Saturday, December 10, 2011

The view from here...

It's sort of a non- birthday, this 57. Other than 57 varieties of tomatoes used in "Heinz 57" the number isn't that remarkable. Past the 55, heading toward 60. 60! Great Googly Moogly!
Sitting here, I'm kind of stymied. What do you write about? Who am I at this age? What stuff am I made of?
After a cup of tea and listening to some Jimi (Power of Soul) here's what I got...

Bits and pieces.

I am made of the bits and pieces of everyone I've ever met and of all the things I've done.
Good and bad. Dark and light but mostly light.
It's amazing really. In my mind I can reacall everyone...if not thir names, their faces and that, really, only because I never knew their name. They all contributed to who I am today although they didn't know it at the time and maybe still don't.
Sadly I recall things I shouldn't.
Happily I remember moments so bright they bring tears to my yes as I sit here...
At 57 some special thanks...
To the boys of Ward 1: it is you more than anyone who added the bits to my heart I cherish most.
To Coach Payne who told me to go run.
To my sisters who taught me my ABC's
The Nuns of dark and light...some of you taught me. Some of you taught me there were people in the world you couldn't trust.
Dad who at the end accepted me for me and was proud..
Mom who taught me to carry a heavy weight...
Professor Dennis Lindbergh who made me realize "why?" is the most important question you can ask.
And to everyone who helped me realize that a kind heart, while painful at times, is the best heart to have.
Oh,and to Jimi...flotation is groovy, baby, even a jelly fish will tell you that.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


Been running mostly of late. Disney coming up In a month and have far more miles in the bank now than I have the last few years...hopefully my times will show it, although I haven' t been doing much speed work. Haven't been on the bike much.
For the first time in years I'm putting in 50 plus mile running weeks and UGH! It's hard. Body holding together well. The rebuilt ankle is holding up quite well but does get sore from time to time, but mostly before it rains!
Had a great 22 miler this to get out the door before 7 and into the park, which feels like MY park this time of year. It doesn't open till ten in the winter months so the place is empty in the early morn. Roads and trails all to myself and really, I don't meet many other runners. The only other runner I saw this morning was my wife!
With an empty park I do get to see plenty of deer...a whole herd this morning...nine doe and a buck who snorted at me. Easy lad, I'm not a cross species kind of guy.
The snow birds have arrived...the baffle heads and juncos are here. Mist rising off the lake. Beautiful.
Hard to believe this is in the middle of the Washington area. Out the door and in two minutes I'm in 10,000 acres.
A couple more weeks of long back to back runs and then taper for "The Mouse" and then hammer down to next springs fun!

Saturday, October 29, 2011


You know those days when you have to get out for a run and the weather is just awful? This was one of those days... 14 miles in 32 degrees, snow, sleet, freezing rain. And it's still October! Felt more like a nasty January day. Could have said no, but I'm on a tight schedule and skipping workouts isn't an option, especially when I have to get out again tomorrow.
I'm standing at the front window watching frozen gack fall from the sky and needing a little bit of motivation. In my life, in my mind, in my heart it's really not that hard to find.
It's right here in the photo.  When the weather is nasty and I just don't want to go out, I remember this picture. It reminds me that my father fought a war in two feet of snow. You were more likely to die from frostbite and hypothermia than from a bullet or the hunk of metal that almost killed dad. 
 The rest of his life I rarely heard complaints from him about snow or cold or sleet. He'd had it much worse.
So on those days when it's bad, the run still gets done, maybe, more than anything, as a way to honor the the old dog face.*
 Finished the run soaking wet and cold and a little blue in the lips but warmed by his memory....

*dog face was a WWII term for infantry

Thursday, September 22, 2011


I told a friend today that as far as running speed, I'm at "dead" and hoping to get to "slug" before Disney. This years speed work consists of Yasso 800's. Named for Bart Yasso who came up with the idea, I've been using it off and on for quite a long time but about nil the last few years. (Remember that smashed ankle thing?)
Simple: Wanna run a Marathon in 4:00 hours? Run repeats of 800 meters (yards will do but meters is just cooler) in 4:00 minutes. Start with about four or five and add one a week till you hit ten the hold it there. Last Yasso workout 10 to 14 days out.
As of today I'm at 6 Yasso's at 3:50. Now I have NO intention of actually trying to run The Disney Marathon in 3:50 but I like a cushion and 3:50 for 800 is comfortably hard for me right now.
And yes, while you're thinking it...Mary Lou and I are returning to Disney for the 7th straight year to run...Her the half and me my 7th Goofy. Keeping the streak alive!
Despite being a drippy, sloppy mess by the end (70* and 90% humidity) I felt good and was able to get in a bike ride later this afternoon.
Next week ...7.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Pinning on a number...

For the first time since January I had the joy of pinning on a race number last weekend for a half marathon. The Parks Half Marathon here in the MoCo...actually the first time I've run the bloody thing. Signed up twice before but hey, life happens!  No speed work of late and no racing so I had NO idea what would happen. Confident with my return to running since "The Ankle" and "The Knee" it was time to wind one up and see what's what...
It's a great race put on by my local club, The Montgomery County Road Runners. My ESSWW...the Extra Super Special Wife of the World, Mary Lou, drove me to the start area near the Rockville Metro at  5: 30.  The usual trips to the porta -john, sip on fluids and just hang.  Really, I just watch...people watch. It's one of the reasons I love to go to races early. The nervous people who are loud and obnoxious. The nervous folks who are loud but funny. (much better) Folks who don't know where the start is and someone who insisted a half marathon was 13.3 miles and would believe it wasn't. All shapes. All sizes. All speeds. The skinny folks who are slow, the heavy ones who are fast. The great egalitarian sport.
I jump in the corral with the 10:00 minute mile runners not sure what I'll do but I just couldn't bear to go slower... Race starts at 7 and the corrals move up every few minutes and at 7:10 my bunch is off.
It's a nice course... a little lumpy but not bad. I spin out the first miles in 9:15 and they just keep coming which is cool. I sweat like a...well I sweat a lot. Soaked by mile 4 I'm sucking in the fluids as best I can but know I won't be pretty. 65 degrees and 90% humidity. Things get a bit narrow in places and are slowed up  by really slow folks who weren't honest about what corral they should start in. I pass a ton of my pace that's a good indicator a ton of folks are slow, slower or slowing. Have run here before, training, and am not really focused on the scenery. Just moving along.
The knee and ankle hold up well under the abuse. The most they have had since Disney's Goofy Challenge in January. (biking hundreds of miles doesn't count. It's not load bearing) Mile 10 rolls up and not to my surprise, the wheels come off and I slow. Only three left and they go by sorta fast and through a tunnel and then dumped into the middle of Bethesda. Mary Lou is there and we meet up and leave. Yes, there is some big party and lots of cold pizza and a good band playing Jethro Tull, but I want a cold soda and don't feel the best. Feel good about the race though and it gives me a good bench mark. Glad I did it.  2:11 finish time, my slowest in years at almost exactly 10 minute miles. I remember Yogi Bera: "It's not the heat it's the humility.' Now...on to some more fall fun!

Friday, August 26, 2011

No Booty for me!

For the second time in 4 years of The 24 Hours Of Booty, a bicycling event that benefits the Lance Armstrong Foundation and the Ulman Cancer Fund, the event has been canceled.
Totally not their fault. Hurricane Irene. Blame her. Four years ago it was some un-named tropical storm.
The first time it happened I rode the trainer on the car port for 22 hours total.
I'm not doing that again.
I mean, I could do it, but the prospect doesn't grab me this time and this storm is supposed to be much worse here so I may have my hands full doing other things (bailing, cowering in fear...well I hope not)
Was hoping to ride 300 + miles and my training went well enough that it would have happened.
My Booty totals are: 2008, 300 miles on the trainer in the carport. 2009, 245 miles in another rain event. It poured for 11 hours and was cold. 2010, 180...I was recovering from ankle surgery in May and didn't want to push it.
This year...I'm not sure how I'll full fill my obligation to those who were kind enough to give money to the cause. As I did four years ago I feel it's important to "pay up" to those folks who donated. I promised them I'd suffer through some sort of  "fun".  I owe them. I owe it to those people who's memory I carry. Those that have died or are struggling with cancer. The reason I was riding in the first place.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

On a Different Cycle

Don't I wish!
Not that kind of cycle, whatever that kind of cycle is, but a new training cycle.
My weeks now have 10 days in them. The 7 day training week, for me, is over.
Since I was able to return to running after knee surgery ( see prior posts) I've been playing with a 10 day training cycle. After reading several articles and exchanging some e-mails with a few coaches that support it, I thought I'd give it a try. It's a program designed for Masters runners and I've adopted it for cycling and Triathlon too.
So  heres how it works:
Starting on a Monday you finish on the  following Wednesday. Included are TWO rest days. Great for older athlete types. I set one day firmly after a  long run day and the other I use as a floater and slot it in where I need it or when I need it.
Day 1: Long run or ride
Day 2: Rest
Day 3: Easy...distance varies
Day 4: Mid-range run with some tempo
Day 5: Easy mid-range
Day 6: Recovery run or ride
Day 7: Easy mid- range
Day 8: Speed work. Repeats of whatever trips your trigger
Day 9: Rest
Day 10: Tempo.

Now the cons are that you find you're doing a long run after work, mid -week. Running with you're usual group may not work either. For biking it may mean more time on the indoor trainer (always a good thing). It does take some flexibility.
 I have found however that I have more energy, don't feel I'm trying to cram everything in to 7 days, and it all just seems a bit more relaxed. I like that. Also as a masters athlete we need to recover more and that extra day is a big plus!
I've currently bicycling  about 180 to 200 miles a week and running about 25-30 and slotting in 2 strength training days also.  I make sure I separate my long bike and long run days and and always keep my eye to the downstream workouts. I keep it fluid. Since I started this 8 weeks ago, I love it. I won't go back to 7 days a week.
As an older athlete ( I will be 57 in December) I have come to realize I need more rest, a varied schedule and a new way to look at training. I dig it.

Some thoughts on Jury Duty

I don't get out much. During the school year I get up and go to work and then come home, workout, spend time with my sweetie go to bed. Rinse. Repeat.
Summer time  I still don't get out much unless you count long bike rides and some short trips and such.
By getting out I mean really out among the masses. I should get out more because I'm a big people watcher and a life long student of the human condition.
Was called up for Jury duty this summer and here in my county the policy is one day or one trial. If they call you and don't use you, your off the hook for three years or so. If they call you and you serve, it could be ages before you get called again. They give you a number, chosen at random, and that day they  picked several hundred numbers but only numbers 1 through 142 had to show up. If you get a number higher than that you don't have to show up that day.  It explains that VERY CLEARLY on the form.
Anyway...was called up and went to the court building with 141 other folks where we sat most of the morning waiting to be called. My number was called about 11 and with 49 others we went to a court room for the "vior dire" or truth telling, where the lawyers pick the jury.
I didn't make it past the vior dire. I guess I wasn't their type. Done for the day and then home. Painless actually. Thought it would have been interesting to sit for the trial.
Now...back to the "need to get out more" thing.
As noted, I'm a people watcher and this is what I saw:
1. A large number of people showed up even though their numbers were above 142. People don't read the directions.
2. Of 142 people in the jury lounge 100 of them were obese. I counted.
3. Despite the signs saying "No cell phone use" in the lounge, and being told verbally by the clerks who welcomed us, people were using them constantly.
4. Some people wouldn't know a day off it it slapped them in the face. A chance to read a good book or just hang out. Nope. Working like mad many of them. Calling the office every 5 minutes to see if the place is still there. They don't realize that they could disappear today and the business would fill their slot tomorrow.
5. When the judge asks you if English is your native language, answering "Yesh eet ees " in a heavy foreign accent is a red flag that it isn't.
6. Comb overs are NOT a good look ...for either men or women.
7. When the jury form say NO SHORTS, they mean you, Mr. wanna be gangsta with your hat on backwards.
8. When the judge says "NO HATS, PLEASE" He also means you, you cute little hipster. If it happens again , do it, that way the judge won't call you up to the bench to tell you AGAIN to remove it.
9. When the judge says "Please return at 1pm."  be there. That way he won't have to send the sheriff to look for you. An hour was plenty of time for lunch.
10. Being asked if you are a citizen of the US is NOT the time to launch into a tirade about illegal aliens and the President.
 Like I say I don't get out much and when I do I tend to be around people I like and have similar interests with. It is always an eye opener to be out with the crowds...With the exception of the comb overs, it was just like middle school.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Endurance Sports: A brief, opinionated, history.

A long time ago people walked everywhere. Whole tribes walked across continents. They carried everything or used dogs to haul things before they domesticated the horse. Then we moved into villages and stayed in one place and started farming and sort of got lazy. Not everyone did though. People were still used as messengers often running to carry news from village to village over long distances. (People who carry messages today are still often referred to as "runners") People walked to the next town for market or went off to war on foot. People liked sports even back then and the ancient Greeks had games but no one ran the marathon. The longest race then was about three miles. The marathon as a race didn't exist.
     Pheidippides supposedly ran from Marathon to Athens with news of a Greek victory and died after delivering the news....a distance of about 26 miles. Baloney. He likely ran from Athens to Sparta to request help to fight of the Persians. (The Spartans said "NO!") Then he ran back and didn't die. He was a messenger and used to that kind of thing. Todays 240 Km Spartathalon race in Greece remembers the event.  The "Dead Pheidippides" story was started in the 19th century when promoters were trying to get the marathon into the Olympic Games. It almost didn't happen. People still felt that you would die if you ran the race. Remember, women weren't allowed to run the marathon in the Olympics until the 1980's. Men. In fact most races at that distance still had a four hour cut off until the early 80's. No medal. No t-shirt. Maybe an aid station. If you couldn't run the distance in 4 hours, you had no business being there. We're in the Third Running Boom since 1970. This one is a lot less competitive. My first Marathon was in just under 4 hours. Now I don't worry about time because There is usually a 6 or 7 hour cut off. The glamour is off. It's easy now. Ultra Marathons are hip. I wish they weren't but at least they are hard and they usually involve some deep digging.
       In ancient Egypt running was a military skill and soldiers there regularly ran distances that today would be about 100Km (61 Miles). The oldest know running race that is still held is the 3 mile run held in Carnwath, Lanarkshire, UK. It's 503 years old and run to determine the fastest person in the village. The winner gets red socks. The Boston Marathon is the oldest Marathon in the world (1897) only because it didn't have to shut down for two world wars. The Olympic Marathon started in 1896 but that is of course every four years.
    Walking events in the 1800's were the biggest money making spectator sports in the world. Men, mostly, would walk long distances, often on indoor tracks. Edward Payson Weston is the name you need to know here. He walked many "Pedestrian Events". He walked, in 1874, 500 miles in 6 days in front of a crowed of 6,000 spectators. He walked 100 miles in 22 hours another time. He was also the first person to walk across the United States in 1909 in 121 days. (No, Dean Karnazes was not the first person to walk or run across the country. 250 people have crossed the US on foot and Dean is about 246)
If you think walking isn't an endurance sport go for a walk tomorrow morning. Keep walking and arrive back home the day after and let me know how you feel. While were on that subject Earl Shaffer was the first person to walk the whole Appalachian Trail in 1948.  People have run it in a few months. I know someone who has walked it in 3 months, but he's wrapped pretty tight. People cross the country all the time on foot on the AT the Pacific Crest Trail or the Divide.  There is still some argument as to whether Eric Ryback did all three when he was 17 and 18 years old back in the 70's.
    The bicycle was developed early in the 19th century and it didn't have pedals. You pushed it with your feet. As soon as people got them, they started racing them. The first recognized race was in 1887.   They started riding them REALLY far! Thomas Stevens (That's him above...nice moustache) rode around the world in 1884-1886 on a Penny- Farthing ( a high wheeler). This also made him the first person to ride across the U.S. but he had to walk about one third of it since in some places there were no roads. Hundreds of folks ride across the U.S. yearly, some of them in 9 days in the Race Across America (RAAM) They don't sleep a lot. Six Day bike races are still popular in Europe and usually involve lots of beer drinking by the thousands of spectators that show up.  The Tour de France is the oldest bicycle stage race in the world. It started in 1903. Except for a few years during the world wars it has gone on. Lance only won 7 of them. While he may be the greatest Tour de France rider of all time he is not the greatest bicycle racer of all time. That's probably Eddie Merckx. Maybe it was Thomas Stevens. The hardest bike race in the world right now is probably the Divide Tour that runs down the Continental Divide from Canada to Mexico. It's tough because it's...self supported. You carry all your stuff. No team car. No aid station. No one to pick you up if you fall off except yourself. I love that.
    Endurance Swimming is experiencing a re-birth now that "marathon" or open water swimming is in the Olympics. Really though folks have have been swimming far for a long time...English Channel, around Manhattan Island, The Channel Islands in California. The pool record is 100k in 24 hours.
    Triathlon has been around since the 70's but Ironman (2.4 mile swim, 112 bike, marathon) started in 1978.  The rest is marketing history.
Why am I writing about this? Because I want to remind folks that none of what we do now as endurance athletes is new. While it may be new to you it's all been done. Why is it amazing to so many people that they are able to do long races? Why are people around us amazed when you run a local 5k? It's because we have lost touch with who we are as human beings. Our bodies are designed and able to cover long distances over time and go fast when necessary. Only 100 years separate us from a 15 mile walk to market and then back. A long run after a lost cow. A walk from Ohio to Virginia to fight for a good cause. We've put on 100 pounds and think it's a good look.
You're not weird because you run or bike or walk far or want to do Ironman or even a 3 miler. You're just being the way people were before the modern age. You're just being who you were born to be.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Short seems so long...

Into my third week of the "Return to running" schedule. (Thanks to Pete Pfitzinger) Coming back from the knee scope and last years broken ankle has been a bear...
I'm up to 30 minutes of continuous running now and this weekend, consecutive days. Yeah! It seems long sometimes going out for a half hour run and at other times it feels short. Four more weeks till the schedule runs it's course and I can get back to serious running.
My doctor has said "Full speed ahead" and expects me to be 100% by mid July.
Chomping at the bit to run something looooong, I have to be a good boy and take my time. I'm not 40 anymore. (I'm 56) Recovery times are slower and I would love to race short and get back some of the speed I lost after years of doing triathlon. There comes a special feeling, though, from being out on the road for a long time. A feeling you just don't get from a short fast race.
Have been getting my fill of longer stuff on the bike. 3 and 4 hour rides although yesterdays ride came apart at the seams!
Long ride on the canal, expecting 4 hours and went about 2:35. Muddy, buggy with Park Service guys mowing and then a hidden pot hole and my 12 year old Cannondale Fatty Head Shok front fork bites the dust. Dead. Took it apart (when I got home) and it's all bent up. The bike was given to me by a friend who needed to dump some old boy friend memories...
Broke the chain and had to whip out the chain tool...took the hint and just went home, fingers crossed the chain wouldn't snap again, bones being rattled since fork was no longer a shock absorber and sorta pulled to the left...
Workout hours are building and now that summer is here, and I'm off, they should climb quite a bit!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Everything I know about endurance sports I learned from Les Paul

I love this picture of Les Paul. In his 90's and still kicking it.
If you don't know Les, you should. He has been called the father of the solid body guitar. He invented new and exciting ways of recording. He played the guitar well into his 90's and was playing well just a few days before his death. If you've never heard him, download some of his tunes and listen to clear, sharp virtuoso playing by someone of your parents (or grandparents) generation.
I'm not a guitar player, although I gave it a shot once. I used to play the bass and can still roll off a few licks if I find one in my hands.
Endurance sports like running an cycling and triathlon, at their core, involve the kinds of things Les used to talk about all the time. As I get older even more of his wisdom applies because it deals with longevity.
"Don't touch it if it gets complicated."
Running, and cycling and doing tri's shouldn't be weighted down by the tyranny of technology.
The more you let yourself be sucked into things like a GPS watch and computer programs to track your fitness, power meters and all sorts of other technology, the farther you get from the core of the sports: Being fit, having fun and becoming a better person. They may have their place for you, but they aren't necessary. Often they get in the way.
"Be patient. Learn one thing at a time. Don't worry about being fast. That comes with practice."
We live in a culture of "Gotta have it now!" I meet so many athletes who are new and have a bucket list and have no real sense of their sports history or what it means to do something for years upon years. They simply have to have that marathon NOW. That Ironman NOW! They simply have run Boston NOW! Be patient. Truly learn your sport. Know it's history. Become a part of it, if you love it, let it become part of you. Learn to swim well. Learn to bike well. Learn to run well. Learn how to handle races and how do deal with things when it all goes bad (and it will). Stay healthy and don't get injured. In time your speed will come and you'll find all your patience will pay off. Bear in mind "fast" is a relative term and different for everyone. Be your fast, not someone else's.
"It's what you do with what you have that counts."
I beat my head against the "Boston" wall for years and just never managed to get there. I'm just not that fast. I have managed to pull down some Age Group awards over the years, but to be honest, most of those were before the current triathlon and running boom so my age group was kind of light. Being able to go long was my strength. I can run all day. Literally. I can bike all day and all night. Literally. I can stay upright and keep moving for hours upon hours. Literally. It's what I do, with what I got that counts. Do your best with what you have.
When Les was 33 he was in a car accident and had his right elbow broken. Once set, it would be immovable for life. He had it set at just less than 90 degrees so he could still play the guitar...something he did for the next 61 years. With a fused elbow! It was what he did with what he had that counted.
"It's not technique, it's what you have to say."
Many folks who are involved in endurance sports look like they have no business being there. Their arms are all akimbo when they run. Their swim technique is more dog paddle than anything and don't even ask them to hold a line on a bike!
They are all heart though. Despite how they may look, they love what they do and are successful at it. So many who strive for perfection suffer on the altar of that perfection. They don't stay around long. Sports for them is full of pain and angst, most of it mental and self inflicted. Those other folks? The ones who just get out and go? You see them year after year. There is more to endurance sports than medals and finishing. What are you saying? What example are you setting? What are you saying about the quality of your life? Are you mentoring other athletes? Are you making a difference in your sport?
"There are times when you want to go where you used to go and you can't go there."
We all get slower. Can't ride as far. Running times slow and distances shorten. There is a time when the PR's just stop coming. That's life. It's doesn't mean you're less of a person. It doesn't mean you have failed. It's not an indication it's time to quit, it's just that time is leading you down a different path.
Les never quit. He never stopped playing. He loved doing what he did. He inspired others to do the same.
Be like Les. Never quit. Never stop playing. Love what you do, even when it all goes bad. Inspire others to get off the couch and move.

TUESDAY, JUNE 29, 2010

A 'New Wave"?

I read a piece by someone the other day where they said they just LOVED the "New wave" of minimalist running. The trend that less is more and you should be running bare foot or in Vibram five fingers...
"New Wave" my ass!
Pictured above are my first real pairs of running shoes. Look at the soles on these things!
The left is the Onitsuka Marathon (Onitsuka later became Asics) And the right is the Boston '73. I went through three pairs of those and several pairs of Marathons before trying Addias, Etonic Street Fighters and then on to Nike Waffle trainers....
The first great running wave, that I was part of in the early 70's were bolstered by shoes like the ones could wear them till they fell apart the soles almost never wore out and you could run 100 mile weeks in them, and I often did when I lived in Colorado. If the bottoms got funky you slapped on some Shoe Goo and went back out on the road.
Talk about strong feet!
Now were into the third (some say fourth) running boom since running really took off in this country. During every up tick in running in this country, at some point someone runs out the less is more thing, the Tarahumara indians, and running barefoot. It's here for awhile and then fades.
Oh, to be sure...there are people that run barefoot all the time and have for years and that works for them. There are folks that never stopped running in minimalist shoes all the time, but they call them running or racing flats which is what the shoes above were called, even though you ran in them ALL the time.
Running this way ISN'T for everyone...just like running marathons or even 5k's isn't for everyone. Many folks would have you believe it is. Don't be a sheeple. Try it and if it causes problems switch to what WILL work for you.
Vibram Five Fingers look really interesting and couldn't have existed years ago because the technology wasn't there to make them.
I've talked with many runners who have tried running barefoot or with VFF's or even minimalist shoes...they they talk about about their injuries and how much they still love the VFF's and happy to say they still get out "once in awhile" barefoot.
Now, tomorrow, I hope to get off the injured reserve list and get back out on the road. (read some previous post to find out what's been shaking with me, if you don't already know).
I am going to return to running the way I started, in "minimalist shoes" Nike Frees and racing flats and see if I can re-build the kind of foot strength I had 30 years ago. I believe that running in super cushioned shoes have made my running more sloppy and have caused more injuries than they prevented. I can say that...I have a frame of reference.
Recently had a chat with a lass who waxed on quite well about how people were meant to go about barefoot. "Why, they have always done it." she said.
I pointed out the the "Iceman" from an Italian glacier was found in leather shoes with moss stuffed in them. The Roman legionaries walking across the globe in leather hob nailed boots with foot clothes in winter. Felt shoes in ancient China, leather shoes on European mummies, rope sandals on the dead found in the High Dry of South America.
Yeah, sure people walk about barefoot, but given have a chance they'll put shoes on and with good reason. Going around barefoot will mess up your feet.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Happy Puppy Dance...

Happy Puppy Dance!
I am so doing the HPD today...
Just returned from my post op followup from having my knee scoped. Stitches out. Meet and greet with the doctor.
Here's the jist:
He opened me up, got the scopes and tools in, took a look around and then snipped only a small piece of cartilage off the medial miniscus. It was torn and was catching every time I bent my knee especially under load like going up stairs and such...
Doc told me, shaking his head and laughing, that he had never seen a knee as in good a shape as mine, for someone my age. (56)  If another doc had showed him the inside and said "this is a twenty year olds knee" he would have said "Yes, thats a twenty year olds knee." The cartilage and tendons are perfect and there is no wear and tear on the knee surfaces. There are no signs of arthritis. Only the damage caused by a fall...the torn meniscus.
I told him "I always wanted to be one of those guys that's still running when I'm 70." He said "That's probably going to happen."
I asked him about the genetic component. He said I had good parents. They left me with a cartilage that doesn't wear quickly and is quite thick. He said it's a roll of the dice if you have knees that will stand up to being used a lot. Some folks just don't have it. Maintaining a proper weight and exercising daily he felt were also of high importance.
He checked my right knee today and said it's tracking as well as the left and is just as strong, so he expects it to be in the same shape as the left.
Thanks, Mom and Dad.
A personal observation...I have avoided ball sports like the plague since the year I started running in high school. I suck at anything that involves a ball so I gave it up. Everyone I know who has bad knees at my age played basketball or soccer or football when they were young. They tend to be over weight.  Now, they can barely do anything. Cycling isn't abusive to the knee, it's non load bearing and follows the line of the pivot. Running isn't abusing if done right and you listen to your body. Although I do know some runners with bad knees, I also know that when they should have been taking time off because of a problem, they didn't. They ran through it and now suffer for it. Know a few cyclists who did that too. Ball sports? Abuse with a capital "A". Torquing. Twisting. Tearing. Being hit from the side...not good.

On to some PT and can return to non load bearing exercise for the next few weeks.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

I never realized it was that far....

When your down with an injury, you have time on your hands. You can watch movies, learn Argentine Spanish or try and figure out just how the hell far you've run and biked and swam in the last 40 years.
The subject came up over at the Trifuel web site with folks talking about how long they have been members and someone mentioned how far they had run and such in the last few years.

To the right are some of my training logs. These go back to 1996. On paper I have more records back to 1990. All the logs I had prior to that are lost as my ex-wife threw them out. I started using calendars then Sierra club date books and finally running and triathlon log books when you could buy those. These, coupled with the on-line training log I keep were what I used to try and figured out how far I've gone. I keep both on-line and paper logs now...they are pretty close to being the same. Sometimes I forget to post on-line and somedays I miss posting on paper. Bear in mind too that I'm not tightly wrapped about this sort of thing as some folks and that some workouts were just never recorded and that I usually round down for my workouts...

This fall it will be 41 years worth...
I know when I started Running in high school (1970) I ran pretty much every day. I was climbing then too so I kept record of that. I kept track of backpacking trips and ,well, pretty much everything I did physically. But those records are lost.
So are the ones from college...I was able to get out often then. I kept track of everything except biking which wasn't exercise, but a way to get around.
After college my running milage took off and when I moved to Colorado (1977) It really did...that was the time everyone was running 100 mile weeks...I climbed almost everyday and biked for transportation. It's all lost in time. Oh, I remember some specific runs, like my first Ultra, and races that were stellar and some horrible races and of course all the climbs I did then...but the day to day stuff...gone.

Kept records too during the time I was married and raising a daughter. I wasn't racing then but got out four or five times a week for a run or bike and lifted weights at home...gone.

I have paper records from 1990 to 95...not everyday things, but 297 days of workouts that year ( 90) and  4,000 miles on the bike and 2,000 running not to mention a bunch of hours in the weight room...

Starting in 1996, the year of my divorce, I have complete records which is really cool. I can go back and actually look at how I felt on a specific day or how I did in a race I completely forgot's fun!

So that brings me to totals:
From 1990 to today....64,555.5 miles.  2.5 circumnavigations of the globe or there abouts. That doesn't include all the hours in the weight room or climbing which I did for 35 years.
Races? 486 at current count since the late 70's and including a few from high school and includes organized events that aren't races. (organized centuries, charity events)  I didn't race at all for 8 years and some years I raced almost every weekend.
Shame about all that lost data...that would have added another 20 years of miles!

I never realized it was that far!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Snip, snip here. Snip, snip there...

I always wondered what this was about. The knee scope thing. I can't tell you how many people I've run into over the years who have had to have their knees worked on..scoped.  Usually they have suffered some sort of trauma, usually connected with ball sports. Since I avoid ball sports like the plague I was hoping to avoid this. Last January I was running the Disney Marathon and was plowed into by a young women who knocked me to the ground. Bruised ribs, a banged up hand and my left knee. The knee hurt like hell for a few days and when I got back to running there was just too much poppin' and sappin' so in I went to see the doctor.
I was expecting all sorts of hell and problems and "You'll never run again " pronouncements. Some x-rays and and MRI later everything is fine, knee tracks well, just a small tear in the lateral meniscus...
In yesterday for the procedure In and out  in a couple hours. Happy they put me all the way out!  Woke later to my wife's happy face and the ride home but...better living through chemistry...I don't remember any of it! Don't remember much till last night when I got a craving for mac and cheese!
Doctor told me (well, told Mary Lou, that It was an easy fix and that everything else looks great all the ligaments and tendons are aces and the cartilage in my knee is nice and healthy and thick. He was surprised to see a knee in such good shape for someone who has run and biked for 40 years...What can I say...I avoid ball sports like the plague!
I've promised a bunch of folks I won't run any fifty milers next week. Or do any centuries...or kettlebell workouts...or 24 hour rides...or...
One day now post procedure and I'm feel some discomfort and the knee is a bit stiff. I haven't had to use my crutches as I was able to walk without limping almost immediately. Super.
Onward and upward!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Aging Superhero Returns

This is an old blog name of mine that was still open for use so I decided to use it again ...for what I'm not sure, but that will present itself!