Blair Mills – Pivotal Sponsored Athlete

Author: pivotalphysio

Reading Time: 4 minutes

I began working with Pivotal Physiotherapy late spring of 2017. After living a most sedentary lifestyle when it came to any kind of physical activity, I decided I wanted more. I wanted to be a runner. I started off not being able to run for two minutes straight. A runner friend of mine told me about this Sponsored Athlete program his physiotherapy clinic was offering. He told me it was for people just like me: people who were just starting out and wanted to work and learn as much as possible. I thought that was perfect! Everyone loves a ‘zero to hero’ story, and I was definitely the former when it came to fitness. I opened the application and it asked whether I was planning on registering in the MEC marathon or the triathlon. Excuse me? I was hoping to someday run a 5k! In fact, my goal was to run just under 6km in the the Grizzly Ultramarathon 5 months later. I completed and submitted the application anyways, and continued my training with my runner friend.

A couple of weeks later, I received notice that I had gotten one of the two spots!!! I was thrilled and terrified and everything in between! On my first day at Pivotal, for my running and fitness assessments, I felt anxious, embarrassed, and so not a ‘part of’. However, all of my self- doubt and worry was in my head.

The clinic is BEAUTIFUL and everyone there exuded confidence and expertise. There was never, not once, a lack of smiles 🙂 Everyone always greeted me with excitement, support, and steady patience. My initial assessment revealed that I had significant flexibility, but very little control and strength. So, I received targeted exercises to begin that day (mainly glutes, core, and quads), and I set up a schedule of working with Simone (an all-star physiotherapist and runner) once a week. I also starting utilizing the extensive recovery options available with NormaTec boots and hydrotherapy tubs!

Part of the program was working with Marek, the resident sports psychology consultant. After one session, my overworking anxiety and negative self-talk came right to the surface, and we all agreed that I would most certainly benefit from continued work with Marek (for the record, I think everyone would benefit from working on psychological fitness in tandem with physical performance). We covered topics such as goal setting, confidence, mindfulness, and meditation. I really can’t describe what a difference this has made for me. I have learned how to observe and detach from negative self talk, how to be mindful by disconnecting from distractions and tiredness, and how to focus on the moment, my drive, and ability.

Over the course of the sponsorship, I had the privilege of working with some of Pivotal’s affiliations. Pivotal knows where to go and who to see for the best of the best in Edmonton. We went to Fast Trax for shoes, and with the knowledge and patience of the staff there, I found the perfect trail runners! I ran for an hour and a half for my first time out, and at the end my feet felt as fresh as ever! We also went to see Alexis at Fit Essentials, and I was fitted for my 2XU compression outfit, which I now don’t run without 🙂

Towards the end of the program, and closer to my race goal of running a leg in the Grizzly Ultramarathon, my knee started bothering me. I saw Simone and, get this, it was from volume. I had reached a point where I was running enough to get a minor injury from volume alone!! It turned out that, over this time, along with my own training, physio appointments, getting the right gear, and working on my mental performance, my goal of running/walking the 6km leg changed into running the 13km leg! I could now run for over an hour and a half without stopping at all. Simone worked on my knee: she explained what happened and what I could do to help. She also taped me up so I could continue my last week of training before the race.

On Sunday Oct 8, 2017, I ran my leg of the race of the Grizzly Ultramarathon. It was a 13 km trail in the mountains and I ran it in 1 hour and 43 minutes! Next year, I plan on running a half marathon. Over this time, I have developed such a strong relationship with Pivotal and all the staff there. I am so grateful to have had this beautiful opportunity. We laughed together, cried together, and I would not be where I am today without having had an entire team of experts behind me. Thank you, Pivotal!!!

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