The beginners/cat 4 race coaching at Curborough race circuit Staffordshire, set up by Lichfield CC, Elisa McDonagh and Huw Williams.
Huw got us to ride either on the hoods or drops, which I only tend to ride on the drops down hills as my 1975 Alan, well braking is a manual strength test at times compared to modern bikes, which I love and the bike bars are slightly to far for me from what I have been told, but I love the pezzani on the side and the original Coppi bar tape, so the handle bars are staying.
So being on the drops I could feel discomfort on the front pubic area and was thinking time to invest in some better cycling shorts- more in another post, shortly.
The coaching was really useful for me, I recommend it even if you do not want to race as if you come to cycling older and not learned how to ride close to others or in a peloton, it is a must to gain that confidence and no crashing here.
I found it very humbling as I thought I could keep up pace for longer, still a fair bit of fitness to gain, only been riding on my 1975 Alan since I bought it in October 2014 and only just recently upped my mileage and things are starting to get more out on the hillier areas.
The techniques that were taught after the warm up of gradually increasing pace and spinning, oh I can spin at a high cadence. Though I am training myself to do that through the harder gears so when it comes to climbing hills I don’t drop to the bottom gear straight away, I love riding my vintage bike and if I can get to the point on flying past those up hills with more gears than moi that would be awesome. Yes it’s easier on the body to spin at a higher cadence up hills, but there are those who used to climb up mountains and hills with just 3 gears, some still do.
We were made to ride in a group close together getting us to put a hand on the next rider’s shoulder and cycle at same speed was good, keeping our line and going round corners in a line, I kept ending up on the outside, which meant going a bit faster to hold the line.
Then it came to going round corners faster and getting confident at it and seeing a line, now cornering round to the left I found easier than the right it may have something to do with my 123 cheat pattern and stress makes me implode in on myself, as I tend to hide and get away from things emotionally as it is a trait I learned as a little girl to keep myself safe and I am still unlocking that emotional pattern. Emotions have a strong effect on how the body performs and what 123 pattern is run. So going round to the right, I got it, yay, oh no bollocks, I messed it up, ok that was better, nope I fucked it up that time, which was from over thinking it and not relaxing and breathing.
We then went on to puncture drills of soft pedalling and moving up through the peloton with enough time left to do a mini crit race, with the 2 young lasses leading the first 2 laps, well by the first lap I was out the back, however Elisa got those of us out the back to work together, to help each other out and then last lap a sprint to the finish line.
It was a very well organised and great day, I am not sure I will part take in any crits just yet as I prefer being out on the roads and my fitness and average needs to increase a lot, in my opinion, so more getting out on my bike then, especially more so doing hilly routes than the flat ones. Strava is my friend at letting me see how I progress and must admit love it when I get a QOM, though it would be nice when I can get nearer the lads up hills, well some women even as that is a weak point and well if I am going to do Eroica then hill work is a must.
I went to a networking meeting in Lichfield run by 4Networking in January and I ended up sat on the table opposite this man who had sticks and some sort of difficulties with his body. So we got talking. I mentioned what I do Stress Management, Pain and Injury Management by looking at the body’s 2 top priorities breathing and movement via hip flexion. He introduced himself as Martin Warrillow, a writer and now a blogger and speaker about surviving a Stroke, that happened to him in December 2013, whilst crossing a road whilst a bus was coming towards him.
Martin was interested in what I did and so we arranged the 10 minute session with each other, you get 3 x10 minute sessions with people of your choosing after your 60 second introduction that everyone does. He expressed an interest in trying a treatment, he was still seeing a physiotherapist, that he was referred to by the hospital. However he knew his breathing was an issue and so was the ongoing left side weakness, his speech was good for someone whom not long ago suffered a stroke, although I do not know many people whom have suffered a stroke in person. So I emailed him once I got back as I would like to work with him using the activations to see if we could get the left side to be stronger and improve upon his breathing.
I knew cost was an issue, however I wanted to see if I could help him, so we came to an arrangement since he is a writer and journalist, that he shares his experiences about working with me and helps me with future press releases. And if he could cover my basic costs, as he had to pay to come to Derby from Tamworth by train and I would pick him up from Derby Station and take him up and back to Broomfield College, where the physio treatment room I use is and it was agreed upon.
First session with me, we went through history of injuries, most recent of course was the stroke, which whilst having a stroke and a seeing a bus come towards you whilst not being able to do anything has got to be a very traumatic experience. I also discovered he had suffered epileptic fits whilst in his sleep, his wife, Mrs Warrillow, would discover him fitting during his sleep in 2006 and was put on steroid medication to stop the fits. Martin was also born with Spina Bifida, which was removed as a baby.
Just before Martin’s Stroke, 2 weeks before, he was told his job as a National Naturist Magazine Editor was not going to be renewed which he loved for 3 years and 9 months, albeit working crazy stressful hours, the last 3 months ended up being really stressful. When his epilepsy started in 2006 there was also a lot of stress in his life at that moment in time.
From hearing my Be Activated teacher’s stories about one young lad, who had been activated by a family member but was still struggling to play basket ball, he was tall and this you would of thought be super easy for him, yet there was something not quite right, not been able to put your finger on it so to say. So one time Doug, my activation teacher, was staying with the family and he asked about the lad’s birth if any complications and his mother said he was born with a 6th little finger that got removed as a baby, not even the lad knew about this, and now many things just linked together in Doug’s mind and he worked on the lad with activations relating to the trauma of loosing that little finger that was apart of the lad and all of a sudden everything became easy to the lad, he could move and play so much better. Which is quite amazing so I wondered if this could be the case for my client Martin.
Why do I wonder if this is the case for Martin, well he has said he has struggled with his breathing even as a child, he isn’t asthmatic. Martin also struggles to carry his head on top of his shoulders always looking down, that condition was there as long as he can remember and the same with his left leg being turned out as he walks, which the stroke has quite possibly exaggerated these weaknesses in his body, however they were there before the stroke and by having the Spina Bifida removed could of created a trauma in his body to shut down and protect itself, which means the body will sacrifice to survive, so the left leg could of rotated at this point, due to the removal causing the Lateral system (lateral sling, frontal plane) and Posterior system (posterior chain, transverse/rotational plane) to break down.
During the first session I found the 123 pattern Martin’s body is running through the use of the muscle flexibility and resistance tests. 333 Left arm and 333 left leg. 333 left arm is doing area 1’s function the hip flexion of the right hip and really over working and fatiguing much quick due to the affect the stroke has on the body. 333 left leg is doing the left hip flexion. I described everything I was doing in simple terms and more body technical terms of the neural pathways between muscle and brain.
I went on going through the activations and re-testing the corresponding muscle I had activated, I only got to the quad activation on the first session. When I got Martin up of the couch and stood up, he felt a difference in his legs and then I got him walking up and down the corridor without his sticks. I felt I had not done much as I knew that his diaphragm was not yet activated fully, he still was struggling to get the breath into his belly naturally, however he was impressed with what happened and how his body felt to him compared to when he came in.
This was the email I received later on that day;
Thought you might like to know I have just walked all the way from Tamworth railway station to our house (about a ten-minute walk for a 'normal' person) without my sticks - the first time I've done that since my stroke. Let me know an address and I'll send you a cheque for today's treatment. And don't forget to send me some info I can use for my blog and a feature.
I was amazed by this, that he was feeling that confident to do that and during the time before I saw him again he told me he walked several times with Mrs Warrillow’s help for 10 minutes without his sticks again, which is amazing.
The second visit I managed to do all the activation points on him, still seeking the belly breath to happen through the activations and still only a slight improvement with a little more breath reaching his belly, but still happening in the chest first. When the diaphragm is functioning well and we are not in fight or flight state then we should breathe in to our belly first that way we are getting more oxygen into our lungs and then body. Chest breathing means we limit the oxygen intake to only a third or less that gets into our body.
Some of the activation points were holding, some areas there was room for improvement, but we nearly got his leg touching his head so not too shabby from that activation point. I did some release work on his left leg as this time I got him to take off the brace he wears, which to me seems to constrict his ankle and foot with compression but not really give any benefit to the ankle or foot function, just adding to the squished compressed appearance of the left foot, which was like that before the stroke and the turned out appearance has possibly been there since childhood, the brace was trying to help that out. As his lower left leg that is driving the hip flexion and unless the hip flexors are fired up to do their job the lower leg is going to keep doing that function until the correct communication between muscle and brain along the neural pathways is switched back on and this is what the activations do along with affecting the breath into the belly which is a sign of a parasympathetic drop - rest and recover high performing state, which is where we should function from most of the time in our life.
After all the activations I got him standing up and then walking to feel the difference in his body, up and down the corridor, this time telling Martin to go faster, he was walking a lot more straight and upright, feeling more confident, he came in with 2 sticks this time and I mentioned to him, I prefer people to walk with 2 sticks from when a person walks with one they tend to lean on it too much and stoop on it, which creates a further problem with their posture, with 2 sticks you can be more upright in posture, like nordic walking.
On the third session with me Martin was now just walking with one stick and walking a little quicker. I always start the session looking at how area 1 is functioning, if the hip flexors are firing, observing the breath and doing the 123 tests to see what area is in charge and Martin still is 333 left arm and 333 left leg. Going through the activation points again, looking to get the parasympathetic drop shown via the belly breath. This time I went and did some work on his jaw on the inside to release the muscles as they were very tight, which he told me he had discovered a new level of pain. I work lightly, if I work too hard with the points I loose feel and effectiveness on the body. I opened him up to his own pain, the pain is yours that has been numbed out, forgotten it yet it still exists, which is shown when I go into these seemingly vulnerable areas. When I finish and re-test the muscles to show the effect of them being activated and ask how you feel after as during some are very good at letting me know I have the right point. Afterwards you know it is worth going through that suffering as things shift, release and start to function as they can.
A little more breath was happening in the belly, still chest first however more breath into the belly once again. This time when walking up and down the corridor I got him to go much faster in his walk, Martin was much straighter and upright, no wobble. Martin was now becoming much more aware of his body and feeling more through the activations and gaining more confidence in what his body could now do. I still knew there was still further improvement to come if I could get that big belly breath, as I knew there had to be a trigger for it, an emotional one.
On the Fourth session, Martin was walking much better with one stick. This time I went for the diaphragm activation point and I had Martin place himself mentally in the position of when he was having his stroke, with the bus coming towards him and not being able to do anything from the effects of the stroke taking over his body, whilst I focused on the diaphragm activation point and then it happened… the big belly breath. His area 1 then fired after the activations and area 2 and 3, he felt much more discomfort from the activations than ever before as he started to open up to feeling more in his body and also when we going into a place of stress then it can feel much more overwhelming and painful in the body.
When I got him to stand up and walk Martin mentioned his left leg felt normal like his right leg, that was good, no amazing, as the body was now getting it’s priorities met of the breath into the belly and area 1 hip flexion happening from the psoas (hip flexors).
So I tested the walking with him again, up and down the corridor, shouting faster, faster, come on faster, Martin was walking at a decent pace and straight, so I commanded faster he said ‘if I go any faster I will be running.’ So I said well run then, so he did up and down the corridor 6 times in total, with a brief pause as he mentioned his left ankle felt vulnerable and a tweak happened, so I stopped and activated him on some points and then got him to run again and he was good again. I then got him in the Butt Bunji to see how he would be and feel in it, as this is a great tool to feel and get the butt working.
Now Martin mentioned he wanted to do a sponsored run in the summer of 5K at the very first session or even cycle, which he thought was a pipe dream but he was aiming to do it, he just got a little closer to being able to make it happen easily.
Martin mentioned the Tamworth Herald was doing an article on him, which he was including me in and the Derby Telegraph was doing an article also. A Derby Telegraph photographer was supposed to of been booked for session 5, however they never showed up, which did not help Martin out whilst I was working on him. It seems to of been a miss communication with the editor forgetting to confirm and book the photographer for that day.
Session 5. I had the visual fields in mind to do with Martin, however he wanted me to take a closer look at his left shoulder that was in pain. The left arm is the one driving his right hip flexion. So I did the 123 pattern checks and area 1 the posts was not firing again…. hmm…. I don’t know maybe other things happening here. Breathing has improved massively a lot more belly breath, looks much easier when I am observing Martin lying on the table. So whilst waiting the photographer I went through the whole activation sequence with him to see if anything shifted, we got a better range but still pain. So I put his arm in overhead extension and then activating the lats/piriformis point, rotation and shoulder mobility points, superspinatus points also massaging tight areas on the left arm. I would then move his arm back to his side and overhead, and his arm would tense up as I moved it, constantly fighting to be relaxed, so I got Martin to focus on keeping the arm relaxed when I moved it, as soon as he fought the pain happened, when he relaxed and let me move the arm, much more movement and less painful. So there is something going on that means the arm still over works and fights when being moved overhead in extension or round the body to reach behind as if getting something out a cupboard low down, which was how he aggravated the left shoulder.
When I sat Martin up and got him to move the arm how he would when the pain triggered, there was a massive increase in the range, still some discomfort. When I got him to walk up and down the corridor this time we focused on getting the left arm to relax whilst walking, shaking his arm and fingers quickly, re-training them to stay switched off instead of tense up and constantly over work whilst he walks, hand goes into a tight fist or he carries something in the left so it can stay tight and drive the right hip flexion.
Martin was walking up and down without his glasses on, which was different, as I do make him move through the door which I hold open. Walking much straighter and upright, head still forward of being sat on top of his shoulders, could be a visual field issue. So just shaking the fingers whilst having balance when walking fast was enough of a challenge for that day. This time he did not wear his ankle brace as he was feeling it was not giving him any benefit , as I get him to walk barefoot up and down the corridor, so it is never on when I do that.
So we go to drop our passes off at Broomfield reception with the lovely, welcoming and knowledgable Vicky, Martin was keeping pace with me, easily and when leaving reception he held the door for me and he commented on it shortly after. He just did it automatically, now this was something major in my opinion, as his body language prior would be help me I don’t have the strength nor balance and I need someone to open it for me, which came from him suffering a stroke and the mental and physical issues that occured from that experience, as some of the doors in Broomfield look challenging, they are not, just appears so as they are large glass doors.
I just love seeing the immediate changes in Martin when I work with him, how he would avoid opening doors, wobble walk slowly with 2 sticks to an confident door opener, carrying one stick - just incase, whilst walking quite fast next to me. Sometimes we forget it can be the little things that can have a big impact on our lives.
I know there is more to happen with Martin, to see what could possibly happen with the visual field activations and if I can help release the trauma from his Spina Bifida and from discovering more about his conditions from his blog, he suffers with hydrocephalus which the more I think and feel about things all relates back to the trauma of removing the Spina Bifida as a baby, I could be wrong however this article popped up the other day which shows the effects of stress suffered in childhood affects the rest of our life www.iflscience.com/brainchildhood-trauma-alters-neural-responses-stress
In session 6 we will hopefully have the Derby Telegraph Photographer with us, which will add to the mix of things being interesting and quite likely more pain for Martin, however he is up for whatever is to come with all the massive improvements his body has had already by me helping it to meet it’s 2 main priorities of breathing and movement. In session 5 Martin mentioned he learned to hold his breath as a child from traumatic experiences and would pass out from it, which I was seeing a similar pattern on when I activated certain areas we would get the breathing into the belly something good happening, then when I stopped activating on a point and watched his breathing he would take a breath and hold, I would patiently wait to see when he would breathe again. Breath holding can because we don’t want to let go of something, we would rather suffer and even make a choice to die rather than live, as we most likely at an early age been taught it is a good thing to cause suffering to ourselves as then we are loved. Just a theory of mine.
Just my musings.....