Archive for May, 2008

  My last post presented the good news, my knee is not a meniscus tear.  It’s only IT Band Friction Syndrome.  Basically, my IT Band is inflamed.  I’ve actually gotten back to running, without any pain in my knee.  I’m running 3-4 miles every other day, and making sure to stretch before and after.  I’m not fast, but I’m out there. 

  I really missed running for the three weeks while my knee healed.  I don’t know if I could have stayed sane with 6-12 more weeks, if I had needed surgery.  I would have had the surgery, and I would have rehabilitated my knee the right way, but it would have been difficult.

  My MRI revealed a cyst behind my right knee.  The doc said that it’s a Baker’s cyst, and if it doesn’t hurt, it’s not a problem.  So, hopefully, it will continue to hide there and be happy.  Other than that, there is a little arthritis, but again, nothing to write home about.

  I’m heading back to PT on Friday morning.  I don’t think I’ll be there too long, probably a few visits.  Enough to get the IT Band under control, and for me to understand what I need to do to prevent it. 

  This summer I plan to spend in an attempt to get faster in my running.  I think I’m going to work on the Jack Daniel’s Red Plan.  It’s basically a 16 week plan to improve overall running ability.  I’d like to get faster, and build my endurance at speed.  So, it’s going to be track sessions and tempo runs for me.  The plan shows two quality days a week.  The rest of the time will be MAF work again.  The, after the October Half Marathon, I’ll take a few weeks off and then get back to MAF Base Building.

  If things work out, I’ll be in great shape for my evil plan.  Oh, and did I mention, I’m working on losing weight.  I’m currently at a 2250 KCal per day plan.  That increases a little with exercise, but I’ll still be in good shape.  We’ll see how that goes, and adjust as needed.


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  Well, I finally received my diagnosis from the Orthopedic Surgeon today.  No meniscus tear, just some IT Band Friction Syndrome.  So, some PT sound take care of it.  Now I can continue wih my plan for next year.

  I was very concerned, although I didn’t really show it.  I didn’t like to idea of going under the knife, even if it was to fix something.  I’ll start working on stretching and strengthening tonight.  I may actually to out for a short run this weekend.  It would be nice to get back out there.  Maybe I can get Mo and Ralph to go out with me.  More later.  I just wanted to get the good new out there.

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  Two weeks post Pig and I’ve only run twice.  The first was a decent 3 miler, nothing to exciting.  It didn’t feel perfect, but it wasn’t bad.  The second run on the other hand, was bad.  It was painful. 

  Three weeks before the Pig I ran a 20 miler in Ault Park.  Lots of hills and lots of wind.  At about mile 16 mile right knee started to hurt after a water stop.  It would loosen up after I ran for a while, but when I stopped it hurt again.

  Over the next three weeks, I still felt the pain a little, but it was gone by Pig day.  I ran the marathon, and it didn’t bother me at all.  Afterwards, it hurt again, but I didn’t think much of it.  It was gone five days after the marathon, and I went for my first Post-Pig run.  Then, like I said, my second run hurt.

  Well, it hasn’t been perfect, so I didn’t run on it.  I thought maybe it was IT Band syndrome, so I stretched and iced it.  On Friday night, we mulched the front and side yards.  Saturday morning it was really bothering me to climb stairs or squat.  On Saturday, we cleaned out the garage, and I really felt it while backing the wheelbarrow out of the garage. 

  I’ve done some research, and I think it’s a meniscus tear.  I can straighten my knee out fully, but at times, while turning around it’s catching.  In the morning, coming down the stairs, I think I hear some grinding.  The knee hurts on the joint line, hurts to twist, squat, and twist and squat.  I feel it climbing stairs, etc.  From what I’ve read, these are all symptoms of a lateral meniscus tear. 

  I’m going to schedule an appointment with a sports medicine guy tomorrow.  At this point, I’d like to know what it is and get it fixed.  If it is a tear, I’d like to get it surgically repaired so I can get back to running.  From what I’ve read, the recovery back to running can be from 4 -12 weeks.  Remember, I have an Evil Plan to implement over the next 12 months.

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  My Evil plan is starting to come together.  Phase I is already underway, which is research on the possibilities.  Phase II is tentatively complete.  I didn’t expect Phase II to be complete before Phase I, but sometimes those things happen.

  Phase III will involve a conversation with my coach.  The only concern is that I don’t know if I have  the same coach for next year.  Wayne, the coach for the Cincinnati Team for Life, doesn’t decide until sometime after the summer if he’s going to come back.  He just turned 69, and ran a 3:55 in the Pig this year.  If I had to guess, I’d say he’s coming back.  I think at the visualization party he said that he couldn’t imagine training for a marathon alone again.  So, I think he’ll be back.  I really hope he’ll be back, the team just won’t be the same without him.

  My evil plan will take a lot of very hard work.  Probably harder than I’ve done to this point, and harder than I’ve ever done.  But, it’s the experience that I’m after, and part of that experience will be the training.  Of course, it could all fall apart quickly, if Phase I doesn’t work out.  Note: If you know the Evil Plan, which only four people know at this point, don’t give it away.  It’s a surprise. 

  My IT Band is still bothering me just a little.  I’ve been stretching it twice a day, and it’s feeling better at this point.  I haven’t run on it yet, but I will Friday or this weekend.  Looks like a need a few more weeks a MAF training to rehab the knee.

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  I’m pretty sure I tweaked my IT Band on my right side during the marathon.  It’s not hurting when I walk, but it did hurt when I was cutting my grass on Saturday (lots of hills).  I did run on Friday night, first time since the Pig, and it felt a little weird.  But, I chalked that up to recovery, etc.  Then I went out to run this morning, and within a quarter of a mile, the outside of my right knee was bothering me.  It’s not killing me, so I’m hoping that stretching and Vitamin-I will take care of it.  Looks like I’m going to the Y for a few days so i don’t “waste away.”

  My right side has always been tighter than my left.  So, I guess with the marathon finished, I need to start doing some stretching to loosen up.  I can feel it when I stretch too.  Hamstrings, calves, IT Band (now), all feel tighter on my right. 

  As for training, I’m going to take another few days to just stretch and hopefully get the IT Band under control.  Then, I’ll do another week of just easy running, maybe 25 or 30 miles.  After that, it’s up in the air.  I thinking of maybe doing the Daniel’s Red or Blue plan, since I’m now out of MAF basebuilding.  So, all of the easy runs would be at or below MAF.  Then, one or two “quality” days a week.  I’d like to get faster this summer, so that my marathon next year is improved.  I like Daniel’s though process and his plans make it easy.  Just do what he says, at the specific VDOT and you should improve.

  As for my crazy plan for next year, I’m still working on it.  I hope to know more by early next week.  Of course, I don’t have too much time to focus on it.  I’m on-call at work, and we have a new alerting mechanism, which is really annoying.  It pages me for everything.


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I Need A New Goal

  I need a new goal.  For that matter, I need a new name for my blog.  It can’t be A Cystic Fibrosis Patient’s Journey to Completing a Marathon anymore.  I’ve completed it, in fact I completed more than a marathon.  So, what do I do now.  And, what do I name my blog.  Any ideas?  Feel free to drop me a note.

  Goal:  I’ve thought about a new goal since Monday.  Part of me says to work on getting faster.  I will do that, of course, but how much faster it the question.  I’ve toyed with the idea of completing a marathon under 4:00.  I think I could do that in a year, but I could be crazy.  I’ve got another crazy, insane, but completely reachable goal in mind.  I have to see if I can pull it off, and if I can get someone else to do the insane with me.  I’ll know about this in the next few weeks.

  Blog Title:  Well, I guess it depends on my new goal.  Maybe, A CF Patients Journey to Completing a Completely Insane Idea.  I think that sounds great.

  If you have ideas on either of these areas, feel free to drop me a note.  Or, just drop me a note to tell me you’d like to give me a personal endorsement deal worth millions.  (I’ll hold my breath until I get one of those)

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  This morning I ran the 2008 Flying Pig Marathon.  As I sit here with ice on both knees after a 90 minute nap, I’m trying to remember it all.  What a great experience.  What a great way to prove to yourself that you can do anything, with the proper training and attitude.  My goal was a 4:30:00 marathon.


  I woke up at 3 AM to get ready.  I took a shower, ate, and did my meds.  I then putzed around with my gear to make sure I had everything.  I told my wife good bye and headed out at about 4:25.  I picked up my friends Ralph and Maureen and headed to our meeting place in downtown Cincinnati. 


  We were supposed to be there at 5:00.  Mental note: it doesn’t take 30 minutes to go 6 miles with no traffic.  So, we were early.  Ralph got us into the building by talking up security.  We waited as the team arrived and we wondered around the room nervously waiting for the time to leave.  We headed out the door at 5:55, for a 6:30 start.


  By the time we got our gear on the bus, made a bio-break, and found our spot it was 6:25.  At 6:36, we were trying to figure out why the gun hadn’t fired.  We asked around, and one of the “Grunt’s” (pig volunteers) told us that there was a 15 minute delay due to a fire.  A few minutes later we found out that we would be running “at least” a marathon, as they had to reroute us around the fire.  Nobody wants to hear that you are going to run at least a marathon.


  The gun finally went off at about 6:45.  My friend Amye was going to help pace me through the race and our friends Kim and Erin were going to run with us.  We didn’t find Erin at the beginning, which was disappointing.  We started off in front of the 4:30 Pace Team, but waited for them to catch us.  Our goal was to stay within sight of the balloons. 


  The early miles went well; I found my wife and kids at 1.5 and continued to stay close to the Pace Team.  We lost Kim at about mile 3 or so to a bio-break.  At about mile 3 my feet started to feel numb, like my shoes were too tight.  The weird thing is, they weren’t.  I hoped walking the water stop would help, and it did a little, but not much.    We saw Amye’s family at about 4.5; they are a great cheering group.  At about 5.5, we walked the water stop, took our first Gu, and I took my first salt.  This slightly longer break helped my feet significantly. 


  At this point, we started the climb.  About 3 miles of hills lead to the highest point on the course.  The hills weren’t easy, but they weren’t that difficult.  We made it to the top.  I had to take a bio-break at mile 7, but there was no line and it took about 30 seconds off.  In fact, we didn’t lose the pace group.  We also found Erin with the break, which was nice, but, still no Kim.  Miles 7 and 8 were uneventful.  I did see my cousin Jill at mile 8.5; she gave me a huge donation the night before the Pig.  Thanks again, Jill.


  Miles 9, 10, and 11 were rolling, but more down then up.  It was nice to be able to relax a little here.  But, my Heart Rate was crazy high.  I knew it couldn’t be right, but it didn’t really register why.  By mile 13, we had lost Erin again.  I don’t know if she just didn’t feel well, or was waiting for Kim.  I’m not sure.    I also had figured out my heart rate monitor issue.  I took the strap off and licked it.  Then it started registering correctly again.  Before this, it was showing 205, when my previous max, in an all out run was 191.  I wasn’t anywhere near all out at this point.


  Almost all of mile 13 was down hill, so it was a nice recovery period.  We were right with our Pace Team, with Theo in the lead.  Miles 14 through 16 were rolling again, not bad, but I was feeling a little tired from the heat, so I noticed it.  We saw Amye’s family at about 15.75 and then they turned around and saw us at 16.  We saw my family right after that, or course, I almost had to run them over for them to see me.


  At about 17.5 I had my second most memorable moment.  We turned left and saw a small hill, but we were all starting to tire.  The entire pace team groaned.  Our coach has always told us to chant “I Love Hills” to ourselves when the hills were tough.  I started it out loud, and Amye joined me.  The entire group started doing it.  It was really kind of neat.  About half way up the hill, someone started playing the theme from “Rocky” on a stereo system, which really helped power us up the hill. 


  Miles 18 and 19 were mostly downhill again, with a few little pops.  Mile 18 is on a major four lane road, which is no fun, but it’s the only easy way to get back “home.”  We saw Amye’s family again at mile 19.  They were yelling and screaming, and taking pictures.  It was a good boost.  I then started looking for my family.  They were going to meet me at my 20.


  Well, I never did find them.  I watched all the way to mile 21.  I did see Maureen’s family, later Kristen told me they were across the street from them.  We saw the Fleet Feet tent at mile 21.  Jeremy, one of the owners, ran with us for a little while.  He took our picture and told us we were looking great.  I thought to myself, “I’m glad I look great, but I sure feel tired.”  My right knee had just a twinge of pain, but it wasn’t a big deal.


  We pressed on, staying close to Theo and the pace group, taking Gu, drinking lots of Gatorade, and taking my salt capsules.  At about mile 21.5 we had to take a detour due to a three alarm fire, the one that caused the delay.  This fire almost caused a 3 hour delay, which would have been a disaster for me.  Near the end of the detour, at about 22.75 or so, I had to walk. From what we could tell, Theo was going to make the 4:30 no matter if the course was long or not.  We were running a 9:20 and he was still pulling away.  I just couldn’t keep that up. 


  We walked for about a minute, and started up again.  We hit a water stop a few minutes later, walked through it, I got another two cups of Gatorade, a Gu, and another salt tablet.  That was my last salt tablet in my main supply, but I did have a backup supply. Miles 23 through 25.3 were the hardest miles I’ve ever run.  Each one felt like 10 miles.  At about 25.4 the crowds really start to build again.  We walked about one minute before we hit the crowds.  The list .8 miles starts with a small hill.  We powered up that, mostly because of the energy from the crowd.  We really started to move at this point, or at least I thought we were.  I saw many friends and team members along that last .8.  I remember hearing Amye’s sister yell “SPRINT!!!!”  I thought to myself, “I am…I can’t run any faster!”  I saw my family about .2 from the finish, they were on the wrong side and yelling as loud as they could.  Amye grabbed my hand at that point and we crossed the finish line together, arms up, and running strong. 


  It was over and I was exhausted.  I understood why they say the marathon starts at mile 20.  Amye told me that she had never cried in the marathon, until now.  It was a very overwhelming experience.  We walked through the finish area, had our picture taken, etc.  I got some chips and a drink, which were great.  Amye’s family was right outside the recovery area, with hugs for both of us.  Then, Kristen and Michael, with our friend Jenny, walked up.  Again, more hugs, more kisses, and more pictures.  Hopefully some of them will look good.  But, then again, I know I don’t take a great picture. 


  We made our way back to the Team for Life tent and shared our experiences with each other.  The team did great.  Everyone finished again this year.  This keeps the team record at 100% completion. 


  This was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done.  It was also a great experience.  The last three miles were all about determination.  They were tough, and I can see where you may want to walk the rest of the way.  But, at the end, pride kicks in and won’t let you walk because all those people would see you.


  In the end, my Garmin registered 26.77 miles and a time of 4:33:28.  The course/times are going to be adjusted due to the detour.  We think that we went at least an extra .3 or .4 miles.  If this is the case, I was under a 4:30.  Either way, I’m very happy with my performance and my results.


  In closing, I have to thank the team.  Without them, I couldn’t have done this.  Wayne, Kelby, Maureen, Victoria, Ralph, Erin, Kim, Scott, and Trish, thank you very much for the support and helping me get through.  A special thanks to Amye, who didn’t worry about her time and helped pace me to a great first marathon.  Finally, to my wife Kristen, son Michael, and daughter Katie, I love you very much.  Thank you for the support, for the time, and for the patience on the weekend mornings when I was gone for a long run. 



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