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.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Caveman or Pirate

Full disclosure - when unable to run, the exercise of the mind is a terrible thing to do instead of hill repeats waste.  In other words, with my back out of whack, I'm going (more) nuts.

Bear with me for a trip down a less travelled trail..... Lets just say that this world is really a SyFy channel original movie.  You know, the movies that have ridiculous titles, along with hilarious descriptions / summaries of the movie.  For example: Jersey Shore Shark Attack - "Albino bull sharks are no match for attitude, fist pumps and spray tans".  Or the classic(?): Sharktopus - "A half-shark, half-octopus creature creates terror in Mexico".

With that exercise in mind numbing mush behind us - lets just call everyone in the world either a Caveman or a Pirate.  For the lovely female reader(s) of this poor excuse of a blog, forgive me for just a moment - Replace Caveman for Cavechick, Pirate for umm, hmmm, Pirate I guess.  This is my blog - so your either a Caveman or Pirate.  But before you call me a cavemen because my blog is about a so-called "knuckledragging runner" - it is simply titled that because knuckledragging pirate dot com was taken (or eaten).

You may be asking: "which is better"?  Well, thanks for asking.  Let me help you with that by going to where we always go for answers we can trust: the government the internet.

I'm done with Google for a bit and so I typed into Bing: What is a caveman?  It took a few pages before a few photos of legendary shirtless Ultra runners popped up - we won't post those here.  Instead - the Wikipedia page refers to Cavemen as Neanderthals and also refers to them as a "troglodyte".  Excuse me?  A trog what you say? Frankly - that bothers me a little, not sure why - although it seems like a good title for a SyFy movie.

As for "what is a pirate"?  Leaving wikipedia (cause the pictures are boring) and exercising (see, I may not be running, but I am getting in my exercise) our way through cyberspace - we come to Yutube for better pirate and caveman definitions, and by that I mean fun videos.....

Unfortunately - for me at least - I searched for movies depicting these Cavemen and Pirates and while for most people the movies that first come to mind are

Let me be the first next to credit the caveman for introducing us to music: .
However, the pirate has their very own language:
Crikey - what a stupid post this is - but I've got this far so I'm gonna try to bring it back to something to do with running......

So, Caveman or Pirate?  Which is the better athlete? Well, I already referenced those legendary shirtless ultrarunners, not saying they look like cavemen or anything - but they don't look like this guy. 
I would think that it is likely that the "Caveman Athlete" was truly a remarkable multi sport athlete - a prehistoric decathlete even.  Sprinting after his potential lunch all the while trying to throw a spear at it as he jumped up and over a rock.

However, the "Pirate Athlete" would surely have to be considered as an impressive dude also.  Travelling to far away destinations to embark on seemingly unfathomable conquests for mere mortals along poorly marked trails and to be rewarded - even if they do waiver off the trail - they get first place and the prizemoney treasure.

This post has sunk to a new low - I have no idea what I was writing about to get to this point.  

Oh yeah, who wants to be a Pirate?  Or a Caveman?  Ummm, not me (okay maybe just a little).  But, I give up, falling in line with those who are politically correct and don't like to be called names, or pidgeonholed into being described as one thing or another....... I admit, we are not all Pirates or Cavemen, or even Cavechicks. 

We are just plain old people who are stuck with being who we are.  Or are we? 

In a round about way - I guess the point of this post (aside from revealing the easily distracted niff norf that I am) is that in the past 3 weeks or so, since the last time I was able to run - I've been thinking about running, wondering what I can or want to do next.   I will not admit to thinking about running the Pikes Peak Marathon next year dressed as a Pirate.   I will admit to thinking about running differently - not Pirate-like - but doing different things related to running. 

I like to run, I have missed being able to run.  Admittedly, writing a blog post like this is the most exhausting thing I have done in 3 weeks.  I have enjoyed eating a little more than before but admittedly have done so with wanting to get back running with something to do and work on.  With those thoughts comes a desire to try to run a 5 6 minute mile, to run a 50K, or 50 miler even.  Those are not a reality for me though, at least not for now.  Maybe one day, I still have to / need to wait a couple more weeks before I can go running again - so in the meantime, I'm thinking about writing a SyFy original movie.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Running Bulge

From the files of "running can be dangerous for your health", comes an update on my back.

After pretty much suffering for over a week and only experiencing minor improvement on the back pain, in other words - not enough improvement with anti inflammatories, regular icing, chiropractic adjustments etc - it was time to find out more of what was causing the problem.  I had an MRI late yesterday.  The MRI itself was a first for me - when I had my knee scoped they actually used an ultrasound type of device to see the inside of the knee and the torn meniscus.  Yesterday I got to experience the big and scary machine.  I decided I am not a fan of an MRI machine - very loud and a little claustrophobic, while having to lie completely still for about 20 minutes.  Not too unbearable but not comfortable either.  But, I made it.

Anyway, got the results this morning and learnt I have basically a good case of a bad thing.  Meaning what is wrong with me is not great, but could be a lot worse.

I missed most of the technical stuff (L5 - S1 something blah, blah) - but caught that I have a bulging disc in my lower back, it is bulging on the outside of the disc and compressing into a nerve that runs across my right hip into my thigh.  The bulge is somewhere between minor and major in size.  It is in a location that causes a decent amount of pain - no duh.  But if it was more centrally located (on the disc) or on the inside of it - it would then be more difficult to treat without having to resort to surgery.

So, treatment for this is a mix of chiropractic, some specific exercise therapy, many more ice packs and I should start to see noticeable improvement within 5 days or even less.  Encouraging news to me for sure.  If no noticeable improvement then I could need a shot in there of cortisone, but the doc is confident that it should get better without that.

I knew this next part already, but he confirmed that no lifting much of anything for a while and sadly, no running either.  But eventually - in about a month or even less I could / should be capable of doing the running thing without any damage.

Of course my question is "how did it get this way?"  Simple answer is that we don't know.  However, some likely contributing factors could have been the downhill running of the Pikes Peak Marathon.  A couple of weeks after that on Labor Day I hiked up to Barr Camp with my 2 oldest kids, carried a backpack that starting out was almost 20 pounds.  Going uphill was fine, but carrying it back - even though it was lighter - may have had something to do with it also. 

According to the doc, it's possible that it took a while to surface as a problem in my back because I was so fit and my back muscles and nerves had tensed over the problem - then a few days after that hike was when the disc had "room to go nuts".

So, I have a bulging disc, treatable and likely able to get back to full health.  I have to be careful with downhill running in the future - the doc said I should possibly consider not doing the PPM again - but fortunately that is a ways off.

It's nice to know what is wrong.  It's better to know that it can be (most likely) fixed.  I think and hope that I can be patient with this.

Friday, September 14, 2012


Huge appreciation and many thanks to those who have read and written encouragement.  Your kindness and thoughts are sooooo much better than ibuprofen or any other pain pills right now.

Here's where I am at.....
Started taking anti-inflammatory pills on Wednesday - those have helped in a couple of ways.  They have helped me relax a little better.  Because of the pressure and tenseness along my spine and hips - no position I could get my body into felt comfortable.  Over last weekend into the middle of this week was 100% ouch, 100% of the time.  Getting the hips and spine and the things that connect them a little relaxed has allowed me to find a few moments in a comfortable position - so I can rest.  They have also eased the intensity of the hurt.

Unfortunately I don't stay comfortable for too long - and moving hurts.  Sitting, especially in a car seat is the worst position.  I can and do still drive around - but are limiting that as much as possible.  Walking is a little better, but that ends up putting too much downward pressure on.  So, lying down with my feet elevated seems to be the most helpful.  Although, rolling into and out of that positon is problematic.

Lots of ice packs, pills - although not really wanting to, but realizing they are helping - taking those regularly, and chiropractor visits twice a day: these have helped noticeably.

Prognosis: not sure.  The pain should start to become less within about a week, especially as the inflammation decreases.  We will get another X-Ray next week to see what / if anything has changed and hopefully got better aligned.  The adjustments help the most with the release of pressure.  However, the doc wants an MRI next week also if it doesn't feel or look much better.

Lets say it does get better within a week - meaning the pain is noticeably reduced and I feel better: then I should still expect 4 to 6 weeks of not being able to really do much of anything exercise related.  Meaning not running, lifting anything etc.  That in my mind sucks, but I have already mentally commited to doing at least that.  At least I was until I looked out the window this morning to see snow covering Pikes Peak above treeline.  (Unfortunately - I will stay away)

The Dr is confident we can get things much straighter / more properly aligned - once we get to that point (within this next week or two) - we should be able to identify if it just the anatomical structure of my body that has gone off track.  If that is the case, then it is an (relatively) easy fix - the 4 to 6 week thing.

That's what I am hoping for.  The X-rays revealed my hips and spine to be way off normal / where they should be.  An X-ray just identifies bones though.  The next step / alternative is getting an MRI - which could potentially reveal a damaged hip disc / cartilage / joint / muscle / nerve thingy or thingy's.  Some of those things could be infected (ie: like an infected tooth needing a root canal), or something could be torn.  Could be a few other things.  Those would most likely need surgery.

Getting cut on is not an option now, I'm not in a hurry at all to do that.  I'll certainly endure through another week to see if getting things straightened out leads to me feeling better.  My mind is in a better place.  I have my family which is awesome - even when it comes to helping me put on socks.  And thanks again to you who is reading this for your encouragement.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Stepping back

Normally, I'm not a person to ask for help and really don't like to share much of what is going on with me personally.  Sure I wrote a lot about my bum knee last Summer, but in reality - that had an end I could see in sight that was favorable.  And I guess blogging is about me too - but I prefer to view that as sharing about what I (and my family) do - rather than writing what is going on with me on a personal level.  So, I'm somewhat hesitant to post this, but kind of need to be picked up a bit, or to vent - or both. 

This time last week I started to notice my lower back hurting.  Nothing new really - it has hurt to some degree for many years - probably over a decade.  But the pain increased quite suddenly last week for no identifiable reason and fairly quickly became quite intense and unbearable.  It was located at the base of my spine and hips area. 

By Friday morning I went to my chiropractor.  I've been seeing him regularly for a couple of years after a car accident that dinged up my neck - and that has helped.  X-rays have never shown anything of concern or a major problem in my lower back and hips though.

Kind of hard to describe what we have found out in the past few days what is going on.  In essence - I can't actually stand up straight.  I'm leaning about 10 degrees to the left.  My hips have rotated due to some hip disc thingy that used to resemble the shape of a pepperoni slice - now looking like a wrinkled pringle chip.

The pictures of the damage are clear.  Things don't look right at all.  I have seen xrays and other body type scan pictures before - but have most times needed to have things pointed out what is the problem.  In this case - to see how non-level my hips are and as a result the angle of my spine as a result - no wonder I hurt the way I do right now.

Worst case scenario - surgery.  We don't know if the disc is infected, don't know how it got to be like that, we do know it is sooooo highly inflammed and pressured right now.  I do know that for about a week I haven't been able to get comfortable for even a short length of time sitting, standing, slouching, lying down in any position.  I haven't been able to sleep much.  I can't put socks or shoes on and need help putting on pants.  Sharp pain, dull pain, constant pain - nothing really seems to lessen it.

Ice packs every hour, finally resorting to anti-inflamatory drugs - but they don't seem to help much either.  Twice a day to the chiropractor is about the only thing that is providing any kind of relief - but even that is temporary.

My chiropractor knows the body well and has seen a lot more than just backs and necks out of alignment - now that we have seen as best we currently can what the issue is - he can treat it better.   I'm putting a lot of hope in him.  No running upcoming for me for quite a while.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Help wanted: A Mother

I enjoy writing race reports, it's fun to reflect on a race and how it went.  I write about them and how I did, what I did and why I did the race.  Then often are left to wonder: "who cares?"

I'm just about to finish a different race, it was kind of a relay where my part was 5 days long and now I am about to pass the baton back to the other runner in the relay.  Her role in it is a lot, lot longer than mine.  The last 5 days I got to experience some of the race she does.

My wife's sister is getting married later this year - my wife has been out of town (in NY) with our youngest kid for the past 5+ days helping her sister get ready for it and throwing a Wedding Shower.  That left me at home with tweedle dee and tweedle doo.   (Not the greatest of nicknames for our children - and we don't actually use it very often).

No Soccer games over the Labor Day Weekend, but the last couple of days of a school week still meant getting kids up each morning, making lunches and sending them off to school.  After school are soccer practices, carpools and each day taking care of 2 needy horses, a stupid dog and an even more stupid cat. 

I had a plan - sort of.  Fortunately I am a highly trained parent, full of expertise and wisdom when it comes to taking care of my children when left alone - a plan that involved meals of pizza, ice cream and cereal, each available at whatever time of day (or night).  We could sit on the couch watching movies or football all weekend long.  If we got bored we could always go for a run together, or go watch a movie - surely we could pass the time.

Actually, I didn't have much of a plan, was really just going to wing it.  We survived the whole experience and I think we all still like each other.

Friday after school we went to the USAFA Womens Soccer game at the Academy.  The coach of that team is also co-coach of my oldest daughter's team - and the team was invited to walk on the field pre-game with the team for the National Anthem.  Quite cool.  We then stayed for the whole game - which went to overtime.  And then because we were already there, we watched the Mens team play.  These games are free and for the close proximity to where we live - is good value, especially for the soccer crazy people in my house.  We might go back a few more times.   By half time of the men's game, it was dark out - we figured out it that I was also responsible to feed my children.

Great job Dad, keep your kids out late, don't feed them and then send them to bed 2 hours after their bedtime.   Actually, we did eat, then because I felt bad for not feeding them, the sugar rush from ice cream therapy kept us all awake a little bit.

I had a plan for Saturday, sleep in.  We did okay and then we decided it was time to go for a hike.  My son and I convinced his sister that Barr Camp was doable and she would like it.  She actually did.  We all did.  A fun hike up although she did keep on asking us when we would get there.  We told her it was only about a 10K to get there - and she has run one of those before (admittedly on much less steep terrain).   It was her first time there, my son's 4th time.   Took us about 3 hours to get there, under 2 hours to get back to the car.   We jogged much of the way back and the look on my daughters face when we got back to the car and telling her that we had just covered 13.7 miles - more than a half marathon - she was beaming with delight.

The next 2 days were "hang around the house and work on the list that the taskmaster had left us".  A good chunk of the list was erased.  We had a bit of a scramble to clean up the house before Mom gets home later this afternoon.  Overall, some good, fun times had by all of us.   Waking them up to get them on the bus this morning was even okay.  But then it was tempting for me to go take a nap. 

Being a Mother I'm sure has it's rewards - but it is exhausting.  I am ready to pass the baton back to her.  It's her turn to take over in the race.  However, she doesn't write race reports for the things she does in the race of raising children.  However, after 5 days of seeing it a little closer, I'll tuck along beside and try to be a better support crew member.