Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday Feature: Logan Burrows and the Amphibious Assault team

     For Richard Burrows and his son, Logan, the Barber Beast on the Bay served as a family event.
     Their team, Amphibious Assault, was well represented in this year’s Beast. Richard and his nephews headed the 10-mile course, while Logan participated in the Maureen Riazzi Adapted Course.
     With an opportunity to bring their family together for a bonding experience, Richard said the day couldn’t have been better.
     “Our family is big into sports and physical fitness,” he said, “so to share an experience like this with my son as well as my nephews is fantastic.”
     During the inaugural Barber Beast on the Bay, Logan sat on the sidelines as he watched his dad participate. After seeing his dad participate, Logan told his mom, Mary, that he wanted to participate in the event, too.
     And so this year Logan, wearing matching t-shirts with the rest of his family, took on the Beast, too.
     “Logan was really looking forward to participating and had a great time,” Richard said.
      One of Richard’s favorite moments took place after Logan completed the adapted course. Logan met Richard at the end of the 10-mile course to run the finish together. They both really liked crossing the finish line together, Richard said.
     He added that there were other parts of the Beast he really enjoyed, too.
     “I really enjoyed the atmosphere and the excitement surrounding the event. I also enjoyed running the obstacle course with my nephews,” he said. “We rarely get the chance to do something together and this was a great opportunity for that.
     “The setting of the beach was great and the cause of the event was great. It seemed at times like it was one big team event and the goal was for everyone to finish.”
      Richard and Logan’s finish together prompted Richard to already sign his team up for the 2015 rendition of the Beast, and he said they will be looking to add more members to the Amphibious Assault.
     “We have a local treasure in Presque Isle and one in the Barber National Institute and to bring them together in an event like this is something special,” Richard said.
     “To share it with my son makes it memorable. It really was a great opportunity for people with disabilities to take part in something a lot of us take for granted.”

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Beast on Vacation: Part 2 to NYC

Kong and I climbing up the Empire State Building. No monkey business here.

I found the subway, but not the one with food. Disappointing.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Beast on Vacation: Part 1 to Florida

Greetings from Florida!

Me with some palm trees! My head is a little too big for selfies, I guess.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Post-Beast Soreness

Post-Beast Muscle Soreness

With the Beast quickly approaching, it’s time to talk about reducing the pain and discomfort that ensues following the completion of the course.  Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is the sensation of pain and/or discomfort experienced 24–48 hours after unaccustomed exercise, particularly exercise that requires primarily eccentric muscle contraction. Eccentric exercises were discussed in my first blog on Achilles Tendonopathy.  Eccentric muscle contractions are those in which the muscle is lengthening while it is contracting, typically to slow a joint down.  An example of eccentric muscle contractions are the quadriceps muscle while running downhill, or the contraction of the biceps muscles when lowering a heavy weight with your arms.
While the exact physiologic cause of DOMS is not fully understood, we know that stretching is an effective way for many people to reduce the amount of DOMS that is experienced post-race. A study by Reisman et al. 2005, showed that stretching following a heavy eccentric workout was able to reduce the amount of pain associated with DOMS.  A similar study by Jayaraman, et al., 2004, found that static stretching following intense exercise was able to slightly reduce the amount of pain caused by DOMS. More flexible athletes, however, tend to have no effect from performing pre and post-workout stretching.
In general, static stretching is advocated over the use of ballistic stretching. With static stretching, the stretch is held for 10-15 seconds then repeated for several repetitions.  In ballistic stretching, the stretch is not held, but the athlete moves quickly in and out of the stretch.  Ballistic stretching tends to put more strain on tendons and their attachments, leading to a higher risk of injury from the stretch alone.
It would be impossible to list the millions of stretches that are out there for various body parts, but it is important to stretch the large muscle groups, for sure, prior to the race, and again after the race.  Some suggestions are pictured here:  



Good Luck to everyone participating in the 2014 Barber Beast on the Bay, one of the most challenging next-gen obstacle races in the country!  Hopefully, the clinical information provided to you by the Saint Vincent Team has been helpful in your training, and I hope this blog helps with your post-race soreness.

Jason Dudzic, PT, MSPT, OCS, Cert. MDT
Board Certified Orthopaedic Physical Therapist
Saint Vincent Rehab Solutions

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Cheer Zone Participants

You're struggling. It's the seventh mile and you've hit a wall. Perhaps literally, if you run into one of our obstacles. Suddenly, you hear it.

"Go, go, you can do it!"

You think maybe you're hearing voices. You've skipped a water station, and you're thinking maybe you should have had a drink after all. But then you hear it again.

"Don't give up! Yeah! You've got it!"

Then you see them. Members of the cheer zone. With four different cheer zone groups this year, participants will be cheered on as they run along the course, giving them a pep in their step as they work toward beating the Beast. Let's meet who will be cheering everyone on.

Dance Vibe Studios is made up of a group of dancers from various ages in the central PA area. They will be moving and grooving their way around Presque Isle in support of all the participants.

The East High Cheerleaders will be on the course cheering people on as well. They'll help you to "be aggressive, b-e aggressive" as you run your way through the course.

Step Into Action is for youth ages 7 to 17. Stepping is when the entire body
is used as an instrument to produce complex rhythms and sounds through a mixture of footsteps,
spoken word, and hand claps.

The Gannon Frisbee Club is the final cheer zone participant. They'll be throwing around words of encouragement to help everyone achieve success.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Core strengthening

With the Beast only a week away, core strengthening is the key to a strong finish.  You may be wondering, “How are my abs going to help me?”  Core strengthening is frequently used in the general population, although what does it really mean?  Core strengthening focuses on more than your abdomen; it includes strengthening the muscles of the pelvis, lower back, hips and even the diaphragm.  

An obstacle race course such as the Beast consists of climbing walls, ropes, large piles of sand, walking across nets, crawling through pipes and scaling across monkey bars.  At first glance, participates may think that these obstacles primarily require upper and lower training and neglect the core.  But a strong core provides a solid base, allowing the arms and legs to function with precision while working in sync.   

Core strength is important for walking across rope ladders and climbing events. The core prevents the torso from rotating and allows individual limb movement with a fixed torso and controlled movement at the hips.  Running in sand for 10 miles is a challenge all by itself, although a powerful core can be the world of a difference.   Strong hips and pelvic muscles stabilize the lower extremities leading to improvement in balance and flexibility, allowing each stride to be effective.  With a weak core, lower extremities are constantly adjusting to the disorganized trunk movement.  With a ground surface such as sand there is an increased potential for injury.  A strong core is essential in crawling courses, by coordinating movement between the spine, arms and legs.

Here are some core exercises that are great for the advanced athlete:  Performing 2-3 sets with 10-12 reps, 3-4 times weekly. 

Prone Bridge:  Trunk and pelvic muscles. 

The goal is to maintain a straight line on tiptoes and elbows.  Hold for 30 seconds.

Seated Russian Twist: Abdominal muscles

While seated on the floor with feet lifted off the ground, the medicine ball is rotated from side to side.  This exercise can also be performed while seated on a physioball. 

Side Plank:  Muscles of the entire core particularly lower back and the deep abdominal muscles

Lie on the right side with knees straight out.  Lift upper body on the right elbow and forearm.  Raise hips unit body forms a straight line.  Hold for 30 seconds then repeat on left side. 

Do not be afraid to dive into these core exercises.  There are multiple variations for different levels – from easy to difficult. 


Afzal H. Khan, MD
Saint Vincent Sports Medicine Resident