Thursday, June 26, 2008

One More Week Passed

Well, it's now been two weeks since the accident that put me on the shelf. I have a few lingering aches and pains, but overall things are progressing pretty well. In fact, I just got back from a three day trip to Northern New Jersey on business and was able to eat and survive the trip well.

Right now my biggest problems are continued soreness in my right had (no doubt caused by some bruising) and my teeth. My front teeth are held in right now with a little orthodontic wire. I can't bite with them, and eating anything cold results in pain. I'll be making a dentist appointment soon so I can get that fixed too. The good news is that the gum tissue that was missing last week appears to be filling itself in!

I'm waiting out my time now. Two more weeks and I should be back on my feet again!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Four More Weeks

Went to the doc yesterday and got my stitches removed! The difference is night and day from a week ago! It's amazing what modern medicine can do!

Actually, I need to give a lot of the credit for post accident care to my wife. She was the one that religiously made sure that I kept my scrapes and abrasions clean and gooped up. Every day she cleaned the abrasions with a water/betadine mixture and then applied the bacitracin zinc ointment to my face and hands. The transformation was amazing! Here is before:


And here is after:


Now for the bad news. The doc is still worried about the jaw break. Right now everything is healing up nicely. Nothing had to be done with the break because nothing was displaced. But, he is worried that the repetitive jarring caused by running could cause some displacement in the fracture, so I need to wait four more weeks before I can start running again. I guess that means that I'll be putting this training cycle on hold.

Over the next couple of weeks I'll be adjusting my diet to deal with the lack of exercise. As soon as I can, I'm also going to get back on the ergometer to work some calories off. I'm hoping that I can get going here in a week or two.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Getting Better

I'm starting to feel much better these days. In fact, much of the facial road rash is actually gone. The spots that were scraped deeper are still scabbed over, but my face has been peeling for a couple of days now. I was actually able to shave all except my lip yesterday, so I look a little less sketchy.

I also spoke to my doctor last night. He said that the stitches should be able to come out today or tomorrow. I'm hoping that I'll be cleared to start running again sometime soon. My dream would be to be able to start the half marathon training program with Cal Coast this upcoming weekend and get back on the marathon recovery track. We'll see what happens.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Down for a While

Okay - so I was trying to be real careful with my running - trying to make sure I didn't overtrain and injure myself. Well - unfortunately it happened - not running, but on my bicycle.

After the marathon I thought I would turn a new leaf in my fitness regimen - biking to work a couple of times per week. I was on my way home from work, when it happened. I was riding along the Upper Back Bay Trail when I was cutoff at a trail merge. I immediately grabbed my brakes and instinctively turned my wheel, and promptly went over the handlebars. I managed to stop the pavement with my face, knuckles, and knees.

In reality, it was much more serious than that. I remeber hitting the ground. Someone came up to me and asked if I was okay. I could already see blood running quite profusely all over the ground. I asked for some help taking my bike up to the street a few yards away. I called my wife to let her know we were going to need to go to the hospital (I was 3 miles away from home). I remember looking up at the Marriott Suites Hotel. I remember the building moving.

The next thing I recall was 3 hours later in surgery. The plastic surgeon was putting the last of the 200 stitches in my lip.

A later CT scan showed that despite the concussion, there was no bleeding in my brain. I did have a non-displaced fracture of the mandible. I have three teeth that are now bonded to see if they are going to stay in. But all in all, my helmet saved my life. I hit with enough force to break my helmet, but a couple of days later, I'm at least here. In some pain, but otherwise healthy and happy.

I'm being told that I can't really do much for the next 3 or 4 weeks. I'm on a soft diet until my jaw and teeth resolve. It's going to be interesting shaving while my face heals though....

I'll post here every now and then, but things will probably be quiet on the running front for the next few weeks.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I can Feel my Knees!

Today was an easy 4 miles on the Higdon recovery plan. Evidently I didn't go easy enough! I did a four mile run up the San Diego Creek trail in the evening. I had to work pretty hard to keep my pace down (sound like a broken record?). Everything on the run went fine otherwise. This is the first real distance and only my second day of running since the marathon. It felt good to get back out on the trail and get the sweat flowing!

Now that I'm back and resting I'm really surprised how stiff my joints are! I did all of my training miles without any muscle or joint problems, but a little 4 mile run has me hobbling! Well - tonight calls for a short 2 miler. I think I'll bike to work today and then do a short, slow 2 miler tonight to see if I can get loosened up.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Back to Running!

Yay!!

Well, last evening I laced up my shoes and got back to running for the first time since the marathon. Most of the pains from the "Sojourn in San Diego" were gone, and my blisters have healed to the point that I am able to walk in sandals again.

I'm adopting Hal Higdon's Novice Recovery Plan (http://www.halhigdon.com/postmarathon/postnov.html). His plan is really a 5 week plan starting at the finish gate. With the blisters I suffered from, I was concerned that I was going to have to miss a portion of the recovery. One of the cool things about his plans is that he has a Forum that he is quite active on (http://www.trainingpeaks.com/halforumslogin.asp). A post to the forum and the man himself responded the same day! Turns out that week zero is really a flexible week anyways, so I was advised to step into week 1 whenever my physical condition allowed me to. So, last night, I stepped into week 1 with an easy 2 miles on the CDM track.

It felt strange to get my legs moving again. I kept it slow and easy, taking 20 minutes for the 8 laps. This morning now, my legs feel quite fatigued! Today I get to run an easy 4 miles. I think I head down to lower back bay and put in my time this afternoon.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

One Week Later

It's one week since Rock n Roll. I'm sitting here thinking about where I was last Sunday at 8:53 AM. I sitting here eager to get back to running, but can't until the blisters heal. There is soo much to talk about - I'm afraid this is going to be a long blog.

I wanted to memorialize some of my post marathon thoughts and feelings in this entry. As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, I thought that when I finished I would be overwhelmed by emotion. Instead, my thoughts almost immediately turned to getting my cell phone and calling my family. I was sure my wife would be very concerned as I was an hour and a half late. I was right. Being a first time experience for all of us, my family had spent the last half hour of my race at the medical tent trying to see if I had been injured and sent to the hospital. I think they were relieved (as was I) when I called. At that point I think everyone breathed a little easier.

That's when it kind of occurred to me what had just transpired. By this time I was in sandals and a dry shirt. I had prepared some Biotest Surge as a recovery drink, but I found it interesting that my body was not interested in eating or drinking any more at that point. I had heard and read how a lot of people become ravenous once they finished. I tried to drink a bottle of water, but could only get about a third of it down. The organizers had done a great job in the finish area with food and drink. But, none of it looked very appetizing at that point in time. I shuffled out of the finish area and found my family waiting at the gate. Reunion!

I'm not sure how long it took to get back to the hotel. We had decided earlier the best thing to do was to leave the car parked at the hotel and take the trolley. That meant that we had to take a bus to the parking area and then walk another 1/4 mile to the trolley stop. Lines for the buses were loong - longer than the lines for the porta potties in the morning. I found that the most comfortable position while waiting was in a semi squat position. So whenever we stopped, I would "assume the position". By this time I had become quite excited and talkative about my experience!

The rest of the ride home was pretty uneventful. We stopped in San Clemente at the Rip Curl Outlet and at Pedro's Tacos. Now - if you are after some good soft tacos - you need to check out http://www.pedrostacos.com/index.html. By this time I was really feeling physical pain. I could barely walk. My quads were painful. My knees were painful. My quads were painful. The soles of my feet were on fire. But, I was also getting ravenously hungry. I chalked it all up to the experience.

I remember the relief at getting home. On the ride back home, I noticed how sticky my legs were - no doubt caused by the accelerade that I ran through at several points on the course. For the first time I realized what a salt encrusted mess I was. It felt good to shower. I quaffed a couple of Motrin for my knees and hips (by now, my hips were starting to feel sore as well). Then I sat down, had a yogurt, two eggs, some pita bread, some turkey bacon... you get the idea.

The next few days were all about physical pain. I had to travel on Monday. I was barely mobile. My calves were causing me absolute agony. My quads were spent. My lower back was tired and slightly sore. All of the joints in my body from my hips on down were sore. But, of most concern were the blisters on the soles of my feet. During the run, blisters had formed right next to the balls of my feet. At this point, the blister on my right foot had started bleeding. I couldn't put weight on either foot. Then, while roaming the airport in Phoenix, I felt something that alarmed me. The blister on my right foot had popped. Agony. I made it to my final destination and got some band aids and antibiotic cream to deal with the situation.

I was able to shuffle around for the next couple of days. Slowly the muscles started feeling better. By Wednesday, all of my muscles were much, much better. Then, agony again as the blister on my left foot let loose. Not only that, the skin covering the blister then tore. Just as my right foot was getting better, now my left foot would put me in agony for a couple of days.

By Friday, I was finally able to put some socks on and walk around with an adjusted gait wearing cross trainers. This meant that my recovery training that I was banking on was off the table. No way am I going to risk a knee or hip injury at this point.

So, here I sit a week later still nursing the reminder of last weekend on the sole of my left foot. Each day it gets a little better - I am hoping that I can get back to running some time this week.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

View from the Back of the Pack, Part 2

Continued from Part 1....

What happened next can only be described as a complete and total meltdown. I was still feeling good - heart rate about 150, breathing well, still sweating. I still had plenty of calories (2 gel packs plus 200 more calories in Ultrafuel). But, I had this nagging feeling in my legs. That of exhaustion. My quads were starting to rebel. At the pace that I was at, they didn't want to work. All of a sudden, my heart rate started soaring and my legs just said no more. I slowed to a walk and tried to regroup. I struggled through miles 14 and 15 trying to figure out what to do to get my legs moving again.

At mile 16, I experienced something that I had never had happen to me before. I came up over the Claremont St. bridge and got my first view of Mission Bay. Shit! What was that little tower way over there? Sea World? What?!?! Those bridges? You mean I have to still go that far?!?! And even when I get to Sea World I'll still have 4 miles to go!?!?! I moved ahead slower and slower. Mile 17 passed. Hey - that's the 5 hour pace group that just ran past me!!!!!! My brain was now telling me that my body had had enough. I had never had emotions like I was going through at this point. Physically I still had enough in me to move forward, albeit at a numbingly slow rate, but now my brain was doubting my ability to do this. I tried to mentally regroup. I was ready to sit down and cry. Instead, I opted for the next best option. To hell with the bands, sights and experience. I popped the iPod into my ears, closed my eyes, took a deep breath and put one foot in front of the other.

The next 6 miles were the toughest thing I've ever mentally and physically had to do. At times I would try to jog, but it seemed that whenever I tried, the street gnomes would pop out of the pavement with their hammers and start pounding my calves. I was now suffering some pretty wicked muscle cramps. My quads were exhausted. My brain was saying quit. I don't remember a whole lot of this portion of the race. I do remember some more rolling hills through Pacific Beach. I remember a lot of the residents out cheering us on. I remember a point where a water station had run out of water - the residents were filling cups with their own garden hoses! What heroes! I remember a water station manned by a bunch of USC alums (Go Trojans!) It was somewhere in here too that I fell back on my Biology degree and remembered that the issue with the cramps could be resolved by getting some water into those muscles. To do that I needed to change the salt concentration between my muscle cells and blood stream to start effective diffusion across the cell membranes. Now - don't ask me why I was thinking this. It didn't seem strange at the time. But looking back on it now, I have no idea why I would even remotely think about this. But, I started taking a salt packet or two and downing as much water as I could comfortably drink. I realized that I had not had to make a pit stop since back about mile 8 - dehydration had set in.

By mile 23 I was starting to feel a little better. Since mile 20 I had been reduced to a walk. The moment I would start jogging, the street gnomes were waiting for me with their hammers. I hit the out and back at mile 22 and 23. This was the next point I was going to meet my family. I was running an hour behind. I was hoping to see them, but I also knew that it might be unlikely that they would stick around. I was hoping that they would not start jumping to conclusions about my demise. Especially since at this point there were 4 paramedic teams with people on stretchers. One was puking and writhing in pain. One was a tall African American that had passed and been passed several times along the way. Whenever he passed me he would be sprinting. He was now on a stretcher with oxygen and a heart monitor. I anxiously looked for my family as I made the U-turn and headed through the Boy Scouts water stop. Being an Eagle Scout, I was proud to see the demonstration of many of the skills that I had learned so long ago.

Mile 24 was the slowest of my ordeal. Until this point, as much as I wanted to stop and rest, I had tried to avoid the temptation. Frankly, I was worried that I wasn't going to be able to stand. But, I finally had to give in. I went through a water station at mile 24, found a shady spot, and actually sat on the curb. For the first time I noticed a couple of other things. First, the soles of my feet were burning. That could only mean blisters. It felt as if there was something in my shoe. I took one off, found that there was nothing in the shoe, rearranged my sock and laced the shoe back up. This meant that my feet were not going to be pretty later on. Speaking about not being pretty - I noticed a steak of blood on my shirt. Hmm... Started at the nipple. Hmm... I checked for the nip guards that I had placed on each seven hours earlier when leaving the hotel. They were both gone! (I found one later stuck on the inside of my HRM strap). By poor planning I had pinned my number right at nipple level on my shirt. For god knows how long, the safety pin had been carving a little groove in my right nipple. The blood along with the sweat had mixed to create a modern art masterpiece on my shirt! After what seemed like a few minutes (actually closer to 30 seconds), I got up (now that was something exciting) and moved forward again.

At this point I realized I was in the home stretch. I turned right on Barnett. I had studied the map earlier and knew I was within a mile of finishing. I hunkered down and tried to jog again. Guess what? I was able to finally jog again without immediate cramps. I alternated between jogging and walking, and made the final steps on my death march to the finish line. Next thing I knew, we made a left turn and these guys in military clothes with sidearms were welcoming us! Woo hoo! I walked a little further and realized that I was coming into the final "tunnel". I wanted to make sure that I at least crossed the finish line running, so I dig down deep one last time, got my feet moving (more like shuffling), and crossed the finish line to cheers from the crowds. 5:44.20. Not the 4:30 I had hoped for, but I did it - I finished! Wow!

Now to be honest, I was expecting overwhelming waves of emotion. Tears. Hugs. Instead, all I was interested in was getting my gear bag, calling my family to relieve any anxiety they may be under (by now I was hoping in the reunion area), and getting out of my shoes. I hurried my way through the finish area. Iced towel (what a lifesaver by the way - worth the entry fee itself!). Bottle of water (I tried to choke some down. My body was not really interested). Medal (Wow, pretty heavy! Cool design!). Photo (eehh). I found UPS truck 10 and got my gear bag. I looked for somewhere to collapse. Ah! This piece of asphalt right here out in the hot sun looks good! I dropped to the ground. What happened next can only be described as heaven on earth. I took my shoes off and put my sandals on. I got out of my wet and bloodied shirt and got a nice dry shirt on. Got my phone out and found my family waiting in the finish area. Finally - I was done!

I shuffled out of the finish area to the hugs and congratulations of my family. Whew!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The View from the Back of the Pack, Part 1

Well - I'm back and still resting my wounds. The Rock n Roll Marathon is complete. I'm sitting here a few days later still trying process my emotions - very happy that I was able to accomplish the goal, but also very disappointed at the results.

This was my first marathon, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I was excited to say the least! I actually slept well Saturday night and was up with my alarm at 4:15 AM to start marathon day! My hotel (Omni) had a shuttle, so I was downstairs by 4:45. A nice touch - the hotel had coffee, bagels and bananas waiting for us in the lobby! Just like clockwork, the bus showed up at 5 and off to the start we went.

I've never been involved in a run of this size, so I was anxious about what I would find at the start. What I found was a very orderly start area. Lines for the porta potties were long, but I still don't think I waited more than 20 minutes.

By this time it was about 45 minutes until start. I went through my gear bag and got the last few things I would need for the day - sunglasses, hat, etc. I lubed up with the body glide and dropped off my bag at the gear check. That's when it hit me. At this point I was committed. I couldn't go back now. Up to that point it never really struck me what I was committing to. For the first time I started feeling butterflies and some nervousness. I grabbed some coffee, a banana, half a bagel, and some water. I made my way over to my Corral (#12) and found my 4:30 pace group. About 15 minutes later, the start gun went off and and the mass of humanity started moving forward. We all shuffled forward and about 5 minutes later we crossed the start line and were off!




video

The weather was perfect! Overcast skies, no wind, temperature in the low 60's. This is what I came for! The first couple of miles were great! I was running with my pace group and really enjoying myself. By mile 4 though, I encountered my first problem. Shall I say that I found out I was well hydrated? I left my pace group and found a convenient bush in Balboa Park to relieve myself. That was the last I would see of that pace group. I joined back in and got back into the swing of things. Soon, I ran past mile 5 - the Omni. I was excited to see my family out on the sidewalk cheering me on! Within a few seconds I was past them and back on my morning run.


video

Next up was the part of the course that I had heard horror stories about. Miles 6 through 10. Uphill. Sloped pavement. Injured IT bands. I found neither to be real tough. In fact, I had found that the uneven pavement and botz dots in downtown to be more troublesome. About this time I had to make another pit stop. Lines for the porta potties were still loooong, so I found a bridge abutment that I could hide behind. I felt good! I was also enjoying the bands and cheer squads on the course. It sure beat listening to an iPod. Soon we at the top of the grade, and cheered on by the Team in Training cheerleaders, we started down the hill toward Friars Road.

This is where my day started falling apart. Actually I was feeling good. I was soaking in the sights and experiences. What I wasn't paying attention to was pace. As we hit the off ramp I looked at my watch. 9:00 per mile. Oh no.... I have no idea how long I had been running at this pace. I remembered by experience at the OC Half at the beginning of the year.

I hung in there and slowed my pace to around a 10:45. We were running on Friars Road at this point - rolling hills. My family was planning on meeting me at the 13.4 mile mark and I was looking forward to it. I pressed forward. I passed the half. Looked down at my watch - 2:24. A few minutes off the 4:30 pace, but still good for my first time. I walked through Margaritaville and downed another gel pack and some water. Then back to the grind.

I got to the 13.4 mile point and started looking for my family. They were no where to be seen. Well, since they were trying to learn the trolley system in San Diego, I chalked it up to a missed trolley, so I hunkered down and moved on.

Continued in Part 2.....