My last post here was at the tail end of summer and here we sit three months later with a new year already upon us. After many a sugar cookie, I have enjoyed the holiday season and reaped the rewards that Christmas brings, namely family, friends and calories.
Given the weather that is synonymous with this time of year, the on water activities have pretty much ground to a halt. Save for a couple of last ditched efforts to slay some dungeness crab, all vessels, both powered and or paddled/rowed have been put away for the winter.
The focus these past couple months has been close to home. I am happy to say that my official three tiered rehab on my back is now complete. Although no miracles were garnered, nor expected, the progress has been steadily in the right direction, with correction in spinal shaping and alignment proving positive and thus far successful. This of course, being the direct result of the wonderful folks at Elign Chiro led by Dr. Gohar Sheik. The overall success of the rehabilitation is still to be tested once I can get back on the water, but the results are already visible. My head sits 3/4″ back, placing it more over my shoulders rather than ahead of them. This alone helps to unload the lower spine of the burden of carrying that forward weight which in turn just stresses muscles and tendons unnecessarily. The better form this affords me is also evident in my workouts. Whether doing weighted squats, deadlifts or tricep extensions, when I glance at the mirror I see a straight line from head to toe – a function of reshaping but also a heightened awareness as well. The picture below illustrates this well in terms of loading effect vs head position.
Workouts are finally back at full speed and with more weight thanks to a custom rowing specific program put together by Sara Burtwell of Studeo 55. The program has introduced a lot of movements and coordinated efforts that go beyond just a hard workout. It provides structure and works on building a lot of the finer muscle tissue but also gives the bodies larger muscles a run for their money. So far its gone injury free and my body is taking well to the weekly schedule. The biggest change to the actual workout content is having added more power/explosive movements focusing on the eccentric movement of the exercise. What this means is as you press/lift the weight carefully and with good form, you also lower it or return to your starting position with equal control and a slower, focussed movement, opposed to letting gravity help you get there. Its amazing how much more effort this adds to the movement.
What this means to rowing hours on end in a 5 square foot space trying to propel an 18ft boat through the water is anyone’s guess, and equally the frustrating part. If I have learned anything, its simply patience. Patience guarantee’s nothing, but neither does adventure. The invested energy to get better goes beyond rowing a boat. It has a lot to do with quality of life but equally keeping a hope and dream alive within myself. I often reflect on what row4autism is as a personal investment and realize there are truly no scripts. It was born with purpose and its reward is soon to be realized.
A month ago I had the pleasure of being called to the offices of ACT (Autism Community Training) to see the first draft of the new resource Row4Autism was responsible for funding. This was very much an afternoon of mixed emotions. Flashbacks to the journey just to get to the waters edge back in May came to mind. These were followed by the trying moments at sea, the months of boat building and planning with various organizations. The enormity of the entire years worth of efforts by myself and all involved with this project, the acceptance, hardship, elation and everything in between all culminated into this one simple visit and moment.
With great detail, Deborah Pugh of ACT and I combed over the site and the various videos. What was to be a visual directive on coaching individuals with autism a variety of sport, goes several steps beyond. Videos on the functions of behavior and understanding autism itself are incorporated and it makes perfect sense. It provides a full circle offering which educates individuals on the basics of the disorder and then applies that knowledge to a teaching/training/learning environment across sports and other environments.
The beauty of this resource is that it will be forever evolving. As science exposes change or proves theories while decrying others, the resource will adapt and echo those changes by translating them into visual aids, viewable anywhere in the world at no cost to the end user. Having said that, evolution does not come for free. In other words, continued funding of the resource will be something that ACT will be tasked with sustaining, and individuals like myself, through initiatives like Row4Autism, will hope to generate the funding required to keep this resource running. With that in mind, we have kept our donation links (www.proceansports.wordpress.com/donate/) active and ask if you would like to continue to support our efforts, to consider a contribution in helping Row4Autism and our long term goal of a global resource that will provide an education on autism and various teaching principles.
Another highlight that wrapped up 2014 was the ground breaking ceremony at the Pacific Autism Family Center’s (PAFC) building site. This was truly a massive success for those responsible for taking this hub and spoke model idea penned six years ago, to fruition, where by shovels were placed in the ground signifying a start of what will be a full service center specific to Autism Spectrum Disorder(s).
The PAFC will be a mecca of collaboration when it comes to offering autism specific services under one roof. Through the tireless efforts of visionaries Sergio and Wendy Cocchia, BC stands to benefit directly from the passion and belief of these two extraordinary individuals, themselves parents to a son with autism.