Thursday, January 26, 2012

Dealing with Injury

As I mentioned earlier, I've been dealing with an injury. Airrosti has helped a TON, but I was maintaining my mileage as normal. It was incredible that I was able to do that with tendonitis in my right knee, but, after a great run with my Jason in Barton Creek (in Austin), I became convinced that I needed to hang back a bit and let things rest. In the end, rest is the best medicine.

So I continued Airrosti, even amped it up a bit, but scaled back the activity level, opting for the elliptical instead of real running, and hoped for the best. Fortunately, one week was all that was necessary.

By Friday of two weeks ago, I was barefooting 7 or 8 miles, really working on my form—short steps, 180 spm cadence, light on my feet.

The payoff?

On this Saturday, I ran a ~25 min PR on my 10 mile training run. BOOM! Then, on this Monday I ran it a few minutes faster. Then yesterday, faster still. Before I was injured I was running about a 11 min/mile for 10 miles. But yesterday, I averaged 8:19 min/mile with my final mile at 7:56—and plenty left in the tank.

The lesson? REST. REST. REST. REST. Rest whenever you are injured or feel an injury coming on. It pays huge dividends in the longrun (literally). This is even more amplified when you are training for an Ultra. The name of the game is to avoid injury. Do that, and you chances of success go through the roof. Plus, in my case, I want to run big miles on trails as long as my legs will turn over. For me, that means I *must* keep the big picture in mind, which almost always means that resting is the right move.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Injury Update (OR Why Airrosti is AWESOME)

Over the past 3 weeks or so I've been nursing tendonitis in my right knee. After my impromptu 18-mile run, both my knees were (predictably) aching. What I didn't expect was that my right knee would continue to ache for most of the month. Icing and rest helped some, but not much. Meanwhile, I was going crazy from not running (imagine that!).

Enter Airrosti.

Integration (for the)

What is Airrosti? Basically, it works with the soft tissue (usually the fascia) to bring rapid recovery to certain injuries. According to their website, it is "a highly effective treatment model for resolving back and neck pain, knee pain, hip pain, carpal tunnel, frozen shoulder, pulls and strains, and many other soft tissue/joint conditions." Usually patients only need 3 visits before they are good to go. Best part? They ask you to keep training! I ran six miles after my first treatment—with significantly less pain than my four miler that same morning.

If you have a soft tissue injury, do yourself a favor and go to Airrosti. Tomorrow. Seriously. They are that good.

It is easily the best health care visit I've ever had. Each visit includes (according to their website):

  • Expert Diagnosis — Your Airrosti Certified Provider will perform a thorough clinical assessment to evaluate your condition and determine the root cause of the pain/injury
  • Manual Therapy — A non-invasive, hands-on treatment will work out any distortions in the muscles/joints and surrounding connective tissue
  • Active Rehab Program — A customized program of stretches and exercises helps speed recovery and prevents future injuries
Plus, it's covered by most major insurance providers! BOOM!

Go. You won't regret it.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

My Journey So Far: 2011 in Review

I know this is a day late, but I thought I'd post a bit on the last year. Two thousand eleven was host to a lot of changes for me (and Rachel). We bought our first house, got our first dog, and I put away another two semesters in my PhD program at Baylor, where I continue to be grateful for the opportunity to both learn and contribute to the scholarly discussion with the best people imaginable, both personally and professionally. I also started running again.

In June, I weighed about 190 pounds and (as a result) was starting to feel the effects my sedentary lifestyle. That led to my adopting a vegan diet and starting to first consistent physical activity in the last decade. That combo made the pounds fall off like water off a ducks back. (A few months back, I started incorporating some low fat dairy into my diet [full vegan is tough to manage in Waco].)

That was six months ago. Since then I've run 678 miles, lost ~35 pounds, and enjoyed countless smoothies. I've also officially begun training for the Lean Horse Hundred with the ever-present help of my friend and coach, Jason Ballard.

Over the last six months I've been consistently amazed at what the human body can do when put under stress, especially when one gives it the high quality whole food fuel it needs. Running has a been such a blessing to me this past year as life in grad school is particularly full stress and trail running offers a consistent release of pressure that can build and build until you crack.

Since this blog is about a formerly sedentary guy's journey into the utter insanity of ultrarunning, I thought I should end on a note about the enjoyment of running. I was looking back on my training log and was struck at how hellish it was when I began. Now, the fact that I started running in one of, if not the, hottest summers in Texas history definitely contributed to the misery, but—bottom line—coming off of a lifestyle that consisted of sitting at a desk and eating garbage for the past ten years isn't ever going to be pleasant. But... as weeks turned into months, I started to notice that I began to crave the sweltering heat out on the trails, where I could be alone with my thoughts and test my mettle against rugged trails of Cameron Park.

As we close the door on 2011, I can't imagine not trail running. I'm hooked!