Limbering Up

Rich giving me a hand with some light stretching.  If I didn't mention before, I've gained a few pounds...

Rich giving me a hand with some light stretching. If I didn’t mention before, I’ve gained a few pounds…

Eleven visits to the therapist later and I am happy to report that all is well.  I won’t be auditioning for Cirque du Soleil or trying out for the Chinese gymnastics team, but in the last 3.5 weeks I have definitely been contorted into positions that I haven’t experienced since I was probably about 9 years old.  After Rich Harris (the PT) labeled me the “worst he has ever seen” my flexibility has apparently progressed to the “satisfactory” level.   Two more visits this week and I am officially going to be discharged.  Blue Cross and Blue Shield will be happy to hear that (thank FedEx!) I’m sure…

Apparently my issue was not as simple as weak or tight hamstrings like I had assumed, which was part of the problem.  In the past I would just keep my fitness level up in the pool while the hamstring healed, then I would go right back out and do the same thing all over again.  It turns out that my hamstrings were more of a symptom than the actual problem – the problem was much bigger and involved tight quads, hip flexors, hamstrings, glutes, etc..  It seems that every muscle south of my navel was conspiring to wreck my hamstrings, and they were doing a good job of it.  PT has involved lots of stretches reminiscent of the dreaded medieval “rack”, ultrasound, and then I was slowly introduced to some strength exercises to build up the muscles on the weak side of the imbalance I was suffering from.  According to my sensei Rich, this increased strength and flexibility is going to result in a longer stride which will require less effort as the muscles in my legs and hips will no longer be fighting each other to see which can cause the most inefficiency in each stride I take.  Work less to go farther/faster?  Sign me up….

I didn’t do much more than an occasional elliptical or HydroWorx session for two weeks after the Hartshorne Mile as I got started with Rich at Elite Athletic Performance.  With his blessing I started adding some land miles and upped the intensity of the non-road running I was doing.  Ended up getting 22 miles on the roads last week, and another 3 hours in the pool.  All of it has been very easy, but I’m about to get clearance to actually start doing some “quality” work in the next couple days.  I feel good, but it always stinks to “start over” in your training, so we’ll see where I pick up once I get out there.  After I am officially done getting “therapied” by Rich I am planning on rolling over into one of his performance programs, so as I said last time I am “all in” with this to see how it goes. He seems to understand were I was, am now, and want to be moving forward, and has a plan to get me there (and then some).  If nothing else it’s something different, and sometimes that can be a good thing.  If I am healthier, stronger, and more flexible that’s a good place to start in any program.  Landover is in 5.5 weeks, plan is to toe the line down there ready to compete.  If nothing else I will be able to impress the crowd with my newfound ability to tie my shoes without grimacing….

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About Nick Berra

I am a 45 year old masters runner from Central Pennsylvania. I have been participating primarily in track events since turning 40 in 2009. This season has produced marks that I have not run in several years, I believe primarily due to starting a strength and flexibility program here at Elite Athletic Performance - I've felt stronger and faster than I have in a long time. That, coupled with lots of underwater running, has kept me healthy and fit - at this age those are things I no longer take for granted... I run USATF events with a team out of Philadelphia, the Greater Philadelphia Track Club. They are a great group who have played a big part in making the sport enjoyable for me again. I also run local races for HydroWorx Track Club, supported by HydroWorx here in Harrisburg PA. Their underwater treadmills and training center has proved to be a crucial part of my training, rehabilitation, and recovery programs. I set personal records in the 800m (1:56.06) in 2010 and in the 1500m (4:02:63) and mile (4:23.48) in 2011. Despite the fact that I am not getting any younger, I nearly PR'ed recently and set the M45 indoor world record in the 800 meters at the New Balance Armory in New York City. I ran 1:56.10, besting the 9 year old record by less than a second. I feel like there are still more big things to come... I am married and have two daughters. I am an assistant XC coach at my alma mater, Cumberland Valley High School here in Mechanicsburg PA. I am also a 1991 graduate of the US Naval Academy, currently working as a pilot for FedEx after serving 10 years on active duty flying in the Navy. Beat Army! Beat Army!
This entry was posted in 5k running, Aquatic Fitness, Competitive Races, Hartshorne Mile, Hydrotherapy, HydroWorx Exercise Pool, Running, Running Injuries, Training for Runs, Uncategorized, Underwater Treadmill, Water Running and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Limbering Up

  1. Mark Gomes says:

    Rich sounds like a rock star. From what you describe, I bet you’ll shake off the rust very quickly. Enjoy your new chassis. Looking forward to hearing about how fast it can go!

  2. Delvin says:

    It’s great to hear that you’re better. My flexibility is shot as well. My periformis syndrome is a bummer.

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