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Repair And Recovery
by Dave Foreman
As most of you know, I recently ran the Los Angeles Marathon. I featured several articles that were more than personal about my training, health and family life. Many of you emailed me confessing that these articles were a wake-up call and to thank me for being as open and honest about my own life, struggles, success and health. This article is continuing along the same path.
On March 18th of this year, I completed the LA Marathon in 4 hours and 50 minutes. For the hard-core athletes this is not a stellar time, but for me it wasn’t about time-it was about raising money and awareness for an organization I love (and so does Vitamin Shoppe) called Vitamin Angels (www.vitaminangels.org).
I have previously stated my distaste for running and even went as far as creating a logo, t-shirts and postcards stating that I HATE running…but…I LOVE Vitamin Angels. I did everything I could to prepare my body, mind and spirit for the event: Training-check, Diet-check, Supplements-check, Counseling-check, Prayer-check. As we go through life and face different challenges (diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, stress, death of a loved-one, school, work, children, marriages, etc.) it is important to prepare ourselves for as much as possible. Even though I prepared myself for the huge challenge, something I could not have prevented happened at the 20th mile of the race - my right knee went out with excruciating pain. I “cruised” through the first 20 miles in 3 hours and 8 minutes (not bad for someone who hates running and is almost 48 years old). I never had knee problems so the pain was foreign to me. It was painful enough to bring tears to my eyes. All I could think about is how I would be letting “the children” (Vitamin Angels) down if I didn’t complete what I started. I’m proud to announce that ultimately we raised enough money to help over 11,000 children around the world, including The USA.
Where do I go from here?
As I stopped to collect my thoughts, evaluate my knee situation and considered my alternatives, a medical person (volunteer) told me to man-up and keep going. Although her comment was shocking, it was what I needed to hear. I stretched, prayed (a ton of prayer) and started limping along my way (my wife told me on the phone it wasn’t about the time–it was about finishing the race). After several minutes of prayer and limping, I was able to start jogging/running again. Eventually the pain would grow and I would have to stop running. The same process ensued (limping, stretching, prayer, jog/run) and I was off to run more. This same cycle concluded at mile 24 where I felt moved to run the last 2.2 miles without stopping. As I crossed the finish line I could hear my wife and two friends (Angela and Mike) calling out to me (it’s crazy to think that I actually heard them over the 10’s of thousands at the finish line–but I did hear and see them) in support of the accomplishment. I was spent physically, emotionally and spiritually!
What now? It took me about 20 minutes to walk through the barricaded area after I crossed the finish line. This area keeps the spectators away from race participants while we get water, nutritional bars, thermal blankets, finishers medals, etc. I could barely walk and knew that repair and recovery would be an uphill battle. The obvious problem was my knee, but there were also the other normal processes that I would have to deal with as well: inflammation, stiffness, connective tissue damage and more. Being a man who likes to practice what he preaches, natural was the only method used (even though friends and family tried to get me to go to the doctor and to use OTC medications for my discomfort). FYI, I had a very humbling experience after the race. I had to request a wheelchair in the Atlanta airport in order to get from one gate to the next. I am not sure why it felt humbling, but it did. It also gave me a greater appreciation for what I have health-wise as opposed to focusing on what I didn’t have. This is in keeping with my Attitude of Gratitude (a spiritual thing for me).
Here is what I did to address these issues:
Other than the typical R.I.C.E approach (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevate) to sports injuries, supplements played a huge role in my recovery and repair. Immediately following the race I took:
Why these supplements?
Carnipure - Helps decrease the stiffness and helps to speed the recovery post-activity.
Ubiquinol –This is a great cardiovascular and total body antioxidant. It also helps decrease fatigue after cardiovascular activity. Remember that one of the major contributing factors of damage done to our bodies are free radicals. During extensive activity the body produces more free radicals than it normally would. Taking antioxidants is the best way to neutralize these free radicals and decrease the potential damage/harm they may produce.
Bromelain – One of my favorite supplements to help begin the repair process in the body. It also acts as a great anti-inflammatory when taken on an empty stomach.
IbuActin – This is a blend of several great ingredients that helps the body fight inflammation. Since my body was riddled with inflammation from the trauma of running 26.2 miles, it was imperativeto take a strong stance against inflammation. The ingredient that I like most in the product is called Perluxan. This comes from Hops and has an effect within 30-45 minutes. There aren’t many things in nature that work as quickly for pain and inflammation.
Celadrin – This ingredient has even had studies published on its benefits for helping with joint and connective tissue health. I took Celadrin throughout my training process to help decrease the chances for damage and to help lubricate and improve the overall health of my joints.
Turmeric – What can I say that hasn’t been said already? Turmeric is an amazing spice that possesses amazing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. This is a must for anyone who is involved in more than 45 minutes of cardiovascular activity during the day.
Coromega (Omega-3s EPA/DHA from Fish Oil) and Chia Seeds (Omega-3 ALA from a plant source) – Omega-3s play an essential role in all health aspects. For me, they were providing an energy source (especially with the Carnipure added), support for fighting inflammation and support of the healing process that I faced.
Some of these doses might seem excessive to you, but keep in mind that I am a trained expert and was taking a more aggressive approach to my recovery. I continued to use the supplements mentioned above in their normal dosing about 24 hours post-marathon. Before I continue, let me add that these supplements are NOT just for someone who ran a marathon or is into extreme exercise! These are for everyone who needs repair or recovery from any type of activity (golf, tennis, walking, biking, gardening, etc.). Within 2 days of running the marathon, my leg muscles returned to their normal feeling (no pain). Within 2 weeks, my knee had fully recovered to pre-marathon levels.
I realize that the list of supplements above may seem overwhelming to some of you, but in keeping with commitment to “practice what I preach” this is what needed to be done. In my book 4 Pillars of Health: Heart Disease I encourage people to “jump in with both feet” when addressing their health concerns/ challenges. Simply trying a supplement will NOT get your body where you want it to go. However, if you take a more aggressive approach to our health (eating right, activity levels, spirituality and supplements) you can have very positive results. In relation to my own personal story, I am truly amazed that within two weeks I went from barely being mobile to walking, running and cycling – pain free. I am a “walking testimony” that what I PREACH can potentially work for you.