H-Town Run Tourist Reminisce

The Best Walk I Ever Had

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Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and owner of Houston Tourism Gym. To claim your free tour, contact her at info@tourismgymhtx.com. Follow her on Twitter @jovanabernathy. Instagram @TourismGymHtx. Facebook @TourismGymHtx

I was having a conversation with a couple of people at Berryhill in River Oaks. (By the way, have you tried Berryhill's margaritas? They are so strong. Just sayin). We were talking about running. If you are wondering why these conversations keep happening to me, it is no accident. I often just show up to random places and put people in a position where they have to react. I like to spruce it up, so to speak. Never a dull moment with me.


Anyway, they were saying that they had tried running before, but hated it. They had never got to the point where they could just let their brain let go. Many people ask me how I could run a marathon. I always say because I love to think and reminisce, iterate, and dream. On my run today, I had a great memory. I'll tell you about it.

I had just arrived in Beijing, China. It was a long flight. I flew Air China. I was told that they were the worst airline, mainly because of the food. Man, was it true. I was served frozen food that was still frozen. I decided to just eat the Starburst that I got form the duty-free shop the rest of the flight. What a great way to fuel for the race. See what I mean about anything and everything happening before the race.

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When we got to Beijing, the airport had no lights or AC in the section that we were in. We had to stand in line for an hour to go through customs. Don't get me wrong, I'm not negative, but it is hard to deal with culture shock when I am hungry and sleep deprived.

Finally, I arrived at my hotel. I went up to my room. I ordered some Pizza Hut. Yes, my first meal in China was some Pizza Hut. I had no choice. We would only stay there tonight and tomorrow the would be off to the Great Wall to inspect it. We were staying at a hotel next to the wall. We had to travel two hours to get there. I was ready to get this party started.

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After we boarded the bus, I found my seat next to this gentleman from California. His name was Paul. We had a great time getting to know each other. It made the two hour drive really short. I looked out of the window to take in the Chinese countryside. the bus comes to a stop. We had arrived to our hotel.

After getting settled in my room, I took a hot shower. I put on my white linen pants and white off the shoulder top. I put on some fresh makeup and decided to take a walk. I wanted to get an idea of this town and where I was.

I left out the back of the hotel. When I got to the road, I decided to go straight. I had seen some birds in cages. Everyone who knows me knows that I love birds. I went to check them out. I saw a couple of shops and restaurants before heading towards the fountain at the end of the long road. There was a lot of people collected at the fountain. I wanted to see what was up.

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When I got to the fountain, I began to understand that everyone was staring at me. It became uncomfortable, so I decided to turn back around. The people crowded there were couples that seemed to be waiting for something. Then, I understood exactly what they were waiting for. I saw a long line of children on bicycles and on foot going down the road to connect with their parents.

This seems really ordinary, but something was different about this experience. The children were staring at me and the other arrivals with their mouths wide open. They stared, only barely blinking in disbelief. I looked back at their parents and they were doing the same. The entire town was staring at me and the other runners. Since, I came alone. I walked alone. I stopped and collected myself before I continued. Like lifting weights or like any other workout, I wanted to have good form. I tightened up my core, puffed my chest out, straightened out my back and rolled my shoulders back and proceeded to back to the hotel.

I kept my eyes forward. My chin up and kept on walking. And yeah, It was really strange to be stared at like that, but I couldn't help but think what they must be think about the newcomers in their town. It was truly a walk to remember. And by the way, I totally recommend the great Wall Marathon is a one of a kind adventure of a lifetime. Thank you for following me down this trip down memory lane.


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H-Town Run Tourist

5 mystery pains explained

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Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and owner of Houston Tourism Gym. To claim your free tour, contact her at info@tourismgymhtx.com. Follow her on Twitter @jovanabernathy. Instagram @TourismGymHtx. Facebook @TourismGymHtx

I remember when I first started running how excited I was. I ran every single day to get that runner's high. I felt like a gazelle with the wind in my hair. But, sometimes, I'd wake up with the most mysterious pains. Some were serious enough to make me stop running for a couple of months and some were just enough to make me run slower. Little did I know that these mysterious pains were common to all runners, especially the new ones. To help you with your running experience, I've made a list of the 5 most common injuries of a runner.

Mystery Pain #1

Shallow muscle pain in random parts of the body.

If you are feeling pain just below your skin or right above your muscle, you probably have sticky fascia. What is fascia? If you have ever prepared chicken, it is that slimy, transparent film just under the skin and over the muscle. We have the same thing in our bodies. It's job is to hold our organs in place and help our muscles to move correctly. Without it, our organs would not stay in place. Healthy fascia is slippery. Whenever it is dry, it gets sticky. This causes the random pain because your muscles are restricted.

Remedy: Stay hydrated with plenty of water.

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Mystery Pain #2

Throbbing pain in your shins.

This is more than likely shin splints. This is caused by stress on the shin bone and stress on the connective tissue. This causes that whole area to become inflamed thus causing pain. Causes could be having flat feet, shoes that offer no support and having a weak core.

Remedy: Buy your running shoes at a specialty running store and get fitted so that your shoes properly fit the needs of your foot. (Read more about the right running shoes here.) Make sure you warm up and cool down properly. As always and I do mean always, do core strengthening exercises. You can add some for the hips and ankles too.

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Mystery Pain #3

Mild, sharp, or burning pain in the lower back that you radiates through your lower back, hips, glutes, and down your leg.

You are experiencing Sciatica. This condition happens when you have a pinched nerve, a slipped disk, or herniated disk. Your sciatic nerve extends from your lower back, deep in down your leg. This is caused by prolonged sitting for those couch potatoes, people who work in an office or UBER drivers. Other causes are running without rest days or running to hard and fast too soon after a long break from running.

Remedy: It's time to incorporate strength training in your training schedule. Do not forsake recovery like hot baths with epsom salt and foam rolling. And as always, build up that core. A great exercise to do is superman's which build your core, but offer a great lower back stretch. Make sure you have proper posture focusing on distributing even weight on both sides of the body.

Mystery Pain #4

Swollen or stiff ankles that hurt when you run.

You have achilles tendonitis. This has happened to me many times. When you cross train just as hard as you train this tends to happen.

Remedy: There are many ways to work with this one. Foam roll especially your calves. Wear an ankle brace to stabilize your ankle to limit movement. Do ankle strengthening exercises. Choose one activity to go hard at and minimize the other. Use the RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevate). The last option is just plain old time, not the most popular choice.

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Mystery Pain #5

Pain and tenderness just under knee joint and/or the thigh.

You have an overworked IT Band. This happens when you over use the connective tissue that starts on the outer thigh and connects to the knee.

Remedy: Again RICE is best for this injury. It would be good to do some strength training for your lower back, hips, knees, and leg muscles. Training with a band is key for this.

I feel like I am beating a dead horse, but I'm sure you noticed a trend with these remedies. Stay hydrated. Foam rolling and stretching are a must. Consider these a part of your training or you will have to take time from your training schedule to heal.

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