Wednesday, April 17, 2013

So, here's the thing.  The folks who run the BCS Marathon (in Bryan College Station) had this idea that today runners should wear blue and gold (the colors of the Boston Athletic Association that hosts the Boston Marathon) and do what runners do--run.  There's this story and their facebook page here. So I grabbed my blue shirt and did what runners do--I ran.  I ran 4.09 miles, because that was the number on the clock when the bomb went off.

I'm under no delusions that I changed the world out there by staggering through 4+ miles (very slowly, I might add, 12 minute miles, sheesh).  The world is still a generally decent place full of generally decent people with a few scattered assholes who are just hell bent on shitting on everything good and decent because that's what assholes do.  No money was raised.  No hearts were healed.  No bodies were mended.  No fuckwad terrorists were caught.  It could be fairly interpreted as a meaningless, empty, symbolic gesture devoid of any real meaning or substance.

But something did happen today.

Runners went out and did what runners do--they ran.  They lived their lives.  They picked 'em up and put 'em down.  One after another.  Again and again.  It's what runners do.  And no terrorist can take that away.

Not.  Ever.

And we also wore blue.  In a kind of show of solidarity that said instantly "yea, we're with you, Boston.  You may not have been allowed to finish, but here's a few more miles for your runners."  (And, according to the BAA twitter feed there's a replica finish line for runners to cross when they come to pick up their bag, so there's that.)

But there's more.

The thing about this that pisses me off most, I think, is that it wasn't just a bomb in an office tower or bus stop or hotel lobby.  Don't get me wrong, that sucks, too.  But this was different.  This is like that uncle who gets drunk and ruins your wedding.  Or a hurricane that destroys the chapel where you were going to get married next week, except the hurricane is a dick with a bomb and the chapel is the finish line of the Boston-fucking-Marathon and the wedding is you crossing that finish line.

It wasn't just another day.  It was a day that these people trained for over the course of MONTHS.  They had to qualify for this race, so they had to train and prepare for THAT one first.  Then they had to train and prepare for this one.  It's a big commitment.  Their families were there waiting for them or rooting them on remotely.  And then some fucker comes and blows up a pressure cooker and just takes all that away from them.
Well, fuck him.  He can't take that away.  I'm with you, Boston.  Here's an extra 4 miles for your runners.  And, God willing, if I ever figure out how to drag my fat ass through a race fast enough to qualify I'll come up there and be with you in person.  No fucking terrorist will take that from us.  None.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

On the mend

So, I told that podiatrist to go pound sand.

I did get used to wearing the splint, but that didn't help.  I went out and got a new pair of shoes--new brand and everything.  That seemed to help, some.  I even went out for a run--barefoot.  That didn't hurt a lot, just a little.

Then after about 2 weeks and 4 runs of about 2.5 miles each, I went to a new podiatrist and filled him in on the whole story going all the way back to July.  The new diagnosis:  plantar fasciosis.  It's the chronic version of the fascitis and basically is what happens when that goes untreated for too long.

Treatment:  platelet rich plasma therapy.  In 2 weeks.

So, I have 2 weeks to play.  I go get a pair of Vibrams and started using them around the house and office.  I could actually feel the difference in the way they made my feet work when I was wearing them.  Parts of my legs were sore in ways they hadn't been sore in ages.  I took that as a good sign.

I even started running again.  Because I figured if it hurt when I didn't run, and it hurt when I did run, then I might as well run.

Interestingly enough, the pain wasn't that bad.  At first.  After a couple of days, though...  YOWZA!  Yea, I definitely still needed the treatment.

So, 2 weeks later (just last Friday), I went in for the treatment.  And what can I say?  It hurt like a mother.  I couldn't put any pressure on my foot for a full day and the thing throbbed relentlessly for another day.  But I'm several days on the other side of it and I dare say that I'm mostly pain free.  Not entirely, mind you.  But this morning I woke up with zero pain.  The proof in this particular pudding will be when I string together several days with no pain.  I'm not allowed to run before Friday, and I may take the weekend off just to be safe, but if I can get through a run that's pain free, that'll be fantastic!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Ok, here's the story

A lot has happened since June.

A lot.

Not the least of which I bought a house and moved.  That put a kink in everything.  I also lost my means of measuring progress, which means I lost interest in making progress.  Which means I not only quit making progress, but I actually gave up hard fought ground.

But now almost all of the dust has settled.  We've settled into the house.  Much of the "happenings" have stopped happening.  I've gotten a new scale.  I've even seen a podiatrist about this nagging foot injury...
About that injury.

Last July I twisted my ankle.  That led to a change in my gait which caused a retro calcaneal spur and inflammation of my Achilles tendon.  Consequently I scaled back my marathon training and "only" ran a half marathon.  I hung up the shoes until March when I took a short run, which turned out to be a big mistake.  It revealed that my Achilles still was a bit tender, but I had also developed an ache on the bottom of my foot.  I decided to rest through the summer and let it get right.  The Achilles feels fine, but that pain in the bottom of my foot nagged and nagged and nagged.  It was a kind of slow, dull, aching pain, like a bruise.  I accommodated the pain and ignored it, but it didn't go away.  Finally I decided to do something about it.  I looked into various foot ailments, and sure enough, even though I've heard plantar fascaitis described as sharp, hot, needle-like pain in the bottom of the foot, this, too, fit the bill.  I take it to the primary doc who suggests the typical physical stuff that we all know to do--stretch, ice, rest, massage--and it wasn't getting better.  In fact, on some days it was worse.  A month goes by and I take it back, and she sends me to a podiatrist.

The same podiatrist that wanted to put me in orthotics when the Achilles thing was acting up.  The same podiatrist that I had told that I didn't want orthotics then and I still don't want orthotics now.  But it was a different ailment, I figured it'd be a different treatment.


Dude asks me to describe the pain on a scale of 1 to 10.  I tell him that it's not unbearable, but there are mornings when I can't put any weight on the foot for a couple of steps.  Then it stretches out and relaxes and I can go about my business until after about 5 or so steps and it pretty much goes away.

"Well, we don't give shots until the pain is a 7 or more."

What??!!!???  You base you decision to give shots to take away the pain on a subjective description of pain?  

"Take this night splint, and come back if it doesn't go away, and we'll fit you with some orthotics."

"Doc, I don't want orthotics.  I want my feet to WORK PROPERLY!  I don't need orthotics for the right foot, it's fine.  I want the left foot to be fine, too.  Just make the pain go away so I can walk normally again.  Is that too much to ask?"

Apparently it is too much to ask.  But I shouldn't be surprised.  You go to a hammer store, they try to sell you hammers.

So, I'm going to promptly, and naturally, ignore him.  I tried using the splint and it was SUCH a pain in the ass.  I could barely sleep and it came off after about an hour.  We'll see if it gets much more use.

Meanwhile, I'm going to work on the old mechanics, strengthening and stretching the muscles and tendons of the lower leg and foot to try and get this thing working right.  Worst case scenario the pain doesn't go away and I tell the doc "it's a 8" on the magical subjective pain scale.  Best case scenario is that my feet and legs get back to working like feet and legs have evolved to work and I can call the doc and tell him to stuff his magic shoes up his ass.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Another wasted weekend

The plan was for a good long ride, but things didn't go as planned.

Sleeping in turned out to be a better application of my time.

Despite not getting in the long rides, and taking a nice dinner-and-a-movie date with The Lovely Wife, I still hit my interim weight loss goals.  Not taking in the long ride, though, is going to present a challenge for the longer term goal of dropping a full 15 lbs for the month.

Nonetheless, I'm going to go back out there and hit it again this evening.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Another set in the books

Good ride yesterday.

Really good ride.

I took in 18 miles, to bring the total for the week to 35 (and a new top speed on flats of 25 mph!).  That brings the weekly mileage completion ration to 35%, the hours in the saddle ratio to 33%, and the week is 42% complete.  I'll likely not ride tonight (unless I get lucky and can squeeze out an hour), but I'll hopefully get in a ride tomorrow of a solid 15 to 20 miles.  That'll leave me with a good, long ride to do over the weekend of 40 miles or so.

Oh, and as a bonus, I've already dropped 30% of my goal weight for the month.  Sure, most of it's water weight, and that's fine.  The first 5 comes off quick.  The next 10 will be slightly more challenging.  And the 30 that follows that will be even more challenging.  But no sweat.  I can swing it.

The better news is that the heel is almost pain free, even with the added activity and exertion.  Cycling puts almost no strain on my Achilles tendon and there's hardly any impact to inflame the connection at the heel.  If this keeps up I should be in shape to tentatively start running again in the fall.  Plus, if the weight loss continues apace, I should be a leaner and trimmer runner--more so than I've been since picking it back up.

The real question won't be whether or not I can run, but whether or not I want to get off the bike and into the road flats.  The thought of it is just...  ugh.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Follow up

I got the ride in yesterday.  I made my way over to the picnic loop (and enjoyed every bit of the irony of sitting in traffic with a bike on the back of my car) and logged 17 miles.  As of today, with 28% of the week completed (Monday counts as the start and each day is roughly 14%), I've logged 17% of my mileage target and 17% of my time-in-saddle target.  Tonight I'll log another 15 miles at least in probably another hour in the saddle, which will will give me 32% mileage and time at the completion of 43% of the week.  If things continue on pace, it looks like I'll have hit 35% of my weight loss goal for the month by Sunday, too (no weekly targets on that).

Data driven results, baby.

I certainly like riding more than I like running.  Sure, there's a simplicity in running--just grab some shoes and something to keep your junk from bouncing too hard and you're out the door.  And biking is far more complex with the machinery and the gear and the maintenance and blah blah blah.  Running is cheaper (shoes [$100] and not much else) and biking is way, way, way more expensive (bike [>$300], shoes [>$75], pedals [>$50], helmet [>$50], bike maintenance [>$200/yr], glasses [>$75], padded shorts [$>$40]).  And there's that whole primal biology thing about running when the endorphins blow up and the eyes dilate and you salivate and the thought of catching that beast you've been chasing for the last hour or so....  or maybe that's just me.

But when the wind is whistling in your ear and you're flying at speeds that man was not designed to achieve and the only thing protecting you from the elements--the hard, unforgiving, abrasive element of concrete--is a thin film of lycra, there's just something beautifully dangerous about that.  It's a different kind of primal.

And to think just 2 months ago I was considering selling my mount.

Silly me.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The schedule is a challenge in and of itself

So, when you have a loving wife, and two beautiful children, all of whom you actually like, it's exceptionally difficult to get an hour of daylight to yourself to go out for a bike or run.

Well, it's hard for me, at least.

This weekend's ride didn't materialize.  
First, there was the construction meeting.  Then there was lunch with the extended nuclear family.  Then there was the obligatory socializing and nap time (I should have taken my bike to the meeting, then I could have gotten the ride after lunch).  Then it was back home to ready the house for the birthday party.
Then it was up early for lawn work before it got too hot.  Then it was watching the boys while the Lovely Wife went to the store for supplies.  Then it was more house cleaning before the big shindig.  Then there was the shindig.  Then there was cleanup and more obligatory socializing with some really great friends.

I know.  I have a pocket full of excuses.

But I didn't gain a single pound over the weekend.  I held steady, which is good enough.

Now, yesterday (Monday) was another set of issues entirely.  I didn't sleep on Sunday, so I was garbage all day yesterday.  I ached, and had a headache, and couldn't focus my sight (almost like a migraine, but I don't get those), and I was even a little nauseous a couple of times.  All in all, it was not a good day.  Compounded by the fact that I had to get my dry cleaning after 6, so no ride in the morning, no ride at lunch, and the possible time for a ride in the evening was consumed by a combo trip to the dry cleaner and grocery store.  Arriving home at 6:15, then baths for the boys, dinner, and next thing I know I don't have an hour of daylight left to get a ride in.  FML

But today I've planned it out differently.  I have my gear bag and bike at the car so I can snatch a quick hour ride during lunch (maybe 15 miles).  Failing that I'll knock off at about 4:30 and grab an hour then, getting home between 6 and 6:30 so I can grab the oldest and get to baseball practice.  It'll be tight (4:30 - 4:45, change and prep the bike; 4:45-5:45, ride like the wind!, 5:45 - 6:00 towel off and cool down, 6:00-6:20 drive home as fast as I effin' can, because 6:30 is baseball practice.  Ugh!)  Needless to say, if the ride doesn't happen at lunch, there's a VERY good chance that the ride doesn't happen at all.  

Maybe I drop off the boy and hit the road while he's at practice.  That doesn't seem quite right, though.
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