Monday, July 27, 2015

Diagnosis: Torn Meniscus. Next up: Surgery

Since the first week of February, my knee has been injured.  In the 5 months that followed, my road to recovery has had many false summits. I would post about an amazing run where my knee felt great - only to have it flare up again with swelling and pain. (Examples of great runs just before this post, also here... quickly followed by crushing bitch-fests here and here.) Believe me, the irony of posting "I'm back!" about 4 times over the last 5 months only to not be back isn't lost on me.  Hopefully, it is with an MRI last week and the resulting diagnosis, that I reach the TRUE recovery summit and start to get back to myself..... I have a torn meniscus and will require surgery to repair and/or trim it.

Before I could get to where I am with (hopefully) a final diagnosis, I jumped through many hoops. If I had it to do over again, I essentially would do every single decision differently.

Where did the time go!? It seems like just yesterday, I was lubing up my undercarriage with Body Glide!  Boy do I miss those days. (KIDDING! I still do it all the time for old time sake)

To summarize:
  • I somehow hurt my knee the first week of Feb
  • Like any good runner, I ignored it for the first 4 weeks or so and went on a bunch of "test runs"
  • Also, like any good runner, I self diagnosed myself (Thanks, Dr. Google!!) and did Active Release Therapy / non-prescribed Physical Therapy for a month
  • When that did nothing (shocker!) I finally went and saw my sports med / orthopedic doc who diagnosed tendinitis with 95% certainty and prescribed physical therapy
  • I then went to 10 weeks of physical therapy
  • When physical therapy did nothing (after 2 failed test runs each 3 miles long), I went to the doctor again and he scheduled an MRI
  • The MRI showed a 30-40% tear in my lateral meniscus and I was referred to a surgeon
  • Oh, and I bitched to Laura the entire time.  The. Entire. Time.


If you have never had one, MRIs are so expensive they require Vasoline to handle very interesting procedures. Even though I've had a handful in my life, I always seem to forget how loud and terrifying they are. I seriously thought the thing was going to rip apart the entire time.  Plus, it is fascinating that shooting magnetic energy at me can produce detailed pictures of the inside of my body.....all of which essentially look like I'm pregnant.

In fact, here is one of the images from my knee MRI looking straight at my knee.  As you can plainly see, I am almost certainly pregnant.  My uterus has enveloped my little peanut in a protective cocoon of whatever that white stuff is (likely, a mixture of beer and French fry grease).

I can’t wait to meet my new baby


The best news is that I am obviously going to have another baby boy!!! I mean, what else could this “appendage” be? My son is going to be so excited to have a play buddy.

Chip off the old block!


I go in for a surgical consultation on August 3rd and will know the specific course of action after that.  The silver lining is that I do indeed know what is wrong, but the process to get to where I am now has been more frustrating than trying to take off a sweaty sportsbra. (I mean, I’ve been told. I don’t normally wear those. Just sometimes I like to have a bit more support when I run.  You know what, I’m getting off track…)  I’ve spent more money than I would like to admit and more importantly spent twice the time that I should have.

But, at least I know and can FIX it. I’m not excited about being told some of the long term risks of cutting away too much of my meniscus or the prospect of downtime, but I’ll do about anything at this point to get back out there.


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Getting back to running

This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but with a whimper.  – Somebody famous, probably. 

As such, as suddenly as it started, on Saturday my 18 week running hiatus ended. I didn’t really get approval to do it, my knee didn’t even stop hurting 100%, but the timing felt right and I just decided to dive in and get it over with (That’s what she said!).

I don’t take a lot of pics while running, so here is a pic that basically looks like me 


Probably the most frustrating thing about this injury has been the ambiguity.  It is seriously the most passive aggressive injury I’ve ever had. “Well Adam, if you knew me well enough, you would KNOW when it was okay to start running again. Also, I’m not mad. I mean if I have to tell you why I’m mad then it really shows what you think of my feelings.”  So, I suppose it is rather fitting that even the ending should be somewhat ambiguous.  My knee isn’t 100%, it probably isn’t even 90%, but I’m going to push forward as long as it doesn’t get any worse. If it ever does get worse, it is back to the Ben and Jerry’s, sweatpants, and Netflix.

By all measures, my Physical Therapist essentially got tired of seeing me. So, Monday was my last scheduled appointment. Over the course of the last 10 weeks or so he ran out of new exercises for me to do, put me on a ‘self study’ course, gave me a swat on the ass, handed me his personal “special clients only” number???, and after a gentle embrace whispered into my ear to “call if I needed ANYTHING at all”.  He sure was nice. The pain has only started to get better within the last 2 weeks, but the PT said that I am getting much stronger in my hips which should hopefully prevent any issues in the future.

So, I’M BACK!  It should be really interesting to see how much fitness I’ve lost in the last few months and how long it will take for me to be 100% - if I ever will be. I’m going to follow the same general comeback plan as I did for my stress fractures whereby I run 3 miles 2x a week followed by 3 miles 3x a week.  Once I’m running 3 miles every other day I’ll slowly start to bring up the mileage.

All of that said, while I have the approval to run, but I am obviously very guarded (and, judging by this blog post, rather jaded). I don’t want to run too far, too fast, or too consistently.  I’m essentially in the airport security line of hurry up and wait:  Hurry through the security checkpoint line to wait in the metal detector line and oh my god who carries $3.78 in nickels and pennies anymore and NO you can’t bring your Starbucks mocha through and SERIOUSLY is that a full sized shampoo bottle!?  

But, ambiguous or not, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel….and that is an amazing feeling.



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