Friday, June 2, 2017

Feeling Groovy. Six Months Down, YEARS to go!

Bolder Boulder 2017
June 1 was the six month surgery-versary for my knee. Better than that, it marks about six weeks of consistent running. Nothing incredible, mind you, just a steady flow of extremely slow miles run in fear of the next step.

Yeah, it's true. The last six weeks have been run in a constant fear that the next step would be the one that caused SERIOUS knee damage. That, however, is something that has come to an almost conclusive end. About a week ago, it dawned on me that I run so slow (most miles at 12:30 + pace) because I am scared of going faster, scared of pushing it. So, I looked back for some reinforcement.

I had just run 9 miles without incident and logged a 40 mile week. If my knee was going to give out, surely that would have been a good time, right? Well, it didn't. Next came the Bolder Boulder, Six point Two miles of asphalt and concrete in the People's Republic of Boulder, surely that would be the breaking point. It wasn't.

In fact the Bolder Boulder showed that I could push a bit and still be okay. Everyone in our group: Ryan, Brian, Mason all set personal records. I was elated to be thirty minutes off my BB PR at 1:06:33. Up until the BB10K, I had yet to run a mile under 11 minutes. On Memorial Day, I strung together 6 of them, with a best of 10:11. I don't ever remember being happier at a BB10K finish line.


Six Months Ago
I realize that this is not the story of quickness or a comeback. It is, however, the story of seeing a hope and a future for this 50 year running career. And frankly, I was getting a bit worried about that.

Life changes. The 30 and 40 mile weeks seem pale in comparison to the good old days. Ha! The good old days. While organizing some logbooks, I found a stretch of weeks from 1991 where the mileage went: 101,105, 107, 82, 101, 106, 100, 71, 109, 120, 100, 89, 104, 106, 100, 82, 100. Holy crap! That's 1683 miles in seventeen weeks! And no injuries. Incredible. THAT was a while ago.

For now, I'll take 30-40 going on 50 as I build for the New York Marathon in five months. At least, at this point, I see that as something that can happen. When I was scared, I didn't.

I still feel the knee. Most days the discomfort (I hesitate to call it pain) is a one on the ten scale. Occasionally it peaks up to a three. Heck, most days, the rest of my body feels worse than my knee as I come trudgingly closer to 110,000 total miles (that's 120 miles away). 

It's been a long trail. Still nowhere near the end.

Run on! 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

One Step at a Time!

Yeah, that's right. I ran 22 miles last week. This long period (almost six months) of languishing in the depths of non-runningness has been brutal. But with the help of the ever incredible Dr. Carly May, I seem to be back on the path to being a runner again. I've been dry needled, adjusted, ART'd, stretched, jackhammered, and more. I'm doing knee exercises, hip exercises, working my quads, and who knows what else. It's slowly working.

The highlight of the week was 5 miles of revenge on the Highline Canal. I say revenge simply because it was there, on the Highline six months ago, that I knew I was done running until my knee could be fixed. So, even at a turtle-like 12 minute pace, revenge was sweet.

The best part, however, has been running in my favorite place, the Cherry Creek State Park. I've missed the trails and especially the woods. I've missed the familiarity of running in that fantastic escape from the surrounding hustle and bustle of the city. I've missed running in my backyard, my home away from home.

Another plus has been being able to run with my youngest son Ryan a few days a week. He goes a lot slower than he would probably like in order to run with the old man and I appreciate it. He's always been a runner (ran a 6:22 in the 1st grade), but he never quite found his place with the sport. Maybe now. Who knows, right?

My knee's not perfect. Far from it. While it doesn't really hurt much (maybe 2 on the ten scale), it feels unstable but not really fall over unstable. It's like I know it is there and it isn't quite right yet. The discomfort is outweighed by the joy of being back out there. AND, I see improvement almost daily. So, as Kilian Jornet says, "I think my big moment is always tomorrow."

See you tomorrow. Run on.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Progress!

Not my knee, but I was tempted today to take a picture
I had my second visit with the amazing Dr. Carly today. I'd call my feeling, as I left, "guarded optimism." After months of not running, the word I see there is optimism.

During my first visit ten days ago, she (like me) was a bit taken back by the lack of progress my knee had seen. So, she gave me the works: Dry Needling (with added electronics), adjusting, ART (active release therapy), stretching, exercises, you name it. Then said, "you can't run for two weeks." What?   The issue seems to not just be my knee, but everything around my knee which all is appearing to be way too weak. I was sent home with some exercises. I'm not good with exercises, I confess, but this time I have been diligent.

Friday I walked six miles easily without pain or discomfort (by the way, I have run six miles THOUSANDS of time but never walked that far). Saturday I was getting around REALLY well. Sunday I went fishing and did a little scampering on a sandy hill with no discomfort. Yesterday, I walked the stairs at home like a real live person, and look Ma, no hands. So I was ready for my visit. Maybe a little cocky even.

Today, more needles, some cool mini-jackhammer thing, some big-time hip flexing and many compliments about how well I was doing. On my post session walk, my good knee felt worse than my "bad" one. SO...... I hope to run next week. I want to make sure there are no setbacks when I get back into it, so I might be being a little overly cautious (and I'm okay with that).

Send me a good vibe if you can spare one and run on....

Thursday, March 9, 2017

It's Billy Yang's Fault: Pity Party Over (FINALLY)

My last real run was back in September, the 24th I believe. It was a very sore, almost crippling 5 miles on the Highline Canal. Since that day, almost a half a year ago, I have run about 30 miles. I have gained 20 pounds. I have blamed my doctor, poor physical therapy, old age, bad luck, and just about anything or anyone I can blame. I'm done. It's all on me from here on out.

My first real run, if you want to call my 13+ minute a mile shuffle that, since the December 1st surgery, was 2 1/2 miles on February 16th. I really thought, first off, it would be sooner than that. I mean, football players get scoped and are back on the field in three weeks. And I am traversing nothing. It's straight line city, baby. So why did it take so long? I can answer that in three words: sixty-five years old. So, let's attack this thing like just that: someone who has been on the planet for sixty-five years.....with wisdom.

First, I will stop bitching about my surgeon. Mindset is everything and frankly, while I think she did a token job/went through the motions, I have to get past that. So, that's it, surgeon rant over (and it didn't really begin because I could REALLY elaborate on that one).

Next, I need help, so I will get some. I've tried to do what I have done for almost a half a century; cure my running ills myself. Well, after a very frustrating last 2+ months, we're starting with the wonderful Dr. Carly May tomorrow morning. We'll see where it goes from there.

You see, I don't have much pain, if any. My biggest issue that turned today's run into a walk is support. I just feel like the thing is going to give out. Maybe it's screwed up big time, maybe it just need to get stronger, maybe it just needs some K-Tape for some kind of support. Carly will know. She'll also be great to suggest the best strengthening exercises and some other PT like stuff. 

Sadly, I have spent the last few months being complacent with being a partial/non runner. I avoided my magazines, stopped watching running videos, and basically tried to deny who I am. Then, somehow tonight, I found Billy Yang's latest movie, Life in a Day (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYgcTJBLwsU). Then I found his 2016 recap. Then I found Jim Walmsley, Kilian Jornet, and then it was all over. I recaptured my love. Just like in a corny movie, my running pranced toward me in slow motion. I ran towards it in gimpy slow, slow motion. We embraced (you had me at hello).

Last year this "issue" cost me my running the San Francisco Marathon, the Squamish 50K, and the NYC Marathon on my 65th birthday. And not just the experiences, but like $600 bucks! And frankly, I'm sick of this. I have run almost 110,000 miles and I've got news, I'm not finished by a long shot.

There's much to do. My appointment is tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it. I'm looking forward to running for real again. I'm looking to forward to taking my life back. 

Thanks Billy. Run on.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Six Week Knee Update. Guarded Optimism

It's been six weeks since my knee surgery and I am, what you might call a Guarded Optimist. Watch the video below for details....

Link to Video

Monday, January 2, 2017

2017. Gotta be Better Than This!

In keeping with my New Years recap habit, I am posting here today without much to recap. I did get in 1689 miles this year, which is certainly not my worst year, but not very satisfying as I was on track for 2500. Injuries kept me out of the San Francisco Marathon, the Squamish 50K, and the New York City Marathon. Lots of $$$ down the tube.

I found it though. It was August 15th, two days after a hard 12 mile run that I made the following notation in my training log: "back of left knee sore, stiff, non-supportive." The next day I missed my first day of running for 2016. After that, it was all downhill (more on that at http://runspittle.blogspot.com/2016/10/good-news-bad-news-bad-news-and.html).

On December 1, I had knee surgery. The proposed microfracture surgery was not performed as it was not deemed to be the best solution to my issues. SO, I was cleaned, tightened up and sent on my merry way (or not so merry way, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-Hl-ENbuck). Since then it was been ice, elevation and exercises.

Yesterday (the 1st) was my target for my first post-surgery run. It didn't happen. Instead I went for a three mile walk. Not very satisfying to say the least. The knee just isn't ready.

Swelling is down. Flexibility is up. Pain is minimal. Instability is the biggest culprit at this point, so I'll keep working it in the hope that within the next few weeks a real live run is possible. After that, we'll see. 

Run on (and get in a few for me).