Blue went from not eating, crying when he was touched, and barely able to move to acting like a little puppy, sprinting up stairs, and eating two dinners! Thanks Dr. Jason for the chiropractic tune up. I am a believer!

If you follow my twitter feed or Facebook page, then you have seen this picture of my canine companion, Blue and his chiropractor, Jason.

Blue is two months shy of fifteen years old. Blue was a ring bearer at our wedding and he is the canine love of my life. He has inspired many of my friends to adopt a whippet and if you have ever met him, you would know why.
wedding dogs

A few months ago, Blue started to feel under the weather. He started to have more “bad” days than “good” days. He wouldn’t eat. He wouldn’t stretch. He didn’t like being touched. He couldn’t go up or down stairs. I feared the worst, but hoped for the best. We took him to the vet who diagnosed him with a bulging disc in his neck. Oddly enough I was relieved that it wasn’t an incurable disease. She warned us that Blue didn’t know why he felt bad, but he just did, and that it was important for us to continue to encourage him to eat and stretch because if he stopped doing either of these things then he would steadily decline, and end up passing away. She prescribed some anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, and wished us luck.

That night I told my massage therapist, Maia, about him and about what our vet had told us. She kindly offered to come to our home to give him a massage. I was a little pessimistic, yet hopeful that she could help him. To my surprise, Blue responded well to her presence, her touch, and to her work. After that day Blue became one of her regular clients.

Maia returned to our house to work with Blue, and day by day he began to see marked improvement. He was seeing great improvement, and Maia could detect a noticeable difference in Blue, in particular with the lack of tension he was holding in his body.

After the inflammation went down, Maia suggested that we continue some work with a chiropractor. Again, I was pessimistic. Maia assured me over and over again that she had seen or heard of lots of “miracles” with just a little bit of chiropractic work. I was desperate to keep Blue’s quality of life up, so I made an appointment to see Dr. Jason. Blue was progressing under Maia’s care, but with the added chiropractic care, he was making leaps and bounds. After only three sessions, he was acting like he did wen he was a puppy. I became a believer!

Watching Blue go through this has reminded me of how important it is to go the extra mile when taking care of our own bodies.

We as athletes focus so much on training hard, on keeping an active routine, and on working, working, working; but, it is equally important to tend to the proper recovery routine as well.  Stretching, eating well, massage, and even chiropractic work are all a regular part of my routine, and are key components of staying strong, healthy, and injury free.

Eating well is often the most overlooked, and difficult for some athletes to correct.  We can often fall into the routine of eating what is most convenient, and this does not necessarily mean it’s the best food for our bodies.  In a future blog, I plan to delve into the specifics of my nutritional habits and routines.

Stretching is another topic altogether.  For years I resisted partaking of the activity, but have more recently seen the benefits of tending to a few key areas that are particularly tight on my body.  I know that spending a few minutes each day, or even every other day, will allow me to stay looser, happier, and healthier.

Moving on to two methods of good recovery that are more relevant to this blog: massage therapy and chiropractic work.

My father first introduced me to massage therapy at age 14.  Ironically, he had discovered it as a means to deal with a bulging disc, and to avoid the prescribed surgery.  In his words, massage therapy – and a good massage therapist – cured him, and he never had that surgery.

Since that time I have been a strong proponent of regular massage.  In my current life, I do my best to never skip one single week of massage.  I have not been injured in two decades, and considering the miles I have covered, and the beatings I have taken, this is fairly remarkable (and unique in the world of professional athletes).  While some of this can be attributed to my sturdy genetics, I attribute very much of my injury-free triathlon career to the regular massage I receive, and to the recovery and stress-reducing benefits it provides me.  I can wholeheartedly say that every athlete who is willing to fork over big bucks for a new bike, a new coach, a training camp, or the latest gadget should absolutely, 100%, make the effort to add massage to his or her routine.  Like Blue Dog, I respond very well to Maia’s presence, her touch, and to her work.

To complement my weekly massage, I am also a frequent user of the Recovery Pump system.  This product has been an amazing addition to my recovery protocol.  The ways to effectively use the product are so numerous that they deserve their own blog, but I will say that the boots enable me to bounce back very quickly from grueling session to grueling session.  Interested in trying out your own system, click here and use code Hotstuff to get a discount.

Lastly, I must mention the final component of my regular recovery protocol: chiropractic work. I have been a believer in this practice since I first met Dr. Larry Frieder of Boulder Sport and Spine in 2003.  Larry has worked on world-class athletes of all types, and he knows just what to do to keep triathletes, marathoners, climbers, all athletes in alignment and in working order.

While the “tricks” for recovery that I have discussed here are not technically “new” to me, seeing Blue Dog go through some tough times, only to recover via these tried and true practices confirms in my mind the utmost importance of truly taking every step to have a healthy and happy body – canine or human.

Blue the prince!