What’s it like to be a Back At It Ambassador?
Back At It’s athlete Ambassador Faye Baldoc answered the following questions:
How has it been to be a Back At It ambassador and how has it helped you?
I am beyond grateful to have been chosen to be a ‘Back at It ambassador’ for Back at It’s first year of running the ambassador program. I remember seeing the ad for the program and the application for it online but honestly, I was hesitant to apply. I don’t consider myself an ‘athlete’. Sure, I invest a lot of my time and money into my main goal; ultra running but, I have never considered myself to be a top of the game runner so I felt a little awkward and out of my comfort level applying to a program which seemed way out of my league. I am SO glad I did though, having been selected and had the opportunity to indulge in treatments has been huge for my training, recovery and race cycles.
When I started the program in Spring 2021 I was half way through my training plan to get to the start line of my first 100 mile race (I also had 2 other 100+ km races that fell shortly after the main goal too) so, it came at the perfect time having already put my body through months of training, with months to go and a summer schedule filled with long distance running events.
I was already indulging in massage therapy prior to the ambassador program but, perhaps not as often as I should have been to get the true gains from it. Being able to book monthly massage treatments (my preferred style of treatment offered by Back at It) was a game changer (especially at the start of recovery weeks to really get the recovery going!). Each time I visited I was able to pin-point certain areas that were a little tighter or just needed some additional TLC. I can’t say it was the most relaxing treatment as I always opted for the deep tissue massage (After all I am a runner) but, I knew the 60+ mins of sometimes teeth clenching massage was beneficial and knowing that my body held up for me throughout the remainder of my training and my goals shows that, recovery and massage therapy is a huge part of staying healthy and on top of your fitness game.
Living in the Bow Valley is also no joke in terms of the expenses associated living in a town geared towards mountain tourism. Regular massage therapy isn’t something I could easily afford so, having this opportunity was something I could do regularly without having to worry about the costs associated. Having seen the benefits of regular treatments, massage therapy is a service I will be prioritizing and investing my money into moving forward!
Did you find your treatments to be helpful?
Yes! I truly believe massage therapy is beneficial to speeding up the process of recovery as well as reducing muscle pain and fatigue. Since delving more into training over the past couple of years I’ve come to learn that the magic of a training cycle isn’t happening during the training process but, more so through the days spent recovering. Or, for me through my 1 week of ‘active recovery’. Being able to kick start that week with a massage enabling increased blood flow to areas which were significantly tight after a 3-week build was great! Massage helps the recovery process of releasing toxins from muscles and allowing the body to start repairing itself earlier on, so by the end of the week I was fresh and ready to get going for another training block. In addition, I was successful during my summer schedule of races and the goals I had set myself out to achieve. My body didn’t fail me before, during or after the races and I truly believe that is down to the rest and recovery combined with massage therapy that I always prioritize.
What kind of injuries did you have?
I’ve been really lucky in the sense that I haven’t had a lot of injuries over the past few years. Don’t get me wrong I’ve had 1 or 2 bad sprains / broken bones but, I haven’t had a lot of overuse or niggles that have pestered and lingered.
There are a few reasons for this:
1. Running is something I have been doing for a long time, so I feel like my body is very conditioned with the continual pounding and stresses I put onto it.
2. I follow a strict training plan and I am committed to it meaning, I am not over working my body or doing ‘too much’ and I always make time for cross training 3. I recover, and I like to think I recover well by taking time to rest, relax, strengthen and stretch my body but, also giving it the required TLC it deserves such as, massage therapy and long hot Epsom salt baths.
Obviously training & racing 3 long distances, back-to-back, did have a couple of hurdles thrown in but, that was to be expected and luckily the aches & pains didn’t stick around for too long. Right after my 100 miler I experienced extremely tight calves (To the point where I bum shuffled around my house for a few days haha!) and after my last race of 108km’s I had some medial knee pain that hung around for a month-6 weeks after. Back at it helped! not only though massage therapy but, by offering advice through messaging and providing links to articles with tips and suggestions and also through general conversation when visiting. They also advised when a massage wouldn’t be worth it for e.g. when my calves were unbearably sore to the touch, they were very open with saying ‘Hey you should not get a massage yet, instead rest and do X, Y, Z’ – I found this to be SO helpful and genuine and by listening to their great advise my niggles never quite made it to the ‘injured’ status. With regards to injuries in general I honestly feel like if you have a good routine of strength, stability, stretching and massage therapy your body is likely to stay more elastic with a broader range of motion. When our bodies can move properly, they are able to perform properly and therefore, the chances of becoming injured lessen. I love running and cross training but, I equally love the down days and giving my body the love and attention it deserves.
Any thing else you would like to mention?
I have said this multiple times over the past year but, I am VERY grateful to have been part of the Back at It ambassador program. Massage Therapy isn’t something I am going to discontinue. In fact, I am going to continue with it for as long as I keep training and pursuing big goals. My body feels strong and healthy right now and my goal for this upcoming race season is to run 120 miles with over 8000m of elevation. I am confident that the approach I have taken so far will get me to the start line healthy and happy. I also want to give a huge shout out to Vanessa, M eve, Michelle and all of the other Back at It ambassadors (Vanessa and M-eve for allowing me this opportunity, Michelle for the strong, deep tissue treatments they’re the best! And to the other ambassadors for always providing a level of stoke by sharing their inspirational journeys and stories). I promise I will be a regular at Back at It and thank you for everything you have done this past year for me!!