Da Power of Da Needle

At my training camp in Tucson (video to come), Craig, Matt, and I absolutely destroyed ourselves in 4 days. I can honestly say I have never been that sore from training alone! To help take full advantage of all that training, I wanted to recover properly.

I went into Alta to see Mike 2 times for Trigger Point Dry Needling. I was kinda sore the following days after each treatment, but WOWSERS! It made a world of difference! Let me start by explaining TDN.

Trigger Point Dry Needling, or TDN for short, is a technique that uses acupuncture needles to release tight muscles and deactivate trigger points. Trigger points are irritable, painful spots within a taut band of skeletal muscle. When the needle is inserted into the muscle and through the trigger point, the muscle involuntarily contracts causing a twitch. When this happens it promotes healing by creating a local inflammatory response.  So this means when they stick you with a bunch of needles, you’re gonna spaz, and then feel really good in couple of days. That simple.

During my first treatment, Mike focused on lower back, hamstrings, and glutes. The sensation you get from those tiny little needles is kind of hard to describe. I wouldn’t use the word “painful,” but rather “intensely uncomfortable.” It doesn’t really hurt, but I was squirming around on the table a lot. In this picture, you can see how Mike lines up exactly where he wants the needle to go with a little tube. Once that’s lined up, he just taps the back end of the needle and VOILA! Its in and you can barely feel it… you can barely feel it until he starts moving it around. Then  you get that twitchy, jumpy response from the muscles as he hits the trigger points. Again, I want to emphasise that it is “intense”, but not “painful.” Two totally different things.

About a week later, I went in for a 2nd treatment. This time around Mike focused on my Gastrocnemius (aka calves) and my Soleus. These areas were far less intense during the session, but I felt them a lot more the next couple of days.  I can’t say enough good things about this method of treatment. I think it’s a fabulous way to prevent injury, help speed up recovery, prevent injury, and specifically target an injury to treat it. I listed prevent injury twice because I a big fan of it. I’ve referred to it as “pre hab,” in previous blogs and I totally believe in it. If you do the extra little things ahead of time, they will make a BIG difference in the long run.

Mike needling my calves. I was sore for a couple of days afterwards, but then I was ready to rock and roll! I can’t imagine how long it would have taken for them to recover if I hadn’t done TDN.

Close up of the needle. It doesn’t really hurt. It was funny to see this picture because my first thought was “That was in me?!?” I’m glad I didn’t watch because I have a slight fear of needles.



Mr May

I just found out that I am the picture for the month of May in the new Inside Triathlon 2011 calendar. That is so cool!

After going for a  run with Shelby and Bella, I saw the Facebook post from my teammate Cassie Maximenko, saying that I was in the new calendar. We spent a good portion of the afternoon running aound town trying to find one. Unfortunelty we came home empty handed.

All that we were able to find was this link, http://bit.ly/hMTvwR,  which if you look at the 5th picture (hence why I am Mr May) you will see me in my Timex race kit. It was a great shot of me taken by Nils Nilsen at the XTERRA West Championship in Las Vegas.