Saturday, June 19, 2010

Chiropractic Care - Week Four

This week was an interesting week in the chiropractor's office.  On Monday I was identified as a "one of those mid-foot" runners.  Dr. Staley clearly does not agree with mid- and fore-foot running and may have me bring my shoes one day to see how I run.  I'm not terribly interested in doing so because I carefully evaluated my running a while back and found that mid-foot running was much easier on my body than a heel strike style and although I don't often say this - I'm not planning on changing.  So, I hope to simply agree to disagree and move on.

On Tuesday, I finally had another homework assignment and this one I saw coming - neck stretches.  Three times per day at 30 seconds per stretch means 7.5 minutes of time out of my day to improve the flexibility of my neck and surrounding muscles/tendons/ligaments.  I have already noticed a difference in the ROM of the stretches so improvement is being made quickly.  Since the stretches are easy enough to do seated at my desk, I have no excuse not to do them while working, watching TV, right after dinner, etc.

After an extremely long and challenging day at work on Wednesday, I had a twinge of pain on the left side of my head.  I believe it was trigged by 50% stress and 50% dehydration, so I worked on my pressure points to try and relieve the ache and made sure to drink extra water.  I had enough relief that I was generally pain-free during my drive home, but I knew the my migraine was still lingering when I went to bed.  I woke up the next morning, and as expected, the pain was still there.  I grabbed an ice pack and placed it on the back left side of my head and relaxed while I work my points again and drank some water.  About 15 minutes later, the pain was gone for good.  While this migraine didn't depart on its own, I was able to relieve it without medication and that makes me very happy.

And for my last appointment this week (I was expecting this too), Dr. Staley dropped me to two adjustments per week.  His original plan was six weeks of three/week then six weeks of two/week then finally six weeks of one/week, but I am well ahead of schedule so there's no need to keep to that original plan.  My body has always healed quickly so I'm not surprised that given the rough state I was in when I started chiropractic care, that I've already improved more than the doctor's expectations.  Plus, I am willing to make some lifestyle changes including desk position modifications and stretching because I enjoy good health, so that definitely aids the in-office care I receive.

Now that I'm down to two appointments per week, I really need to put together my training plan and get moving.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Another Pilates Moment

Monday's Pilates class was the 20th class of the "year".  My first class was December 29th, so technically it's 19 classes this year, but this year started a little early for me.

I felt extremely "connected" during class that day.  I take "connected" to mean balanced and strong as specifically related to the abdominals since that region is a focus of pilates.  All throughout class my abs felt really strong, and I noticed a difference particularly during the forearm planks portion of class.  Typically when doing a forearm plank I shake like an addict going through withdrawal from the moment both my knees are off the floor. This time I wasn't imitating an earthquake nearly so much and was able to do all the escalations making the planks tougher each round.  The first round was simply to hold the plank position.  The second round alternated touching each knee to the mat.  The third, and by far the toughest grouping I have done, was to push up off your elbows on to your hands, then do ten push-ups.  While I didn't touch my nose to the ground during the push-ups, I haven't done a push-up in ages and felt strong doing what I did (about halfway down).

I've noticed my increased strength on the bike already.  My first commuter ride made me feel very strong in my abs and back because I was able to position myself very comfortably on the bike and hold that position easily.  I believe my ab and back strength helped put me in the right position on the saddle and helped stave off too much saddle soreness.

At this point I believe it's time to start going to the equipment classes.  The studio is adding an evening tower class that I'm seriously considering.  I'm starting to get a little bored with the total fitness class, so it will be good for my mind and body to mix things up and challenge myself more.  I love a good challenge!

Chiropractic Care - Week Three

More of the same this week.  Three more adjustments (nine total) and I'm continuing to feel better overall.  I have had only one migraine per week for the past two weeks so that continues to be pleasant, although I had a spot of pain today that has thankfully resolved itself with a little pressure point work and some extra water.  I'm not counting it unless the pain comes back tomorrow.

My neck is feeling limber and I should start neck stretches to continue my progress.  After my ride on Tuesday I'm still a little sore so stretching and some light massage should help.

So that's about it for this week's care.  Not much change this time around, but maintenance of where I am is good too, for now.

2010 BTWD and First Bike Commute

I participated this year in Bike to Work Day on May 21st.  It was a fantastic morning for a ride and this was my first ride of the season.  As last year, I drove to work then rode out to a coworker's house and rode back with him and another coworker, which is an eight mile round trip.  I checked through my BTWD attire and bottles and have found something from each year since 2005, except 2006.  So, it's been four consecutive years of BTWD with five total under my belt.  Yay!

Tuesday was my first bike commuter day and boy was it a great one, which was a bit surprising to me for the amount of success I experienced, but probably not all that surprising when looking at the big picture.

During my eleven mile ride in, I made sure to stand up and get blood flowing back to my saddle-touching parts to help stave off being super saddle sore for my eleven mile ride out later in the day.  I made sure to keep my cadence up to prevent mashing the gears and burning out my legs.  Once at work I didn't feel fatigued during the day, which is a usual symptom of my first commuter ride in.  At the end of the day I hit the trail again and headed for my car.

I was a bit saddle sore for the ride out, but not nearly as bad as I've been in the past.  The ride out is a lot of false flats with a head wind, and this ride was no different (about the wind; the terrain can't be changed).  I have to check my times, but as usual my ride out was a little slower than my ride in.  When I made it to my car I felt like I could have gone at least a few more miles, so I'm feeling great on the bike and am looking forward to putting many more miles on my bike and body.  I was only saddle sore for a day after the ride, which is a good sign that I'll be able to adjust quickly to being back on the bike.  Sweet.

Run Training - Lessons Learned

So before I forget everything I discovered during my run training program execution earlier this season, it's time to list what I learned so I can apply it to my next training plan:

(1) By following the list of training plan rules that I established early on, my training plan fit perfectly.

(2) Taper for one week only.  I tapered for two weeks and lost my mental and physical edge.  Until I get to longer races (e.g. marathon, Half Ironman triathlon), a one week taper should be ample, unless my body tells me otherwise.

(3) Nothing feels better than finishing a run that's on the schedule that you don't really want to do but dragged yourself to anyway against your own will.

(4) Run in the rain, run in the heat, run in the snow and ice - it will make you feel tougher and will help you gain confidence.  Just don't be stupid about training in adverse conditions.

(5) If it's hot outside, then it's extra hot on the mezzanine level of the gym where the treadmills are; run in the gym in the morning during the summer.

So those are the items I have to keep in mind when put together the rest of my training for this year.  Now time to start putting together the aforementioned training plan...

06/13/10 UPDATE:
Forgot a few things:

(6) I yawn the first two miles when I'm relaxed and in the groove.

(7) If things are going well on long runs, I break out in song around mile six or seven.

(8) No beans/gels/etc. the first two miles or else GI distress will follow.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Chiropractic Care - Week Two

I've noticed a change in my migraines, although there are many factors that could be attributed to the change outside of chiropractic care (yep, still skeptical).  The frequency has decreased and I am very grateful for that.  I had previously been experiencing one or two per month, but in the two weeks leading up to my first adjustment, I was having five or six per week.  The past two weeks I'm down to one per week and hopefully that will continue to decrease.  I had an interesting experience with the one migraine last week (an odd statement I must say); it went away on its own.

Never before have I had a migraine go away on its own; usually it will ease up, then come back the next day (and the next day and the next day) until I treat it with medication.  After I left work with a stabbing pain in my head, I experienced an easing of pain during my drive to the chiropractor, then while I was enjoying the heating pad prior to my adjustment, two fingers to where it hurt finished off the pain.  I didn't declare victory until I continued to be migraine free the next day.  I have to chaulk up this change to my adjustments; while a frequency change can be due to other factors, a change in the the "sequence" is likely a change in my body and its response.

I'm also experiencing a change in the flexibility of my neck and surrounding connective tissues.  When I first started my adjustements, I was very stiff and tight from run training.  My first week of adjustments gave me short term relief; this second week is now providing longer term relief that is almost lasting between adjustments.

No additional daily life changes were suggested, and I'm working on applying the "how to improve my desk posture" suggestions provided two weeks ago.  I think about my commuter posture as well since I'm in the car for two hours a day and feel I'm in good shape there, until proven otherwise.

Some additional progress was made last week from my two appointments (I had scheduled three, but Mother Nature had other ideas on how I was going to spend my Thursday evening).