Defn: a human male displaying evidence of devolution - exhibits distinctive "caveman-like" tendencies. This man often dribbles in public places; cannot drink a beverage without spilling it on himself, the floor or someone else; may also run into objects like lampposts & bushes; has a definite "sloopish & short legged" running style that is slow and low to the ground, often resulting in the dragging of knuckles.

These throwback neanderthals, along with their questionable diet, should clearly be avoided.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Weak in review, by Eeyore

I was hoping to be running by now.  I'm nowhere near ready - I have been on the stationary bike 4 times in the past week, going no more than 4 miles each time, once only 2 miles because I noticed I wasn't even putting any weight on the right foot pedal.  Going up and down stairs is awkward and uncomfortable.

If it wasn't for the Pikes Peak Ascent coming up in 3 weeks from today - I'm not sure what I would be aiming for.  Having knee surgery honestly sucks.  It's been almost 3 weeks and for the past week I have noticed zero improvement in mobility, discomfort and pain in the knee / quad / thigh area.  I've gone back to icing and wrapping it each day for a few hours - just because it feels better. 

Reading others posts on PPA and PPM training is a little depressing - not just because I'm jealous of them (which I am).  But more so that I am becoming more and more convinced that if I don't get running soon - I shouldn't even bother trying to get to the start line.  PPA is a little lot more than a 5K.  Many people could roll out of bed and finish a 5K with no training, very few I would think could climb Pikes Peak in less than 6 1/2 hours - with no training.

I'm not a quitter though.  DNS (did not start) is not something I want beside my name.  DNF (did not finish) I could probably deal with, but wouldn't want to.  DNT 9 (did not try) - that needs to be removed from my mind.  I will start.  I will finish.  I may even stop the Eeyore mentality sometime soon.
Of all the training plans I have read for marathons etc - they recommend a 2 week taper.  I think I am just going to call the 2 months before the Ascent an extended taper.  Today is a new day - going to try 6 miles on the bike and maybe even hit the eliptical after.  Next Saturday I will be running - somehow, somewhere.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Bandit is kind of cute

Dog was barking like an idiot about 6:30 this morning - not unusual as she barks at rain drops landing in a puddle.  She was barking at this guy......

Monday, July 25, 2011

Monday Ramblings / Smurfs

For no apparent reason in no particular order......

* I have been able to ride the Stationary bike for each of the last 4 days.  Nothing special and not fast at all.  Longest I have gone is 4 miles.  Each time getting started it takes some uncomfortable effort to be able to get a full turn of the pedals  - knee is still a little swollen and quite stiff, full flexibility is still a ways off.  No running yet and nothing but the bike for a few more days at least.

* There is a new Smurf's movie coming out.  I was not a fan of the little blue people first time around 20 or whatever years ago - that has not changed and my family is not going to be lining up to go see the movie.
* My take on the NFL lockout being over.....I'm glad, not for the players, owners or even the fans.   I like to watch the games, especially on a Sunday afternoon - and nap.  There is nothing like a Sunday afternoon nap and it seems an NFL game puts me to sleep quicker than most other things.

* Some day soon I will finish up the Sheep story post.  But every once in a while when meeting and talking with people, conversations often lead to someone asking me if I am from Australia, or South Africa, or England.  But I have also been asked if I am from Maine and other New England States - even was once asked if I am from from Texas.    For those who care - asking me if I am from Australia instead of New Zealand, I think is comparable to me asking an American if they are from Canada.

*  25 Days till Pikes Peak Ascent.  Never will I be so unprepared for a race that I have looked forward to for so long.  And yet, I am getting more and more excited to do it.  I have no clue what time I will finish it in.  But finish it I will.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Classic 10K - sensing a theme

#12 was at it again this morning.  In all reality I really don't know how much he should be running - is it too much?  "It" - meaning the past 4 weekends (in order) he has done a 10K, Summer Roundup 12K, BTMR 12.8 miler and then the 10K today.  Today was the easiest course for him, which made it easier to justify in the mind.  But I have a question - at least for myself, but here I am sharing it to get some other opinions - is it too much for a 12 year old to be doing this?

As for todays race - and the reason why the question above is kind of prominent in my mind - it was a bit of an off day for him.  If you compare to last year, he was 3 minutes slower.  Now, I'm sure the accumulation of some tough miles, especially from the BTMR had an impact.  We talked after the race today about not having a great race each time, that we should be indentifying "A" races and "training" races.  If we consider today a training run - although he is not really training for anything now - then it was a good effort and result.

As a parent, there's a delicate balance between allowing your kid - who is good at this - to go full steam and conquer the running world as we know it - vs - not wanting him to get hurt or burnt out because of overdoing it.  Running and entering races are his call - I don't feel like I am pushing him into doing any more or less than he is.  My wife agrees also, pointing out it is a good problem to have.  The kid loves to run, we are incredibly grateful for a healthy and actively fit kid.  I don't know how I would respond to an alternative. 

Pridefully putting it out there - he pulled another 2nd place for his age group.  That's three weeks in a row.  A 14 year old beat him - 3 weeks in a row for that too (different one each week).  I may make him a T shirt that says "I'm #2".  On the back it says "14 yr olds suck".  Okay, probably not.

Friday, July 22, 2011

40 days and 40 nights

Think there was a flood of Biblical proportions that lasted 40 days - I wasn't there and this is not a reference to that, so no Noah's Ark references from here on out.

Days between knee surgery and the Pikes Peak Ascent is the 40 days this post is about.  Between now and the Ascent on August 20th, I'm gonna try to focus this blog more on my training for it, rather than the woe is me potential Rheumatoid Arthritis moaning and groaning.

So, yesterday was 10 days after surgery and the Doc officially cleared to get back into physical exercise and get ready as possible for the 13.1 mile jaunt up Pikes Peak.  Having been advised to not start running just yet, the stationary bike is where I began this morning.   With Coffee in hand - training commenced.

4 miles, easy pace, a little difficult at the start as I probably only have about 80% range of motion in the knee bending dept - but it was okay.  Will use the bike for at least a week, transitioning and probably overlapping to the elliptical and then again onto a treadmill as I ease back into running.  I will map out a (probably a very flexible) training program for myself over this weekend.

It's been a few weeks since any hard exercise, probably about a month - quite surprisingly I have only put on about 3 1/2 pounds.  Prior to the halt to exercise I was in decent shape after running the Ogden Marathon 2 months ago.  I did ease off after that but still ran 4 or 5 times a week doing about 35 miles on average.

So, I don't have a great base to build on for the next 29 days and I don't expect to do great or even come close to my initial predicted time of 3:40 when I signed up.  But my unofficial goal - I guess it is official now that I post it - is to beat 2 fellow bloggers.  Brad and GZ have and always will be better runners than me.  We are not even running the same race.   They are doing the Marathon, me - just the Ascent.  So the goal is for my Ascent time to beat their Marathon times.

My theme music for training.......

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Bad Rhumors

I hope the post title is only a typo but after visiting w/ the doc for the post op this morning - seems like the wheels could be falling off my old and crappy body.

The good news is that there were 3 possibilities for the mystery meat he cleaned out last week (when fixing the torn meniscus).  Worst case scenario was some 4 letter acronym that I don't remember what he said, but it is not that.  Phew.

That leaves 2 other possibilities - could be Rheumatoid Arthritis, so I have an appt with a specialist / doc on that August 4th

The other option - was the meniscus tear contributed to a flare up of tissue in the knee - that was scoped out and I should be fine.  Lets hope it is this.

So, not quite sure where my head is with all this - I looked up Wikipedia on RA, good thing I was sitting down when I read it.

I expect fear the worst, but hope for the best.  As far as running goes - cleared to start that in about a week, will need to ease back into it, start biking beforehand.  The Doc already said doing the Ascent is up to me - he encouraged me to do it.  I will for sure - have always planning on at least trying it.

I've never really been much a pessimist, more of an optimist.  This potentially could level the playing field.  A common New Zealand saying is "No worries (mate)".  Most of my life, I could easily say that my mindset and outlook on (most) things has been low key - aside from one thing - physical ailments. 

I could ramble on and on - but won't.   It's not as though my legs just fell off and I can't walk or anything.  Running is likely to become more than a fun activity - it is going to something to fight to be able to do, so I may as well do it going uphill.  Bring on the Ascent.  No more downhill races for me.

An optimist is a person who sees a green light everywhere, while the pessimist sees only the red stoplight. The truly wise person is colorblind.  Albert Schweitzer

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

RICE and brief PPA thought

Since surgery - I have been pretty good with the RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation).  Been off the meds since Saturday.  Last Sunday I did overdo the amount of time not off my feet, by the time I got home the knee was aching and noticeably swollen, but it was worth it watching my son rocking the BTMR.

I am becoming more and more mobile, can drive fairly comfortably - albeit cheating w/ cruise control as often as I can and doing the left foot brake thing at times.  I am able to walk okay, limping less, still going slow.  Stairs are a challenge, especially going down.  My right lower quad has been really tender since surgery, maybe due to lack of use for a few days, don't know why - that is what barks the most when doing stairs.  The knee really doesn't hurt much at all - sometimes it feels like it is gears grinding a bit, but RICE helps with that.  I have noticed my other leg and foot - likely due to overcompensating and probable overuse - are sore.  But as I become more mobile and able to evenly distribute my weight, things are balancing out.

(Knee) surgery was a week ago - post op appointment w/ Dr. Jones is on Thursday morning.  I am no doctor - but if you asked me about doing the Ascent in 4 1/2 weeks - then I think I can do it.  When I signed up I entered an estimated time of 3:40 - with the recent surgery and the knee grief leading up to it - I would have told you a week and a half ago I had changed my goal time to probably 6 hours - the cut off time is 6 1/2. 

Today - goal is now 4:40.  That may change - depending on Dr directions on if allowed to and how much to push it, I will play it smart with recovery responsibilities that the Doc gives me.   Training for it is going to be very, very limited.  The good thing is I only signed up for the Ascent and not the Marathon - if I was faced with going up and down - I would pull the plug now.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Barr Trail Mtn Race report

After a poor nights sleep, we were up just after 5, fed and on the road by 5:30.  I had drove a lap of our circle the day before, so was up to the task this morning, plus I have been able to walk - at least on level ground - without crutches for a day.  I did take one crutch w/ me, knowing nothing was going to be level today.  As always, parking from the Cog is a little remote, but we got up to the start line with almost 20 minutes to spare.

I left #12 at the start - #12 was my son's race day bib number, was also the 12th annual race - and of course the kid is 12 - stars may have aligned. A last reminder to him that the first few miles were where he needs to take it easy, being a tough start to the course.  Then I hobbled up through the parking lot, up Barr Trail to where the trails merge, getting there within a minute of when the runners started coming through.  #12 came through probably about 1/3 of the group.  Looked okay, I thought he may have been pushing to hard to be so far up the group.

After everyone came through I took forever to go back down, back to the finish line to wait, texting updates to the home front and do a slow bake - was a toasty day for the race.  #12 asked to wear my garmin for the race - just took a look at the data for him.  He got split times at top of the W's, Barr Camp and finish.

Splits: 29:24 top of W's.  93:40 to Barr Camp and 51:45 down.  109th place, 351 finishers. Official time 2:25:29

Our initial reaction, (okay my initial reaction), was shock, pride and more shock.  May have to drug test the oatmeal - he broke the previous 10 - 14 age group record by about 17 1/2 minutes.  At the awards ceremony found out a 14 yr old did a 2:19 something.  #12 is a little bummed, we are so ready for these 14 year olds to get out his age group.  But overall, very impressed and proud to call him mine.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Steroids, biopsy and Mystery Meat

Bout this time yesterday I was just coming back from planet Anesthesia.  Since that time I have been circling planet Oxycodone.  Not a fan of drugs at all - the whole light headed, feeling like I'm drooling, generally weak and floppsy all over feeling is not my cup of tea.

In any case - the knee surgery went well - from what I have seen and heard.  My wife took me in and drove me home, she got the report from the Doc, along with photos, of how it went.  Now, politely speaking - she goes a little cross eyed and weak when it comes to seeing blood, internal organs and photos of the things inside the knees.  In other words - the doc report will be repeated to me with a little more clarity Friday morning when I go in the the post-op check up.  Her description of what he told her after the surgery is a little vague.

Was provided with 6 glossy photos from the scope - before, during and after.  Sort of interesting.  The meniscus tear is very visible, hard to say how big - but really not too big - maybe a 1/4 to a 1/2 inch.  It was the other stuff in there that is / was more interesting.  Doc called it something that my wife said had lots of syllables - but doesn't remember what he called it.  He also called it "impressive".  So, we will call it mystery meat.  In any case, there was a lot of it, he cleaned it all out and took a biopsy of it - results hopefully will be back in time for Fridays visit.  He said the "mystery meat" is more likely to have caused more discomfort, pain and swelling than the meniscus tear.  Is possibly something to do with arthritis - but will know when biopsy results come back.  If that is the case then I'll get some more drugs to keep it from returning,

The nurse in the recovery room told me that due to the amount of extra curricular scoping to remove it all - doc used a lot of steroid stuff inside the knee to help it out.  Needless to say - the swelling is impressive.

Recovery looks good - as I was becoming more lucid waking up, I was able to ask good questions.  Where is the coffee?  What is for breakfast?  I had to go 12 hrs without any food or fluids.  Bandaged up for a few days, will come off tomorrow, take a look at what lies beneath, then probably rebandage till Friday.  I am able and allowed to put weight on the leg as comfort allows.  Not quite ready to just yet.  Using crutches is on the agenda for a few days.  Maybe down to 1 crutch by Friday, maybe drive by Saturday.  Hopefully can drive myself and the runner to the BTMR Sunday morning.  If not, wifey will drive us.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Monday Ramblings / Summer Roundup 12K

For no apparent reason, in no particular order.....

* I don't know why, maybe it has something to do with my wierd fixation of Bagpipes or that my Grandfather was born in Dublin - but I have always wanted to
go to Ireland.  My wife and I have talked about it a few times - she has equal desire in going there as I do.  Who knows if and when we will ever go.  But I woke up this morning thinking about it and actually looked at plane fares (+/- $1k per person).  With a family of 5 - I am reminded why we are yet to go.

* Summer Roundup 12K yesterday - My goal was to finish.  I started at the very back of the 700 or so people doing the race.  I shuffled my way uphills and did okay - no real pain and discomfort and because I went so slow, I never walked - which allowed me to pass a fair amount of people.  Then on the downhills, basically did a mix of tip toe hip hop sliding shuffle - (that might be a new dance move).  Most of those that I passed going up, passed me going down.  I finished, but it was very frustrating thoughout cause my goal (prior to the knee) was to break 1 hr - last year did 1:03 and change.

* As for the 12 year old....... Was unsure how he was going to do.  BTMR  is next Sunday, so I tried to encourage him that this race should be a training run, to not go too hard so as to have it negatively affect his potential for the following week.  I didn't tell him - but was kind of thinking he would do around 1:15.
Pic is a little tough to see - cropped it from another website - but it is the award for 2nd place in his age group.  1:04:54.  He came second to a 14 year old who took almost 4 minutes off the previous record for the 10-14 yr old age group.  Very impressive.  I now have no idea how he is going to do next Sunday.  Good (probably), or bad (not likely, but w/ that tough trail who knows).  Regardless, I'll proudly claim him as my own.

* After yesterdays race, we made it home in time to see USA vs Brazil Womens World Cup Soccer quarter final game.  Sheesh, pretty exciting stuff.  The soccer fans in my house have a new hero.
Hope Solo
Knee Surgery tomorrow.   NY Yankee Alex Rodriguez has the same thing as me.  I'm such a trendsetter, soon everyone will want to tear their meniscus - he's expected to be back playing Baseball in 4 weeks.  I ain't him for sure, but if I'm back running in 4 weeks - that gives me a week to get ready for the Ascent.  Cool, sign me up, oh wait, I already have.  The reality though of whether I can do it or not remains to be seen.  Kind of depends what the doc does tomorrow and if he finds any other issues while scoping.  Guess I'll wait and see - after I wake up.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

10 things to do while not running

With my appt w/ Dr. Jones coming up this Tuesday for torn medial meniscus arthroscopic surgery, therefore - being unable to run - I have honestly had very little to post.  My kid runs the Summer Roundup 12K tomorrow, I am going to "Shuffle it" - meaning: Shuffle along and eventually finish, might come in last place, but want to do it b/c I paid for it and it is leg 2 of the Triple Crown.

So, with no running - comes the alternatives / 10 things to do while not running.

1) Get Fat and eat a lot of crap.
2) Get freaked out by anything and everything that could go wrong with surgery.
3) Catch up on some naps.
4) Live vicariously through other folks running blogs
5) Dream about upcoming races - wondering if I can really do them.  Especially The Ascent 5 1/2 weeks after surgery.  Normal recovery time after surgery is 4 to 6 weeks, so it is possible.  However - this old body aint 23 anymore and I really don't know how I will recover and how quickly.
6) See #2
7) Do my best to keep my 12 year old son on board with him doing the Barr Trail Mountain Race.  Since we found out about me needing surgery and not being able to do the race (5 days after surgery) - his training and enthusiasm has noticeably dropped off.  Good thing we hiked up to Barr Camp earlier this Summer, plus we ran once up the W's as well as another time running up to Balanced Rock - so he sort of knows what to expect.  But we both were hoping to get several more training runs in before actually running the race together.  The dream of him beating the age group record (2:42:52) looks slim.  There's 4 others in his age group - I think he still has a fighting chance to pick up something there.
8) Gain a few lbs - see #1
9) I really don't have 10 things to do while not running - wow, am I boring or what.
10) Finally, number 10, saved the best for last...hope you haven't held your breath waiting for this one...complain a lot appreciate what I have.  Sure, getting old sucks, impending surgery looms, being unable to run - which I really enjoy - really blows.  But I have a great family.  I'm spoiled to have a great wife, 3 healthy and (most of the time) happy kids.  I have a place to live, food to eat (apparently too much according to #1, #8), my little world could be so much worse. 

I'm doing okay - thanks for asking

Monday, July 4, 2011

Monday Ramblings / Tennessee

For no apparent reason, in no particular order.....

* In TN for a few days, vacation and visiting my sis, her family - including their 2 week old. Cute little package that thing is.

* Nashville 4th of July 5K and 10K this morning. The 12 year old ran the 10K, I was a sweaty spectator. He won his age group in a time of 50:12. It was a 2 lap course, going by the Tennessee Titans Football Stadium, Country Music Hall of Fame. He struggled on lap 2 - heat got to him looked like but he finished strong.  The race was put on by a group called "I run for the party" - it seemed that many did, however, it seems my kid likes to run for the after race snacks.

* Knee surgery in 10 days. Since the diagnosis there have been days that the knee has felt fine, could probably run if I wanted to. But then there's the 5 day stretch - for no identifiable cause - when it's all swollen and I can only hobble at best.

* Summer Roundup 12K is in 5+ days.  Looks like there is no cut off time limit that I can find - so, because it is paid for and a part of the Triple Crown Series - and in the slim chance I can do the Ascent (5 1/2 weeks after surgery) - I'll do the race, as a walker.  I have a thought that is rattling around - I might try to see if I can be the last finisher.  What a novel goal.

* Back to TN - I am certainly not a fan of humidity at all.  Give me Colorado Altitude and the weather that goes with it all day every day.  My 2 girls normally have mostly straight hair - but in TN, add a little water plus humidity and they are left looking like this