Sentinel Hill Climb: Registration Now Open

Registration for the Sentinel Hill Climb is now open! 

Be the king or queen of the hill at this iconic event by testing your quads on your ascent up the face on Sentinel.

For more information and to register, please click HERE

Runners of the Month: May 2017

Jen and Jana Jackson (daughter and mother) are some of our favorite ladies in town. The family owns KornUtopia, the specialty popcorn boutique in Missoula, and they are always so kind in donating popcorn to our RE events. Read below to find out more.

Name: Jen / Jana

Age: 36 / 59

Hometown: Frenchtown, MT / Born in Tucson, AZ and have lived in Missoula for 20 years.

Age You Started Running/Walking/Exercising: I started running cross country my sophomore year of high school. / I started walk/running in 2011 when our daughter Jen who has been a runner since high school, talked her dad and I into listening to Jeff Galloway introduce the Galloway walk/run method and start training for the Missoula half marathon.  Since then I have been hooked.  I met some women in the group in 2012  that inspire me daily, as two of them are cancer survivors.  Since then, we meet two mornings durning the week and every Sunday rain or shine and walk/run.

What Motivates You to Get Out the Door? I run because it makes me feel better physically, but it also does wonders for me mentally. / My motivation is knowing that there are others waiting to do the same thing.  I think we all keep each other going.  I also feel great when we are done.

Do You Prefer Walking With Friends or Solo? Both. During the week I enjoy running by myself.  I don’t have to worry about how fast or slow I’m going and I can let my mind wander.  On Sundays I love going out with my mom and her friends.  They’re a good bunch to go with because they show up no matter what and they always have fun.  Rain, snow, sleet or shine, you can bet they’ll be there at 6:45am. / I prefer to go out with by buddies.

Favorite Food: Definitely pizza. / My favorite food would have to be Mexican!

Favorite Activity Outside of Exercising: I love to golf! / Outside of excersising, time spent with family is the best.

Words of Wisdom: I’ve never felt worse after a run than before I went. / It is obvious with me that it is never too late to start something new.

We always have great things to say about the staff and owners of Runner’s Edge as they make every runner & walker, of all shapes and sizes, feel empowered.     (Thanks ladies!)

Proximal Hamstring Pain in Runners: Effective Injury Treatment & Prevention Guidelines

Many Missoula runners have already toed the start line of a race or two by now. Training for summer races is in full swing, and now is the time to add intervals, speed work, and mileage. As running speed and intensity increase, however, hamstring overuse injury risk increases. The hamstring is an important and complex, two-joint (crosses both the hip and the knee joints) muscle group used in running. While hamstring pulls and strains are common in runners and often healed with rest, proximal hamstring overuse injuries can be very debilitating.  Repetitive micro-trauma in the hamstring attachment at the ischial tuberosity of the pelvis may result in tendinopathy (acute tendinitis or chronic tendinosis) and pain. While proper diagnostic testing is key (clinical testing by an experienced physical therapist or by a sports orthopedic physician), insufficient or improper treatment of proximal hamstring tendinosis can be a season-ending injury.

Understanding the hamstring musculature is the first step toward injury prevention. The two-joint hamstring plays a role in two distinct movements. The hamstring’s primary function is to flex or bend the knee. The hamstring’s secondary function is to aid in extending the hip.  Because the hamstring crosses both the hip joint and the knee joint, it is a key muscle in the running stride.

The hamstring is comprised of three muscles.  All three hamstring muscles originate on the ischial tuberosity of the pelvis. The semimembranosus and semitendinosus muscles attach on the medial side of the lower leg (tibia) below the knee.  The biceps femoris attaches on the lateral side of the lower leg (tibia) below the knee. The hamstring muscle group works in opposition to the quadriceps muscles.  When you are flying down a hill at full speed, quads pounding and quads burning, the hamstrings act as the “brakes” to prevent knee hyperextension and to initiate the push-off phase of running.

Once diagnosed with a series of clinical tests by your PT which place tension on the hamstring origin or attachment, establishing proper treatment is crucial. Reducing inflammation by reducing running mileage and stride length must occur first. Strengthening the hamstring in a lengthened state (eccentric) versus a shortened state (concentric) will result in hamstrings which are stronger and more prepared to check the power of the quadriceps while running. Core strength addressing lower abdominal, hip, gluteal, and lumbar strength in a functional manner will complement hamstring-specific strengthening to reduce overuse associated tissue micro-trauma.

Decreasing pain is only one component of a proximal hamstring injury prevention and treatment plan.  Strengthening the hamstring in a manner consistent with running is key in preventing injury recurrence. In order to quantify hamstring function, a 2D video running analysis is important to determine how you as an individual run. Are you using your gluteus maximus to extend your hip, or is the hamstring acting primarily? Are you over-striding and placing increased tension through your hamstring? A 2D video running analysis is a helpful way to detect additional underlying running compensations which may influence running biomechanics and resulting hamstring stress.

A physical therapist will customize plan to resolve your hamstring pain. Treatments may include:  pain-relieving modalities, integrated dry needling, active release techniques, muscle energy techniques to balance pelvis symmetry, myofascial release, and contract-relax techniques to address pain and tissue restriction in the hamstring secondary to overuse.  A cortisone injection may be indicated by your physician if proximal hamstring pain is inflammatory (tendinitis) in nature.  Finally, do not forget self-care such as adequate recovery, sleep, release, and eccentric hamstring exercises during the summer running season.  The exercises listed below are examples, but I recommend seeing a physical therapist to rule out underlying injuries or referred pain to enable you to resolve symptoms and reduce the risk of re-injury.

Call or email John with any questions or comments.

John Fiore
Sapphire Physical Therapy

Proximal Hamstring and Core Exercises:

1.  Quadruped plank: May be modified by resting on your forearms. Do not allow your lumbar spine to extend.

2.  Side lying glut isolation: Press into the wall with your heel and maintain a neutral pelvis position.

3. Quadruped hip extension: Contract the glut of your involved leg prior to extending your hip to decrease hamstring compensation.

4. Glut bridging: Contract your gluts (glut max) together and hold the contraction as you raise into a bridge position and hold for 5 seconds.  Slowly return to starting position and repeat for one minute. Further challenge yourself by repeating glut bridging exercise with the addition of single leg marching without allowing your pelvis to drop.

5. Eccentric hamstring-strengthening exercise using the treadmill: The treadmill is turned on to a slow speed, with the individual facing backward on the treadmill while holding on to the hand rails. The support side (the left leg shown) is placed off of the treadmill belt. The involved leg (the right leg shown) is extended at the hip while keeping the knee mostly extended, and the individual is instructed to resist the forward motion of the belt with the leg as the belt moves. The involved leg then is moved back to the starting point by flexing the knee and extending the hip.  Continue for one minute.

1. Cushman, D.; Rho, M., Conservative Treatment of Subacute Proximal Hamstring Tendinopathy Using Eccentric Exercises Performed With a Treadmill: A Case Report. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy 2015, 45 (7), 557-562.
2. Fredericson, M.; Moore, W.; Guillet, M.; Beaulieu, C., High hamstring tendinopathy in runners: Meeting the challenges of diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation. Physician and Sportsmedicine 2005, 33 (5), 32-43.

*Image from

Runner of the Month: April 2017

Name: Keith FichtnerHalf Marathon Finish 2013

Age: 40

Hometown:  Big Timber and living in Missoula since 2001

Age You Started Running: 35

Why Did You Start Running?  Two reasons.  1.) I was 230 pounds and in desperate need of exercise and a change of lifestyle.  2.) My sister-in-law Leslie Finch joined the Run Wild group to train for the Missoula half marathon and wanted someone to do it with her so I said I would join her. 

Biggest Difference You Noticed When You Started Running:  How quickly you can drop weight.  Also how well it has kept my asthma in check.

What Keeps You Motivated?  So many things. Number one is my wife Lynda and kids Ethan & Olivia. Wanting to be around for them long term and setting an example of being active. Courtney Babcock’s Key Running group also keeps me motivated. Her speed work classes have done wonders for me.  Other people in my life are inspiring like my brother and sister-in-law Lisa and Andy Edelstein; they started running in their late forties and early fifties. Both are now doing marathons around the world including Paris and NYC.

Best Part/Worst Part of Running:  Sometimes just the thought of going is the worst part. The best part is our location in Missoula and the running community. I enjoy running in the Rattlesnake area, on the Kim Williams trail, around the University, and down Mullan Road. I really enjoy the people including my brother-in-law, Dan Finch. It’s our time to catch up on what’s happening with our kids, work, and our wives (who are twins!). I also like the group I’ve met through Courtney Babcock’s training class – too many names to mention, but all are wonderful people and inspiring runners.

What Is Your Favorite Hobby? Probably a tie right now between running and golf.

Words of Wisdom: You’re never too old or too heavy to start running.  Take it one day and one step at a time – the hardest part is day one.

Five Common Training Spring Training Errors to Avoid

Spring has arrived in Missoula and the roads and surrounding trails are filled with runners. Most runners have created a tenta
tive 2017 race schedule and motivation levels are high. Choosing the correct training plan, however, will likely determine your racing success over the next nine months. Whether you are participating in Run Wild Missoula’s Missoula Marathon Training Program, the Runner’s Edge Trail Running Class, utilize a running coach, or follow an online training plan, remember to avoid these five common training errors to increase your racing success.

1. Rapid Increase in Running Miles
A cold and snowy winter made winter running difficult in Missoula. A rapid increase in running mileage, however, is a fast track to developing a spring running injury. A 10% increase in weekly mileage is a tested rule of thumb to be followed. When mileage is increased too rapidly, fatigue sets in, running form is compromised, and injury risk increases. Log your running mileage and peel off from the group run if you are exceeding your 10% weekly running mileage.

2. Lack of Flexibility in Weekly Training Plan
Runners are inherently goal-oriented individuals. Therefore, successfully completing your weekly training schedule brings a sense of accomplishment. Experiencing an off day is a normal occurrence which should not be ignored. Fatigue, stress, poor sleep patterns, poor nutrition, and overtraining all contribute to having an off training day. If your body is not responding, modify your daily workout without guilt. If you missed a week of training due to prior commitments or illness, avoid the temptation to jump back in with the group. Allow room in your training plan for flexibility and your body will reward you with improved performance.

3. Ignoring Your Body’s Warning Signs
Most running injuries are related to overuse. Overuse, however, can be the result of overtraining, or a lack of strength necessary to run without compensations. If pain persists for more than 48 hours, seek medical attention which includes evaluating running biomechanics and determining the underlying cause of pain.

4. Running and Racing Injured
Although common sense tells us not run or race while injured, saying no is often the most difficult decision for a competitive runner. Race entry fees, travel plans, and sharing the race experience with friends and family are among the reasons many run and race injured. Rarely is the outcome positive and running or racing while injured only prolongs symptom resolution. A basic test is the 30-second hop test. If you can hop on a single (injured) leg without pain for 30-seconds, then initiating a return to running program is indicated. If you experience pain, then you are still injured and should rest, and work on strengthening any underlying weaknesses responsible for pain symptoms.

5. Neglecting Self Care 
Self care includes adequate sleep, proper nutrition, adequate rest days, rolling or massage, and strength training. Schedule self care into your weekly training plan. Contact Sapphire Physical Therapy for assistance in creating a strength training program and recovery routine to insure adequate stabilization and recovery necessary to run injury-free.
John Fiore, PT
Sapphire Physical Therapy

Picture taken from Google images

Recipe of the Month: Shrimp Spring Rolls with Cashew Sauce

If you are craving a fast and fresh meal, this recipe is a must! For a different flavor, substitute tofu or hummus for the shrimp and adding in different veggies for various flavor combos. This recipe makes about 8 spring rolls and will feed 2-3 people.


  • 1 lb raw shrimp, washed and deveined
  • 2 carrots, peeled
  • ½ purple cabbage, shredded
  • 4-5 radishes
  • 1 c sprouts
  • ½ avocado
  • 3 fresh basil leaves
  • ¼ c fresh cilantro
  • Rice paper wraps
  • ¼ c cashew butter (I prefer Moxie Nosh)
  • Juice from ½ lemon
  • 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp soy sauce

Cook shrimp according to package. Slice all vegetables and avocado lengthwise in thin slices. Once shrimp is cooked, individually soak rice paper wraps in water, following the instructions on the package.  Once rice paper is soft, remove and place on kitchen towel or cloth.  Add shrimp, veggies and avocado and roll rice paper to enclose all ingredients.

Mix cashew butter, lemon juice, worcestershire and soy sauce in a small bowl. The sauce will slightly thicken; feel free to add a small amount of water if needed.

Bridget Baxter