Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Road. To Recovery. Not the Cormac McCarthy Abomination...

Back on the Road
It has officially been 2 weeks since the Seattle Marathon, during which my suspension went out at about mile 21 or so. After doing my chores around the house today (I'm such a loyal house elf!) I could barely resist the urge to put on the mud shoes and go for a run in the pouring rain, but somehow I managed to show restraint (there's a first for everything) and instead pulled the old neglected Fuji off the hooks and took her out for a little 12 mile spin from The Shack to Matthews Beach and back.

One way to assure solitude on the Burke Gilman Trail is to ride it during a winter monsoon! It was actually glorious to ride through the wet leaves and puddles and never see another soul. Truly glorious. Of course, the Fuji is in desperate need of a tune up, and my riding is horrible and hesitant. But still, it's exercise.

The verdict? 12 mile at around 20 miles per hour and the killer climb back up to The Shack and no apparent problems. Great, right?

I'm not so sure. Being a lifetime skeptic, I have at least a little bit of me that was hoping there was some muscle pain after the ride. Why does it only hurt when I run on it? Is it really as simple as the iliopsoas strain Dr. Hilarious thinks it is?

We'll see. Next up: an easy 3 miles tomorrow on The Boringest Oval on Earth.

In Other News
  • The Seattle Mariners are threatening to play actual baseball next year. This particular know-it-all fan and armchair critic thinks they are now only one Jason Bay signing away from contending for the American League pennant.
  • Yours truly is going to spend the next 3-4 months trying to actually get Northlake Runners up and, well, running. If you read this blog, you should read the other and help get the numbers going. Once spring hits I hope we'll be holding regular group runs. Also keep on the lookout for an Ebook of local running routes and recommendations...T-shirts and stickers coming soon, too!
  • I'm a fan of beer in general, but I want to just remind everyone that it is winter ale season, and if you haven't had a few Snow Cap Ales from Pyramid Brewing, you are behind schedule. Snow Cap is the best winter ale. Sorry Deschutes and Redhook (Jubelale and Winterhook, respectively). Pyramid makes one truly good beer, and this is it. Rumor is that I am running low at the moment.
  • I read somewhere that ink jet ink is the single most expensive liquid a regular consumer can purchase. After refilling all three household printers today, I believe it. What kind of racket is this?
  • This morning the following picture come across my screen saver slide show, and realizing it was but mid-December, I wept quietly in the dark corner of my office:

Monday, December 14, 2009

Around Alone

Just in case any of you are out there looking for something to do with your gobs of leisure time, be sure to follow the adventure of 16 year old Jessica Watson, who is attempting to become the youngest person to sail solo, unassisted, non-stop, around the world.

Her blog is fascinating. She is so clearly a kid (she recently installed safety straps down below for her stuffed animal "crew" in anticipation of the rough conditions in the Southern Ocean) but she is handling the fear, loneliness, and boredom with the sort of honesty and self-consciousness that you wouldn't expect from someone so young.

What were you doing when you were 16? Not this.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

It's Hip to be Hurt

More adventures with Dr. Hilarious

After my total train wreck at the Seattle Marathon last week, I went to see Dr. Hilarious (now sporting the Daughtry shaved-head, full beard look...not good on anyone but Daughtry) about my Hip pain.

He asked me the usual question: "Why do you keep running?"

But then he very professionally launched into his 5 minute diagnosis, which involved torquing my leg around and pushing and pulling on my feet and legs:

Q: Does this hurt?
A: If does when you f-ing yank on it like that, yes. Yes it does.

Q: How bad is the pain?
A: It hurts just about as much as listening to Hannah Montana, but not as much as listening to Lady Gaga.

He poked around a little more and isolated the pain point, eliminating some other possible problems. He seemed satisfied that it wasn't some internal organ going on strike and that nothing was broken or totally destroyed.

You gotta love it when your doctor says, "This is the first time I've ever seen a patient actually manage to do this. Good job! You hear about this injury in med school, but you never see it. Awesome. You injured the iliopsoas muscle in your hip!"

He seemed very excited.

The iliopsis is one of the big core muscles that you use all the time. Sitting, standing, walking, running...everything. And like the hernia I suffered before, this is an injury that occurs late in training after the other muscles have fatigued and given up. The leg muscles get tired, the ab muscles get tired, and they all figure that big old muscle that is keeping you upright can take over and hold things together for a while. This explains why it was sore after training runs of 18 miles or more and why everything felt great in the race until mile 20 or so.

I'm getting a little sick of this whole injury thing, but at least this one doesn't require Dr. (Do No) Harm to cut into me. What it requires is resting the muscle (impossible unless you are floating in zero gravity, by the way) and some investigation into my running stride and my shoes.

And like I said I was going to do before, I need to actually suck it up and do some core strength training. I thought my rippling, chiseled six-pack abs were enough, but apparently I need to do more. We can all get together an bounce quarters off my stomach sometime this spring.

In the meantime, off we go to the podiatrist! I can't help but entertain images of clunking around in corrective shoes and leg braces. Run Forrest, Run!

So the good doc charged out of the room after writing me a referral and went to deal with his 30th patient with a cold who thought they were dying from swine flu. Awesome.

Useless Data Department
  • In the past 365 days I have logged 965 miles of running, burning 74,000 calories.
  • There are 8 pair of running shoes in my closet, but only really like 3 of them. One is brand new and will likely never see a single mile of running. Why do I keep them?
  • Of the 90 students who started the term in my English 101 classes, 50 submitted a final paper.
  • I have looked at the Fuji - currently hanging in my office - 24 times in the last week and thought: I should really ride that thing more often.
  • I have taken the Fuji off the hooks and out for a ride 0 times in the last 4 months.
  • I have recently noticed my speech habit of saying "I mean..." to start sentences and when I reach 5 instances of using the phrase in one conversation I punish myself by listening to a podcast of MathDude.

With Owen pushing, it looks like I might get some trail shoes and take to the mountains for some of my next training plan. Seems like a decent idea, and maybe it will keep me from injury? Who knows. But I don't mind getting dirty once in a while.

Also Upcoming...

Work has started on a new running club up here on the northend of the lake. Look for a website, a book of running routes, and some Facebook presence soon! I'll expect both of my readers to join us, of course.

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If you are receiving this message between June 19th and July 7th, 2010, GVB will be unavailable while he travels with The Colleague and several students in Kenya. Beeeeeeep.