Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Power Plate Releases the Hip Pain, and Training Charges Forward

I tried Power Plate for the first time at the Agoura Hills 5k event's expo. What the heck am I talking about? to check out what the equipment is all about. I was skeptical at first glance of this very strange looking machine. However, they had the machines there for people to try so since it's free I figured it couldn't hurt. The demonstrator told me to stand with my knees slightly bent, foot shoulder width apart. The machine was switched on, and it started vibrating gently yet fast. I just stood still in a half squat position, for 40 seconds. I get off the plate, and my soreness from the run/walk was zipped out of my system. I was pretty impressed with it, so I decided to go to a personal training center that offers classes using these powerplate machines. As if it was meant for me, there is a place right by work in Beverly Hills, called Blue Clay Fitness ( Last week I had my first class - which lasted about 40 minutes. Exercises on the Power Plate included doing squats, push-ups, bridging, lunges, etc... and stretches. It was much harder than i thought, but something amazing happened afterwards. When I got back to the office (the classes are offered at lunch time) and after working on the desk for a couple of hours, I got up to walk around....and I realized that i was no longer feeling the tightness i usually feel on my hips when i get up. Wow, no more limping the first couple of minutes after getting up from the chair!

I'm not even going to attempt to explain how the machine works - there is so much useful information on their website, regarding the scientific reasoning behind the technology and how it relates to effective training and rehabilitation. I read a testimony from a MS patient, who started walking again after using the machine. I read a testimony from an overweight person who used the machine to benefit from weightloss and reduced sciatic pain. Obviously, there are tremendous benefits of this machine to chronic pain patients. I have done two sessions with Blue Clay Fitness, and my hips are feeling much better and I am losing the weight i gained during my low-activity months (yes, already). I was very sore after the first session, but there was no pain. After the second session, I felt great. I ran the next day and after 20 minutes of working out the tightness just by walking, I was running stronger.

I am using the Power Plate classes to round up my rehab and get me stronger and lighter all at the same time while I prep for the next stage of my training. I'm thrilled.

I've been working on my right shoulder which has been showing a lot of impingement every time I swim or do heavy weights - so i backed off from swimming and started using lighter weights to condition my shoulder muscles and tendons. A lot of icing and stretching is essential, too. But I'm back on the bike and on the street gradually increasing my time and distance. I have three to four more weeks of base training to do. By the end of base training, I aim to do 90-120 minutes of walk/run intervals and 90 minutes on the bike, at a lower heart rate zone (111-138). Hopefully I'll be back swimming by then.

In May, i'm looking forward to three run events - the inaugural NFA Walk of Fame (, Bay to Breakers in San Francisco (13k), and the Brentwood 10k. It could get a little challenging but I will once again use them as my training runs, not for personal records or anything like that.

I have been feeling GREAT. The healthy eating and the regular exercises and sleep management are paying off HUGELY. It took some time to get here, since...August last year? BUT i'm here. FINALLY. We need to keep trying, keep believing. Patience and perserverance are essential in seeing the results of our efforts.

Goals for the next few months: Lose 5-7 pounds, complete shoulder and back rehab once and for all, build endurance. Stay motivated.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

5k post race report and This week's training

On Saturday April 5th, I did another 5k race in Agoura Hills. As I mentioned before, I used this race as a rehab run/walk - and boy, was it a rehab event. I was for some reason feeling pretty tight all around my left hip and legs and my body felt like a ton of bricks. I started with a very light jog, but my heart rate was going off at 140-150 bpm! So I forced myself to walk - but maybe it was the adrenaline going in a race environment, surrounded by thousands of people running/walking around me, my heart rate could not get down below 135-140 bpm. So I keep walking... walking...until I just couldn't walk anymore out of complete boredom. I started jogging, and I was pretty much at 160bpm all the way. When my hips were feeling tight, I walked for about a minute and a half. Then I picked up the pace again...repeating that cycle several times. Before long I was running my final mile, and I swear that was when my body was finally getting fully warmed up and ready to go for another 3 miles. But way too soon I hit the finish line, passing two people who were ahead of me. Rarely do I pass people in a run event. It was fun, I felt good, my left hip still as tight as a wall, but overall I was dying to run another mile or two. :)

Saturday afternoon, I went to see Dianna, and she worked pretty deep into my left hip/leg muscles. Wow, there were some tight areas around my quads and glutes! Since the body work done was pretty intense and deep, i wasn't allowed to do any strenuous workout the next day. on Sunday, I did upperbody strength training, using 3 or 5 pound weights. It was a beautiful day so I did it outside, in my back patio (as small as it is, it serves its purpose!). My right shoulder felt pretty challenged in the external rotations, which reminds me to use 2 pounds instead of 3 next time.

This week's training plan:
Mon: Rest Day (stretching in the evening)
Tue: Run/Walk for 60 mins (close to 4 miles). I was able to run up to a 5.5 minute interval, from last week's 3.5 minute. sweet. Heart rate a little better than Saturday, but still have a lot of work to do to keep that heart rate down.
Wed: Lowerbody strength training, Swim for 45 minutes
Thurs: Bike 45 minutes. Stretch extensively afterwards
Fri: Rest Day (maybe yoga, some stretching)
Sat: Run/Walk for 75 minutes, upperbody strength training
Sun: Swim Clinic (1hr), Lowerbody strength training

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Week 1 Sample Training Schedule

Today is my first rest day. After training Monday and Tuesday, I was feeling exhausted starting about 3pm yesterday. It wasn't a bad exhaustion, it was purely from working out two days in a row, where my muscles were sore (but like a good sore, not painful sore) and I could hear my body saying "ok, time for a break." This is what my week is looking like so far, with regards to training:

Mon: Bike 25 mins, Swim 35 mins
Tues: Bike 25 mins, Yoga 50 mins
Wed: Rest Day
Thurs: Strength Training (probably about an hour), Swim 40-45 mins
Fri: Rest Day
Sat: 5k run/walk (will use this event as training run)
Sun: Swim 60 mins (that is the goal, but it could be 45- 50 mins)

Next week I'm going to add another strength training session somewhere, and try to see if i can bike for more than 30 minutes on the trainer without any back/hip pain. On the days i'm doing Yoga or strength training, I am trying to add a bit of cardio via swimming. I've deliberatly chosen Friday as rest day this week because I wanted to make sure I make it to the 5k event on Saturday. In the future rest days may be on Mondays and Thursdays, especially as I start riding long rides in the weekends. Once I get the hang of what my body can handle, I'll sit down with a trainer and actually have a full schedule I can keep for the next 4-5 months leading up to the Santa Barbara Long Course event. Just the thought of it is very very exciting.