Tis The Season For Improvements

I hate to say it, but fall is quickly slipping past us.  Most runners have just finished or are about to wrap up their racing season.  Marathons and half marathons are quickly winding down and so is the excitement of race training.  Most of us look forward to a little break this time of year.  Everyone should take some time off at some point.  This might involve a brief hiatus or a switch to cross training for a few weeks.

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Training for races can be exhausting both mentally and physically.  This is the perfect time of year to take a moment to allow your body to recover.  A break can also help bring back the excitement to run, which might have waned during your training.

The “off season” can be a restful time for some and difficult for others.  Many runners feel frustrated without a race on the horizon or some direction.

As a coach, I think this is a wonderful time in your training.  Many runners come to me when they have a race in mind and we build a plan and work together toward that goal.  However, we are limited by their current running status.  While improvements can be made, changes in gait, form, and even speed can take a much longer time.  In fact, much of this takes quite a long duration and I think it is rather unsafe to start working on changes in gait or form during a training cycle.  There is far too much opportunity for injury.

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I absolutely love working with my runners this time of the year.  The off season is an amazing time to sit down and look at your big picture goals.  You can then break those larger goals into much smaller, easily attainable plans.  This will help you maintain your enjoyment of the sport as you continue to find motivation along the way.

Off season running should involve fewer but much more intentional mileage. More of your time can be spent focused on strength training and conditioning.  Less time needs to be spent on long runs.  Many runs should focus on easy, slow paces to increase aerobic efficiency.  One or two runs per week should be focused on speed work and interval training, if that is your goal.

That extra time not spent on long runs can be focused on strength training that will make you not only a stronger runner but also healthier and less susceptible to injury once you begin race training again.

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My other favorite form of cross training!

Any inefficiencies that you have noticed during your training can now be attended to if necessary.  However, I often recommend that unless you have a quirk in your running that is debilitating, consider making either minor adjustments or none.  For instance, I supinate when I run.  It is obvious, but has not inhibited my running in any major way.  The time spent changing my gait would take away from other goals and those adjustments, even minor ones, could lead to injuries along the way.

The off season is also a great time to work on a fueling and hydration plan.  Focusing on drinking throughout the day and eating a healthy diet is much easier to do when you are not ravenous in the midst of training.  Taking the time now to work on healthy habits will make everything much easier in a few months.

Off season running doesn’t need to be boring.  So many improvements can be made with short mindful workouts.  Over the next few weeks I will be adding various posts on how you can make small improvements before spring races and training return.

How do you like to approach the off season?

Dining Out And Treating People Well

Happy Wednesday!  I hope you had a wonderful weekend (clearly I’m a little slow this week).  We enjoyed a lovely few days of sunny weather, leaf cleaning, running of course, and some family time.

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Shorts in November is the way to my heart!

As new parents, we have been avoiding going out to dinner.  For awhile, Mary was testing her vocal chords and attempting to see how much attention she could get in public.  These days, she just likes trying out her new words and waving/blowing kisses to everyone.  She’s adorable but also a ticking time bomb.  At any moment, we know everything could turn into a nuclear meltdown.

Just over three years ago, Rock and I got married.  Among the lovely gifts we received was a gift certificate to a restaurant.  That card has survived multiple moves and shifts among different bags and wallets.  We finally decided to go out and use that gift as a family and cross our fingers.

At the perfectly hip hour of 5:00pm on a Friday night we arrived for dinner.  It had been a long time since we had been out for a family meal.  I was looking forward to not cooking or cleaning up and also having a nice big fat steak.  It was going to be my splurge night.

Mary had a blast eating our appetizer and coloring with crayons.  It was great.

The couple across from us ate their dinner and had a pleasant conversation.  Then they asked their server to bring over the manager.  Having once worked in the restaurant business, this always piques my interest.  We run a business where customer service and satisfaction are essential.  We both leaned in a little bit to hear what was going on.

One of the patrons at the other table explained to the manager that while they love this particular restaurant, their entree was overcooked and it was not what they were looking for.  The manager kindly mentioned that they finished the entree and asked how they had asked for their meal to be prepared.  The patron responded that they wanted a steak made medium well.

The manager was gracious and didn’t even bother pointing out that a medium well steak might be tough. They were given a new meal to take home and not charged for that entree. We then overheard the customer hand over a gift certificate for three times the price of their dinner.  They asked if they could tip from the gift card and then stated they would be generous and leave the server $2; less than 10% of the cost of the meal.  Let me also note that they mentioned several times to the manager that they had fantastic service.

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Here is where I have an issue: Why would you eat your entire meal and then flag down a manager after you were finished to let them know that your meal wasn’t satisfactory?

Restaurants are in the customer service business.  It is their job to make sure you are having a great experience.  My first job ever was as a hostess of a very nice Italian restaurant.  I am still forever grateful to that company for taking a leap and hiring me.  The general manager was a wonderful man who taught me so much about customer service.  He graciously showed me how to answer a phone in a pleasant and professional manner, and how to deal with multitasking and “difficult” customers.    It is not a surprise to me to see that he is now a top restaurant manager in Las Vegas for a large corporation.

Here is what I learned:  When you go out to eat, your server basically makes no hourly wage.  It works this way because the industry assumes that you the consumer will compensate by tipping.

I know this infuriates some and you say that the restaurants should compensate the server so that you don’t have to.  That is how it works in Europe and other countries.  While that is a great concept, our government has not made that a law.  Employers can pay servers $2 or $3 per hour, meaning servers rely on your tips.

This works in your favor because most servers want your gratuity.  They are going to do everything in their power to give you a wonderful dining experience.  This also means they are freaking out when the kitchen is working slowly or providing you with subpar food.

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Here is what you get:  When you dine at a restaurant, you are paying for the experience.  You are paying to view a menu and choose what sounds good at that moment.  You are paying for someone to call in your order, bring the food to you, clean up, and make sure your drinks are full.  You don’t have to cook, clean, or do the dishes.

There is also a full staff working with your server.  Bartenders, bussers, and assistants delivering food to your table are all part of the team.  Your server often has to share a portion of their tips with all of these people.   So when you stiff their tip, everyone is getting slighted.

Please be patient and considerate when things aren’t perfect.  Sometimes we get bad service.  When this happens, it is important to sit back for a moment and look around.  Does your server have 10 tables and everyone is asking for something or waiting for their meals too?  Is the meal taking a long time?  Remember that your server doesn’t have control over a slow kitchen.  Keep in mind that sometimes a hostess can get a bit hasty and seat too many people in your server’s section at once and they are bogged down or overwhelmed.

I honestly believe that most people are good and they want to do well at their jobs.  Your server is likely not trying to provide you with a poor experience.   They want your tips and want to do well by you.

If you see that they are trying but  very busy, maybe new, or perhaps the kitchen is at fault, please don’t discount the tip.  These people are working very hard and rely on your gratuity.

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My golden rule for going out to dinner is that if we are going to afford paying for drinks and food, we walk in knowing that we are also paying for the gratuity.  If we can’t afford to properly tip, we shouldn’t be dining out.

How do you feel about tipping or dining out?  Have you ever worked at a restaurant?  Do you have a toddler (or other family member…haha) that you fear will erupt at the dinner table?

Keeping Our Youth Active And Healthy

As part of my ACE Health Coach certification, I am responsible for taking continuing education classes.  Since I work a lot with youth in various programs, I have focused a large part of my studies on youth fitness.  September happens to be National Childhood Obesity Awareness month and this gives us the perfect opportunity to discuss keeping our youth active and healthy.

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Our lives have become incredibly convenient in recent years.  Technology allows us to work from home, enjoy fun games on computers and the television, and we can even purchase basic essentials from the touch of a screen.  Very few children or adults walk or ride their bikes to work or school.

At the same time, budget cuts in schools have eliminated recess sessions and physical education classes.  Large amounts of homework and busy schedules have children doing fewer and fewer extracurricular activities.  This means both children and adults are spending far more time sitting down.

Type 2 diabetes was once considered “adult onset” diabetes.  However, youth and adolescents are being diagnosed with this metabolic disease.  Unfortunately, children and youth who struggle with weight and obesity issues, tend to continue to struggle with these same issues throughout adulthood.

Research has shown that children need about 60 minutes of activity per day.  However, this amount can be accumulated over the course of 24 hours, making it an easily attainable number.  Quick walks, bike rides, playing catch with friends, or jumping rope are just a few simple ways to get in a few minutes of activity at times.

It is important to keep in mind that children generally don’t like doing sustained bouts of exercise like adults.  It can feel difficult and boring; both of which will deter youth from continuing.  Instead, we should focus on finding activities that children enjoy and allow frequent rests and hydration breaks.  Keep in mind that children have much shorter attention spans and prefer quick bouts of activity followed by rest.  Therefore, if you do want to introduce running to your little ones, you might have more success aiming for an initial run/walk plan.

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Jump ropes, hula hoops, and balls are excellent items to introduce to children for activity time.

When children find activities that they enjoy and feel good about, they are much more likely to continue.  Even better, if children learn to enjoy physical activities, odds are in their favor that they will continue to be active adults.

Aim for variety.  Avoid focusing on specializing on one specific sport at an early age.  Allow children to try many different sports and activities and give them the chance to excel at each.  Unlike adults who tend to specialize in one general area, children are capable of being great at several different types of activities.  Where we might be great long distance runners, children are able to excel in both long distance and strength training, etc.

Adults are great role models.   When we make active lifestyles a priority, it teaches our children a lesson.  If we act like exercise or eating well are punishment, children will perceive this the same way.  Instead, when we find activities that we enjoy and make them a part of our lives, our children see that this is as normal.  Family support and leading by example are great ways to show our youth that being active and healthy can be fun.

How do you like to lead by example?  What kinds of activities do you like to do on your own or with children?

Weekends, Whirlwinds, and Boxes

Happy Monday!  I hope everyone had a lovely weekend.  Our past few weeks have been filled with adventures, which lead me to taking a break from blogging last week.  Let me fill you in.

About a year ago, we started talking about looking for a home.  After a few twists, turns, and much discussion we did something I always said we wouldn’t do.  We started looking for a house in the small town in Michigan where I grew up.  It was a slow process.  We looked at dozens of homes over many months, and nothing seemed to be a good fit.  Then in June, we found what we had been searching for.

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Mary even got her own little house.  Something for her to grow into.

At the end of July we were in Chicago when we got the call that the house was going to be ours and that we should start packing.  We had one week to box up everything in our possession.  We had originally planned on doing a truck load in early August and then coming back after our family vacation to do a final load.  But when we reserved a U-haul, I noticed that the reservation was for five days.  So we did something crazy.

With the assistance of our family, we loaded up our home and drove the U-haul up to Michigan.  We unloaded it and then drove the five hours back to Chicago the following day.  The next day we loaded it up with every last thing we owned and drove back to Michigan.

Then came the part where my husband and daughter are saints.  We then drove back to Chicago and slept in an empty apartment for a weekend on an air mattress, so that I could take my ACE Health Coach certification exam.  When I sat in that testing room and went to hit the submit button, I was incredibly nervous.  What if we took that trip and stayed in that empty apartment and I had to tell them I failed?!  Fortunately, I passed with flying colors and it was totally worth it.

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Those were some sparse accommodations.

For the next two weeks we lived out of suitcases on vacation and then at my parent’s house for another.  A week ago Monday we signed the papers on our house and immediately went to our new home.  We compared paint colors, and spent the next six days painting and prepping.

Yesterday, we finally began unloading all of our stuff and the home began to feel like home.  We still have a lot of work ahead of us.  There are to do lists that run about a mile long.  Fall work in NYC is right around the corner.  We still will be traveling to Chicago monthly to visit family and for work obligations.  And there is still so much to unpack!  But for right now, we are just going to enjoy the view.

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How was your weekend?  Any packing/unpacking tips to keep us sane?

 

“It’s Greek To Me” Chicken Recipe

It has been a long time since I have done a recipe.  But we are finally back in a place where we have a kitchen.  Here at our lake house we don’t have a lot of space, but let me tell you, it is a huge improvement from our tiny studio in NYC.  Let’s just say that there was a lot of take out going on in the Dudek house.

I have a major thing for Mediterranean food.  I am still trying to replicate my favorite beef shwarma.  But the other day I had a hankering for something Greek.  While this might not be a traditional recipe, it was quick and delicious.  Rock doesn’t even like artichokes and he ate every single bite and went back for seconds.  He said this is a keeper.
This recipe is delicious, healthy, and whips up in a snap!  Pics definitely don’t do this one justice, so you might just have to trust me on this one.
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“It’s Greek To Me” Chicken:
Prep: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Ingredients:
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Several cloves of minced garlic
1 medium sized container of low-fat or nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1 small jar pitted kalamata olives
1 small jar marinated artichoke hearts
1 small jar sun dried tomatoes
Optional: feta cheese
Directions:
Pour Greek yogurt into baking dish, add in minced garlic and stir.  Chop kalamata olives and add to yogurt with a tablespoon or two of the olive juice from jar.  Slice the sun dried tomatoes and artichoke hearts and add to yogurt mix.  Stir everything together.  Add chicken breasts and thoroughly coat with yogurt mixture.  Cover and keep in fridge for an hour or up to a add to allow the flavors to really work their magic.
Bake for 30 minutes at 350°F or until done.
Rock suggested topping the baked chicken with feta after it comes out of the oven for a little bit of an added Greek flavor.  I recommend going crazy with the garlic.  For me, the more there is, the better.
We had this with grilled vegetables and it was the perfect healthy dinner!
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Well, then I found this gem in the pantry and had to eat it.  Perfect finish!

When Customer Service Stinks… You Blog About It

Hello there!  We are back in the states after a lovely week in Aruba. We are tan and totally unrested. But such is life with a teething baby. 

Over the last few months I have been dealing with some humorous situations that are both disappointing and ridiculous. Rock and I were chatting about them during a run the other day and he said, “These are so nuts you have to blog about it.”

Starting back at Christmas I ordered our holiday cards from Snapfish.com. I have ordered from them for years and have loved their products and awesome deals. In fact, I order a lot of photo books and things for projects for our programs in NYC and at home. In the past year or so they started messing up orders by sending them to other addresses, but each time I called the 1-800 number and received my order within days. 

So when my cards arrived on photo paper instead of card stock, I assumed it was my fault and quickly reordered the exact same order again and made certain it was on card stock. I was relieved when it arrived days before Christmas and on the correct paper. But just as I was about to send them out, my mother-in-law pointed out one major flaw. They were all signed by the Andersons. We are not the Andersons!

 

Lots of typos there too!

 
It was too late to reorder so I shrugged it off and crossed out the incorrect name and signed it with ours. We joked that it would be humorous for years to come. 

And then the second half of my order arrived. I ordered ornaments with photos of our family as well as photos of family members with baby Mary. This is what I received:

  At this point I was more than annoyed and went to call Snapfish. Guess what?  They no longer have an 800 number and you can no longer speak to a live person. All contact must be done online with their chat service. 

I waited several minutes and finally spoke/typed with someone who had very broken English. When they offered to replace my cards, I pointed out that we no longer wanted them. I was given a 50% refund. And then I was told that my ornaments would be redone and rushed to me. 

I waited a month before contacting Snapfish again to let them know that our Christmas gifts had not arrived. They told me to look for an e-mail. I received it days later and it stated that they wanted to confirm our satisfaction with their service. I immediately responded and told them I was absolutely not satisfied and had not received my product.  


  
 We are currently waiting to see if we receive our order….. 

Meanwhile, Rock purchased a pair of Yurbuds for me as one of my wishes for Christmas. I have weird ears that won’t hold earbuds. And I love this product (as you have seen me rave about on here on multiple occasions).  I wanted a set that has the microphone because I use them when I coach groups and also to walk the baby and dog and still manage phone calls. 

Two weeks into using them, the microphone stopped working. I e-mailed Yurbuds to let them know and waited for two weeks for a response. When it finally came, it read, “We are contacting you to ensure that our response to your e-mail was satisfactory.”

Again, they had never responded. I e-mailed back and said that no it was not satisfactory, because I was never contacted in the first place. And two weeks later, I have heard nothing back. 

So here are my questions for you:

Is it a red flag when a company does not allow phone access anymore?  And have you watched a company you love change their service for the worse?

And what earbuds work for the earbud inept?!

Magazine Advertisements: Wrong Place, Wrong Time

I have a minor gripe today.  I usually like to keep this blog happy and informative, but I’ve been noticing an unfortunate trend in magazines lately.  I love magazines and have a tendency to get a subscription to just about everything: Runner’s World, Running Times, Cooking Light, HGTV, Food Network…..you get the drift.

Last winter I did a post about how disappointed I was with Women’s Health for being a health magazine that went and completely altered Britney Spear’s fabulous body in a picture.  It really bugged me that a “health and fitness” magazine would take a perfectly beautiful and fit body and then airbrush the heck out of her.

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Then a few months ago I noticed that the back pages of Runner’s World carry a lot of advertisements.  Typically when I get to that portion of the magazine I tend to just flip through because I have generally lose interest with ads.  But I started to notice that there were a lot of advertisements for diet and weight loss pills.

This stuck me as a little bizarre.  Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely understand that magazines and other forms of media are only able to survive with the help of advertisements.  But I was pretty bummed to see that a magazine aimed at helping runners of all levels become better and more fit athletes, would have so many advertisements for pills that help you lose weight faster, or in some cases as the sole way to lose weight.

People come to running for many reasons.  Some are looking to lose weight or to become more physically fit.  Others find solace in the alone time and it clears their head.  Many are already perfectly fit, while others seek running as a way to shed pounds.  While some struggle with weight, others struggle with body image issues.  To me, it was a bummer seeing so many adds for magic pills in a magazine aimed at this diverse running population.

And then the doozy of all ads was presented to me the other night.  Rock recently flipped through a Sports Illustrated for the first time in a long while.  We were both surprised to see some of the ads in this issue.

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Seriously?

To be very honest, I didn’t even know that you could advertise cigarettes and smokeless tobacco in magazines anymore.  I understand that this is a magazine for sport’s fans and not a magazine directly aiming to help athletes.  But I found it really bizarre to see these ads in a sports related magazine.A magazine that promotes professional sports and touches upon interviews with some of the best athletes in the world was okay with advertising carcinogenic compounds.

Let’s not forget that many young and impressionable teenage boys and girls flip through these pages at home or even in their school libraries!

To say that I was disappointed would be an understatement.  I get that companies need to advertise to stay afloat in a time when digital media has taken over.  But I wish that more of these companies and publications would consider who their market is and proceed with a tad more awareness.

What are your thoughts on magazine advertisements?  Do you even notice what is being advertised?

Slow Down. You’re going too fast! 8 Reasons Why You Should Run Slower

Isn’t that a nice thing to think about; that you are too speedy?  Truth is, you likely are a bit too speedy too often.  We live in a fast paced world, and if you are a runner, odds are that you care about your pace.  Sure, you want to build speed and increase your pace over time, but slowing down actually plays a large role in this process.  When you stop glancing at your GPS at the end of each mile, and stop worrying about making every mile faster, you will benefit in several different ways.  Don’t get me wrong, speed work is super important too.  But let’s take a look at how some slower runs can make you a better and stronger runner.

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Slowing down some of your workouts will help get you out of the rut of doing the same thing over and over.  I’m a creature of habit.  If I could run 7 miles every day of the week I would be content for the most part.  We runners tend to live by numbers in the forms of miles and minutes per mile.  But take a look at any solid training plan and you will see varied miles and varied paces.  Running doesn’t have to be the same monotonous thing day in and day out.

Slow running helps build your cardiovascular capacity from the cellular level on up.  By slowing down for some runs you are helping your cells to distribute oxygen to your muscles more effectively and efficiently.  You will not only be able to run longer, but also faster.

Slow running adapts your muscles.  By taking that pace down a bit you are helping your body to create stronger and healthier running muscles.  This is essential for all runners; from beginners who need to build from scratch to experienced marathoners who are constantly pushing their muscles to do more and more for them.

Slowing the pace decreases your risk of injury.  One of the greatest benefits of high impact exercise is that it builds bone density.  However, when you constantly run at a fast pace you push your body with that high impact to a potential breaking point (literally).  Runners who focus only on speed are at more of a risk for injuries like stress fractures or tears in muscles and tendons.

Slower runs allow you to run more often and longer.  By decreasing your risk of injury and taking the pace down a bit, your body is less stressed.  Therefore, you will be able to run more often and your body will have more time to repair itself.  Less stress on the body allows you to push the mileage a bit more and go for that longer run.

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Taking that pace down a bit puts you in a fat burning zone.  While it is true that a high intensity interval training session will rev that metabolism up, most fat is burnt during longer and slower sessions.  Putting your heart rate in that zone can be a huge advantage.

Long slow training runs teach your body to use glycogen stores more efficiently.  This is super helpful for half and full marathoners but can be advantageous to all athletes.  The more efficiently glycogen is used by the body, the longer and harder you can train.  This is why you want to slow your longer training runs down a bit.  One of the most important goals of that long slow distant run is to prep your body for hours out there on the race course.

Because variety is the spice of life.  Regardless of how much you might love running, the fact is that at some point you are going to lose your motivation or briefly fall out of love with it.  Sometimes we need to take the focus off of training or getting faster, and go back to the reason we first came to the sport.  By slowing down, you can enjoy the sights a bit more, try a new route, or chat with a friend as you workout.

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Merry Christmas Eve!

Hello again from Michigan. We are up here for a few days, visiting my family. This is Mary’s first Christmas and it is so exciting!

It is also unseasonably warm and this wimp has been loving the crazy temps. In fact, I only packed cold weather running gear and this is the interesting combo I put together to run in yesterday. #supersexyrunner

Rock did make some comment about “For better or worse.”

I’ve been busy enjoying the holiday excitement and that has taken me away from posting lately (but I’ve got lots of great stuff in the New Year to help you get on top of your winter training).  We spent all of last week baking new recipes for cookies and treats as gifts to share.  I was wrapping presents too!  With all of this excitement, I forgot to post about Mary’s christening the previous weekend. 

 As you can see, we are so lucky to have the most wonderful godparents and God-sisters. While we were up here we decided to take them skating. And I took a quick whirl around in my skates. Check out this first spin since having Mary. I was so dizzy after I couldn’t see a thing. I’m most definitely out of practice! 
 
We had the best time with the girls and I have to brag that the youngest (only 2 years old) was cruising around on her own!  #supercoaches

 

We are going to keep enjoying Christmas firsts with our little Mary. In the meantime, I hope you all have a wonderful holiday with your families. Enjoy the long weekend and see you next week!

   

To Thine Own Health Be True

Greetings from Northern Michigan. Rock and I are up here at our lake house for a few days for what is likely our last solo vacation before the baby arrives. I suppose you could call this our Babymoon. So I apologize for the pics because while they don’t pertain at all to the post, it is just too beautiful up here at the lake to not share some of these beauties.   
 So, I have an embarrassing confession. A few weeks ago I had a nagging pain on my foot. It was driving me nuts and when I finally looked at it, there was a plantar wart. Ugh!  I of course wanted to immediately get rid of it. I know they are common and not a huge deal but I also know from past experience that if it wasn’t taken care of quickly it could spread and get worse. 

I found the closest and most convenient podiatrist and made an appointment for the next day. I couldn’t get in to my regular doctor and since this was a minor issue, I just wanted to hurry up and get it dealt with. 

At the doctor’s office I was waiting in the chair and he came in and took a quick look at my feet. I mentioned that I am a runner and while pregnant have been doing around 40 miles per week. 

He scanned my feet, shook his head, and gave a shrug. He then began explaining that while the wart was a minor issue he was very concerned with the large calluses on my feet. He said that because I was pregnant these calluses were a clear sign that I was running improperly and could be causing serious damage to my feet.    
I think we can all agree these are not that bad when it comes to runner’s feet!
Then he added that before he met with me he happened to look at my insurance info and was happy to report that we had great insurance that would just so happen to cover the orthotics my feet would need. And he could have them custom made for me in his office. Hello red flag!

What I neglected to tell this “doctor” was that I am a running coach. While I might not be elite, I am accomplished and know a lot about the sport. However, even the most amateur runner who has scoured Facebook posts has seen numerous pics of other runners’ feet. And you know what?  There’s a reason we hesitate to get pedicures. We hang onto our calluses for deal life. Those bad boys are part of the sport and we work hard to get them. We even brag about lost toenails!

The moral of this story is when you are in an appointment and get a bad vibe, you need to go with your gut. My gut said this guy was trying to ride this appointment for all he could. I knew what I needed and confidently said no (without being rude because it wasn’t necessary).   

If you find yourself with a doctor and his diagnosis or reasoning doesn’t sit well with you, it is important to follow that feeling. Learn to know your body and its limits. Know what seems to be a major issue and something that isn’t debilitating. And if you don’t feel a diagnosis is right, get a second opinion. 

On the other hand, I have also been injured before and known the injury was not good. Like the dummy I was when I chose to keep running on it. One time I knew I had plantar fasciitis but kept pretending maybe it was something else. I knew I needed to rest but continued to run thinking that maybe, just maybe it was something else. Two months later I saw myself sulking at the doctor’s office as he told me I needed to take a month off. In the meantime, I had made my foot much worse than it originally had been because I didn’t want to stop. 

While we need to know when to walk away from a doctor or diagnosis, it is just as important to be honest with ourselves. Athletes and especially runners become very aware of their bodies and their aches and pains. We know when something just isn’t right. It is important to be honest when our bodies need a rest or recognize when we need to see someone for help. 

Get yourself a great line of defense. Shop around and find a doctor who works with athletes and has your best interests in mind. Even my ob/gyn is a runner and I really appreciate her input and honesty when it comes to my sport and my health. 

I also have a fantastic massage therapist who happens to be a competitive runner. He knows how my crazy head works and I trust him when he tells me it is time for a break or that we can work through an issue.  

Most importantly, we all need to know our bodies. Know your limits and know what feels good and when you don’t feel right. Know when rest is needed and know when to seek help. A healthy runner is a strong runner.