Running Through a Fulfilled Life

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I Am a Doctor of Physical Therapy

**Spoiler Alert** This is not my typical snarktastic posting.  Just a mini-rant.

There was another blog posting that was written not too long ago that really hit home with me. It was in reference to a Dr. Oz show in which a Physical Therapist came out to showcase the “latest and greatest” therapy methods.  These methods were apparently ( I didn’t see the episode) the following: ultrasound, Tiger Balm and a bumpy ball.  The posting goes on to entirely tear to shreds this segment and make a case for why Physical Therapy is more than what the general public thinks.  It all comes down to this one point: as a therapist (and specifically a Doctor of PT), we need to do a better job advocating for our services and marketing what exactly separates us from other disciplines.   To see the original blog post, click here.

Some things I have come across today have sparked me to re-read this posting and write my own additional rant on the subject.

I had a patient today tell me when I was going through their insurance information “I don’t believe in Physical Therapy”.  I sat there aghast and tried to understand why this person could think this way when obviously they were in need of therapy.  She simply said “I don’t see how it’s going to help, you’re only going to hurt me, and my idea of therapy would be sitting in a hot tub”.  Ignorant statements.

I also was doing some blog reading in which physical therapy was equated to working with a personal strength trainer.  Super ignorant statement.

These types of thoughts pervade the perception of what a PT does in the general public.  So I have the following statements to say to correct these common misconceptions:
1) PT does not stand for Pain&Torture, Physical Terrorism, or just pain.   PT stands for Physical Therapy.  This means that it will involve some physical work by both patient and therapist to accomplish an outcome to better the health and well-being of the patient.  We can use means of exercise, manual skills, modalities, home programs, ADL activities, etc to accomplish this.
2) “No pain no gain”.  I hate that phrase.  Whoever said it was clearly not a therapist.  Sometimes in therapy, pain is necessary.  Sometimes, however, it is not.  It is a case by case situation.
3) Physical Therapy describes a vast array of sub-specialties.  Therapists can treat orthopedic conditions, neuromuscular disease, wound management, treat TMJ disorders, work in Women’s Health, participate in development of workplace ergonomics, perform pulmonary treatments, participate in cardiac rehab, treat vestibular disorders, engineer community wellness programs, etc.  The bigger question is, what can PT do for you?
4) I hold my Bachelor’s in Exercise Science.  Meaning I spent 4 years studying how the human body moves and responds physiologically to movement.
5) I hold my Doctorate of Physical Therapy.  Meaning I am a Doctor of Physical Therapy.  I was in school for 7 years and have a strong background in anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, exercise prescription and programming, and manual treatment techniques.  I hold a strong background in research; both design and interpretation.  I have the ability to differentially diagnose.  Ohio allows for Direct Access in which a patient can see a licensed PT without Doctor referral so long as their insurance company covers it.  To say a PT has equal knowledge in exercise prescription to a strength trainer is nothing short of ridiculous.
6) As a Physical Therapist I am required by my licensing board to complete continuing education hours before each license renewal.  Therefore, you can be certain that I am staying up to date on the latest and greatest treatment techniques and research.

How can PT’s advocate for their profession better?  It starts with simply correcting the pervasively ignorant ideas that exist in the general public.  It starts supporting our professional organizations to “fight for our rights” to prevent other disciplines from overstepping their boundaries.  It starts by providing quality care so that a patient gives you the most valuable referral: word of mouth.  It starts one step at a time.

***Rant Over***
Eli OUT.



Race Recap: SnoBall Run

I have been attempting to make it a fitness goal to run a race each month this year.  While I generally make good on this goal in year’s past, I tend to be a gigantic wussy kid during the winter months and will often forego races in January and February.  Which is why I put on my Big Girl Pants and sucked it up before registering myself for the SnoBall Run on Feb 23.  With the recent weather being nothing less than craptastically cold in the North Central part of Ohio, I have been quarantined to running most of my runs on the treadmill after work.  My view, unchanging, of farmer’s fields with the occasional rambunctious rabid raccoon running past.  Needless to say, I was kind of pumped up to run outside whether it was going to be warm, snowy, raining, cold, cold as a Witches Teat, or cold enough to make snotsicles.  I didn’t care.  I was craving an outdoor run.  Also, I can be so ridiculously good looking when my hair resembles a clip on piece of Muppet hair.




Was super pumped to run in the top my Mom bought me.  Isn’t she just the sweetest?

I made the 40 minute drive out to Bay Village and got myself ready to run.  I ran into Jess and Ryan before the start and was so happy to see them.  The weather was perfect running weather; chilly with a light breeze but dry roads and ZERO chance of things precipitating in my face.  For a first year race, there was a great turnout of over 600 runners with a lot of support coming from middle and high school students.  The only bad part of the unexpected turnout was how congested the starting area became.  I usually try to lineup in an area that corresponds to my pace, but everyone was packed like sardines so much that I just had to find a spot and just hope for the best.

The race started and I slowly was able to break out into a jog and spent most of the first mile getting up to speed and dodging through much slower runners.  I felt like I was playing a large game of Frogger, so it kept things interesting since I had forgotten my Garmin and had zero clue as to my pace.  And honestly I really didn’t care.  I was having fun.  The first mile was primarily a straightaway, slightly uphill and into the wind.  Per the mile split volunteer, my time was 7:15.  I was not happy with this split as that is my normal 2nd mile pace.  So I started to push.  The second mile split was somewhere around 14:10.  I was negative splitting.  I tried to push when I knew the school stadium was in site.  My stomach felt like upchucking my morning bagel, but I somehow kept that inside and had enough energy to sprint (which never happens) at the end.  I crossed the finish line with a gun time of 21:50.  My net time was 21:37.  Not too sure if the course was accurate, as people with Garmins had it being a bit short.  But whatever the case, I am happy with that time.  My ability to tolerate my favorite speedworkouts has lately been at an all-time low due to my body sucking at life, so I have been doing a lot more cross training and strength training to compensate.

Final Finish: 21:37 (6:57/mile pace if the course were accurate?)
Overall: 62/553
Females: 10th Finisher I think? my math skills are not good
Age Group: 1/24

all my racing goodies lined up.  oh wait, i forgot to put myself in this
engage: crappy MS Paint skills!  much better.  me enjoying my new tshirt.

It was fun after the race to be able to do some cool-down miles with Jess and Ryan before they headed out to finish out their long runs like ballers do.  Getting excited for the their wedding in July!

Up next: Louisville 5K in March!

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Accidental 400M Sprint

Since I have decided to spend a weekend this weekend with my parents, I was looking forward to enjoying some quality time with my Mom.  She has been struggling through some injuries since last June (like Mother like Daughter) and is just now making her comeback to running.  We set out this morning to run 2.5 Miles together with a 0.5 Mile Warm-Up Walk.  There is nothing better than getting to enjoy an easy, relaxing run with a running partner.  Especially a running partner that birthed you.  

Although I should clarify that my “easy” currently makes her feel like she is on a death march.  We completed 2.5 miles in 24 minutes.  An achievement for her given that she swore it was impossible to break 10:00/mile pace since her injury.  

Once finishing, we parted ways.  I continued on and cursed myself for wearing far too much clothing for 25 degrees.  I was about a mile removed from when we parted ways when I looked out of the corner of my eye and saw a big, black dog tearing across a yard and heading my way barking and growling.  I started having a mini, mental panic attack because there was no one outside to save me and no tree to crawl up (not that those are appropriate escape tactics).  I tried to remain calm as it growled at me and followed right behind.  I slowed to a walk and tried to yell in my best mean voice.  I found that my mean voice sounds awfully close to a demonic screech.  The dog continued to follow me barking and growling for another 3 minutes before it wandered into some other yards.  Taking that as my cue, I sprinted all the way up my parent’s road.  If someone had timed my 400 at that time, I likely ran a Personal Best.  Ugh.  I love dogs.  But I don’t love dogs when they have no collar.  No fence.  No owner in sight.  And are mean.  And chase someone who resembles a traffic cone (points to self).

Has anyone else ever been chased by a dog?  How did you escape?  The only other time this has happened to me I literally ran into oncoming traffic in hopes that someone would see me or hit the dog since it was nipping my heels and making me freak out/simultaneously crap myself.


How to Break Up Treadmill Boredom

Tis the time of the year where the treadmill runs become more numerous.  With temperatures dropping, blustery days, freezing rain, and mounds of snow, it is no surprise that the average runner finds his or herself having to turn towards a hamster wheel to stay active.

I am no stranger to the treadmill.  With winter bringing shorter hours of daylight, I find that even if the weather is “ok”, I have to run on the treadmill because it is pitch black by the time I get home from work.  I am a big fan of safety and don’t like to venture outside when it is dark along vacant country roads where there is a half mile between houses.  Just not my cup of tea.

Treadmills can be really boring.  I’m just going to come out and say it.  The mechanics of your running change as the surface moves below you and you literally go nowhere.  The sights don’t change.  The people around you don’t change.  They may even stare.  These things happen.  I have come with a few “go-to” set up tricks to distract myself.  Usually it seems to help.

1)  Always find a way to cover up your time.  When you stare at the time, it goes by slow.  A towel usually does the trick.  It is also good to prevent your sweat drips from going everywhere like a wet dog.  Or maybe that only happens to me.
2)  Focus on form.  The treadmill is a GREAT place to correct things that you may not normally pay attention to while running outside.  Proper arm swing (check), appropriate trunk rotation (check), are you heel striking/midfoot striking/forefoot striking (check), are you landing on an extended or flexed knee (check), are you overpronating or are you landing with a neutral stance (check), are your hips dropping (check), are excessively rotating throughout your hips or trunk causing your heel to clip your other ankle (check).  Little things like form work can really help with injury prevention.

Is this good form? My left knee is too straight.  My arms need to be more tucked in.  I need a slight forward lean.  And also I look like I want to die.

Is this good form? My left knee is too straight. My arms need to be more tucked in. I need a slight forward lean. And also I look like I want to die.

3)  Listen to music.  I choose Pandora.  And usually the “Work Out Music” station or lately the playlist created around “She Is Love” by Parachute.  Sappy music while I run.  Ummm yes please!
4) Fun workout clothes.  The more ridiculous, the better.  Literally had someone tell me the other day, “that’s a really bright outfit you are wearing”.  She may have meant that as a bad thing, but I took it completely as a win for me.  When I feel fun, my runs are usually fun.

I am hot.

I am hot.

Besides using mental jujitsu mind tricks, I like to use a variety of workouts on the treadmill to break up the boredom.  That means a lot of fartlek’ing.  Not fart licking.  Easily confused.

Eli’s Favorite Treadmill Workouts:
1) Treadmill Progression Tempo:  1 Mile easy warm-up.  3-5 miles “tempo” effort.  Each mile I kick up the speed so that the split will be 10-15 seconds per mile faster.  Last mile I usually kick it up every 1/4 mile.  Cool down of 1/2 to 1 mile easy.
2) Fartlek Fun:  30 min total work-out.  5′ Easy/5′ Hard, 4′ Easy/4′ Hard, 3′ Easy/3′ Hard, 2′ Easy/2′ Hard, 1′ Easy/1′ Hard.  My hard speed tends to increase as the interval shortens.  Easy pace is kept at a conversational speed.
3) Speedwork Ladder: 1/2-1 Mile warm-up.  200m.  Walk 0.1 mile.  400m.  Walk 0.1 mile.  800m.  Walk 0.1 mile. 1200m.  Walk 0.1 mile.  1600m.  Walk 0.1 mile.  1200m.  Walk 0.1 mile.  800m.  Walk 0.1 mile.  400m.  Walk 0.1 mile.  200m.  Walk 0.1 mile.  Cool-down of 1/2-1 mile.  This workout always kills me.  Always.
4) Stupid Hills:  1 mile warm-up easy.  Kick speed up to typical 10K pace.  Run 3′ at 0%.  Run 1′ at 3% grade.  Run 1′ at 5% grade.  Repeat as necessary until you feel like vomiting is a possibility.  Cool down of 1 mile.
5) The I Wanna Do It all Workout:  10′ on the Elliptical. 10′ on the treadmill.  Leg Press, Toe Press, and Hamstring Curls.  5′ on the treadmill.  Squats.  5′ on the treadmill.  Walking Lunges, Resisted Sidestep Squats and Wall Sits.  5′ on the treadmill cool down.  Stretch and promptly lay on the ground and hurt.

This picture is circa 2005.  When laying on dirty floors was acceptable and encouraged.

Do you do a lot of treadmill running during the winter (yes that was a lot of do do)? How do you keep things interesting?