The red dress and the runner

This red knit has lain piled and neglected for at least three years. Quilting friends and seamstresses I know would agree that’s not a very long time to keep nice fabric around. Still, I see you there in a heap in front of the fireplace and can hear you screaming out,

“Sew me. Love me.”

Sorry, right now I’m into sewing square things.

I like the instant gratification of making something quick, comfy and useful like a 23-minute belly band to convert any jeans into maternity jeans. Even this t-shirt baby play quilt was highly appealing compared to the red knit.

There was nothing really instant about it, but I gratifyingly used up fifteen t-shirts for the front and backing.

I’ve kept the tees from races and other sentimental places but I rarely wear them, so this seemed a perfect project. Plus, I love defying the t-shirt quilt norm with a haphazard collage. Our baby will undeniably experience some overstimulation with this thing.

Once again, the red knit screams at me.

Finally, I decided on a maxi skirt, long and flowing enough to be super comfortable throughout pregnancy and winter. I Googled an idea and decided to make up my own pattern. This turned into a look I would describe as, “akin to a shower curtain wrapped loosely around my waist.” Solution: I added wide, gathered straps and turned it into a dress. Which went together MUCH faster than the t-shirt quilt after all.

What does this have to do with running? Well, just wait ‘til I get going.

First, I realize there’s a time to be gussied.

The vast majority of time, if you can help it runners, you need to take it easy and pamper your feet with roomy and uncomplicated shoes. Many feel they need arch supports or fancy orthotics. Unless you have developed a foot issue already, then your feet just need simple, spacious (crucial) and relatively flat, but not flimsy, shoes.

I read in a New York Times article where Benno M. Nigg, a professor of biomechanics at the University of Calgary, shared some research on orthotics, saying, “Shoe inserts or orthotics may be helpful as a short-term solution, preventing injuries in some athletes. But it is not clear how to make inserts that work. The idea that they are supposed to correct mechanical-alignment problems does not hold up.”

I ran for six months on a broken sesamoid bone in my right foot while training for the Green Bay Marathon, May, 2012. 80 miles a week, I did mostly in racing flats with factory inserts. While not excessive mileage, it was a chore and painful for my foot most of the time. Other than the broken foot part, a large problem I didn’t realize at the time was that in between my two-a-days or during my rest days I wasn’t paying enough attention to the comfort of my feet. I’d wear tight Mary Janes or rock-hard ballets. My feet did not seem to hurt, but because of my inadvertent abuse, I delayed recovery and added to the pain of sesamoiditis (inflammation around the sesamoid bones, which are two pea-sized bones in the ball of the foot behind the big toe).

This supposed-to-be-a-skirt dress fits into my comfortable shoe plan. It’s long and flowy enough that I can wear just about any shoes with it, within reason. I’m still taking time to let that sesamoid get used to feeling good and that means only wearing “fancy” shoes when absolutely necessary. Since the bone in my right foot is bipartite (meaning in two pieces, broken) it won’t fully heal. Sesamoiditis will probably follow me around most of my days, but if I pay attention and recover wisely, it will improve. My hope is that as I ease out of pregnancy in five months and back into running full mileage, I’ll be able to ease my foot back into full form. Comfortable shoes along the way will help. At least that’s the plan.

Moral in short: when you’re not running, you’re recovering. So pay attention to how you eat, drink, and dress. Your feet will thank you.

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5 thoughts on “The red dress and the runner

    • Thanks. Yes, the slick chick block will be a popular one I think. I needed some other colors but realized that most races use blue, red or gray. It works. And I used double batting, so it’s pretty plush.

  1. Suse – you are just too cute AND talented! Love the dress. I needed to have you whipping me up some cute pregnancy clothes when I was at that stage – it’s not an easy task finding cute maternity clothes for a 6’4″ person! Slick Chicks – love it! Go Super Sonics!!!

  2. I learned the hard way that if your foot is hurting, stop walking on it so you don’t make it worse. I had a stress fracture that got worse & worse until I went non-weight-bearing for 6 weeks. I don’t know where the stress fracture was exactly, because it didn’t seem worth it to get an MRI–wouldn’t change the treatment at all. But there was evidence on my X-rays that I had numerous healed stress fractures in my feet before this bad one. (To make matters worse, I have significant numbness in my feet & legs such that I don’t feel the amount of pain I should.)

    I am quite picky about what shoes I wear. They have to feel comfortable. Finding shoes big enough for my feet & padded insoles is very hard. The cushier the insoles, the less foot pain I have. I am not entirely sure that I need arch supports, but I definitely need lots of padding.

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