Friday, April 10, 2015

Life on the FARM

A year ago I applied for a position on an Alabama FARM.

And somehow I was lucky enough to be hand selected by 2 local FARMers…  

Now I knew FARM life would be hard work and would require lots of long sweaty hours working my butt off outdoors... and would more than likely result in sore muscles and blisters… but I was up for the challenge…

And when I say I took a position I mean ambassadorship…

And when I say on a FARM I mean…

And when I say by 2 FARMers I really mean…

And when I say long sweaty hours outdoors resulting in sore muscles and blisters I mean…

FARM - Functional Athletic Rehabilitation & Medicine
The FARM provides cutting edge chiropractic care, injury rehabilitation and sports performance. One of the things I love and respect about the FARM is Dr. Beau and Dr. Sloan’s approach to their practice. Unlike many other chiropractic practices that want to see you consistently and make an adjustment once or twice a week for the rest of your life… the FARM takes a different approach. They want to treat the issue; get you pain free and healthy but then give you the means and knowledge to take care of yourself outside of the FARM’s office.
When I first hopped on the FARM tractor as one of their athlete ambassadors I had an awful case of plantar fasciitis. The kind of awful plantar fasciitis where you swear to everything under the sun that the pain will NEVER go away and you will NEVER run pain free again. Yea… that type of plantar fasciitis. On my first visit to the FARM Dr. Beau and I discussed our options:
1.       Amputation
2.       Rehabilitation

Of course I went with the obvious choice of amputation but backed out at the last minute when Beau started sharpening his pocket knife… #noknives…  right Sloan?
After a few weeks of consistent rehab I was back frolicking for long hours through the woods. I was simply amazed. I had dealt with this awful foot pain for months and within a matter of weeks it was like nothing had ever happened.  I threw my full faith into the FARM.

I started slowly seeing inefficiencies when I started pushing my body further and harder on the trails. It was the little things like ankle, hip, and core strength… the stuff I always took for granted and assumed was fine. By no means am I a runner geek or even that knowledgeable when it comes to “correct” form, breathing, etc. After doing a biomechanical assessment, Dr. Beau pinpointed my weaknesses and set a plan into motion to help strengthen these areas.

Dr. Beau is ridiculously knowledgeable when it comes to his practice. There have been times where he goes into a spill and I’m just dumbfounded at how simple he makes everything. It all makes perfect sense. He lays out how everything in the body functions and works together in perfect harmony… and when certain parts are in pain or hurting… it may not be that exact part that is causing the issue.  For instance… if I’m having knee/ITB pain… it doesn’t necessarily mean that the focus should be on the knee. It all starts at the core and works its way through the hips and downward to the feet. I suggest taking a look at Dr. Beau’s informational videos that are posted on the FARM's YouTube channel. He discusses a little bit of everything... from core exercises to breathing... to ankle dorsiflexion. He’s even had an article published in Trailrunner Magazine about dynamic breathing!

The FARM has not only helped me remain healthy and relatively injury free… but they have given me the opportunity to represent them by running and pushing my body’s limits all across the country.
One of the most memorable adventures and trips of my entire life was the trip out to Utah last year.

Me, Dr. Sloan and fellow FARM ambassador Vanessa Stroud headed West to run the Bryce 100.

We had so much fun! It was my first 100 mile race and it couldn’t have been a better experience! I’m forever grateful to Sloan for staying up throughout the night crewing us. The memories from that trip will forever be with me.

I also got a chance to head to Virginia to represent the FARM up at the Grindstone 100.

Sometime before or during the race… I thought I had pulled a muscle in my back. Late in the race (mile 70+)… every time I tried to breathe deep, it felt like I had a huge knot in my back.

After I finished the race and got back to Alabama… my wife was massaging my back and paused…  
“Babe… I’m not sure that’s a pulled muscle. It feels hard.” (I know, I know... that's what she said)
She was right. I didn’t realize it but somehow I had managed to dislodge a rib. I immediately made an appointment to see Dr. Beau and he ever so gracefully put that bad boy back in his place.
I finished off the year with a 3rd place finish at the Pine Mountain 40 miler in December. The year ended on a high note right? It did… but not so much. I was hurting. My iliotibial band (ITB) was inflamed and it was painful. I thoroughly enjoy running daily in the woods and this pain prevented me from doing that… so I was more frustrated than anything.
 I’ve always had ITB issues but have always just taken shortcuts to deal with the pain. I wore knee straps every single time I ran to keep the pain at bay. However… these bands constantly chaffed and rubbed. I felt like I HAD to wear them every time I stepped foot out the door. I was a prisoner to these bands.

I was 2yrs old again afraid to let go of my blanket.
The first week of 2015... I tucked those bands in the bottom of a storage bin in my garage and made an appointment with Beau to tackle this devil. I didn’t want to just temporarily fix the pain and problem… I wanted to soak those knee bands in gasoline, light a match and send them to Hell.

Beau took me through his strength and mobility class and showed me what I needed to focus and work on daily.  I took his advice/plan and ran with it. I busted my ass for the next 2 months leading up to my trip out West. Rather than laying down high mileage weeks… I focused on my rehab and working out the kinks in my lower half.
It paid off. I ran like a wild animal out in Colorado.
I completed the Red Hot 55k in Moab… WITHOUT freakin knee straps…
I ran up snow covered mountains… WITHOUT freakin knee straps…

I was finally free.

A few weeks ago, I finished 4th at the Oak Mt 50k with a PR of 5hrs03mins. I feel like without the burden of knee straps… my body is now free to move naturally… in return… allowing me to open up and push harder on the trails.

To say that I’m thankful for what the FARM has done for my running and overall well-being wouldn’t do them justice. It would be one of the biggest understatements of my life.  I’m blessed beyond belief to have been linked up with these wonderful people and to be given the opportunity to represent the FARM. Needless to say... I’m overly excited about continuing to work with the FARM and for the adventures we have planned for the rest of the year!

Till tomorrow…


  1. Man, the FARM sounds great! My wife and I need a place like that. We live in SoCal. She suffers from really bad Plantar Fascitis. We've been focusing on just that foot this whole time so I when I read that "It was the little things like ankle, hip, and core strength… the stuff I always took for granted and assumed was fine" I was like Whoa! No wonder nothing is working. Thanks! Love your pics, the blog too!! Continued success in your running. Oh , how's the Inov 8 running pack working out?

    1. They are pretty amazing! Yea... when Dr Beau broke everything down to what really causes some issues... it blew my mind! Hopefully your wife will be able to fight that awful pain and heal quickly! Positive vibes and prayers her way for sure! The inov8 pack is flippin amazing! It's gonna be the perfect fit for long races and self supported runs where lots of gear needs to be carried. It's even good for shorter races... it's so light and the fit is incredible! Thanks for the compliment and reading!