Tag Archives: Cycling

Minneapolis: Best in the World

Yes, I am a little biased, but I do think that Minneapolis is one of the greatest places in the United States.  I would say it ranks pretty high on the world stage too, but there might be some other places I’d rather live.   Nonetheless Travel and Leisure Magazine recently named Minneapolis one of the best biking cities in the world.

Minneapolis actually ranks number 2 in the US falling behind Portland as far as bike commuting goes.  One of the reasons Minneapolis was ranked so high is the

infrastructure that promotes bicycling on many fronts. From bike lockers and designated street lanes to recreational trails and snowplows dedicated to clearing off-street paths, a system exists to make transportation on a bike efficient, safe, and hassle-free.

This same infrastructure makes Minneapolis a great place to run.  Many of my runs use existing bike infrastructure.  The Midtown Greenway is a biking thorough-fare.  Running on downtown’s Riverfront uses part of the Grand Rounds Trail.  Of course all of the lakes have bike and running trails.

Minneapolis has a ton of paved trails, I wish it had more dirt trails within the city that I could easily use from my house.  But I will take the ease of off-road running and the mostly suburb job of plowing that occurs in winter.

HT Mayor’s Blog

[tags] Minneapolis, Biking, Trails, Travel [/tags]

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Treatments for Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis
Image via Wikipedia

This post is popular, but I also wanted to point out an updated 18 steps to get rid of Plantar Fasciitis.

I’ve been enduring the pain of Plantar Fasciitis in my heel for most of this training cycle.  When  I first started feeling the pain I took almost a week off.  While the pain has never gone away it does ebb and flow.  It hurts the most in the mornings and then kind of tapers off throughout the day, likewise at the beginning of a run it hurts and then loosens itself up. Some days the pain is worse than others.  I’ve been icing and popping pills throughout.

As the weather has gotten nicer and I’ve been biking, I decided to see what the research said about biking and Plantar Fasciitis.  I didn’t want to make it worse by biking.  Fortunately, biking seems to be okay – but running and walking aren’t.

One thing that the resources I present below don’t talk about is checking your shoes – ensuring that your shoes haven’t been overused, in mileage or showing excessive wear.  I also found previously that I needed to check all my shoes – even casual and business ones.  A few years ago my work shoes were really worn down in the heels and I couldn’t figure out why my heels hurt so much.  I switched shoes and the pain quickly went away.  We spend a lot of time in our casual/work shoes – ensure they are working properly as well.

I love some of the simplicity of these ideas and the humor as well.  There are plenty of good tips though.

I found a website called Heel Spurs that lists a few simple treatments for Plantar Fasciitis:

  1. Stretching,
  2. Ice,
  3. Tape,
  4. Rest,
  5. Arch support, and
  6. Losing weight

Another website for North Coast Foot Care provides some more in-depth ideas:

  1. Stop running, jogging or walking. Swim or bike instead.
  2. If you work out on a treadmill, stop! This is the worst activity for your heels.
  3. Avoid the stair stepper. The stair stepper puts a lot of stress through your arch.
  4. If you are up and down at work a lot, try to limit it, and get up only once an hour, or once every 2 hours.
  5. At home, avoid going up and down the stairs multiple times. Have your spouse, significant other or child run up or down for you.
  6. Try to avoid steep hills. Stairs are better than hills. Walking up the stairs sideways will help take the stress off your feet.
  7. Do not lift or carry heavy items. This adds to the total amount of force that goes through your feet. This also increases the total impact on your heel.
  8. Do not lift your kids and carry them. Use a stroller, have them walk, or let your spouse/significant other carry them.
  9. Don’t lift weights. If you do, make sure you are seated
  10. The EFX (elliptical) machine at the gym can also aggravate plantar fasciitis. If you must exercise with this, lower the platform adjustment to it’s lowest level.

As well as some specific ideas for athletes:

  1. The best approach is to rest the foot for 10-14 days.
  2. Cross train by road or mountain biking, swimming or weight lifting.
  3. Do all the therapy outlined on the about heel pain page.
  4. Be aggressive about this treatment, stretching as much as possible throughout the day and
  5. Icing or contrasting between hot and cold as much as your schedule allows.
  6. Swim for exercise, or bike at low resistance at the gym and avoid the recumbent bike. If you bike outside, spin up the hills (use the lowest gears). Of course it is better to avoid hills if possible. Do not drop your heel while cycling, this puts excess stress through the Achilles tendon and the arch. Wear cycling shoes, or rigid shoes while cycling.
  7. Consider weight lifting. Avoid standing while lifting weights. Avoid squats, calf lifts and quad bench presses. There are many areas that we tend to avoid when we focus on specific training, especially the upper body. Try to readjust your focus for a few weeks.
  8. If you have pain at any time during the return, taper your routine accordingly. If you have a small amount of pain, then don’t increase the mileage or intensity, or give it a day’s break to rest and ice and stretch. If you have a lot of pain when you return, then you should take a full two weeks off from the activity and see your physician to consider more aggressive therapy. Physical therapy and orthotics would be good treatments to add.

I will say I’ve felt the best on Monday’s after swimming and sitting in the hot tub on Sunday mornings and any day after resting.  I’ve continued to stretch and ice, occasionally taking some ibuprofen, but other than that I’ve not done a good job of taking care of my heel!  After the half-marathon I plan on taking some time off and letting it heel some more!!

What have you done to treat Plantar Fasciitis?

[tags] Plantar Fasciitis, Heel, Injuries, Running [/tags]

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First Impressions and Reactions in Ghana

Homemade Cargo Bike

Homemade Cargo Bike

Below is a journal entry from my first day in the rural village in Ghana where I spent my eight-week Master’s internship. A quick background on what I was doing – my internship was working with a Multi-purpose Community Telecentre (basically a community center with a technology focus).  I was mostly helping them with program evaluation and did some teaching. A lot of my time ended up being about experiencing the culture and learning about village life.

The below excerpt was my first day in the village but also a major event for the Telecentre.  One of their projects is teaching bicylce repair and selling new and used bicycles.  I’ll try to insert relevant links if I can find them if I can.  Johnny is running the bike program, Osei was my supervisor, Samson was a news reporter from Ghana TV and John represented ITDP.

June 4, 2003

Today is a big day for the center. I didn’t realize how big until later. Today was the big bike show, the chance for the center to showcase the converted bikes as well as the new bikes being sold. A whole bunch of us began by putting together 20 of the new bikes so that they could be ridden. Johnny had done a great job training his students and they made the process go very quickly if not haphazardly because of the lack of tools. Many people were arriving and they bike ride began.

Homemade Tall Bike

Homemade Tall Bike

I rode, it was funny because almost everyone took off like a bullet! I took it slower and began passing people, especially up the hills! Ghana Information Services (a Land Rover with a microphone) proceeded us down the road so many people were near the road! Many started cheering Obruni [Twi for White Man] when they saw me so I would wave and say hello. Also some of the groups would cheer m on to pass someone while others would cheer for the guy I was passing.  We rode to Konongo which is about 8 miles round trip with some good hills.

I did take my time, letting people pass me until they would look back and smile! When we got back I was very hot and very sweaty! The show began with a prayer in Twi. John, Johnny, and Osei all spoke. Osei was very powerful and inspiring. Also the Deputy Minister of Roads and Transport spoke as well as some other officials from the national government. All praised the program as innovative and an example to the rest of the country. The program was recorded for a segment on Ghana TV next week.

Also during the program a group of girls did some traditional dances which were interesting, they were poetic. Also the chief and his elders were present wearing full traditional garb. A single piece of cloth wrapped toga like around the body and was held together by the left hand. Each was unique but the chief’s was very intricate looking and it had some gold pieces and very colorful. Also there was an umbrella that was held over him.  I learned later that the size of it represented his power. Chiefs have authority over the land and are to be respected in the community. It runs parallel to the state government. Samson wants me to write about about the psyche of development to understand the people working in development and also to understand what development does to the people being affected. After the program

ITDPs Bike by Trek

ITDP's Bike by Trek

I did a little dance with some of the girls who laughed hysterically!

I met one of Osei’s students who lives in Konongo. He will be working at the centre as well so that will be a great learning experience. Unfortunately, I forgot his name. I also met Effa, one of Johnny’s good friends who offered to show me around the area and also to help understand the culture better. I am a little concerned that he is more financially motivated than truly wanting to getting know me and show me his culture. Samson and I continue to have great talks. He is very interested in using his TV skills to help his country develop. I gave him some ideas of things to look into such as micro-credit lending and also Mister Rodger’s Neighborhood to interact with the kids. We had a brief talk about the transforming power of Christ and how we can be joyful despite suffering.  Later John, Johnny, and I did some welding. We just messed around with some of the steel tubing but it was an interesting way to spend part of an evening. I’m beginning to feel tired of being the only one not drinking, while I know I can I feel it is a conviction I must hold on to.

Pa ni (sp?) = respected elder

Nsu = water

I also realized that while water inside a satchel [plastic bag like container] is filtered, there are probably plenty of germs on the satchel itself as you squeeze the water into your mouth. There are lots of little lizards running around. Also there were a lot of crows this morning. All black with a little white stripe just behind the neck. Also something I never thought about before today’s bike ride was having to watch out for wandering goats on the road!

Galatians 2:10: Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Thank you for taking the time to read some of my rambling thoughts on one of my first days in Ghana. This is also a good insight into some of the great things that are happening across Africa.

Team World Vision

Team World Vision is a fund raising arm of the organization which uses ordinary people like me, to get ordinary people like you involved in ending poverty and injustice across the world. I have decided to commit the 26.2 miles of my first marathon to the memory of and in honor of the children I have met during my international travels. I can’t remember all of their names, but I have many pictures and stories.

On the right side of my blog there is a widget that will allow you to support me during this race or you can visit this secure page. I have set a goal of raising $2,000 which will help children have a chance at living to become adults across Africa.

[tags]  World Vision, Team World Vision, Ghana, Telecentre [/tags]

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Paper Kenyan

Martin Dugard is a renowned author of books such as Chasing Lance, The Last Voyage of Columbus, Into Africa, and others. That is not what first attracted me to Dugard. During the 2006 Tour de France, I began reading his daily missives about traveling around France watching and reporting on the events surrounding the Tour as well as the actual tour itself.

I was hooked by his engaging style, rants against complacency, and his general discussion of running, cycling, and other endurance sports. Dugard is a professional journalist and author, who is not afraid to bare a little of his own soul and passion with his weekly daily blog posts.

I would highly recommend checking him out at his blog Training Ground.

Dugard, who is also something of an adventurer, has completed the two-week Raid Gauloises adventure race; sailed on a tall ship across the Mediterranean; and spent time in an African prison while researching one of his books.

On a miscellaneous note, Dugard lived for six weeks on the Malaysian island of Palau Tiga during the filming of the television show Survivor. This became the subject of the bestselling Survivor: The Ultimate Game, co-written with series producer Mark Burnett.

I was encouraged by this article to write about the blogs I read and share why I read them, with you my readers.

On a side note, Martin is running the New York City Marathon this weekend, so stop by and wish him good luck/congratulations.

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