Monday, November 28, 2011

23 Weeks and Counting

Tomorrow begins what I'm sure I will fondly look back on as the first day of the hardest thing I've ever done.  I signed up for the Indy Mini Marathon.  13.1 miles on May 5th.  Why? 
12 years ago I was told by my surgeon that if I continued to play college basketball, I would be in a wheelchair at my graduation.  Three years later, I underwent my fourth knee surgery and was told I would never run again.  I hung my head and started my new life of elipticals and weight training.  Without "sports" I began to slowly lose my competative edge.
Fast forward to last month.  I have seen so many amazing patients come in and out of my office.  I treat a high percentage of runners, somehow helping others to do what I had come to accept I would never do again.  After treating and helping 15+ runners finish the Chicago Marathon in October, I started to have the "what if" thoughts.  What if I could do that.  What if I really could run.  What if he was wrong.  ...what if he was wrong...
 Now, in an attempt to understand this amazing little world a number of my patients currently live in...I embark on a 23 week training of my mind over matter.  I will do this.  I will run.  But most of all, I will prove that he was wrong.  Two nights ago, I went online and registered for the Indy Mini Marathon. My bib number is 22092. No turning back now.  
I will continue to use this blog as an informative site for my patients, but now I will also give updates on my training over the next 6 months. 
Thank you to each of my patients that have been an inspiration.  You come from all walks of life, different sizes, ages, athletic abilities...but each have given me the courage to do this. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Patient Success Story - Natalie Hoye

As someone who didn’t begin the quest to get healthy and physically fit until age 40, it is important to me to receive treatment from a doctor that understands both my goals and is also interested in my passion for achieving them. Having lived an unhealthy lifestyle before (obesity, yo-yo dieting, sedentary lifestyle, poor eating choices, etc) it was not surprising that as my physical activity increased, so did my injuries. I had been regularly been strength training and doing cardio 3-5 times per week for a year before I undertook running, but running was new to me and all the elliptical didn’t prepare for me, my muscles or my joints for the havoc I was placing on them. I DO love to run but want to do so painlessly. Dr. Bozovich understands this. Her treatment style is compassionate and yields results. She determines which muscles aren’t working as they should and provides instruction and movement patterns to get them firing again so ultimately, age and the body aren’t standing in the way and one can concentrate on engaging in the sport or level of physical activity they enjoy.

As I physically recover from my first Marathon, Dr. Bozovich has also worked in tandem with other healthcare professionals to yield optimal and efficient results that will have me running again more effortlessly than before the Marathon. Pain has decreased; muscle function and range of motion have increased. I highly recommend Dr. Bozovich to fellow runners and athletes. She goes above and beyond for her patients and shares our passion too.

~Natalie Hoye

Monday, November 7, 2011

Hiking 101

Some tips for beginner hikers:
1. Prepare your muscles ahead of time. Make sure you can walk 30-45 minutes 3-5 days a week before attempting a strenuous hike. You will use the same muscles when hiking, but under a little bit harder circumstances. Your proprioception will be tested more due to the uneven terrain which means all of those smaller, intrinsic muscles will have to come in to play and help out. If you haven't prepared your stabilizing, larger muscles for the hiking, these smaller muscles will start to get overused and you set yourself up for injury.

2. Wear good, supportive hiking shoes. I don't recommend wearing your running or walking shoes if you don't want to be cleaning mud off of them. Even if it hasn't rained in a week...there always seems to be mud somewhere on the trails! The biggest advice I can give is to make sure they are comfortable. I tend to lean towards hiking shoes than boots as they are more comfortable and less bulky. My personal favorites are the Brooks Cascadia. They were made for trail running, but work just as well for walking. They have a good amount of support, which is crucial when walking on the uneven ground.

3. Stretch your major muscles. I prefer stretching after the hike when my muscles are warm. I always hit the calves, hamstrings, hip flexors, and most importantly piriformis! Beware that your glutes and quadriceps will most likely be pretty sore after the first few times you hike, especially if there are multiple hills involved. Stretching a few times a day for the next 2-3 days following a hike can help reduce the soreness. Massage is also a great pain reducer for this type of soreness.

4. Last but not least, always hike with a buddy! It's a great motivator to get you both out and moving, but also a lot safer!

My Favorite Hiking Spots

It's my absolute favorite time of the year and trail hiking is by far my favorite activity which most likely stems from growing up only 5 miles from the Dunes State Park. I'm not sure there is any better view in the area than standing at the top of the dunes, watching the lake barrel into the shore with the Chicago skyline in the far distance. There's a spiritual aspect to every hike I do out there. No matter how I'm feeling before starting, I seem to always have found my center, my calm by the end of the hike. It's not just at the Dunes either. There is a greater presence in every hike that I do whether I'm at Chellberg Farm, The Dunes, Imagination Glen, or Coffee Creek. It makes me truly believe that we have created certain disorders like anxiety or attention defecit due to our fast paced, high stress lives. I can't remember ever feeling stressed while walking a trail, far from the noise of cars, cell phones, and email "alerts". I feel so blessed to have grown up in an area where we have so many options for getting back out to nature! Below you can find websites for my four favorite hiking trails and my own opinion of each.

The Dunes (National Lakeshore) - Chesterton

My favorite place by far! It costs $5.00 daily or $36.00 for an annual pass - well worth it! Where else can you hike amazing trails and then take a stroll along the beachfront all in the same hour!?

Chellberg Farm - Porter

Free admission with gorgeous nature trails. One of my favorite winter hiking areas! The terrain is mild to medium and there is plenty of interesting things to explore: old farm house with equiptment, a cemetary, and Baily Homestead. They also have a Maple Syrup festival each year where you can taste freshly sapped maple syrup!

Coffee Creek Watershed Preserve - Chesterton

This park offers easy, fun trails with great picture opportunites. It's not always easy to hike with a one year old, but this is my favorite place to bring Lyla. I have a three wheeled stroller that does pretty well on the trails, but they also have sidewalks for walking in addition to their paths. It's not the best "nature" trails, but still beautiful and a nice get away! My favorite "picnic" spots are at this location!

Imagination Glen - Portage

These trails are mostly used for mountain biking, but pre-baby, this was by far our favorite place to hike with the dogs! You might get some dirty looks from the mountain bikers if you get in their way, so keep and eye and ear out for them. We found we rarely encountered bikers and it was a great workout with the all of the hills. I can't wait to take Lyla out there once she has mastered the art of walking!

Patient Success Story - Tessa Bogel

Dr. Bozovich has kept me going! Not only does she keep me running, but she helped me through my pregnancy!

I had not been a very active person for a very long time. I had quit smokig and gained an unacceptable amount of weight. So, I joined a gym and started the beginner's running program at Fleet Feet. Fleet Feet coaches do a great job in giving you stretches and cross-training exercises in order to prevent injuries. However, I thought I was ok and I did more than Fleet Feet coaches instructed and probably didn't do some of the exercises correctly. Of course, after not following instructions, I started having problems. First, I got shin splints. I was a few weeks away from my first ever 4 mile races and was in a lot of pain while running or even walking. Fleet Feet coaches encouraged me to go see Dr. Bozovich, so I made an appointment. I did have to rest for a couple weeks, but the exercises that Dr. B gave me and with the help of her taping techniques, the shin splints were healed enough for me to run on time for the race.
I didn't actually get to race, though. No, I was out on a training run and started to feel knee pain. I had somehow twisted wrong and had some meniscus fraying.

Fast forward a year, after much resting for the meniscus, and a lot of strength training, I tried running again. Dr. Bozovich again to the rescue when I started having more pains, in my back, calves, heels, and foot arches. She again isolated various muscles that weren't firing and gave me exercises and tape, and I was finally able to run my 4 mile race. YAY.

I wanted to keep going, so I signed up for my next race, the Indy Mini. Yes 13 miles instead of just 4. I kept running and was about to start the 1/2 marathon program at Fleet Feet when I found out I was pregnant. Having not been a runner for very long and having never done that kind of distance, I was advised not to train for, or run, the 1/2 while I was pregnant, but I could do a 10K. So I started training for that. Every pregnant woman can tell you, there are some pains never experienced before caused by the round ligaments. This pain was especially apparent during my runs and in the day or two following a run. Again, Dr. Bozovich has the answers. She did a technique called "blocking", which help keep the ligaments loose and the body balanced for carrying the weight of the baby through the 2nd and 3rd trimester. Also, Terri --wonderful, wonderful Terri-- gave me some fantastic massages to help with lower back aches. Right after my due date passed, Dr. B gave me "special blocking" which helped kick contractions into gear and get baby moving.

I start post-pregnancy running again in the next week. I will continue to see Dr. B for any issues I have to help keep me moving. She is always professional. She explains things so that you can understand it. And she gets results! Thank you Dr. Bozovich!

Patient Success Story - Jen Dobrowolski

For the second year in a row, I longed for the marathon. It was too late for Chicago in 2010. The race was closed by the time I decided to register, in mid March. They actually announced that they were not taking any more applications on the same day I had mailed mine off. Indy, however, was still open and in November, so my training wouldn't be altered much. I was nervous, though, because I had heard Indy was hillier and this would be my first marathon.
After completing my first half marathon with my sister, Missy in August of 2010 (Rock and Roll Half Marathon August 1, 2010 in Chicago), I had strained my left knee. All the bouncing in and out of the masses, during the race had me hurting. I did not listen to my body and rest after this race. Instead, I had to take a month off running and by the time the marathon came, I was up to 10 miles. I did not feel ready. I really wanted Chicago. One more year to train, I thought.
About 2 months ago, I did a long run of 14 miles on the treadmill, which I learned is a real no no. Then, despite the pain, I continued to run 4 more days that same week. With 6 weeks left to train, I decided to take 2 weeks off to recover. Ice, ibuprofen and all the stretching in the world did nothing. I got to 6 miles and I was in pain.
I went to Fleet Feet for some new shoes as I'm sure I was overdue and too cheap to spend the money. I was referred to Tiffany Bozovich, a chiropractor. When it came to chiropractors, I was more than a little apprehensive. I've always known chiropractors to manipulate the spine as many do and as a neuro nurse, I know that can be awfully dangerous. But I was told that Dr. Bozovich assigned exercises to awaken muscles that weren't working, due to overuse. So I had to give it a try.
The exercises she gave me to do were simple. They took only a couple minutes a day, if that. I wondered how such a simple thing could make such a big difference and I had my doubts.

Running shoes $200.
Entry Fee $190.
Ahh, to run down the streets of Chicago and finish the Chicago Marathon, priceless!
My goal: 4:30.
My time: 4:27!

Tiffany Bozovich, I'm sorry for ever doubting you! And Terri, you are wonderful! No one could do to my Iliotibial Band what you did!
If you are a runner, and you've never had a chance to run a marathon, you are missing out!
You don't need music. The crowd will carry you! You can stay to the way left or right and slap everyone's hands for encouragement. You will be sprayed with water, doused with it, sponged with it and nearly drowned in it. You will see people fall and people stop, but know that you can keep going. You may see men dressed as Lady Gaga and singing her music. Elvis was there. There were teenagers and people over 80. There were people from Europe, Africa, and Asia running this race. There were fun signs to laugh at: toenails are overrated. I concur as I lost one. There was a guy painted orange. It was a gorgeous day and the best parts of Chicago to see. I was by Wrigley and U.S. Cellular. I went through the Mariachi bands and China Town with the dragons. A friend told me to look around at mile 25. He said: Take out your earphones here! You'll want to pay attention! With one mile to go, you want to remember this! And he was right! The crowd was awesome and massive. And as I turned the final corner, to my left I saw the 26 mile marker, to my right I saw my friends and family waving and recording me. And up ahead, 200 meters, was the finish line. My father always taught me to be tough, but I could not help it when the tears welled up in my eyes. This was the best feeling I ever had in my whole life! Now, I feel like I can accomplish anything my heart desires! Can't wait till next year!
If you are not a runner, start now! If I could start at 35 without ever running before, anyone can. It will change your life, forever!