A Lesson In Peace Making

I am a competitive runner who is a doctor, or maybe I should phrase, I am a doctor who is a competitive runner/athlete.  I write about health and how to keep your body healthy and in motion.  I write about competing and how to do it well without cheating, as many athletes have lately.  I love winning and/or placing in races; I train hard, keep fit, eat well and work to win.

One topic I have not addressed is sportsmanship in how we compete and how we live our lives, day to day.  I witnessed an example of the ultimate in sportsmanship a couple days ago on of all places, the tennis court.  Carole, a friend of ours was playing with a partner against another couple.  She happens to be the President and CEO of The Peacemaker Corps, a global company helping children spread peace around the planet.

Carole and her partner were having a rally against their opponents when she successfully struggled to reach a ball and returned it for a game-winning point.  Her partner yelled out just as she hit the ball, “great shot!”  The opponent, who would not have been able to return Carole’s shot, suddenly stopped and responded, “Oh, I thought you were referring to mine as the winner.”  It was obvious to all that he could not have returned Carole’s ball and that his team lost the point and game.  However, he insisted that he could have returned her shot if he had not been interrupted, so he demanded a re-serve for this important game point.

There was a moment of bewilderment by Carole and her partner (the teaching pro at our tennis club), but they conceded with grace and agreed to re-serve the point.  Unfortunately, she and her partner lost the next two points and the game.

The Peace Makers Corps

The Peacemakers Corps

However, in my eyes, Carole won the highest honor of sportsmanship by not contesting the opponent’s justification for not returning her shot.  What an ultimate sportswoman and peacemaker!!!  She not only talks the talk, but she walks the walk!!!

I would like to thank you Carole for this poignant example of peace making!  You may not have won that game, but you are the real WINNER!!!   Thanks for refreshing my memory that it’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game!

Keep Running!

Dr. Paul R. Copeskey, D.C., C.C.F.C.

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Our Golden Girl, Alexis Faulknor

Alexis Faulknor

Alexis Faulknor

Dr. Paul, I want to take this time to say thank you for playing such a significant role in my life and the life of my daughter, Alexis.  For many years you have played a key role in our success and we truly appreciate you.  As the founder and head coach of the Southern California Running Cougars youth track club and the Head Track and Field Coach at Serra High School, I want to thank you for keeping my athletes strong and injury free.  Some of my greater athletes such as Bryshon Nellum, Duane Solomon and Joey Hughes who were top runners at USC, Khalfani Muhammad and D’Anthony Thomas, Oregon’s top running back just to name a few, could not be where they are today without your consistent treatment.
I am pleased to say that at age 49, I am ranked among the top US Masters in both the 60 meters and the 200 meters.  I am performing at my highest level because of your advice, treatment and your knowledge of sports injuries.  Thank you for being a friend and family doctor.  We will continue to be successful and perform at our best because we have the perfect person in our lives.

Thanks Doc,

Chris Faulknor
USA Master Athlete, USA Track and Field Official SCA High School Track

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Best Running Shoes for 2013

Dr Paul Recommends Saucony Omni

Dr Paul Recommends Saucony Omni

Where did all the strength and longevity in running shoes go?  I can remember shoes lasting 500-600 miles 15 years ago.  Nowadays, if you get more than 300 miles, you probably weigh 125 pounds or have excellent running mechanics.   All the running shoe companies used to make some models that were “board lasted.”  That means when you pull out the shoe’s insole, a board (cardboard-like material) would be located from the heel to the midfoot area of the shoe to make the shoe stronger and last longer.  Today’s running shoes remind me of the Wendy’s commercial where the little old lady said, “Where’s the beef?”  Are you getting the message?  Yes, the shoe companies are motivated to sell shoes and the more the better, especially for the finance department and stockholder.

Dr Paul Recommends New Balance 940

Dr Paul Recommends New Balance 940

The “Run Free” book and subsequent minimalist shoe movement became a huge opportunity for all the shoe companies to get into this current trend and “fad.”  Remember just a couple years ago when Skechers and Reebok had their hands slapped for false health claims about their Shape-Ups and Tone Ups?   I do enjoy the financial benefits from the injuries caused by this quasi-science, but am looking forward to future running shoes that can enhance shock absorption and increase the longevity of the shoes.  If you visit How to Choose a Running Shoe and see some examples of Dr. Paul’s favorite running shoes in The Right Running Shoe, you will probably be able to stay off the disabled list and out of my office.

Keep Running!

Dr. Paul R. Copeskey, D.C., C.C.F.C.

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Hitting V02 Max with RunKeeper on the Bump

The Bump By Runkeeper

The Bump By Runkeeper

I ran “The Bump and Grind” at noon today at 90 degrees in between some monsoonal rain showers; reminded me of Hawaii.  Ironically, it was almost as difficult as a typical 105-degree desert evening “Bump” run.  Hard to believe I was the only person on the trail; love the dust and people absence.  I ran with a frozen bottled water for the first time.  It was invigorating to roll on my chest, neck and even armpits.  The ice starts melting immediately and I still had some left at the end of the 40-minute run.

Keep running!

Dr Paul R. Copeskey, D.C., C.C.F.C.

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How to Increase your VO2 Max Running

Dr Paul Desert Running at 105F

Dr Paul Desert Running at 105F

The most important measuring stick of optimal physical fitness and human performance is VO2 Max.  VO2 Max is basically the maximum ability or heart rate for someone doing an aerobic activity, i.e. running or riding a bike as fast as possible.  It’s a measure of a person’s maximum heart and lung function.  The higher heart rate a person can achieve exercising and not pass out or die doing it usually means better cardiovascular health and higher VO2 Max.  Recent research has now shown track sprinters can have a greater VO2 Max than marathon runners.  This science is supported with recent high intensity interval training (HIIT) results, revealing that short bursts of maximum physical effort for 20 seconds to a few minutes followed by 10-60 seconds rest is healthier than uninterrupted continuous easier efforts for much longer time periods.  See June’s NY Times article, 4-Minute Workout.  The positive changes from HIIT are not only measurable in the heart and lungs, but also in muscles, blood vessels and even evidenced with improved pancreas function related to glucose regulation for many hours after the exercise event.  I’ve always said, “You never see an overweight track sprinter.”

Many of my patients do weekly workouts doing HIIT on a track where, after warming up for 10-20 minutes, they may do 200-400 meter repeats and longer at 90-100% effort with 30 second to 2 minute rests or longer in between.  Other HIIT workouts gaining popularity now are circuit-training classes that turn up the VO2 Max a notch with some resistance training as well.  Be sure to get the OK from your family doctor before ramping up your exercise regimen with these advanced workouts.  Start out 1-3 times a week with 5-10 short sprints of 5-10 seconds at 75-80% effort, gradually increasing over the course of a month or two.  You will be amazed how quickly you will be able to get to 30-second sprints.  Easy does it!

The Bump and Grind

The Bump and Grind

My favorite VO2 Max workout is a 3 to 4 mile advanced mountain trail run called the “Bump and Grind” in the California desert near Palm Springs.  It’s a challenging trail run up and down a barren desert mountain landscape mimicking the moon’s surface.  The early part of the trail is only a couple feet wide and passing people involves at least one person turning sideways.  The trail is littered with intermediate size rocks, hence the name “Bump,” and for the first half mile a vertical drop of a few hundred feet keeps one focused on every foot strike.  The “Grind” part of the run is a steep 1 mile climb that can quickly establish everyone’s VO2 Max within a few seconds, or the heart rate basically when one can no longer run or even walk up the mountain.  I try to continue running in this “Grind” phase close to my 90-95% VO2 Max for intervals of 2-4 minutes with 10-20 second rests.

A tool I frequently use to increase my VO2 Max by only 20-25% on this trail run in 100 degree heat is crushed ice in a small ziplock baggie under my hat.  The top of the head is like the car’s radiator and ice can last up to 30 minutes in this heat.  Another boon for heat running are salt tablets (“Salt Stick Caps”) and energy aids like Powergel and Gu products.

Once at the top of the “Bump and Grind’s” nearly 1000 foot climb, its time for the breathtaking views across the valley floor, the 8,000 foot snow-covered mountains directly above Palm Springs and Big Bear’s snow cap as well to the northwest.  One might get lucky as I did the other day and see a Bighorn sheep and its offspring.  My descent includes novel challenges to primarily increase propioception and coordination, i.e. skipping from side to side and doing 360’s.  It’s difficult to challenge my VO2 Max on the way down, other than a few ‘bumpless’ stretches of 300 yards or so that I can push the pedal on and then later through a rolling bumpy stretch for a few minutes, all the time also checking for rattlers, scorpions, tarantulas and sidewinders.  My special preventive ankle sprain taping technique keeps my confidence high running down the “Bump.”

Top of the Bump and Grind

Top of the Bump and Grind

The name of the game in athletics when it comes to exercising and pushing the body to higher physical challenges is, “you have to be able to repair what you tear.”  Exercise involves predictable stresses and strains on our skeleton, starting in the feet.  I have specialized for the last 35 years in sports medicine on the feet and lower extremities as they relate to the entire skeleton.  My most important revelation has been that almost everyone has one leg actually longer than the other by almost ¼” and correcting this abnormality with custom orthotics helps the entire skeleton’s function and performance throughout life, whether you are a Ferrari, Hummer, or a Volkswagen.   As the intensity of exercise increases, the workload on the skeleton does as well, magnifying the body’s imbalances.  Running down the “Bump and Grind” could be up to 10 times one’s bodyweight.  This is when new symptoms may eventually start appearing, or a minor symptom may increase to a point of concern.  Getting to a sports specialist health care provider can help identify, correct and even prevent a mechanical problem before it becomes an exercise ending issue.  This is why “easy does it” is my mantra to athletes when they challenge their bodies with more exercise intensity, frequency or duration.

Of course, how to choose the right running shoes and how to lace your running shoes are imperative.  Other important factors to help the body perform better are compression apparel, along with natural anti-inflammatories like White Willow Bark and Bioflavonoids.  Take good care of your body; it’s the only one you have and you want to get 300,000 to 500,000 miles out of it.  That’s why I always make time to see my body mechanics, especially the chiropractor and occasionally the massage therapist.  Sleeping on a supportive mattress without an alarm clock will also help you recover faster.

Keep Running!!

Dr. Paul R. Copeskey, D.C.,C.C.F.C.

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