Posts Tagged ‘Legacy Health & Performance’

Exactly seven days ago (as of this writing anyway) I came down with a stabbing pain in the middle of my back. It was (is) absolute agony.  I have no idea from whence it came.  Did it come as the result of my first easy drill run that afternoon, or is it the residual effect of lugging around heavy tents and wet floor mats on and off a truck for the SunRype Tri-KiDS days earlier?  I dunno.  All I do know is that it feels like somebody is repetitively plunging a carving knife into my back.  It totally blows.

I initially thought it was a knot or some sort of muscle spasm and tried to treat it with a topical pain relief lotion but that only ended up with my nearly getting third degree burns (click HERE).  I then dosed myself up on ibuprofen to no avail. I even went so far as to have a co-worker at the office walk on my back.  Nada.  Although I might have developed a new fetish for Geisha girls.

Nothing worked.  The pain just got increasingly worse and worse and for five days I barely slept and I pretty much existed in a constant state of agony and while things have improved marginally since then, I am still in lots of discomfort and I’m popping Tylenols like Pez.  Likewise, I’m now constantly walking around slouched over like a vampire cowering away from the sun.

FML.

This was supposed to be my big week back to Ironman training and here I am barely able to make it up the stairs without crying out in pain.  Needless to say I’m pretty frustrated.

Eventually I figured that I had had enough and decided to call in the Big Guns, namely the good people at Legacy Health & Performance, my go-to peeps for all things ouchie.  I booked a massage appointment with Nicole and also received an initial adjustment and assessment by Dr. Burr.  Neither really seemed to know what the issue was as it’s very difficult to treat something so completely systemic.

FML x 2.

I went to my family doctor and was told it was a simple muscle spasm (it wasn’t) and that I should just try and relax and wait for it to pass.  Oh, and she prescribed me some anti-inflammatories which were rather like throwing water balloons at a twelve alarm fire.  Fuckers!  Relax?  Yeah, right!  Ever try to relax  with an ice pick constantly being twisted between your shoulder blades?

Good luck with that.

Since then we have made some progress (at Legacy, not the doctor) in that we now realize that my symptoms (as they’ve changed somewhat since the first few days) indicate something known as ‘Dorsal Scapular Nerve Syndrome’ (click HERE).

Sounds catchy, eh?

Hey, wait, I thought it was dolphins and whales that had dorsals?

Nevermind.

Basically, DSNS is characterized by symptoms of a generalized dull ache along the medial border of the scapula, radiating into the lateral surface of the arm and forearm (which has only started to occur recently).  Now, when you read “Dull” here, think “OMFG that’s torture!”  because, baby, it was.  “Dull” just doesn’t do it justice at all.

So what’s the plan of attack?

Acupuncture.

FML x 3.

I’ve actually had acupuncture before years ago when I was suffering from plantar fasciitis.  At the time I was seeing some quack chiropractor who was more interested in hooking me up to his TENS unit which, I’m sure, was a relic of the Cold War.  Afterwards he would jab a few needles into the souls of my feet and then fuck off for an hour or so leaving me alone in the darkened room to contemplate by pathetic circumstance.

I still remember my first appointment. When I entered the examining room he immediately lowered the lights, closed the blinds and switched on some soothing muzac.  I recall thinking: “is he going to treat me or fuck me?”

Now, if you’ve never had needles plunged into the souls of your feet before it’s really no different than what you’re probably thinking already:  it sucks.  An action you would expect to be preceded by the statement “we ‘av vays of making you talk”.  Anyway, this process repeated itself a few times a week for over a year with no improvement whatsoever.  I realize now being a bit older and wiser, that he was just milking my benefits until they ultimately ran out and I was cast aside like a discarded coffee cup.

That was seven years ago and my feelings about acupuncture are largely connected to that experience.  A barbaric practice geared more towards satisfying the sadistic impulses of the administrator than for the benefit and ultimate relief of the patient.The whole thing kinda made me feel like this:

Or, maybe this guy:

I wasn’t a fan.

So when Dr. Burr suggested we also try acupuncture I was all like:

However, in an effort to make peace with this whole acupuncture thing I decided to do a little research on why so many people seem to accept and appreciate it as a viable treatment practice.  After all, how can 1.3 billions Chinese people be wrong?

Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine and a key component of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) involving inserting thin needles into the body at acupuncture points.  Most commonly, it is associated with pain relief. Acupuncture as a practice can be traced back at least 2,500 years.  The general theory is based on the premise that there are patterns of energy flow (Qi) through the body that are essential for health.  Disruptions of this flow are believed to be responsible for disease.  Acupuncture may, it has been theorized, correct imbalances of flow at identifiable points close to the skin.

The practice of acupuncture to treat identifiable pathophysiological (disease) conditions in American medicine was rare until the visit of President Richard M. Nixon to China in 1972.  Since that time, there has been an explosion of interest in the United States and Europe in the application of the technique of acupuncture to Western medicine.

Now, does any of this help my feelings towards acupuncture?

Not one bit.

So Tricky Dick liked him some acupuncture.

Whoopee shit.

But desperate times call for desperate measures, plus I trust Dr. Burr implicitly (she did successfully lay out the foundation for the whole “We Can Rebuild Him” plan two years ago).  So if acupuncture is what she recommends, acupuncture is what I will do.  I made another appointment then with Nicole who also doubles as the clinics acupuncture specialist.

At my appointment I was invited to lie face down on the massage table which, it has to be said, is my favorite thing about the Legacy Health & Performance clinic as this table and I have really bonded over the past two years. This made sense given that I wouldn’t be getting needles into my feet today but, rather, my back and neck.  This was fine by me as I’d rather not watch the entire process as I had before, thank you very much.  Nicole asked me try and relax which, again, I find to be pretty impossible given the situation.  I did my best however.

For the next 5-10 minutes or so, she popped these needles into specific spots in the back of my neck, my back and along my left arm and hand since I have been experiencing numbness and a tingling sensation down my left side.  Oh, and let’s not forget about the one that she stuck directly into the top of my head.

Ever had a needle shoved into the top of your head?

Yeah.

Once they were all in and I adequately resembled a human pin cushion I was left to “relax” (there’s that word again) for 15 minutes or so before they were then extracted which, I must say, was less harrowing then the whole inserting them thing.

Did I notice any improvement afterwards?

Maybe a little.

Did I find it relaxing?

Shit no.

Will I go again?

If it’s suggested, sure.

Will I enjoy it anymore?

Doubtful.

But if it’s a means to an end to get over this damnable pain in my back once and for all so I get on with my Ironman training (nevermind just being able to sleep normally again), I will do whatever it takes.

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Needles in the head and all.

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It’s been nearly a month (27 days to be exact) since I’ve started my ‘We Can Rebuild Him’ strategy for becoming a lean, mean, triathlon machine come 2014.  The primary focus of this plan is to require my run fitness and transition into becoming an efficient and confident runner once again.  Hey, ‘train to your weaknesses and race to your strengths’, right?

To this regard, I have undergone an extensive rehabilitation plan with the good people at ‘Legacy Health & Performance’ (Phase One), and even switched to a gluten free diet to eliminate all the unnecessary evils of wheat from my system (Phase Two).  Also this month, I’ve begun to reestablish a base on which to build into long distances and a regular running program in the near future.  I now run 4-5 times a week, accumulating approximately 20k a week in total.  It’s not much, but it’s absolutely eons from where I’ve been all year so far given the troubles I’ve been having with my left foot.  Thus far, things have been going pretty well, so this past weekend I initiated Phase Three of the plan…subjecting myself to a bio-mechanics running analysis conducted with Dr. Burr and then have a run specific program designed around targeting those determined weaknesses and inefficiencies.  Sounds like fun, right?  After all, who doesn’t like being told they resemble a transvestite running from a stalker?

 

At least that’s what I expected to hear anyway.

But as it turns out, my currently form may not be so terrible after all.  That’s not to say, however, that I am without opportunity for improvement; far from actually.  In fact, after the initial visual inspection the observed results were as follows:

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What the nuts and bolts of this analysis is saying it that these deficiencies in my current body functionality may stem from an underlying weakness in my glutes (primarily my right) and abdominal area, as well as an overall poor range of motion through my shoulders and pelvis area.  I do however, have an ‘excellent’ push-up posture – I just thought that I’d throw that in.

So as a result of this initial physical analysis, which was determined on performing a series of activities in the playground of a local school and being filmed running with new ‘Dartfish’ technology,  I have now been prescribed an action plan (on top of my current ‘Phase One’ strengthening program) to address these specific running inefficiencies.

"Sloppy"?  Just how every guy likes to have his lower torso referred to as.

“Sloppy”? Just how every guy likes to have his lower torso referred to as.

Geez!  Sounds serious, right?  I’m trying not to freak out, but, DAA-YUM!  But, hey, at least I know.  So given this particular feedback, Dr. Burr has now offered the following recommendations to improve these general weaknesses in my current form:

Say wha?

Say wha?

I know, I know…‘amoronsayswhat?‘  Let me spell this out in English.  Basically, what this all entails is that I now have to perform a series of functional exercises that to the uneducated eye might seem like I was reenacting the ‘Ministry of Funny Walks  from Monty Python.  Now, I confess, they might make me feel a bit self-conscious at first, and I don’t really want to give the neighbors anything more to snicker at than they already have, which is enough; believe me.   Don’t get me wrong, I understand the ultimate purpose of these drills but, still, they do make me feel silly so I am going to resign myself to doing them either in the back yard away from prying eyes or along the Friendship Trail when it’s quiet.  But, hey, when it comes down to it, if suffering through a little silliness to come out at the other end as an effortless gazelle of a runner, then so be it; suffer I will dammit!

So without further ado, I give you the ensuing new strengthening routine in all its illustrious silliness:

1.  Walking A’, and B’s – The purpose of these drills is to break the natural running gait into its three separate segments.  The A motion is propelled by the hip flexors and quadriceps as I take tiny steps marching forward, on the toes, while raising my knees to 90 degrees to slightly higher than waist level, alternating opposite arms with opposite legs.  The B’s are dominated by the hamstrings.  Upon impact, the hamstrings continue to contract, not to limit the extension of the leg but to pull the foot upward, under the glutes, to begin another cycle. The emphasis of this exercise is to pull the foot up, directly under the buttocks, shortening the arc and the length of time performing the phase so that another stride can be commenced.

2.  Ninja Kicks – How awesome does that sound, right?  Alas, no, I am not performing roundhouse kicks a la Jean-Claude, but they’re still pretty cool and, as it turned out, exhausting.  While keeping my ‘chest up/eyes up’ and my hands high overhead, I attempt to bring alternating legs to my hands, being careful not to crunch too much at the torso.  This motions fires up the ‘ol hamstrings and hips.  This exercise sure invites some curious stares from dog walkers, that’s for sure.

3.  Lateral Shuffle – Originally an exercise for football linebackers, this drill primarily works my butt muscles, hips flexors, hip abductors, quadriceps, hamstrings, the calf and shin muscles as well as the ‘erector spinae’ muscles in my lower back running alongside my spine. Stand with your feet a little wider than hip-width apart and point your toes forward. To perform these, I bend my hips and knees, sit my butt back, lower my body into an ‘aggressive’ squat while keeping my knees over my ankles. To help with balance, I bend and hold your arms/hands in front of my body. From this position, I take a sideways step with my left leg and then shuffle with my right to return to the original stance, keeping my back straight, chest up and your eyes looking straight ahead throughout the exercise.  I shuffle in this position for 10 steps in one direction, and then back in the reverse direction three times.

4.  Grapevines – Similar to the Lateral Shuffle posture, I move so that I cross my feet over one another as I move laterally. This particular drill, while still working all the same muscles as the Lateral Shuffle, also works all those minute stabilizing muscles that play a secondary, yet vital role in running.  Clearly I am no ballerina because I find the coordination needed to do this extremely challenging.

5.  Walking Arm Circles Bilateral – This is easy enough (or so I thought anyway), make wide circles with my arms at the shoulder both forward and backward.  However, as it turns out, given the number of forward stroke I perform in the pool on a weekly basis, I have a very limited range of motion in my shoulders.  Forward rotations I can do, backwards, well, not so much…like, at all.  Obviously, this is aimed at giving me a more relaxed and natural (read that as ‘effortless’) shoulder rotation while running.

6.  Arm Rotations (w/ strap) – Ditto as above, except that I am attempting to rotate my shoulders nearly 360 degrees around their access.  Breathing in on the way up, exhaling down.  Going backwards, this actually feels like my arms are being ripped from their shoulder sockets.

7.  Shoulder Flossing – Same as above again, this is aimed at loosening up my shoulders.  You will just have to YouTube this one for yourself as it is hard to explain but, take my word for it, it’s also not easy.  Hopefully, the end result will be a smoother and more relaxed arm swing at the shoulder (not to mention stroking in the pool) while running and not expending unnecessary energy.

So, yeah, now I have things to do while out running other than just taking those necessary steps forward.  Luckily, the weather is nice and the leaves are turning color and it’s actually pleasant to be outside and being active without the pressure of intensity, pace, distance, or what have you.  In other words, it’s the perfect time to focus on getting strong and efficient in my form with the goal being that when the time comes to begin that serious training and all that it entails (tempo, hills, speed workouts, et al.) that my run will be more smooth and effortless allowing me to run better while harnessing my bodily strength into that forward momentum.  Remember:

We Can Rebuild Him

Another upside is that by running with a better form I can, hopefully, alleviate any future injuries or issues in the future that I am currently getting over and not end up back at square one in my comfy chair feeling miserable.  Oh, and to make sure I don’t run like that transvestite, or any of these guys for that matter (click HERE).

…well, the glutinous kind anyway.

Yes, it’s true…the next phase of the ‘We Can Rebuild Him’ plan has been initiated; I’ve gone gluten free.  ‘So long, sammiches!  Hello, leafy greens and cornmeal flatbreads!

While I’m only two weeks in, I’ve already been noticing lots of positive differences which will lend themselves well to regaining my running form. I’m down 4 lbs. from my original 205.5 lbs.; my left foot has made some miraculous improvement in reduced swelling, stiffness and soreness; the ever present runner’s rash on my ass has all but disappeared; my allergies have dissipated; my ravenous appetite is under control and, best of all, I feel amazing.  Like, seriously amazing.  It’s almost too good to be true.  But most importantly, my confidence with this overall plan is on the rise.  So its wins all around and everything seems to be coming up Terry!  All from cutting out one thing…wheat!  Well, that and Dr. Burr of course but, still, who would have thunk it?

So why gluten then?  After all, there are plenty of other diet trends on the market like the Paleo diet, the Atkins diet, the Mediterranean Diet, Jenny Craig, the Master Cleanse, etcetera and so forth (hell, there’s even the ridiculous Subway diet if you really want to stretch) and, hey, whole grains are supposed to be healthy aren’t they?  Well, as it turns out, not so much.

I know!  Say what?

GlutenForget all the popular buzz words circulating in the press lately serving to scare you off your morning croissant like GMO, Monsanto, Round-Up, et al.  The theory regarding gluten particularly is that what we are now passing off as ‘wheat’, however cleverly disguised as an innocent bran muffin or slice of whole grain toast is actually the transformed product of years’ worth of intensive genetic research conducted during latter half of the twentieth century.  So the long and short of it is that this bastardized form of ‘wheat’ as we now recognize and consume regularly with, like, everything, is not really compatible for proper digestion and use by our bodies at all.  Our bodies are now having to deal with this completely alien food stuff that serves no more purpose to our health and well-being than, say, the Kardashian’s contribute to Astrophysics.

So the real problem now is that this Frankenwheat is now responsible for a whole host of bodily health issues like weight gain, inflammation and pH effects that erode cartilage and bone, digestive issues, migraines and headaches, chronic fatigue…the list goes on and on.  Shit, throw ‘anal leakage’ in there and it begins to read like the last few nanoseconds of a really bad Infomercial.

In fact, there are over 250 recognized symptoms with wheat intolerance.  So with that many possible issues coupled with the amount of gluten I consumed daily (multiplied over the 41 years I’ve spent on this earth), well, that’s a buttload of possible issues, right?  Shit, the chances are good then that I’ve just simply learned to live with these issues as a part of my everyday life despite the detriment they’re having on my training, performance and everyday life.  And, furthermore, if any of this is actually true, then my body has seen more harsh realities than a Detroit trauma ward.

But let’s back up a little bit for a moment.  What the hell is gluten?  Gluten is the generic name for certain types of proteins contained in the common cereal grains wheat, barley, rye, and their derivatives.  Simply put, gluten gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise and maintain its shape and often gives the final product a chewy texture.  Gluten may also be found in some cosmetics, hair products, and other dermatological preparations.  Since the recent trend started not so long ago to reduce our fat and cholesterol intake and increase carbohydrate calories – deemed as healthier – a unique situation was predicated where products containing wheat have come to dominate the marketplace.  In short, it’s in absolutely everything.

Look at your average Supermarket, just about every aisle is absolutely dominated with pre-packaged products that contain gluten.  From the bread aisle to the frozen food section, it’s a literal Glutenfest.  How about most neighborhood restaurants, cafes, and breakfast nooks?  Fuggedaboutit!  So, if this protein actually turns out to be as bad as I have suggested, well, that’s just a big ‘ol pile of fucked up if ever I saw one.

bread

Anyway, I can’t for certain say that gluten is good or bad for you or bad.  The simple truth is that I’m undecided.  To speak to some people you’d think they consider gluten to be the Devil incarnate, to others it’s simply the next fad in dieting.  So while I accept that there is a strong case to be made for the anti-gluten platform, there is also the strong argument that sammiches are fucking awesome and I do LOVE my sammiches.  But if my beloved sammiches are keeping from achieving my best performance-wise, then I will suck it up and ditch those gluten laden fuckers quicker than you can say ‘pass the ibuprofen’.   Nothing is going to come between me and my goals.

All I really know for sure at this point is that without giving the gluten-free lifestyle a chance and experiencing the difference for myself firsthand then I might be missing out on a huge opportunity for potential improvement.  If my running is ultimately going to improve, then my body will have to HTFU.  That’s a fact!  So losing some of the added fat I’ve managed to accumulate this past year while further reducing the amount of inflammation in my joints and muscles (particularly when I start ramping up the distances) can only be advantageous.  It’s a simple equation:

Fat ass – sammiches = success. 

Well, something like that anyway.

Now that Kelly and I have launched ourselves headlong into this little kitchen laboratory project I have already seen some impressive results that I mentioned earlier.   The sore toe on my left foot which has been causing me grief has made some significant improvements and I even completed my first pain free run only three days into the diet so, hey, there has to be something to this gluten free thing.  I’d be an idiot to not recognize it and as a triathlete, I literally had a complete and utter ‘Nerdgasm’ over the whole revelation.

But that doesn’t mean that switching over and avoiding gluten is going to be easy.  Hells no!  In fact, it’s going to a monumental change in our lifestyle, especially given that we still have an eight-year-old running around who loves her Twinkies, cookies and breakfast waffles.  Who would blame her?  The other challenge is that gluten free products aren’t exactly cheap.  Likewise, for whatever reason, the absence of gluten doesn’t automatically mean they’re ‘healthy’ either.  In fact, many gluten free products are high in sodium.  So we need to figure how to be cost effective and practical when it comes to our weekly grocery shopping trips which is harder than it sounds.

We have already practiced making gluten free bread and tortilla wraps (click HERE  for our latest effort) but, mostly, we’re attempting to eat simply by including more natural fruits, nuts, and vegetables.  And, yeah, no more sammiches…of course.   We don’t want to over-think it any more than we want to over spend, dig?  So providing we’re successful in this new Phase Two endeavor, I hope to see the weight continue to drop off, my body regain its strength and natural form, and my overall fitness skyrocket prior to my next competition season.  Oh, and Kelly has some personal goals in mind she wants to accomplish with this as well but she doesn’t post those to public websites like me so you’ll just have to live in suspense.

Cross your breadsticks, folks!

You might remember that I’ve recently begun the tedious process of rebuilding myself to once again compete in future long distance triathlons.  Ironman, here we come…again!

Thus far, this year has been someone disappointing; a fact, I’ll address in a future post.  I’ve spent the majority of this year rebounding from one injury to the next, specifically with my left foot, calf, shin, knee, you freaking name it.  It totally sucks and led to some very frustrating training days to the point where I stopped running altogether at least three times for extended periods of time.  But I’m putting all that behind me now and that shit is about to stop…tout de sweet!

The process began a few weeks ago with my visit to see Dr. Kristen Burr at the ‘Legacy Health & Performance’ center in St. Catharines.  The rehab has been going particularly well and things are beginning to look very optimistic for the coming months as I start to put back together a decent foundation for running strong and – fingers crossed – comfortably.  To aid with this overall process, I have been assigned a very strict strengthening program that targets not only my poor weakened feet, but the lower leg and core muscles that are particularly key for running.  There’s no more half-assing it anymore, it’s time to pack a lunch and get to work.

Tools of the trade

Tools of the trade

Here are the essentials for Phase One of what I am now referring to as the ‘We Can Rebuild Him  plan:

  • A set of ‘tune-up’ balls (or a set of tennis or racquet balls)
  • A foam Pilates block (or anything else you can comfortably lean your foot against at a 45° angle)
  • A towel
  • A toning balance disc (or a pillow)
  • A can of soup (yes, a can of soup)
  • Corn pads and Traumeel gel (because, well, sometimes things get ouchie)

Now, bear in mind that all these particular items (tune-up balls, Pilates block and balance disc) can very easily be replicated by simply substituting for the more commonly found alternatives I’ve listed above; all of which you probably have lying around the house already.  Hey, I am a ‘Tightwad Triathlete’ after all.  So there’s no real need  to spend any money at all, however, knowing this is going be my focus for the coming months I figured I could justify dropping the $40 or so in total; not a bad investment on my general well-being.  Sometimes you have to pick and choose your battles.

The following are examples of the exercises I will do on a daily basis to start strengthening my feet, legs and lower core muscles:

1.  Using the Tune-up balls, massage the muscles all around the bottom of my feet.  Standing in ‘Mountain Pose’ for a count of 10 slow breathes I move the balls to different points of my soles including the ball, arches, plantar fascia and heel of my foot.  This feels amazing, particularly after a run as I can literally feel my foot muscles loosen up and relax.  The intent of helping these muscles relax is to widen my feet and thereby assume a broader base of support and, therefore, also achieve more balance and stability while out running.  I am also using this exercise to improve the range of mobility of my toes and achieve that desired ‘monkey feet’ effect I mentioned before.

2.  Three sets of 10 calf raises with either the Tune-up balls or Pilates ball between my legs and/or heels while rising straight up on my tippy toes (like I’m trying to peek over a tall fence).  This exercise is to strength the muscles in my forefoot (including my toes) and ankles as well as stretching out my calves and glutes, all the while improving my general balance. Sometimes these calf raises are done while standing straight with my feet perfectly perpendicular to one another, at other times with my feet splayed out at 45° angles to target different muscles.

3.  Three sets of “toe curls” with a towel.  Yup, it’s exactly what it sounds like.  Just like this:

 

Now, if you think this is easy…think again.  Simply scrunching up that towel with my left foot takes about 110% of my total concentration and effort.  Seriously, my toes literally sweat they’re working so freakin’ hard!  When was the last time you actually saw your toes sweat, I ask you?!  When I get more capable with this exercise, I will place that can of soup at the other end of the towel to add some weight and resistance and make it even more challenging.

4.  Using the gel balance disc, I stand on each foot and simply try to maintain my balance for 30 seconds.  Yeah, this is infinitely harder than it looks.  The gel disc (or use a pillow to recreate a similarly unstable surface) is all kinds of wobbly and will definitely improve my balance and the subsequently strengthen the sets of muscles in my feet, ankles, shins and calves.

5.  Three sets of 10 squats.  And not the standard ‘ol squats that I’ve been doing at the gym (albeit incorrectly), but squats up close against the wall to make certain that I am a using good form incorporating a straight back.  Besides my lower legs (quads, hamstrings, calves, et al,) this maneuver also works my glutes and the muscles in my lower back.

6.  Three sets of 15 calf stretches.  While standing in ‘Mountain Pose’ and propping my foot at a 45° angle on a Pilates block (maintaining a straight leg on my bent foot side), I slowly roll down into a ‘Forward Bend’ , or ‘Rag Doll’ pose, before slowly rolling back up again.  This stretches absolutely every muscle from my toes through the sole of my foot to my shins and calves and all the way to my hips…and it’s not altogether comfortable.  In fact, it’s pretty damn difficult as I’m now properly stretching muscles that I haven’t stretched for, like, ever I guess.

Hopefully, this exercise program will start to establish that strong foundation with which to begin working on regaining an effective running form before I begin to ramp up the mileage into the fall and winter.  Soon, I will also undergo a ‘Biomechanical Running Analysis’  workshop also with Dr. Burr, as well as re-initiate a solid weights and functional strength program at the gym.  So there are definitely more phases to come in the overall plan (stay tuned!).  So in a way, I am actually starting my run program from scratch.  I’m like that wobbly-legged baby deer learning to walk.  Well…not really.  I’m infinitely cuter.

Hopefully, this strategy (not to mention patience) will help me not only regain, but surpass my former pre-Ironman run fitness.  Next season, I don’t want to simply feel satisfied in having survived the marathon, I want to rock the shit out of it.  I think I have it in me.  In fact, I’m banking on it.  I want to have the confidence in my ability that after a strong swim and bike, that I can similarly perform on the run as well.  I know I’m currently nowhere near where I was, nor where I want to be…but I’ll get there…eventually.  I also realize that it’s going to be a slow, uphill battle.  But, as they say:  ‘no pain, no gain’.