Week 5 Complete – 1/2 way to 1/3rd of the way done!

If we double the 5 weeks I’ve completed to 10 weeks then that 10 weeks represents 1/3rd of my 30 week Marathon Training Schedule 🙂

So far, it’s been great.  Week 1 of this program was simply walking 20 minutes a day, four days per week and that first week is actually represented by all the walking I did the first three months of the year when I built myself up to walking a total of five miles per day.  

The last workout of week 5 was pretty interesting.  I was able to run downhill for the first time, ran my 3rd longest non-stop run and was able to pick up my speed considerably.  Oh, and I remembered the second vision I had from the other day 🙂  (SAFB pic)

SPEED! 
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D
uring my last mile of training, I just wanted to run.  So, I started blasting out runs in 1/10th of a mile increments.  The Sports Tracker application on my phone can’t register and instantaneous speed change so however fast I’m running has to be kept up long enough to get registered and acknowledged by the app.  So, I would run a tenth of a mile then walk a tenth.  At first I saw paces like 9:33 then 8:30 and then I hit that 6:12 min/mile pace and it felt great!  There was absolutely no pain anywhere and everything felt as if it was supposed to feel.  I felt as though I was breaking up adhesions in my fascia around the hips and was finally moving in a manner in which God had intended.  This was close to the 6:05 mile pace I ran as a senior in high school so, it’s nice to be revisiting my youth.  I would still like to break that 6 min/mile mark which would be my own personal 4 min/mile type barrier and a goal I’ve had for a very long time, about 30 years now.

Running Downhill – ACL & PCL 
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When running up and especially downhill, I am very aware of my ACL and PCL.  Those are two ligaments in the knee and are acronyms which stand for Anterior Cruciate Ligament and Posterior Cruciate Ligament.  When viewed from the side, these ligaments cross in the shape of an ‘X’ which is where the cruciate parts of their name come from.  The ACL keeps the tibia from moving forward relative to the femur and the PCL keeps the tibia from moving backwards relative to the femur.  Running uphill has always felt more stable to me and I may have this backwards but, it seems to me that when the foot is planted when running downhill and the knee is flexed that the PCL will be undergoing the greatest amount of stress and stretch.  Regardless of whether or not my perception is correct or not, I still perceived an imbalance in the levels of conditioning of my ACL and PCL and I knew it would take a while to build up and condition those ligaments so, up until this last run, I’ve always been careful when going downhill and would often walk or very slowly jog downhill to help avoid any potential injuries.  I believe the patience has paid off and it felt really, really good to be able to run downhill.  🙂

3rd Longest Non-Stop Run – 
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Motivation would be a very easy thing to maintain if all improvement in our lives was linear.  If every time we went out to do something we were always noticeably better than the last time we went out then motivation would be a no-brainer because positive feedback would always be there to provide it for us.  On the macro scale most people look at things this is hardly the case and the less a person knows or is able to consider the less they are likely to perceive improvement and the greater their motivation may be challenged.  Consider a dieter who only uses a scale as their only form of feedback.  It’s quite possible for a person to become leaner and in better condition while registering a gain on the scale.  These short term fluctuations are usually attributed to fluid levels.  Even as a runner, I am limited in the number of variables I consider.  I have total distance over a given time period, average pace, average speed – most variables having to do with time and distance as well as what the scale tells me each week and occasionally what the tape measure around my waist tells me.  But, I’ll never know how my Mean Corpuscular Volume (MCV) is changing or the efficiency with which oxygen is dissociated from hemoglobin or any of dozens of lab values I’ve studied in school not to mention all the possible variables for which I am ignorant of to begin with.  
Foco Força E Fé is portuguese and means Focus, Strength and Faith.  Those are a few of the mental variables one must possess to augment our motivation and help see us through those times when our immediate temporal results don’t seem to be commensurate with our efforts.  

The Second Vision – 
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A few blogs ago I mentioned a vision I had while running which consisted of being able to see a future version of myself through smudged glass and it was like each training session was wiping away more and more of that smug and for the first time I was able to peek through that glass and see a future version of myself.  There was another vision I had that day but could not recall it.  Yesterday, I was able to remember my second vision because of noticeably increased energy levels.  Usually, my days consist of cutting grass …a lot of grass, quite often to the tune of cutting an acre or more worth of lawns with a push mower.  My body is still acclimating itself to this frequent level of exertion and, until it does, I’m usually wiped out by the end of the day. The day before yesterday was a bit different.  Instead of pushing a lawn mower for miles on end, I got to participate in a health fair at a nearby Air Force Base. Shirt & tie type work performing EMGs on potential patients might be mentally exhausting but not very physically exhausting which meant, by the next day, I was FULL of energy!  Heck, that night I had a wellspring of energy and was able to get a ton of work done around the house and even though I ran at the end of the day yesterday, after cutting three lawns, I still felt I had a ton of energy.  

I remembered the second vision because of the abundance of energy I felt yesterday, that was the trigger to help me remember.  The second vision entailed feeling like I was being plugged into an energy source, as if some giant electrical plug was being inserted into the earth and I was making contact with it and feeling this extra surge of energy.  This was very reminiscent of my younger days when I felt I had enough energy inside of me to light up all of New York City.  It was a good feeling to remember and a very good direction to be taking.  That vision kind of augmented the other vision I was having at being able to peer through the smudged glass to see my future self in that it almost caused a past version of myself to be standing behind me.  If I could get to that future vision of myself, if the glass became completely clear then it would be shattered then the past self and future self would merge into a present identity.  This may sound weird to a lot of people (and, statistically it just might) non-the-less, it’s what I saw.

EMG – Electromyography
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In terms of electrical activity or action potential one might think of the brain as being the power company and the spinal cord and vertebrae as the fuse box.  All the muscles, organs and tissues of the human body are the things this power supply is plugged into.  In your home fuse box, a switch is either on or off.  The human body is a little more complex and more resembles a dimmer switch, in fact studies have been shown that a pressure equivalent to the weight of a dime in the human fuse box (spine) is all that is needed to hamper nerve transmission from your brain to your body.  The picture above shows the exact same scan results we performed at the Air Force Base health fair.  Since it was a public setting we only measured the cervical spine (neck) and first thoracic vertebrae.  The colors may be thought of as representing nerve interference with red being severe, blue is moderate, green is mild and white is clear.  Ideally, all the bars above should be white and the same side on each side of the spine.  

It was pretty interesting evaluating all these patients.  We might see a big red bar at C5 on the left and afterwards when the patient looks at their results they might comment that their left arm has been hurting for the past few weeks and it’s those very nerves, from C5 down to T1 that go down the arm.  

Generally speaking though, what we’re looking at is the manifestation of stress on the human body.  Massage pretty much anybody on the shoulders or trapezius muscles and they generally express a feeling of relief even if they didn’t realize how tight those muscle were before being touched and massaged.  It’s pretty much the same way with the multitudes of muscles found along the spinal column.  There are three main sources of stress; chemical, physical and emotional.  Chemically we have obvious things such as alcohol or smoking and more subtle things like eating overly processed foods.  Physically from the activities we participate in during our daily lives and emotionally from things like relationships, kids, work and things like that.  

I think most of the public might have an understanding of how chiropractic might relate to back pain relief but, the true beauty of chiropractic is what it is capable of beyond simple biomechanics.  Remember I mentioned how every organ, muscle and tissue is ultimately plugged into from this fuse box of ours called the spine?  Those organs can be adversely affected without clear nerve transmission.  For me personally, I used to take Prevacid, a PPI or proton pump inhibitor for upset stomach and when I had this scan done a number of years ago the nerves around T6, those nerves that go to my stomach had big red lines associated with them indicating nerve interference to that particular organ.  After I started getting that area adjusted from my brother close to 20 years ago, I’ve never had to take another Prevacid again because I never had any more pain in my stomach.  Another lady I worked with suffered from bradycardia (slow heart rate).  It took a while to get her in but her results were immediate and over time the results lasted longer and longer to the point where her heart rate was able to be maintained at a normal level and she could once again resume a normal life.  In that heart example, the initial diagnosis was made by a cardiologist as hypervagal tone which was accurate, it’s just that traditional medicine didn’t have the tools necessary to effectively treat the cause which was an exacerbated parasympathetic nerve which has a ganglion in the cervical region of the spine.  

Dr Leah, the other chiropractor I was working with on Friday told me about an infant who was unable to sleep more than an hour at a time and from the very first adjustment the baby was able to sleep through the entire night which was good for both the baby and the parents.  My brother also told me of a male patient who was literally taking 200 pills a day for various ailments and after a few months worth of chiropractic treatments, this patients medical doctors were able to reduce the number of pills down to ….can’t remember exactly, it was either down to 40 or 60 pills a day.  

I would postulate that at a simple level, anyone taking an adronergic or cholenergic type of drug could probably benefit from chiropractic treatments.  

Of course, chiropractic doesn’t fix everything.  That’s pretty much what my Part III board exam is all about – knowing what we can effectively treat on our own and what should be referred out or co-managed with other healthcare professionals.  Having said that though, chiropractic is designed to help the body perform at it’s most optimal level and that can be useful.  I remember learning about one report that was done with a patient undergoing treatments for cancer.  With treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation drugs are often given to help reduce the side effects of those treatments.  Patients who received regular chiropractic care were able to maintain more optimal blood counts with fewer side effect drugs than those patients who were not receiving chiropractic care.  

Probably the biggest and most recent news on chiropractic has been on it’s relationship to help lower high blood pressure.  Those results indicated chiropractic care was as effective as two blood pressure medications.  At least, that was pretty well known to those of us in the profession because we readily share that kind of information.  One thing we learned in a Research Studies class was that it usually takes a minimum of 20 years after a study for that information to become part of any mainstream care.  

I suppose I’ve diverged a bit from my running blog…   

Something else I thought of – a few years back, I tried taking Zyban (or Welbutrin) to help quit smoking.  I’m not a huge fan of taking prescription medication but figured if it would really help me quit then the benefits would outway the risk of the medication.  I only took it for a few weeks and didn’t notice any results so I stopped taking it.  I was slightly admonished and told that it could take a month or two before enough of the medication could build up in my system to be effective.  That was probably right but, it made me wonder about the benefits of exercise and the time it might take for that to build up.  I think a lot of people might abandon exercise for the same reason I abandoned the Zyban, because they weren’t noticing any results.  There’s almost always a good feeling upon completion of exercise but, I think building up to a level of health and fitness that is going to be noticeable in our daily lives does take more than any single workout can provide.  Like that medication, it can take several months of consistent effort before we notice heightened moods, increased energy levels and a profound improvement in our lives.  

…which reminds me …3-4 months out from the November 1st marathon, I’m still planning on taking Chantix to help eradicate smoking from my life.  I also have a very highly rated book to help quit smoking as well as a discount I can get on a repeat treatment of auriculotherapy which, to date, has been the most effect thing I’ve ever tried to help quit smoking.  

Definitely looking forward to the future and very hopeful.  🙂

 

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