Getting to know Doc Rocktape (and why we should vote for him as one of the Team Philippines contingent to Xterra Maui)

Dr. Martin Camara at the Vaseline Men Xterra Tri-Outs Launch

I first met Dr. Martin Camara – “Doc Rocktape” as he is more fondly known nowadays, in my earlier days as a runner and a blogger. I was worried then of a possible shin splint injury that has been making it painful for me to run and ride my mtbike. Good friend Aljo, suggested that I seek help at Intercare and specifically suggested that I go see Dr. Camara.

My initial impression regarding the doctor was “awe” – he has a disarming smile that will make you feel everything will be better in no time. I never had any chiro experience before these two sessions and to not know anything about it. As in zilch. But the good doctor is, well, good. He very clearly explained to me what I have and what I am about/supposed to go through. Needless to say, after two sessions, I felt better and resumed to running and mtbiking. My impression of Doc Martin has never changed. I still have this feeling of awe whenever I see him. I always think, “Ha! I got to have this doctor to the olympians as my own too (two sessiong nga lang!)”. To read more on my experience at Intercare and Dr. Martin Camara, you can view my post about Sessions No. 1 and 2 HERE and HERE.

At the launch of the Vaseline Men Xterra Tri-Outs Race to Maui challenge, my good friend P asked me who I will vote for as the two to complete the 5-man Team Philippines to Xterra Maui. I couldn’t think of two but what I remember telling her is that I will be voting Doc Rocktape/Doc Martin as the one of the two. Yep, he was part of the 10 camp participants and part of the remaining 7 who stands a chance to grab one of two remaining slots for the team that will be sent to participate at the Xterra World Championships in Maui, Hawaii. When asked why I would vote for him, I said – “Well, he is a good doctor. Maybe he will be as good as an athlete as he is a good doctor. I’d like to see him get that chance to prove it.”

having his body marked for the tri-camp (photo courtesy of Jhoanna Salting, Event King)

The chiropractic doctor, the doctor to the Philippine athletes as I used to know is not just a doctor anymore. He is now also an athlete, though he is careful to say that he is a “recreational athlete”. At this launch, P was able to arrange for me and my friend Bilog to be able to chat/interview Doc for a few minutes. In this conversation, he shares to me his passion as a doctor and as an athlete. Here is an excerpt of my conversation with him in a nutshell:

KR: Tell us something about yourself:

Doc: I am a Chiropractic Specialist and I work for Intercare, a multi-disciplinary healthcare center that specializes in pain, sports medicine and wellness. One of the things I do is I co-chair the Medical Commission for the Philippine Olympic Committee. As such I take care of all of the National athletes in all sports in all international events including Southeast Asian Games, Asian Games and the Olympics.

Dr. Martin does chiro/alignment to a Filipino Athlete to the Asian Games in China in 2010 (file photo)

KR: How does chiropractic medicine positively affect athletes especially runners, bikers and triathletes?

Doc: Basically performance is dependent on alignment. The more better aligned you are, the more efficient you are.  Anybody can do a 5km or a 3km run without good technique and good form. Your time might not be good but anybody can do it.  But you cannot do a a 10km without injuring yourself  unless you have good fundamentals.

Dr. Martin took care of the athletes on last August’s IM70.3 Philippines in Cebu

KR: Why Rock tape, how is it any good to athletes?

Doc: I’ve been using the broad category of Rock Tape which is kinesiology tape and its been in the market since the 80s. I have it in the clinic for 6 or 7 years now. rock tape is superior to all the other kinesiology tapes in the market because it has more elasticity and it mimics the pull of the body’s ligaments and muscular system so to make the long story short its like putting an extra layer of muscular ligament to support an injury or to support a muscle that you know your gonna be using a lot. so everytime i do a triathlon, i tape my quads and i tape my calves because i know those are the areas that start to cramp at the long distances. the rock tape improves the circulation so that inflammatory enzymes that you create can get in and out faster supporting the muscle making it more functional. so that i can perform the sport better and for a longer period of time.

“RockTaped” and ready!

KR: Can we only get to use Rock Tape for/in Sports?

Doc: Rock tape has a use for sports and it also has a use for clinic. Let’s say you had an injury and there are lots of inflammation or somebody had a knee replacement and there is a lot of inflammation, you can put that tape in a particular pattern to support it and to remove the inflammation.

For people with scoliosis or bad posture, it can pull you into the right position.  Everytime your body goes into the wrong position it pulls you back so it retrains your sense of what is right. It holds you in the correct position without any muscle contraction and it retrains your brain to what normal position should be like, so that when you remove the tape you are still that way.

It takes a long time as posture is developed over years, but if you keep the tape on all the time for a month or for a 6 to 8 weeks period, when you take it off, you are re-trained and you’re more straight.

Bilog: Can we apply Rock Tape by ourselves or do we need an expert to do it for us?

Doc: Before Rock Tape the other companies try to make it very complicated to learn to tape. They mystified it so you had to learn level 1, 2 , 3 over a thousand dollars to get certified and all that.

Rock Tape is all about demystified taping, put it in the hands of the people using it so that they can have a good experience. We like to show athletes, people with conditions how to tape themselves. In fact in our web page rocktape.ph, we’ve uploaded 32 youtube videos on how to apply the tape so you can just follow it. There’s stuff for posture, stuff for low back and all of the common conditions.

Of course, the ideal is that when a physician or expert tells you how to tape or applies it for you. But if you do not have the resources or the time, then the next best option is to get the tape and look at how to do it and try to do it.

KR: Where is Rock Tape available?

Doc: Rock Tape is available at Intercare, at the Younghusband foundation. We  also have a distributor in Bacolod and Iloilo. We are now also looking for more partners to distribute it  like retailers. Intercare holds the franchise to Rock Tape in the Philippines.

KR: So that’s why you are known now as “Doc Rock Tape”!

Doc: *laughs*

Martin the mtbiker at Sagada

doing one of the sport he loves most – trail running

KR: I only used to know you as a chiro doctor how did you become an athlete?

Doc: I got involved with trail running and mountain biking because it’s very natural, it’s my way of reconnecting with nature. It’s very primal, it’s almost as if after a trail ride or a trail run you feel like you’ve been out of town because you are in touch with the dirt, the mud. You know, the air is fresher and for 2, 3 hours you get an out-of-town experience, you get an extra charge and you feel very connected to nature and all that.

Since I am the doctor for all of the Ironman events in the Philippines, I was there physically taking care of the athletes, I decided to transition into triathlon. I learned how to swim about a year ago and since I am already into mtbiking and trail running, I just had to get a different bike for the road and the running is basically the same.

The great thing is I am not used to being the athlete and in this event I am the athlete. So this is interesting as I am very familiar with sports training, athletics from both an athlete’s perspective and from a healthcare perspective. This Xterra Off-road triathlon events has actually awakened my primary love to trail biking and trail running. 

KR: Is there a different kind of fulfillment from being a doctor than that of being an athlete?

Doc: There are certain things you learn by books and certain things you learn by experience. Once you learn by experience, you have a feel and nobody can take that away from you. Nobody can explain that to you. The feel of the run, the high – they can write about it, they can talk about it, but once you have the feel of training, monitoring your heart rate, your breathing, looking at injuries and how they develop or how they evolve, how to treat an injury on yourself has actually made me a better athlete and actually made me a better doctor.

finishing the Century Tuna 5i50 race early this year

KR: You’ve repeatedly said that this Vaseline Men Xterra Tri-Camp have given you “a smile that will last for a long time”. Why is that so?

Doc.: You see, I’ve never had any formal coaching and I am a very analytical person. I like to look at movements and the principles of movements are the same. What I do is just study movements and replicate it. And since I understand the mechanics , I’ve been able to do any sport that  I enjoy.

The tri-camp gave me the first time experience of having professional coaching.  There were underwater videos to look at my swim, I looked at what I was doing wrong, I got techniques and it was just amazing to push yourself to that level.

You know at a typical day at the camp, you do a one hour trail run up and down mountain and your exhausted. Then you have breakfast. And then you do a triathlon and then you have lunch. Then you do a mountain bike ride and then you do a swim. It’s like a military camp for triathletes! It’s like we are constantly doing an activity where my body is getting very confused because normally I do one workout and I’m done for the day. But there I am constantly warming up, working out, cooling down, warming up, working out, cooling down.

So the smile on my face is there because now I know I can do any race I sign-up for. If I survived that camp I can do any race. It is all a matter of preparation and timing because now I know I have what it takes to finish something that’s put in front of me so to speak.

I was with very respectable athletes that when you look at their backgrounds/profiles. This was only my second triathlon. I’ve only done one before which was the (Century Tuna) 5150. I am fairly new in the sport but I was with very respectable people and I was able to hold my ground and I was very happy with that.

Dr. Martin together with his Xterra Tri-Camp “mates”

KR: Why will it be good to vote for you as one of the last two members of the Vaseline Men Xterra Team Philippines?

Doc: I travel with the Philippine Olympic team. I’ve been to 3 Olympics and all the major events. I take care of all the national athletes in these events. If they pick me, Noy, Matteo, Drew and the other lucky participant will have an Olympic-quality medical support with them in Maui.

The event itself is amazing. Anybody who goes will be a great choice. What’s different about me is that I am not a professional athlete. I am a recreational athlete and if you look at my CV, I am very busy. I work with the POC, Intercare, the Dept. of Health.

The fact that somebody with my schedule – with a family, can  be a very active parent, can be very successful professionally, can give his time to the government to help people and the Olympic Committee which is basically to help the national athletes – can still compete at this level, for me that is something.  I do not have a lot of time in my hands. The fact that I can train myself to be  triathlete, for me that’s an achievement already.

KR: Any last message?

Doc: Win or lose, I have a smile on my face to last a long, long time and am confident I can do any race I sign up for. That in itself – is PRICELESS!

Notes:

– most of  photos courtesy of Dr. Martin Camara via his FB Page
– Follow Dr. Martin Camara’s and the other’s Vaseline Men Xterra Race to Maui adventures and see how you can vote for him by visiting http://www.facebook.com/vaselinemenph or the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQN72Ofrrdo&feature=plcp
– learn more about Intercare at the official website: http://www.intercare-centers.com/
– learn more about RockTape at http://www.rocktape.ph

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