Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Injury Update: Almost a year later to get to good news

Back in January, I had exchanged some emails with the Brian Hill, president of Rehab United, about how to deal with a leg length discrepancy, based on the theories that were developed this past fall.  I basically told him that 24 (freakin!) sessions of PT was a step in the right direction, but wasn't where I thought I'd be - especially having tried ART and Acupuncture as well. He offered to take a second look, and I took him up on this offer.

Shortly before my first meeting with Brian, Ryan posted this link, and this just struck a chord with me.  I know that it is the internet and all, but it really seemed related to the types of issues I had been experiencing.  I remained cautiously optimistic that things might actually make sense.

I met with Brian one afternoon, and after a mere 15 minutes of some observations and tests, he said that he doubts that I have a leg length discrepancy, and that the core of the issue is some extremely tight hip flexors [psoas to you non-physiology folk], and possibly a tight Iliacus that was causing my pelvis to become twisted in a 3D manner.  The image that really brought it all together for me (I'm a visual person, so I need to "see" this to believe it) was the one from the link Ryan posted.  Looking at the pelvic anatomy how the psoas connect from your femur to the lower lumbar (and everything in between), once those bad boys get tight, it can wreak havoc!

He quickly rigged up a contraption that compensates for tight hip flexors, and immediately, all my tests pointed to zero pelvic tilt.  He prescribed some stretches and some rather dynamic exercises, and we scheduled a follow up appointment for 2 weeks.  within those 2 weeks, I made arguably more progress than I had in 2 months of PT during the fall.  Immediately, the stoke factor was through the roof!
So, how and why the tight hip flexors?  I doubt that I could point to one thing, but riding in the aero position for hours on end, running long distance, not stretching the right areas enough and sitting too much are probably the main culprits.  Ironically, it was the right psoas that caused the left knee bursitis/ITBS I dealt with last year.  Go figure.

I realized the other day that having been injured on 1-MAY of last year, this entire process took nearly a %@#$ YEAR to get fixed!  I won't lie, it has been a total energy, time, financial and emotional suck.  But committed I remain to the end goal, and so I press on.  Certainly there were lessons of perseverance learned along the way, along with never give up, no matter what crazy theories and statements ("maybe PT isn't right for you") people throw your way.  No one knows your body better than you, so don't let them tell you what is right, and what is wrong, no matter how many letters they have after their name showing how many certifications they've earned, if it doesn't sit right.

I also want to thank some good friends, fellow dream crushers, who don't accept the status quo in life, that helped along the way.  Frank who, from the east coast, offered advice and videos of rehabbing ITBS, Shawn having always lent an ear, James J and his advice and opinions, Tawnee for giving some pointers and opinions on rehab, Matt, who while across the pond, I can still chat with as if he was driving me across the US, James W with his constant positive comments, Trevor who has "been there" and giving me some recommendations of things to try and also offering encouragement, Slater for inspiring with extreme dream crushing and recommending Doreen (she's awesome!) for specific, "hands on" yoga to release those psoas, and Toby, who "gets" that when you do things like RAAM and 100 mile runs, its hard to find that next adventure that offers the right balance of challenge, experience, adventure that raises the bar.  And of course my family and girlfriend Michelle who had to deal with some frustrations and crankiness on my part!

I do have a few things that I am working to keep those psoas limber so that the next time I see Bryan, it will be either doing a strength session, or having a beer - NOT doing PT!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

WBC: Snow camp in Mammoth!

The last camping excursion for the Wilderness Basics Course was a snow camp.  As the name implies, we camp in the snow!  As it was with J-Tree, there was a lot of chatter about the weather we were planning to get, and as the pictures will tell, it lived up to the expectations.

Friday, we boarded buses, made the long drive up to Mammoth Lakes, got into town around 1130ish, and slept in a high school gym before leaving for the trail head at 8am the next morning.  When we woke up, we looked out the windows to the sweet views of snowing already coming down by 630am.  To give you an idea of what we were dealing with:

I was super stoked for the day.  My group leader tasked me with leading the group for the first ~1.5 miles of a ~2mile trek to camp using just the map and compass.  Having done Adventure Races in the past, I wasn't a complete noob, and was glad I got to fine tune the skills.  Below is a pic of the GPS track we took.  We started at the bottom right of the red line, and I got us to the Inyo Craters issue free.  Score! (The route we took on Saturday is the most direct line, as opposed to the loop on a road we took on Sunday b/c someone broke their snowshoe)

I had never been snowshoeing before, so I wasn't sure what to expect.  Leading the group, I was in front, and 30ft in, I had already fell on my ass!  It took a little while getting used to snowshoeing through 2 feet of powder, but I eventually got into a groove.  Richard also provided some sage advice to the tune of "slow down, or you'll kill yourself".  Point noted!

Here's a little video:

After about 30 minutes of leading the group, a couple dudes wanted to come to the front and have some time blazing the trail.  I'm 5'7'', had never been snowshoeing before, and had no trekking poles (apparently, the only one who didn't) - I was at a severe disadvantage.  After a few minutes of being at the front, there were grown men falling over, and saying "F this" after being in the front for a few 5 minutes!  Here's that video of the slow pace... good times!

It's a lot of work!  But, its a lot of fun too.  A side benefit is with all the work you do - you don't get cold.  Thank god for pit zips on my hard shell - I was getting warm!

After 3.5 hours, we finally made it the 2 miles to camp.  The wind had picked up over the course of the day, and we were in a little valley next to a crater.  We quickly got to work, stomped out a site for our tents, and started making some ice igloos.

After we got the 2nd layer up, we realized the snow wasn't sticking enough to make the igloo, so we abandoned the idea, and went with the fortress/snow kitchen.  Basically, we made some 3-4 walls to shield ourselves from the wind, complete with a bench, and table.

Add some camping stoves, and we're in business!!

After dinner, the temp dropped, and when the sun isn't up and you don't have a fire - there isn't much reason to stay awake (unless you're drinking, which I actually gave up for lent!), you go to "bed".  It was definitely cold at night, about 18 degrees, and I slept about as good as I could, given the conditions.

Sunday morning, we packed up, destroyed the snow kitchen, and made quick work back to the trail head under some beautiful blue skies.

In the pic below, you can barely see the tracks we made the day prior, which was covered up by all the snow and wind...

One of the Inyo Craters...

"Inside" one of the craters...

Last, but not least, arguably one of my favorite pictures, which needs no explanation:

Shortly after that, we boarded the buses, and pointed it south towards San Diego.

This was definitely an epic weekend, and really opened my eyes and perspective as to what you can do if you have the right gear - regardless of weather conditions.  Good stuff!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Spring & Shades

Hope you all had a good weekend!  I think spring is just about here, and below is a nice little shade of it taken from atop a balcony...

Good stuff to come soon!