Sunday, January 29, 2012

Fleet Feet Sports Chicago photo shoot

Fleet Feet Sports Chicago hosts a women's only race every July called the Women's 5K, 10K, and Festival. I did the race in 2009 and 2010 and really enjoyed it. This year, the race is changing a little bit. It will take place earlier in the year in June, there's a new route through downtown Chicago, and there will be a 5K and half marathon distance. The race will be the only all women's half marathon in Chicago! Kind of exciting. So of course Fleet Feet is looking to really spread the word about the race and create some excitement around it. They put out a call for runners to model for an ad campaign that will be seen around the city, and guess who is one of the models they chose? Me! and I'm super exciting to help promote the race! Saturday was the photo shoot for the campaign. I had a blast. I had my makeup professionally done by their stylist, which I don't think I've had done in over a decade.
Fleet Feet provided an entry to the half marathon. Of course I didn't have that on my 2012 racing schedule, but I'll find a way to fit it in : ) I'll probably start training right after the Shamrock Shuffle in March. I pray my injury allows me to train properly and finish the race INJURY FREE! Oh, and I got to keep the lovely outfit I wore for the photo shoot. New Balance capris, a short sleeve tech shirt, and a pair of New Balance 890. Very cute stuff! I can't wait to share some of the images and more about the upcoming race!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Posterior tibial tendonitis: Lessons learned

After nearly six months, my foot is finally starting to return to normal. I still find that I'm 'babying' my injury. I'm very conscious of trying not to do too much activity too soon. But I think that mindset has been helpful in avoiding another major flare up. I wanted to share what combination of remedies already out there that have been working for me. This is by no means new information, but rather an account of my experience dealing with tendonitis.
1. See a sports medicine doctor as soon as possible after injury
I did a lot of Google research, and basically figured out what my injury was, but I wanted confirmation from a professional. Because my doc mainly deals with athlete injuries, he diagnosed me in all of five minutes. Not that a podiatrist wouldn't have been able to help, but I felt the sports med doc really understood my desire to run again and gave me suggestions on how to move forward with recovery to be able to return to running.
2. Take advantage of a physical therapy script Your doc will likely write you a script for a minimum of six weeks of physical therapy. If you're fortunate enough to have health insurance that will cover it, go to the sessions. You may not need a full six weeks, or you may need longer. I did two 1 hour sessions a week for 6 weeks. I learned some great exercises and tools to help return to running. Again, nothing I couldn't have found by searching on the Internet, but it's nice to work with a trained professional to make sure your doing the excersises correctly, answer questions, and get feedback. These will be skills you will take with you and use after your therapy sessions have ended (lessons 3-6).
3. Practice the same exercises performed in therapy after your script has ended. My biggest problem was not incorporating enough strength exercises with my running. My Physical Therapist was able to point out holes in my previous training and provide suggestions for exercises I should do going forward.
4. Massage your tendon (on non-activity days)
During my sessions after a short warm up on the elliptical (10 minutes) I would stretch, then my PT would manually massage my foot before we began strengthening exercises. Depending on your level of pain, manual massage can be painful, but for me it was a 'good' pain. Like the feeling of getting a back or neck massage when you're very tense. Since soreness may be increased, I suggest massage on days when no other activity is planned.
5. Ice immediately after activity for 15-20 minutes
Whatever activity you do, strength, running, massage, ice your posterior tib as soon as possible afterwards. This is crucial. The quicker you can reduce swelling, the better.
6. Use compression after icing I think the compression further reduces swelling. I use an ACE ankle sleeve from Walgreen's.

7. Do ankle circles before jumping out of bed in the morning and throughout the day My PT suggested I might also be suffering from plantar fasciitis as well when I mentioned I had more tightness in the morning than pain. She suggested 'warming up' in the morning. 30 second sets of ankles circles have really helped to reduce tightness in my foot and ankle.
8. Soak in epsom salt
Honestly, I'm not sure if this actually works. There is a lot of conflicting information out there on the effectiveness of Epsom salt. It may just be a placebo effect, but when I can after activity, I like to ice first then soak in a warm Epson salt bath, then ice again. Kind of OCD, but I always feel better the next morning.
9. Stretch gently after a warm bath or shower
We're taught to statically stretch muscles only when they are warm, like doing moderate activity for a short period to get your heart rate up, then stretch. Well, you know how you always feel relaxed after a warm bath or shower? Your muscles are warm and loose and this is the perfect time to stretch out.
10. Keep a detailed record of your pain level
This isn't necessary, by was it was very helpful for me. I used the typical pain scale to keep track of my activity and how I felt during and after. It was useful to look back at my activity and pain level to know when I over did my activity, and when I could increase activity.

So these are some of the things that I've been practicing to return to running. I'm sure as I continue on my journey, I'll have more suggestions.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

More crafts 'n' crap: Chicago flag art

I made a crafting how-to video nearly a year ago. Back then, my intention was to continue to make them regularly. Well, turns out making videos is extremely time consuming! I have no idea how so many YouTubers have the time and energy to make videos every week. I also kind of lost motivation and inspiration to create something new.
I was tooling around on Google looking for an image of the Chicago flag with hearts instead of stars and came across a really cute item. I knew I could re-create it. Enter inspiration! It turned out being super easy to make, and I think my new Chicago flag rendition is adorable! I'm feeling inspired, hopefully more videos to come.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Beating the cold with the running group

Participation in the running group has been steadily growing over the last few months. Despite being smack dab in the middle of winter, ladies are still coming out to run! In my neck of Chicagoland, I'm working with a beginner group that started off with just a few, but has had more attendees each week.
There are a few regulars, and a newbie now and then. Working with a beginner group has been great since coming off my injury and slowly increasing my mileage. We're doing 2 miles, 2 minute run/2 minute walk. We're using a local university track, which is open to the public and lighted at night. It's a very nice facility, and being able to run on a loop solves the problem of leaving folks behind in the group. My hope is that we'll be able to incorporate some training for local races at beginner distances like 5K come the Spring. I'm so anxious for warmer weather already! I know once it starts warming up, and staying lighter longer, even more ladies will feel comfortable about coming out and running with the group. I thought I was the only crazy willing to brave the cold for a run, these ladies have proved me wrong!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Shamrock Shuffle 2012

So it begins, I'm officially registered for the Shamrock Shuffle 8K March 25! I'll start my official training the first week of February. I'll be using a Hal Higdon training plan I found just for shuffles : )
The first week has my total mileage at 6. So my goal in between now and the end of January is to progress my current mileage to at least 5.5. Last week I did four total miles, so I think I'll be able to swing it without flaring up my foot. I know a slew of people running this race, and I hear it's a really fun run. I'm really looking forward to my first race of 2012!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Black Girls RUN! Chicago

Happy new year and salutations! I'm excited about new beginnings in 2012, and the end of the world and all that fun stuff too. There was an exciting start to the new year, the running group I help organize was featured on My Chicago Athlete magazine's website. Myself and one of the other group organizers did an interview with the article's author, Kyle Thele, to provide more information about the group and it's purpose. It's great that the Chicago running community is taking notice of Black women interested in distance running. Check it out here!

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