physical therapist, but it’s certainly a good addition to my arsenal.

This one goes into my “Absolutely Recommended” column. If you don’t do some form of self-massage, you’re really missing out on a key element of recovery, and this tool is worth checking out.

February Recap

February. The doldrums of the year. Some of my favorite people have birthdays in February, and there is always an awesome Superb Owl party, but beyond that, this month is so grey and dreary. However, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t get recapped. Let’s start with my non-sports-related goals.

I set a goal to cook one new recipe a month. I give myself half a point on this one. I didn’t cook any new recipes, but I tried out Hungry Root, which is a meal prep delivery deal, except it’s pretty much just mix, heat, and eat, rather than the chopping and the prepping. It’s certainly not for everyone, and it’s not cheap, but I enjoyed what I had, will likely keep ordering it sporadically (because man, being able to eat real food during the crazy weeks was so nice), and might do a review one of these days.

Another goal was to read more books this year, and I’m doing okay on this one. I’ve been trying to read things on my to-read list and get through the giant stack of books I have in the house, and I think the problem is that I haven’t been in the mood for those particular books. So I put out a call on Twitter for recommendations and so far, that’s helped send me back in the right direction.

Finally, I wanted to get back into an awesome strength work routine. I started strong, but haven’t been doing as well as I would like. Stepping that back up this month.

February Totals
Swim: 11.9 miles
Bike: 147 miles
Run: 26 miles

I have caught up and gotten ahead of my swim goal pace for the year. Apparently that’s what happens when you actually show up for swim workouts. Who knew?

Run totals are still low, but I just managed to get a transfer entry into the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler, so those numbers will be picking up pretty swiftly, and Kim’s back, talking me into fall races, so running, here I come. Bike numbers are all Zwift miles, so those don’t really correlate to outdoor miles, but that’s okay.

In way more exciting bike news, I did an FTP test this month and my FTP increased by 13 watts. 13 more watts! And more exciting, this is the highest my FTP has ever been. That means I’m not only back from where I was pre-surgery and pre-injury, I’m finally making some real gains. That’s a huge mental boost. (Except that a higher FTP just means harder workouts, and everything is terrible.)

2019 Totals
Swim: 15.6 miles
Bike: 273 miles
Run: 48 miles

Setting my 2019 Race Schedule

My word of the year is challenge, and that’s something I’ve been focusing on as I set my race schedule for the year. I’ve had the races for the first half of the year pretty well locked down – a few olympics as tune-up and rehearsal for my big goal, IM 70.3 Ohio. But that only takes me through July. July is when my race season started last year, thanks to injury and surgery.

I started looking at what will come after July, with the idea of a challenge in the back of my mind.

I decided I wanted to finally tackle the series challenge with a local race group, which means doing at least five of their races. I’ve already got three on my schedule, so adding two more doesn’t sound too bad.

One thing I’ve never done is a back to back triathlon, racing both Saturday and Sunday. I’ve done it with half marathons, but not in a few years. So an added challenge for the year is going to be a Saturday olympic and Sunday sprint. The hardest part is going to be getting out of bed both days, I suspect!

So as of right now, here’s what I’m looking at:

  • 4/20 – Rumpus in Bumpass Olympic
  • 5/11 – Kinetic Olympic
  • 5/25 – Swimfest 4500
  • 6/15 – General Smallwood Olympic
  • 7/28 – 70.3 Ohio
  • 8/24 – Farm to Fork Fondo (tentative)
  • 9/7-8 – Patriot’s Olympic and Sprint (tentative)
  • 10/13 – Army Ten Miler (tentative)
  • 12/1 – Space Coast Half Marathon

The “tentative” just means that I haven’t plunked down the cash yet for the race. I’m also thinking I’ll add some more running races in the fall, maybe the Baltimore half, which I haven’t run in years. I should also pick up some 10ks here and there as time permits.

Given how little I raced last year, this feels like a lot, but I’m excited to tackle the challenge. I love the camaraderie of racing, and I’m looking forward to getting back out there.

The Prevalence of Cheating at Races

tswedensky / Pixabay

I’ve talked about cheating at races before, including about the people I’ve seen cheating at Disney races. But it seems to be an ongoing problem. If you aren’t already following Marathon Investigation, you should. Derek does an amazing job calling out cheaters at races. While his articles do typically focus on people who are cheating and winning awards or cheating to get into the Boston Marathon, he does also post about the average cheater, the person who wasn’t going to win anyway, but decides to cheat in some way.

There are a couple of different types of cheating. You have course cutters, who just refuse to complete the distance. You have people who create fake race bibs, either copying a friend’s or finding a photo online and using it to print a bib. Then there are the extra creative cheaters, like the people who turn a race into a relay, so one person starts the course, then they sneakily swap bibs, and another person finishes.

In this kind of information age, I’m always shocked by people who try to cheat and then deny it when they get called out. Not only should there be tracking data from a timing chip provided by the race, but frequently there are photos, and oftentimes, runners also have GPS data from their watches or phones.

Timing chips are never perfect. In recent years, I’ve had two different races where timing chip data was an issue. In one, my chip just didn’t register. In the other, I lost my chip taking off my wetsuit and didn’t realize it. But in both, I had GPS data to prove that I completed the entire race. I was never questioned on it, but if I had been, I had the information to back it up.

(I used to joke that no one would look at my results and think I was cheating, but I’ve come to see that that isn’t true – people aren’t just cheating to qualify for awards, they’re cheating just to get a finisher’s medal, which seems absolutely insane.)

The question is what should races do about these cheaters? Many of them are ultimately disqualified in the results, but if you’re just cheating to get a medal, you probably don’t care about that at all. Should they be banned from future races? For the repeat offenders, absolutely. And maybe the threat of banning after one incident would also stop some of the cheating.

Disney has tried to make it harder for people to get Goofy and Dopey medals. There are wristbands. There are photos (or so I’m told – I’ve never run either). But people can still cut the course or jump on to the course late in the race and still “finish.” Apparently, this year during the Disney marathon, there were runners seen on the monorail and runners jumping into the race at the Beach Club, which is just a couple of miles from the finish line. I really wonder Disney actually cares. What’s the harm in a small percentage of runners cheating the system, if the vast majority are doing what they’re supposed to do? Shouldn’t their focus be placed on making sure that those runners have an awesome, safe race?

While I’m not a huge fan of public shaming, I do enjoy seeing these cheaters getting called out, specifically the ones who have bragged about their “accomplishment” online. They did something wrong, they know they did something wrong, and maybe this will force them to see the truth.

And maybe it will help convince others that a DNF is worth so much more than a fake finish. There is a ton of integrity in fighting through a race, not giving up, but not being able to finish. At the end of the day, a medal is a fun shiny object, but knowing you did the right thing carries much more weight.

January Recap

KSAC Pool with slide
This pool is so nice and so stupidly hard to get to. Where is my hovercar?

You know those people who start off the year with banner workouts and then fall off throughout the year? Yeah, that’s not me. January was a low mileage month for me. I blame Disney and getting sick. Disney was totally worth it. Getting sick was way less fun, but probably also the fault of my Disney trip. Either way, I expect things to go up from here. And hey, if nothing else, I ran way more miles than I did last January!

January Miles:
Swim – 3.7 miles
Bike – 126 miles
Run – 22 miles

Yep, behind on all counts. Whatever, I’ll get there, I’m sure. (As I write this, I can envision my coach reading this and laughing, Mr. Burns style.)

But I set goals other than just mileage goals. This year, I wanted to cook one new recipe a month, read 50 books, and get back to strength work. (And budget better, but this is decidedly not a personal finance blog, so let’s just assume I’m always working on that.)

This month, I tried two new recipes, Miso Butter Salmon from the Run Fast, Cook Fast, Eat Slow cookbook and Millet Pizzas from the Run Fast, Eat Slow cookbook. The salmon was FABULOUS and I will be making it again. The pizzas were… okay. They were a lot of work and not so delicious that I am desperate to make them again.

I also read 6 books this month! (Okay, I finished 6 books this month. Two of those books were things I started to read previously and hadn’t gotten through. So I picked them back up first thing this year.) If you’re interested in that sort of thing, you can check out my profile on Goodreads, but I think from this batch, the book I’m going to recommend is The Forgotten Hours by Katrin Schumann. It wasn’t quite a book that I couldn’t put down, but it was darn close. I definitely looked forward to picking it back up.

As for strength work, I did it! I’ve restarted ChaLEAN Extreme. And it’s just as hard as I remember it being. I’m not following the calendar of workouts, just doing a workout once or twice a week as dictated in my training schedule. So it will take me more than three months to get through the cycle, but it’s still a great workout, and a great way for me to be able to track my results. I don’t expect to get swole or anything, but it’s definitely good for my body to get some strength work in addition to all the cardio.