Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Leashless dog and the sprained ankle

Well, at least this will be excellent material for my Elbrus pt. 2 book...

I can't lose training time, I can't lose fitness. But I have to eat and rest and heal. Quite the paradox. Elbrus Race 2013 coming up in 3 weeks now. Was getting to my peak. Hoping for a very fast recovery, or at least enough to let me run uphill fast two critical events.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Training at Breck Rec

I'm not used to training any other place than in my basement or garage, but when we moved to Colorado this summer I had to figure out a training program that would work for me. I'm peaking for Elbrus Race 2013 right now, so I can't really bail on weight training, in spite of the heavy mileage in running and fast hiking I've been doing. In spite of the great quantities of vertical I've been doing. I have a punch-card at the Breckenridge Recreation Center, which is about the most reasonably priced option at the moment.

I love the Cybex machines overall. They're pretty smooth and have a good action. There are a few differences in perceived resistance between them and what I normally do. In general though, especially for my upper body training, I'm just working strength endurance on the low side of the curve. I'm doing sets of 25 with a moderate weight. For some of these I had to do a rest-pause sequence. When I couldn't go any more I just set it down, took 2-3 deep breaths then kept going with the count until I hit 25.

After hitting the machines upstairs I went downstairs to the free weights and weight towers. Fortunately they have two squat/deadlift stations, since one was being used. I did a set of squats, which felt rather odd with a straight bar. and then some Romanian or Straight Leg Deadlifts. Then some sets of three singles in a row. They're singles because you set the bar down and relax your grip between each rep. Those also felt odd with a straight bar. For my squats I've been using the Safety Squat Yoke Bar. For deadlifts I've been using a Hexagonal Trap Bar. Both give me a much better position with my wrists and help me to avoid repetitive stress injuries there. I'm just glad they had chalk out and available.

I finished with another set of squats, then went over to the "Hungarian Core Blaster". Here's a [LINK] if you want to see what it is, but I totally dig it. You can get a great workout. In Utah I use a kettlebell to do the same type of motion. 

Then I finished with some bicep and tricep on a lat tower. I tested out some pullup and chinup motions, but was pretty wasted after last week so I ddin't push that any further. Finally some knee-ups on a stand.

Hyper/Roman Chair/Left and Right Side Abs:  25 ea
Roman Chair Ab Twist 10 rotations side to side
Cybex Lat Pulldown 25 @ 50 / 70
Cybex Shoulder Press 25 @ 40 / 35
Cybex Lat Row 25 @ 85 / 90
Cybex Chest Press 25 @ 50 / 50 (rp)
Cybex Let Extension 25 @ 50 / 50
Cybex Leg Curl 25 @ 110 / 110

Full Back Squat 15 @ 45
Romanian Deadlift 15 @ 135
Deadlift 3x1 @ 225 / 225 / 225 / 225
Full Back Squat 15 @ 45
Sorinex Core Blaster 2x 15 @ 45 ea
Cable Tricep 2x 50 @ L6
Cable Bicep 2x 30 @ L4
Knee Ups 10 (knees bent)

Bumper Plates on the Deadlift Platform
I'm thinking I'll do a long run tomorrow and then a shorter run on Wednesday with the option of doing weights again on Wednesday or Thursday. We'll have to see how my recovery progresses as I peak for Elbrus Race 2013.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Front Squats with straps

Several years ago I broke my right wrist. The scaphoid bone [CLICK] which is very difficult to heal properly. I managed to heal well enough, but lost a lot of flexibility and stability. When I climb too hard too often, like doing multiple 5.11 over a few weeks, I have to take time off to heal.

The usual front squat, done with an Olympic style grip, is impossible for me. Even with all the various drills. That's reality and I'm fine with that. I messed around with the Sting Ray but it didn't really fit well, though with some messing around it did work.

A few weeks ago I saw a trick in an article using some common wrist straps. The kind you use for deadlift or other pulling motion training. You wrap them on the bar then grab the middle over the bar and hang on with the bar balanced in the indentation of your deltoid muscles. See the video here for a better idea of what I'm saying.

One thing to keep in mind is that in spite of my lack of wrist flexibility and stability my lower body and legs are in fairly decent shape that way. I'm going way down here. If you attempt any kind of squat check out the curve of your lower back just above your hip bones - if you lose that curve at any point in your downward motion that's a little too far for your current flexibility or mobility. They're two different things.

Do what's right for you, and when in doubt have an honest intelligent friend help you out, or hire someone who is qualified.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

What the Doctor said about my HAPE

I managed to get in to see my family physician, who I've seen for the past 8 years. He knows me pretty well, and his office is only a few minutes away from my house in Utah. I was in Utah to take care of some business and pack up a few things that needed to be in Colorado.

At the office I described my symptoms and told him about the oddities in the x-rays from Indonesia. He requested some new x-rays, saying that x-rays for broken bones are very different from x-rays for pulmonary issues. He looked at the x-rays, noted the slight shadow areas, but didn't feel like it was an issue at that time.
My x-rays smuggled out of detention in Indonesia
The girl who took my x-rays was pretty funny, helping me into the lead skirt after having me remove my shirt. The buttons would interfere with the x-ray she said. She took two views, helping me arrange my scapulae into the proper formation to extend my lungs for better viewing. She had me stand there shirtless and in the skirt while she developed the x-rays to make sure we didn't need to redo it.

Her: "This is huge! Your lung is huge!"
Me: "Which one?"
Her: "Huh? Oh, haha - no come look. This is the biggest lung I've ever seen."

So I went into the little shielded tech room and she pointed out how it filled the entire chest cavity. Who would have thought? She allowed me to put my shirt on and I went to meet with the Doctor.

After a few minutes he came in, looked at my x-rays and pondered for a minute. He said that with true HAPE it would be impossible to identify it accurately a week later at an elevation 9,000' lower. Then he said that my lung volume was probably twice his, probably twice most normal people. He suggested that I was probably not breathing fully, an autonomic response to rib damage, and that as the Doctor in Indonesia had said, the cartilage might not be fully healed for a year or maybe even more. In the meantime he wants me to practice breathing fully. All in. All out. Extend and expand.

Since he assumed I'd be running anyway, he said to run and focus on fully breathing. He also suggested Tai Chi or Yoga or stretching, anything to expand and open my rib cage. He said not to climb Rainier for three more weeks, but after that I should be good to go. I'm free to climb Elbrus in September. And of course day trips on 14'ers shouldn't be an issue.

I returned to Colorado and the next day set a PR on a trail 10k, 1k, and half mile according to Strava. Now that I know there's nothing long term or historic wrong with my lungs, I think I had a mental boost that day. Breathing deeply might have helped too. This was ultimately a 6.4 mile run with 800' of elevation up and down in 1:14.

Later that same day I visited with my Chiropractor in his Breckenridge office, and he thought it was a great prognosis. He does work for a lot of professional and extreme athletes, and understands that taking a year or two off really isn't an option. We're an odd bunch I suppose ...