Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Hair of the Dog

Return to the scene of the crime, hair of the dog that bit me, and get back on that horse.  For the first time in nine months, I have entered familiar yet unfamiliar territory.  I just completed the first week of a marathon training plan complete with a close encounter of the biting kind.  Like the other seven marathons I've run, I charted out my sixteen week plan in a spreadsheet with each day and each week mapping out the runs and counting down to race day.  As I've discussed here, I am trying a new plan for the first time ironically called the FIRST training plan from the Run Less, Run Faster book from Runner's World.  Only three runs a week, but they're not for the timid alternating with 2-3 cross training days.

The week (or was it weak) started with swim on Monday and an early wake-up to get speed work done on Tuesday before heading out to California for work.  A stomach bug should have scrapped (or crapped) my first run of the first week of my plan, but there was nothing that was going to stop me from missing the very first training run.  I gutted out (pun intended) a three x 1600 run at a 6:55 average pace.  Take that stomach bug!  

Slab of Bacon cologne from Dolce & Gabbana
Four days of business travel including one late night and some dumbass who ordered a "flight" of tequila along with dinner on Thursday night.  I flew home Friday and tried to get some decent sleep before my long run with my local running group, Runner's Edge of the Rockies.

My FIRST plan called for a thirteen miler on Saturday at 30 seconds over my marathon goal pace.  Seeing a lot of running friends I hadn't seen in months and I'm sure a good dose of adrenaline had my splits all over the map.  I started with the 3:20 pace group, but my heart rate was stuck in zone 1 and I was running much slower than the day's plan called for so I sped ahead.  Sped is right as I ran a bit too quick in the middle miles as we wove through neighborhoods around Denver's Wash Park and Cheeseman Park.

"Excuse me, does your dog bite?"
Cheeseman provided my second ever encounter with a dog on a run.  This was no poodle as Marmaduke chomped on my forearm around the turnaround.  I "barked at the owner" to keep his dog under control.  He looked back at me like "why did you let my dog snack on your arm?"  I wondered why I was singled out...my bacon scented cologne, Marmaduke was more of a swimmer than a runner, I looked like a mailman, or was I the weakest one in the herd?  I looked at my arm and saw no puncture wounds or blood so I went about running my miles.  The next morning, I felt compelled to lick myself and found a nice bruise complete with bite marks.   Grrrrr.

Final score, one stomach bug, 3000 kilometers traveled, two speed work-outs, my first long run, one dog bite and another great swim to end the week.  I'm back in the saddle again.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Hip Check

As a kid, we would often go on long car trips to the likes of Canada, Virginia, and California. Responsible parents would check the health of the car before heading out on a long journey. Oil, tires, flashlights with batteries in the glovebox, and if something wasn't quite right, they'd check it out. Last Friday, I went to the infamous Steadman Hawkins clinic in Denver to get my hip checked out prior to my long journey-- preparing for my next marathon.

My hip has been nagging me for better than six months. Not enough pain to prevent running, but sometimes too tender to sleep on my left side. Why are all my ailments on the left side (planter faciitis, strained medial glute, lower leg stress fracture have all been on the left?...hmm.)

My worst fear was that there was something more serious that would sideline me before I'd even started my sixteen week training plan for the Colorado Marathon in May. Specifically, my paranoia was "had too many miles and marathons finally wore out my arthritic hips" or god forbid, "was there another stress fracture?"

I have been doing all the things you should be doing when dealing with pain; ice, heat, stretching, more stretching, massage, and a visit to "Helga's House of Pain" (my running PT in Boulder.)

My other orthopedic surgeon (for my stress fracture) started asking me if I'd ever considered taking up golf?  Did you ever consider being a dentist?  My ortho appointment last Friday was with Dr. G. who is a hip specialist at Steadman Hawkins. Steadman Hawkins is famous for taking care of our nation's most famous athletes and getting them back on the field. Missy Franklin, Tim Tebow, and now (not so famous) SeekingBostonMarathon. A few questions, some poking and prodding, and a snapshot of my pelvis lead to two revelations;

1) After telling the Dr. that I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS--a form of arthritis) when I was 13, he (himself a sufferer of the same) doubted the diagnosis. He had that, "how the hell can you run marathons if you have arthritis" look on his face. More on that later.

2) I have a Femoral Acetabular Impingment. Fancy words for the ball of the femur rubs abnormally against the labrum and socket or doesn't have full range of motion. If you focus on the red circle (pain point) on my x-ray, you'll see that there's an excess of bone on the femoral head--it rubs against the labrum--thus the pain.

There's a classic joke when the guy goes into the Dr. and says "it hurts when I do this," and the Dr. replies, "well don't do that." in other words, stop running if it hurts to run. I went to Steadman because they focus on athletes to get them back in the game so giving up running is not in my vocabulary.  My game plan is to continue doing the things I'm doing to manage the pain and continue with training which was great news. Should the pain increase, we'd have to dig deeper with an MRI. Treatment (depending on MRI results) could be to continue what I'm doing (PT, ice, heat, massage,) injections, or surgery should there be a labrum tear.

The irony in all of this is I've been walking around for years telling myself, I have arthritis. As a 13 yr old, I knew something was wrong when I had hip pain so bad, I came in last in the P.E. class run around the athletic field. Was it psychosomatic, was my Mom inflicting Munchausen syndrome by proxy? No and no.

Pain is pain. I already had the trifecta of glasses, braces and zits as a 13 yr old.  An arthritis diagnosis would make it a quadfecta and all but guaranteeing my trajectory as a "40 Year Old Virgin." Imagine the confidence I would have had it were only a redhead dealing with glasses, braces, and zits.  Nah...I still would have been a nerd.  I digress (again...) hips just don't fail me for the next 16 weeks.

Prodding the Dr. on the potential misdiagnosis, I asked how do I know for sure.  In the 90's, I had the same reaction from a Dr. based on my mobility but after xrays, he indeed saw fusing of my SI joints concluding I indeed had AS.  What to do now?  I'll focus on the last guy who said I didn't have it.

Author's Footnote: You're probably wondering about the Homer graphic over my xray. Let's just say that my blog readership among women would have either gone way up or way down with the original version, but my Mom and her friends read this stuff, and I need my day job. Doh!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Funny Bone

I was happily blindsided this week, by being nominated by #RunChat as the funniest blog of the year.  I started my blog three years ago to hold myself accountable to the internet to qualify for the Boston Marathon.  Along the way, I re-discovered my passion for writing, poking fun at myself and the sport.  My blog disclaimer says that I'm not a Dr. or a coach--go somewhere else for that.  Here at SBM, you will find the lighter side of marathoning and my new found passion for triathlons.

It's a cliche, but I am thrilled just having been nominated.  If you feel compelled, take 15 seconds to vote (in all categories)  HERE. Voting ends today at 8ET.  Your academy award of running blog nominees are;

Perhaps such classics as yesterday's Napoleon Dynamite Marathon Training Tips, Why Triathlons are Like Frat Houses, and I Was Beat up by a Ballerina helped get me a nomination, or maybe people thought they were voted for the funniest looking blogger?  Nevertheless, get out and vote HERE. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Napoleon Dynamite Marathon Training Tips

Napoleon Dynamite spent last summer in Alaska hunting wolverines, perfecting numchuck skills, and learning the art of marathon training and racing.  Napoleon along with Pedro and his brother Kip share some of his learned "skills" in the educational video below.

(Author's Note:  Many of my blogs refer to movies and great one-liners that parallel life.  One of our family's favorite movies is Napoleon Dynamite.  We will rattle off one liner's or go into character in the car, "I wish I was back in the '82" and crack each other up.  The boys are especially amp'ed for the debut of the animated T.V. series on Fox this Sunday..."flippin' sweet!" 

Find this post funny, my blog is funny, or I'm just funny looking?  Vote for SeekingBostonMarathon for funniest blog of the year at; RunChatBlogVoting.

On your next long run, don't forget your tots.)

About Me

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Average guy w/ an above average appetite for marathon racing and triathlons. Ran my 5th Boston in '15. 3:21, 1:29, 19:21 PR;full/half/5K Opinions & wit are mine