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.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A quick update

As of Sunday evening I had sworn off running, walking or any form of physical movement except what may be necessary to get myself to the bathroom and back to bed ... and maybe certain chewing motions for some of my favorite foods.  Monday morning was pretty miserable ... My legs were still sore, my toes were a deeper shade of purple and the tops of my feet were now hurting.

Tuesday morning brought some relief from the the stiff and sore legs, but my feet were actually worse.  I wasn't sure if I should go bowling, but I decided to give it a try ... definitely a test of mental stamina.  I was starting to get concerned about my feet because the purpleness of one of my toes was spreading toward my foot and not getting better ... I didn't think I broke anything, but I wasn't sure how normal it was.

This morning my legs are much better.  My knees are actually less sore than they were prior to Sunday, but my feet are still puffy, purple and painful.  I went to see the doctor just to be on the safe side.  The official diagnosis:

I have funky feet.

This does not do my psyche any good.  In the last month I've been told my knees hurt because I'm getting old and my feet hurt because my feet are funky.  We actually did have a very good discussion on training, triathlon , shoes and a few other issues ... but it was all after the "Flintstones feet" comment (yes he actually said that).

Basically I'm supposed to watch my toes continue to change colors, watch my toenails fall off, take ibuprofen and ice my feet for the swelling and pain.

Meanwhile I'm looking at ways to continue training ... better or less stressful methods of building my cardio base and increasing my endurance ... something that will be effective while protecting my knees and feet to some degree.  If I can get into a an intense training routine and get some quality shoes for my poor worn-out feet then maybe, just maybe June 3, 2012 could be my first successful marathon.

I guess I can't just give up on my marathon and ironman dreams :-\

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Here's my gory little story.

Before I start bemoaning my laborious and somewhat painful day I will start off by saying I finished my half marathon.  As much as I am not satisfied with only doing the half, I am proud of myself for not feeling sorry for myself and just dropping out altogether.  And based on the fact that I missed 6 weeks of training and had 2 sore knees going into this event I am glad I had sense enough to do the half and not try to gut it out for 26 miles because I never would have made it.

And despite the discomfort I feel I am very glad I was able to suffer through this experience rather than completely miss out again.

Without going into unnecessary or trivial details I will go over the highlights..

- The day started off way too early with a serving of oatmeal and brown rice, grabbing my gear and heading to the shuttle bus early enough to avoid the majority of the crowd.  Start time was 6:15, but since it was a wave start we (my brother, 2 of my nephews, my nephew's wife and my niece) didn't actually get to start for almost an hour.

The waiting in the coral was fun with flying beach balls and a bunch of joking around.  I was the only one doing the half marathon, but we all started together.

- There were tens of thousands of people.  I don't know that I've ever seen so many people crammed into such a small area ... or for that matter, I've never seen that many people walking or running along the same path before.  And by the time you added in the bands, the cheering sections, the race officials, and countless others it was an impressive sight.

-  I took my camera because it fit into my plan of very little running early while my legs were fresh and keeping a good walking pace throughout the remainder of the event to finish in under 4 hours and earn my medal.

- I knew I was in trouble on the first long hill.  My knees started hurting, and because my knees were hurting I changed my stride (walking and running) until my ankles and feet started hurting ... not fun.  By the time I reached the 7 mile marker and was still ahead of my pace I decided I couldn't quit ... I was more than half way, why would I?

I used my photography as a tool to keep going.  There were many good pictures to take along the way.  Most I snapped while walking, but a few I stopped to make sure I got a good shot.  I'll give more details on this pic later.

Despite the distractions and a bout of negative thinking during yet another short uphill I kept up a pretty good pace ... although it slowed slightly from the first 4 or 5 miles.  I saw many that couldn't make it ... I also saw many who were pushing despite being blind, being triple amputees or other conditions that I could not imagine dealing with.  I couldn't quit.  I had to continue.

- My feet and knees were now really hurting, but I had crossed mile 11 and wasn't going to give up.  I actually started passing people ... other walkers, but still.  Mile 12.4 saw the last little incline ... It was almost too much, I was barely moving ... 12.5 ... 12.6 ... 12.7 and we were on level ground again.  I could see the end, I could hear the end, but I had slowed so much that I didn't think I was going to make under 4 hours.  I walked faster, then I could hear the crowd cheering and I saw others running across the finish line.

I started to run ... actually, I started to flail and stumble like some spastic baby horse trying to get its footing for the first time.  Someone in the crowd saw my nickname on my bib and yelled, "Come on Da-Bus!"  Suddenly I felt like all eyes were on me.  It was a little embarrassing because I knew it wasn't the effort I could have made absent the issues with the knees.  But I can't wait to see the finisher photo :-)

Now because the marathon and half marathon routes split in a few places it caused for a couple of interesting events.  In the area where the truck crashed it turns out that the entire group was all within a minute or so of each other.  One nephew stopped in that general area because his shoes / feet were bothering him.  My niece and my nephew's wife switched from the full marathon to the half marathon (and did a couple extra miles for their efforts) but because of their faster earlier pace were mere minutes behind me.  My brother and nephew were probably less than 30 seconds behind me on the opposite of the street, but before they could catch me the courses split again.  My niece and my nephew's wife finished about a minute behind me and we just happened to bump into each other in the finish area.  We must have passed each other in opposite directions near mile 11 because there was a u-turn and participants were walking in opposite directions on opposite sides of the road.

So I finished.  My official chip time was 4:00:33.  My Garmin said I finished in 3:58:51 ... I'm not arguing ... I'm not complaining.  I got my medal.  I achieved my goal.

Now I am sitting in my hotel with ice on my knees ... they are more sore than I expected.  I was lucky and wound up with only one small blister that already burst, but I did wind up with seven swollen, purple toes for my efforts, but luckily not on the same foot.  Very sore, quite swollen, dark purple toes to be more specific.  I really believe the different pitches of the roadways was the cause for some of my issues.  We were running on the freeways and on-ramps which are banked for higher speed travel and my body just isn't used to running at those angles ... don't know, but it makes sense to me.

I will post other pictures here and there during my recuperating period.  I will also fill you in on any details or plans I have for future events.  I will finish a marathon someday, I just have to be smarter about my training.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

For whatever reason I could not access my account ...

Not that I had anything to say, but ...

OK, here's the deal ...

I had the MRI, I got the results of the MRI and ... There's nothing seriously wrong with my knee.  So why does it hurt?  Is it all in my head??  No ... It's in the middle of my leg.  DUH!

There's some arthritis, my cartilage is frayed, worn out and frayed but not doing any damage to my body.

What are my options?

1 - Get my knee scoped and cleaned up a little, but it won't help with the arthritis or the inflamation
2 - Deal with the pain and keep running and eventually need a new knee
3 - Deal with the pain, do this marathon and then stop running
4 - Dislike all the options and sit at home and feel sorry for myself

But the good news is I could train and not injure myself worse .. OK, that's also the bad news.  I've missed nearly 6 weeks of training to protect my knee and I could have been training the entire time.  I'm a bit pissed about that, but whatever.  Hindsight is what it is.

So what am I planning on doing??

More than likely I will choose the half marathon option.  I can walk at 3,4 mph and finish quick enough to earn my medal.  I honestly don't know if I can do it.  My knee will do fine for quite a while then become incredibly painful quickly and sometimes for no apparent reason, but I'd rather try and fall short then not try at all.

My long term plans include a lot more cycling and swimming.  I will likely take my chances and run another marathon in the future with a more gradual training format ... we'll see.

So it doesn't get much worse than that ... right?

Well, as Pam and I were walking through the mall to get our minds off the events of the day I started having another harsh yet so familiar pain ... Yep ... You guessed it ... It feels like I'm having another kidney stone.  Crap.  I'm not going to the ER for this ... just drinking a gallon or so of water and hope it's gone by morning

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A picture story

Once there lived a great warrior who fought to protect her castle from intruders.  Many tried to invade her kingdom.  All failed.  

Most were chased away with a scar as a reminder of their failed efforts.  Some fought back and suffered a most unpleasant death.  A rare few were captured for the warrior's enjoyment and eventual presentation to the royal family.

One day the warrior captured an intruder and brought it to the castle door for presentation to her master.

Fearful of an uncertain fate the prisoner attempted to flee, but there was no escaping the keen eye of the warrior ... nor was there escape from savage wrath.     

In the blink of an eye the fierce protector sprang forward and once again subdued her captive.  The prisoner put up little resistance. 

The prince heard the victory call and came to the castle door.  He thanked the mighty warrior for her loyal service and rewarded her generously.

In an unexpected display of mercy the prince escorted the invader to the border of the kingdom and set him free.  The prisoner was grateful and vowed to patrol the outskirts of the kingdom.

Outraged by the earlier defiance and disrespect the mighty warrior chased the through the walls of the kingdom as a reminder of who is in charge of protecting the castle.

What does this have to do with training?  Absolutely nothing, but then again I have nothing to say.

My MRI is Saturday - probably too little too late, but we'll see.  My left knee does feel better so I don't think I did anything to it last week.  My right knee on the other hand is going to drive me nuts.  I can go the majority of a day with virtually no pain but I stop by Costco and while walking slowly across a level, flat, smooth surface and it starts hurting again.

I'm getting that sinking feeling ... Something is wrong, I just don't know what.  It's like the light at the end of the tunnel was shining on a dead end sign.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Just call me stupid

No, seriously ... I'm stupid.

But before I get into the details on why I would think such a thing I want to explain why I didn't do a run or a walk today ... in fact, the thought of training didn't even enter my mind ... until about a minute ago when I started typing my update.

I would explain why I didn't train, but they say a picture is worth a thousand words ...

My nephew Kyle got married today!!

OK ... Back to being stupid.

Thursday afternoon, 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.

The way I figure it is this might just be a good thing.  Since I'm already getting an MRI, and as far as I know they won't split me in half to get just the right knee, if there is an issue they'll discover it when they look at the MRI.  That may be stupid logic, but it is the best I can do at the time.

I can still walk, even walk fast for extended periods.  I can run short distances before my knee starts to hurt, but I can't possibly know that because I've been given orders not to run at all.  I am going to finish this marathon and earn my finishers medal and my beer no matter what.

By the way ... If I never post to this blog again it is because Pam has hung me upside-down and tortured me.  It seems her recollection of why we went to the beach may be a tad bit different than the version I posted here.

Oh, I almost forgot!  I saw the first hummingbird hanging around the hummingbird feeder when we got home this evening!!  Hopefully soon I'll be posting pics of the little things ... That is if Pam doesn't read this and take her revenge, that is.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Well ... I know what it isn't

My knee x-ray was good - no problems with the bones in the area.  I kind-a figured that I didn't fracture anything, but we have to rule things out to figure out what it is.

The next step is an MRI.  I'd do the happy dance, but ... well ... I am a bit claustrophobic and the thought of being squeezed into a tiny tube doesn't thrill me.  And I can't dance.  Oh well.

If the last set of referrals and approvals is an example of my insurance then I should get my MRI sometime before the end of the world in 2012.


Until then I'm not supposed to run.  I can walk as much as I want and I got permission to go back to spin class so I won't lose what little progress I made over the past months, but no running.

Monday, May 2, 2011

It's time for the update

that at least I was waiting for.

Paula and Julie - Thank you for the comments.  I definitely think the description of a young, athletic person is much more accurate than the article I read ... of course the article I read said it tends to bother teenage girls.

I've done pretty good at the icing - at least twice every day if not three times.  I took the mega doses of ibuprofen.  I resisted the urge to run.  I stayed away from spin class.  And I felt so edgy and miserable it wasn't funny.

Now here's where I'm supposed to say, "My knee feel so much better.  I plan on going for a long run tomorrow."  But I can't.  There really hasn't been much of a change - at least nothing really tangible.  The doctor ordered x-rays today and I have to wait until Thursday to find out what they

I do want to know why it is that I told the x-ray techs that my knee was hurting and the first thing they did was make me twist my knee in the most awkward position ... Did they not believe me that it hurt? ... Does the x-ray see the pain? ... Oh well.

I don't plan on letting the results stop me from finishing my first marathon, it is just a matter of how much running I will be doing during the event.  The only thing that will stop me from attempting the marathon is the doctor telling me that I may cause serious damage if I try to do that distance ... Only time will tell.

Monday, April 25, 2011

So does this mean I'm a runner?

So it's been a week and my knee still hurts ... shit!

I can walk without discomfort, but even walking for an extended period I feel like something in  my knee is rubbing.  Standing up, sitting down, going up stairs or up a hill and going down stairs or down a hill cause pain :-(

I went to the doctor today and he either told me to get a condo in Malaysia or that I had chondromalacia.  I remember hearing the term from David on the old site and had a basic idea of what it was.  The doctor gave a really good explanation and filled in the blanks in my memory ... then he told me I should be icing it ... shit, I hate icing ... then he told me no running for at least a week, but I'm supposed to keep walking.

I looked up chondromalacia when I got home to fill my head with more useless information and on a couple of sites they call it "Runner's Knee."  So does this mean I'm a runner?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

So how do I balance ...

... the desire to train and improve despite the occasional discomfort associated with endurance training and the concern, or sometimes plain paranoia of injuring myself?

I remember David constantly saying, "Pain = bad."

My head knows that there will be an expected soreness ... My self competitiveness wants me to push despite the discomfort, after all it will go away won't it?  My fear or imagination kicks in and says, "Remember a few years ago?  You thought that would go away and you wound up on the bench for almost a year..."

So again I ask, how do I balance all this?

Today on what was supposed to be the longest run to date, Andrea and I were using a much slower paced strategy - ensuring we walked as much as possible up the hills, controlling our pace down the hills and making sure we used our walk breaks early in the run to ensure we still had energy at the end of the run. 

Problem 1 - I was wheezing all over the place again!  Why?!?!  My sinuses were clear, it wasn't too hot, there wasn't a nasty headwind ... why do I keep wheezing early in the runs?  This lasted for nearly 8k before it finally started to ease up.  It's really starting to drive me nuts.

Problem 2 - Somewhere around 10k I felt something in my right knee.  Not like a horrible pain, but something different than I'm used to.  We slowed to a walk, but that didn't seem to relieve the sensation ... then it got a little more tender.  Again, not what I would call bad pain, but it did hurt.  After a short rest we started to walk - it did alright.  We even managed to get in a few run segments and it wasn't too bad, but under greater stress of going up a very slight incline it hurt more.  We chose to break off the run at 12.75k

My paranoia won today.

There does seem to be a bit of pain during transitions from one activity to another ... from sitting to standing I can feel it, but once I'm up it's alright.  From standing to walking, the first couple steps twinge a bit but then subside.  From standing to sitting there is another twinge.

It's almost like there is one spot slightly to the medial aspect on the bottom of the patella that twinges.  If I could curl one finger just under the kneecap at about the 4:30 position (if you were looking at my knee from the front ... and I was wearing shorts ... and if this were the case I'd suggest you wear sunglasses because my legs are something beyond white) ... anyway, if I could do that I could touch the one spot that hurts.

Now at this point I'm desperately hoping somebody with medical knowledge steps forward and says, "It's nothing to worry about.  Just take some advil and you'll be alright."

And for the record I don't want to hear, "Get to the doctor."  "You better get it checked."  "Uh-oh, that could be bad." or anything else that implies that there may actually be a problem.

We'll see how it feels tomorrow :-(

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Answering some questions:

Jen - As I've said many times, understanding what the problems are and knowing what to do about them are two completely different things.

This last week was basically a recovery week - a couple of run / walks but nothing major.  This was not completely by choice - I had yet another week of chasing my tail trying desperately to go back in time and find as much information on events that happened anywhere from 2 hours to 2 days earlier and my drivers chose not to report them.  This included an obligatory drive around the county looking for more mystery objects that seem to cause damage to our buses when nobody is looking.  At this point I would be content with a week that only had 3 Mondays in it.

Yesterday's run was postponed because both Andrea and I were not feeling great.  Today we did a 15k and experimented with slightly different run / walk strategies.  Part of the change in strategy was due to another bout of unusual wheezing - the wheezing was due to smoke in the air from a nearby orchard or field burning vegetation.  This wonderful strategy ... Walk more up the hill so my breathing wouldn't be as labored under the more stressful parts of the run.  The result ... the 15k took 4 minutes longer than our best 15k a couple weeks ago.  I had more energy and had faster run segments during the second half of the run despite the wheezing issue.

Heart rate, sinuses and hydration were not an issue this week, but it was much cooler, a shorter run and i less horrible hill.  Next week will be yet another longer run, but there will only be one hill to deal with.

As far as the question of what will I do if? ...

The odds of all those same factors happening again on race day or something less than slim ... especially the eating something horribly stupid the night before the run.  However, if everything does go wrong I only have 2 choices - quit or try to finish.

Hydration is honestly my biggest concern.  I sweat a lot - much more than normal people seem to and I always walk the fine line between water-logging myself and not drinking enough to function well.  Being aware of how I feel and what my body is saying - taking the time at the water stations and so forth are the obvious solutions to this issue.

My sinuses are always a crap-shoot ... OK ... that sounds wrong :-/  Anyway, I always have some sinus issue going on so minimizing the potential impact is something I'm pretty used to.  The wheezing on the other hand ... well ... if it continues to be a worsening problem I might have to visit my doctor one last time before June :-/

All I can do is keep doing what I'm doing.  Prepare the best that I can and do the best that I can on the big day.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

I guess ...

... from a scientific perspective Saturday's run was a success

Training Stats:

Thu - 50 min elliptical and 10 min treadmill cool down
Fri - Chasing hawk friend 3o min (see pics below)
Sat - Run / walk, half marathon distance :-/

Unfortunately I am not a scientist, so yesterday's run pretty much sucked.  I just can't get myself to say, "Even though I didn't get the results I wanted or expected I learned something so I can say it was successful."

My heart rate began to race shortly after we headed up the first hill.  There was a pretty substantial headwind, and my heart rate and breathing both suffer under those circumstances ... Whatever.  My legs went absolutely rubbery around the 13k mark while heading up hill #3 and never really recovered.  But really the worst dagger to my pride was we ended our run less than 1k short of the goal distance (our own personal sag wagon picked us sp, burritos from the local market waiting for us) and we were nearly 30 min slower than what I was hoping for, even though we hit the first 3.5k faster than any other week :-(

In hind sight there were some positive results from the debacle.  Despite the fact that we walked more than half the total distance and up every hill (and down 1) we stayed ahead of pace until after the halfway point.  Even though my legs felt wiped out I was able to keep a relatively brisk walking pace.  And maybe the most encouraging point was my legs recovered very quickly.  After my recovery burrito and a nap I felt pretty darn good.  In fact my legs feel better today than they did at the beginning of the run yesterday.

I guess what still bugs me is not knowing for sure why it happened.  Maybe I was just too amped up for the distance ... Or possibly the events of a long and arduous week at work finally caught up with me. 

I may have been on the verge of dehydration.  I know when Pam picked us up I couldn't get enough water fast enough, and once I got some water in me I started feeling better.  Probably having sushi for dinner and the obligatory 2.3 gallons of soy soy sauce that go with it for dinner Friday was probably not a good idea. 

In my hazy recollection of the not quite awake minutes after I got out of bed I may have taken a Sudafed.  Our grass was cut Friday, and that made my sinuses go funky, so I may have habitually taken one just because I was still feeling the residual allergy effects.  It also seems like every other house and half the parks and schools either had a lawn mower running or smelled like freshly cut grass.  These issues would explain the runaway pulse and the extra wheezing.

I worked harder during the week than I have in a long time.  Every day my legs were tired from some form of training.  I also had some trouble sleeping several nights this week - I figure it was due to the worse than average drama at work and swirling around Pam and her mom.  All these factors could account for the unusual tiredness and the rubbery legs.

Whatever the reason or combination of reasons I consider the run something just slightly better than a failure.  I am not looking for, nor would I be content with saying, "If it weren't for ..." (fill in the blank) I would have done great.  I need to be able to push through despite adversities.  If any, or all of these factors pop up on the big day I need to be able to function properly. 

At least I did not give up at 13k when things got really rough.  I walked, but I didn't quit ... that is a bright point in what was a really disappointing run.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

So when does this start to feel good?

It seems to me that training in general is an inescapable trap ... a futile battle against ourselves that we will never win.  In essence it is an endless loop filled with empty promises of "just one more" or  "almost there" pushing our bodies to the brink of soreness and weariness and beyond in search of the slightest sign of improvement ... but at the first sign of improvement we feel the necessity to push that much harder to ensure that we once again feel that burn that reminds us how far from our goal we actually are.

Why do I do it??  Am I sick???

Maybe I am, because I'm beginning to like this again ... I actually look forward to most ... ok, at least some of my training times.  Tonight was no exception.  I was at the gym ready to hop on my spin bike when my phone rang ... another accident ...


Another late reported accident

Shit, shit!!

I flopped against the wall, twiddling my cell phone in my hand waiting for updates when I had an epiphany ... I was at the gym!!  I was not at the yard (no, that was not the epiphany part, but it does tie in) ... I could sit and stare at my phone just as easily while riding the bike as I could sitting on the floor next to the bike.  In fact, I could stare at the phone while listening to my music, too.  I wound up making a couple calls from the bike and handling everything but the last call while riding - by that time the class was almost full and the instructor was just starting the music, so I left the room for 43 seconds and returned in time for the official warm up.

Training Stats:

Tue:  Spin - 1 hour, slightly more than moderate effort (I'm such a slacker,but my legs were really feeling Monday's efforts on the stepper)

Wed:  Spin - 2 hours, moderate / high effort (hour 1 moderate while dealing with work - hour 2 high and very fun).  I also learned a valuable lesson ... Never tell your slightly sadistic spin instructor that you enjoy intense slower cadence driven hill type classes because she'll likely do exactly that ... and you'll wonder why you ever thought you liked it.

I must be sick ... I really, really liked it ... but when does it start to feel good??

Non training:

Well, my non training gripes seeped into my training rants ... 'nuff said.