Wednesday, February 1, 2012

January wrap-up

Training stats:

(Notice the not so conspicuous lack of information)

The best way to describe my January is about 18 days of AAaauuugghh, 6 days of Blaaaaahh and another 7 days of Uuugghhhhh ... Not necessarily in that order.

Even if I had any time for training I'm not sure I would feel like it ... Even if I felt like it I'm not sure I would have been able to do much. 

It's really the same squawk ... there was no single horrible event, just multiple little to moderate annoyances that combine together in a rapid fire format that makes things seem so out of control ... Of course, I've been told that I shouldn't let things I have no control over get to me ... And to that thought I say, "If I had any control over the events I would change things and be happier ... DUH!"

I'll skip the topics of Pam's mom being in a convalescent hospital, Pam's brother being an a-hole, the plumbing at her mom's house needing work and her brother being an a-hole, the afore mentioned convalescent hospital not noticing that Pam's mom's oxygen level dropped into the 70% range and being rushed to the hospital where they discovered she has congestive heart failure, the plumbing at home backing up, the plumbing at home backing up (yes, I know I just said that, but it did happen twice) ... and did I mention that Pam's brother is being an a-hole?

Since I've skipped the first 26 days of the month I will focus the last 5 days.  Pam apparently picked up a stomach flu ... which we are pretty sure she got from the convalescent hospital, because they said it is going around there and a lot of people have gotten it ... So, Pam enjoyed all the symptoms you would expect from a stomach bug for several days.  And just when I thought I may not get to enjoy it with her, I started feeling the oh so familiar rumble ... damn.

Or maybe I should say shit ... and a lot of it. 

February is already off to a better start than January ... I've made a lot of progress toward my weight loss goal for the year ... I've made it back onto solid food ... And checking my calendar I think I actually have time for training on the 17th in the afternoon.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

My obligatory starting the new year post

So I survived another year and it's time to look back on the events that shaped the last 12 months.

It is not a matter of being optimistic or pessimistic ... I don't care whether the glass is half full or half empty.  I want to know what's in the glass.

I could easily bemoan the injuries, illnesses and crises that seem to have plagued the past few years, but the truth is the rough times help me appreciate the better times and happy events even more.

In 2011 I was able to enjoy my nephew's wedding ... I saw another nephew graduate college ... My family and I took a small vacation to Las Vegas and had a very good and relaxing time.

Part of me feels like I fell short of some goals.  I did not complete a marathon, but I did complete a half marathon while injured.  I could not sustain the tiny bit of training momentum I started at the beginning of the year, but at this point I am happy being able to walk without substantial pain.

I guess like all years 2011 had plenty of ups and downs.  I do not have any specific goals for 2012 other than surviving ... and maybe getting back to training ... and if things go well maybe a marathon late in the year ... We'll see.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Or Blessed Yule ... Happy Hanukkah ... Happy Kwanzaa or whatever you choose to celebrate ... or choose not to celebrate.

So I'm sitting here with Three Doors Down echoing in my ears wondering ho my life went from hectic and barely tolerable and has dropped off below the emotional poverty line and into some dark and twisted brier patch.

If I sit and think of each individual event or issue they do not seem to horribly bad by themselves, but when added to the frustrations which are already stacked up outside my door like a mental snowdrift it becomes a bit overwhelming.

Wait ... Johnny Cash - Redemption day.

Again, I will not list every little issue on my mind because nobody really wants to see all my gripes ... I will hit the two biggies right now.

1 - Pam's mom is in the hospital with pneumonia.  All things considered she is doing alright, but she has a long way to go.  As usual everyone is expecting Pam to take care of everything ... She is stressed out enough already.  She needs a break.  I hate watching her get run down because those around her are incompetent and lazy.

Eddie Vedder - Rise

2 - The realization that it is nearly January and I am not running yet is causing the awkward and painful realization that I am almost exactly where I was 1 year ago when I first started thinking about marathon training.  I don't want to be in the same position where I have to push beyond my body's capacity and cause another injury.  I will probably have to bail out from the June marathon :-(

I'm sure I will have some good news or progress to report eventually ... At least I hope so.

Muse - Supermassive Black Hole

Saturday, December 17, 2011

I've tried ...

I've tried to write this post a few times.  Either I lose my train of thought and start writing total gibberish (I know ... that never stopped me before) or something happens where I need to edit or add information ...

I'll start with my thoughts on watching the Kona Ironman on television.  I do like seeing the pros, but I really like seeing very average people and their stories.  This year had a couple that just blew my mind - A woman undergoing cancer treatment and still finishing and a double amputee who finished.

I've done a couple therapy sessions for my knee.  The first one was so simple I figured everything else would be a piece of cake.  I practiced the "exercises" at home, and they do help to a degree.

The second therapy session was a little more interesting ... The therapist told me to walk.

??? - walk ... OK.

"No.  Walk slower."

??? - slower? ... OK.

It turns out when I walk slow I have a little bit of a limp.  If I try to hold my posture and keep an even cadence it kind of hurts.  It hurts in my knee and my ankle ... probably means I've been compensating for my old ankle injury for years without ever realizing it.  Even a very short walk to a local store with my mom at a very slow pace was a bit uncomfortable when I tried to walk properly.

Oh well.

So last week I was at work and I was going to jump into the back of a bus through the emergency exit (which is something I've done probably 1,000 times over the years).  I got my legs up onto the floor level, but my right foot started to slip.  In the fraction of a second that followed I debated whether I should just flop forward, but I thoughjt I might hit my head ... or worse, my knees on the floor, so I decided to push away and try to land on my feet.  Well ... I did land on my feet ... after my right thigh slammed on the ledge of the emergency exit.  Right now it is a very pretty shade of purple and yellow and ...


OK ... what else can I gripe about?

How about ... Never mind.  I could probably go on for hours if I decided to gripe about everything.  I'll give you all an early Christmas present and stop here.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

It just doesn't feel right ...

I know ... You're thinking 1 of 2 things.

1 - Oh, no ... he's trying to train again and he's complaining about his fitness.

and / or

2 - He's going to complain about his knee and justifty his unusual level of laziness.

Wrong ...

Everything in general just doesn't feel right.  It doesn't feel like the holidays ... just as one point of stress seems to level out seven more pop up to take it's place ...  ... ...

Everything is just out of kilter.

I thought we (my wife and I) had reached a turning point.  We had literally saved out coins for years to afford a trip to Vegas with our son.  We survived the drive, got to the hotel room and the "We made it call" to Pam's mom started the stress ball rolling.

Vegas was pretty fun ... we ate some good food, saw a few sights and of course did some gambling.

Since we got back it's almost as if everything is going out of its was to generate more stress ... if not on me or Pam specifically then by creating stress on those around us.

I know everyone deals with stress ... and I haven't really given a lot of details ... but it is hauntingly reminiscent of some of the events from 2 or 3 years ago and I cannot relive that again ... and I can't watch Pam suffer through it again either.

By the way, my knee is doing pretty darn good.  I still have some discomfort going downhill, but I can do some pretty fast paced walking and even short bursts of low speed running without actual pain.  I guess that's the good news I have to cling to until this latest stress storm is over.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A visit with the surgeon

So I will start off by saying that I have never met a happier doctor in my life!  It was more like visiting a kid who was excited to tell me about his trip to the amusement park or his new game system rather than a surgeon who was telling me that he was going to stick a huge hollow needle in me and scrape the inside of my knee while sucking out pieces of cartilage.

As much as it is a first impression, I really like this doctor ... as much as I can like somebody who is going to stick a huge hollow needle in me.  He is very informative, he actually listened to me and talked to me with thorough explanations about the 5 different issues with my knee.  He even found a nice way to tell me that one of the issues is that I'm just getting old and my knees are wearing out.

The biggest and worst issue is the torn meniscus ... thus the surgery.  The torn MCL is low grade and should heal by itself.  The patellar tendinosis (which is known as jumoers knee ... like I've done any jumping in the last 10 years) is aggravated by the meniscus and MCL injuries, and will likely correct itself once my knee is back to near normal.

If the surgery will relieve the pain even just partially, then I'm looking forward to getting this procedure.  I will definitely have to ask specific questions about how quickly the incisions will heal so I can get back in the pool (not that I've been eagerly awaiting any swimming, but it is less stressful on the knees than running), how soon I can return to spin class and how much tension I can use, and most importantly how soon I can go back to the all you can eat sushi place ... oh, and maybe what exercises or therapy will help strengthen the knee and how soon I will be able to run.

The doctor says 4 days of taking it easy (not stay in bed, but not get up and around too much eother) and on day 5 I start walking to rehab the knee.  I am relieved how simple this sounds.

Pics of my knee ... or at least the MRI.

Ummm ... The bagel is not part of my knee. It was my treat to myself :-)

Monday, September 5, 2011

An update on my knee

So I had a nice day off from work ... relaxed, had a nice dinner with Pam and Timmy, took a few pictures ... but ... there's always a but ...

In the mail was my referral to the orthopedic surgeon.  Strange ... I knew it was coming ... I knew I would eventually see the specialist ... but when I saw the paper in my hand with the description of the injury it was like being hit with a brick.

Then I made the mistake of checking out the injury online ... I don't just have a little tear of the meniscus, I have a "bucket handle" tear ... a large traumatic tear around the edge of the cartilage causing the rest of the meniscus to bunch up into the joint.


It is a heck of a reality check ... I messed myself up pretty good this time.  Funny thing is the articles I read said it tends to be suffered by young people who don't have excessive wear to the knee joint.

I do want to get this over with quickly.  The pain is getting worse every day and I'm getting to the point where there is no comfortable position even if I'm lying down.  I haven't iced it today.  Icing it reduces the inflammation and lets me move it a bit more, but it hurts a lot while I'm icing.

I guess the silver lining is I'll have a few days off work so I can take a lot of photos ... or maybe learn to make fractal art.

Hey wait!!

Maybe the surgeon will give me some images from inside my knee!! 

Monday, August 29, 2011

How long has it been?

Over a month? O.O

Could that be because I have done absolutely nothing for the last ... ... For a long time?

Let's all have a flashback together from my May 14 entry ...

Thursday afternoon (May 12), after a long day at work, Pam decided to drag me to the beach for some relaxation.  Since I've rediscovered photography as a creative outlet for my stress (or at least for a fraction of my stress) I decided to take a few pictures while we were there.  Next thing I knew I was jumping amongst the rocks trying to get the perfect shot.

Yep ... that was stupid.  But in actuality my knee was feeling pretty good at the time.  Even when I jumped off the off the rocks it didn't hurt much more than it has recently.  Unfortunately the combination of rock jumping, walking across the sand and trying to outrun the incoming tide made my knee worse by that evening ... and then the next morning my left knee was a bit stiff and sore, but not to the degree that my right knee ever was.

Since my 13.1 mile walk my right knee has been getting better, or at least not bothering me as much ... but then again I haven't been doing anything.  Unfortunately my left knee has been getting progressively worse.  I finally couldn't take it any more, so back to the doctor I went.

The doctor's initial diagnosis (and I know many of you don't understand medical lingo, but ...), "You have something funky going on with that knee.

I went for an x-ray ... it was negative.

I went for an MRI ... I got the results today.

The first 5 minutes of the appointment were spent talking about his trip to Alaska, a picture of a Kodiak Bear he took a picture of, the Aurora Borealis and other interesting topics ... The last minute was spent getting referred to an orthopedist for a torn meniscus and a torn MCL O.O  I didn't see that coming.  I expected cartilage damage , but not ligament damage.

This means there is a high likelihood that my feeble half marathon was completed with chondromalacia in my right knee, a torn meniscus and medial collateral ligament in my left knee and the seldom mentioned Morgagni hernia on the right side.  I'm sure I could think of other issues I had during the event, like the hangnail on my pinky finger or the untrimmed nose hairs that made it difficult to concentrate or something else serious like that.

I'm old and I'm falling to piece's.  :-(

If I get my knee taken care of early enough I can still get into running shape for the 2012 San Diego marathon ... It's a stretch, but I need a goal

The good news I've taken about 11,267 pictures over the last couple of months, so even if I have nothing to talk about I can always post a lot of pics

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

It's been almost a month

It's been almost a month since I checked in, so I figured it was about time to say something.

Let's start off with a training update:


Now that we got that out of the way I'll fill in the insignificant details.

Work is still hectic, but with fewer routes running during the summer I have more time to shovel the pile of corporate bull crap.  It really only interferes with my training in the fact that I'm never sure when they are going to decide to change 7 policies and expect me to finish 8 days of compiling information and writing reports in 4 hours.

My knees can't decide if they are going to hurt or not.  There is no rhyme or reason why they are so sore that I can barely walk for a few days, then suddenly they are relatively pain free.  I don't know ... I do know that I'm going to find a way to work around the issue and accomplish a couple of my goals.

As far as training, it's not that I'm doing nothing ... it's just that I'm not doing what I need to do to achieve my objectives.  I could easily use the work or the knees as a handy excuse for why I'm not doing anything, but the truth is the problem is mostly between my ears.

Which brings me to another point ... My brain is going to drive me crazy.  I know I accomplished something by finishing a half marathon under the circumstances I was dealing with.  I am not unhappy with the effort ... sort of.  I know I could have finished the full marathon ... I could have run the majority of the full marathon and finished it in a pretty good time absent the knees and missing the last 6 weeks of training.  When I look at the medal, or the pictures, or whatever it brings a mix of emotions ... Gosh I did pretty good, but damn it I should have done better ... whatever.

So now I've worked on a very feasible training program and I'm kind of excited to jump in feet first (almost literally because it involves more swimming and water running), but my brain is playing the "I don't want to" game ... Why ?!?

The past few days have been hot by So Cal standards.  I hate hot, it makes me flat out miserable ... miserable grumpy and irritable.  You would think I would get to town as fast as I legally could and jump in the pool to cool off ... Nope!  Why?  I don't exactly know.  I'm hoping if I ramble about it her for a bit I might have one of those epiphany things and realize something profound ... so far nothing.

My training calendar has me starting July 1 for the half marathon in September ... I didn't make it.  Tonight is bowling, so I won't be at the gym tonight.  I'm going to have to set my car's auto pilot on and set it for the gym when I leave work tomorrow so I can get on the right track.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Where have all my braincells gone?

Wasn't it barely a week ago that I was swearing off any form of movement, complaining about swollen purple toes and other forms of soreness that I wasn't used to?

I thought so ...

Then why am I seriously contemplating doing a half marathon in September??  Why am I already shopping for better running shoes and reorganizing my training schedule to accommodate my potential knee issues?  Why am I already planning next year's San Diego marathon??

I really don't understand me sometimes.  I mean ... couldn't I at least give myself a week off before planning on torturing myself again?  Have I gone totally mad?

The last two days I've really wanted to go for long walks (actually I wanted to go for a run, but I knew that was not realistic) ... I just really want to get out, but the smaller part of my brain that controls common sense has kept me from going several miles away from home.

OK ... the common sense part of my brain may be nearly nonexistent, but it did tell me not to head out on a long walk or run.  I will be back at the gym this next week to do something.  I just don't know whether it will be spin class, treadmill or something else.