This is the second article by world class ultra runner Rob Krar, detailing his journey back to health from injury, and how patience, rehab, and long-forgotten household projects are key to keeping a clear mind, and getting a good night's sleep.
As an endurance athlete I love to push myself to my limits and yearn for days I collapse into bed exhausted and satisfied from the effort of the day. I'd been missing this feeling recently and found myself falling into a downward spiral, feeling sorry for myself, focusing only on the negative, and I was beginning to resent myself for it. The past week I was able to revisit those feelings of exhaustion and satisfaction, albeit with a slightly different approach.
Christina and I have been working on a number of house projects the past few years and the final major piece was installing the tile that had been gathering dust in our garage for almost two years, our lives too hectic to find the time, energy, and patience necessary to tackle the installation. Tedious and frustrating at times, it was the mental and physical challenge I'd been craving, and combined with my rehab work and cross-training, it indeed left me exhausted and satisfied laying my head to rest each night. It was a week full of progress on a variety of levels and just what I needed to overcome the mental barrier and pull myself out of the hole I'd found myself in.
My time alone on the trails has been a lifeline of sorts the past few years and a powerful coping mechanism in my struggle with depression. Finding myself without it, whether short or long-term, is a huge fear and can easily lead to destructive thought patterns, negative energy, and a feeling of hopelessness. This is the self-imposed barrier I managed to work through the last 7 days and something I believe we can all relate to. Whether it's getting back into shape, losing weight, eating healthier, mending a relationship, or simply making it out the door, we all have a threshold or hump to overcome in order to see the light and truly believe in our ability to make meaningful change in our lives. Crossing this threshold has reshaped my mental state and allowed me to see and believe in the progress I've made working with my rehab team at Paragon Athletics. http://www.paragonathletics.com/getstarted/
It's been difficult to be patient during this process and I'm constantly reminding myself to apply the same approach to my rehab as I do in racing 100 miles - with patience, persistence and perseverance.
I'm very fortunate to have the support, encouragement, and knowledge of the Paragon Elite team of Ryan Whited and Dr. Stephen Knecht. My time with them has very clearly shown me the value and importance a prehab program can play in an athlete's health and longevity. A brief introduction of Ryan and Stephen follows. Stay tuned next week for a closer look into our program and the progress I've made over the course of three weeks of intensive work.
Ryan Whited of Paragon Elite
"Paragon Athletics was born from an obsession of understanding biomechanics, human potential and care. The nature of our modality was derived from over 20 years of experience in this field. I have been a trainer for half of my life and an athlete for the entirety, initially playing traditional sports and eventually moving to the more peripheral sports, primarily climbing. In the winter of 2003, I started developing pain and weakness in my right arm that prevented me from climbing for most of the year. After seeking help from several specialists, it became clear to me that the condition that kept me from climbing would have been easily prevented if I had a much greater understanding of the shoulder. It was this event that led to an exhaustive and passionate investigation of human movement and was the impetus for our prehabilitative modality.
After several years of relentless research and query into preventative and corrective training, I came to realize that gait, the way someone walk or runs, is a very reliable prognostic tool. This obsession with gait led me to collaborate with Dr. Stephen Knecht to establish Paragon Elite, which is geared toward elite athletes of all disciplines including those of the running world.
From Hallux extension to your arm swing, every nuance of your gait cycle has implication and can be very predictive. I refer to these nuances or "tells"¬ù as pathognomonics. The term is usually reserved for disease; however, I believe it conveys to biomechanics incredibly well. Time lost from injury or pain is half the battle. It is our goal to enable athletes to do what they do to their best and for the duration of their lives."¬ù
Dr. Stephen Knecht of Paragon Elite
"I have lived in Flagstaff and have practiced orthopedic surgery at Northern Arizona Orthopedics for the last 11 years, focusing on foot and ankle problems in our local population. In this time, our region has emerged as a destination training area for many elite athletes. My specialty area of interest has evolved to accommodate the needs of this population further. I have had the pleasure of working with Ryan Whited of Paragon Athletics over the last 6 years, and with Rob Krar over the last 4 years, and have become passionate about the essential elements of athletic performance that can either lead to success or injury. The ultimate goal of any training routine is to circumvent the need for late interventions such as surgery.
There are several essential pieces necessary to create a unified approach to dealing with the injured athlete or the athlete at risk. A "prehab team" concept introduces the benefits of perspective from different expert vantage points in addressing the strengths and weaknesses of a competitive individual. This holistic approach considers the balance of biomechanics and physical pathologies or injury with nutrition, motivation, and training goals. Through Paragon Elite, I believe we have created a highly successful philosophy and approach to treating the elite athlete.
This begins with designing a fully customized "prehab" routine for each athlete aimed at injury prevention and optimizing body mechanics, and when necessary, ends with guiding an athlete through an injury recovery and back to a successful and competitive pre-injury level of sport. Our hope is that this concept will greatly complement the highly evolved infrastructure of elite athlete services already in place here in the Flagstaff area, and lead to a truly unified and comprehensive regional approach to elevating the performance and durability of our best athletes."¬ù