Pain-free Physical Therapy.

On Friday, I was on the V-Down Podcast discussing my background with chronic knee pain.

In a nutshell, I spent over a decade with chronic knee pain. It got so bad that for the two years in the run up to starting DDP Yoga, I couldn’t walk up a flight of 3 steps without feeling like hunting knives were being driven through my kneecaps.

Right before discovering DDP Yoga, I went to a physical therapist for a month. After doing an assessment of my knees, she told me that it would take at least a year-and-a-half of biweekly therapy sessions before I could even consider running a mile. ONE MILE! And she wasn’t 100% sure that was a realistic goal. I stuck with it for about a month, but I couldn’t take it. Each session involved the PT digging into my IT bands for 30 minutes or so, which left me with dark bruises down my outer thigh. Then, the next session involved the therapist digging into my painful bruises for 30 minutes! For all my suffering, I saw ZERO improvement. So I quit!

In contrast, DDP Yoga was fun, sustainable and effective. In under 3 months, I ran a Warrior Dash. In under 9 months, I ran a Half-Marathon, and in just over a year I ran a Full Marathon. All with zero leg pain.

Yesterday, I went for a casual run. I wasn’t running any set distance; I was just planning to run as long as I felt like it. After getting turned around a couple of times, and spending about 3 miles completely lost in a weirdly laid-out neighborhood, I realized I had run 10 miles. I figured I had enough light to go for 13.1, so I did. Even better, I set a personal record for that distance!

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Coincidentally, we have just reached the date on which my physical therapist said I could possibly consider running ONE mile. And I am running 13.1. For fun. I have 2 upcoming half-marathons this year (I may sign up for more). My new goal is to get one done in under 2 hours. But for now, I am happy in the knowledge that I have gone from being lazy and injured to being the kind of person who runs 13.1 for fun!

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I see why the song “Fix You” was chosen for Arthur Boorman’s transformation video:

 

 

The Ultimate Guide to What DDP Yoga Could Do For You!

DDP Yoga has done so much for me that it’s hard to put it all in one post. So I am cheating and presenting an omnibus of posts instead! Click on a picture to see one of the many ways DDP Yoga can improve your life!

What will DDP Yoga do for you?

Fix your mental health?

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Fix your physical health?

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Fix your chronic pain?sore_knee

Fix Your Career?

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Prevent future injuries and stiffness?

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Make you drop an amazing amount of weight in 90 days?

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Let you wear all the clothes in your wardrobe…

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…or require you to buy a new one?

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Give you a nice big novelty cheque?

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Help you develop balance like never before?

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Fix your skin?

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Let you turn fitness into a career?

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Let you find your passion for helping others?

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Let you exceed your goals?

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Earn a cool new tattoo?

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Or improve your math skills?

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(Okay, so it’s probably not going to help with your math skills!)

 

Maybe it will improve your motivation?

What do you want from DDP Yoga?

Shorts: Ink’d

I got a new tattoo! Actually, I modified a pre-existing tattoo. The old one was a kanji symbol that loosely translated to, “I was a moron when I was a teenager.”

The new one was designed for me by a very awesome TeamDDPyoga friend, Robert. The two diamonds represent the Double Black Diamond, and DDP Yoga in general. The banner represents the finish-line, that DDP Yoga helped me get to, and the 26.2 speaks for itself!

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There’s Always Some Place to Go… Up! (or DDP for Runners, Pt2)

The mixture of The Firm, P90x, Tae Bo, and ill-advised attempts at running punctuating extensive periods of inactivity and unhealthy eating left me with such bad chronic knee pain that I couldn’t walking up the three steps outside my house without feeling like a rusty sabre was being driven through each kneecap. Sorry for the graphic description, but that’s how it felt.

Within the first 90 days of doing DDP Yoga, I was strong enough to run a 5K. Shortly after that I did a Warrior Dash, and after that I felt like my knees were strong enough to do a half-marathon. Throughout the training schedule, I experienced mild knee aches a couple of times, and I found that the Hip, Back and Knee Opener workout was way more effective than my Physical Therapy regimen in relieving that pain.

Last Saturday, after an 18-week program, I ran my first full marathon. While it was tough and at times painful, the one thing that didn’t hurt throughout the entire process was my knees. Not during the training. Not during the race. Not during the recovery. Not once. I think the reason I didn’t get any aches or pains this time around is that I had been doing DDP Yoga for over 9 months by the time I started the training program, and therefore had benefited from the increased flexibility and strength in my legs. Just to be clear, the fact that I was able to run a half-marathon after 6 months of DDP Yoga is a staggering achievement given I couldn’t walk or go up stairs without pain before DDP Yoga.

I was about 3 footsteps beyond the finish-line when people started asking me, “So, what’s next?” The 10% part of me wanted to scream back, “I just ran 26 point frickin’ two miles! What do you want from me???” or launch into a very sarcastic diatribe about how having fulfilled my destiny, I should just, having nothing left to live for, commit Seppuku. But the living life at 90% part of me remembered that there’s always some place to go.

There are a couple of options for kicking it up a notch from a marathon: ultra-marathon, triathlon, imitating Forrest Gump. While I never say never, I will #@$%& do a triathlon because the sight of me swimming is the water’s answer to a beached whale. Ultra-marathons are not off the list, but they are not coming up anytime soon. So what to do, what to do?

Then it occurred to me, after trailing behind a car with this bumper sticker (and some subsequent googling):

There is no better way to showcase how DDP has fixed my knees than to prove that I have gone from being someone who couldn’t walk up 3 steps to being someone who can run up  1,632 of them! Sadly, I missed the event by a month, so I will have to wait until April, 2015 to do this race, unless I find another tower run in Chicago (email me if you know of one!). In the meantime, I have a Tough Mudder, a Mudderella, a Warrior Dash, a Rugged Maniac, a Dirty Dash, a 10K, a Blacklight run, a Foam Glow race, a half and a full marathon to keep me entertained!

BANG!

What to Get the Vegan Who Has Everything!

Cheese Bling!photo I ran a marathon this weekend! Yup. My little legs went twenty-six point two miles. I have been training for this for the past 18 weeks, and have run hundreds of miles of preparation for this event. The marathon I ran was the Kenosha Marathon. I had everything planned for the event: what I would wear, what gear I would bring, what time I would leave to ensure enough parking. I took my amitriptyline (migraine prevention) and zyrtec (dust mite allergy) earlier than usual so that I would fall asleep earlier in an effort to get plenty of sleep and get up at 5am! But as the kids say, “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men, Gang aft agley.” Some mixture of stress, anticipation and I think my barista’s inability to remember than I said “decaf” lead to me being wide awake until 3:30am. A solid 1.5 hours of sleep later, the alarm went off and I was good to go.

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If I only could have stored Nuun in the bags under my eyes, I would have been set!

The marathon started at 7:00am, and I set off in freezing cold weather. After about 3 miles the bones in my feet were aching. I don’t know if it was because I was simply exhausted or because the entire race was on paved roads, my least favorite form of running, but it continued until the end of the race. By about mile 10 I was mentally done. I wasn’t even halfway done, I was exhausted, my feet were aching, and I was reasonably close to the start line; it would have been easier to walk back than to run the rest of the race. Miles 16 through 19 were probably the worst. My pace started out at below 10 min/mile, and was now dropping to 11+ minutes. Thanks to the layout of the course, I wasn’t actually that far from the finish-line during these miles, so my options were to run for another 8 miles, or walk the one or two miles back to my car; a strategy my brain reminded me of continually. I stopped to drink water, and I stopped to use the potty, but other than that, I ran the entire thing.

It was really hard not to give into the desire to walk, especially given the fact that everyone around me was taking walking breaks. But I had promised myself that I was here to run – RUN – a marathon, and as grueling as it was turning out to be, I wasn’t going to half-ass it. Doing that would simply put me back at square one, and I spent most of miles 10 through 19 promising myself that I was never doing this again so this one had to count. I received a couple of supportive messages from my TeamDDP friends which I read numerous times when the urge to quit was at its peak. I also reminded myself that my friend, Robert, has helped design a tattoo I plan to put over an old one, and it would be a letdown to let his efforts go to waste. I also visualized how great it would be to finally put the 26.2 sticker I bought from Cafe Press on my car. Sadly, none of these thoughts lasted very long, so the bulk of my time was spent thinking, “I don’t want to be doing this.”

Once I hit mile 20, I was able to convince myself to ignore the first digit of every mile marker and pretend that I was just out for a 6-mile run. The sight of the 26th mile marker rivals the first time I saw my daughter for the most glorious sight I have ever seen. Once I rounded the final corner, I decided to sprint, and I punched it so fast through the finish line that I overtook four runners and my husband missed me passing him. I remember that the song, “Falling” by Haim was playing as I crossed the finish line. Finding the strength to sprint through the finish-line in spite of the exhaustion and pain I was feeling is one of the most empowering experiences I have ever felt in my life. Screen Shot 2014-05-04 at 11.32.58 PM I spent the drive home and the time it took to eat lunch promising myself that I was never, ever doing that again, and reminding myself that I needed to downgrade my registration for the Prarie State marathon in October to a half-marathon. I managed to ignore the pain in my feet enough to crash for a couple of hours, falling asleep to the inner monologue of, “I am never doing that again.” Despite all the pain and negativity I experienced during the run, after a few hours of sleep and a good meal, I started looking up shorter marathon training plans. I was inspired by an old friend from secondary school saying that he’ll never do one again, but hopes that I stick with it. I also started thinking that the Prairie State marathon is in much nicer settings, along trails I like to run, so I should consider doing one that I had a better chance of enjoying. It would be a pity to leave off on such a negative note. Besides, I it’s almost six months away which is plenty of time to work on my pace. By then time I went to bed that night, it was decided that I would do the full marathon in October. And that’s why runner’s are crazy! photo In the end, I have come to the conclusion that while it wasn’t fun, it was satisfying. And I proved that I have gone from begin someone who couldn’t run a yard after a full night’s sleep, to being someone who can dig deep and gut it out for twenty six miles after virtually no sleep. And I am someone who’s earned a kickass tattoo*!

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Coming Soon

* I have to wait until next week to get it, I am running a Tough Mudder on Saturday, and it’s not a great idea to jump into dirty water with new ink! And running a Tough Mudder a week after a marathon? That’s DDP Yoga strong!