Toward the end of July I received IRB approval for my dissertation research on Black Girls RUN!… Whew! I was cutting it close.
The notification came just in time for me to get excited about the Atlanta stop of the Preserve the Sexy Tour (PTST), a series of half-day workshops in cities across the country designed to provide BGR! members with valuable running tips and information. In addition to social support, proper education is a key element to sustaining change. Have you ever tried to run more than three miles in a pair of cross trainers? Do you know what a difference it makes to roll your ankles and warm up your calves before you go for a run? Having the knowledge to navigate these seemingly simple scenarios could mean the difference between someone testing running out as a fad and adopting running as a long-term lifestyle change.
I’d been looking forward to the Atlanta stop all summer because I had questions about my experiences with shortness of breath and my growing interest in foam rolling. Now that run more frequently, I have focused concerns because I’ve increased my distance and am trying to quicken my pace. In each session, I was able to get answers to my questions from credible sources. By the way, I tried the techniques (focused breathing patterns and foam rolling pre- and post-run) this week and they worked wonders!
What I loved about the PTST is that it offered BGR! members and enthusiasts the opportunity to meet in an informal, comfortable environment and have access to experts that we might not otherwise be able or willing to seek out. I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford a personal consultation with a running coach.
This is important because although women and black Internet users are growing forces to be reckoned with on social media, there are still disparities in the ways we seek health information online. A team of researchers recently found that black women were significantly less likely to seek out general health information online than white women, and suggested this could be due to a general lack of health awareness.* Being in a room with experts and a large group of women gave me the opportunity to ask about my own health concerns and also become aware of other concerns and issues that were relevant to me as well.
I walked away from the PTST surprised at how much I’d learned, laughed, and posed for the camera in just a few short hours. Search for all the selfie action on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #ptst14!
*Laz, T. H., & Berenson, A. B. (2013). Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Internet Use for Seeking Health Information Among Young Women. Journal Of Health Communication, 18(2), 250-260.