Saturday, January 30, 2010

Mind Your Head Progress...

Working on Mind Your Head Co-op -- the website tool is now in place, which means I have to get my act together and work with our web guy to make it do what we need it to do. The plans here are amazing. We will have a tool for creating your own custom long-term recovery plan as well as connecting you with an assortment of possible and appropriate products and services to implement that plan. I'm very excited!

Plus 13 miles (10 yesterday, 3 the day before)
Total Mileage: 440.3

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Mind Your Head Logo Contest!

Design the new logo for Mind Your Head and win $200.

Submissions must be received by February 22 extended to March 1, 2010, and include the 2 versions described below.

2 logos (as described below), each 10 inches at it's widest or tallest point (whichever is larger) if in print form, or equivalent size at 200dpi if digital form, with a white background (paper) or transparent background (digital). Submission not meeting these requirements may be disqualified.

Deacon Patrick is the judge and his decision is final. The winner will be selected by March 1, 2010, and the award given thereafter. All logos submitted become property of Mind Your Head, a ministry of the Diocese of Colorado Springs. By submitting your work, you grant Mind Your Head sole and exclusive copyright.

What I'm looking for
1) Mind Your Head Logo: Connotes hope for long term recovery and living life to the fullest. Vibrant color, artistic style. Maybe it has a head, maybe it doesn't. Have fun, and show the vibrant zest for life that we live despite (and perhaps because of) our brain injury! Do not include text.

(Most "brain injury" logos show a head, usually very clinical looking, perhaps showing gears for the brain. This is not what I'm looking for.)

2) Shoot the Moon for Brain Injury logo: Some element (or the entire logo) of the Mind Your Head logo, along with the moon. The rest is up to you.

How to Submit your Entry:
Include your name, complete contact information (mailing address, phone, email) and send to:

By email: Deacon Patrick
(I can accept files up to 20mb, so if your file is larger, submit via cd or DVD or file download service)

By mail (for paper and CD/DVD artwork):
Mind Your Head
c/o Office of the Bishop
Diocese of Colorado Springs
228 North Cascade Avenue
Colorado Springs, CO  80903

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Breathing amazing!

Today's run was amazing. I ran 3 miles on my "easy trail" (just 200 feet drop and climb in 1.5 miles). Then I added in a more vertical road loop that climes 200 feet in a half mile to see how I would do breathing. I entered into the climb and while my breathing deepened it was still slow(er than it used to be) and relaxed. I could feel I was really raising the CO2 in my blood supply and also reaching my threshold at which I could maintain my pace.

On a second run, I did one of my favorite trails, a 4 mile out and back, with a 900 foot climb in the first mile. I definitely pushed my limit the whole way up, but literally within steps of the trail getting less steep I was already able to have a short pause in my breathing.

It is truly amazing to be running in "primal glide" while breathing slow with a pause. No billowing cloud of breath in my visual way in the 5F air. No cold mouth or lips. Just properly warmed air by the time it got to my lungs. This sure feels like how we're born to run!

Plus 8.5 miles
Total: 427.3 Miles

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Breathing deeper by breathing shallower

Mountain mahogany on a crisp highland morning
Today is one week of Buteyko breathing. I clearly see the benefits, and also the price of getting toward them. Today's run (I'm keeping them to three miles for now as I adjust) was amazing -- a taste of what i't like to run along smoothly primal style while breathing slow and gentle. Transcendent and yet utterly present int he moment. Beautiful. It sure is wild to be running along as fast as I used to run the same trail, yet breathing a fraction as hard, and feeling far better -- knowing I have a reserve and I could run even harder, especially as I get closer to the goal of a control pause of 40 (I'm at a measly 16 now, up from a start of 6).

I wonder what role altitude plays with making the transition? I spend an hour yesterday in my hyperbaric chamber. While in it I really pushed myself with the breathing exercises, and the effects seem to have helped me reach a new level. I wonder if living at 8000 feet makes the transition harder/slower? Using the chamber really seems to make a difference. I've used it today also. Usually I wait 12 days, to allow my brain to keep up with the changes -- but I'm testing out if it's actually my O2 and CO2 levels that got out of whack and it takes 12 days for my body to recover. I imagine the chamber magnifies any mistakes or benefits of our breathing.

Plus 9 miles (3 miles over three days)
Total milage: 418.8

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Starting Buteyko Breathing -- Amazing!

This is my third day of breathing using only the shallow breathing advocated by the Buteyko Breathing Method. I found it o the internet after starting to breathe exclusively through my nose. Doing so, I felt better than I have in a number of ways, but after running I experienced severe sinus congestion akin to allergies (from some sort of irritant, no real idea what -- perhaps simply oversensitivity to particles in the air, cold air, or volume of air).

Immediately after starting it, I was able to run a few miles and return and not experience any sinus congestion. How? By taking shallow breaths. There's not really any more to it than that (that I know of yet), but the book and practioners can guide you thorugh it as the amazing simple can be oddly deceptive when it comes to something so foundational and unconscious as how we breathe.

Yesterday, I did a regular run and kept up my normal speed. Again, no congestion. Today I'm experiencing a "cleansing day" -- the idea is that by breathing shallower (normal), my O2 and CO2 levels begin to come into ballance, which makes the oxygen more accessable to the cells, and everything in the body works better. However, when first starting this, it's possible to experiencing the body cleaning house of scum that couldn't be gotten rid of when there was too little CO2 and too much O2 -- a bit like how scrubbing the tile and grout in the bath makes a mess in the tub.

Here are a few excerpts from my breathing log:

Today is an intriguing day. I feel like I have scrubbing bubbles of accessible oxygenated blood everywhere in my body, like all my tissues and capillaries are effervescing. Images of the cleaning solution with the "cleaning bubbles" seem appropriate. I don't want solid food (a first for me since my brain injury), but am instead craving only salad, "Green Magma" and fruits. We'll see how long that lasts. Clearly I am cleansing, or detoxing, at a cellular level, but I've never felt it happen this way. While my body is resting and not up for much, it's rather the feeling of resting in bed on a cold winter's day, than a negative thing that I strive to embrace and carry on as best I can (those "brain fatigue" days happen a lot with brain injury, and are one of the things on which I'm curious to see the effects of Buteyko. The bottom line today: even feeling worse, I feel better.

I continue to have layers of paint feel like they peal out of "new" areas of my sinuses -- perhaps areas that have been closed off?

Breathing light is very easy now, feeling more like a new normal than a new odd. The rhythm and feeling of shallow breaths is starting to be more unconscious and conscious. I have done no sprays or oils or other sinus meds since starting Buteyko.

I suspect that my body has to be cleansed to the fullest extent possible before it's ready to make the next leap in improved Control Pause.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Starting Nose Breathing...Wow!

Increased oxygen level and absorption by all cells in the body? Greater stamina, energy, brain energy? Less illness? Yes. I want that!

Several days ago I began breathing exclusively through my nose. See here and here for more info. Today I went for my first nose breathing only run. What an intriguing experience. Everything I read said to expect to be 15-20% slower. So this morning I ran the easy run of 3 miles, with only a two-hundred foot drop (and than climb) in elevation. My best time for this run is 36 minutes. I did it in 40. That's only 11% slower. Granted I didn't do any real climbing. That will be my next run out.

I did the ancient trick of keeping water in my mouth -- the same mouthful the whole time. That's a powerful reminder to not give in to the urge to breath through my mouth! It worked quite well, but I won't do it often as I can't communicate with my dog.

The concept is counter-intuitive. Our sinuses close up when we don't need so much oxygen. This makes it harder to breathe through the nose. So, when it's harder to breathe, I can speed up and when it's easier to breathe, I am near my max. That takes a bit of getting used to.

I've already noticed the increased brain alertness and energy, as well as decreased sinus pressure. I look forward to seeing what else comes from this fantastic and free "therapy" of learning how to breathe the way God intended!

Plus 11 (4 of it from 2 days ago)
Total mileage: 402.8

Monday, January 11, 2010

Inexplicable "Hard" Brain Days

Not entirely sure why, but my brain continues to have "hard" days -- a measure of brain fatigue. For those of you without TBI, think of brain fatigue as being a bit similar (for clearly different reasons) to spending a hungover morning with a crying baby while trying to cook, do finances, and work all at the same time. That's how my brain feels without any of those things.

So I embrace the gift of a day or ?? recovering from who knows what, write what I can, and know that the trails will be there when my brain has recovered. There is, somehow, gift in everything.


Friday, January 8, 2010

Cathedral Running

Sunrise at Green Mountain Falls' Gazebo

Cathedral running
Embraced by crisp, still, air,
Held by mother earth.

Plus 7 miles
Total Milage: 391.8

Monday, January 4, 2010

Where's Waldo?

Waldo Canyon is a highly popular trail with a trail head 6 miles from where I live. Today I played around on a connecting trail to it's upper reaches, so I didn't need to go on Highway 24 to get to it. Out of Cascade the trail winds around in the yucca and pinion pine as it works it's way to higher climes and more alpine vegetation. Incredible views of Pikes Peak -- it's amazing how different it looks from a vantage point of just a few miles difference.

Of course, this quality of often looking like a different mountain was one the Ute people loved as it confused people unfamiliar with it.

On the way back, along the backroad in Chipita Park, the smell of a skunk who sprayed ended me. A hearty thanks to Bob for hauling the rocks in my head (and the rest of me) home!

Plus 14 miles
Total Milage: 385.8

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Plus 4

Plus 4 miles
Total mileage: 370.8

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year!

Green Mountain Falls' pagoda with full moon
Recovered from trying a new supplement. This puppy knocked me for a loop (4 days to recover). Felt absolutely delicious to be running again.

Plus 11 miles
Total Milage: 366.8