Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Nothing much. Just another run.

I am over the computer today so just going to post a short little blurb. I ran a little bit more today. Same kind of situation. Uncomfortable, yet not unbearable. Surprisingly it feels pretty good right now. Active recovery my friends. I hope it works!

2.91 miles - 35 minutes - 12:02 pace
Walked 10 min, Ran a 10 min/mile, Walked 5 min, Ran 1/2 mile at 10 min pace, Cool down of 5 min
Ice and stretch afterwards. Feeling pretty good.

Tomorrow is Wednesday. Thank God for being off Friday.

I still want to be "sick" to watch Wimbledon.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Uncomfortable? Yes. Painful? Not really.

The title pretty much describes my first run since May 9th. I am not sure if that is encouraging or not. I guess the fact that I am not deeply depressed and questioning my future endeavors is a good sign. Ha!

Today I made a quick trip to the Downtown YMCA after doing my stretches at home. I decided to do my first run on the treadmill so I could easily track my pace and keep myself consistent. Plus, it's Oklahoma in the summer. Nobody really wants to run outside right now. I picked my spot in the mass of treadmills and settled in. Ipod..check. Water....check. USA Soccer vs. Brazil in viewing range....check. I started off with 10 minutes of warm-up as instructed by the doctor. I settled in to a 4.5 mph brisk walk and loosened up a bit. After the warm-up walk, I upped the tempo to 6.0 mph and got my 10 min/mile pace going. It's funny how slow that feels, but it was what the doctor ordered so I obeyed. My run was immediately uncomfortable. It's like my legs forgot what it felt like to be pounding the ground one after the other. I wouldn't say it was painful because I never really considered stopping, but it definitely wasn't the pure running bliss I oh so wanted. I did experience some sharp pains if I lost concentration and misstepped. Mostly due to me fiddling with my iPod and going slightly off-track on the treadmill. Things began to loosen up a bit after I got about 1/2 mile into the run and actually felt decent as I reached the 1 mile threshold. If it had been a "normal" day I would have kept running, but since I was strictly instructed to only do 1 mile the first time out, I figured it was best to stop and not take any chances. I did a 10 minute cooldown at 4.5 mph and called it quits. Overall, I would say my state of mind is unchanged : cautiously optimistic.

After the run, I did the obligatory Sunday grocery shopping trip. I was doing so well diet-wise until this weekend. I sure blew that out of the water with sports bar food both Friday and Saturday night. Pretty sure pub fries and buttery texas toast sandwiches don't quite qualify as health food. I will get back on track this week and keep the nutrition ball rolling in the right direction.

No big plans this week, although I am ecstatic about the shorter work week. We are off Friday for the upcoming holiday and I am very excited about getting to watch Wimbledon on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I sure miss the summer days of college and high school where I could get up early during the fortnight and watch tennis all day long. Wimbledon is my favorite tournament of the year. I will definitely go one of these days. Any takers?

No other big news really. I am going to go for another 1 mile run on Tuesday. I figured every other day will be fine for now. I may throw in a bike ride or two here and there just to keep things loose.

Also, last thing. I want to say thanks to Christina for the tips and the encouraging words. Next time you make it to OKC we should definitely go for a run. It would be great to see you again. Until next time, keep those minds and bodies working.

2.42 miles - 30 minutes - 12:24 pace WATCH OUT!

How's it going to go?

Off to try the first run in nearly 2 months. Slow and steady wins the race, right? I will update more this evening to let you know how it went. Here's to hoping....

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Super Summer 8K and 1st attempt at swimming

This weekend has been a pretty good adventure for me. Friday night was pretty tame. I went and saw "The Hangover" which was pretty dang funny and then went home and crashed before 11 PM.

I knew Saturday was going to be an early morning because I signed up to volunteer at the Super Summer 8K at Lake Hefner. CHK is encouraging all of it's employees to get involved in the community and they have challenged us to do 20,000 hours of community service in recognition of the company's 20th anniversary. The Super Summer 8K was my way to volunteer for a good cause and to stay involved in the running community. I woke up at 6 AM which was kinda nice. It had been several weeks since I had woken up early on the weekend because I have been injured and not allowed to do any running. It will be nice to get back on that schedule of early morning runs. Anyway, I went and helped out with registration and was pleasantly surprised at the turnout for the race. There were about 150 runners which was pretty good for a local race on Lake Hefner. The trails aren't that wide and it was really busy with just regular runners and bikers anyway. It was a pretty nice mix of runners with some pretty serious competitors and then just some people wanting to get out and enjoy the event. I ran a water stop after helping out with registration and you could tell the heat and humidity was not kind to a lot of people. I got to throw water on several runners which is always fun. After the water stop, I went and helped gather time chips and break down the snack and refreshment area. The race was sponsored by The Runner and I met the owner and a couple of his employees and they are a really nice group of people. After breaking everything down, Brent (the owner) gave me a really nice running hat for helping out and told me to stop by and see them at the store sometime. It's nice to develop some connections in the running community. They are a great source of information and have a good selection of running gear as well. All in all, it was a very productive morning. I was a bit frustrated because I could have won my age group based on the times that morning. It would be kinda cool to win my age group in my 1st year of running. Maybe in the fall.

After helping out at the race, my body needed something physical because I had so much pent-up athletic and competitive frustration inside. Being at the race, really reinforced my desire to run and made me even more focused towards a healthy return. Since I can't run, my mind started working and I decided it was time to give swimming a chance. I have always entertained the idea of swimming as a cross-training exercise, but I never really "learned" to swim, it just kinda happened. I guess over the years as a kid I taught myself enough to keep myself afloat and to save myself if needed. I wouldn't want to put anyone else's life in my swimming hands though. I do have a couple of things working for me. My height and my big feet. So, I ventured down to the downtown YMCA and gave swimming a shot. The pool was empty except for a couple of kids in the shallow water which was good. I really don't know pool etiquette yet so I am glad no one else was there. I only had to worry about the lifeguard making fun of me as I thrashed about in the water. The first 2 lengths were good although I can definitely tell I need to work on my breathing technique. There were times when i had to swim with my head completely out of water because I couldn't get enough air in my lungs to keep me going more horizontal in the water. I think all in all I did 12 lengths before I was told I needed to leave for a safety check which was fine by me. I was spent by that time anyway. It's amazing how out-of-shape swimming can make one feel. I guess for a complete rookie it wasn't too bad of a workout. I think I will take an adult swim improvement class at some point to perfect my technique and actually "learn" how to swim. After all, I do have aspirations to do a triathlon in the future after running my first marathon. One step at a time though.

After swimming, I went and did a quick 30 minute bike ride on the stationary bike. It was good to get some type of workout in to satisfy my athletic appetite. Next week will be much of the same. Lately I have been trying to bike 10 minutes for every mile I should be running on my spring training marathon schedule. So far so good on that aspect and I look forward to trying my first run either next weekend or next Monday. I am actually kinda nervous to get back out there and give it a try for fear that the injury will still be there. I can't tell you how bad I want it to be OK. Baby steps. One week to go. Wish me luck.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Cautiously Optimistic

As promised, here is the post-doctor visit update. Today was the one month follow-up to my last appointment. During that time I was encouraged to do lots of physical therapy, no running, and any cross-training activity that I could do pain free. I started physical therapy at the office and then progressed to doing it on my own at home. I could not quite afford the out-of-pocket expenses of going 3 times a week like was prescribed. I also held myself back and actually didn't even try running. I did use the stationary bike as a way to keep up some of my cardiovascular strength, but I can tell it won't be quite the same when I start running again. Four weeks later I find myself sitting in the doctor's office again.

I was nervous. I really honestly didn't know what to expect. The pessimist inside was thinking I would be told that I was never going to be able to run again. As you can see, I am a bit dramatic sometimes too. At least I am willing to admit it. The doctor started off with the general questions. "How's it going?" "Does it feel better?" "Are you still doing physical therapy?" "Did you do anything stupid and try to run?" Yada, yada, yada. After realizing I really was serious about getting better, he was encouraged and started doing his physical examination. He did some stretching to try and find some pain when moving me through certain motions. He also checked my flexibility, which I had no idea was so bad until I started physical therapy. After going through the checkout, he said I was showing improvement and asked if I felt the same way. I do think I am on the slow-road back to full health, but not quite where I had hoped to be at this time. It definitely doesn't hurt as much and the constant dull pain in my groin is gone. My range of motion is still somewhat limited and anytime I put prolonged pressure on my hip it begins to hurt (i.e. when I sit at the office all day). I do see some improvement though.

His prognostication was positive and somewhat optimistic. He told me I needed to do at least another week of physical therapy, whether that be at home or at the clinic. I choose to continue to do my stretches at home. And then, get this.....HE TOLD ME I COULD RUN!!!

I was very excited. He told me not to go crazy. He said I needed to start off very, very basic. To the tune of some brisk walking to warm up and then a jog of one mile. He said only to do a mile for the first time to see how things feel. Then take a few days off and do another mile and add some if I feel like it. He only wants me to add distance/time at this point and not speed. He told me I should only be running a 10 to 10 1/2 minute mile right now. That's really, really slow for me, but it's something. It's a chance to get out and run again.

I go back to see him in 3 weeks to report progress. Hopefully I report back with great news. At that point, he thinks we can start increasing my running up to 45 minutes or so and then start picking up the pace after I get back to that time limit.

Here is the kicker: I asked the question. The question that was burning a hole inside of me for the last few weeks. "Is it realistic for me to start training in August for my Dallas White Rock Marathon?" His answer : "Oh yes, we will get you ready for your marathon." I was very relieved and excited. I left the office cautiously optimistic as I know I have a long road ahead of me still. I hope everything continues to improve and I would really appreciate any positive vibes you could send my way. I am ready to get back on track. I am ready to get that feeling back. The feeling of being a runner. You runners know what I mean.

Off to bed for now. A rested body is a healthy body. Good night all. I am happy :-)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Pre-Doctor Visit Jitters

I am back from my mini-vacation and am already looking forward to another one. I really don't have anything planned at the moment, but I do know I will probably take a full week off sometime in the next few months and do some traveling. I have some friends that are going to New England this October so I may meet up with them. They are going to do some sight-seeing and then spend a few days out on the Cape. It would be a very relaxing trip, but not sure how the timing will work. It is in the middle of Oklahoma State football season so it would be a tight squeeze in the schedule.

Puerto Vallarta was a fun trip. It will be a repeat visit, but I do think my maximum number of days on the beach is about 3-4. I just need to do something after a while and the humidity isn't something I enjoy. I didn't do any excursions on this trip since it was a ratehr quick trip and a wedding was involved. I did get to meet quite a few new people and had a really great time hanging out with the ones I knew on the trip. It's pretty hard to complain about an all-inclusive resort where all I did was swim, eat, and drink. It was a nice release. Needless to say I gained a few pounds, but plan on getting that weight off asap. After all, once I start running, it all firms up anyway :-)

The looming doctor appointment is Thursday afternoon. I don't feel very confident I will get a clean slate evaluation. I will admit that my right hip seems to be loosening up quite a bit, but there are still some sharp pains from time to time. Now my left hip is starting to bug me. Probably from all the over-compensating on my part to keep weight off my right side. If it's not one thing, it's another. My back is pretty tight too due to all the physical therapy exercises that require twisting and bending. I think all of it will go away fairly quickly and the best recipe for my confidence right now would be a pain free run. I think I am aiming for a June 29th start to running again. That will give me another full week and a half of rehab and cycling. This all depends on what the doctor says of course.

I will post another update post-doctor visit and let you know what I find out. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Puerto Vallarta

This is a view from my balcony in Puerto Vallarta. Vacation is going very well. Wedding is in about an hour. Headed downstairs to have a few drinks before the ceremony. This has been a great release from the real world. Hip still hurts but I am carefree at the moment. Have a great weekend. I will update more when I get home.

Sent via Blackberry

Monday, June 8, 2009

Another week

Well, it is now officially another week gone by without any running. I was cautiously optimistic that things were getting better, but I think the absolute worst thing for my hip and groin at the moment are sitting in an office all day long. I felt great this morning when I woke up and even was considering that maybe I had turned the corner to no pain. Think again. After sitting all day at my desk, I have the constant dull pain again in my groin and the side of my hip. AAAARRRGGHHH! I am getting very frustrated with this whole injury bug. I did my stretches after work and did a little bit of lifting and called it good. Oh yeah, I did some stationary bike too. Only 15 minutes. Just to get some blood flowing and to loosen things up a bit. Tomorrow is another visit to physical therapy. I will report my lack of progress and see if I get any direction otherwise. I go back to the actual sports med doctor on June 18th so that will be the ultimate moment of truth. I am guessing I will probably get another x-ray or an MRI if things still haven't improved by then. I think the 4 day weekend in Mexico may be just what the doctor ordered. No sitting at a desk. Swimming in the ocean and the pool and soaking up some sun. The flight will probably suck because sitting in a fixed position for any amount of time tends to get pretty uncomfortable. Hopefully it won't be a packed flight and I can spread out a bit. I will update with pics from Mexico if I take my laptop. I haven't really decided if that will happen yet or not. I may just escape for a weekend and leave the life at home. Take care everyone.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

National Running Day

In honor of the first annual National Running Day, I figured I would blog about the things I miss most about running since I am on the injured reserve list at the moment. Quick update on the hip. I am still experiencing pain on the outer side of my hip and in the groin area. I have been told this is due to bursitis and have been taking anti-inflammatory medicine and doing some physical therapy exercises. I don't think the physical therapy is helping much at the moment, but only time will tell I guess.

Here is what I miss most about running, in no particular order:

  • the feeling of accomplishment after a hard run
  • music - the best time for listening to my iPod
  • smiling and saying hi to other runners on the road
  • the routine - i miss the scheduled runs during the week
  • motivation - running makes me motivated and energized
  • good nights of sleep - i sleep like a baby after a good hard day of running
  • food - i miss being able to eat the carbs i love so much and not have to worry about it
  • the feeling of being healthy and in shape - even though i was still heavier than i was last year at this time, i felt healthier than i ever had in my entire life when i was training
  • the feeling of exhaustion just before you hit your high
  • the high you feel after you bust through that next level in your long run
  • sharing training ideas, workouts, and stories with other runners
  • the sweat - i miss being soaked and tired - the feeling of success
  • races - although i have only done 3 in my short "career", they are worth the effort
  • setting new personal records and continuing to improve
  • finally, i miss the sense of peace i receive after running. it is very therapeutic
I know my running love is rather new and is still in its honeymoon phase. It does not discount how much I miss doing it. I want to run. I need to run. It's a disease I caught this year that has motivated me to set some very lofty goals for the future. I will outline those in another blog. I see the healthiest, most productive years of my life ahead of me. It's exciting and I look forward to the challenge. Now I just need to get back on track and get this injury behind me. Hopefully only a few more weeks. I have been a good boy and have resisted the urge to run. Until next time, go out and have a run for me.