The holiday season is upon us! We've been keeping a good routine with our fitness, getting good rest, and have been doing our best to put our phones down before bedtime. I'm here to tell you that breaking nutrition routines, then starting them back up, can be one of the toughest things to deal with during these wonderful holidays and that you're not alone! So many people I work with have difficulties getting back on the saddle after such celebratory events. This article is here to remind you that changes in your routine are NEEDED during these holidays, and that getting back on the saddle is best when you are able to find the head/heartspace for it.
So, what exactly are you supposed to do during this time?
Follow my three-step plan:
1. ENJOY YOUR MEALS!
Go out and celebrate with your family and friends and relish in the time you all have together. Break rules and enjoy the break in the routine that you've worked so hard for throughout the year. Food, after all, can be fun and lots of people will enjoy it with you.
Once you've found enjoyment in your meals and family time, ironically you're probably needing a break from all of the celebratory events! What should you do once the dust has settled and you can find some head/heartspace for yourself?
2. FIND YOUR ROUTINES!
After all the craziness that was the holidays, get back on your routines! Some of my favorite ways to kickstart my own routines after the holidays are to set a short 2-4 week goal for myself, such as a specific clean eating goal or a more flexible "intuitive eating" goal.
A "clean eating goal" would be something like:
- No glutens
- No alcohol
- High protein
If you haven't heard of "intuitive eating," there's tons of research about its effectiveness, as well as its support of psychological health. Here's a review of some of the studies surrounding intuitive eating. Dive in if you'd like some ideas!
After you've found a good structure to restart your year, what should you do?
3. FIND A FRIEND!
Eating well is social! If you can find a friend, family member, or spouse to go on this journey with you, it'll be so much more rewarding. They don't have to follow your routine, as they can have their own. Simply having someone to be with as you're going through this is CRITICAL for success of a new routine.
Hopefully this short blog was helpful in giving you some support during this holiday season. Now go out there and enjoy the rest of the holidays, with friends, family, food, and gifts!
Dr. Marcus Rein PT DPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy
As the holiday seasons arrive into New Year’s resolutions, there is no doubt a lot of turmoil in our routines and an openness to reevaluate what is working for us physically, relationally, socially, etc. Have you considered getting your bowel health in order? I’m sure you’re wondering why I am even bringing this up, but as a pelvic floor physical therapist, this is something I screen in all of my clients because it can tell us the story of not only what is physically implicated in and around pelvis, but it also tells us about our gut health, nervous system and much more!
Having irregular bowel movements (BM) both in type and timing can affect how we absorb nutrients, the pain we experience in and around our pelvis, and the stress and strain we place on our pelvic floor muscles. I wanted to provide some tips to improve the pooping experience and continue progressing toward your health and movement goals.
If one of these sticks out to you more than others, then consider adjusting one thing at a time as this process is a habitual and behavioral activity that responds well to consistency. If you continue to have issues with regulating this on your own, or are experiencing difficulty emptying your bowels, straining or pain with BMs, or having loss of bowel control, a pelvic floor physical therapist such as myself, can evaluate those issues and provide relief. I am helping people overcome their pelvic pain, pelvic heaviness and leaking with exercise and daily life in our Decatur clinic. Call us to get you scheduled or learn more about our services.
Dr. Krystal, PT, DPT, CMTPT, RYT-200
If you are currently pregnant or thinking about building your family, this blog is for you on how to approach exercising. It can be concerning if you’re not used to regularly exercising just how far to push or what to do. You may be all in or you may be hugging the couch. Either way, I’m here to tell you the benefits of rolling out your mat, lacing up your shoes, or picking up that iron. As a physical therapist, my role is to not only put out fires that are already affecting my clients, but to educate them on potential fires in the future and how to prevent them. There is strong recommendation that in the presence of an uncomplicated pregnancy, pregnant persons currently not meeting exercise guidelines should demonstrate a progressive adjustment toward them.1 Why?! First of all, physical activity is associated with positive health benefits for the mother, the baby, and the labor and delivery process. After all, this is quite a physical event you are embarking on. Second, this is the best chance at decreasing or preventing musculoskeletal related pain during your pregnancy. We are going to go over the terms that are used in the literature and break them down: type, frequency, duration, volume and intensity.
From several sources 1,2,3, the general recommendation is to participate in a variety of types of physical activity, like cardio training, strength training, and gentle stretching or yoga. I would gravitate towards what comes naturally to you first, and start sprinkling in 1x/week the other forms that you’re not used to. To emphasize strength training here, this training is going to become essential in the 2nd-3rd trimester focusing on the posterior chain, or your entire back side from head to toe. This is because your center of mass is going to change, creating a natural but increased low back curvature and tendency to round the middle/upper back. As the bump grows, there tends to be a pregnancy waddle that should be minimized to focus on extending your hips and keeping butt and legs strong.
Here are some examples of exercises that combat this:
For both pregnant and non-pregnant persons, it is recommended to get 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a week. For the average adult, theoretically, if you did all 150 minutes on the same day, there would be no significant difference between that and increased frequency with less time. However, during pregnancy, it is recommended to perform physical activity most, if not all days of the week, with smaller durations. Duration is the amount of time spent doing the activity. If you are just starting out an exercise routine, I would highly recommend beginning with a shorter duration and higher frequency, 10 minutes a day for 4-5 days a week and each week adding 5-10 minutes to your duration or adding another day.
Here are some examples of an ideal frequency schedule:
Volume refers to the amount of physical work you produce in a workout. In strength training, it refers to how many sets, repetitions and how much weight you use. For example, 2 sets of 15 at 10 lbs is less volume than 5x5 at 20 lbs2. For endurance training with walking and running, volume refers to distance covered or the speed of movement. I would recommend beginning with a low volume as you start your routines3. Starting with 2x10-15 at a weight you complete all repetitions with good form is a great place to begin. For cardio, you can spend 30 seconds or so doing a faster pace (covering more ground) and back to a comfortable pace for 2 minutes and repeat for your selected duration.
We are going to keep it simple for intensity which is how hard you are working. Heart rate is not going to be an accurate measure during pregnancy, so we are going to use a talk test and/or rate of perceived exertion (RPE). Throughout any activity, you should be able to carry on a conversation and complete sentences without being breathless. I like to use a scale of 1-10 for RPE and I think a 1 is sitting on the couch and a 10 is finishing a marathon. Moderate intensity for your RPE may be between 4-6. A lot of this exercise stuff is going to be based on how you feel while doing it, so it’s important to monitor for lightheadedness, nauseous or sharp pain. It's best to adjust or stop the session if these symptoms continue or you just feel lethargic.
Bottom line: For those who are beginning an exercise program in pregnancy, the goal is to get to 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity activity. Until then, doing physical activity more frequently with smaller durations is a good place to start with an intensity that is tolerable to talk. There should be a variety of activities like cardio, strength training with emphasis on posterior chain strength, and gentle stretching or yoga.
If you’re not sure where to start or how to progress, that is precisely what we help with at Athletes’ Potential. As always, we will also confer with your OBGYN, as you also should, before beginning new physical activity. Give us a call to schedule your appointment!
Krystal Fannin, PT, DPT, CMTPT, RYT-200
A very common problem we see at Athletes’ Potential is low back pain. What comes with low back pain are a lot of questions about the best ways to manage the pain when it first occurs, as well as the best ways for our athletes to rehabilitate. What I want to focus on in this blog post is how important it is to get back to gentle activity sooner rather than later when dealing with low back pain.
A Timeline of Back Pain
T0: Back pain!
You feel a sharp ache in your lower back. You may have been lifting something heavy or you may have been reaching for your shoes. Back pain can come about for a variety of reasons! Whatever the case… your back “went out.”
No matter the presence or absence of pathology (disc irritation, facet irritation, muscle strain, etc.), your brain and nervous system are going to go into overdrive trying to protect your back. This is where many people will experience a tightening sensation or spasms in their lower back. This is a normal, protective mechanism! Your brain is doing its best to shield you from further motion by tightening up all the musculature in your back.
Thank you, brain!
This phase is known as the “acute” phase of pain. Typically this lasts for a day or two. It's where pain is the worst and rest is indicated. The goal of this stage is to get the pain to stabilize. When I say “stabilize” I mean that it still might be quite painful, but you are able to do more than you previously could, such as get out of bed and do short walks, where before that was near impossible due to the rapid, sharp pain that occurs with motion.
Many athletes believe that rest is best at this phase, but many studies suggest the opposite. In a 2018 review of best practices surrounding low back pain, 6 out of 11 studies support avoiding bed rest during acute bouts of low back pain, four studies were inconclusive, and only one suggested bed rest.1
Great news! Get active as soon as you are able. At this point, it's best to work on breathing exercises, gentle core exercises such as bracing and bridges, and try to get on your feet when tolerable.
If this is unsuccessful and your high level of pain is lasting for more than three days, I would contact us at Athletes’ Potential or your PCP for further assessment and treatment.
Once the pain begins to stabilize, and you’re able to do some gentle activities as tolerated, you’ve entered the subacute phase.
T1: Less Back Pain!
You’re feeling slightly better but you’re still hesitant to do anything beyond baseline. You would like to get back to your workouts, your sport, or just simply getting into and out of a car without increased ache. This is the subacute phase and is also where physical therapy is incredibly helpful in accelerating your rehabilitation.
In lieu of physical therapy, this is where so many athletes choose one of two directions:
Luckily, we have a good bit of evidence supporting option number two. Those that choose light activity as compared to bed rest have a statistically significant improvement in their overall recovery timeline as supported by a cochrane review of the literature2.
Once again, get active. Do a light workout as tolerated. Listen to your symptoms and stay within what your body is telling you. If you want guidance, reach out! This is what Athletes’ Potential is here for!
Hopefully by day 5-10, you’ve slowly progressed back to a reasonable level of capacity.
T2: Light to Moderate Activity
Once again, this is where physical therapy at Athletes’ Potential excels!
You’re feeling better but just need a bit more guidance to push you over the edge to get back to your activity or sport.
Core stabilization, strength training, and flexibility drills are all part of this phase. This is where we can really make some quick strides in your recovery.
I won’t go into this last phase too much, as this phase isn’t the intent of this blog.
Overall, I want readers of this post to know that if they are having an acute bout of back pain, stay gently active as tolerated! Don’t go out and progress too fast, and don’t ignore your back pain. Listen to what it's telling you.
If it's slowly getting better, go do things such as walks, light exercise, and gentle stretching. And if you ever need guidance with this recovery, feel free to reach out to us at any time!
Thanks for reading,
Dr. Marcus Rein PT DPT
We are in the day and age of information overload. You can practically have your questions answered by the first 3 links that pop up after you enter your search. Not only will your questions be answered, but anxiety may begin to creep up when you have to sift through what serves you or what does not for your particular situation. When it comes to pregnancy, childbirth, before and aftercare, resources and information abounds. At Athletes’ Potential, we desire to provide clarity, support and empowerment through your walk in life including the birth journey.
Jasmine Bradfield is a traditional birthworker and doula currently pursuing her Midwife certification, and is local to Atlanta. Having doulas and/or midwives present during the birth process as continuous support is brimming with evidence that there are positive outcomes related to improving the birth experience. This also means decreased medications, decreased c-sections, increase in spontaneous vaginal births, shorter labor duration and decreased negative feelings about childbirth, to name a few. 1
Jasmine, what is one thing you want our audience to know about doulas/midwifery?
Birth is a normal physiological function of the body, and there are many different ways to support each unique life occurrence. I always say the best birth is an informed birth.
Every birth is different. No matter what you read, what you hear, or what a family member went through. So I like to start service with a ‘Birth Plan’ that helps the new family set the preferences for how they realistically imagine their birth may go. Then we sit for Childbirth Education. This is a meeting where we chat about pregnancy, childbirth and newborn common occurrences and complications.
Knowing this information prior to birthing day helps families decide what is best for them, and not feel as pressured to travel through the unknown. If a provider presents an intervention, as a family they may ask the provider to step out for a moment so that we can all discuss what is best for them without influence or persuasion. Doing this also allows the family to make informed decisions that they are less likely to regret and also feel empowered.
Support is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of those guiding the birth process. What are the top three ways you support your clients?
Education: Simply sharing what is unknown and filling the gaps between client and providers.
Ex.: Childbirth education, Birth Planning. Postpartum Care
Self advocacy: Empowering birthers to use their voice to say how and what works for their body, birth and budding family.
Ex.: I will not speak for a family, I will not make decisions. I will however ask the questions that remind the family of their wishes. I will offer space between the provider and family so that the family can discuss in private and decide as a unit how to proceed.
Emotional/Physical support: This includes touch, conversation, movement, and self expression preparing the body for the endurance of birth
Ex.: Oftentimes there are movements that will assist with the progression of birth. If the baby is high in the womb, I may suggest lunges. If we are later in birth and we still have some time to dilate, maybe we shift to a supported goddess. Emotional blockage can also stall birth because stress inhibits the body to relax. Sometimes opening the door for conversation or silence even may be the support needed. As a doula I am trained to see the times that support is needed to assist in the comfort, informing, and progression of birth.
At Athletes’ Potential, we are experts at getting our clients back to the activities they love after injuries or life events such as pregnancy. What advice do you have to our postpartum moms within the first six weeks after delivery that can set them up for thriving?
Recovery. The body has gone through a transformation and needs rest to heal. Although it may be difficult to resist the need to get back to work or reduce girth of the belly, the body truly needs to restore itself. A physical therapist can help you understand the extent of change in the body so you know when and where active movement can begin.
We believe that if you have a body, you are an athlete. In preparation for the delivery process, what are some ways you suggest preparing our birthing Mom for this enduring experience?
Pregnancy is the preparation for the marathon of birth. I suggest body work such as massage, physical therapy, chiropractors, yoga or some form of pregnancy safe exercise. I love prenatal yoga for pregnant people. It is one of the only times you will find a room full of people experiencing what you are experiencing at the same time in a social setting. Pregnancy can at times feel isolating and you want to prepare the endurance of the mind too.
What are ways to work with you?
-My website is www.atlantabirthwork.com where we offer courses, classes, and birthwork services.
-Social media: @atlantabirthwork
-You can join my in-person prenatal yoga class at The Yoga Hive http://www.theyogahiveatlanta.com/copy-of-schedule
-And I love to chat via email email@example.com about potential birth workshops, education and speaking events.
Thanks for reading,
Dr. Krystal, PT, DPT, CMTPT, RYT-200
Squatting is an essential movement that we do every day and that is why it is such a vital part of most workout programs. Over the years there has been a lot of debate about what proper squatting form looks like. For a very long time, the thought was that it was dangerous for you to squat with your knees going over your toes and that squatting deep (below 90 degrees) was also bad for your knees. If you are someone who exercises regularly, I can almost guarantee that you have been told some variation of “you will ruin your knees if you let your knees go over your toes.”
So, let’s break down what good squat form actually looks like. The key points of performance look like this:
1.) Feet shoulder width apart with toes 0-10 degrees out
2.) Neutral spine maintained throughout
3.) Weight balanced on MID FOOT
4.) Hips release down and back, and knees bend
5.) Hip drop below the level of the top of the knee
6.) Knees track in-line with toes
7.) Neutral head position with slight upward gaze
You will notice that nowhere in there does it say to keep your knees from tracking over your toes. If you follow the key points of performance, you will almost always end up with your knees going over your toes. Is this bad? The short answer is NO! It is perfectly normal and healthy for your knees to go over the toes during the squat. Let’s talk about why that is.
During the squat movement we are loading and strengthening multiple muscle groups some of the major ones are glutes, hamstrings, quads, and adductors. The goal with squatting is to not put too much demand on one of these muscle groups. If we completely avoid the knees going over your toes you will certainly decrease that amount of strain put on the quads and the knee joint itself. However, the strain has to go somewhere and what happens is that your hip and lower back are forced to pick up the slack. Continuously loading your hip and back can lead to overuse and overloading of those tissues.
If you are someone who has been scared to squat with your knees over your toes, know that it is perfectly safe and actually recommended to allow your knees to come over your toes. In order to have good squat form and avoid injury, your knees HAVE to go over your toes.
Yours in Health,
Dr. Andrew, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS
As a physical therapist, I am often asked if running is bad for your knees. Most people typically want to know what the long-term effects of running will have on their body, and want to know if they will develop knee osteoarthritis from running. Running is a simple and accessible option of exercise for most people, and has great overall health benefits. Many of my clients also report huge psychological benefits to running, so I find it important to limit fear based ideas that running is worse for your knees than not running at all.
With the fear of ruining your knees through running, only 3.5% of recreational runners have knee or hip arthritis. While just over 10% of sedentary individuals have knee or hip arthritis. This means you are almost 3x less likely to develop knee arthritis if you perform regular recreational running than if you just sat on the couch and did nothing. Moderate amounts of running may actually be beneficial to the long term health of your knee joints. 1
Continuing to run with a recent diagnosis of knee arthritis is also okay! Running does not appear to increase the speed of knee arthritis. However, if you are having difficulty recovering between runs, you may want to look at training load, cross training, or potentially altering your running mechanics. Running can help you maintain a healthy weight, that in turn will reduce the overall daily stress placed on the knee joints. Finding the optimal frequency, intensity and volume for your running to provide ample recovery time is important.
Overall, runners should feel great about running with proper load progression, volume, and intensity management, as well as proper sleep and nutrition, to help with post run recovery! If you are currently recovering from a running injury, you can progress back while running on a treadmill or outside, as they both create similar reaction forces through the knee joint. You may also want to assess your knee, hip, and ankle joint mobility to ensure proper mechanics.
If you have any questions or need help managing your running injuries, please reach out and we can help answer any remaining questions you may have!
Thanks for reading,
Dr. Sam, PT, DPT, OCS
1 Alentorn- Geli E, Samuelsson K, Musahl V, etal. The association of recreational and competitive running with hip and knee osteoarthritis: a systematic review and meta- analysis. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2017;47:373–90
Are you like 50% of women who have an anatomical pelvic organ prolapse? That means you may have one and you do not even know it, and that is okay! However, if you are experiencing symptoms such as heaviness in the pelvis or a bulge, this new sensation can be troubling. I’m here to tell you to have no fear because there is a lot we can do to help! One of the best things you can do is begin or return to strength training - however it needs to be at the right intensity and load for your body right now. You may be thinking, “I don’t want to pick up that heavy thing, that’s going to make my prolapse worse.” Well I am here to tell you that it will not make it worse under the right circumstances. We’re going to go over what prolapse is, why strength training is important, and 3 modifications you can implement during your resistance training.
What is pelvic organ prolapse?
Also known as POP or just prolapse, is when there is a descent of one or more of the pelvic organs toward the vaginal opening. What this is NOT is your organs falling out of the vagina. Rather, due to life circumstances such as multiple vaginal births, hysterectomy, advancing age, we can lose the internal support structure that suspends our viscera along with general core weakness. There are different kinds of prolapse where it affects more of the anterior wall of the vagina, posterior wall, or the superior wall like the roof. Regardless of your presentation, we will work to find the best ways to relieve symptoms and get you stronger.
Strength Training Helps
You may have been told that you should be careful or to not lift weights at all as it will increase pressure in your abdomen and you may bulge more. Although anything is possible, with the correct training on breathing techniques, load management and positioning, I’m here to tell you lifting weights is not only possible but it’s necessary. Having a strong core and legs in the long term will put less pressure on your pelvic floor because what was once a heavy or straining activity (i.e. getting up from the floor, picking up your toddler, picking up heavy items) will be easier with your gained strength. The pelvic floor muscles do not work in isolation and strengthening the external pelvic muscles will help reduce symptoms and increase quality of life!2
3 Modifications to Try
By now, you can see there are plenty of options to try to keep you doing your workouts even though you may have a prolapse. Our goal in physical therapy is to keep you doing your loved activities as long as possible and feeling your best. People often ask if they need surgery for their prolapse and it depends on how much this taking away from your life in terms of bowel/bladder/sexual function and overall quality of life.3 Some individuals do well with a pessary fitting, which is an internal device that can help support the vaginal walls, or anecdotally, some women find relief with wearing a tampon, menstrual cup or flex disc while exercising to decrease symptoms successfully.
I am helping women overcome their pelvic heaviness or bulge symptoms at our clinic in Decatur, GA. Having a specific plan for your unique situation will lead to the best results. Give us a call to schedule your appointment!
Krystal Fannin PT, DPT, CMTPT, RYT-200
1Gorji, Z, Pourmomeny, AA, Hajhashemy, M. Evaluation of the effect of a new method on the pelvic organ prolapse symptoms. Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms. 2020; 12: 20– 24. https://doi.org/10.1111/luts.12277
2Maher CF, Baessler KK, Barber MD, Cheong C, Consten ECJ, Cooper KG, Deffieux X, Dietz V, Gutman RE, van Iersel JJ, Nager CW, Sung VW, de Tayrac R. Surgical management of pelvic organ prolapse. Climacteric. 2019 Jun;22(3):229-235. doi: 10.1080/13697137.2018.1551348. Epub 2018 Dec 21. PMID: 30572743.
What do you think of when you hear the word core? I think of something that is central, vital, or the most important part of something. We can also think of the innermost layer, take fruit for example. Cutting an apple and removing the core, or coring a pineapple. You get the idea. Commonly, when people refer to their core, they touch their abs, their front abdominal wall. And that is just one piece of our innermost muscular layer.
What is your core?
It consists of four major muscle groups that work together through our movements. Beginning with the obvious is our front abdominal wall, however the deepest layer is the transverse abdominis muscle. This muscle has horizontal fibers parallel to the ground that wrap around to the back. There they meet one of the deepest layers of spinal stabilizers called the multifidus muscle or multifidi for plural. I imagine that these two muscles make an internal corset around our trunk for stability. If we think of the core as a cylinder shape similar to a soda can, we’ve described the sides. The top consists of the diaphragm, a thin flat muscle, which relatively moves up and down with our breath. The bottom of the cylinder is our pelvic floor muscles.
What is your pelvic floor?
This is a trampoline like structure, consisting of three layers of muscles at the bottom of the pelvis and our cylinder. The pelvic floor functions to stabilize the spine and pelvis, support the abdominal organs including our reproductive/urinary/bowel systems, controls sphincters that prevent leaking of urine/feces/gas, allow healthy sexual function, and circulates blood flow back up to the heart.
How do they work together?
When we breathe in, our diaphragm contracts, descending down into the abdominal cavity, which is why we may feel our belly rise or our bottom ribcage expand. As we exhale, our diaphragm returns back to its original dome shape into the thoracic cavity. Our diaphragm and pelvic floor muscles work together in functional movements like a piston. As one descends, so does the other and vice versa. This creates stability and protection to all of these muscles and structures.
Why should you care?
The pressure that we manage in our intra abdominal cavity will go to the area of weakest support. In this image, the front abdominal wall commonly begins to lengthen and without proper counterpressure, that can lead to increased stress to the tissues surrounding our linea alba where our abs attach. If this is left unchecked, this can lead to a diastasis recti (DR), hernias, pelvic floor dysfunction, low back pain, and hip instability to name a few things. Having balanced forces across the torso with our everyday movements is vital for protecting your body and keeping you moving your best. However, after periods of not training, pregnancy/postpartum, prolonged sitting postures, can leave us vulnerable for these issues listed above.
If you feel like you’re experiencing the symptoms above, difficulty getting your body to “bounce back” postpartum, leaking with running and workouts, give us a call to identify your specific imbalances and begin a path toward recovery.
Dr. Krystal Fannin PT, DPT, CMTPT, RYT-200
 The “pop can” core. Digital Image. J Smeaton. Apr 2019. [Accessed 2022 August 30]. Available from: https://www.depthtraining.ca/the-pop-can-core/.
 Breathing variations. Digital Image. S. McLaughlin. Aug 2019. [Accessed on 2022 August 30]. Available from: https://www.alignforhealth.com/self-care-for-pain/category/core%20stabilization
Did you know that our bladder is one of the most trainable muscles in our body? This is for the good or the bad. Not that anything is that black and white, but sometimes with our lifestyle and behaviors, we can teach our bladder habits that are holding us back. Does this sound like you?
If it does, these are extremely common sentiments. However, there are ways to overcome them and treat our bladder and pelvic floor in the most compassionate way. As a pelvic floor physical therapist, here are my recommendations in accordance with the American Urological Association guidelines:
Consider making these adjustments and see if they help your symptoms. I will say that specific adjustments are needed for each individual depending on their lifestyle or where you fall on the incontinence spectrum. Seeing a local pelvic floor physical therapist, like myself, can assist you on the right exercises to be performing and steps to overcome urges or stress related leakages you experience.
Thanks for reading!
Krystal Fannin PT, DPT, CMTPT, RYT-200
Dr. Danny and staff's views on performance improvement, injury prevention, and sometimes other random thoughts.