Thursday, March 31, 2016

Anxious, Nervous and Exciting News

For those that have hung with me over the last two years (or longer,) thank you! A marathon is a tough journey and my twenty four months have been just that. I won't rehash all the injuries and setbacks, but I can say I have many emotions with my favorite race coming up and I'm not running in the 2016 Boston Marathon. At this point, I don't have a BQ for 2017 either nor a race on the calendar that could put me there. I do however have some very good news.

I quietly went in for (my fifth...sixth?...I've lost count) MRI a few weeks ago. My latest "bump in the road" is the stress fracture that bounced me out of the NYC Marathon last November. I have not raced a marathon since Boston last year ('15) which was a borderline disaster on a torn hip labrum. No surgery, but intense P.T. to get the hip in shape for NYC. Then the foot thing. I have not raced in any race of any sort since last September. Nearly seven months. That's a long time to go without racing for a run and race addict.

And now, for the good news...drum roll please...

My ortho called with the results last week that all signs of my stress fracture are now gone. He had given me a "soft" green light to start light training the month prior, but either my mind was playing games, or I just wanted to be certain, so I went in for (hopefully the final) MRI. All systems go.

With optimism renewed, I have increased miles, and tempo. Last weekend I ran for a full 90 minutes. A new first, or as my son used to say when he was little, "we haven't done that never in a long time." I also went for a speed fix on Tuesday for the fastest set of Yassos in months. Nothing earth-shaking, but went up to six half mile intervals of my typical (alternating) fast and faster sets. Two minute recovery intervals and ramped up to a six minute per mile pace. Booyah. I felt sluggish as if I'd never run before, but patience kemosabe.

Will hopefully get back to my fast and injury-free running soon. Not without a flurry of emotions including some tentativeness with my hip, my foot, my mind.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Three Blizzards and Deja Snow All Over Again

I can blame the blizzard in Denver this week on a number of things;

1) some kind of dumb ass prophet telling two people in Seattle this week that Denver has mild winters. Going on to say March is the snowiest month of the year (met with skepticism and later by reality.) One woman looked at me like I had "horns in my head" (I do but they're covered by my red rug.)

2) My high school friend Beth who lives in Singapore and planned a trip home this week.  She prayed to the white "gods," rubbed her snow voodoo doll, and did some kind of Singaporian snow dance to encourage the white stuff to happen during her week home. Beth...please stop. It worked.

3) Me...packing one pair of extra underwear for a 24 hour out-and-back trip to Seattle on Monday. This is my tenth (or is it ninth) week in a row of business travel. The last time I did that (packing too light for a 24 hr trip) also brought on a blizzard right before Christmas to Parsipanny, New Jersey to try and get a purchase order out of T-Mobile right before the holidays. Deja-snow all over again.

This reminds me of three of the most memorable blizzards in my lifetime and Colorado history. In 1982, my sister had one of her first apartments and we got absolutely dumped on. She was all alone...stranded, and I saved her by calling my high school and college friend, Scott McClure who owned a black (mini) monster truck. This thing could drive through anything, and it managed to pick her up AND get up our steep hill to celebrate Christmas appropriately in my childhood home. I think I paid him back in Jack Daniels...or at least told him I would.

Twenty one years later, I was divorced and financially forced to move back into my Mom's house (yes, that same house where we cooked German pancakes for breakfast once Kim arrived in the "monster truck" in 1982. I referred to it as "house sitting" as my mom split time between Colorado and San Diego, but was home (ironically) in March 2003. I "moved" to the basement where my older brother Tim, Tom, then Todd lived. If only that squash-colored yellow shag carpet and eighth-inch thin faux wood paneling could talk. I was dating my now wife at the time, but I was heading to Calgary for work.

Twenty minutes from Denver International Airport, I heard on the radio what I'd already suspected would happen. All flights were cancelled so I turned my car around to head home. It was an import car with all-wheel drive, but drove very low to the ground. By the time I got to the neighborhood hill...same one Scott McClure powered up, my car got stuck twice trying to get up Detroit Circle. I would eventually "throw out my back" with a thoracic muscle sprain that was so painful I thought I'd slipped a disk. I kept thinking to myself, why couldn't I get stranded with my "hot girlfriend" but (no offense Mom,) I limped into the house to spend a long weekend with my Mom. Yes, the power went out, and I eventually went on pain meds as my back was so jacked I couldn't sleep but an hour at night. #joy

That brings us to 2016, and my underwear...and me bragging about March snowfall to some hotel clerk earlier this week. Given the long string of travel weeks, I was bound and determined to make this an "in and out" quick trip for an 8 AM Tuesday morning meeting. The executive for the 8AM did not show, but offered 2 PM. I took the time slot realizing that likely meant getting home at midnight, but still only gone one night. The two PM went long (which was OK,) and halfway through, I began hearing about DIA getting shut down due to a bomb scare. The nation and world was on "high alert" due to the Brussels tragic events. It was a "false alarm" in Denver as the bomb-sniffing dog mistook a bag with oil and spices as something more sinister.

No harm, no foul. I booked another night at a second hotel near the airport and caught a second business dinner downtown. All seemed right this morning as I was exhausted, but went for a run. I dropped my phone in the gym, and thought nothing of it. The rest of the day went downhill. The phone slowly died, but not before my wife informed me my 3PM flight through San Francisco to Denver was not likely happening due to a blizzard in Denver. I spent two hours at Verizon (I still have no phone,) and over 70 minutes on the phone with United Airlines trying to book a flight home. United's first suggestion was Friday night (did I mention I left Monday for a 24 hr trip?)

After settling for a flight that gets me in 10 PM Thursday night, I decide that instead of buying a Samsung Galaxy S7 for $400 at the Verizon store, I will use my Asurion phone insurance, pay $150 and get a replacement S6. The phone conversation with Asurion;

Me: My phone is dead.
As(s:) Did you drop it?
Me: No.
As(s:) Did you get it wet?
Me: No.
As(s:) Then you should call Verizon warranty.
Me: I already went through this at the Verizon store. (I explain that if they find it's been dropped, they charge me $300 vs. the $150 to get an insurance replacement.)
As(s:) Then did you drop it?
Me: Well, I travel and everyone drops their phone. What answer do you want to hear?
As(s:) Sounds like you need a replacement from us.
Me: Yes, can you ship to my hotel before I fly home?
As(s:) Yes, we can get it to your hotel.
Me: Can you ship it priority so I can get it before I leave my hotel.
As(s:) Yes, it will arrive sometime between 8 AM and 7 PM.
Me: That won't work.
As(s:) You will get an email with shipping instructions, then you can call the carrier to discuss it with them.
Me: Please connect me with your supervisor.

After all that, I talk to her older twin and have the same conversation. She assures me it will get there on Thursday before I leave. I check email at 11 PM not able to sleep and feeling something was not quite right. Yes, I confirmed they are shipping to my hotel...on Friday. #FUBAR

Before I shut down the laptop, I set the old-fashioned alarm clock instead of my phone. Hotel number three is a nondescript Marriott Courtyard. Not the romantic scenario like I'd hoped for in the blizzard of 2003 with candles and my girlfriend (now wife.) Back home the teenage boys got the car stuck in the alley when Mom told them not to leave the house. Don't ask about my underwear. Deja snow all over again.

(Author's footnote: my thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by the events in Brussels this week. Let's stop the insanity please.)

Monday, March 21, 2016

Meme Monday: Boston is Coming

The Boston Marathon is less than 30 days away. Unfortunately, I will not be there this year, but you can bet it will motivate my return to Bahhsteen. And yes, I'm looking forward to the return of Game of Thrones, and my wife is keenly interested in whether or not Jon Snow is back.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Seeking Boston Marathon goes Podcast Wild With

Just when I thought I'd covered everything that could be covered on these virtual pages, I've gone pod(cast) wild with Denny from I've been on the "other side of the mic" and interviewed the likes of Josh Cox on my blog before on the hallowed grounds of the Boston Commons. This was quite different and a ton of fun. Of course, it doesn't take much to get me going on the topic of running. I covered everything from (of course) my passion for the Boston Marathon, running around the world, my competitive nature and the few curves I've been thrown of late. Catch the interview HERE.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Meme Monday: Dreams Don't Work Unless You Do

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Three Things Thursday: Gulp, Back on That Horse, and Big Apple


No...I haven't been ignoring you, but life has been busy (I've been on a plane going somewhere the last seven weeks.) I have also been in a bit of a state of limbo. For my up-and-down state of running and injury, I have progressed from a walking boot (starting end of October) to a gradual return to running. The later is all good, and the stress fracture in my left foot has progressed quite a bit with the
My latest travel city, downtown Montreal and the Notre Dam Cathedral
long layoff and conservative start back up. Given that, my mind is relucant to say I'm 100% back to normal as the occasional "tinge" in my foot reminds me of the long list of sh*t injuries I'm trying to forget from the last 20 months. Metaphor's been a long road getting back to where I want to be.

Back on the horse

As I've done with the previous three injury related layoffs, I have taken a conservative approach to returning to running, but an aggressive approach to getting back. The later is largely a focus on strength and stretching. For my shoulder, hip, and now foot, I have leveraged the physical therapy program and advice from Steadman Hawkins in Denver. I have also been listening to the runner "whisperer" Meb Keflezighi  whose book, Meb For Mortals extols the virtues of a strong strength program. If they gave out medals or PR's for leg  and glute strength, I'd win some kind of award. Given $100 on a bar, I could crack a walnut with my butt cheeks as a "bar trick." You could say, my "pistons" are ready for a ramp up to marathon training and a summer of triathlons.

With a ton of emphasis on strength and time in the pool, the swim leg of my triathlon game is as strong as it has perhap ever been. Given the "gulp" section above, my race schedule is a bit "up in the air" and I haven't put on a race bib in six months. Ay caramba!...I'm itching to get back on that horse, but patience kimosabe.

Big Apple

It's like deja vu all over again. I'm stuck ironically on the unlucky number in 13 marathons completed (five of which were Boston Marathons.) As I've written here over the last year, my new goal beyond a perennial Boston Marathon race was to qualify to get into the New York City Marathon. I punched that ticket, but my ortho surgeon called me one week prior to racing NYC in 2015 to inform me I had a stress fracture. Just for emphasis, my dermatologist confirmed skin cancer within the same 24 hour period. That's all behind me (hopefully, Mr. foot,) and I got confirmation from the "big apple" this week that my deferral was granted and I've been accepted into the 2016 New York City Marathon. Rarified air indeed. This time, I'll be smart, and perhaps not answer the phone the week before.

(Author's footnote and a bonus fourth thing Thursday, Happy 19th birthday to my son Jesse. Continue doing what you're doing young man. I am proud of you. Dad)

Happy Birthday Jesse!

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