Monday, September 20, 2021

My Recovery Progress 6/30

by Derek Benoit June 30th, 2021

Just out of the hospital in very early May: 106lbs
Up to 134lbs this past week!

I’ve been really lax in updating my personal progress, which defeats the point of an inspirational blog. Having said that, I’m overwhelmingly positive about my development over the past month and a half. Call it a positive distraction!

Making up for Lost Time

Since my release from BIDMC in early May, I’ve gone from 106lbs to 134 as of this past weekend. I’ve gone from barely 15 minutes at 2 miles per hour on the treadmill to doing just under one hour, and a steady clip of 3 ½ to 3 ¾ miles per hour. I’ve added “interval” sessions over the past three weeks and now am peaking at nine “intervals” per session; a low of 3 miles per hour to a high of 4 ½. Nothing spectacular, I know. I watched the Olympic Trials for track and field and yeah, I felt pretty self-conscious. Then again, those athletes didn’t have a literal blowout of their bowels and have to have an alternative method of pooping installed. So there’s that reality check.

Cautious Optimism…

While plantar fasciitis prevention has helped my success on the treadmill, I still have to be diligent with stretching. I still have some postural issues I’ll be addressing soon with more physical therapy. While on the treadmill, I really have to work to keep myself tall and press my hips “under” my torso. It matters. If I fail to do so, I end up with my rear end sticking out, and turn into a heel striker. Shock ensues, Look for another piece on this subject in the coming weeks.

Not Diesel but it’s a Start

Additionally, I’ve regained quite a bit of strength. I’m able to do modified pushups once again. I used to be able to bang out standard pushups like no one’s business. I’ll get back there eventually. For now, it’s modified pushups and chest presses. I’m also working hard on archery-specific muscles of the back and shoulder. I want to be ready to start shooting a bow ASAP. I’m not far off at all.  

Furthermore, I’m adding a lot of stabilization by working on leg and core strength as well. My Bowflex is my friend here. I have to be careful as I’m not allowed to squat super heavy or deadlift super heavy. That’s okay. I’m not looking to get back into super heavy lifting as like my college days, where I had biceps as big as my sister’s head. I’m not kidding. Imagine one of those goon characters from the Warner Brothers cartoons… you know, with the huge V-shaped upper body and teeny, tiny little legs. I have 28 inch inseams… it was probably hysterical to see me trying to book it class in the mornings.

The Current Plan

Bear in mind that my ultimate goal is to get into legitmate “mountain hunting” shape. That means that I’ve got to be as strong as possible, while staying as lean as possible. Bulk is not going to be my friend, but a powerful core and legs will be. I will be looking at mountain-specific programs at a later date, and give a rundown of what I chose and why. For now, the priority is to reestablish a solid base from which to build. Here’s what’s going into the foundations of that base:

Plantar Fasciitis Preventative Stretching: gastrocnemius and soleus, hamstring, quad, hip, back, lat, and shoulder stretches are done very day. It makes a tremendous difference.  


1-2 sub hour “endurance” sessions per week: Add 3/10ths up to ½ mile per hour per week to build overall distance for the same time period. Exact amount depends on how I feel.

2 “speed” sessions per week: five minute warmup, six or seven minute cool down. The goal starts with seven intervals of two minutes off, one minute on for the first session of the week. For the second, the goal is nine intervals. Add up to 10% to top speed to increase turnover and overall speed. Exact amount that week depends on how I feel. Elevation is increased significantly for the “on” period, and decreased back to an easy baseline for the “rest” period in between intervals.

I try to limit myself to one day “off” per week. If I feel I need it, I’ll throw another one in there. Listen to your body.


Using my Bowflex:

Box squats (hips back please and thank you!), deadlifts, not for max load. 4 sets 12-15 repetitions. Calf raises same deal. Not max load. 12-15 repetitions.

Chest press, crossover upright rows, lat pull downs. Reverse fly. Laterall & front raises. Rear deltoid extensions (not sure what these are called) and overhead presses. Biceps. All 12 repetitions. Add in another protective measure for the rotator cuff and we’re off and running.

Additional Archery-Specific Exercise:

Isometric full-draw simulation:

I have to give credit to Bowmar Bowhunting for their video demonstrating this effective exercise. It works!

Diving Deeper into Archery…

I have a Prime Nexus 4 and a Mathews V3 on the way… if either manufacturer can actually find the raw materials to make them, that is… all things Covid 19 wreak havoc in supply chains, so I’m hoping to have A bow… ANY bow by Massachusetts bow season’s opening day in October. It would be lovely if I could get some reps in with 3D shoots and target practice (lots, and LOTS of practice) well before the opener.

The Prime will be for 3D archery. It will also get a nod if I’m fortunate enough to head out west on one those epic spot and stalk adventures. Elk, mule deer, or antelope, it doesn’t matter. I’ll just be thrilled to be on such a trip. The V3 will be for New England whitetails from a ground blind, saddle, or tree stand. I’ll be doing reviews on both bows ASAP.

Furthermore, I’ll have yet another bow to test. I’ve ordered a Mathews Prima to test alongside the V3. I may not see the damn thing until January or February at the rate things are going.

Could be a Sleeper…

Don’t laugh at the choice of the Prima, marketed as a “women’s” bow. Several shop owners have reported selling a good number of these bows to men as well as women. The men are loving it. It’s reportedly very smooth, significantly lighter than the V3, slightly faster, and has a much more gradual draw force curve than the V3. I’m expecting it to be much easier to draw from a sitting position in a ground blind.

The reason for my Prima purchase is this: I’m short, and it’s specifically designed as a bow for short draw archers. I came from a TX 5, another short draw bow, which I really enjoyed. I’m looking forward to putting the Prima through some practical paces… whenever the hell it actually gets here.

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