Thursday, November 15, 2012

It's All Part of the Plan...

Now that we've gotten the Batman-geekness out of the way...

This physical therapy break has been really good from a mental reset standpoint. Although it was good doing some hard work in the early part of the transition phase, I was also running myself into the ground. Mental, emotional, and physical lapses were coming up quickly. I was losing sight of the goals that I have in plan for the 2013 season.

I'm starting to really come around. My body has responded extremely well to the core strength exercises and work done over at Raymond Chiropractic & Sports Injury Center. If you're an athlete in southern Maine and are having issues that don't start with the terms "torn," "stress fracture," "fracture," et. al., it's worth your time to get in and see Dr. Raymond.

My left shoulder continues to be the source of issue. As I said in the last update, a lot of it was related to my left hip. Well, now the hip stuff is cleared up, but the shoulder itself is still a steaming pile of garbage. Part of the problem: that lat was shut off for so long that the other shoulder muscles are overdeveloped and rolling the shoulder forward. So even though the lat is "turned on," I don't have an established neuromuscular connection to be able to get it to fire.

We're currently working on some exercises to improve that. It's frustrating to only be allowed to do the first two inches of a pull-up motion (only until the elbow wants to start to bend). I want to swim, but I don't want to hop into the water until I can get the shoulder under control on dry land. And even then, I'm going to need to re-learn the stroke to be able to get the shoulder in the correct position so I don't go and screw it up again.

But, it's all part of the plan. You can only make improvements when your body is healthy enough to accept them. And that has me hungry to get back at it.

As I announced previously, we're talking about a pretty hefty 2013 schedule:

  • Rev3 Knoxville Olympic: May 5, 2013
  • Rev3 Quassy Half: June 2, 2013
  • Rev3 Maine Half: August 25, 2013
  • Rev3 Cedar Point Full: September 8, 2013
  • *potentially* Rev3 Florida Half: November 3, 2013
And. while we're at it, here are the goals for 2013:

  • Break 5:00 for the half. I know with another season under the belt it'll happen. There's no doubt in my mind. The "reach:" sub-4:45.
  • Swim under 33 minutes. This is going to take a fair amount of work, especially with the shoulder stuff. But I feel like going back into the pool, almost losing where I was before, will only benefit me from a "re-learning how to swim so that it doesn't look like an attempted drowning" standpoint. This will earn my time on my competition, but also lessen the energy expenditure, which means better biking and running.
  • Run under 1:40 off the bike: the fitness has probably been there, with the main culprit (IMO) being a poor nutrition plan (only have myself to blame there) and, in one dramatic case, overbiking the first hour (Rev3 Maine). I held back by 9 minutes on the bike at Cedar Point and ran almost 20 minutes faster despite me vomiting everything I had in me during the middle miles. 
  • The full: go to race, not just "complete the distance:" this is a tough one for me to explain. I know that there are, for a lot of people, who push to complete a 140.6 as their entire goal. That their goal is to be able to have someone say that they're an Ironman, or that they've done a full, etc. My goal is to go there to race. I don't want to do 140.6 miles for the sake of being out there for 140.6 miles. My goal is to go swim, bike, and run as fast as I can on that day in September. I have an idea in mind what I'm capable of right now. I think that based on how much I improved this year, despite leaving a lot on the table, gives me a good margin.
This weekend is the Maine Running Company Turkey Trot; it's my first 5K ever.

No, stop laughing, I'm serious.

I've never raced a 5K. I'm interested to see what the hell happens, considering how little I've been allowed to do over the past month or so. Still no biking, as Wallace sits in Norcross, GA awaiting his fate.

Want to also point out the work that both PowerBar and Revolution3 have done in the wake of Hurricane Sandy: PowerBar donated all the products from the cancelled NYC Marathon as well as took donations from Team Elite members; Revolution3 loaded up a truck full of goods and bags and dropped them off this week. It's incredibly heart-warming to see the work that these folks do for others, even when it may not be the prudent business decision. Part of the reason why I'm so excited to be a part of Team Rev3 is because of how much they care beyond the athletic component, but also family, friends, and life in general.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Get What You Need...

Well, first appointment down with Raymond Chiropractic and Sports Injury Center...

I went for a run on Sunday and just had an absolutely abysmal time. Generally, I've been clipping off some great runs: right around 7:45 pace with a nice, low heart rate. Well, roll into Sunday and I couldn't do crap in terms of that: breathing was way off, heart-rate sky-high, stomach hating me. Couple that with my IT bands starting to get really angry with me, a little bit of knee pain, etc. So to add it all up:

  • No swim due to the shoulder and neck.
  • No bike because it's on the way to Georgia to get checked out with the manufacturer.
  • Now, my run's falling apart? What the hell?
I had already booked out this appointment with Dr. Jamie Raymond about a week ago, with the primary focus being on that left shoulder of mine. Guess it was convenient that my entire body decided to shut on down all at the same time.

Now, some people see the word "chiropractor" and they immediately get nervous: am I going to need to see him continuously to get re-adjusted? Could this be the wrong course of action for me?

The answer, of course, is it depends; however, Dr. Raymond is much more than just a chiropractor. Sure, he provides that service, but he also couples that with Active Release Therapy, massage, Graston technique, and exercises to help you hold onto the adjustments. Basically: trying to identify what the underlying root issue is, find exercises to help correct it and strengthen (if possible), and adjustment/release as necessary.

The initial consultation is a little longer: you talk about injury history, you talk about what you've done in general to try and correct the issue, what brought you to the office then, and then the work begins of trying to build you back up the correct way.

We started getting into some exercises, and immediately we found some fun stuff:

  • My left lat was shut off. Not weak. Not tight. No, we mean: would not fire. At all. That wouldn't have ANYTHING to do with my shoulder issue.
  • My gluteus medius wasn't firing, either. This was forcing strain elsewhere, which leads essentially to the IT band getting to do all of the work.
  • The underlying issue: we got completely locked up in the hip region: psoas, adductors were just a big hot ball of tightness. The thing is, it was causing problems in both directions: got the rib cage completely out of alignment, which turned the lat off, which then got my supraspinatus to do all of the work, resulting in impingement. Hooray!
So, now with a whole bunch of exercises to do at home, we're hopefully on the road to getting better. I'm going to run as I feel like it, but more importantly just pay attention to my body. It's been good to have this mental and physical break; it's letting me get some projects done and get myself focused for 2013.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Beautifully Broken Things

Stars shine down from the black and
we're picking through this broken glass
How could we know that our lives 
would be full of beautifully broken things...

It's been a really major up-and-down stretch around the Crashing the Boards offices as of late. Crazy how high and low life can take you in such a short period of time.

At any rate, here's what's going on:

Rev3 Florida
I had the distinct pleasure of getting to fly on down to Florida to help the Revolution3 crew out with Rev3 Florida in Venice.

The seeds of this were planted back in August at Rev3 Maine. I wanted to help set-up the expo, as I could volunteer a little bit of my time beforehand. Why not? Naturally, they needed help in retail. So I got down to setting up the bike gear at the expo. If you couldn't find any spare tubes, tires, or multitools, you now know who to blame.

Well, now we roll into September at Rev3 Cedar Point, when I walked into the retail tent to merely pick up a spare tubular and some other small extras. As I was getting ready to walk on out, somebody was there asking a question about a bottle mount (the Profile Design cross mount to put a standard bottle between your aerobars). They then weren't going to use it on race day, because they didn't want to have to set it up. I offered to go out, mount it for them in transition, and have them ready to go. I got done helping him out, and by the time I got back it was "you need to work with us once..."

Well, sure! What the hell? So on down to Florida we went.

If I may make a recommendation: if you have the opportunity to volunteer or work a Rev3 event, do so. You will have more fun than you would ever think possible while working. The crew is very, very much a family. If you've raced a Rev3 event, you've probably noticed that to some extent. I know that when I first raced Rev3 Quassy in 2011, it was noticeable throughout. Well, take that, multiply it by approximately 100 times, and you get the vibe of working with Rev3.

We set up the store, got things ready to rock, had an awesome restaurant providing food for us all weekend long (and, I might add, some awesome margaritas). Then we got down to work: athlete time!

Sold a lot of shoes, set up an X-Lab Torpedo Mount for somebody (side note: these take WAY longer than the Profile Design one), chatted with who I thought was the Quintana Roo rep and actually turned out to be the head of American Bicycle Group (and hey, we share connections to Cape Cod. Small world). I'm pretty positive the picture of my face when Charlie told me when that the "QR rep" was the head of things would have been priceless...

As it turns out, things went really well. That athlete who I put the X-Lab Mount on came back after the race to thank me for helping her out, as it turns out she won her age group with it! Lots of super positive energy, despite the fact that a little storm named Sandy helped to derail a few things. Swim was cancelled due to severe riptides and surf; the wind was absolutely fierce on the bike; and our flights really got all screwed up. I had to come home earlier than expected or risk being marooned in south Florida for a few extra days. I know, the horror...but somebody needs an income! Got the last flight home to Portland Sunday night.

So, what goes up most certainly must come down...

The Beautifully Broken Things: My Shoulder
I came back from Florida having managed to get in a whole whopping one run in while I was down there with Tim and Tony. And not only that, but to use a phrase from Jordan, I had a pretty healthy case of the #pOops. Stopping twice while trying to maintain around 7:00 pace isn't an effective way to make it back. Not only that, but my shoulder was sore as hell. Great, whatever.

Well, head off to the pool on Thursday morning, get in, and my left shoulder (the one that's been giving me issue for a while now) has finally decided to shut itself down really well. The lat is simply shut off. I can't get it to fire. At all. Pull ups? Nope. Nothing in the water. I tried every trick I've got in the book. Nothing. Just all on the top side.

Shut it down.

So I guess I'm a runner for a little while. Going to see a sports injury/chiropractic/ART provider for my shoulder here in the next couple of days. Also going to have some nagging stuff opened up (my hamstrings being about as tight as the head of a snare drum, getting my hip flexors opened up, etc.) Just incredibly frustrating.

Just got to keep rolling on, I s'pose...