Sunday, August 28, 2016

Recovery update - GETTING BACK!

I’m finally feeling like I am at the end of recovery (almost). I’m able to run on the alter G now with fairly normal speed up to 80 percent un weighted. Ironically the Achilles on either side isn’t eh part of my legs that gets the most tired or sore, so I take that as a good sign.

I am able to bike almost normally. What is hard is the standing and not letting my ankle drop at the bottom of my pedal stroke because the calf is just not strong enough to push with just the forefoot. At first I thought my saddle was off (too high) but then it occurred to me that if my heel wasn’t able to stay up, it was going to feel high. I flew out to see Mat Steinmetz who was kind enough to do a fit review for me and confirm my suspicions. We decided to leave the bike in the optimal position and then I would just try to work on the strength and or ride other things until I could hold the position. That was 2 weeks ago and already yesterday I rode 92 miles with Tanya in the position, so things are progressing quickly now I hope.

Standing on the bike is tough because all the pressure is on the forefoot again and I end up supporting a lot of weight on my hands over the handlebars. That too is getting better. Finally on the bike, when mountain biking I can’t ride off road very much because I don’t have the strength to hold my ankle tight all the time so when going over bumps etc. it feels “loose” and can be a bit painful. No worries, it too is getting better and I can stick to smoother roads for now.

I went to see the surgeon the other day and was told I had the ALL CLEAR! Said I can run, or do whatever I want at this point. I had asked about waiting until I run until I was able to do 3 x 25 single leg toe raises. He said that due to our procedure we used and the extent at which he cut off my heel that I could start to run now and that I am in no real danger of the injury returning. He did say he would lay off the run until I could have a pretty normal gait, or at least not limp so I didn’t cause other compensation issues.
-        Note: I had a pretty extensive repair. On my left side he said despite having done the procedure hundreds of times, it was in the top 3 worse he had seen. So if you have a lesser surgery I would check on your own return to run protocol. I know if the tendon becomes too tight or weak it can lay down the same injury again, so double check that
Last week I decided to run 1 min, then walk 2. It was very slow, but I was able to “Shuffle/jog” for much longer periods with no pain and made it 4.5 miles! I have run up to 3 miles 2 more times since then and the pace is around 9:30 pace for the most part. Not blazing, but legit “jogging”. The Achilles has no pain which still blows me away as I can’t remember not having pain, but the peripheral stuff gets weak and fatigued and still have some “nerve” pain which causes me to pause and take some breaks. I also do not have the forefoot strength to really push off so I am definitely more on my heels then before, but the strength will come and I have been using the alter g to remember good fast run form.
I also want to point out even about 3-4 weeks ago I felt like today would never come. Its not an easy road and it I am sure I still have setbacks ahead of me but the healing is not linear. That’s the hardest part. You’ll feel one week like you will never get back, then 4 days later feel remarkably better. So don’t think your progress is limited to a set trajectory. I also would have a few days here and there where I would be pretty pissed off at my situation and angry. I would get discouraged with people trying to encourage me, or try to tell me it would be fine. Go ahead and feel like that sometimes, you deserve it! It does suck to rehab. If It didn’t, more people would go fix stuff. However, you have to snap out of it and figure out something to focus on other than feeling sorry for yourself.

I have a lot of people to thank. My awesome with Tanya has been almost too supportive and positive through all of this. I couldn’t have done it without her. I’m also convinced some of her oil concoctions have made a huge difference. I’m about 8 weeks ahead of recovery schedule right now.
Not only that but her clinic where she works has amazing systems for rehab. They even do PRP now. Pain and Wellness Group out of Plainfield and Villa Park is truly committed to athletes.

Achieve Physical Therapy has been amazing. Gina has been pretty busy with life and helping Olympians but left me in great hands. Taylor and Lindsey have been awesome PTs to work with. They know all the tricks. Dry needling, Graston, massage, exercises, stretching, Alter G, etc. 2 x a week they put me back together. I continue to be so grateful.

Dr. Ginsberg has been on my adjustments for chiropractic since before day one! He was able to keep my hips in line while off center in the boot for almost 3 months. He kept my back and neck feeling fine the entire time as well. I literally had no issue with the crutches, or the boot thanks to him. He even manipulates the ankle now to make sure it stays all lined up.

Garrett Krug, my strength trainer has continued to look for ways to bridge the PT/ strength training gap. To say he is just a strength trainer is not enough. He not only has a 4-year degree in this stuff, but is CONSTANTLY educating himself on new techniques. He went so far as to come to some of my rehab sessions to talk to the PTs to make sure what he was doing lined up with what they wanted.

Dr. Vora, my surgeon. I can’t believe how good this guy is. Not only is he good but he has a system for closing surgeries that I swear I barely even have a scar. If we are being honest, I was worried I would have Frankenstein looking calves and ankles. Not even close. He is blunt, to the point, but effective!

Paul Bishop has not only found my surgeon for my case but has made me the best running orthotics I have ever had. They were so good I got Tanya a pair and combined with some new coaching methods will be the first year she has made 12 months’ injury free!

I write this and seems like I am thanking a lot of people, but that’s what it takes. Don’t do things half way. If you want to get better, go all in. Invest in yourself. 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

One reason for a bad race

Look let’s be honest. Call it what you want, but it SUCKS when you have had a BAD RACE. Nobody plans for or hopes for that outcome.

I wanted to share some of my thoughts on one of the main reasons it happens and how to avoid it.

The most heard story in an Ironman debacle story is a nutrition one, or lack thereof. Here is what I think most people screw up. They are simply too regimented or narrow minded in their thinking when it comes to race day nutrition.

I don’t want to get into what you should or shouldn’t eat for race nutrition right here, that’s an entirely different subject. However, whatever you do decide to use, use it properly. What I mean by that is most of the time in training people have their very best days. They think “Wow, if I can feel like that on race day, I will have an awesome race!” The thing is, in training they aren’t so deliberate or strict in most cases with their nutrition if they are honest.

Without making this too long, I think in training when you are thirsty, you tend to drink, and when you are hungry you tend to eat. Simple enough. In a race however they have stop watches and mile markers that they force nutrition down no matter how they feel – DON’T!

The human body is pretty sophisticated. It does a good job for the most part letting us know what it needs and when. We just have to listen to it. In the race though we know at baseline we need to get 200-300 calories an hour in on the bike give or take, but that’s not hard to do. You need to be regimented in when you do need food, you need to know what agrees with you, and when you need to drink, what that is you can drink and so on. That’s critical and I don’t disagree with practicing and having a plan for that. But I think you should have a general idea what you want to eat and when, but then listen to what’s going on inside you and decide when you need it exactly.

Here is another tip – GUESS LIGHT. It’s so easy to add calories. It’s very uncomfortable to take them away.

I am much better at speaking then typing so will cover this in more detail in our podcast tomorrow.

Friday, July 29, 2016


I have been bad keeping this updated but honestly it’s because things have moved slowly, or maybe they haven’t, it just seems that way when it’s all you seem to think about every day.  I did want to catch you all up though on where I am with the heels so if anyone wants to know for themselves.

-        I had a lot f ups and downs over the past month. Its tough to be this long into recovery because while there is discomfort and some pain, it really isn’t that bad anymore. Well, that is unless you are trying to do something. Then it becomes limiting. What I mean by that is for me, the inside portion of my ankle has a nerve that when I put pressure on my big toe to do work, say like a heel raise, it gets pissed and won’t let me. It gets better every week though so I can see the end in sight.

-        I have very minimal pain walking around and while I can go upstairs with no issues, the bottom part of my calf (even around to my shin) still isn’t flexible enough to let me dorsiflex to go down the stairs straight on. I have to side step still but it’s getting better.

-        BTW, I’m at 19 and 13 weeks respectively.

-        In the pool I am swimming normal. I think I am biking a touch too aggressively, so I am going to take a week to back off that. The hard part is I can’t seem to stand as my calf isn’t strong enough to hold me so I end up “tip toeing” for just a few sec to give my ass a break.

-        The 13 week one is still a touch inflamed but nothing major. I’m able to elliptical, and Stairmaster. I was even able to run on the alter G at 60% the other day with no pain. I’m pretty out of shape though.

-        Two weeks ago in the h pool (about 4 ft deep) I was able to do 3 x 25 heel raises no problem except calf fatigue on the 19, and only 10 painful ones on the 13). I stick with it though and in the last few days have worked up to 3 x 25 on both although the right calf (13) is still pretty smoked half way through

-        I go to PT 2 x a week and do a lot of self-therapy at home. It takes a lot of time.

I am to the point I feel I will have a pretty normal life here soon, but it does take a while. I think I will beat the 6 months return to run, I even considered doing IMFL, but then I was like “What’s the point?

I signed up for a 70.3 next April, and Lake Placid and am optimistic. The tough part is I have put on 8-10 lbs. It’s tough to battel that but if I’m honest, I don’t think it’s the lack of working out, it’s the fact that you snack more J

Monday, June 20, 2016

Update - sorry its been awhile.

I haven’t written a blog with an update for some time for a few reasons. In an attempt at full disclosure here are the reasons:
1.      I’ve been super busy. I’ve really poured myself into some new clients this summer and it is exciting to see them having awesome results.

2.      I’m not trying as much but I am doing a TON of PT. I try to seek out the best help and advice on things when I need it and Gina is awesome but almost an hour away. So by the time I drive there, get work down and drive home, its usually 3-4 hours round trip in the middle of the day. So I try to cram in a few things in the am, then off to PT, then home to fit in a few things before the evening comes around.

3.      I’ve been frustrated with the process lately. If you are reading this and wondering if you should do it then here are my thoughts as of now. If you have to wonder, you probably need it. So get it done. I can tell it will be worth it. I have less pain walking around in my heels already. I can tell that as of now. I do get stronger every day but it’s a slow process.

I lack the strength to really toe off even while walking right now, so running is a no go for sure. I can elliptical as of now. I should note I am like 13 and 7 weeks post op on the two feet. I can do stair master actually pretty good but I can tell it gets pissed a few times so I am reluctantly going to give up that work to make sure I am being conservative.

Therein lies the issue for me. It’s confusing for sure what is the “good” pain, the “bad” pain, and the “pain need to work through” pain. Add to that I have had this done twice within three months and both healing processes feel a bit different. So while I can learn from one, I can’t really.
I’m afraid to ask or talk to anymore doctors about the issue because every time I do I find out someone has a harder standard to which I should meet before running again. That becomes super frustrating.

First I was told: I have to do 5 single leg calf raises. I thought, that was tough but manageable.

Then I was told: no, 10 is the best number… Damn… I thought. (keep in mind I can’t do 1 when I heard this).

Then I was told 25! WTF……

No, no… its actually 3 sets of 25 with 15 seconds rest between…. You’ve got to be killing me! In fact, give that a shot.

So I have stopped asking. LOL

Its dawning on me how long the actual road to recovery is. It sucks. I feel pretty out of shape. I’m 10-12 lbs. up. I’m barely back to where I was swimming. BARELY. I can’t hold the efforts for a complete set yet but I am starting to see signs of life. I can’t really push off the walls normal yet although close, I have to think this is part of the slower times.

The Bike… this one is interesting. I have been riding a lot of rides in tennis shoes on my pedals. It kind of sucks so I invested like 20 bucks in some platform pedals and have that on my MTB. Tanya asked me to do a 100 mile organized ride with her and some friends. I told her I didn’t feel like it because I only feel OK on my MTB and I don’t even have clips yet.

She convinced me to come and then basically dropped me… ugh. I made it 64 miles into the ride with eh group but had to do the last 3 on my own. It’s been a LONG time since I was owned like that on the bike. That wasn’t a good feeling and although I finished in like 5:30 on my MTB I was ready to retire for good.

I was able to ride in clips a few times but it was a lot of strain on my claves. Interestingly making me rethink moving to the mid sole cleat position as you can really feel how hard the regular shoes make your calves work. That being said I think while in the midfoot position it would be a bit tougher to stand and accelerate or sprint. Remember though, I’m not clipped in right now so hard to say definitively but I will re look at this. The doctor told me though I am getting a bit too far out over the front of my skies with the regular shoes though and has told me to go back to the running shoes on the bike. I hate going backwards.

So this is where I am. I’ve invested too much in getting this solved so I am not going to do anything that goes against it healing, but I realize it’s going to be a long road back. The reality is I couldn’t do the things I wanted to do before the surgery anyway so it’s not like had I don’t nothing I would have otherwise been racing well this year.

If you’re scared to get it done though, I wouldn’t be. Just go to a doctor who is good and gets what you are trying to come back to.

I’ve also been really trying to think about controlling my weight with diet instead of workouts. That’s going to prove to be pretty liberating I hope in the end.

If I had to guess, I would say the end of July I can start to think about going for a jog.

BTW, I searched everywhere for what the scar would look like, I couldn’t find one so here you go. I had what’s called a “mattress” suture. Looks freaky with the stiches in but when they take them out its ok. My surgeon I guess has a good way of closing so it really looks good for what went down there. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

We have some exciting news!

Training Bible is the backbone of the company. The book will be released in its 4th Edition this fall!  As we continue to grow with new books, knowledge base, and experience, we have decided to rename some of our offerings to allow us to represent all of them. We are very excited! 

Nothing will change for this season. We are still team TBC!  As we move through the end of the season, our coaching division will be renamed to “SuperFly”!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

A toast to Ben Kanute!

Ben, you did not earn your spot on the Olympic Team last night. Yes, you received your spot last night, but you made the team with all your years of hard work and amazing team of people around you.

It’s impossible to say when it started exactly, perhaps with the Geneva River Rats even!

Keith Dickson pouring his heart and resources into the youth development here in our area was awesome.

Bill Schalz played a huge role laying the ground work of your amazing swim which remains a weapon to this day.

Our group rides and people like Rob Kelley helping us get you around the group ride course. I can still remember being able to drop you, not anymore!

Eric Ott and other local business supporting you and still standing behind you through thick and thin.
Brian Grasky and the Tri Cats at U of A helping yo through a crazy college schedule. The friendships of people like Stephen Pedone Pedone from places like this continue to be amazing!
Getting Trek bikes to believe in us and our vision for you and what we can accomplish has been nothing short of unbelievable and second to none.

TJ Tollakson taking you under his wing when you first moved to Arizona – Such a class act.
I know you have an amazing support staff in Tucson. 

Jim Vance who is willing to always lend advice and info. Jumping at any chance to do whatever is needed.

Ryan Bolton stepping up to the plate to help us get over the hump with your running and confidence in it, and his willingness to help ongoing and giving you chance to run with great runners – unbelievable.

Bobby McGee and USA Triathlon has always been there to help with run form, technique, advice, support.

People even like Joe Lotus who lends advice and encouragement and perspective, is something I know I am personally thankful for. Your parents Mike and Eileen Rassin Kanute and family.

I watch with continued amazement at the support structure and values that you are brought up in. Words cannot describe the level of devotion and enthusiasm, and TRUE UNCONDITIONAL love and support I have seen them give you over the years.

Ben, you took all of these things not just last night, but over the last 10 years or so I have gotten to personally witness and have always given honor to them by who you are as an athlete, but more importantly who you are as a person.

So you got your spot last night, CONGRATULATIONS! But I have seen you earn it for years. We all have. Enjoy this!!!
We are all behind you Ben!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Getting through things

One week after my second surgery and here I sit on the couch. I knew when I set out on this journey this would be the worst week, and it has been. Don’t get me wrong, my spirits OK. I’m just as out of shape as I have been literally in 15 years, and as immobile as I think I have ever been in my life. Add to that it’s my right foot right now and I cannot drive.

You know what though, I already have 1 week done! 5 to go.

As I tell my athletes when things look overwhelming, just take things one thing at a time. Here are some simple tricks I have used to do just that:

-        Marine Corps. Boot camp: I would try to make it to each meal. The weeks were too much, sometimes even the days. But I could make it from breakfast to lunch, then luck to dinner. Then soon I would wake up and have breakfast again. And so on. They add up pretty quickly.

-        With huge blocks of training: I would have weekly hours over 20 when I was working 2 full time jobs years ago. It was quite tough. Even when I was working less I would see some weeks I would think “how the hell am I going to do this?”. One workout at a time. Even on days you think you’ll have no time. If you just get one done, then try to find a window for the next. You’ll be surprised what you can do.

-        Workouts: this one is key and can be used for any sport. I would look at sets and start to anticipate how I would feel at the end. Then I could easily let that make me feel defeated before I even started. DON’T DO THAT. Take the next interval and so the best you can per the instructions for that interval. Then about 90 percent through your rest interval evaluate the next interval. Do the best you can at each one.

-        Races: Same as workouts. Evaluate how you feel right now and make choices based on that. For long course you have to obviously have to think about how you feel right now relative to the plan so you can finish strong. However, if you are at mile 10 of a 70.3, worry about the next 15 min. manage that. Then work on the next 15 min.

-        Injuries: For this one, I’m learning a lot on the job. What has been working for me is to try to get through weeks. I get through the weeks by trying to get to PT sessions. I know I have 2 of those a week most of the time. So if I can get to Tuesday I get a progress report. Then I only have one free day before I am back. Then I am only one day away from the weekend and those always fly! Then its Monday again and I into another week and 1 day away from PT.