Running and Chiropractic (according to Christye)

We only had one take for this shot, because my legs were too tired to jump twice!I don’t normally get to take the reins of the MCM blog, so this is a special treat for me!


As some of you know (because I am chatty), last month I competed in the Kirkland Half-Marathon.  And I wasn’t the only one—several other MCM patients hit the pavement that day: a special shout-out to Michael Miller and Craig Beck for pulling down some blazing fast times on that 13.1-mile course!  Woot woot!  It was an incredible event: the day was warm and sunny, the course was beautiful (albeit a tad hillier than I’d expected…), and I smashed my previous personal record by 4 minutes.  Plus they gave us free Jamba Juice at the finish line!  FREE JAMBA JUICE!  And while I didn’t quite beat Josh’s time (insert eye roll here), this race was still an important milestone for me in my journey from injury to fitness.


In 2009, I injured my knee while training for a full marathon.  I rehabbed it all winter and trained for the same marathon in 2010—only to re-injure both knees halfway through the actual race.  It was my own darn fault—I overtrained for both events—but I kept thinking, “Hey, I’m young, I’ll bounce right back.”  And then I didn’t bounce back.  To say I was frustrated would have been the understatement of the century.  When I came to work for Magnolia Chiropractic & Massage in 2011, I had been to see a physical therapist, two personal trainers, and a sports medicine doc to try and fix my knee problem once and for all—but to no avail.  And what I’m going to say next will make me sound like the biggest brown-noser on the face of the earth, but I truly believe that chiropractic and massage has helped me reach “pre-injury status”  (as Josh would say), and turned my running career around.


Don’t stop reading!  I’m not just kissing up to my boss here!  Since last year, I’ve successfully completed a 12k, three 5ks, and three half-marathons—and all without injury.  The way I see it, chiropractic has helped me recover from my injury in two important ways: 1) It addressed the structural issues that impeded my performance, and 2) It emphasized that there was no “quick fix” for my problem.


I am a lucky duck because the perks of my job at MCM include free massage and chiropractic adjustments.  I have been getting routinely adjusted—usually once a week, but as frequently as three times a week when I was working through a back issue—for the past 12 months, and it has made A HUGE DIFFERNCE in how I feel while running.  Dr. Penner is a veritable textbook of knowledge on the musculoskeletal system, and has helped confirm the diagnosis I got from my sports doctor, recommend rehab exercises and stretches, and address the issues surrounding my isolated injury (e.g., adjusting my low-back helped my knees feel better).  And there aren’t enough positive adjectives to describe how incredible Tai and Allison are at their jobs. 


But adjustments and massage alone were not enough to take care of my injury.  This is something I’ve learned from sitting behind the front desk, watching patients come and go: the people who actually do their “homework” exercises get better faster than those who don’t.  Simple.  I’ve seen the data in our appointment tallies!  I realized that all the sports doctors and physical therapists in the world couldn’t help fix my knee if I didn’t do my part.  It’s not their fault that I didn’t do the rehab exercises at the frequency or intensity they prescribed—it was mine!  Every time I went out for a long run instead of listening to my body and resting, I made my injury worse.  Every time I skipped my exercises altogether, I made my injury worse.  What I wanted was a magic Band-Aid fix—and what I got was disappointment.


Chiropractic has increased my awareness of my body—and when you pay more attention to what’s going on in your body, I think you naturally take better care of it.  So as much as I wanted Dr. Penner to just Snap-Crackle-Pop my knee out of pain, I’m actually glad it’s been a long road to recovery.  Because it’s taught me that I can take an active role in taking charge of my health.  My body is my body, and no one else’s: I can become aware of it, I can listen to it, and I can discern (within limits) what it needs.  Even if it needs me to slow down.


So, thanks to my crack medical team here at MCM, and some very careful and conservative training plans on my part, this past year has been the most fun and successful year of running I’ve had yet.  Culminating in my 1:40 time at the Kirkland Half, and a 1:39 P.R. a few weeks later (just 3 minutes shy of Josh’s best time, so he better watch his back!). 


Now my biggest problem is just figuring out how the race folks lost track of my bib number and didn’t record my time…but one thing at a time.


New Golf Certification for Dr. Penner


Dr. Penner is a proud member of ProSport Chiropractic, a nationwide network of highly skilled chiropractic doctors who provide on-site treatment and support for professional athletes.  ProSport Chiropractic is a leader in chiropractic sports education, and Dr. Penner is extremely excited to be participating in a three-part certification process on the treatment of common golf injuries taught by the renowned Dr. Jeff Blanchard, founder of www.golfinjuryseminar.com.


The first seminar will be held in early June, and in addition to world-class instruction on the diagnosis and treatment of common golf injuries, teaching will be presented by Dr. Dan Murphy on the history, symptoms, signs, diagnostic tests, special imaging (MRI, CT scan, etc.) and management of patients who have sustained dramatic brain injury.  Dr. Mark Charette will also be presenting on lower extremity adjusting (the concept of "the noisy joint," and adjusting protocols that achieve excellent results with feet, knees, and hips).

Here at Magnolia Chiropractic & Massage, we are constantly striving to grow and improve.  Dr. Penner sees this series of seminars as an excellent opportunity to hone his clinical skills in order to be of better service to his patients.  And when asked how he felt about honing his clinical skills, Dr. Penner said, "Oooooo I'm giddy with excitement!!!"


Dr. Penner Places 27th, Eats Large Cake

Dr. Penner's wife made this spectacular (and delicious!) gold medal cake in celebration of Josh's successful race.

As I rounded a bend near mile 8 of the Whidbey Half Marathon, the city of Oak Harbor came into full view.  The sun glistened on the water, and the smooth arc of coastline led my eyes up to the wooded hills of Whidbey Island, and the Olympic Mountains standing majestically beyond.  My breath caught for a moment, then I exhaled deeply.  There was more in that breath than just oxygen and carbon dioxide.  I was breathing out stress.  I was unwinding, and I could feel balance being restored in my mind and body. 


How often do you give yourself a chance to do that?  When you get wound up tighter and tighter by your busy city life, what unwinds you? 


I have an idea.  Get out of your man-made environment (especially concrete) and get into nature.  Swim in it, run in it, climb on it!  


You don't even have to do anything if you don't want to: studies show that if you simply look at nature you will begin to relax.  Scientists at Essex university showed that spending as little as five minutes in a green space cuts stress.  Other studies have shown that those with access to countryside are less likely to have heart disease or strokes.


One of the most stress inducing things you can look at is concrete.
One of the most relaxing things you can look at are trees. 


If you live in the city you might want to consider getting out of your concrete surroundings every once in a while.  Find some trees, water, and mountains to enjoy.  


And if you don't want to hike, swim, or run, you can just look.  That's OK, too. 


In health,
Josh Penner, D.C.



Race Report

The winter triathlon was a smashing success for the following reasons:


1.  I didn't die on the course (even though I felt like I was going to!).


2.  I was thoroughly inspired by athletes in their 50s and 60s who were in phenomenal shape.


3.  I crossed the finish line ahead of the old lady with the grey hair so I didn't get last place!


Besides enjoying the beauty of nature, the thrill of cruising past mile after mile of wintry terrain with a group of competitors, and savoring the flavor of a well-earned post-race pint of IPA, I took away something even more important from this race.  


I realized that I can be healthier in the next 20 years than I have been in the last 20.  It was motivating to look at someone in their 50s and think: "I wish I could go that fast!"  Thank you to all the racers for your inspiration.
 See you next year!


So what's next on the horizon?  Whidbey Island half-marathon on April 15th.  Maybe I'll see you there!


In health,
Josh Penner, D.C.



Finding Motivation

Every once in a while, I sit down and give myself what I like to call a "talking-to."  

These talks are my way of "checking in," by taking a moment to identify the things that motivate me in life.  I then try to intentionally increase motivators that help me be better, and decrease the motivators that make me worse.  It's my way of "taking stock" of my life, and where I'm going.

As I sit here writing this (actually, speaking it into my iPhone -- thank you, Siri!), I have very sore hamstrings.  My hamstrings are sore because I've been training hard with the lovely Eve Crowley from Fitness by Design here in Magnolia.  Why am I training hard?  Because I've been motivated to do so by the Methow Valley Trails Association Winter Triathlon that's coming up this weekend.

Training for this wintry event has kept me in great shape for the past couple months, and I am giddy with excitement just thinking about the miles of cross-country skiing, running through snowy trails in the woods, and mountain biking on snowy backcountry roads I'll get to enjoy in the North Cascades: one of the most beautiful places on God's green (or white, as the case may be) earth.  Just thinking about it makes me want to go for a run right now!  My motivation trick is working!  Weeeeeeee!

As perhaps you can tell from my excitement, having an upcoming race to look forward to motivates me to stay in good shape -- and helps me (and my family!) enjoy a full, longer, healthier life.  

So: what motivates you?  Identify it, schedule it, make it happen!  (You know you want to!)

In health,

Josh Penner, D.C.