01/31/13

Panama 70.3 Prerace

Like anyone else, I like to size up my competition in preparation for race day.  Over the last few weeks, I occasionally checked the participant start list forPanama70.3.  I frequently visited the results page, looked at the elevation profile on the bike and run, and mentally ran through the race in my head, visualizing only the best.  The mind is a powerful thing and it can influence the body physically almost as much or more than any other major factor.

Did I visualize myself at the front of the pack, landing a podium position?  Briefly, but then reality set in and I settled with visualizing getting some form of a pay check from this race.  Based on last year’s results, I would need to go right around 4 hours – more than likely just under 4 hours – to get some money at this race.  I figured the top few guys would be back to either defend their title or try to improve their finishing place.  Of those, I knew that Lance Armstrong wouldn’t be toeing the line this year.

From finishing off the season last year with 4 pro races, I learned that it is crucial to get out of the water with the top few guys.  The swim times for this race are extraordinarily fast.  No, it’s not due to people being able to wear fins and paddles during the swim, but largely due to swimming down stream in thePanama Canal.  How cool is that?  Swimming in one of the man made wonders of the world!  No time to look around on race day though.  I need to find someone’s feet to get behind and draft in the water.  I think on my own I should be able to swim about a 20 minute 1.2-mile swim with the current.  Once I figure out who actually shows up that signed up for the race, I’ll research their swim times and try to find them race morning and try to hang on to their feet.  Ideally, I’d like to get behind someone that swims a low to mid-19 minute swim from last year, saving me about 45 seconds from swimming it solo.  Getting out of the water should lead to about a 2 minute T1 and off to the bike.

Panamais a long, narrow country.  One would expect very little elevation gain during the 56-mile bike ride.  You and I both assumed wrong.  With just over 1900 ft of climbing in the bike portion, it is just 100 feet less of climbing that Ironman Louisville in half the distance.  Sound painful?  Just to make it more fun, add in temps reaching to the mid-80’s by the end of the ride.  The good news that about 1000 feet of the climbing (right around half of the total elevation gain) comes on two different hills.  The first from miles 11-13 and the second from miles 42-46-ish.  The rest of it appears to be rolling to mostly flat with about 5 or 6 short, but steep, climbs.  What’s the strategy here?  Stay within myself and what I know that I can push on the bike for about 2 hours and 15 minutes.  According to some research that I did a while ago, I should be able to hold about 88% of my FTP for the ride.  Am I willing to push it a little more to test the limits?  You bet!  The cool thing from last year, that number that I think I should be able to push is up from about 275-280 watts (what I averaged at Rev3 Quassy on a 56 mile bike course with 2500 feet of climbing)  to about 300-305 watts.  The big question is run and how I’ll handle the heat coming from the coldKentuckywinter.

The run tends to be the strongest part of the race for me.  Do I still have work to do and room for improvement?  Yes, and lots!  Last year I averaged just over a 6 min/mile on a hilly Rev3 Quassy course.  This course is flat, but the great equalizer is the expected race temperature to be about 20-25 degrees warmer and have no shade as we run along thePanama Canal.  I believe that I could hold a sub-6 min/mile, and possibly run a 1:17-1:18 run split for the 13.1 miles.

Am I little concerned about the heat… a little.  But I think it’s more of a healthy respect for it.  I’ll be hurting, but I like the heat and welcome it to all races.  Thanks to Infinit Nutrition for getting me a custom mix to handle the hotter climates.  This will also be the first race that I use their NAPALM (Infinit’s spin on an energy gel).  I’ve had good success with it while training and look forward to testing it on race day in extreme conditions.

Originally, I had goals of finishing in the top eight. Panamadoes happen to be the Latin American Pro Championship and offers a lot of money for that reason.  However, after looking at the start list forPanama, I would be very happy with a top 10 finish.  I will need to have a phenomenal day to break into the top 8 and walk away with some money.  Whatever happens, I know that I’m going to give it my all and have fun while doing it.

I haven’t told really anyone this yet except for one person.  But the day before I left forTucson, my grandpa on my dad’s side passed away.  Due to bad weather inChicago, I was unable to make it up to visit.  My grandpa lived for 95 years and was married for 70 years to my grandma before passing.  He left a great example behind on how to live life to the fullest while honoring God with his lifestyle.  I’ve never done this before, but the season opener for 2013 is going to be dedicated to my grandpa.  When I cross that finish line, in the top 8 or top 10 or not, I’m going to look up and thank God and my grandpa for being their at my first race of 2013.

01/28/13

FCA Camp in Tucson Arizona

This past weekend I spent it in Tucson with my first FCA Endurance camp.  I think it was the 8th year for this event, and the 3rd time it has been in Tucson.  I really didn’t know what to expect with the camp.  But the one thing I really wanted to do was meet and network with more like-minded people.  I also was really wanting to have a time before my first race in Panama to really relax, and not have the pressure of work, domestic things to get done before the race, and spend time with friends from Louisville (Larry Gough and Ryan Althaus).

The weather has been anything but expected since we got here.  Due to that, FCA changed their schedule around so those of us that wanted to bike up Mt. Lemmon could do it.  Unfortunately for me, my bike was in shambles when I got to Tucson.  My headset was missing out of my bike box, I found out my wheels weren’t glued, and my fuel box was removed from my frame.  Long story short, a local bike shop over-nighted the headset I needed, since the Scott Plasma Premium uses a different size than other bikes, and I glued my wheels.  However, none of it was ready to go in time to ride up Mt. Lemmon with the group.  After the breakout sessions that I attended, the group went out riding and I stuck around the hotel trying to patiently wait for my bike to get fixed… emphasis on “trying.”  I walked to the pool down the road to get a swim in while waiting, but it was a seasonal pool and was closed.  So I continued to chill at the hotel where the FCA camp was being held.  I eventually just walked to the bike shop and decided to wait there until my bike was fixed.  I walked in and it was waiting for me.  So I changed my clothes and hopped on my bike and rode to the hotel to drop off my backpack.  I attempted to meet the group on the way down from Mt. Lemmon, but managed to make a few wrong turns and decided to just do my own thing.  I ended up riding out to Colossal Cave somewhere on the east end of town.  Which is where I got this photo:

The following day we had breakout groups to help people put their goals in writing… not just race specific goals, but goals to accomplish in training and how to make sure that we keep the sport fun and interesting.  There was also talks on biking efficiency, tapering properly, nutrition, etc.

The afternoon we made a trip to the pool at Arizona State University.  Thanks to a local coach, Brian Grasky, for securing some lanes for us and leading a workout.  He also spent a little time with each athlete to give them some pointers on their stroke to help with efficiency.  From there, we took a trip to a place called Fantasy Island for some trail running.  This place was incredible.  The locals made decorations in the park from old bikes and bike parts, which included a Christmas tree, medals from races hanging from trees, and so much more.  I spent the run with some of my new friends that I met during the trip including Brian Grasky, Heather Gollnick, Barry Edwards, Brad Seng, and Daniel Perkins.

That night, a pastor from California spoke.  Since this was an endurance community, his talk started out with the “firsts” that was have when we get into the sport.  Our first flat, our first crash, and our first bonk.  The main point of the message was that just like while racing and training we need fuel to keep going, we need spiritual food to keep us going spiritually.  Dan did a great job presenting his point in a fun and interesting way while using the scripture to back up his points.

The following day was the final day of the camp.  We started off the day with a Pro Panel Q & A.  I was invited to help answer questions along with Heather Gollnick, Jamie Whitmore, Brian Grasky, and Brad Seng.  I must say that I was truly honored to be bunched together with a group of such amazing athletes.  And to be honest I felt like with all their experience racing professionally and successful careers, I didn’t really deserve to lumped together with such amazing talent.  We answered anything from questions about basic training questions, to nutrition, to how to safely pee on the bike… which I actually have a reputation for during races.  One question a person from the group in charge of Iron Prayer at WTC events, Troy, asked a specific question about starting out on the journey of being a professional athlete.  He was curious about the sacrifices I would have to make.  Although, I don’t consider these sacrifices, I mentioned how I tend to find a campsite and sleep on the ground on an air mattress or find a cheap hostel.  I talked about how I reduced my workload at the hospital to 4 days a pay period from 6 days, started coaching people, and rent out rooms in my house.  Yes, money is tight with all the traveling, but I think it makes it more adventurous to camp before a race or stay in hostel.  I have had some of my best races when sleeping on the ground the night before a race.  And the times I’ve stayed in hostel, I have met some really cool people from all over the world.  If there is one thing I’ve noticed in the last few months since I started reducing my workload over the last couple months, is that my stress levels about training have decreased.  I’m not nearly as tired, I have more of a social life, and feel much more content in life.

The camp wrapped up with some SWAG giveaways provided by some of FCA’s sponsors.  I managed to pick up a new race belt from T1 Pro race belt that is magnetic instead of a plastic clip.  My name was called early on in the drawing, so I took something that most people probably wouldn’t want or was relatively cheap and left some of the other good stuff for other people.  I am excited about trying the new belt since I always struggle to get my belt clipped together while starting on the run.

That afternoon after the camp wrapped up, Larry, Ryan and I decided to bike up Mt. Lemmon since I didn’t get to go up with the group.  However, on the way to the mountain, Larry crashed his bike on a nasty looking speed bump and fractured his clavical.  He insisted on Ryan and I to continue the ride.  I made it to 8000 feet in elevation before I decided to not continue any higher due to really heavy fog that limited vision to about 30 yards.  I only had about 200 feet more of climbing to do since the last 4 miles is basically flat to the ski resort.  That is the highest I’ve been on my bike before, and I was excited to not feel the effects of the elevation.  However, I wasn’t going all out like I would in a race and probably notice then.  It was cold that high… about 40 degrees with a nasty headwind and mist in the air.  Totally worth it though.  A nice since of accomplishment.

Now I have a few days to relax before leaving for Panama City, Panama.  Since it’s been raining again all day today, it’s forced me to be smart and stay inside off my feet, other than the 1 hour swim I got in this morning at a local pool.

I took Larry to the hospital to get a copy of his x-rays to send to his orthopedic back in Louisville.  On the way back, it was pouring rain and then the sun came out and made a double rainbow.  Between those two and the other that I saw on my way to the pool this morning, I saw three rainbows in Tucson.  I wonder if this a good omen, or just climate change (apparently this week broke a record for most amount of rain in Tucson in one week).  Three rainbows… three sports… flying to three races… or is the desert valley of Tucson just going to be underwater this time next year.  I’m not sure, but I hope its a good omen!

And just to make this post longer, here are some more pictures from the weekend:

01/24/13

Traveling to Tucson Arizona

Yesterday started my two week adventure.  My first week will be spend in Tucson, AZ and my second week will be spent in Panama City, Panama.  This trip to Tucson is the first trip I’ve taken somewhere in a very long time that didn’t involve seeing family or a race of some sort.  So I guess you could say it’s my first vacation.  However, this vacation has more speed bumps than almost any other trip that I’ve taken since graduating college in 2009.

A friend of mine, Ashlie, took Ryan Althaus and I to the SDF airport for out 10:15 am flight with United.  However, with bad weather in Chicago the other night, that plane wasn’t able to make it to SDF.  So after some hassling  they put us on a flight with American Airlines that actually got us to Tucson about two hours sooner that what we were planning on originally.  The guy with American Airlines even didn’t make me pay for my bike to travel to Tucson, which saved me about $70.

We landed in Dallas Fort Worth Airport with some time to kill.  So we first started looking for our gate and then were going to find some lunch.  I looked at my ticket and it said D9 on it.  We got to the section of the airport with all the D terminals.  We walked past gate D10 and then D8.  Where was D9?  We asked an employee and he said there was no D9.  I looked at my ticket again and realized that was  the seat I was assigned during the flight, not the gate number.  Long story short, we found the gate and some food and made it on the plane for Tucson.

Landing in Tucson was great!  We got off the plane and it was sunny and in the 70’s.  We haled a taxi (which was my first time riding in a taxi), gave him our destination and soaked in all that was around us.  He dropped us off at a very rich/prestigious hotel.  A guy took our bags for us and we walked inside.  We told him what unit we were looking for,  but his face expressed confusion.  He asked us if we were in the right place… and it turned out our taxi driver dropped us off about 3/4 of a mile away from where we needed to be.  So much for giving the taxi a nice tip.

Ryan and I walked down the road, bike box in tote, and walked to where we thought we needed to go.  We entered another ritzy racquet and golf club… almost.  We were stopped by security asking us what we were doing.  We explained our situation, which probably sounded to them like an overly fabricated story.  Luckily, they bought it and sent us on in the right direction.  We continued down the road receiving more weirded out looks from people in cars and on bicycles as we walked with a bike box down the road about another 1/4 mile.

We finally arrived at our destination, unpacked and got a nice run in while watching the sun set behind the mountains.  When I got back and ate some dinner, I worked on putting my bike together.  I noticed right away that the headset cap was missing.  It was in there along with all my other small parts when I packed, but I’m guessing when the TSA opened it to inspect the luggage, it fell out and is currently laying somewhere around the SDF airport.

I went to a bike shop this morning and after about 20 to 30 minutes worth of phone calls, they finally found one at the Scott Bike warranty office in a parts bin.  Scott is going to overnight me the part to the bike shop so I can safely ride my bike over the weekend… and more importantly race in Panama.

This trip has contained a lot of of adventures so far, most of which worked out for the best, and even added some humor to the trip.  I’m glad that this potentially big issue can be corrected in time before leaving for Panama City, Panama in 5 days.

Now… if the rain will just stop.  It’s a desert for crying out loud!

01/23/13

Multisport 101 at the Avenue and Cardinal Towne

Aside from giving speeches in high school, this was the first time I’ve done any public speaking.  However, one thing that I learned from that class about 7 or 8 years ago was not to get too hung up on having a super prepared speech.  I found that as long as I had bullet points lined up in a logical order, the filler would come naturally and I would just find ways to naturally progress to my next point or topic.

The main idea behind this speech was to talk to people that are thinking about doing a triathlon for the first time, or are very new to the sport.  I got the idea to do this after getting involved with Sweaty Sheep, a faith-based endurance group focused on reaching endurance athletes for Christ, that a friend of mine, Ryan Althaus, started a couple years ago.  We had a vision of guiding new people into the sport along with starting to do some classes at Cardinal Towne of U of L campus.  So to promote the classes and other things in the community we decided to try to put on a Multisport Seminar.  With a little bit of marketing through word of mouth, flyers on U of L and Bellarmine’s campus, and a facebook event, we were able to get about 90 people to show up for the event.

I covered the basic topics of a triathlon: why to do one, equipment needed, optional equipment, how to find a race, and what a race looks like, basic rules of a race, and I had some local businesses talk about what they can offer the triathlon community.

I also was able to give out over $1200 in products, food, and services thanks to some of my sponsors and other local businesses/clubs:  Infinit Nutrition, Swiftwick Socks, Pure Fit, Sweaty Sheep, Ken Combs Running, Fleet Feet, U of L Triathlon, Barry’s Coaching, Maverick Multisport, and Occupational Kinetics.

Thanks to everyone that came out.  It was a huge success.  If you have any more ideas for seminars in the future, I would like to do more of these… maybe once a quarter or so.  Post some ideas to the post or to my facebook page.  Just click the floating box at the side for the hyperlink.

01/18/13

Occupational Kinetics run gait analysis

After a busy day of running trails and helping out at the Maverick Multisport kids practice on Wednesday, I was really looking forward to a massage and some more treatment at Occupational Kinetics.  This time, instead of focusing on my lower back (which is feeling much better after doing stretches and exercises Mike Rowles gave me to do), Erin, the massage therapist, worked on my sore legs.  My hamstrings were the worst after covering 32 miles running the day before.  Even though I felt as if I needed to jump off the table a couple times, I knew that my legs would feel a lot better after she got them to relax a little.

One thing I really like about Occupational Kinetics is how closely each person works with the rest of the team.  Erin told Dr. Bee what she found during the massage and let him continue correcting the problem.  It was another 15 minute session with Dr. Bee with some ART  and some readjusting of my thoracic and lumbar spine.  Then it was on to watching the run gait videos that Mike Rowles took last week and looking at snap shots of my stride.

 

We started off looking at the profile of my run gait and how my foot strikes the ground.

Looking at these two pictures, you can see where my foot makes contact with the ground initially and then where I the point in my stride is where I bear weight on the leg.  The right picture is the one with my body weight on the leg.  If you look at the forefoot, knee, and chest, there is a straight line right through the three points.  It should be this way just having the chest slightly in front of the knee.

In this snap shot, Mike Rowles added a grid to the picture to give us a sense of where my leg is just before swinging it forward.  My ankle is just slightly higher than the knee, which suggest I have a good ankle kick when pushing off the ground.  It also uses less energy (and takes less time) to pull the leg through for the next step having the leg higher than having the ankle below the knee.  Think of a pendulum.  The longer it is, the more distance it has to cover before it reaches the same degree on the other side of vertical.

This is another shot of my stride from a side profile.  This time Mike Rowles was looking at my forward lean and head tilt.  Elite runners tend to run with a 10-12 degree forward lean. I’m on the low end of “normal” with my forward lean.  But, that being said, when I had a run gait analysis done by my coach in September of 2011, my forward lean was about 6 or 7 degrees.  This is very important for increasing running efficiency because when running more upright, energy goes into over coming gravity and pushing the runner up into the air more instead of forward motion.  When leaning forward the running gains more ground per step.  For example, if you gain one extra inch per step, the end result is astronomical.  At 180 steps per minute that comes out to 15 feet further per minute.  At an hour, you’ve now covered about .20 miles more than previously.  Not to mention, the fatigue rate will be less because of less pounding on the legs and running mechanics being more efficient.  My coach told me a little over a year ago, by changing my forward lean, with all other things being equal, I should be able to run a marathon about 10-15 minutes faster.

Now we’ll move onto the posterior views.  But before we do that, watch the video again at the top and cover my lower body with your hand.  Now do it again, but this time cover the upper half of my body with your hand.  Did you notice anything?  If you were looking closely, you should notice my upper body stays very straight, with no swing from side to side.  But, my lower body zig zags.  This would explain, at least partially, why my lower back gets tired and sore.

Now for some measuring of angles:

Notice in this picture how each leg crosses the midline.  This is due to tight groin muscles.  Mike gave me some stretches to do to fix this.

 

Take note of the right picture.  Notice how when my left leg hits the ground, my right hip drops.  However, when the right foot hits the ground, the left hip stays level.  This is consistent with the hip weakness they found when having me do one legged squats a week or so ago.  Mike Rowles stressed the importance of doing the exercises he gave me last week, but wants me to do them and a new one once a day with three sets for each exercise. 

Hopefully after doing these exercises after a few weeks, the angles will be corrected or improved when we video tape them again.

01/17/13

Adventure trail and swiftwick sock review

Yesterday I took an adventure across the Ohio River with an ultramarathoner, and good friend, Troy Shellhamer to check out a new trail that neither of us had ran on.  With the weather the way it was the night before with rain turning to snow we decided to wait until mid morning to head out just in case the roads were bad.

As usual, Troy did his homework on researching the trail.  He said that it was approximately 24 miles long with only 1800 feet of elevation gain during it.  He did preface it with he wasn’t sure how accurate the GPS file was he was looking at was.  I figured we would be out there for about 3.5 hours and packed food and mixed up enough Infinit Go Far formula to accommodate such a run.  I also decided to take out my new pair of Swiftwick Socks that I just bought a few days ago.  It was a different style than I had run in before.  This time I was using the Aspire version of their sock line.

With all the rain and snow during the last few days, the trails were not only hillier than expected, but also very slippery.  We crossed several small creeks and streams.  Just during the first few miles.  We eventually arrived at the Junction where the loop of the Adventure Trail starts.  The trail was in need of some maintance at the beginning, but as we got deeper and deeper into the woods, the trail actually became better.  We ran beside Indian Creek, the Blue River and even the Ohio River.  Little did I know, until Troy enlightened me, that we were also running through the most cavernous place on earth per square mile.  Who would have thought that in the middle of no where in Southern Indiana that there would be more caves than any other place in the world?  The park also made improvements on the trail and added some camping shelters along the way.  I took a quick catnap while Troy explored the camp:

 

 

We went up and down several ridge lines… and because of that, I’m positive we went over the estimated 1800 feet of elevation gain during the first 10 miles!  We continued crossing more and more creek beds.  If there is one thing I hate while running, it’s wet feet.  But even with all that water, my feet managed to dry out quickly thanks to the moisture wicking quality of Swiftwick socks.

About 4 hours into the run, I took my last gel and was getting a little worried since my Infinit was about to run out.  We had no sign of the junction.  Thankfully, Troy’s wife, Kara, made him pack more food than normal for this trail run since we weren’t sure how well it was marked or how accurate the GPS files were.  I began to get a little worried as we reached the 5 hour mark and still hadn’t made it back to the junction… and crossed the 24 mile mark about a mile ago.  I started having visions of finding shelter in a shelter and camping out for the night.  I began to get a little light headed and dizzy.  I told Troy that I was zapped and needed some food, badly.  He helped me out and it was just enough to stomp through the mud a little further.  Long story short, we made it out of the woods after about 5.5 hours.  We stopped at a gas station and bought some snacks and drove back to Louisville, where I was about to meet the Maverick Multisport’s Kid team for practice at Mary T. Meagher for a run workout.

I arrived at Mary T. and switched shoes.  I went outside to wring out my socks, and was shocked that I couldn’t get any water out of them at all.  The Swiftwick socks were nearly dry enough after all that water we ran through and being in wet shoes during the car drive back to Louisville.  We did a warm up and then did something that my coach calls K-pump workout:  30 seconds at mile race pace, 30 seconds recovery in a series of 5.  We did that 4 times while watching the sun set.

By the end of the day, I covered about 32 miles running.  I’ve used a lot of different moisture wicking socks in the past with a 8 year history of racing triathlons, but swiftwick is far superior to any other that I’ve used.  They dry out faster, keep my feet from getting blisters.

01/11/13

occupational kinetics foot scan and video analysis

Yesterday I made my second visit to Occupational Kinetics for another adjustment by Dr. Bee along with some video analysis of me doing various exercises and running on a treadmill.  Before we started with that, I met with Erin, their massage therapists, for about 30 minutes.

Erin went to school in CT for massage therapy and moved back to her home state of KY afterwards.  She is a small woman, but she focuses every ounce of weight and strength right into her finger tips and does some amazing work.  She worked on my back, as that what tends to get tight on me after long training sessions.  There was a few times that I felt like jumping off the table because of the pain that she was causing by working out some of the knots in my back.  The muscles slowly relaxed and when that happened, the discomfort also lifted.  I’m looking forward to working more with Erin in the future to keep injuries at bay and keeping me in peak form.

Next was some more ART with Dr. Bee and another alignment.  He and I both agreed that my back muscles were better and there wasn’t as much stiffness in my back.  I knew my back was tight a few days ago before I met with him, but I just didn’t realize how tight it was.  I really noticed a difference when riding my bike to work Wednesday and again today for a long endurance ride of about 4 hours.  The lower back discomfort that I’ve had in the past was gone completely.

Next was onto the fun stuff.  Mike Rowles had me do a couple exercises to see if I had a problem with either muscle strength in my hips or if I had a problem with my feet causing me to pronate.  We did some single leg exercises:

As you can see my left leg/knee came in to compensate for either a muscular issue or a pronation issue.  My right leg did the same thing.  So how do you pinpoint the problem.  Simple!  All you need is a some state of the art foot scan machine that can show you weight distribution on each foot.  So we went to the room with the foot scanning machine.  I took my shoes off and Mike Rowles and Dr. Bee took a look at my achilles to see if there was an issue with them.  Nothing was found… apparently my achilles tendons are attached right where they should be and don’t need anything to help correct a potential problem.  So I stepped onto the foot scan machine.  These were my results:

The left images are my feet, and the right images are “text book” images.  As you can see, they are very similar.  From this Dr. Bee and Mike Rowles concluded that I don’t have a need for any shoe inserts to correct pronation.  So the problem with the knee/leg coming in on my single leg squats was due to a muscular weakness in the hips.  They gave me some exercises to help correct this problem.  So hopefully in time, the problem can be corrected.

We also did some squats while holding a bar above my head:

Ideally, my chest would be more upright and not be leaning so far forward.  This suggests that I have some thoracic weaknesses.  Again, Mike Rowles gave some exercises to help correct this.

I am completely amazed with the help that I’ve received in just two visits from Occupational Kinetics.  It’s been great to have some other people help me hone in some weaknesses that I have that should help me maintain good form (and speed) over the course of a long race and training session, helping me keep injury at bay, and get stronger.

01/7/13

Occupational Kinetics Initial Evaluation

Today I made my first of many visits to a company called Occupational Kinetics.  They specialize in several different things to help people keep injuries away, or heal more quickly.  Dr. Bee owns the business, and a fellow Louisville Landshark Mike Rowles is one of the therapists there.  They also have several other employees there that do everything from ART therapy, ASTYM, massages, nutrition, kinesio taping, and various other things.  The cool thing about Occupational Kinetics being able to offer all these different treatments is due to their diversity of the staff.  During my visit today, I spent about 20 minutes with Dr. Bee and about 30 minutes with Mike Rowles.

Dr. Bee went through a list of questions to gather some health history and find out if anything was bothering me.  Every now and then I get some low back pain and a knot in my lumbar area just right of the spine.  Usually after a day or two of a good nights rest, they disappear.  He worked on my back a little using ART therapy trying to get the muscles in my lower back to relax.  After that, he had me lay on my right side and then readjusted my back in one quick motion.  There was a fair amount of cracking sound that came from that. He reassured me before he did anything that there was no risk in messing up my spine from doing this.  I then went to my left side and he did the same thing.  After just a few minutes of treatment with him, my back felt much more relaxed.

Dr. Bee then met with me and Mike Rowles and discussed what he found.  Apparently there are some muscles in my lower back that are meant to stabilize the back.  However, when the larger muscles in my back start getting tired from training, the smaller muscles start firing to help me get through the training session.  Since these muscles aren’t supposed to be doing that, they get really tight after they get some time to relax.  Both Dr. Bee and Mike Rowles were great in explaining it to me so I could understand.

My session with Mike started with checking my leg length.  My right leg was just slightly shorter due to some pelvic tilt.  He readjusted my pelvis by pulling on my legs.  Next we did some exercises to strengthen my back muscles in my lower spine to prevent them getting tight in the future.  He told me to do that three times per week and do 3 sets of 10.  I did three sets of ten and could really notice how weak my lower back muscles were.  We wrapped things up with some additional stretches to do everyday to help keep my pelvis from tilting and help prevent the QI muscle (can’t remember what that stands for, but it runs from the back of the pelvis up to the middle of the back) from getting tight and causing back pain.

I’m going back later this week for some more treatment.  Including a run gait analysis.  They video tape the athlete while running and can look at various angles of the legs, back, arms, and foot strike with a frame-by-frame analysis.  By doing this, they can see what may be causing back pain after several miles on the road and also help improve efficiency by giving me some exercises and drills to do while running.  I’m really excited about this.  After that, I will meet with Erin, their massage therapist, for a 30 minute massage and then see Dr. Bee for another session.  I hope to put the run video and few pictures from the next visit.  I didn’t bring my camera this time since I wanted permission to do so first.