Friday Favorite: Yogurt Parfaits

Hi all! How was your Christmas (for those who celebrate)?

Christmas tree 2013

Our holiday was hectic, but fun. It was wonderful to spend time with my brother, who was visiting from DC. He was entertaining, as usual.

Nick bag head

Today’s favorite is what I have for breakfast nearly every single day. What can I say? I’m a creature of habit and this breakfast can keep me full for over four hours! I usually switch to a hearty oatmeal mixture in the winter, but it hasn’t been staying with me as long as the yogurt.

Pumpkin parfait container

I make them ahead of time on “school nights” so all I have to do is grab one in the morning and go. I’ll usually make them ahead two or three times at a time, but no more than that because then the mixture can get kind of slimy.

Parfait top

What’s in the mix? I combine:

  • A handful of almonds (I have a small hand, so about 1/8 cup?)
  • A handful of uncooked oats
  • Approximately 1 tsp chia seeds
  • Approximately 1 tsp flax seeds
  • Approximately ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • A little less than ¼ cup Siggi’s or other flavored yogurt (if I don’t have any flavored, I’ll increase the amount of plain and add some agave or maple syrup)

The almonds add extra protein, the oats, chia seeds, and flax seeds add fiber, and the chia seeds and flax also add healthy sources of fat. Protein + fiber + fat = full for hours!

Parfait ingredients

As you can see from the picture above, I had some leftover canned pumpkin, so I added that and a little bit of cinnamon to make a pumpkin pie-inspired parfait.

Yum!

Yum!

Aw, all gone! :-(

Aw, all gone! 😦

Does anyone else have the same breakfast every day? What’s your favorite go-to breakfast to keep you full through the morning?

In Return to Running news, I have successfully completed Stage 3 after one attempt! I used the track again, KT tape, custom orthotics, and Sauconys. I warmed up with medicine ball rolling. I could tell my app was malfunctioning again because I actually exercised for over twenty minutes:

Run 12-22-13

I’m going to attempt Stage 4 today (which is actually the same as Stage 3). What will be different today is that I don’t have KT tape on my foot, so we’ll see how that impacts the plantar fasciitis. Everything else will remain the same. Oh, and I’ll be trying out a different app. I’ll let you know which one and how it worked.

I have to admit that I haven’t been as good as usual about icing and rolling my foot the past week, so I’m lucky my foot is feeling so good. I do keep an extra tennis ball/Foot Rubz set under my desk at work, so I’ve been trying to do that whenever I remember.

PF under desk

And of course, the dorky spreadsheet update (with mileage and date adjusted due to minor setback a couple of weeks ago):

Returntorunning 12-22

If you click in on them, the full size images of these look better. I’m still tweaking with the settings to get them to look better. 

Returntorunning stage 3

Does anyone have any exciting New Year’s plans for next week? Whole Health Husband and I will probably go low-key. After so much celebrating since Thanksgiving, something mellow sounds good to us.

How I Didn’t Get Sick

It’s that time of year that’s really hectic. We’re running around to get things done for the holidays, attending parties, are stuck inside, and we’re often a bit worn out from all of this. As I’m sure you know, this can leave us very vulnerable to getting sick.

ID-10056869

A couple of weeks ago I felt a tickle in my throat. I don’t know about you, but that’s usually the first sign that I’m about to come down with a cold. Determined not to get sick, I decided to bolster my immune system quickly!

These are my two main players:

Echinacea and Emergen-C

I’ll typically buy whichever Echinacea tea is the least expensive at the grocery store. This one happens to be organic, which is a bonus! I drank one tea bag two times a day until my throat started to feel better (about a week). What’s in it? Let’s take a closer look.

Echinacea ingredients

Each tea bag contains:

Medicinal ingredients: Organic purple coneflower herb (Echinacea purpurea), organic purple coneflower root (6:1 extract), and organic narrow-leaf Echinacea herb (Echinacea angustifolia)

Non-medicinal ingredients: Organic West Indian lemongrass leaf (Cymbopogon citratrus), organic spearmint leaf (Mentha spicata).

There are some warnings attached to this tea, so please use your best judgement as to whether you should drink it. (Consult a health care practitioner before use if you have rheumatoid arthritis, an auto-immune disorder or a progressive systemic disease such as tuberculosis, leucosis, collagenosis, multiple sclerosis, AIDS or HIV infections. Consult a health care practitioner prior to use if you are taking immunosuppressants, or if symptoms persist. Do not use if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Do not use if you have an allergy to Asteraceae/Compositae (the daisy family) plants.).

Studies have shown mixed results as to whether Echinacea actually works. There are many different preparations available, so it’s hard to have an even playing field. Perhaps it’s a placebo effect going on, but I do find that it works for me.

The flavor is quite mild, which is great because I always find my taste buds are a bit off when I’m under the weather (another way I know I’m getting sick: I’m not very interested in drinking my daily coffee!). You can taste a bit of mint and lemon, but it’s not overpowering.

What’s in Emergen-C?

Emergen-C

Calories 25
Total Carbohydrate 6 g 2%**
Sugars 5 g
Vitamin C (as ascorbic acid, zinc ascorbate, chromium ascorbate) 1,000 mg 1,667%
Thiamin (as thiamine hydrochloride) 0.38 mg 25%
Riboflavin (as riboflavin 5’-phosphate sodium) 0.43 mg 25%
Niacin 5 mg 25%
Vitamin B6 (as pyridoxine hydrochloride) 10 mg 500%
Folic Acid 12.5 mcg 3%
Vitamin B12 (as cyanocobalamin) 25 mcg 417%
Pantothenic Acid (as calcium pantothenate) 2.5 mg 25%
Calcium (as calcium carbonate, calcium phosphate, calcium pantothenate) 50 mg 5%
Phosphorus (as potassium phosphate, calcium phosphate, sodium phosphate) 38 mg 4%
Magnesium (as magnesium hydroxide, magnesium carbonate) 60 mg 15%
Zinc (as zinc ascorbate) 2 mg 13%
Manganese (as manganese gluconate) 0.5 mg 25%
Chromium (as chromium ascorbate) 10 mcg 8%
Sodium (as sodium bicarbonate, sodium phosphate) 60 mg 3%
Potassium (as potassium bicarbonate, potassium carbonate, potassium phosphate) 200 mg 6%
Alpha Lipoic Acid 1 mg
Quercetin 1 mg
**Percent Daily Values (DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.†Daily Value not established.

Other Ingredients: Cane sugar, fructose, citric acid, raspberry juice powder and other fruit juice powder, natural raspberry flavors, tartaric acid, malic acid, tapioca maltodextrin, vegetable juice color, silica, stevia (leaf extract), caramel color, glycine, aspartic acid, and cysteine hydrochloride.

It’s a slightly fizzy concoction of  essential nutrients, including 1,000 mg of vitamin C and other immune supporting antioxidants, zinc and manganese, seven B vitamins to enhance energy naturally, and electrolytes.

For those watching their calories and/or sugar intake, Emergen-C recently introduced a five calorie version of the drink.

There are a lot of great flavors to try out. They even have a recipe section on their website with great concoctions, such as the “Rock Your World Healthy Mocktail.”

Mocktail

If you haven’t had a chance to give this drink a try yet, they are offering free samples on their website!

As with Echinacea, there are mixed results on the efficacy of vitamin C in preventing and/or reducing the duration of colds. Again, even if it’s a placebo, it seems to work for me!

The third item I use is for side effect treatment, as opposed to stopping or shortening a cold like the previous two items. These Burt’s Bees throat drops feel great on my sore throat and I like that it’s a natural product (no artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners or preservatives). It’s made with 35% pure honey and this particular flavor has a touch of lemon.

In addition to using all of these items, I made sure to focus on rest. I took a couple of days off of exercising completely. The going wisdome for working out while sick is that if your symptoms are above your neck (stuffiness, sinus pressure/pain, sore throat), you can work out, and if they’re below the neck (chest congestion, achiness), you should rest. My body felt like it was asking for rest and I decided my body knew best. I also made sure to get to plenty of sleep.

My rabbit rests like it's his job.

My rabbit rests like it’s his job.

Once I was feeling a little better two days later, I did some easy yoga. The day after I still felt okay, so I decided some light cardio would be appropriate. And when I was still feeling good the day after that, I felt confident that doing some moderate weight lifting/body weight exercises. Then I was back to my usual routine!

Has anyone else used these or other products with success to boost immunity and/or shorten the duration of a cold? Any other tips or tricks that you have for staying healthy during the cold and flu season, and year-round?

First image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Friday Favorite: My Fitness Pal

Can you believe it’s already the Friday before Christmas? Where did the time go?!

Today I wanted to share with you one of the items that really helped me finally lose some stubborn weight a couple of years ago and from which yesterday’s weight chart came from: My Fitness Pal.

MyFitnessPal logo

It was really easy to get started. I created a profile on their website, which consisted of putting in my current measurements, then choosing a goal. You can choose how much weight you want to lose (or gain) per week, as well as how often you want to work out, and they’ll automatically calculate how many calories you should be eating each day to create the correct weekly calorie deficit/surplus. Since I’m not currently trying to lose any weight, my goal page looks like this:

MyFitnessPal goals

As soon as I started tracking my food, I couldn’t believe how many calories I was actually eating! No wonder I wasn’t losing any weight!

Eating bubble

At first it was time-intensive to log all of my food, especially when it was an odd quantity or wasn’t available in their database (which is extensive!). But after I had everything in, I was able to quickly update throughout the day on my phone app. I chose the half pound per week weight loss goal, as I found that the most manageable and the easiest way to keep my sanity. The one pound per week weight loss regimen was too restrictive for me.

The app is currently available for Apple, Google, Blackberry, and Windows phones and can integrate with a variety of other apps, such as RunKeeper, the one I use for running. I like that if feels as though you get a virtual high-five when you’ve met your net caloric intake each day.

Since I used the app for such a long time, I was able to figure out exactly what I can eat to keep my body going without having to log my food, which I really see as the end goal. Who wants to constantly run to their computer or phone to track what they’ve eaten? Currently I only use it to track my weight.

Speaking of tracking weight, as predicted yesterday, today’s weigh-in was back being closer to my maintenance weight. See the dip down at very right of the graph below?  And it only took a little tweak and mindfulness to achieve!

Weight change December 20

Has anyone else used this app or a similar one? Did you find it helpful or did you become too obsessive?

I hope you have a great weekend!

Back on Track

I’m happy to be back on track, at least when it comes to recovering from Metabolic Whiplash (MW) and being back on pace with the Returning to Running program I’m doing to ease back into running while recovering from plantar fasciitis.

First, how I rebounded from MW.

What really spurred me into action the past two weeks was seeing my weight increase by about three pounds. Now, I realize this isn’t a lot, but when you’re petite like me, that ends up being a 3% increase, and in the world of cancer clinical trials that I live in, that’s getting close to a grade 1 weight gain. Not a serious adverse event, but still reportable. 😉

To give you a visual, below is a chart of my weight over the past three months to show you how consistent I usually am. You can see the spike I had last week.

Weight change December 2013

I want to keep it real on this blog, so I’ll going to be completely honest and tell you that I weigh myself twice a week. I would like to stress that I have found that this is what works best for me. Some people get too obsessive if they weigh themselves too often (or at all), or for others it may dictate their mood and feelings of self-worth. So if this doesn’t work for you, please don’t do it! You need to do what works for you!

I always put the most emphasis on how I feel and how my clothes fit, so I’m okay with and know that it’s normal for the numbers on the scale to fluctuate by a few pounds. Keep in mind that your weight can fluctuate based on whether you recently had a lot of salt in the past 12-24 hours (and thus are retaining water) or if you’re dehydrated, to name a few reasons. So it’s just one of the many tools in my toolkit for staying on track health-wise. Plus, I’m a numbers dork, so I love having something I can track and graph!

My out of control hunger and just feeling overall crummy bothered me much more than my weight gain. Seeing the added pounds made it more real and easier for me to get back on track. So after focusing on portion control, especially not going back for a second helping at dinner, and decreasing my sugar intake, as well as getting some solid sleep and continuing to exercise as I planned, I feel like I’m back to myself!

While I don’t care if I’ve lost the extra weight, I’ll be curious to see if the scale shows any difference tomorrow. Who knows—maybe I’ve just put on more muscle and this is my new normal weight? And that would be okay!

I’m also back on track with my Return to Running program. I had a bit of a setback after doing Grace and Gusto last Sunday at home barefoot (though on carpeting and with my foot brace, below). When I admitted my husband that my PF was bothering me again, he totally called me out and said, “You need to be able to walk around the house barefoot for ten minutes before being in bare feet for almost an hour working out!” Sheepish grin. I thought that since it was low impact, I’d be okay.

PF brace side PF brace back PF brace top

(This is the type of brace I have. It didn’t work particularly well for me. My podiatrist gave it to me. If your podiatrist wants to give you one, I’d suggest buying it on your own. You’ll pay a lot less!)

So, I paid the price all last week. Back to arch and heel pain after being on my feet for more than five minutes. Back to wearing my foot brace every night and using KT tape . I continued with my daily stretching and ball massage followed by ice massage while scaling back my workouts and doing low impact when I did work out. As you can see from my week, I had three rest days, two of which were already built in.

Workouts week of 12-8-13

(This is the link the Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred DVD, one my favorite workout DVDs.)

I also had a rest day this past Sunday (unplanned—horrendous back spasm following snow shoveling) and Monday (planned—thank goodness I already had an appointment for acupuncture booked!). Something that I started to do a little differently last week through this week was heating my foot for about five minutes whenever I worked out at home.  Every time I went to physical therapy, they would use a moist heat wrap for ten minutes when I got there to warm up the area before working on it and always ended with ice. The PT’s heat packs looked something like this:

I decided to give the same PT approach a try at home. I’ve had this fabulous heat pad since the early 1990s.

Heat pack

It’s not much to look at (Free Willy anyone?), but it works perfectly. I think my grandmother got it for me at a craft fair. After all these years of having it, I’m pretty sure I’ve figured out that it’s only corn inside. I’m sure you could easily make one yourself and even add in some lavender for some nice aromatherapy action! I love using it when I have cramps in my pelvis and back during that time of the month. It works wonders for that. (TMI?)

IMAGE_1835

I just put it in the microwave and set it for 1:30.

Microwave

Then I just place my foot on it for about five minutes. After that, I make sure to massage my foot a bit as well.

Foot on heat Foot massage PF stretch

Then I’m off to my workout! I still haven’t figured out how to accomplish this when I’m at the gym short of bringing a towel and sticking one foot in the Jacuzzi while I’m all dressed up in workout clothes. I might have the nerve to try it. I’ll let you know!

I still follow my gym workouts with my tennis ball/Foot Rubz and ice massage. For days that I go to the gym, I just try to make sure I do it at some point that night, preferably before, but not too soon before, taking a shower.

My foot was finally feeling better yesterday, so I wanted to trying out Stage II yet again. I used the track, had on KT tape, used my custom inserts and my usual Sauconys. My legs were feeling a bit tight, so I foam rolled my IT bands, hamstrings, and calves before heading to the track. I had a lovely view outside before the sun went down:

Track view

For some reason my MapMyRun RunKeeper app didn’t capture my entire workout. I must have paused it and restarted it at some point. Still the same odd picture:

Track GPS

I really did about 25 minutes. I’m guessing that I did around the same mileage as I did the last time I used the track since it was still Stage II, so I have adjusted my increased mileage tool to reflect that.

RTR done stage II x2

I’ve also updated my Return to Running sheet to show that I have (hopefully) passed Stage II as of yesterday. So far so good today, and if I’m still feeling good on Sunday, I’m going to finally attempt Stage III!

Mileage increase 12-18

Quick Tip: Cinnamon Coffee

Happy Monday!

Since my brain seems to take a while to get going on a Monday, I thought I’d make today a quick post and offer an easy health tip for you.

One of my favorite things to do in the winter is to add cinnamon to my coffee. Not only does the cinnamon add a nice seasonal flavor to my java, but ingesting cinnamon may also help increase glucose metabolism. I add a few dashes of it in my travel mug before pouring my coffee over it, but my brother also swears by putting the cinnamon in the coffee grounds before brewing.

Cinnamon coffee

How was everyone’s weekend? Anything fun coming up this week?

Friday Favorite: Siggi’s Yogurt

Hi everyone! Can you believe it’s already Friday? This week went by quickly!

I discovered today’s Friday Favorite during a trip my husband and I took this past summer to Europe. We flew Icelandair on our way to Paris, which had a stopover in Reykjavík, Iceland. We arrived around 6:30 AM local time. The sun was just rising, but we couldn’t see anything because of the extremely dense fog. The best way to describe the Keflavík International Airport airport is Ikea chic. It was extremely clean, crisp, and modern looking.

My husband hamming it up on the Keflavík tarmac.

My husband hamming it up on the Keflavík tarmac.

Although it was more like 1:30 AM to us, we decided we should grab a quick breakfast/snack before getting on our connection an hour later. There was a cute little café with to-go items and, not knowing the language, I figured that the yogurt would be the safest gluten-free item for me. It was delicious! Granted, I’m sure anything would have been delicious to me since I was over-tired and over-excited. I had heard stories about how different the yogurt is in Europe (creamier and slightly more tart due to less sugar), and after just one bite, I was already in love with it!

Click picture for source

Click picture for source

I have been trying to find similar yogurt here at home so I can relive the experience and enjoy a simpler, healthier yogurt. Apparently the food gods heard my prayers because my local grocery store started stocking skyr, the Icelandic-style yogurt. Because the whey is strained, it ends up being a much creamier product.

My favorite brand that I’ve tried is Siggi. Their tag line says it all: “simple ingredients, not a lot of sugar”. I adore the one with coconut flavor, which is very mild. A coworker bought it at my suggestion and thought it was much too sour, so I think my palate has just adjusted since I have started consuming more plain yogurt.

Siggi's coconut

I’ve also tried the vanilla and thought that was equally delicious! Be sure to check out the rest of the flavors and products on their website.

Has anyone else tried skyr yogurt? Siggi’s in particular or another brand?

Metabolic Whiplash

*Sorry for the late post. I’ve had some issues with migraines lately and looking at a computer screen definitely doesn’t help!

“Metabolic Whiplash” is a humorous term coined by my co-worker for the hard time we seem to have returning to normal eating after indulging a bit too much, usually in reference to the holidays and other special occasions. I don’t know about you, but I am still having a hard time after Thanksgiving. Even though I didn’t indulge too much, the extra sugar over a few days has done a number on me. I find my hunger has increased, as well as my sugar cravings! I completely acknowledge that I am to blame because I have answered many of the hunger cries and sugar cravings, so I keep perpetuating the problem. I plan to get control of that this week (just in time for it to come back around for Christmas!)!

Thanksgiving leftovers

Thanksgiving leftovers

How do I plan to help get control over this monster?

  1. Get enough sleep. Studies have shown that not getting enough sleep cause changes in brain activity that can lead us to feel hungrier and more intense food cravings.
  2. Continue to eat complex carbohydrates and a high amount of protein while reducing added sugar. I generally try to do this as a rule, but I have definitely been eating more sugar of late, and that could be taking the place of more nutrient-dense food. Sugar can interfere with your appetite, while complex carbs (thanks to fiber) and high protein intake can help quell it.
  3. Continuing to exercise, especially at a higher intensityVigorous exercise dulls your appetite, while moderate exercise stimulates it (this is the reason many runners can gain weight while training for long races, despite their large caloric deficit). Since I tend to get bored easily, I already incorporate a lot of HITT (high intensity interval training) during my weekly workouts.
  4. Reduce stress to the best of my ability. I am not generally one to stress much, but work has been busier lately and the holidays, as fun as they are, can add a certain amount of stress. In addition to increasing your risk of heart disease (yikes!), stress can increase hunger and contribute to belly fat.

Has anyone else been experiencing Metabolic Whiplash? Are you going to try to get control over it soon or just ride it out until the new year?

Friday Favorite: The Stick

Happy Friday, everyone!

Many bloggers do a Friday favorite(s) post and I’m going to adopt this as well because I think it’s a great idea! There are so many products out there that it’s hard to know what’s really good and what’s bunk. I’ll post items I have found to be tried and true, and would love to hear your opinions as well!

This week’s favorite has to do with my Return to Running training I did on Wednesday. As promised in my previous post, I stayed with Stage II of the program. I used the treadmill, my custom orthotics, and did not use any KT Tape; however, instead of using a medicine ball for myofascial release at the end, I spied this guy at my gym and since we’re well acquainted, I snatched him up and rolled out.

Gym equip 2013_1211

I’m referring to The Stick, the long, thin item to the right of the mini foam rollers. I had my first run-in with The Stick over the summer when I was still recovering from my glute problem (more on that in another post). My husband and I were traveling through Europe for two weeks and with all of the walking, combined with some extended sitting, I knew I would be sore, sore, sore! We wanted to keep our luggage minimal because we’d be hauling it on and off of trains, so I didn’t want to use precious space for a foam roller. Then, I came across The Stick and it’s had a loyal member of our household ever since:

The Stick 2013_1211

As you can see, ours is a little different from the one in the gym. We have the Travel Stick. I believe the one at my gym is the Power Stick. I prefer our smaller ones as as it’s easier for a short(ish) person like me to use on. Regardless of the size, this thing is seriously magical. You can control the amount of pressure more easily than with a foam roller or medicine ball, and since my rotator cuff has been acting up again (old injury), I didn’t feel like putting a lot of weight on my shoulders. I use this mostly along my ITBs and on my glutes.

In terms of my second shot at Stage II, it went well! I used the treadmill, stayed at 5.6-5.8 mph, stretched, iced, and didn’t use my brace that night. It felt great yesterday and I used my brace last night. Today it started to hurt a little around noon, but I’m thinking it may be related to my shoes and the Super Feet inserts. As long as I’m feeling well tomorrow, I plan to move on to Stage III!

Here is where I’m at so far:

RTR stage II mileage

RTR done stage II

I hope you have a great weekend! Do you have any special weekend plans?

I Changed Too Much at Once

The good news: I was able to do Stage II of the Return to Running program I’m doing without nearly as much pain as last time.

The bad news: I have no idea what worked because I changed up too many things!

There were four (four!)* major differences:

  1. I used the indoor track instead of the treadmill [This contributed to an additional four big changes I can think of: surface, speed (and thus distance), and incline.]
  2. I didn’t use any KT tape on my foot
  3. I didn’t wear my PF brace to bed that night
  4. I used my (old) custom orthotics in my Sauconys instead of my generic Super Feet inserts

Custom orthotic top Custom orthotic side

*There was one other thing I did differently that I don’t *think* made a difference but will list it anyway because it could be a factor: instead of using the foam roller on my glutes and ITBs during my cool down, I used an 8 pound medicine ball. I had seen someone do it the last time I was at the gym and was intrigued because he definitely looked like he knew what he was doing. It’s a little harder to keep yourself on the ball than on a foam roller, but I liked the pressure better. Plus, the harder it is to stay on, the more you’ll end up working your core! Bonus!

Being in the medical field, I should know better. We often counsel patients to make small changes so we’ll know the what works and what doesn’t. For a simple example, if a patient complains of headaches, we’ll try one medicine first, and if that doesn’t work in a certain time frame, we’ll try another. We wouldn’t load the patient up with a bunch of medicines at once or suggest trying supplements at the same time, because we wouldn’t know what is really working and may be adding things unnecessarily.

Even though I am thrilled at the reduction in discomfort, I am at a slight loss as to my next step. The cautious part of me (the part I should probably listen to) says I need to stick with Stage II and figure out what worked before proceeding to Stage III. The running nut in me just wants to proceed to Stage III since I have no pain from Stage II!

Considering all of the experience I’ve had in the past year with injuries, I’ve decided to go the conservative route. I will attempt Stage II on the treadmill tomorrow. As I did on Sunday, I will not use KT tape or my brace, I will use my custom orthotics, and use the medicine ball for myofascial release. I will attempt to mirror my speed and incline to my first Stage II attempt. I will stretch, ice, and use my tennis ball/Foot Rubz as I did on both days.

What do you think? What would you do?

Also, just for fun, this is how GPS tracks you on a round 1/10th mi indoor track:

Indoor track

Plantar Fasciitis is a Pain in My (Heel)

So sorry for the late follow-up post! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

My treadmill session went pretty well on Monday. I didn’t have any pain and barely any discomfort during the workout, but my foot was definitely sore on Tuesday and Wednesday. I know that some soreness is to be expected, but I can’t get it out of my head that if I’m feeling discomfort, it’s not good for the healing process.

Here’s what I did on Monday: When I got to the gym, I massaged my foot a bit to warm it up, as well as some gentle stretching (I just put my left leg over my right and pull back on my big toe to stretch the plantar fascia).

IMAGE_1723 IMAGE_1721

I had my trusty Sauconys with my Super Feet inserts.

IMAGE_1725

I also had some KT tape wrapped from my arch up the inside of my leg, although I don’t think I had it wrapped as well as it could have been.

IMAGE_1757

I ended up doing stage 2 of the Return to Running program I mentioned on Monday as I had done some light jogging the week before and felt fine. I was unsure of what speed to start jogging, so I started with 5.5 mph and did each interval 0.1 mph faster so that I ended at 5.8 mph. My stride felt good and pretty natural, though I think I was hyper-aware of my heels and staying off of them, so I may have been landing too much on my forefoot.

11-25-13 jog

After I finished the intervals, I cooled down with a 5 minute walk, did about 10 minutes of stretching, and massaged my foot a little bit. By the time I got home, it was starting to feel tight, so I broke out my tennis ball and Foot Rubz and started kneading my arch over them.

IMAGE_1764

I like to start with a tennis ball since it’s a little softer, just to warm up the tissue. Then I switched to the Foot Rubz. I have used it too vigorously in the past and been sore the next day, so it’s possible I did that again on Monday.  Finally, I took my plastic cup ice mold from the freezer, popped out the ice, and rubbed it over the sore area for a few minutes.

IMAGE_1730  IMAGE_1733

I wore my sexy PF brace to bed and hoped for the best.

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On Tuesday I was sore most of the day, which really had me bumming. I know that I can sometimes focus too much on something that is bothering me to the point of probably making it worse than it is. Some days are easier than others to get my mind off of the injury. Tuesday was not one of them. I did the same massaging, stretching, icing, and bracing that day. Wednesday morning it was quite sore when I massaged it before getting out of bed, but it didn’t feel as bad Tuesday. 

I happened to have a perfectly timed follow-up with my podiatrist on Tuesday. She said that from her perspective, I had gotten better compared to 6 weeks prior. She said that I should expect soreness as I continue to heal, but to be vigilant with stretching and icing. She said I was discharged, and if I have any issues in the future, I can call her back up. Good news, but I was still hesitant to get excited given my current discomfort.

On Thanksgiving morning, I walked a local 5k turkey trot with my mom. The race is capped at 10,000 and you can see why based on the starting line looking in two different directions:

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When I signed up for it back in early September, I had hoped to be able to walk/jog it. Being at a race and not being able to run is torture for me. I reminded myself to be thankful that I could at least walk the 3.1 miles since plenty of people can’t even do that.

I felt decent for the first half, then I started to have some discomfort in my arch during the second half. I’m sure the cold (around 30 degrees F) didn’t help. Even though I didn’t care what time we got, we ended up with a respectable 15 minute/mile pace. Finally, it was on to lots of delicious Thanksgiving eats!

How was your Thanksgiving? Anything you’re especially grateful for this year? Did anyone participate in Thanksgiving day race?