April Newsletter

  This month our training article gets a little bit personal. About a month ago, I herniated a disc in my thoracic spine. It is the first major injury I have had in nearly 20 years, and it has been quite the learning experience. I thought this would be a great opportunity to talk about what happens if you face a major injury mid-season or when your season is just kicking into gear. A situation such as this, can test even the strongest person both mentally and physically.
“Like any trauma, when injury hits, we immediately start to progress through the various levels of grief and coping; denial, anger, depression, bargaining and, finally, acceptance.”
  Having a major injury usually will catch us totally off guard, and often comes at the most inopportune time, but is there ever a good time to get injured? Clearly, no. No one plans to hurt themselves, and as spring kicks into gear and the competitive juices start to heat up, we start to push the outer limits of our fitness. Plus, as we age, it is important that adjustments need to make to both our training and our approach. The ramifications of injury that we often don’t consider are the small details that effect our everyday life. Those can be the most challenging obstacles to overcome, and they can put the most pressure on us and our support (friends and family). Like any trauma, when injury hits, we immediately start to progress through the various levels of grief and coping; denial, anger, depression, bargaining and, finally, acceptance. Let’s be honest, for a lot of us, a catastrophic injury is a grieving process; loss of mobility, loss of freedom and the frustration of pain management.

  I knew the second I hurt my back, and I knew it was serious, but of course, I tried to convince myself it was just a muscle tear or just a strain. Several hours later, it was clear, based on my debilitating pain level, that I had done something pretty serious. It became crystal clear any kind of outdoor activity was going to be on hold. In my case, the pain in my back was easily drowning out the denial that I had a serious injury, but for others, the pain may not be able to outweigh the denial. My advice is to always seek out medical experts to get a true assessment of what is going on with your body. How can a conversation hurt, and you may even be enlightened to some new facts about your body. For me it started with Epic Chiropractic here in Sacramento. They very quickly confirmed my belief that I had a herniated disc and gave me a basic plan of action to follow along with a solid support network. This was a major key, having real support and knowledge behind me, to moving from grief and onto the road of recovery.

“In going through this process, I was able to evaluate some warming signs that I had ignored, and that was a great lesson in learning to once again listen to my body and what feedback it was giving to me.”
  Of course, I quickly moved to anger and disappointment. Anger that even though I work to keep myself in good physical condition, this could happen to me, and not only that it happened to me, but that it happened now when the weather was finally turning good. The anger, combined with this crazy debilitating pain, quickly spiraled me into a mini depression, which of course is stage 3. This is the tough part, the depression. But, thankfully, I had this support network behind me that gave me a solid coping mechanism. One of our founding pillars at Dai!® Endurance is our ability to create this support network for our customers. It is situations like this injury that was the inspiration for the studio, and this back issue has allowed me to expand that network not only for myself but for our customer base.

  Next came the bargaining stage. I went to a place where I would have given up almost anything to get my back to a healthy place. There were a lot of internal conversations about giving up x y and z, if I could just get to a point where I could ride or walk or even work effectively. In the end, recovery is a process, and I was forced to face the facts that the process would be slow and methodical. After, seeing a sports medicine physician, I came up with a more specific plan of attack and a series of goals for recovery. That lead me to the acceptance stage. My family played a huge roll in this process, and it was an important reminder of how important they are to recovery. My wife shuttling me all over the place, since I could not drive. My son picking up after me when the back spasms hit. It was all an important part of the process.

  Many lessons were learned; lessons about patients, acceptance and reformulating new goals for the short and the long term. In going through this process, I was able to evaluate some warming signs that I had ignored, and that was a great lesson in learning to once again listen to my body and what feedback it was giving to me. The process of re-establishing my support network and establishing new contacts with new knowledge has really been a silver lining in the whole journey. I was also able to backtrack to some fundamental training methods that I had started to let slide. I was able to reintroduce myself and improve my knowledge in some of our most effective strengthening methodologies like using our Redcord Suspension Training System and Foundations Training. In years past these had helped me build a solid foundation of strength, but like many endurance athletes, I had started to let these non-sport specific tools disappear from my weekly training.
  I clearly had plans for this spring and summer, but with this set back, I was forced to sit down and reformulate those well thought out plans and goals. I now have new plans and goals and some of those revolve around turning this injury into a spring board of change and improvement.
Michael Sayers most recently worked for USA Cycling, cultivating the next generation of American riders. He served as the U.S. Olympic Team Men’s Coach at the 2012 London Games and the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. He has led Team USA at the last 9 World Championships for both the U23 Men and the Elite Men. He was part of the BMC Racing Team as the only American Sports Director. Before that, he led teams that raced in America and Europe for 13 years. He rode for Comptel-Colorado Cyclist, Mercury Pro Cycling Team, and Health Net before concluding his career on the BMC Racing Team. Sayers was with the BMC team from its inception as a Continental team to Pro Continental to World Tour team.
April’s product of the month is our NormaTec® Massage Boots. These are incredible tools for your recovery needs. NormaTec® is the original air pressure recovery boots. They were created by a physician bioengineer (MD, PhD) to enhance blood flow and speed recovery to any athlete and they are portable and easy to transport.
NormaTec® has a unique design feature as compared to other recovery boots. Instead of using static compression (squeezing) to transport fluid out of the limbs, NormaTec® use a pulsing compression. The pulsing action more effectively mimics the muscle pump of the legs and greatly enhances the movement of fluid and metabolites out of the limbs after an intense workout.
The boots are incredibly effective and incredibly easy to use. Essentially, they are plug, play, relax and recover. At Dai!®, we have a set of boots you can reserve for in studio use, or you can rent our boots if you have an event you are participating. Just email, call or come in and we will set you up.