Friday, March 25, 2011

Knee Pain

With the Monument Avenue 10K only 8 days away, I am not doing great for it. There have been a lot of obstacles for completing this race, starting with the foot surgery two months ago, and three moderately bad colds in the same period of time. The surgery knocked out any training for about five weeks. I'd run twice since then when the last and worst of the colds kicked my butt for two weeks. I started running again last week, fighting through a migraine. Then I did 5.6 miles Sunday at Deep Run Park, and was feeling pretty good. My right knee started hurting a bit the next day.

Tuesday, I ran and walked about four miles after work Tuesday with my friend, Lelia. My knee has hurt continually since. I think what is happening is I have done too much too fast. The cold messed up starting to get back slowly into running, and I felt like I had to make up for lost time. I looked at the amount of time before the race, and I know I told myself that it was only a 10K and to press on because I was short on time. So having run or even walked fast no more than a few times in 8 weeks, I just went out and did 5.6 miles. My leg strength and general physical condition allowed it to happen, but it was too much right now, and my knee is telling me that.

So while I can still walk fine if I don't press it, any motion - especially going up and down stairs - causes a fair amount of pain. I am going to try the eliptical machine Sunday and see how that feels. If there are no problems and my knee feels better, I am going to try running Wednesday. On race day, I will do the best I can. Maybe the best I can do is a less than full speed walk.

In the meantime, I am going to review all of my Team in Training injury prevention material and see if I can figure out what I did to myself - and what to do about it going forward.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Deep Run Laps

Saturday I had taken a March Madness break to go for a hike. Yesterday, I decided it was time to get away from basketball and do some running, so I did laps at Deep Run Park. The park has a circuit path through the woods with a fair amount of uphill and downhill in it. The loop is 1.8 miles, and I did three laps for 5.6 miles. This is the longest distance I've covered since the foot surgery.

My time was 62 minutes, which is respectable for me at just over 11 minutes per mile with a walk-run mix. A really good runner would be suicidal if they went that slow but for me, coming off a nasty cold and eight weeks after foot surgery, and walking a good part of it - well, I am happy about it. My goal with the 10K coming up if to cover the distance in less than an hour 15 minutes, and I think I am on pace for that.

The Monument 10K is only 12 days away now, and I am hoping to just enjoy it along with 39,999 other walkers and runners.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Finally Moving Again

It's been a long 10 days with this cold, but I am finally moving around again. It's a good thing, with the Monument Avenue 10K just 12 days ahead. It had been two weeks since I ran, but yesterday, my friend Lelia and I caught up after work and going out and running and walking 3 miles together. Then today, I woke up with a raging migraine headache, but had to go to work anyway - some stuff I absolutely had to get done. By the end of the work day, I was feeling better, and with a beautiful spring afternoon on tap, I went out for a while, running and walking 4.5 miles in 56 minutes. I walked 2.5 minute intervals and walked one minute intervals.

I am not where I wanted to be for the race, but know I can do it, and that is all that really counts - I never was expecting to win it, afterall. The foot surgery and my three colds in less than two months are just obstacles to celebrate the overcoming of.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

TNT Silent Mile

I've had a horrible cold this past week, but still went to the Silent Mile yesterday for the Spring and Summer teams. I'd hoped to walk or run a few miles with them, but just felt too bad from the cold. Several us who have survived cancer spoke to the teams and thanked them for what they are doing to help raise money for patient support and for blood cancer research. We also learned what types of things the money raised by the Virginia Chapter can accomplish.

I got to see some old friends for a few minutes, and that was a bonus to going. At the end of our talks, the teams trained their first mile in silence in honor of those dealing with cancer, and in memory of those who have lost their lives to these awful diseases.
Ed (black cap) talks to the team about the importance of the mission. He is a 20+ year leukemia survivor, and has dealt with other cancers 4 times since, including a current fight against melanoma that has left him struggling to walk again using a walker. He is always positive and always a total inspiration.
Mindy (second from left) is a TNT two-time alumni who will be walking in Vancouver in a few months. She is also a multiple myeloma survivor who's brother (left) was her bone marrow donor. Her daughters and husband are justifiably quite proud of her, as am I.
Reminding us of our mission:
Robin lost her leg to bone cancer last summer, 30 years after surviving bone cancer in the same leg. She is here with her son and husband, and with Ed and his wife Leslie. Robin is another total inspiration, and will be walking the Mounment Avenue 10K in three more weeks, just 8 months after losing her leg!
Yeah - let's stomp out cancer!!!!! Who's with me on that one?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sexy Biker Babes Are Waiting to Meet Me!

I stared in amazement at the subject line in my in-box: “Sexy Biker Babes Are Waiting to Meet You!” My goodness: sexy biker babes want to meet me? ME??? How can this be? Why would a sexy biker babe want to meet me? There has to be a logical explanation for this, and within seconds, I was sure I had figured it out. It must be a Team in Training thing, with the bikers referring to the century bike riders I rarely see. But why? Sure, I’ve seen plenty of cute women with Team in Training over the years, but the email still didn’t make sense. If they wanted me to join the cycle team, why not just ask?

So I called my friend Joe and told him about the email, and my theory. “No, I don’t think so,” said Joe. “I think they are taking about motorcycle babes. Better go carefully – I’ve known some bikers in a past life and they can be a pretty rough crowd. Tattoos, wild drunken parties, free-for-all no-holds-barred fist fights – and the men are even worse! Better send me the email, and I’ll take a look.” So I forwarded Joe the note.

Joe called me back a few minutes later, and said “Let’s talk about this. How about 6:30 at Legend Brewing Company?” Well, if there is a Legend brown ale involved, I’m there, and so I was.

“Look,” Joe started out as we took our first gulp of the cold, delicious beer, “this is a scam. Remember that email you got a few years back, claiming they could add three inches to a certain body part with this miracle medication?”

“Yeah,” I said. “I remember thinking that they meant they could make my legs three inches longer, and I almost sent them $500. I mean, I thought maybe I could run faster with longer legs.”

Joe shook his head, an expression of disbelief on his face. “Yeah, I remember having to explain that to you. Brother! And then last year, that email from that Nigerian guy? He asked for a bank account number where he could put $10,000,000 in for you to smuggle it out of the country, and in return, you’d get to keep 25%?”

I grimaced. “Don’t remind me. My wife is still pretty annoyed about that $2,000 the guy took from our account. But this latest email, the sexy biker babes, that sounds kind of genuine, don’t you think? I don’t want to meet them because I’m a married guy, but do you think I should reply and say ‘no thanks,’ just to be nice? Sexy biker babes wouldn't scam anyone, would they? I don’t want to hurt their feelings.”

“You know, Art, you’ve been saying you kind of want a new job. If we can find a village without an idiot, I think you can have that job,” Joe said.

“Wow, do you really think so, Joe?”

“Oh, definitely,” Joe said. “Now, about this email. It is not an invitation to join a cycle team, or even a real email at all. It is a scam. They want money. Think of it as coming from a fake drug company or from a fictitious Nigerian baron. Trust me, delete it!”

We finished our ales and went our separate ways, and when I got home, I took Joe’s advice and deleted the email. But somewhere tonight, I am sure that there must be a sexy biker babe sobbing herself to sleep!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Pass the Penicillin! (Or at Least, the Zicam!)

I took the afternoon off sick today with my third cold in seven weeks. After sleeping a good bit of the afternoon, I still feel pretty lousy but at least not as tired. It is amazing how miserable a tiny speck of RNA (or maybe it's a few dozen billion tiny specks of RNA) can make one feel! My second cold, attained just three weeks ago, lasted about a week. But after the end of it, the lymph node under my right jaw became so swollen it looked like I was hiding an egg in there – or maybe a small armadillo. So I went to the doctor a day or so later, and he put me on antibiotics. That reduced the swelling in a matter of 2-3 days, and it has returned to normal.

My mom was a huge believer in penicillin. It was the miracle drug of her day. When she was a little girl, there were no real answers to infections. I heard today that one bacterium, if it started dividing at midnight, and all of its progeny, and their progeny - and so forth - lived, would reach one billion in number by the midnight the next day. So before antibiotics, infections could get out of control quickly. My mom used to have these huge bottles of penicillin – like 1,000 pills each - all the time, believe it or not. If we even looked sick, we would have to start taking it. If you really did get sick, she’d have us double down on the stuff! I think sometimes she would give us one a day even if we were healthy, I guess assuming that it couldn’t hurt. Instead of an apple a day, a penicillin a day!

True story – I had no idea until I was in my 30’s that it was a prescription drug. I had a nasty cold and sore throat that would not quit. I said to myself “I bet a good dose of penicillin would knock this baby out!” I went to the drug store and searched all over – no penicillin. I finally asked them where they kept it. “You need a prescription for that,” was the reply.

“Since when?” I asked.

“It’s always been that way,” the pharmacist said.

I was dumbfounded, and told my wife the tale that night. She stared at me like I had a rattlesnake crawling out of my nose. I told my brother and sister that story later, and they both told me that they had done the exact same thing.

So here I am, feeling crumby again, for the third time in less than two months. It’s just a cold, and there are much worse things than that in life – my visit this past weekend to my sister, so ill with metastasized breast cancer, was an all-too vivid reminder of that fact. But it’s still annoying and very tiring. I’ve been popping the Zicam – but no penicillin - for 48 hours now, so hopefully that will slow it down and I’ll feel like running again – or even walking. Hell, right now, I’d be happy to feel like going to work! We have the TNT Silent Mile this weekend, and I’d love to feel better for that.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Some More Recovery Milestones

Five weeks past foot surgery, I hit a couple of more milestones Sunday and today.

Sunday, I walked over four miles, 4.5 to be exact, for the first time since the surgery. It was a nice early morning walk at the beach, something of a hike actually. I did stop to take photos and to look at things, but I didn’t stop to rest or stay in one place for a long time.

Today, I ran for the first time. I did my favorite local route, 3.85 miles. I set my sports watch to 30 second run and 2.5 minute walk intervals. Most of the time, I ended up running 45 to 60 seconds during the run portion. I covered the distance in 49 minutes, or 12 minutes 40 seconds per mile. I’ll see how my foot feels tomorrow, and if it is okay, I will run again Thursday morning, maybe upping the run interval to 60 seconds for the same distance.

In any event, I am now confident that I can cover the Monument Avenue 10K on April 2, at some pace, with run and walk intervals. Being able to walk more, run some, and hopefully, hike soon, is coming a great time. I weighed myself yesterday after all these weeks of inactivity (except for my jaws). Holy crap! Let's just say that if I could keep this trend going, and grow a bushy white beard, Santa Claus would be out of a job!