Training for a half Ironman

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It’s nearly here, my first long course triathlon: Ironman 70.3 Lake Tahoe. I’ve heard that it takes a village to raise a child, but I hadn’t appreciated that the saying also applies to preparing an athlete for competition. It all began with a heart-centered feeling that I want to do a triathlon this year. I had dabbled in the sport 3 years ago, even bought racing wheels. But after competing in 2 short triathlons in 2011, I chose to refocus my time and energy on rock climbing. Until 2014.

The first in my village was Coach. I had a connection with him already- had been attending his PacWest running workouts for years. I knew he coached triathletes too, in a serious way. So I chose Jay Ridgeway’s 4-month group training program. I love the 3 disciplines of triathlon: born a water bug on Cape Cod; a recreational cyclist since age 6 or 22, depending how you look at it; and a competitive sprinter/jumper in college. But putting them all together in an endurance fashion creates the beast known as triathlon. I’m glad I chose someone as experienced as Jay to lead me through the proper kind of training.

The second and third in my village were my friend Tuan, who sold me his brand new tri bike, and Mitchell, who expertly fit me to the bike. I could’ve done the race on my very non-aero cyclocross bike, and I almost did, but at the last minute I bit the bullet and got myself a super fast tri bike. Five weeks prior to race day, I spent a couple hours with Mitchell Reiss (he shares my office) for an impressive bike fit complete with saddle and pedal pressure measurements. I could’ve left the office with a perfectly fitting bike that day, but I needed to order a new saddle, per Mitchell’s recommendation, and cut the seat post (the bike frame has an integrated seat post). Which brings me to my fourth in the village, Andres….

Andres is the owner of a new cycling shop in Berkeley, Beyond Aero. He meticulously (and quickly) cut the carbon seat post of my frame in accordance with Mitchell’s bike fit measurements. He then mounted the brand new Cobb JOF saddle which I bought from him. Little hitches threatened to mess with the gearing on my bike, but Andres quickly made adjustments to my derailleur and evaded any problems. He also found that someone along the way, maybe it was the guy that Tuan bought the bike from initially, had mounted the aero bar pads backwards. Good eye, Andres, and thanks for switching them up for me!

The fifth in my village is Mom.  Yes, even though my mom lives in Massachusetts, she still played an integral part in my preparations for Tahoe 70.3.  You see, I was on vacation for 10 days with her on Cape Cod last month, and instead of basking all day on the beach with her, I spent MANY hours of my vacation training. I rented a road bike from Orleans Cycle and hit the famous Cape Cod Rail Trail- meandered many miles through rural roads along the ocean and bay toward Provincetown. I swam nearly every day in our crystal clear ponds and in the calm waves of Cape Cod Bay. I ran alone through the streets and trails. Mom supported me, instead of complaining, and posted many proud photos of me on her Facebook page.

The sixth in my village is the collective teammates- compadres who have also been training for this Tahoe Ironman or half Ironman race for at least 4 months and sometimes much longer. These guys and gals are fellow athletes with PacWest. I can’t imagine doing all of my training alone. We meet religiously on Tuesday nights for grueling track workouts. We get our asses out of bed on Sunday mornings for masters swim workouts with Coach Jay.  We ride for HOURS together on our bikes and then we hit the pavement in our “sneaks” and pound it out— lightly with natural running form. And then there are my yoga students who keep me coming back to the mat to teach and partake in the awesomeness that is breath-body-spirit practice.

My treatment team comprises the seventh through thirteenth in my village.  Luckily, I encountered no injuries during my 4-month training interval. Maintenance care was key to my body’s successful adaptations to the increased loads from swimming, biking and running. Beyond my own self-care regimen of rolling, stretching and self-Grastoning, I benefitted from the caring hands of some talented chiropractors, massage therapists and acupuncturists. Thanks to Drs. Laura, Jeff and Sandy, my joints got the relief they needed from tight restrictions. Thanks to Becky and Michael, my tender muscles were soothed. And thanks to Jean Louis and Jorge, my internal organs remained vital and chi flowed as it should.

So, off I go this Wednesday night- heading for Tahoe with all of my training behind me, and a car loaded with gear.  Special thanks to the fourteenth and fifteenth in my village— my friend Felicia and her dad Bob— for providing me with a beautiful accommodation in Alpine Meadows, just around the corner from the finish line at Squaw Valley.  Anyone who wants to virtually encourage me along the course, I invite you to check out the Results- Race Coverage- Athlete Tracker on the Ironman 70.3 Tahoe website for live chip tracking. You just need the athlete’s name. That’s THIS SUNDAY, September 21, 2014.

Thank you, my village! -Dr. Johanna

Yoga for Athletes [of all kinds and abilities]

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Brand New Class Begins July 1:

Vinyasa Yoga for Athletes with Johanna

This class is dedicated to people who pursue sports & fitness activities. The qualifier ‘Athlete’ does not allude to the pace or difficulty of yoga that will be taught, but rather the kind of community that I am welcoming into the yoga space. As an athlete myself, I understand the physical demands & breakdowns associated with sports. I’m eager to share the healing benefits of yoga with you. You do not need to have yoga experience—you will learn by moving through this class, in a supportive environment.

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Where: Berkeley Yoga Center *

1250 Addison St., #209

Tuesdays 4:30-5:30 pm

Drop in and donate any $

*For the 5 years that I’ve been practicing sports chiropractic in Berkeley, my upstairs neighbors have been the Berkeley Yoga Center!

Commit to soothe and heal your body now.

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Special Offer for Spring 2014*, because this is the time of year when we need to balance all of our fitness ambitions with healing the imbalances and dysfunctions that creep in. I love watching patients reach for their best athletic performances. As always, my treatments combine adjustments with Graston, ART, and other PT.

10 Comprehensive Treatments (30 mins): $650 (saves you $150)
10 Brief Treatments (15 mins): $400 (saves you $100)
10 Extended Treatments (45 mins): $1020 (saves you $180)

5 Comprehensive Treatments (30 mins): $340 (saves you $60)
5 Brief Treatments (15 mins): $215 (saves you $35)
5 Extended Treatments (45 mins): $535 (saves you $65)

This promotion encourages you to finally get the care that you need and make the most out of your spring training season! New patients may also take advantage of this special offer without incurring any extra fee for the initial examination. Start your spring series by booking online!

*Must use all pre-paid visits by the Summer Solstice on June 21, 2014. Sorry, no refunds. Not to be used in combination with insurance billing.

Earthing!

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With the sun pouring its golden rays over us and our surroundings in these summer months, it’s virtually impossible to avoid being anywhere but outside.  Sometimes these rays invite us out so strongly that we’re swept up from our task at hand to venture outside, taking nothing but our enthusiasm to carry us away.  That’s right, no shoes needed or even noticed to be lost.  Through your feetpressing into the Earth with each step, whether it be grass, soil, stream, creek, boulders, roots or muck, you may have noticed a distinct energetic shift drape over and around you that tends to linger even after your outdoor funtivity has concluded.  The sensation that has taken over your body is one that is so subtle that it could be missed yet so present that it is profound.

 

Earthing. The act of connecting with the earth.  As stated in the book Earthing, “We humans, as all other living beings, are electrical creatures on an electrical planet, and the ground beneath us is more than something we just stand, walk, play, and build on. ”  Such a simple truth, yet so simple that the act of actually connecting our body, touching the Earth with our skin, is often overlooked and under-appreciated. I invite you to reclaim your appreciation for it.

 

Earthing returns the body to its natural electrical stability and rhythm, brining the body into normal and even optimal health.  What does that look like physiologically?  Better functionality of our cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, and immune systems.  How does this look on the cellular level? Seventy trillion cells withinour body preform their specific tasks—absorbing nutrients and water—under direction from electrical fields. The more stable the cell is at the atomic level, the better the cell can perform its tasks and the better the body as a system functions.  Ultimately, balance at the atomic level has a macro effect on the whole human body!  Do you want some case studies? Earthing has been linked to doing away with or dramatically improving insomnia, chronic pain of multiple diseases and injuries, exhaustion, stress, anxiety, premature aging, and inflammation.

 

If you’re particularly inclined to sports and sports performance, it’s interesting to note that during the 2003, 2005 and 2007 Tour de France races, the American cycling team “Earthed” after each daily competition using a product called an earthing bed sheet.  The cyclists reported better sleep, significantly less illness, essentially no tendonitis (inflammation of a tendon), dramatic recovery from the day’s racing, and faster healing of road rash.

 

Without further adieu, let your feet roam freely and ground you to the Earth’s healing properties!

Athletic Competitors are Victorious with Yoga

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I met an interesting guy in my French class during my junior year of college. He was a member of the UC Berkeley track team. We discussed (in broken French) his training regiment with the CAL track team. It involved extensive cardio and strength training coupled with a strict diet. A few months later we happened to run into each at a yoga studio where I was working at the time. Classes at this studio were 1.5 hours long. He entered the class then suddenly exited it forty-five minutes later. He was exasperated, sweaty and had a look of resignation. He entered the yoga class feeling confident that his athleticism would circumvent any possible strenuous poses yet he left the studio looking dubious. My first yoga class was a similar learning experience. As a competitive soccer player since the ripe age of 7, I was surprised by the physicality of yoga and  the limits of my own athleticism.

Traditional perceptions of athleticism in congruence with misapprehensions about yoga fail to see the symbiotic relationship between different types of exercise. Athletes focus on cardio and strength exercises, which can sometimes neglect the certain areas of the body. In fact, there is a growing trend among Olympic athletes who are spending their time off the field in the studio. Goalie for the Olympic USA women’s soccer, Hope Solo, has expressed her love for yoga.

“As an athlete I like to keep my speed and my agility and that dynamic part of who I am. A lot of times, simple stretching takes away from your speed, so for me, dynamic yoga gives me the ability and empowers me to keep my speed and elongate my muscles. Several years ago, it wasn’t as popular for professional athletes to do. Now, you’ll find in day and age, people are starting to realize it really benefits them on the field.” *

I have no doubt that the misperception that yoga fails to challenge a person’s athleticism still persist. And that the only true way to get the body in shape is to over indulge in cardio and strength training. However, as we are already seeing, I believe in the near future people at all stages of  health will begin to see the clear benefits and challenges of practicing yoga. They will realize that this art form is more than just something to “stretch” you out but, more of a way of life that challenges both the mind and body.


* BLISSTREE

 

For Rock Climbers

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As many of you know, I am addicted to rock climbing.  It’s a healthy addiction in this case, I promise!  I recently returned from another stellar climbing trip to Red Rock Canyon, just outside Las Vegas.  Pictured above on her first 12a redpoint (at the Sunny and Steep crag in Calico Basin) is my good friend and climbing queen, Kim Richards.  Many of the 30-40-somethings in my climbing circle, me included, train on “plastic” at the local gyms 3 to 6 days a week.  How do we do it without getting injured, you may ask.  Our secret is really no secret at all: regular chiropractic and myofascial release body work (massage, ART, Graston).

Quoting a respected physical therapist in SF, Kelly Starrett, “All human beings should be able to perform basic maintenance on themselves.”  Regular practice of your own home care like self-massage, heat/ice, and a thorough stretching routine, is the second secret to prevent overuse injuries in climbing.

The ways that we choose to take good care of our bodies go a long way in preventing overuse and ALSO traumatic muscle/tendon/ligament injuries. When muscles/tendons/ligaments are free of scar tissue and chronic inflammation then they respond to repeated loads—-like gripping tiny crimpers on an overhang—-with resiliency and an innate elasticity.  That means lower chances of getting a tendon rupture in your finger, rotator cuff tear, or tendinitis in your elbow.

If you’re a climbing addict like me, you want to preserve your longevity in this sport.  Many of my friends are getting stronger and becoming more capable technical climbers as they are getting older—into their 40’s and 50’s. I don’t know a single one of them who doesn’t have regular body therapy of some kind.  I’m lucky because I get to use my own Graston instruments to work out tensions and adhesions in my forearms and hands at least once a week!  I’m an advocate of weekly to monthly spinal adjustments, massage (specific and general), and acupuncture.  Believe me, I’m a busy woman, and I wouldn’t take the time for these treatments if they didn’t work so darn well.  Climb on!

See more pictures from Red Rocks on our Facebook page!

Chiropractic in the VA

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U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to Establish Chiropractic Residency Program

 

Historic Victory Follows 12 Years of Advocacy by ACA

 

Arlington,Va.–The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) today announced that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will establish a chiropractic residency program at VA medical facilities around the country.

In the next 12 months, VA will select facilities to participate in the program, which will offer five residencies to chiropractic students during the next few years. The application process will be announced after the facilities have been selected. ACA will keep the chiropractic profession abreast of all of the details of the program as soon as they are available. VA is not the appropriate organization to contact regarding the program at this time.

 

“Chiropractic physicians can play an important role in improving the health of America’s returning heroes. They need our care, and they’ve earned it,” said ACA President Keith Overland, DC. “This historic win for our returning veterans will also provide the highest quality, integrated training for recent chiropractic graduates, and puts chiropractic physicians on par with other physician-level providers-who have similar programs-in the VA system.”

 

This victory follows 12 years of strong advocacy efforts by ACA. In 2001, VA began the long-overdue process of expanding veterans’ access to the services provided by chiropractic physicians with Public Law 107-135, which mandated that the Secretary of Veterans Affairs must provide chiropractic services to veterans at select VA medical centers and clinics. The program marks the next step in the evolution of the profession’s relationship with VA. While there have been intermittent rotations of chiropractic students through VA facilities before, the new program will be a planned, structured effort to initiate full residencies within the VA.

 

Today, as a result of ongoing advocacy, VA now provides chiropractic services at nearly 50 major treatment facilities within the United States, which is particularly significant when you consider a 2010 report from the Veterans Health Administration which indicates that more than half of all veterans returning from the Middle East and Southwest Asia who have sought VA health care were treated for symptoms associated with musculoskeletal ailments – the top complaint of those tracked for the report.

 

The American Chiropractic Association (ACA), celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2013, is the largest professional association in the United States representing doctors of chiropractic. ACA promotes the highest standards of patient care and professional ethics, and supports research that contributes to the health and well-being of millions of chiropractic patients. Visit www.acatoday.orgBack_Ache_Website

Running for a Better Oakland (RBO)

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63Running for a Better Oakland is a local non-profit, founded by Oaklanders Tod and Jen Vedock, to bring together a diverse group of Oakland kids in the spirit of togetherness, fitness, and building a safe community.  I’m honored to be named the team doctor and called upon to care for minor injuries that creep up as the kids participate in their new sport, running.  We meet every Saturday morning, January through March, to run around Lake Merritt in Oakland.  Over 150 kids from 7 to 17 years of age and nearly as many volunteers share the adventure of training for one of the Oakland Marathon races: 5k, marathon relay, or half marathon.  It’s a site to see all these blue  and yellow RBO t-shirts galavanting around the lake on these training runs.  Please have a look at this local organization to get a glimpse of how many kids’ lives it is touching in our community:
http://www.rboakland.org

The big day of the Oakland Running Festival is Sunday, March 24—fast approaching!

Magnificent Magnesium

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Next time you’re in for treatment, ask me about supplemental Magnesium instead of Calcium.coveryogastrengthg_600x450

Magnesium has received a lot of buzz lately. Recent studies have found that nearly 68% of Americans are low in the RDA for magnesium (a pitifully low dietary suggestion to begin with) and that a projected 200 million Americans suffer the consequences of magnesium deficiency. But why? Activating over 300 enzymatic reactions and assisting with thousands of biochemical functions within the body, magnesium’s vital role as a healing agent has a far-reaching medicinal history. This magnificent mineral has been the subject of documented western research dating as far back as the 1600’s! Yet, due to several haphazard trends of our modern health and dietary practices, this essential mineral has detrimentally slid off the radar until now- even for some of the most avid “health seekers.”

3 Reasons Why You Might be Magnesium Deficient

1. Synthetic Supplements & Fortification
Some vitamins and minerals are consumed at overwhelmingly high rates while others are neglected. A tragic example of this asymmetry is the ignored physiological relationship of calcium and magnesium. Calcium is responsible for signaling muscle contraction, whereas magnesium is required for muscle relaxation. While research has confirmed that calcium to magnesium ratios in the paleolithic diet were 1:1, our “bone building calcium-craze” has left modern individuals with a warped exposure, reaching anywhere from 5:1 to 15:1 ratio. Studies have clearly demonstrated that excess calcium destroys magnesium, while magnesium supplementation significantly improves the body’s use of calcium.

2. Caffeine, Alcohol & Carbonation
Caffeine-containing beverages like coffee, tea and soda are all stimulants that have a diuretic effect. Once ingested, they have been found to cause an accelerated flushing of magnesium through the kidneys, regardless of whether or not your body needs the magnesium. The body’s physiological need for magnesium is secondary to the diuretic effects! Coupled with high caffeine content, dark-colored sodas contain phosphates which bind magnesium in the digestive tract, preventing any gastric mineral assimilation. Alcohol, on the other hand, is a depressant, but through suppression of anti-diuretic hormone (ADH), it also causes increased magnesium loss through the kidneys. Moreover, alcohol contributes to Vitamin D deficiency as well as digestive malfunction, further minimizing the body’s ability to absorb magnesium effectively.

3. Chronic Stress
Research has found that the frequent release of adrenaline and cortisol involved in an unresolved stress response is strongly correlated with decreased magnesium. What’s worse is that it all works in a vicious cycle: since magnesium is an integral part of nerve conduction and electrolyte balance, low levels can confound sensations of anxiety, sleep disturbance and depression.

“I’m convinced that to get enough magnesium today, you need to take supplements” 

-Dr. Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D. author of The Magnesium Miracle

Content Courtesy of Radiant Life Company

Thrive in Cold Season

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At a time of year when sniffles abound and everyone seems to be armed with a pocketful of tissues, it is important to take special care in supporting your body’s natural defense systems.  The essential function of our exquisitely designed immune system is to defend against the millions of bacteria, microbes, toxins, parasites and viruses that look to invade it.  When the immune system is working optimally, our lymphocytes are able to engulf the germs we are exposed to daily.  A strong immune system helps foster a healthier, more active and enjoyable life.  However, when stressors exist, immune system helps foster a healthier, more active andenjoyable life.  However, when stressors exist, they may disrupt this delicate balance, resulting in sickness or disease.  Don’t wait until it’s too late—there are many simple and effective steps that you can take each day to build your immune system:

  • follow a nutrient-dense diet
  • exercise daily
  • get solid sleep: 8-9 hours and try an Earthing sheet
  • maintain a healthy weight
  • drink plenty of purified, mineralized water
  • avoid excesses

Superfood supplements can also boost your body’s defenses by providing powerful nutrients and cofactors it needs to ideal protection and rapid healing.  Try a general multi-vitamin in addition to vitamin C (500mg), B vitamins, vitamin D (5000 I.U. daily), magnesium (400mg), and zinc (30mg).

-adapted from Radiant Life Company