Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Whatever Wednesday: Swimming, Camping, Caliente

Quick running update is that there is no running update. Since my last post, my PT has added 5 minutes of bike to my warmup routine which made me happier than a witch in a broom factory. I am hopeful that I’ll be able to start to increase that amount ever so slowly to the point of being able to ride for 3-4 hours. I don’t ask for much, people!

Life on the surface of the sun has been chugging along recently.  Here is what I have been up to over the past week or so:

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With seemingly no injury end in sight, I’m finally researching non-knee bearing fitness alternatives. The reality is that anything that bends my knee is a no-no, so running and biking are out (hiking is questionable at best). I’m looking into weight lifting, penis enlargement, and swimming.  To answer the question that I ALWAYS get asked when I mention swimming: yes my ass looks amazing in a speedo no, I’m not thinking about doing an Ironman – yet.

Of course, the process for me to start doing new activities such as swimming isn’t straightforward and generally goes something like this:

  • Think about what it would be like to maybe start swimming
  • Make excuses about how the logistics of swimming would be a pain in the butt and that I actually shouldn't start swimming after all
  • Remind myself of how good my ass would look doing the exercise (in this case, swimming, so obvs amazing)
  • Ask 12 or so other people if they swim and tell them that I am thinking about swimming
  • Rent any applicable movies to get me in the mood for the new activity (in this case, JAWS)
  • Post my intentions on social media, thereby committing me to start….sometime in 2017

Weeee doggies. Should be interesting.


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Weekend before last, for the first time in 15 years, I went camping. More specifically, Laura, my son, Ryan my running buddy, and all of his neighbors went camping outside of Flagstaff, AZ.  A LOT of people went camping (30ish people?).  It was really fun to unplug for a while and get in touch with nature. Of course, my solar powered phone charger never further than an arm’s length away -- just like the pilgrims.  Thankfully, no one died of dysentery.

For the most part, I was able to beg borrow and steal to get (most) of the gear needed, so I only ended up spending a few hundred bucks. Camping is shockingly expensive.  Between special food, booze, sleeping bags, more booze, chocolate milk for my son, and little odds and ends, the equipment needed really seemed to add up. Fortunately, I’m a Tetris pro, so I loaded it all into the car and headed north….in the pouring rain.

So, it poured rain for the first 12 hours of camping. Not exactly the type of high desert camping I was looking forward to, but we all seemed to make the best of the situation by bundling up, huddling around the fire, and drinking some of the carefully packed booze.

Fire makes everything better

The first night was super stormy. Thankfully, my buddy Ryan let all of us stay in his camper (which meant that his entire family was in a single bed!) as it poured, thundered, and lightninged. It wasn't too bad in a pop up camper but I imagine it would have been pretty miserable in a tent.

All in all we slogged through the night and were greeted with mostly dry skies that next morning. One of the most fun things that I remember about camping growing up was cooking over the open fire.  For some reason the most basic foods are made amazing by the simple addition of flame.  20,000 years of caveman genetics can't be wrong.

Cooking fireside. 1 part eggs, 1 part bacon, 1 part hashbrowns, 3 parts OMG-AMAZING


Most of Saturday morning was spent puttering around the fire and trying to warm up / dry off. Which, to be honest, I wouldn't have had it any other way.  I think that some of the best things about camping (or hiking, running, etc) is that you really get a chance to unplug from real life.  Of course, by unplug I often mean music blaring in your ears and a 10MP cell phone camera to take tons of selfies. I'm not a barbarian.

TRYING to warm up by the fire

My son has mad bingo skillz.  Laura didn't stand a chance.


Other than the general ability to unplug, some of my favorite parts of camping were the freedom that my son was able to have. He was able to roam around the campsite with very minimal supervision by me which he LOVED.  He was able to dig in the dirt, find sticks for the fire and.....honestly come to think about it I have no idea what the heck he was doing for a lot of the time.  That is a very very good thing.

Waiting patiently to throw more sticks on the fire

Eating peanuts that were supposed to be for the squirrels on Sunday
Yes, that is the same outfit as the day before

While there were lots of activities for the little kids, thoughts of going on a hike or doing anything else all that productive were quickly dashed in favor of just hanging out. And, with a quick break for Laura and I to have some fun setting up the tent and my son to take a quick nap, that is essentially what we did the entire weekend.

Playing a very large game of Cards Against Humanity
The conclusion? Laura and I are terrible terrible people (thus, very good at C.A.H.)


Overall, camping was outstanding. It was really fun to hang with Laura, my running buddy Ryan, and essentially skirt almost all responsibilities for the weekend. To that end, I'm looking forward to doing it again very soon.


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I was in Colorado last weekend, but seeming how this post is turning into a Lifetime miniseries, I’m going to hold that update for another time…. But, a little teaser:

Doesn't my pink nail polish look AMAZING?


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Finally, the surface of the sun quip at the beginning of this post was no lie.  The temps this week are supposed to be between 112-115 with lows in the mid 80s.  If there was ever an upside to being hurt and not being able to run, I THINK I FOUND IT!


Nope nope nope nope nope


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

15 weeks

As I sit here on my couch, drinking a beer and presumably only getting fatter, I haven't ran in 15 weeks. This is the longest I have gone without running in nearly 10 years. No running in 15 weeks.... 105 days..... 151,200 minutes....  All I need is a overly harmonized gritty Broadway musical to remind me of how long that is..... WAIT A MINUTE!!!

No, those are NOT tears. My eyes are sweating. IT IS HOT IN ARIZONA, OKAY



There are a lot of emotions that have been running through my head as the weeks have become months. I've watched most of my 2015 running goals slip though my fingers like sand through an hourglass. Frustration and sadness are the most common emotions. Frustration that whatever is wrong with my knee seemingly isn't healing and sadness that I'm not able to do what I love with those that I care the most about.

But, where there is frustration there is hope.  I had my 6 week PT checkup today during which I received mixed news. We've settled on a diagnosis of severe patellar tendinitis where my tendon hooks into my kneecap.  This is why I often see white spots of pain in my eyes when I try to kneel down and put pressure on the tendon and also why it is taking so long to heal. While I can see ever so slight improvements week over week, the road to recovery is long,  hard, and fraught with potholes and false summits. I'll continue to go to PT through the end of the month and then we will reassess.  And so, I wait.

Most surprising with not being able to run is how bummed out it has made me and how much I have  missed the running social scene.  I have made no secret that I am fairly addicted to running, but I had no idea how it had weaved itself into the fiber of my being. With the exception of this blog, I rarely talk about running in real life, yet most of my friends in real life are running friends. Running was a reason to get together to talk about everything BUT running. Without that common bond, I feel forced to interject myself into their running lives to hang out and share a beer or a cup of coffee. 

Throughout the tough times of the last few years, running and my son have been the two constants. What I initially thought was a blip on the radar has developed into a full fledged armada.  So, it should probably be no surprise how much not running has frustrated me.....but it is a surprise. Both in duration of downtime and intensity of feelings.

That said, overall I'm actually doing quite amazing.  I would be remiss if I didn't post something about how frustrated and sad I am about my running, but nearly every other aspect of my life has been outstanding. Laura and I are making the long distance work and finding a love we never knew could exist, my son is doing amazing and every day surprises me at how smart he is becoming, and in spite of the stupid stuff I do I still have all of my fingers and toes - something that shocks me each and every day. So, all in all, not a bad start to 2015.

Rule #1 of s'mores: don't burn any of your hair.
There is no rule #2




Monday, June 1, 2015

Bolder Boulder 10K Race Report!!

While probably not wise with my knee, this past Memorial Day I strapped on more spandex than a Richard Simmons convention, put on my best padded helmet, and walked 6.2 miles with 45,000 of my closest friends. Just another weekend living the Boring Adam life………

Distance: 10K
Time: 1:50:41
Pace: 17:49
Place: 39,566 / 45,000ish (Top 88%)
AG (M30-34) place: 365 / 388 (Top 94%!!!!)

As with a lot of my race reports, I feel like this one will focus on the points leading up to the race but not the actual race itself. While a lot of people love reading the blow by blow of each and every mile, I’d rather go on and on about the uniqueness of the places I’m visiting – not how I had to poop at mile 6.

To that end, this past Memorial day I took an especially long weekend and visited Laura outside of Boulder. Lately, my trips have been a bit short, but this trip was Thursday through Tuesday which offered lots of time for debauchery (which, mostly manifested itself as trips to Home Depot and Furniture stores). When I landed on Thursday, we headed straight for a trendy area of Denver and met up with friends and none other than RunnerMatt himself.  Matt is a podcaster and a consistent marathon age group placer who in his mid 40s is targeting a sub 3 hour marathon in Chicago this fall.

RunnerMatt!! (Behind my massive head...which is completely obscuring Laura)


Since I haven’t been able to run, bike, or essentially do anything much that raises my HR outside of the bedroom, I have been trying to stay consistent with my PT exercises. So, the next day involved me doing an hour’s worth of leg extensions and butt lifts while Laura did a much harder (and arguably manlier) workout. I fear I am quickly becoming the Kevin James of this relationship. Bring on the bean dip.

Took everything I had not to tip her over. Everything. I. had.


I’d mentioned before that Laura bought a new house a short while ago, so part of the weekend was spent looking at various pieces of furniture and making runs to Home Depot for various household items. If anyone knows me in person, they know that I 1) haven’t made a Home Depot trip that I haven’t enjoyed and 2) haven’t gone on a furniture shopping trip without making a fool out of myself.  So, to say that I had fun while running these errands would be like saying Kim Kardashian doesn't like selfies (which, for the record, I love selfies too).

Relaxing in $4,000 massage chairs for...15 minutes. Oops.
If I could teach this chair how to laugh at my jokes, I wouldn't need Laura!

Confirming no boogiemen were hiding under the bed
Quote a friend on facebook: "Don't buy a bed with a built in dog-house"


The next day (or the day after? Let’s be honest, it doesn’t matter) we went on a quick hike. We had tried to go the day before but it started to thunder and lightning pretty bad, ultimately POURING down rain, right when we started and neither of us wanted to be a human lightning rod.  That said, I was quick to remind Laura that if she DID get struck by lightning that I got to keep her running medals.

The hike was amazing (as it seems like they all have been lately). It climbed a few thousand feet or so over the course of a few miles give or take and it took an hour or two (yeah, I forgot my Garmin). It provided for amazing views on the way up as well as when we reached the top – looking over most of Boulder.

AMAZING views while hiking with Laura


Again, seriously amazing views..... :)


Of course, there were lots of post hiking beers that day as well as the day after. Honestly, the post hiking beers sort of blended from post hiking beers to carb loading beers to celebrating race beers. The fun thing about going to Colorado is that there are lots of fun little microbreweries that are more than happy to raise a glass to whatever you’re celebrating.

In this picture, I feel like we were celebrating.. lunch? Who knows.


Again, celebrating...the hike?  Celebrating the rain?  Do you really need a reason to have a great beer? (or bloody mary, as it were)

Once we were done hiking and drinking and eating and drinking and then eating some more, it was time for the task at hand - RACING!  Or, walking. Whichever. As we all know, fueling your body for peak performance is vital. So, I think that it should go as no surprise that the night before the race I, along with a handful of friends, proceeded to do this with equal amounts of wine and cheese. Also known as: Carbs and Protein.  I'm not sure if I got the ratio right like in chocolate milk, though. I wonder how many bottles of wine I should have drank to offset the 2 pounds of cheese I ate?  Math is hard.

Prerace girls night in - squeeee!!!!


As I woke up race morning it was very obvious that this was not going to be a PR attempt for me.  First, I still had wine and cheese from the night before sloshing around in my colon stomach. (By “slosh” I obviously mean “hunkered down like a lead balloon”.) Second, I wasn’t really worried about getting to the starting line when my wave went off. There are dozens and dozens of waves starting from 7:00 to 9:30 spreading the field out to provide minimal congestion. And third, I put on about 3 layers of spandex.

Since Laura and I are both injured, we decided to capitalize on the opportunity and dress up like the 80s gameshow American Gladiators – complete with padded jousting sticks.  This was quite possibly the best decision we have ever made. It allowed us to make a spectacle out of ourselves which is honestly my #1 priority if I am not running for speed.

Of course, our costumes weren’t without downsides. Everyone kept telling me how nice my ass looked in spandex. :( As it turns out, having big jousting sticks doesn’t exactly promote on course safety, which is why a very official looking person told us that we couldn’t run with them. Never one to give up, we promptly ignored this advice, snuck into one of the corrals, and at 8:20 we were off!!!!!

Walking….

Thank god this wasn't a death-match. God made me a runner, not a gladiator / jouster.

Walking a race is interesting in that everyone passes you. Like, everyone.  I felt a little bit like the tortoise and the hair except we didn’t really win the race at the end. That said, we did NOT go slow.  We averaged a healthy 17:49 min / mile including all of our stops to bash each other in the head for Laura to bash me in the head. I would imagine this meant that we were walking 16:00ish pace? Also known as “angry ex-NYC get out of my way, annoying tourist” pace.

The race part was fun, but honestly not quite as wild as people made it out to be.  There was no on-course beer, jello shots, keg stands, bacon, or anything similar. There were 2 slip and slides, but they were so muddy by the point that we were there that neither of us wanted to go down them. All in all, it was just a normal race. That is, except for the people screaming “HEY, NICE COSTUME!!!” To which Laura and I would respond “GLADIATORS READDDYYYYY…. GOOOO!!!” and start jousting.

Note the people were giving us a WIDE girth, mostly due to Laura helicopter spinning her jousting stick while trying to smack me in the face

At about the 4 mile mark, my knee started to get really cranky.  All of the jumping around getting the crowd cheering was starting to take its toll.  So, for the last mile and a half or so, we saved our jousting energy for the big finish in the Univ of Colorado football stadium.  During which both of us were on the jumbotron running, jousting, and laughing more than any man wearing spandex ever should. It was amazing.

TO THE ELIMINATOR!!!


Overall, the Bolder Boulder seemed like a really nice race. It reminded me a LOT of the 4.2 mile Pat Tillman race in Phoenix each year. Honestly, if Pat Tillman wasn't such a strange distance (42 was his jersey number), I think that it could give this race a run for its money in both size and notoriety.  It was a great race to check off of my bucket list and one that I would love to do when fully healed, jousting sticks optional, spandex required.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Family Hiking

Yesterday I was joking with Laura that my running blog is quickly becoming a hiking blog. I’m not quite sure what I think about that…. Thankfully she also likes hiking!  Also thankfully, misery loves company since we are both hurt in some form or fashion,

In spite of pulling the plug on all biking and elliptical, I haven’t yet stopped hiking. Similar to how a hard core drug user still allows themselves to smoke cigarettes, I just couldn’t quit everything that used my legs cold turkey. "Just one more mile, then I'll stop for good. JUST ONE MORE MILE!"  I’m not sure ANYONE would want to be around me if I wasn’t able to do SOMETHING.

Quick note, I’m sure there are lots of other aerobic activities I could be doing that wouldn’t aggravate my knee – swimming being the most notable. I would love to start swimming laps however based on my current situation the logistics prohibit it. (I really don’t like pulling the single dad card, but that was basically me doing that.)  I don’t belong to a gym and am essentially limited to what I can do either at home or at my work gym. I am 100% making excuses on why I haven’t started swimming, but I’m okay with continuing to make them for another month or two.

With that said, this past weekend my son and took advantage of the below normal temps (25 degrees below normal!) I went on a pretty substantial hike.  We hiked the first part of the same exact trail that I ran a month or so back that totaled 2.5 miles round trip and about 2000 feet of gain.

This wasn't our first time out - we attempted this a few weeks ago with disastrous results.  There was whining, tears, and even some "I'm just going to wait here for a little bit and wait for it to cool off". Not to mention how bad my son was. I tried to look for some pictures, but I am not sure that I took too many that were blog worthy. That said, it was amazing how this time was completely different in almost every single way.

Jeff's dog has lots of....energy


What probably made the most difference was having my buddy Jeff and his family there. Jeff’s oldest is a few years older than my son so my son was really trying to keep up as much as possible.  This, of course, is in contrast to last time where it was a constant battle to keep him moving faster than I move after the all you can eat pizza buffet (slow).  Just kidding, as Laura will tell you, when I walk I pretty much always shuffle / drag ass at BEST.

Daddy, put these rocks in your pocket, I think they are made out of gold

Other than having someone else than boring dad to hike with, the slightly cooler temperatures and fewer gnats made for lots more playing along the trail and a lot less "sitting down to rest". Although, to be clear, there was plenty of sitting to rest. In the middle of the trail. With no warning. Even if someone was coming. Something to work on for sure.

Without warning, what I turned around to more than once

As the morning wore on and the 12 pounds of rocks in my pockets weighed my pants down we both got a bit tired. We rock paper scissored to see who got to ride on who, and unfortunately I lost. Truth be told, since we were both out getting exercise, I wasn't mad at all about giving him a lift for the last half mile or so.

"ONE RULE, if you pull my hair or smack my head you are walking again."
(I really really should't have to have that rule....)


Either way, I couldn’t be more proud of how my son did and how much fun we had. I really hope to continue to do things like that for as long as I can claw him away from videogames or whatever else tugs at his attention as he grows up.  (Did I say videogames? I meant doing long division, Netflix, reading chapter books, and whatever else good parents have their kids doing now adays that isn't videogames.)

Mission Accomplished


Friday, May 15, 2015

Pulling the plug on cardio

Bueller? Bueller? 

Um, he's sick. My best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who's going with the girl who saw Ferris pass out at 31 Flavors last night. I guess it's pretty serious.

I AM STILL HERE!!  Replace sick with “screwed up knee” and replace 31 flavors with “French fry kiosk” and you pretty much nailed it. Knee still hurts.  In fact, it is not getting much better. (Also, why are french fry kiosks not a thing that exists??)

It is funny, I always thought of my blog as a blog about nothing.  The Seinfeld of running blogs. It was my random thoughts loosely coupled with running – but honestly just an outlet for my musings and innuendo. But, as it turns out, the running portion of the blog was the catalyst for most of my good and interesting posts. Without running to act as the peanut butter to my sarcasm’s jelly, I don’t have a ton to talk about.  Mix that with being pretty busy at work (with not a lot to show for it, doh) and the blog got put on the back burner.  So, in the spirit of Ferris Bueller, here goes nothing!

Running recovery is coming along, albeit at a slower pace than I would like. Meaning: PAINFULLY SLOW. I’m going to actual Physical Therapy twice a week now (vs Active Release Therapy before – which was sort of a bust) which I can already tell is helping a lot. I think Physical Therapy is Latin for “small movements to make you feel like little baby”. I certainly have some weaknesses going on because more than a few of the exercises are super hard for me.  Specifically, most of the ones where I present my crotch for all to see (which, is interesting because I feel like I do that type of thing a lot in my day to day life so you think I would be good at it).

As long as I keep showing progress, it sounds like I might start to run again in July. No, that is not a joke, IN JULY. The good news about starting to run then is that the AZ temps at dawn will be a balmy 80 degrees or so. Lovely.  But, I am willing to do what it takes to get back out there.

I had been biking and even hitting the elliptical, but after a 90 min session on Tuesday that left my knee quite sore, I might have to give that up.  The going assumption that both my doctor and I had was that cross training was not hurting my knee – but it seems like it is indeed causing additional inflammation.  Sooooo, I think that I might take the next week or so completely off to see if I can heal the inflammation and get my recovery FIRMLY on track. If nothing else, I'll keep doing the pelvic thrusts my PT prescribes. Clarifying, I'll be doing even more than I normally do in my day to day life.

But, in between bitching about my knee, life goes on.  My son and I have been as busy as ever, most recently doing man things like playing pull my finger cutting wood and building things. He LOVES to "work" with my powertools so I take him along during as many Home Depot trips as possible.

"Daddy, you're a crazy driver sometimes"

Two weeks ago had us building a framework to mount my TV on the wall (long story), which involved half a day of sawing, measuring, and more than a few juice box breaks. I had been holding off on a few of my home improvement type activities in favor of buying furniture, but who needs a formal living room when you can user power tools!?!?

Motorcycle, propane tanks, saws, bikes, 2x4s... what is not for a 4 year old to like!? (or, for that matter, a 33 year old) #DadLife


The sucky part about pulling the plug on all cardio is that I was finally gaining the leg strength to be able to actually push hard on the bike / elliptical.  The trick, I've found, is to set the resistance a few notches higher than I think I should and just figure shit out / ignore your legs screaming in pain. That is how you're supposed to workout, right? (Only slight sarcasm there.)

After a particularly hard elliptical workout. Kept my HR above 180 for 30 min. Yeehawww


Finally, Laura was in town last weekend and I finally convinced her to go on a quick motorcycle ride. She "didn't completely hate it" which I will take as a complete win and will obviously start planning our cross country motorcycle ride ASAP.  I'm headed to Colorado over the Memorial Day weekend and fully plan to tell my knee to suck it up and go on some more additional hikes.  (Related: I'm a terrible patient.)

Mastered the MOST important part of motorcycle riding - the selfie





Thursday, April 30, 2015

Knee Diagnosis and Colorado Trip

Does anyone else have that friend that, no matter what, always talks about the same stuff every time you see him? Day after day regardless of the topic, everything seems to come back to this schmuck's story of buying his new car and oh my god can you believe what good of a deal I got and can you smell the Italian leather?! I am now that guy. After 10 weeks of no running, 4 weeks of Active Release Therapy, and more bike miles than I would like - I finally went to the best sports medicine doc in town and have a diagnosis on what is wrong with my knee...and you're going to hear about it.

Chondromalacia patella, tendonitis of the patellar tendon, an ass that won't quit, bursitis of the patella, and eyes as deep as the ocean is wide general patella maltracking. Translation: my knee is horked.

Essentially, the back of my kneecap has been rubbed raw, the tendons & bursa sacks in the front of my knee are all inflamed, and I'm the next George Clooney generally speaking my kneecap doesn't work like it should.

The doctor actually said that I have a genetic condition generically called "extreme patellar mobility". I always thought that everyone could move their kneecap around - I guess not. Having that makes me highly susceptible to all of those big words up above AND is likely the cause of wearing those stupid knee straps.

The solution isn't a shot or surgery like I feared - instead it is even more dumb physical therapy. While I do NOT want to get cut open, I had a lot of questions for the doctor on why it still feels just as bad as it has 2 months ago in spite of doing some active release therapy and not running but once. Essentially the answer was that I haven't been doing the strength training that I need to be doing which is causing my knee to continue to scrape along during normal daily activities.

Long story short the doctor did convince me that PT was the right thing to do.  So, I'll get that scheduled ASAP. 4-6 weeks later I should be able to start running. Additionally, we spoke about the activities I COULD do and biking, ellipting. and even hiking are still on the list. Which, is a good thing because I did a LOT of hiking this weekend.

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This past weekend I was in Colorado visiting Laura, getting my fill of rocky mountain air and craft beer. Since I am somewhat limited to the activities I can do with my stupid knee, the highlight of the trip was a 6 hour 8.4 mile hike outside of Boulder. Because that is what smart people do when they have injuries - they test them by pushing the logical limits of how far they should go. (I'm an idiot.)

The hike was amazing! 3000 feet of vertical that covered all sorts of terrain. It had prairie sections, boulder climbing, and normal 'stair step' hiking. I'm almost certain that neither of us knew quite what to expect while hiking with each other, but it turned out to be the highlight of the trip.

Top of the mountain! (Overlooking Boulder.  That haze is likely pot smoke.)


One of the most bizarre things that we found while hiking were a few piles of strange white foam.  I had seen this before in Colorado, so I can only assume that it has something to do with the altitude or possibly the marijuana. Do bongs make foam?

What is this STRANGE white foam??

Being the inquisitive man that I am, I knew that I needed to go in for a deeper look.

Turns out, this strange foam was COLD and DIRTY (thats what she said)

Not one to let any senses be underutilized, I went in for the real thing:

This strange cold foam tastes like E Coli

Lest you think that I did nothing but hike for 6 hours, I also did a little light shopping while on the main drag in Boulder. Of particular note was the candy store because....well, it is a freaking candy store.

Coonskin hat? Check. White guy duckface? Also..... check. 

Unfortunately, before I knew it, it was time to go back home to the desert. Fortunately, I am scheduled to go back sooner rather than later as the trips home are always a bit bittersweet. Hopefully my knee will cooperate and I'll be able to log a few actual running miles. But, if not, it is good to know that hiking with Laura is a great alternative.

Amazing the difference 90 minutes of flight time can make.
From pouring rain to not a cloud to be found