Saturday, October 29, 2011

Injury Icing Solutions

It's been about three weeks since I started a return to running program. The goal is to start with a run/walk, gradually progressing to a continued run, then increasing my distance. I'm up to about a mile and a half run/walk with no pain. I'm happy with my progress (as slow as it may be) mainly because I don't want to over do it and have a major tendinitis flare up. Cooler fall weather has introduced itself here in Chicago. I love, even prefer running in cooler weather. I'll continue to retrain outdoors as long as I can. I've been massaging and icing my foot at least once every day. It's convenient that I have a desk job and can sit with a bag of ice on my foot and go unnoticed. However, since I prefer to run outdoors, I've had to carry ice with me for post work icings. I've learned it's most effective to ice immediately after a work out. So if I run after work near my office, or at the nearby track, I've got to carry ice with me. At the Chicago marathon race expo, I picked up a sample of Arctic Ease Cryotherapy wrap. I tried it out for the first time Friday evening post an after work run/walk. I wrapped it around my heel and ankle, and drove home. It worked out perfect much better than sitting in my car and icing for 15 minutes, or waiting to ice until after my 30 minute drive home. It molds to whatever body part you choose to wrap, it's reusable, and doesn't require refrigeration. It much more convenient than carrying bags of ice in a cooler. I'm on the hunt for other convenient icing solutions for runners on the go!

***11/16 Update, my sample size wrap dried out after four uses. I'm not sure if I will buy a full size wrap. Remembering to rehydrate and seal after each use is almost as cumbersome as remembering to pack ice for runs***

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Help for Flat Feet

Back in July I posted about the pair of Brooks Ravenna that I bought and exchanged after deciding they were a half size too small. That was right about the time I started physical therapy. My physical therapist offered to take a look at my running shoes, I took him up on his offer. After bending them back and forth and twisting them side to side, he basically told me they suck. Not Brooks in general, but the Ravenna is just not a supportive enough shoe for my extreme flat feet. He recommended I get a shoe specifically with motion control. I knew I wanted to do some research, so in the meantime he recommended I check out some over the counter insoles. At Walgreen’s, I tried out the Dr. Scholl's Custom Fit Orthotic Center which somewhat resembles a Star Trek transporter. After a series of super complex pressure calculations, like leaning forward, and backward, it recommended the highest level of support, the 440.
They’re not cheap, $49. But I was desperate for something to support my arches and help reduce the tendon inflammation faster. I plugged them into my Brooks Ravenna and felt a good difference in the pull and strain on my tendon. I figured using insoles was a cheaper and less frustrating option than trying out pair after pair of running shoes. They're 3/4 length, which is ok, I guess. I ended up taking out the insoles that came with the shoe for a more comfy fit. While I continued to research shoes, I used the Dr. Scholl's insoles in my Ravennas for the next couple of weeks of physical therapy. Since I have been happy with the quality of Brooks, I searched their website for motion control shoes. I came up with the Beast/Ariel for men and women. I read through all the reviews on the site. Apparently, this is one of the best motion control running shoes for ”big” runners with flat feet. When I got them, I did the same bending and twisting test my PT did. They're stiff. I can’t say much else about them, since I have yet to do any actual running in them. I’ve replaced the insoles with the Dr. Scholl’s and I’m now using them for walking. I don’t know when I’ll attempt to run again. I coached a running newbie last weekend. We did three mile run walk. I was again sore a few days afterwards. So for now, I think I'll continue to take it easy by doing my strength training and stretching exercises. I think using insoles will be a must for me going forward. The Dr. Scholl's may be a good solution for those with floppy feet like mine looking for some relief.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

2011 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Expo

After completing six weeks of physical therapy this past Friday, I'm still not quite 100%, but much improved. I did a mile run/walk on Wednesday. I had some pain towards the end, but iced immediately afterwards and my pain was not increased the following day. My physical therapist and I decided I also have some inflammation of my plantar fascia. Interestingly, as the soreness in my tendon has decreased, the tightness in my plantar fascia has increased. It could have been there all along, and I just never noticed it. It's a tight, burning sensation in my heel after prolonged activity. I worked as a volunteer at a 5K on Friday and did a lot of walking and standing. My heel felt pretty tight by the end of my duties. My PT worked up a return to running program which is an extension of things we've been doing in my sessions. Strength training, stretching, and a run/walk progression will all be needed to return to my previous level of activity. I'm optimistic about slowly getting back to where I was with my running and bursting onto the racing scene come Spring 2012!. While I've been injured, I've been living vicariously through my running buddies, obsessing over their training as races much as I would my own. Three of my friends are running the Bank of America Chicago Marathon October 9, 2011. I attended the marathon race expo today with one of those friends, Renisha, and it was awesome!
This race is HUGE, it sold out at 45,000 participants. The race bling is pretty nice too.
There were tons of vendors with every piece of running gear you could possibly image. We even stumbled upon Hal Hidgon. We think he was highly under promoted because there was no line standing and waiting to shake his hand! He was happy to take a picture.
We also approached the pearly gates of running heaven where this man was apparently Jesus welcoming us into the land of perfectly made running shoes where the streets are made of treadmills.
All the excitement of attending the expo almost had me sold on the idea of running a marathon, but not quite : ) I'll stick to my halfs for now. Good luck to everyone running the Chicago Marathon!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My Sister's First Half Marathon!

My oldest sister, Joanyett, finished her first half marathon this past Sunday! The cutely named Urban Cow, in Sacramento, California. Her half marathon debut time was sub 3:15, pretty good for the first go round. Both my sisters ran their first 5K in April 2010 and have been hooked on running every since!
Joanyett finished basic training for the Air Force in 1992, so she has a running history. She ran the Urban Cow with her local running buddies and I asked her to give me the whole story, the blow by blow, the skinny, the situation . . .
We met up for the race around 7am. Regina and I did our normal routine of stretching and putting all our gear on, taking pictures, etc. Regina and I had already run 11 miles of the race course during training so we knew what to expect. Silly, but we were nervous. The race started and we both paced ourselves well. Regina started getting cramps, so we slowed a lot around mile 3 but she always recovers quickly and was fine after that. At one point I was dancing and singing around mile 5. That's how slow we were going and how comfortable our pace was. We both took a GU at miles 3, 6, 10. That helped. We wore our backpacks with water and that was great too. I did take advantage of the Gatorade on the path. Around mile 9 my belly started acting up and I really had to focus on the river! I had never had a serious problem before but I was in a lot of pain then. Mile 10 I decided to run super slow and even walk because it hurt so bad. What's funny is I kept looking at the port-a-potties but I knew that would've been a bad choice! So I just kept going. Mile 11 I was running again really slow, but at mile 12 I was still going. Then there was the half mile blow up marker and that motivated me so I picked up my pace, and put a smile on my face as I crossed the finish line! I crossed alone, not with a group of people so the announcer even called my name out, that was nice! I got my cow bell around my neck and we celebrated with carbs and champagne at the park! It was so much fun. The route was really pretty; through Old Sacramento, downtown, along the river, and beginning and ending in a beautiful park. There were lots of people, 12 to 80 year olds running. I'm looking forward to checking out my pics online, there were photographers at the halfway point and the finish line. Finishers could also take a picture in front of a sign that said FINISH, it was cute! I had a big smile for pictures even though my belly was killing me! I'm so glad I did it and can't wait for the Las Vegas Rock ‘n Roll in December.
Congratulations Joanyett and I'll see you there in December!

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