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.