Monday, October 25, 2010

Even the PT needs a PT

Who needs rotation when they swim bike and run? I do! And what happens when i dont rotate? I overuse things! Yup here comes a PT post:)
Below is an OLD picture of me, as a high school senior, serving a tennis ball.
Weight into the back leg, then spinal rotation Right, then forward motion ( Weight shift) into the front ( Left) leg and spinal rotation left ...along with a whole lot of funky shoulder ( gleno humeral) things that go on. That is the best and simplest way to show you the service motion and the fact that serving or any sort of proper ( notice i said proper, not good) tennis stroke...backhand, forehand and even volleys all depend on rotating your thorax/rib cage over a moving pelvis ( ie your lower body/legs)
Alas, this is somewhat easy to do when you have had the motor program and hand eye coordination hardwired since the age of 8.

Now fast forward to some random running ( court drills, time miles) that was short and fully anaerobic, and now fast forward even further to today. OR more specifically 2 years ago when i started training longer and harder and let go of the rotation that innately comes from moving to and setting up to smash a tennis ball. Or in some cases, just make contact:)

Believe it or not your thorax (ribs) must rotate over your pelvis when you run. And most importantly your pelvis must rotate over your femurs, hips as you run. The picture above shows this ever so slightly, but you can see as I weightshift Right my Left shoulder rotates forward just a bit and my Right adductor works to keep my pelvis and hips from falling out to the side ( Right) it truly is too hard to try to show this in a stagnant picture and even a video is hard unless you have slow motion. My point in even trying to show this is that I DO NOT ROTATE WELL to my left ! I have struggled in the last 2 years as my body wants my pelvis and my thorax ( think rib cage) to sit to the right. Likely due to dominance and a sport that wired me heavily to the right but when i get OFF...its like the car is sitting sideways on the chassis!

Here are some terms that may ( not ) interest you:

Sagittal plane motion would include forward and backward motions, like sit-ups, back extensions or biceps curls. The sagittal plane cuts through the center of the body, so the motion is front to back or back to front, including straight forward running. Squats involve flexion (forward motion) and extension (backwards on the way up), so would fit into the sagittal plane.

Frontal plane motion would include leaning from left to right as in sidebends and lateral raises, or perhaps you might picture jumping jacks for a good image of movement along the frontal plane.

Transverse plane motion is the hardest to picture because the plane is horizontal as it divides the top from the bottom, so it’s hard to get our heads around it being a rotating action. The main thing to remember is rotation. An example of a transverse plane exercise would be floor to overhead diagonals with a medicine ball, and a transverse activity might be swinging a golf club.

Human anatomy planes.svg
Most traditional strengthening, and running and biking are in the sagital and frontal planes.
Unless you are using pulleys or a free motion machine likely you arent working the transverse plane. And granted you can modify some of this and some of TRX in the all 4's can include some transverse plane movement engaging the core/obliques. I am thinking specifically of the side planks with the touch or dip. Also what i call the " helicopter" exercise where you are all fours and you swing, controlled, your legs /hips to the side while maintaining a neutral pushup hand position.
And all 4's means prone, hand on the ground, your hips and legs extended with feet in the straps, so technically you are not on all 4's.

So while some of you may pound yourself silly with traditional weights and strengthening i spend my strengthening hours doing things like this:

It kinda cracks me up, when I think about it. Today after swimming my friend Steve and I Walked up the stairs backwards. Shifting into our L hips, rounding our lower backs ( to engage the abs) and while the ladies tried to get down to their aqua class we looked like freaks who had too much chlorine for breakfast. But it works. And if i hadnt gone to PT School and worked for many years with my own issues and other athletes using a heavily weighted straight plane motion of thought, I may have found this avenue sooner. It's sad in someways, that when i go to Bikram yoga I have to modify poses so that i can END shifted LEFT and have to really use caution doing anything where my pelvis ( think "zipper") points Right. I have to keep that zipper pointed LEFT. Because for me, that zipper LEFT means neutral. Yup. Whacked out body.

TRX....The lastest and greatest...?? I already brought this up above but...

Now if only they could modify that so it had some sort of pulley. So as you did some of the standing exercises you could also work on rotation and weightshift.
TRX is fine, but its alot like pilates. Straight frontal and sagital plane work. Nothing into the transverse plane and no rotation with weightshift. That is a shame, bc it could help me alot more. As it is I am an accident waiting to happen if i do too many R one-legged standing poses.
And I love TRX, I think for most bodies it is great. No motive to rip on it, just food for thought.

***Now, for those of you that are seasoned TRX users it has been brought to my attention that the following exercises will get you some of the transverse plane movement. If you are just starting out or read the inserts you may not see these and i am working on clarifying what they are with those that are TRX veterans. I also highly recommend that before you start your own HEP ( home program) you consult a TRX trainer or take a class so you dont hurt yourself!
Here are some examples of transverse/rotational ex in TRX;
X-ing balance lunge
1 arm row
1 leg row
1 leg chest press
Kneeling Oblique Roll out
Woodchop Twist to arms OVH
1 Arm Power Row or Neo Row or Twisting/Squat/Row
TRX Knee Tuck Obliques
TRX Scorpion

If you are feeling stuck in an injury or like doing the same old same old stuff at the gym ( and you know what i mean...the squats, the bench, the leg press ) isnt doing it for you then think about seeing a PT that does Postural Restoration. You wont get a hotpack and a massage, actually you wont get any modality at all. You may have to drink the kool-aid for a bit till you are a believer but trust me, you will believe once you can run or swim or walk like you used to.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

New Friends and Bous Video's!

Today i slept till 8:30 am. I stayed up last night till midnight. I went for a walk today, with Rich. We walked slow. We went to get coffee, we sat there and didnt leave till 11. We shared a muffin, it was all cake like. Not grainy or good for you at all. Then i came home and had some halloween candy.

This is NOT my normal MO.

I was out last night with these fun ladies:

Kortney ( 2 kids down, one heck of a nice person and a magnified Vo2 max, hmm pregnancy anyone?!) Suzie ( lovely Suzie, who has the cutest dogs and a fabulous smile ..oh and dont mess with her on the bike), Hannah ( the nicest, and best Gear West staffer/manager/friend, dog mom who is hosting the next party in her sauna..who looks very serious here but i think that is bc the host was taking like 5 minutes to take the picture), Your's truly, and Marta( who ended up with a $52 salad after the parking ticket) Blah on that.

We kept it tame, good Greek eats and one bottle of greek wine ( for 5 of us, i would say we kept it tame!) These are my fantastic teammates. I am so lucky to have friends that are also people who love multisport. But best of all is that i think we genuinely like each other even if we werent swimming biking and running too. That is what this sport has come to mean to me. Friends, people that have a life outside of the sport, and despite our odd quirky love to tear ourselves up, I have gotten to know these women more off the race course/ training course than on. Pretty cool.

It took me a while to remember that I had these: Our group pic..I am in the middle
straight down from the E in "Best"...

As for the video they are not in order, but it goes T2, Run finish, then some swim video.
I may or may not have gotten cabin video in there too. oops. My biggest fan, Rich, took these video's and as you will hear, has a very loud voice!

I have another week of no structure coming up. That is just fine as i am taking my time getting back into the swing, searching for a pool that isnt 83 roasting degrees, biking outside on my road bike while its still above 40 and easing back into runs as my posterior allows. Not sure on that one really and since the A game doesnt need to be in full swing until next spring, why rush it? ( Easier said than done as i saw runners out today on the trails and ached to be running, not walking! ) Seems i am a huge wuss walking. I can envision running miles and miles but walking seems so long and hard and boring at times.
Anyways enjoy the video!

Sunday, October 17, 2010


So.."Are you enjoying your off season?" How many of you have heard that lately? And how many of you were SO EXCITED To get there and now that you are there, you are ready to get going again ? Anyone?

I know I had to really work at letting myself have some true time off. I mean its been a week?
It's funny how for me, it isnt really that i miss the suffering. Trust me. I dont. But i miss the organization my wko's give my day. Sorta funny, that i get up and my first thought is " what should i do now?" Obviously there is work, and lots of it, but I tend to be the person that is much more efficient AFTER my morning wko.

With the seasons changing here we have plenty of yardwork, pool closing, wardrobe switching around closet to closet and of course the box elder bugs keep me busy sweeping them up and getting them out of the house. I am also making tons of yummy eats. Baked vegggies, stuffed squash and more apple crisp than I can keep up with. ( Rich seems to have a bottomless apple appetite, so no worries there)

It was April 2010 when i did this race. Texas 70.3. What a summer it has been since the opening day!

So how is the recovery going? Really? You want to know?
It helped to spend a day and a half in lovely La Jolla, CA after BOUS. REally I am so lucky to know this area and feel like it's home. Rich had never been to the LJBTC and when i was greeted by the tennis pro's, the owner/manager Bill kellogg and many more people there it felt like i was home. Sadly there was no tennis for me. But there was lots of ocean time and of course, the sunsets:

It was warm and I napped and hung out on the beach, We walked to the pier, watched people paddle board and wipe out, surf and wipe out , and of course saw Marit and ate at my favorite place, Piatti, in the shores. I had Fro-Yo twice and decided that Red Velvet is not meant for Fro-Yo. Not a fan. Cake batter, that was do-able:)

At home it is cooler, the leaves are all over the place and its a bit harder to sit still. I am going to start moving a bit next week, yoga ( Bikram!) and some gentle walks and maybe a bike. But to be honest everytime i think about running or even riding i kinda go "Nah." I Cant tell how my butt is. It feels like my hammie is sorta frustrated with me, but since i havent run, and i wont run, I dont know. I just have to trust that the more time i give it to get happy, the better.
And it does kill me to not run, but it will kill me more if i cant run in december when i am totally house bound, so why not show some patience now. As we know, nobody needs a champion in January.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

BOUS weekend and race report!

Best of the US!
This picture was my nightmare worst case scenario for this race. Luckily the pic was AFTER the race and not in the middle of the race, so all was good. PHEW. As many of you know about 2 weeks ago I encountered a case of the " MY BUTT wants to be done" -ITIS, it was the same day as AG natz that my butt started saying " You said TODAY was our last race, what is this 2 weeks to go stuff?" Turns out the temperature change, a hard week of running and just general body wanting rest made the 2 weeks leading up to BOUS a bit of a mental and physical challenge for me.

But...I was going to go and give it the old college try. Why not? I had plenty of sleepless nights about my sore backside, and my overactive PT brain had me thinking WAY too deeply about this. Finally I had to just say " I AM NOT INJURED" over and over again and that seemed to work.

Rich and I arrived friday afternoon and got settled, we flew into San Diego bc we would spend a day in La Jolla on the backside of this journey and fly out post race. We drove up to Mission Viejo and got a good nights rest friday and saturday then started with a bang! We kept MN time bc it would prove to be helpful for a 7 am race start sunday. So we were up early friday and went to Lake Mission Viejo to swim and bike and run. Other than they wouldnt let us in the water, oh well. It is a lovely lake, and let me tell you, Mission Viejo is a lovely place if you ever get a chance to visit. I know its a big swimming town, and this lake is owned by the community who pays to maintain it. Super nice. So instead i just biked and ran, and well...the run didnt go so well. Ok. Dont cry. 9 minutes of running and my butt was not happy.
Here is Rich showing me how to cross the finish line:)

Sigh. I did meet Seeley and we talked a bit and then Rich and i headed back to the hotel for another breakfast. Rich was killing me! I had been trying so hard to eat really well, and he goes and buys carrot cake whoopie pies! Oh and Red wine cube juice boxes! ( not for breakfast!)

We had a busy day planned with packet pick up, a race meeting with a Tri coach from the area. She was SOOO enthusiastic but she kinda stressed me out bc she was SOOOOO enthusiastic. I think she must have been a 1st grade teacher or a drama major. Or just really really hyper:) Anyways we headed out to drive the course and boy was i glad i did. It was hilly but LONG hills, the kinds i love:) And i knew i would need to use the small ring a few times. But what a descent it would be when we got to go down into the canyon.

We made it back to the 2pm Bous meeting where Jerry and Trudy introduced alot of the athletes, we "meeted and greeted" ( bad grammer, but you get the idea) and got our numbers and our wine:) hee hee.
What a great race goodie. It's a local label called Wyland with wildlife on the label. Yum!
The only sorta stressful thing ( other than the tri coach lady who was doing cartwheels and talking REALLY loud) was getting T2 set up the day before. I have had separate T areas before, like at KS, but i have never had to leave my run shoes outside all night. So i wrapped them up in a baggie with my visor and my nutrition and we left those at T2. I was lucky that i thought ahead bc many people race morning were without warm up shoes since they didnt have two pairs of run shoes.

I slept ok, not great, but ok and got up around 3:45 am ( PT) The lake opened at 5 am and the parking was going to be tight so we figured we would get a spot right at 5 and then take our time getting into Transition. That worked like a charm. It was so helpful to have Rich help with my bike, carry some stuff and just calm me down a bit pre-race. I tell ya, those headlamps are pretty cool but i dont know if people who are wearing them know HOW BRIGHT they are in your face when they turn to ask you a question! Whoa, blinding.

I warmed up a tiny bit in the parking lot with my special pair of shoes:) I did laps up and down and actually felt OK! WOW. Dont jinx it, just go with it. I have to admit that i did start taking celebrex (bid) the day before ( for my period, which thank you very little arrived race day too! Alright, this is gonna be a sufferfest for real!) And then figured i didnt need to win the warm up and stopped.

Marit was arriving and i found her right before i got into the water to warm up! Pink socks and all I cant say how fun and special it was to see her, and for Rich to have a veteran Triathlete to spectate with all morning. Most the race day pics are from Marit, who truly knows how to capture a moment on film. And who knows how to say just the right thing to make me feel like a champion:) more on that later.

Ok did you want to read about the race?:) you know some of that is a blur but here goes:
SWIM: The water was about 74 and perfect. I was not hot or cold in my wetsuit and was glad to have it on for the added protection it gave me from the arms and feet smacking me around. I Did start up front, or close to it, so maybe it was my fault that i got kicked around a bit.
I cant say i had the best swim. I got my goggles knocked off/ or at least the left goggle got wedged off my eye in the first 200 YArds from an errant foot. I was going to stop but it was chaos and i realized i could still see out of the Right goggle and so i soldiered on. I was VERY trusting of the women next to me, bc i could not sight a dang thing. There was one buoy about 800 Yards out and a lifeguard boat with a flashing light in btween that first buoy ( where we would turn right and i would get kicked again) and the 2nd buoy where we would turn back intowards shore. So i just kept that red light to my right and prayed i would suddenly see a big yelow buoy. Horray there it was! I turned right and SMACK, i got kicked again. Oh well.
One more turn and i was able to catch up to a few people but now the sun was right at us and again, I prayed i was headed in the close vicinity for the boat ramp. It wasnt a straight shot back, it kinda veered to the left and i just kept the shoreline parallel to my swim and then veered left at the final buoy and seemed to find the boat ramp. Phew. I made it in!

I ran up the ramp and headed to my bike!

I debated shoes in or shoes out. I just have tried to be consistent and they stayed in, despite a real uphill T area and start. I started in the small ring so i thought that would be adequate.
All was fine till i was getting my Right foot in and UGH, AGAIN. my shoe liner bunched up. I nearly had to come to a a full stop, but i just pushed my feet in so hard that the liner bunched in the toe area and i said " Ok i can ride 24 miles like this. it will be fine" and off i went.
I do need to figure that out bc its the 2nd time i have had to come to a nearly complete stop bc the liner slides when i put a wet foot in.

Somehow out of nowhere i pulled my next Bike 101 error, I pulled a Schleck. I really cant tell you what i did, but yup, my chain was off. I tried to back pedal to get it to catch but it was too far off so i did have to stop. And that just added another UGH to the early ride. I Was happy with how easily i just let those both go. I kinda forgot about them until i saw another gal drop her chain on a major climb and it made me feel a bit better.

The ride was so fun. It was alot of climbing, and as it was about 7:30 am you would go thru these hot and cold pockets as you climbed up Santiago Canyon. When we dropped down into the canyon it was alot hotter and the roads were so fun to ride. I am not sure if it was my Coffee Powergel or that i was having so much fun but i felt like i was flying! I knew we had to climb back out of the canyon and that was going to be hard, but then i knew we had a great descent to look forward to. The bike went by super fast and i played cat and mouse with a few gals and that kept me honest and made me work hard. Coming into T2 we had to get on a bike path the last 2 miles. That was super fun and tho i was a bit cautious ( one of the things the hyper Tri lady told us was that we would have to SLOW DOWN to get on the path, and it was no passing on the path) well the path became as wide as a road so there was plenty of passing room but since it was dark, and the shade made the road hard to see i just rode fast ( at times 30 mph!) but safely behind a few gals. All the sudden they are yelling dismount line! What?? I did nearly throw myself from my bike but i got it together in time to do this:

My ride was good ( despite the early mishaps) but this was the sweetest dismount ever:)

Now to be honest I didnt even know who that girl was but she bolted past me in the first mile and i think she ended up like 6th. But it was sweet while it lasted ! I got my stuff out of the bag, and didnt fumble too much and i was off on the run. My mantra was " I am not injured" and i planned to focus on anything that did not hurt. So for mile 1 I was thinking " LEFT ARCH LEFT ARCH!" you see i spend alot of time working on my foot strike and NOT falling out to the outside of my feet. I tend to oversupinate ( spend more time on the outside of my feet) and that can lead to peroneal issues and of course the big bad ITBS. So left arch it was. The first few miles are downhill, gradually down hill, and on the same path we were biking in on. I passed a gal right away and then just kept chasing. The Hammer gal who i passed in the dismount area was not impressed with me and had left me in the dust:)

They had said there would be water stops "about" every mile, but that was rough so as i was starting to get tired i just sorta zoned out and had no idea where i was on teh course or what my pace was. I never race with anything, HR or clock, i just have to GO HARD. The first of the hills came about mile 3, i think. Up up up a woodchip path and i thought it was hard but not too bad. I passed another gal and we exchanged " goood jobs" And i thought..."HMm, they said the hill was at mile 4, we arenot at mile 4..." knowing deep down i wished we were. Then all the sudden i see it. a sharp left turn up Vista Del Lago. That sucker went on and on and on and it was not a gradual hill. I thought about staying up tall bc i felt like my 5 foot 9 stature had shrunk to at least 5 foot 4, i felt so hunched over. Lots of volunteers greeted me at what felt like the top of the world ( i guess it was about 500 yards long?) and said "That is it, no more hills! "
Um not really.
Of course every little incline felt like a hill after that:) I knew there was a gal behind me, i coul hear her and i had a gal in front. I just could not close the gap on the path bc it was weaving andup and down. But i sure tried. When we turned onto the final mile they take you past the finish area, down about 200 Yards then back up to the turn into the Lake MV park. I Tell ya I HATE seeing who is behind me on those out and back! IT's funny how the people i see in front look liek they are going SO Fast, but when i turn around i see the people chasing me and i think " WOW they are going fast I am gonna get caught!" So i tell ya, it was ZONE 5 from that point on. I didnt want to look back bc i didnt want to know and its a waste of energy to do that. CAtch me if you can was my thought, and i just picked it up as hard as i could.

Not until I turned into the park, and the slight downhill towards the lake did i glance and see nobody. But i still was gonna get this done ASAP.
IF you want a glimpse into the pain locker here it is:

My lovely hubby was there to greet me, and i still look a little bit wasted.
I was really really happy with the run, the race and how my butt held up! I would be lying if i didnt say that even tho i went into this race with a slight mental hurdle of the sore butt, i was still going for top 10. I knew i was close. And when i found out I was 11th by about 20-30 sec's I was heartbroken. I wanted nothing more than to podium for our state, for Jerry and Trudy, and for me new Gear West Bike and Tri team. I told Marit that i was bummed. I felt like it was so close, and then i realized that I had all the sudden gotten SO GREEDY. 3 hours earlier, or even 43 minutes earlier ( before the 10k) I was not sureI could even run!) and all the sudden i am pouty lipped ( not really) at finishing 11th? When i looked at Marit i felt selfish, and i quickly apologized. My good friend has been faced with more challenges than any young person should have to, and I am thinking....boohoo I didnt podium??! Julia, pull your head out.
Thankfully Marit ( as i said, she knows what to say!) said " Julia you are a great athlete, you set goals and you extend yourself beyond your limits to try to reach them, its normal to be disappointed, but that doesnt mean you didnt have the race of your life."
And how well said, that sure made me feel happy and proud of myself, proud of Marit and so grateful that my butt let me do one more race!

It didnt hurt that Jerry came up to me and said our MN team had gotten 3rd! Woohoo! And that was quite a treat as well.
Me and the fastie Matt Payne, who got 3rd OA! What a nice guy, It was great to meet Matt and his wife! They headed to San Diego and Sea World after the race.
and a few more images from Marit:

This is a great picture that i am thrilled to end the race season with. I gave it all I could and I am so thankful for the chance to go race with the best in 2011.
Thanks again to Jerry and Trudy. You seriously know how to make us feel special and i applaud your quest to give back to the amateurs that are racing day in and day out for the love of the sport. Many thanks to my husband of course, my coach who led me to the pain locker but never closed the door on me, she let me do that myself, and to all the super fun friends on blogland, fb land and in real time that are so supportive of me and this amazing sport! I am super excited, as i said, to be joining a new team for 2011 and racing and laughing with the Gear West Tri Team.
We already have our first race this coming weekend. The Beer Mile. I am not sure i can race but i will do my best to sherpa for anyone that needs me:)

More on the recovery later!
But it started that night with dinner in La Jolla at Piatti with Marit:)

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Race Week

Original title I know:)

But here we go. I am ready in spirit, the body is lagging but if it can hold on for one more race I will be quite happy. To be honest I havent really thought too much of the "what if's??" That doesnt mean i havent had my fair share of restless nights and dreams about stress fractures and odd things that likely as a PT I know WAY TOO MUCH about. Yup I can tell ya all the worst case scenarios from one little symptom. So my mantra continues to be " I AM NOT INJURED." Bc I really dont think i am, I think i just need some extended rest.

Lots of peeps i know are in Kona, a few going to Dallas, and a few doing Chicago.
For all of us I think the comraderie of "Getting it done," Should help along with my motto of cross the line smiling no matter the outcome. That may be hard if i am throwing down a 50 min 10k, but i know what i am capable of healthy and i have every intention of working towards that on sunday!

Good luck to everyone racing. Have a blast!