Foam Rollers: Yes, No, Maybe So?

A couple of years ago I had plantar fasciitis. It was awful. The first part of treatment required shots to the bottom of the foot, which was extra terrible being a hater of needles and any type of pain. After I had the shots, I was prescribed physical therapy, where they iced, heated, electric pulsed, and massaged me back to happy feet.

One thing the Physical Therapist mentioned to me was that I have very tight calves. I thought this was a good thing. It meant my calves were rock solid masses of muscle, right? Not quite. It meant I had been a lazy bum for too long, and my calves needed to be worked and stretched back into top shape for running. One day after treatment I was visiting my Aunt when she told me that her podiatrist gave her a foam roller for her calves. My PT hadn’t mentioned foam rollers, but I gave it a whirl, and while it hurt like hell, it seemed to make my muscles feel better the next day.

I forgot all about the foam roller until the fitness trainer at our work gym recommended I use it along with a foot stretcher (?!). The foam roller was as expected – sort of painful, but my legs felt good afterwards. What I wasn’t prepared for was the amazing foot stretcher! It’s a semicircular contraption that has a place to place your foot. You put your weight on that foot and rock back and forth and it makes your feet feel incredible! Especially amazing for someone like me who was born without arches and deals with running foot pain A LOT.

So, today, I was perusing the internet and decided to purchase this foam roller on Amazon. It had the best reviews, and I like the ones with some tread (for lack of a better word). I am also in the market for a foot stretcher now, as I have a bunch of races coming up.

Does anyone else use foam rollers or foot stretchers? Any brands you’d recommend?

Finish at the 50 at Gillette Stadium

Despite our name saying “pro”, it’s not just professional athletics that we care about around here. Fitness and overall health are of top priority, so we love when organizations dedicated to improving people’s health come together to do something, well, healthy!

In the beginning of July, Gillette Stadium will once again play host to a three-day health expo sponsored by Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare, which will be capped off by 5K and 10K runs the evening of July 3rd. I ran the 5K last year and let me tell you, it was painful. Ninety-six degrees and likely 100% humidity. The race began at 5:30pm and it was hot, hot, hot. Which is why I’m super excited about the addition of two more water stations. Last year there were only two, which was not good for a race in July. By the time some of the slower runners/walkers got to the water stations, the water was warm. I’m really pleased with this change, but will still be praying for a cool and/or rainy day!

I have to say the best part about the race is that you get to run up the ramps at Gillette in the shade. After a mile and a half or so outside in the sun, this is a welcome respite. Maybe I spoke too soon. The BEST part is in the name of the event – you get to finish at the 50 yard line inside Gillette Stadium.

The event benefits the Kraft Center for Community Health. The Kraft Fellowship in Community Health Leadership is a two-year program to prepare a new generation of physician leaders who will contribute to the field of community health and lead the development of new models of collaboration between academic medicine and community health centers. You can see what some of the fellowship recipients are up to now by clicking here.

I’d love to have some readers run with me! For more information and to register, go to Finishatthe50.com.

Tom Brady and What We Tell Our Children

By now, all of America has heard of Tom Brady and the deflated footballs of Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots. Of all of the hot air that has been spewed on the topic, from retired athletes on ESPN who have taken one too many blows to the head and don’t have a ring to show for it, to nerds on Meet the Press who tend to keep to the croquet circuit, and the late night talk show hosts who have staffs of writers feeding their lines into teleprompters—of all the nonsense and bullshit—the one comment that has bothered me the most is, what do we tell the children? At first, I thought this was utter nonsense.

 

What do we tell the children? How about we tell the 22% of children living in homes below the poverty line that instead of feeding them, we are going to devote an inordinate amount of resources to a negligible decrease in air pressure in footballs in an uncompetitive 45-7 game? How about we tell young men that how you throw around a woman matters less to the billion-dollar suits than how you prepare the ball you throw around on Sundays?

 

But as this quagmire progressed, and the billable hours racked up, and a wishy-washy report came out, I thought: what a great opportunity this is to teach our children very important lessons. That the story of Tom Brady and his Deflated Footballs (but really—we can’t even prove that they were deflated now, can we?) can serve as an example of what America can be, at its best and its worst. That the America we want to live in is one that celebrates success, and does not vilify it. That the America we want to live in is one that does not embrace individuals who make excuses for their own failures, but rather encourages each person to strive to be his or her best. That in our America, we believe in fairness of the justice system, and that no person is sentenced, quartered, tarred and feathered—until the overwhelming weight of the evidence indicates that he is so deserving of that punishment. These are the values that separate America from the rest of the world. If football truly wants to be America’s game, then it needs to be the game of the great America, not the sad America.

 

Children of America, these are your lessons:

 

That the America we want to live in is one that celebrates success, and does not vilify it. If I had children, I would explain to them the American dream is still alive. Look at how Tom Brady, a sixth-round draft pick, destined to ride the bench before retiring to a job selling life insurance, was able to become the greatest quarterback in NFL history. Kids, this teaches you to always do your homework and be prepared, because when opportunity knocks, you have to be ready otherwise you will lose your chance at greatness. The more success you achieve (the first, second, third, and fourth Super Bowl, or perhaps the garage full of Super Bowl MVP trophies), the more important it is to handle that success with grace, humility, and dignity, like Tom Brady. Recognize, like Tom does, that the most important part of your life is your family, and you put their privacy and well being ahead of anything else.

 

That the America we want to live in is one that does not embrace individuals who make excuses for their own failures, but rather encourages each person to strive to be his or her best. Here is the ugly truth: not everybody has the same work ethic as you’ll have. Not everybody will be able to be as great as you are. They will look for excuses. They will try to tear down what you have built, disparage your accomplishments, and bring you down to their level. These people are sad and desperate, and they will try in every way possible to justify their own failures not by correcting their own actions (not by working harder or getting smarter), but instead by fabricating reasons for why they can’t be as good as you (you had other advantages, you had a privilege they didn’t have, you achieved through nefarious means). They won’t understand, kids, that your success came through your own blood, sweat, and tears. They won’t understand that you have crafted the rules to give them the advantage—superior draft picks—or held you back so that everyone could be on the same level, regardless of ability—like salary caps—and that despite this generosity, they continue to fail. That you should somehow apologize, or be punished, for their failure, is utter nonsense. Fight for an America that rewards success and corrects failure. It is important to give others a helping hand, but do that by raising them up, not by bringing yourself down.

 

That in our America, we believe in fairness of the justice system, and that no person is sentenced, quartered, tarred and feathered—until the overwhelming weight of the evidence indicates that he is so deserving of that punishment. Kids, only dictators like Vladimir Putin use cronies to conduct investigations and then label them as independent, and only terrorists like ISIS have show-trials with pre-determined results. We don’t want to be the Kim Jung Un of the world and feed our uncle to the dogs. The only thing that separates America from becoming a failed state is our justice system, and this justice system requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Kids, this system recognizes an important point: that the only thing worse than assassinating someone’s character by accusing them of committing a crime they didn’t do is to then force them to serve the sentence. If anyone is going to take your reputation, your property, or your freedom, they damn well better be able to prove it in clear and convincing terms in broad daylight.

 

It is important, now more than ever, that parents sit down with their children and tell them the story of Tom Brady and the Deflated Footballs. The future of America depends on it.

 

 Note: This guest post was written by Andrew Bridson. Once the Editor figures out how to put his name on the Author list, her name will no longer errantly appear where Andrew’s should.

Our Patriots Save the Date went viral today

Holy moley.

So, my fiancé gave me free reign to do whatever for our Save the Dates. There’s your mistake. If you’re marrying a girl who was raised in a football-obsessed, competitive, New England family, something Patriots will end up in the wedding. It could be as small as people tossing the pigskin on the venue’s lawn.

But, we love laughter. We love to make people laugh. My college superlative was Most Likely to Make You Laugh.

I needed to up the game for my wedding.

So, I designed our Save the Dates from the popular meme of Bill Belichick with his usual deadpan face, and the text “Let’s Party”. I replaced the normal block-like font with a thinner, more classic font, used my limited Photoshop skills to edit out logos etc. We thought they were fun, and that even our friends who were Giants and Seahawks fans would laugh. (Ha ha, you have to look at Belichick’s face taped to your fridge until October).

I was supposed to buy stamps and send them out on Saturday. I procrastinate. I feel like a bad, lazy bride, so I figured I’d do something and sent a photo of our Save the Dates to the New England Patriots on Facebook.

Then, it blew up. Most people thought they were funny (actually 99%). Then you had the random future serial killers who were like RAH I HATE EVERYTHING HAPPINESS AND JOY AND LAUGHTER SUCK. Oh well. That’s the internet for ya, I suppose.

Thank you so much to all the media outlets who have picked up our Save the Date. We truly hope you got a good laugh. But don’t crash our wedding. Seriously, there’s a fire code. :)

Why Aaron Hernandez SHOULD be allowed to watch the Super Bowl

Michele McPhee broke a story for ABC News yesterday that former New England Patriot TE Aaron Hernandez, currently on trial for murder, would not be allowed to watch the Super Bowl in his solitary confinement cell today.

While I understand why prisoners are not allowed televisions, cell phones, or to read newspapers in solitary, I actually think they should allow Hernandez to watch the Super Bowl. Why? It’s simple:

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Addressing the (Underinflated) Elephant in the (Locker) Room

I’ve been asked so many times over this past week or two about my opinion on Deflate-Gate. Can I first just say how stupid it is that anything that the media deems remotely “scandalous” now deserves the -gate suffix? It’s irritating.

Anyhow, I’ve expressed my feelings over time in 140 characters or less. I’ve laughed at some memes, called people out when they weren’t thinking rationally about the whole thing, but I haven’t written a blog about it. Well, for those asking, here you go:

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