Full Circle…Almost

We came, we saw, we conquered.  Sort of.

wine and dine

So.  We meet again.

If your attention span is in any way even minutely better than mine, then you would know what a big deal this year’s adventure to the Wine and Dine was going to be.  This is going to take a while – and a few episodes – so sit back, grab yourself a nice fat ‘rita, a couple of ice packs, and maybe hook up that TENS unit for a bit.  Because gawd knows my attention-deficient brain won’t be able to hang in there long enough to get through the entire adventure in one shot.  Besides, cliffhangers are more fun anyway.

After #brokeknees Part 1 and 2 finally came to an end – almost – it was time to get on that training train again and start pulling on the whistle.  ‘Cause DAMN, those miles weren’t going to run themselves.  It was time to grab those pretty new pink ASICS and get to work.

After having my “less damaged” knee parts fixed a year ago, (for those of you new to the nonsense, that’s #brokeknee Part 1 in last April AND #brokeknee Part 2 last November.  Because just one knee surgery is never enough), I was over the whole –

a.   You’re not getting any younger so it may take longer to heal

b.   Can’t you just do something else?

c.   You really shouldn’t run, it’s bad for your knees

d.  You need to stop running immediately  kind of moose poop.

(Thank you runner friends for completely GETTING me on this crap).

hug10

Every time I’d think I was FINALLY getting somewhere, something else would go to total crap.  Lessons learned?  Hoka One One’s are NOT knee friendly for this girl.  Next one?  Never settle for just one opinion.  Lesson three:  sometimes being a concrete head (as the hubs often calls me:), can come in damn handy when you have no intention of throwing in the towel.  The biggest lessons I learned?  Husbands and Wonder Mutts can be your biggest supporters, and chiropractors fluent in the language of Active Release Therapy are worth their weight in GOLD.

After what was yet even MOREIAMSOSICKOFTHISDAMNFRIGGINPAININMYKNEES setbacks with my training, I was at my wit’s end.  I had gone back to embracing the Galloway run-walk-run method, was only training two days a week, and fully acknowledged the fact this race would have to be all about finishing the distance and not about the time.  (Or so I at least tried to convince myself. #concretehead).

Then an angel happened to flap her wings in my general direction.

I have a neighbor friend who is as obsessed about running as I am.  The difference is she is actually really good at it.  REALLY good.  She’s a few years older, (falls into that dreaded Masters category), and has consistently finished in the top three at every event she’s competed in.  She’s fast, strong, and could pull off the cover of any fitness magazine WITHOUT any photoshopping needed.

And suddenly found herself riding the injury train right alongside me.

Did I mention we’re good friends and like to share?chagrined_chimp

As my neighbor buddy didn’t really blame me for my need to overshare on the injury front, she did the kind neighborly thing and told me about THIS GUY she had been going to who was doing some really cool stuff to fix her very own case of #brokeknee, including such neat stuff as TENS acupuncture, gua sha, and compression icing.  Photo updates from her visits quickly became a source of “holy crap, that looks….interesting”, “he’s doing WHAT?!”, and a few “what the hell is THAT?!” comments.

Now, being a complete victim of FOMO, I had to get in on this out-of-the-norm rehab action.  The bad thing?  The doc’s office was entirely too geographically undesirable.  As in an entire county and way too much traffic insanity away.  However, said doc worked with another awesome GUY who did the same kind of stuff and had an office in a much more geographically desirable location.  (Insert happy Black Dog dance here.)

seinfeld happy dance

Stay tuned for the next chapter of “WTF is Really Wrong With the Parts and How We’re Finally Going to Fix Them”.  It’s a nail biter.

Seriously.

My literary non-talent has Wonder Mutt gnawing hers off as we speak…..

resting-bitch-face-dog-3

You’re killing me lady.

Enjoy the ride.

 

Have you ever refused to give up when injured?  Have you ever explored “alternative” forms of injury rehab/recovery?  What were they and did they work for you?

Reset.

Sometimes that’s the only thing you can do.

resetbutton

Blogging around these parts for the past year has been sporadic at best, in case you hadn’t noticed.  Between school, my job from hell, and, oh yes, that little ditty called LIFE, my brain was being pulled in so many different directions, it felt like I was coming apart at the seams.  Every damn day was becoming a battle, so much so that the brain had nothing left to vomit.  In fact, I’m pretty sure it just suffered a major meltdown.

stressed

I hope I’m not jinxing myself,  but it seems like things have FINALLY somewhat calmed down, at least to a more respectable level of chaos.  I had to make some hard decisions to try and reduce the stress level, and they seem to be working for the moment.  I was over the whole going to the gym thing – not for any particular reason, just over it.  Without really putting much thought into it, the hubs and I started using that Amazon Prime membership to the extreme and began collecting random sets of free weights.  Then Pilates balls.  Then a weight rack for all those randomly selected weights.  Now a weight bench.  Lo and behold, before we even really noticed, we’ve now got ourselves a sweet little convenient garage gym, complete with live entertainment.

Wonder Mutt gym dog.jpg

“Let’s go lady, I ain’t got all day.”

In all honesty, it’s pretty damn awesome to just walk out the hall door and get a good sweat on, even if it is a million degrees and you’re sweating just breathing.  But when you look down and see this fuzzy face looking at you like you’re insane, it makes it all worth it.

Even if she does occasionally find it necessary to add a little more unnecessary resistance.

As I start really buckling down for November’s Wine and Dine Half, the cross-training aspect is going to play a major part of the training process this time around.  This will be my last Wine and Dine Half, at least for a while, (yes, I AM that whiny one who’s still pissed about all the changes to what was the best race EVER), and I need to be smart about finding the balance between what I hope to accomplish – a 2:00-2:15 half – and nursing the knees along for the first race post #brokeknee surgery x2 (recaps here, here, and here).  Every run so far has been somewhat of a mystery as I get used to a new reality of what strange crap I’m going to feel each time out.  I’ve been assured by my PT, chiro, and two orthos that I’m not doing any more damage to my knees, so I can do whatever I need to do at whatever pain level I can handle, if any.  As opposed to before the surgeries, the pain is now pretty constant, but at such a low level that I barely notice it anymore, unless I move funny and tweak something.  I take this as a win when before, the pain would peak and stay there, making any kind of speed next to impossible.

Pain tolerable was what I was shooting for post surgery, and pain tolerable is what I’ve got. #ftw!

pain tolerable

And it’s all good.

The balance will come into play big time this training cycle around with cross-training.  I need to build up the strength in the muscles surrounding my knees, slowly build up the mileage, and really just listen to what the good ol’ bod is saying.  Feeling too beat up today?  No problem!  Yoga it is.  Feeling that LSD run from a couple of days ago?  Off to the pool we go.  Need some extra muscle cuddle time?  Well, looky what we’ve got here!

Let's go lady

“Move it woman.  These weights ain’t gonna lift themselves.”

She’s a bit of a taskmaster.

The training runs so far have been slow and an exercise in patience, but now I look forward to each one – as opposed to before when I was dreading what would happen around Mile 6.  I’ve made some adjustments to my equipment, (hello compression knee sleeves!), and no longer have to wear the dreaded Monster Brace From Hell.

So the name of the game this time around will be “let’see what’s going on today.”  Not exactly the model of half marathon training plans, but hey, it works for me.  I look forward to every run now, I’m loving life in the land of garage workouts, and I have a new chiro who doesn’t waste her breath telling me I shouldn’t run.  Hopefully, the tropic steaminess will start to back off a little, caution and patience will pay off, the knees will cooperate, and the encouragement I’m getting from the hubby and running friends alike will continue.  I’ll check in along the way and hopefully have more than a few humorous training escapades to report. Until then my running buddies, may your runs be pain-free, the swampass minimal, and the run-ins with Zika skeeters non-existent.

skeeters

Bastards.

 

Enjoy the ride.

Are you currently training for a fall race?  Does your training plan include cross-training?  Are you angry with the changes to the Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend?

 

 

 

Yes, it’s really a race recap! Sort of…

I know this probably doesn’t sound like any big thing, but keep in mind I haven’t been much of a race girl while getting #brokeknees 1 and 2 fixed.

ice knee1

Don’t miss this nonsense!

Even though I’m not completely pain-free – and knew going into surgery that I may never be again – I have been able to accommodate my somewhat finicky joints.  In other words, keep the pain level to a minimum.  I can run.  Like the whole turtle though peanut butter kind of runs at the moment, but I’m okay with that.  I just keep telling myself the speed will come.  Maybe.  Hopefully.  It’s okay if it doesn’t because I really love peanut butter.

peanut butter turtles

After the fiasco that was the announcement of the new – and big steaming pile of dogpoop of a decision regarding Wine and Dine 2016 – I knew I had to get myself a proof of time to submit by August.  I knew I wouldn’t have enough time to properly train for a half after surgery #2, my old times were just that – too old – so a 10k it would have to be.  And if you live in south Florida, you’re basically screwed.

“Welcome to the Land of All Things 5k.  Because our attention span won’t last long enough for anything longer.”

serious grumpy cat

You suck south Florida…

Thanks to the utter lack of 10k opportunities, I bit the bullet and went with the Down2Earth cross-country series that goes all summer long, with this particular race being held at John U. Lloyd State Park.  Added benefit: they also run a 5k at the same time, so the hubby agreed to suffer right along with me.  What concerned me?  The whole CROSS COUNTRY part.  I haven’t run cross-country since high school.  The hubs has NEVER done cross country jaunts.  This should prove to be interesting, if not entirely life-threatening.

scaredy cat

Not you again…..

If you’re supremely bored and happen to go to the race website, you’ll see our race was held at a lovely sounding location known to locals as Dania Beach.  BEACH.  As in SAND.  LOTS OF FRIGGIN’ SAND.

sand1

Bobcat paw prints included at no additional cost.

Being the wise old runner that I am, (you can stop choking now), I figured it would probably be a good move to at least go down to the park before race day and figure out what the course would be.  You see, there’s only beach, access road, and parking lot.  That’s it.  Intracoastal waterway on one side, and the Atlantic on the other.  So on a balmy Sunday morning, the hubs and I drag our dupas out of bed, loaded up the cooler, and headed on down the road.  We managed to stop one of the park rangers to see if he knew where the course would be.  After all, he IS the park ranger.  If anyone would know, he would.  Right?  Yeahhhhhhh, not so much.  He gave us his best guess and we just flew with it.  Right onto the paw print marked sand as you see here.  I can honestly say I have never cursed so much at one race location in my entire life.  I think the bobcats have permanently vacated the area after hearing what was coming out of this girl’s yap.

It was a good thing we took the morning to do this though, as a couple of weeks later, we were as ready as we could be for more than a few miles in the sand.  The race field was very small, no more than 30-40 runners for both distances combined.  Race directions were simple:  run along the beach access road until you see the yellow tape, run around the tape, then run back to the start.  5k runners go once, 10k runners go twice.  All right, we can handle that.  It’s hot as hell, no breeze, typical south Florida summer humidity, nothing we’re not used to.  We all line up at the start, laugh about how many of us are going to die, gun goes off, and off we go. Into the wild sandy yonder.

The hubs knew I was running for time so he wished me luck and off I went.  Knowing that pacing was going to be a big factor, I did my best to keep the jitters under control and not go out too fast which I excel at doing.  Mistake #1, thinking there would be a water station at the turnaround 1.5 miles out.  Let me just stay this:  every race I have EVER done had a water station around the 1-2 mile mark.  EVERY ONE.  This one?  Not so much.  I got up to the turnaround, saw nothing but stupid yellow tape, and proceeded to say things that made the local snakes drop dead in mid slither.

WHO THE HELL DOESN’T GIVE YOU A WATER STATION AT THE TURNAROUND POINT ON A BEACH RUN???  Oh, wait…..

stooge

This stooge, that’s who.

Now, I put this one all on me.  I should’ve known better when my previous contact with the race director asking if there was going to be a water stop was met with complete silence. Definitely on me.  Lesson learned.  Moving on.

I passed the hubs on the way back and told him of the unfortunate circumstance and warned him that I think I had inadvertently killed a snake with my vocal venom.

“There’s no water at the turnaround.”

“You’re kidding me.”

“I’m a monkey’s friggin’ uncle.”

(We have a special relationship.)

Thankfully, after the final half mile back to the start in the softest sand you could imagine – and mind you this was just at the end of the first loop – they at least had water set up at the start line.  After stopping long enough to gulp down a couple of cups and throw a couple more over my head, off I went for Hell in the Sand part 2.  Which was pretty uneventful and much like Hell in the Sand part 1.  Pretty views of the ocean, lizards looking at us humans like we were nuts – guess they call it like they see it – and for the most part, completely by myself.  Race support?  Non-existent.  (Good thing no one dropped of heatstroke out there, they’d have been screwed).  So I just kept my head down, stopped freaking out over the ugly times I kept seeing on the trusty watch, and thanked the runner gods that the hubs had enough functioning brain cells to fill a bottle he had with water and toss it to me as I passed him for the second time on my way back out.

flashdance-9201.large

Yes, it felt THAT good.  Don’t judge me.

I managed to trudge back out to the turnaround, back through what beautiful little shade there actually was on the access road, out the to hellacious sugar sand along the beach, and finally made the final turn for the promised land.  About 300 yards from the finish, the hubs was standing on the side so I tossed him my iPod, turned on the after burners and hit the line still in an upright position.  I was hoping for a 60 minute finish time, but considering the terrain, I would have been happy to finish in 75.

Imagine my surprise, and somewhat sweaty delight, when I was told I had actually finished in 64 minutes, and good enough for 2nd place female! (Which sadly, once the results were posted on the website I was bumped down to 3rd place, but hell, I’LL TAKE IT!)

June 18 race1.jpg

(Smiling thinking about the post-race margarita.)

So here’s my takeaway from the Down2Earth 5 and 10k Cross-Country Run:

  1.   Ability to see the course online prior to race day – zip
  2.   Questioned answered by race director prior to race day – dog poop
  3.   On course race support – nada
  4.   Would I do it again? – perhaps

Here’s why that last one isn’t a flat out no.  I found out afterwards this was the first time this race was held at this location.  Normally they’re put on at Oleta State Park in Miami.  I’ve taken my bike there a few times and the park trails are CONSIDERABLY more runner friendly than at John U. Lloyd.  I got the impression when the race director was telling us about the races at Oleta, and proceeded to wave his hand at the sand and say “there’s no running in this kind of crap at Oleta”, that he wasn’t happy about the conditions either.  The only hangup for us?  Lloyd Park is only about a half hour away from our humble abode.  Oleta is a little more than an hour.  And in Miami.  MIAMI.  Trust me, not NEARLY as glamorous and these guys made it look.

The ending of the story?  I got my proof of time for Disney.  I got to run a race again, with the hubs.  I haven’t been able to do that in years.  Neither of us died.  I got a medal.  I know now that I have the verbal ability to scare away bobcats and shock snakes to death with my vocal venom.  ALL GOOD THINGS.

June 18 medal1

The aches and pains we felt over the next few days in places that neither of us knew we could be achy and painy from running in the sand?  Well.  That’s a story for another day.

Enjoy the ride.

 

Have you ever been disappointed with support at a race?  Have you ever done an entire race in the sand?  What are the worst conditions you’ve ever tun in?

These Wings Were Made to Fly

As I sit here crashed on my couch at Island Time Tiki Bar, Calypso taking up most of all the available cushion space,  it’s challenging to figure out where to start my recap of the Wings for Life World Run.  It wasn’t a typical “race” in any normal race terms.  Oh contraire, not in the least.  There was the usual mix of participants – serious runners (not me), weekend warriors (also not me), people just out to see what they could do (getting warmer), and just plain shenanigators (BINGO!).

shenanigator

Then there were the athletes being pushed in their wheelchairs, athletes pushing themselves in wheelchairs, and even an athlete making his way along with his cane.  The energy and anticipation at the start was palpable, due in no small part to the big screen broadcasting video of hundreds of thousands runners at their own start lines, 34 in all.  It was….well……pretty damn amazing awesomeness.

Participants - Action

This was the first race in a really, really long time that I had planned on going balls to the wall as much as I could.  The hubs was also running with me for the first time in a couple of years, and as he was nursing a hammy injury and a lingering case of the plague, we had to take that into account for our race strategy.

Excuse me, but did you say race strategy?  Who are you and what have you done with our Black Dog?

Well.  If we DID have a race strategy, it probably would have looked something like this:

  • run like a bat out of hell for the first 30 minutes when we knew the chase car would be starting
  • incorporate as many shenanigan making opportunities as possible
  • make up for the time spent causing shenanigating by running like hell again, at least until the next water stop along the route

I am happy to report this plan worked out pretty damn well for us!

After what seemed like an interminable length of time just trying to get out of the BB&T Center parking lot, (seriously, how big IS this damn lot?!), we finally made it out onto the scenic streets of Sunrise, FLA.  With NO sunglasses.

Lesson #1:  just because it looks like you won’t be running directly east, don’t ever trust your sense of direction that early in the morning.  Ever.

my eyes

Returning to the scene of the crime, we continued on our merry jaunt – happily knee pain free – for what seemed like an interminable length of time until we finally arrived at the first water stop.  Now, let me tell ya, these people know what they’re doing.  Mile 2, complete with Clif bars, Red Bull, H2O, Gatorade and portapotties.  With a line.  The dreaded portapotty line. Duhn, duhn, duuuuuhhhhnnnnnn…..

Portapotty_line

After making a valiant effort at patience – 30 seconds give or take – it was time to create a little suburban drama.  After quickly surveying the scene and knowing the chase car would be hot on our collective tails any moment, the command decision was made to…..well….blaze a new trail.  Right to the nearest bunch of bushes.  Completely runDisney style.  Hey, ya gotta go, ya gotta go.

peeing in the bushes

No elephants were violated in the taking of this picture.

As I not so discreetly did what I had to do and high-tailed it back to the road,  what do I see but the guy who had been standing in line in front of me headed for the same bushes.  With a big thank you and a thumbs up we passed like ships in the night and the hubs and I were back on our way.

No idea how the bush is currently doing….

I’d give you more specifics about the course, but since this area of Broward County is like another country to me, I can’t tell you where we were at just about any given moment.  What I can tell you is this:  the volunteers at the water  stops were amazing.  The cheering groups with their witty race signs were amazing.  The cops and PSA’s of the Sunrise Police Department were the best.  Not so awesomesauce?  That damn helicopter.

WFLWR chopper1

When that bad boy was flying overhead, you knew the chase car was stalking in the near vicinity.  Soon after stopping at the third water stop – complete with music blasting and a cheer squad – the hubby turns around and starts yelling at everyone to run for their lives.  At this point it seemed everyone around us had entered spaced-out zombie zone and had forgotten the little fact that we were being CHASED.  That is, until they saw the chase car slowly gaining ground.  What quickly ensued would have made Usain Bolt jealous.

cheetah-run_494_990x742.jpg

Aw crap.

And  just like that, our race was done.

WFLWR1

Actually, after walking another almost two miles to the next water stop it was done.  By then, the partymobiles shuttle buses had shown up to take everyone back to Party Central at the start.  But not before we took full advantage of the fact that our bus was one normally used for the students on the campus at the University of Miami.  And if you follow college sports at all, then you know there is no love lost between Miami Hurricane fans and that other school up in Gainesville.  Needless to say, we took full advantage of the situation this poor guy found himself in the middle of.  Poor guy.  Knew he was outnumbered from the start.  Didn’t even bother putting up a fight.

gatorboy

Oh Robert.  Poor, poor Robert.

Once we got back to the BB&T Center and got off our rather odoriferous mode of transportation, we were given some rather impressive bling, and were free to avail ourselves of all the bananas, oranges, water, and of course Red Bull, we could carry.  Meandering over to the runner’s village, we were free to stand in more crazy lines for tacos, beer, and even champagne.  The big screen was showing where the leading male and female Sunrise runners were out on the course, at that point currently battling baseball sized skeeters and some not so friendly Florida natives.  (Not really but it does add a little element of danger doesn’t it?)

gator

We didn’t stick around too long as it was getting quite toasty and the call of a nice long shower was singing its siren song.  Off to the homestead we went, but we were able to follow the rest of the race on the live-stream via the Wings for Life website.  Five and a half hours after the worldwide start, Giorgio Calcaterra was finally caught by the chase car outside Milan, Italy.  He ran an AMAZING 88.44 km (or 54.95 miles for those of metrically challenged).  The last female runner to be caught was Kaori Yoshida from Japan who was caught at the 65.71 km/40.83 mile mark, outside Takashima, Japan.

Sunrise was lucky enough to have the 10th female overall with Nathalie Vasseur from France.  She managed to hold off melting in the heat long enough to hold off the chase car until she hit 54.53km/33.88 miles.  Damn alligators never stood a chance against Miss Speedy Pants.

WFLWR winners

Sunrise winners Nathalie Vasseur and Simon Munyutu. (Photo courtesy of Wings for Life World Run Sunrise Facebook page.)

Looking back at the event now, it’s easy to see why so many people have returned each year.  In the three years since it’s inception, the Wings for Life World Run has seen an increase in participation each year.  The best part of all?  This year set a new record in the amount of money raised for spinal cord injury research – a whopping $7.4 million (yes MILLION!)  And when you see someone who has never taken a step, walk for the very first time due in part to the funds raised from this event, well, let’s just say it makes all the sweat, aches, pains, #brokeknees, and miles all worth it.

walking again

(Photo courtesy of Wings for Life World Run Facebook page.)

You can bet the hubby and I will be returning to this race next year, and we hope you’ll join us.  We’ll be causing as many shenanigans as possible on Sunday, May 7, 2017 once again on the edge of the Everglades.  The natives have promised to be on their best behavior.  Just don’t make the mistake of showing up in Florida Gator crap.  This time, we just may not let you on the bus. 🙂

WFLWR medal

Enjoy the ride.

Have you ever done a race with no actual finish line?  Raised money for charity?  Did it make the race feel more special?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday Funny

As I am off for just a bit of a Mouse-tease at the new Disney Springs – thank you very much passholder blackout dates – I thought I would end the week with just a smitch of offbeat, oh-so-appropriate Black Dog humor.

FF Dis Knee

Yes.  Yes I did.

Enjoy the ride.

When is your next trip to the Mouse?  Are you an annual passholder?  Do you cry when you see you’re two days out from the end of the blackout dates?

 

Run All The Miles…Without Any Pain!

Or at least start with a couple.  Especially since you’re only 66 days out.

Oh dear....

Oh dear….

I figured it was time for an update.  One that I’ve been putting off.  If for no other reason than I didn’t want to admit – to myself or anyone else – that I’ve been suffering.  A LOT.  Even this post was pretty much scratching the surface of how scared I’ve been.  Scared that I felt like I was in more pain than even BEFORE #KneeGate2015, and it wasn’t going to get any better.  Scared that it would get so bad that Wine and Dine was going to end being a pipe-dream-I’m-gonna-have-to-pull-the-deferral-card kind of terror.  Most of all, scared that my damn #brokeknee either wasn’t fixed or worse, that I had #brokekneed it AGAIN.

scared Jerry

Nooooooo!!!!!!

Alas, it was all for naught.

That’s right.

Naught.

Nada.

Zippo.

Zero.

Zilch.

NOTHING.

Thanks in no small part to…well…a small part.

Hello beautiful.

No, this is NOT my knee. It’s a stunt knee.

Let me give you a quick rundown as to what this little strappy thing is all about.  On a training run after what I believe was me pushing it too hard at PT one day, I started suffering some majoroso underknee pain.  Celebrex, ice, EMS, my old giant knee brace, nothing worked.  Not.A.Damn.Frigging.Thing.  So what came next?  What usually seems to.  Lots of tears and lots of anger, accented by my usual litany of colorful language.

Then, in a last-ditch effort before picking up the phone and racking up yet ANOTHER doctor visit bill, I hit up the ever so trusty Team #runDisney Facebook page.  And therein I found the Moose Tracks to soothe my angst.

Ahhhhhhh......

Ahhhhhhh……

One of my fellow TrD’ers suggested I try this. The main complaint for runners who use this is a nifty little pain in the dupa – or in this case, under the kneecap – known as patellar tendinitis.  Being a gold star member of the Amazon Prime Is My Crack club, I went online, read the reviews, and decided what the heck.  If it doesn’t work, I’m only out $15 bucks and no worse off than I already was.

Having only gotten one run in this past weekend after battling a case of the plague, I wasn’t expecting too much.  Then…

I started to run.

And had hardly.any.pain.

Angels were singing.

(And Bon Jovi.)

It was heavenly.

HallelujahSquirrel

Now.  I’m trying to stay level-headed about all this.  After all, it WAS only one run.  And breathing was quite an adventure. (Remember? Post-plague.)  And apparently it was lead leg day.  However, instead of a pain level of 9 to start, it was more like a 3.  And I’ll take a 3 over a 9 ANY.DAMN.DAY.

So this is the plan for the remaining, ever-so-quickly dwindling available training days until November 7th.  Keep it to mainly 2 running days a week, with a few 3-a-week thrown in there to make up for lost time. (Don’t forget, I still have to deal with #KneeGate2015 Part II after W&D).  Keep up with lots of ice time, EMS time, foam rolling, and PT exercises.  I HATE the possible side effects of Celebrex, but may start taking them daily the week before race day, just to build it up in my system, but that’s still up for debate.  After all that, guess we’ll just see how it goes.  I’m hopeful and cautiously optimistic.  And hoping for a big fat dose of pain-killing pixie dust.  All wrapped up in a pretty little strap.  Maybe I’ll even add some sparkles….

Do your thing girl.

Do your thing girl.

Enjoy the ride.

Have you ever had the simplest piece of equipment cure your pain, or at the very least minimize it?  Do you believe that most of your pain can be controlled by your brain?  Does the pain threshold of pro athletes shock the hell out of you?  Jealous?

What To Do, What To Do

Well, after a two-week running hiatus – AGAIN – I hit the road this weekend.  And it SUCKED.  Like somebody please just shoot me and put me out of misery sucked.

I am NOT happy.

I am NOT happy.

Let me bore you with the deets.  Rewind back a couple of weeks to one of my last physical therapy visits.  I hit their dinosaur of a treadmill and hit it hard (here).  After that, the knee was feeling a bit wonky, so I laid off for a couple of weeks.  I was still working out my legs on the machines, getting my miles done on the stationary and recumbent bikes, and even dusted off my trusty bike trainer.

Hello beautiful.

Hello beautiful.

Should I have laid off the lower body work altogether?  I don’t know.  But when the hubby and I headed out for an easy two miles, I thought Ronda Rousey was still fighting and landing karate chops to my the top of my #brokeknee.  It was actually a little worse than right after the first time this popped up post-PT dreadmill day, but I also knew it would eventually calm down once I had warmed up.  Not completely go away, but at least get tolerable.  Fast forward to about a mile and half, and without even really thinking about it, I picked up the pace a little bit and finished up relatively strong.  Then back home, on ice, stim, and good old Tylenol.  Not that it does a thing to alleviate the pain.

ouch flynn

Herein lies my conundrum.  Both PT Pam and the surgeon said I can’t screw up what he fixed, so that makes me feel a little better about my current state of affairs.  The first two runs back before the PT dreadmill incident felt GREAT.  So great I was hitting paces I hadn’t seen since high school.  Now, it’s worse – at the run’s start – then it was when all this #brokeknee crap started.  Is this just residual whatever left over from the dreaded dreadmill incident?  Have I messed up something ELSE now?  Is this just my knee’s way of saying, “I’ll let you get back to it, but not before I remind you who’s REALLY running this running show?”  I guess the only way to figure this out is to keep running and see what happens over the next couple of weeks.  If it doesn’t back off, then I just may try a few laser therapy visits.  AGAIN.  I am just SO sick of APPOINTMENTS.

nope grumpy cat

No more damn appointments. Unless Moose Tracks is involved.

I’m just going to hang in there and see what happens.  To be completely honest though, I am a bit S-C-A-R-E-D, but I’m trying to fight that off and not have a total freakout over it.  Any clouds of healing pixie dust you may have just hanging around, please feel free to throw it to any Florida-bound winds.  It would be very much appreciated.

Please?  Thank you!

Please? Thank you!

 

Enjoy the ride.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation like this four months post-surgery?  Any advice for a mildly freaked out runner girl?  Am I just overthinking this or do I just need to calm the heck down?

Friday Funny

Here’s a little preview of how the conversation will be going at my follow-up visit with the surgeon tomorrow…

broken runner

Enjoy the ride.

Soooooo, any guesses as to what the first question out of my mouth is going to be?  Keep your paws crossed and have a great weekend everyone!  Run some miles for me!

A Day of Extremes

It was another amazing day…

Meb and Hillary

One class act.

Records were made, others broken, along with what I’m sure were more than a few hearts and dreams.  Once again, the amazing people of the city of Boston opened up their homes and their hearts, and welcomed the world to one of it’s most prestigious races.  And as usual, I laughed and cried my way through the hours of live coverage, all the while thanking the race gods for keeping my phone from ringing so I could watch every moment.  While at work.  Thank god for understanding bosses.

Not my boss.  But she could be.

Not my boss. But she could be.

All of this was somewhat tempered by the phone call that I knew was coming.  You know the one.  “Yes ma’am, have your dupa to the hospital two hours early so you can sit around on it while we waste your time, and eventually get around to knocking you out, slicing you open, waking you up, and kicking you out the door with a set of crutches your insurance probably won’t pay for and a prescription for painkillers that we know you don’t want but we’re going to make you take anyway.”  Yeah, that one.  Cue dramatic music…dunhdunhduuuuunnnnhhhhh!!!  Yup, it’s SURGERY TIME.

Aaaaaggggghhhhh!!!!!

Aaaaaggggghhhhh!!!!!

You all know my head is typically one of these to begin with.

Welcome to my brain.

Welcome to my brain.

Knowing the time has finally come to hopefully get one of my knees fixed has the brain in all-out F5 tornadic activity.  I SO need this surgery to work if I’m going to keep distance running.  Especially since I’ll need to have it done on both of these friggin’ kneecaps.  The one thing that’s got me all freaked out?

Awake Movie

All right, this wasn’t exactly the movie I saw umpteen years ago about people going under the knife and the anesthesia not working, but you get where I’m going here, right?  Let’s just say I don’t have a great relationship with anesthesia.  (Just ask the hubs about that unfortunate wisdom teeth incident.  It wasn’t pretty.)

All that aside though, I’m looking forward to what will hopefully be a new, long, and happy relationship with my lower body joints.  I have absolutely no idea what comes next as far therapy goes, but I’m feverishly holding on to the hope that 4-6 weeks from now, this Black Dog will be adding more miles onto her pretty pink Brooks.  (And subtracting some of the inches on the aforementioned dupa.)

So as you head out the door to your day tomorrow, just take a second and send some pixie dust my way.  And hope that it makes the anesthesia work just a little.bit.better.

Yeah, that should do it.

Yup, that should do it.

Enjoy the ride.

Ever been nervous about having surgery?  Everything turn out all right?  Am I being a total nutball about this?  Perhaps watching that movie “Coma” might not be such a good idea tonight?

Finally, A Resolution! Almost.

And the saga continues.  But this time, the end is actually in sight!

I'm so excited I peed a little!!"

I’m so excited I think I peed a little!!”

I went to see The Man #2 this week.  AND HE ACTUALLY GAVE ME A SOLUTION!  Hallelujah, amen, praise Wonder Mutt, and all that good stuff, we now have an answer to getting the worse of my two knees finally fixed.  It’s not a guaranteed 100% fix, but it should be enough to let me run more than a couple of miles.  FINALLY.

So while I wait and sit back while the doc’s office takes care of all the insurance stuff, (say WHA??), I’m on a mission to drop a few pounds.  I figure it will only help speed up the healing process if there’s a few less pounds weighing down my poor old beat up joints.  After all, they’re going to be made brand new by one of these bad boys.

Lifetime replacement guarantee!

Lifetime replacement guarantee!

Well, maybe just a wee bit smaller, but you get the general idea.  Knock me out, smooth me out, wake me up, and watch the post-anesthesia shenanigans commence.  (I have a history of being quite comical when coming out of anesthesia.  Just ask the hubs about the ride home after the infamous wisdom teeth extraction incident.)  Three days on crutches, 4-6 weeks recovery, and girlfriend is BACK IN ACTION.  Can I get a woo hoo?!

woohoo

Sadly I will be out for this, otherwise I would regale you with a photographic play-by-play.  Not really, but I bet some of you got all excited for a minute there didn’t ya?  It’s okay.  Admit it.  Blood and guts and bony parts are awesome aren’t they?  Yeah, not so much.  Thankfully, I’m not expecting a whole lot of blood loss this time around.  I mean really, this guy does this for a living.  How much of a mess can one guy make in 15 minutes?  Oh right.  We’re talking about a GUY.  Oh dear…..

Enjoy the ride.

Have you ever had surgery before?  How did it go?  Did you have the cast of Seinfeld dancing in your room afterwards?

All Roads Lead Back To….

W&D finish line

“I really hope this tape breaks. Otherwise I’ll be REALLY embarrassed.”

Today’s the day I find out if I’ll be able to have a fix-it done to what is turning out to be the most useless joints ever created.

Who?  US?!?

Who? US?!?  Ya THINK?!?!

I’m not asking to be the next Shalane or Kara.  I’m not even asking for the ever-retreating sub 2 hour half finish time.  I’m just asking to be able to run a half marathon – preferably the aforementioned Wine and Dine – relatively pain-free.  Yeah – NOT EVEN ASKING FOR NO PAIN HERE MOTHER NATURE.  I’d just like to be able to get through 13 miles without feeling like somebody is jabbing a giant railroad spike into the side of my kneecap.

Yeah.  NOT cool.

Yeah. NOT cool.

I don’t even know if it would be such a big deal if i hadn’t gotten sucked into the magic that is all things runDisney.  The hype, the costumes, the characters, the parties, the insane entry fees and registration madness – okay, maybe not those last two so much – but I’ve been lucky enough to make some really great friends thanks to a mutual love of running and Disney.  Weird how that place can do that, huh?

Cheesy grins?  Check!

Cheesy grins? Check!

"We are runDisney family!"

“We are runDisney family!”

What IS it about running through Disney parks – or the side streets of Anaheim – that’s just so damn…..magical?  I know I’ve thrown my reasons out there before, (here) and I’d love to hear what makes you sit anxiously at your computers on registration day, heartbeat racing, credit card in sweaty hand, ready to start screaming should the Active link suddenly explode, sending your information out into the great void of runDisney registration badlands.  At the very least, it will give me something interesting to read while I wait, heart rate a-pounding, for The Man #2 to put in an appearance.  Maybe some of that Disney magic will put in an appearance…

Tink!  Over here!

Tink! Over here!

Enjoy the ride.

Do you think Disney is a magical place?  Have you ever had pixie dust land in your eye?  Did it hurt?

Seeing as it’s Magical Mickey Monday, come visit the Purveyors of Pixie Dust over at run.geek.run(disney)!  You just might be surprised that Mondays can be a little less…….Mondayish.

What To Do, What To Do

I know I owe you guys an update on the soap opera that has become my knee injury – which I know you’ve just been SO excited to find out about, right? NOT – but if we’re gonna roll with that story, then I might as well regale you with the total excitement of the situation.  You.  In the back.  Quit snoring.  This is cool stuff.

MRI 1

See? Cool stuff. I know, I know….not so much.

Hang on anyway, because I’m going to need your input here.

Remember when The Man sent me for MRI #2?  In case you’re hung over and not exactly comprehending stuff today, that’s what you see here.  Cool stuff, right?  I THINK SO.  Anywho, no big surprise, I’ve got chondromalacia in this knee too.  YEAH, NO KIDDING.  *As a side note, the guy who was scanning me, (hehehe, no worries, hubs was standing right next to him while I was getting scanned), noticed that I have a hole in my shin bone (see arrow).  While sadly, that isn’t the cause of all my troubles, I think it’s a neat little bit of useless trivia.

“I’ll take useless trivia for $800 Alex.”

“For $800.  What would you find if you performed an MRI on Black Dog’s right knee?”

Jeopardy

Yes, one day Black Dog parts will make it to national television.

Where was I again?  Oh yeah, The Man.  So he calls me a few days after the scan, tells me about the chono, chrondo, WHATEVER it is I’ve got going on in there, and tells me he’s going to have me see his partner – from here on out known as The Man #2 – for a consult and possible – wait for it – “arthroscopic debridement.”  Sounds pretty damn impressive, doesn’t it?  I THINK SO.

elmo

“Ooooooohhhhh, impressive.”

So while I wait to go see The Man #2, I have a quandry on my hands.  My personal voices of reason – Kellie, Nicole, Lisa, and Rae – have already weighed in and told me I was out of my mind to even THINK about running again.  Hubs and I see it this way – how much more damage can I do getting a couple of runs in over the next couple of weeks, since not running at all since November hasn’t done squat to make things any better?  Now, I’m not talking heading out for any 10 milers, just a couple of easy 2-3 mile jaunts.  Such is my current conundrum.

thinking baby

Canun, conan, co what???

This is where you come in.  Do I keep on faking it on a bike, or do I dust off the Brooks and go back to my happy place, even if it is only temporarily?  (We’re only talking until my next appointment in about a week, when we find out about possible surgery).  I’m curious to see what you all think.  And also see how fast I can actually go when I have to run away from my own personal Jiminy Crickets when they come screaming after me – right ladies?

Princesses1

 

Enjoy the ride.

Let me know where you weigh in on the debate – stick to the bike or hit the road?  Do you think I’d be an idiot to satisfy my severely depleted mileage addiction?  Let’s hear it!

And The Results Are…..

….not in.

Yeah…..soooooo……remember when I said I was dreading what The Man was going to tell me when I went back to see him about my knees?  Well, I’m still not really sure exactly WHAT happened.

Huh?

Yeah, that was me.  Pigtails and all.

I think a lot of this is my own fault.  I’ve had right knee issues for SO long that I almost don’t remember what it’s like to NOT have pain.  After Wine and Dine, when pain suddenly showed up in the LEFT knee, I figured that was the one I better bring up first when I went in for my appointment.  Now, I DID make sure to tell The Man that both these freakin’ things have been a pain in my dupa – so to speak – but the left knee pain was a newer occurrence.

After doing exactly what he told me to do – and pretty much doing nothing that he said I shouldn’t, the left knee is feeling decent.  Not perfect, but decent.  The original pain in the ass right one though, well, let’s just say I am NOT a happy Black Dog.  Or Nemo either.

mad nemo

I am one pissed off clownfish.  No joke.

After a lot of blahblahblahblahblahblah, I just busted out with a I HAVE A HALF MARATHON IN NOVEMBER.  WHAT THE FRIG DO I HAVE TO DO TO BE READY FOR IT??!!  I knew I was in trouble when I was pretty much answered with the same look as Boo.  Then things got interesting when I heard I may be able to run 2-3 miles for the rest of my life.  ‘Scuse me?  What was that?  2-3 MILES???  ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR EVER-LOW-MILEAGE MIND?!?  I hate to point out the obvious Doc, but 2-3 miles ain’t 13.1.  Or 26.2.  DUH.  I think that was about the time I busted out the S word – no, the OTHER S word – and he knew I was no longer riding the Downtown Train on the Conservative Treatment Line.  Thanks Doc, but this girl is derailing this ride.  With glee.

Heeeeeere's anesthesia!

Heeeeeere’s anesthesia!

Not just yet though.  First, it’s a return trip to MRI Land to check for a meniscus tear – which, let’s face it, we’re 99.9% is NOT the case.  Simply because that would be too simple a fix.  And I never do ANYTHING simple.  EVER.  Then it’s see what the radiologist thinks, see what The Man thinks, and then possibly see what The Man’s partner thinks.  There was mention of possible microfracture surgery, but I’m pretty sure there’s another, much less scary sounding option out there.  Which I only mention as another runDisney fan-friend of mine had said alternate surgery done and was back to running after eight weeks.  And get this – he had THE SAME EXACT DIAGNOSIS AS ME.  Plus, why should my sister be the only chick in this family with bionic parts?

Whaaaatttttt?????

Whaaaatttttt?????

So, as the saying goes, we shall see.  MRI Part Two is tomorrow, and we should have the radiology report sometime next week.  Then, who knows.  Stay tuned.  This could get quite interesting.  Or ugly.  Or just plain downright hilarious when I really go off the ledge.  Jumping.  And screaming hysterically.  Wearing a cape.  Because I will just have to disagree with Miz Edna this time around.

Yes, Edna, yes.  Capes.

Yes, Edna, yes. Capes it shall be.

Enjoy the ride.

Have you had to make a decision about surgery that you weren’t 100% positive about?  How did it work out?  Any regrets?  Did you say anything embarrassing while you were knocked out?  What was it??  Tell me!!!  I won’t tell anyone, I swear!

 

Knobby Knee, I CAN Live Without You

Yes, I have actually named these joints that are slowly but surely driving me insane.

Who needs you anyway?!?

Friggin’ GD things….

It’s starting to feel like I cannot catch a break.  I’ll go days with no to minimal aches or pain, and then I’ll have a day or two where I just feel like plopping myself down on the floor and having me a good old crying jag.  Like today.

Just. Make. It Stop.

Just. Make. It Stop. PLEASE.

Since my schedule has been a bit insane, I’ve been working out at home more.  I’ve been able to get some really good weight and ab work in, but the cardio isn’t quite the same as I can do at the gym.  The Wonder Mutt can give me a pretty good walk around our lake, but I like to shake things up with some bike work as well.  I’ll go between the stationary and recumbent bikes, rotating between low and high resistant runs.  Saturday, I jumped on the stationary and set it for a medium resistance program.  Thirty minutes later, I had worked up a pretty good sweat and felt like I had accomplished a decent calorie burn.  Then…

dun-dun-duuuun

I spent the afternoon walking around at a local flea market.  Twenty minutes in, my right knee was on fire and my right hip was screaming at me.  WHAT. THE. YOU KNOW WHAT.  Now, I’ve pretty much reserved Saturday as my only day to party like a rock star. (Girl’s gotta let loose every so often, right?)  So after a cocktail and a glass of wine, and a begrudgingly taken dose of ibuprofen, the pain had miraculously disappeared.  It’s not exactly my recommendation of a good pain killing method, but hey, it worked!

Good for high cholesterol too!

Good for high cholesterol too!

Fast forward to Sunday.  I worked out at home again and decided to take Wonder Mutt for our usual jaunt around the hood.  Before we even started, the left knee this time – because damn, why should the left one feel left out? – felt bruised, like someone had kicked the crap out of it.  After a couple of Mutt miles, it felt no better.  So now I sit here with an ice pack slowly freezing my skin, on the verge of tears, wondering if I am ever going to get my running mojo back again.  Thankfully, these moments of moroseness haven’t happened often, but it IS like a black cloud I’ve stuffed in the back of my brain, that just keeps threatening to hit me with an unrelenting downpour.  I have yet to actually say it, but here goes…WHAT IF I CAN’T RUN AGAIN?

scared timon

I’m trying to make light of my fear with crazy Timon, but I really AM scared about all of this.  As with many of us, running isn’t just a thing we do to keep in shape.  My ortho asked me if running was a passion of mine.  I almost laughed as I said, “No doc.  It’s an OBSESSION.”  So what do you do when faced with what may or may not be a life-changing condition?

questioning-Person

What do I do???

It’s like a kick in the stomach every time I go to the gym and see people running, lunging, squatting, jumping, and basically doing everything I’ve been told not to for now.  I’ve been really good about following doctor’s orders, doing what I’m supposed to and keeping away from what I’m not.  I guess that’s why I’m so freaked out about why I’m still occasionally having so much pain.  I have another three weeks or so before I go back to the doctor, and I’m slightly terrified as to what he’s going to tell me.  Now I know this condition can be fixed somewhat with surgery, and at this point, as scary as surgery sounds, I don’t think I would completely object to it.  After all, I still have a score to settle after last year’s disastrous Splash and Dash/Wine and Dine Half Marathon.  And I so do NOT want to be dealing with knee pain at the first annual gathering of Team Can-Am, – aka Kellie, Nicole, Lisa, and Rae.  There is just too much shenanigan-making to be done.

shenanigans

So this is my plea to cyberworld:  if you’ve ever found yourself in a position like mine, please feel free to enlighten me as to how you managed to get through it – if you did – and how you managed to not completely lose your mind in the process.  If you did.  If mind-loss is just a mandatory part of it, then at least I’ll know, right?

Girlfriend ain't got no time fo this!

Go away Knobby.  Just GO AWAY.

 

Enjoy the ride.

Have you suffered an injury or condition that prevented you from running for any considerable length of time?  Were you able to get back to it?  How long did it take?  Any advice to keep from going completely out my mind?

Progress. I Think.

Ten months in the gym and I haven’t smacked anyone yet.  Now that’s what I call progress!Gym Bitch

Okay well, there IS that.  But other than annoying non-weight rackers, the weird-distracting-arm-circles-while-on-the-bike-guy, stinky chic, and the insufferable WHY CAN’T YOU JUST WIPE OFF THE FREAKIN’ MACHINE WHEN YOU’RE DONE SWEATING ALL OVER KINGDOM COME people, my return to gymdom has actually been pretty enjoyable.  Now that’s not to say I haven’t had some downer moments, especially lately, but I’m doing my best to keep a good attitude.  After all, at least I still CAN work out.  Just like this guy.

funny-puppy-gym-weights

Yes, fuzzy butt. I do.

Ever notice how much time you spend bending your knees, especially when you can’t?  Per doctor’s orders, no bending the patellas more than 90 degrees, and especially, no more than 30 degrees when doing leg extensions.  Talk about actually having to pay attention to what you’re doing.  And if you know me at all, then you know my attention span doesn’t exactly fall in the spectacular department.  But as long as I can still work up a sweat and feel like I’m accomplishing SOMETHING, then I’m happy with that.  Accomplish that something without actually dropping a weight on an irritating, self-absorbed gym rat? Now that’s what I call a WIN.

Victory-is-mine-294x300

And really.  Who can be irritated when after more than FOUR YEARS, the hubby has been able to consistently run WITHOUT FOOT PAIN?  Yes, that’s right, NO FOOT PAIN.  Let me say it again in case you didn’t get it the first ten times – NO FOOT PAIN!  Seriously peoples, you have no idea how big a marvelous, stupendous, spectacular deal that is.  Even the achy legs he has after running outside yesterday is worth every bit of lactic acid buildup.  (Between you and me, I think it may have had something to do with the fancy new shoes he got on sale at Shoebuy for $75.)

Ed's Brooks

Ooooooooh, pretty.

Did I mention I spent half an hour on the phone the other day with The Man’s nurse?  Let me tell ya, that woman is a plethora of all things knee knowledge.  She spent all that time explaining to me why we’re traversing the road of conservatism with my knees.  In a nutshell, I need to alleviate the inflammation.  Then – and stick with me here a minute – I need to actually INFLAME them all over again, but at a more “manageable” level.  Remember I told you the back of my patellas were all chewed up and ripping up the cartilage behind them?  Well, I actually need to let them do that.  Why in the name of all that is ibuprofen, do you need to DO that Black Dog, you may ask?  Because.  If I let my body “plane out” the cartilage/patella naturally – instead of surgically – then it will do that to the specific angles that it needs, whereas a surgeon might not be able to do so.  Basically, surgery would be a best guess scenario versus Mother Nature knows what she’s doing kind of deal.

Yeah I got this.  And this lynx too.

Yeah I got this. And this lynx too.

Patience is called for in this scenario.  E-GADS.  I’m more of an immediate gratification kind of gal.  (That’s why I can almost get on board with Amazon Prime’s two-day shipping.  Almost.)  I need these knees to be fixed YESTERDAY.  Hear that, Mama of All Things Wise and Furry?  YES-TER-DAY.  I promise not to over-water the plants, under-water the flowers, or stomp out any bugs.  Except the roaches.  All bets are off with those nasty, nuclear-holocaust-surviving-creepers-of-ick.  Just get these suckers better.  Fast.  And feel free to take out a few of these ick monsters along the way.

Not a chance scumhead.

Not a chance scumhead.

So if patience is what I need to have, then patient I will be.  I almost sound like I mean that, don’t I?  In the meantime, please feel free to keep me distracted/entertained/pinned down and beaten until the parts have decided to forgive me for years of punishment.  After all, what does one do once one has healed but start the beat-down all over again?  Hmmm, sounds curiously like the definition of runner…

 

Enjoy the ride.

Ever find being patient more difficult than long runs or speed work?  Are you a killer of all things green?  When is the last time you felt the urge to throw a dumb bell at someone?