Sunday, February 24, 2013

Continuing Education

I remember when I gave up ultra-marathon cycling back around 1990. I remember that I had been plagued with lower back pain for the last couple years. I remember realizing that if I were ever to return to ultra-cycling, I would have to learn new disciplines to keep me comfortable and efficient on the bike, exercises that I wouldn't necessarily like doing. Dreaded core work. Dreaded stretching. And so, when I returned to the sport about 4 years ago, I worked on those disciplines, because I knew they would allow me to return to this sport that I loved so much.

Now, a few years later, and with a new challenge of recovering from a total hip replacement, I am realizing the need for these exercises at an even greater level. As I work to regain strength in my legs, I've become aware of how tight these muscles have become during my several weeks of inactivity. In addition, one other component that has plagued many other athletes, but something I personally have never had to contend with before, is the tightness of the iliotibial band, otherwise known as the IT band. The thick, fibrous tissue that connects from the upper leg by the gluteus maximus and tensor fascia latae muscles, then runs down along the lateral side of the upper leg, and eventually connects to the tibia bone of the lower leg. After some initial encouragement during the early weeks of my rehabilitation, primarily through the strengthening of the gluteus muscles, things began to turn in the other direction. It seemed that at some point, the more I would try to strengthen the muscles around the hip, I would be rewarded with debilitating pain around the hip area and the lateral side of the knee.

What I've been doing to counter act this tightening of the IT band and it's connections to the muscles, is to use various tools to stretch and massage out the knots. Tool like "The Stick" and the "Rumble Roller" can provide the athlete a do-it-yourself deep tissue massage.

Friday, February 15, 2013


Word of the day: "chayim". It means "life," in Hebrew.
My friend Jacob Herber taught me that.

Over this past year, I've been blessed ten-thousandfold. Even thru the difficult times, the Lord has graced me with provision beyond anything I deserve. Even though I'm still in early recovery from my hip replacement, I've been able to get back on the bike for short rides, so I figure it's time to start giving back a little.

I just registered to do "Ridin' for Research", an indoor cycling fund raising event for the Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Center. I'm sure I'll be one of the slow ones there, but that's okay. Please consider making a pledge in my friend's name, Kari Lee Amundson, who is currently struggling with colon cancer.

Would you help give someone chayim today?


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Prayer works

Some people like to say that prayer doesn't work. Sometimes it appears that way when we don't get what we ask of God. We have to remember that what we ask for isn't always in God's plan for us. All we can do is trust in Him, and remember that whatever we do, we do for His glory, not ours. That doesn't mean that God doesn't want us to succeed, or that He doesn't want us to rejoice in our accomplishments. We just need to remember that it is because of Him that these victories actually happen. He gives us the passion. He gives us the strength. He gives us the victories. But sometimes those victories don't come when we want, or how we want them.

Prayer works. If you don't believe me, you've never really given it a chance.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Trusting in Him

A little over a week ago, I was having a pretty discouraging day, probably the worst since the accident. On the other hand, yesterday I had about the best day since the accident. I've started to incorporate light weights into my physical therapy, in addition to regular cycling on the indoor trainer. Since I'm not allowed to swing my leg up high enough yet to get over my regular bike, I've had to use my wife's bike with the step-thru frame. The first 2 days I only rode for 15 minutes each, keeping the pedal pressure very light. It was more to test my leg, to see how things might feel. So far, so good.

Yesterday, after doing my weight workout (and taking an hour to let my leg recover), I rode for 25 minutes, and ramped up the effort so that I was actually getting a good sweat going. Oh man, did that feel good! I actually got in an aerobic workout! My leg felt great too. And afterward, even after having done the weights (which did fatigue to muscles a bit), my leg was feeling good. I actually felt a new level of strength returning. Last night, I was looking back at the progress I've made over the past month, and I was encouraged and grateful. Two weeks ago I was still taking pain-killers to feel good. Today, I'm making the pain to feel good!

I am thankful for where for where the Lord has already taken me, but I have a feeling that He has a lot more work to do with me. I don't care to look back and wonder (what might have been), because what I see ahead is better than anything I could have been before.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
(Jeremiah 29:11)

Trusting in Him...