Nov 24, 2010

Bring on the Anesthesia

This last Tuesday I underwent my third surgery. Being only 20 I find this as a big accomplishment; and a sign that I probably need to find a better sport.

My story begins on the 24th of September. It was a Friday evening. My coach had flown the top nine girls to Minnesota to race in the Roy Griak Invitational on the 25th. We had just gone on a run at the race course and were back at our hotel to get ready for dinner. Feeling rushed to get ready I had been bending over my bag looking for clothes. I stood up quickly, kind of at an angle, with all my weight on my right leg. It gave way.

The rest of the evening I could not put weight on it. By morning it had swollen considerably. After going for a light jog and feeling no pain it was decided that I would race. That was the worst race of my life. With every step a sharp pain would shoot up my leg. I collapsed over the finish line and a teammate half carried me to the first aid tent.

The next week I took a few days off. The main goal was to get the swelling in my leg down. After a while I was in good enough shape to race again. On October 16th I raced at the Dillinger Invitational. I did not have any pain, but my time was not good either. The next weekend I raced at the Beaver Classic. The next day I could not walk.

My coach and trainer decided it was time I took two weeks off. So I did. During this time period I also started exercises that were designed to help strengthen my knee. By the end of the two weeks we had moved into November and my knee was still hurting. My trainer had me start cross-training with some light running and scheduled an appointment with the team doctor. Dr. Wobig, a knee specialist (just my luck), ordered an MRI and gave me some anti-inflammatories. By the 17th the results were back with what could be a possible intrasubstance tear on my right medial meniscus, it was advised that I undergo an arthroscopy. If there was no tear I would have to take two weeks off, if there was I would have 6-8 weeks in crutches.

Fortunately I don't mind using crutches. =)

Thanks Mom for chauffeuring me around and thanks G-ma and pa for watching Gideon

Sep 27, 2010

Pine 2 Palm

Pam dropped me off in the little town of Williams on a Saturday before sunlight.  22 1/2 hrs later she picked me up in Ashland long after dark.

In between, I traveled 103 miles on trails, dirt roads, and a little pavement while climbing and descending a total of 20,000'.  I felt great at the start, and didn't give up the lead until 10 miles.  That was on the first of 3 long, remote, beautiful trails over 7,000' mountains that I had never before traveled.  I made good time on a flat section of dirt road, averaging about 7:20 pace until I got back on trails and hills.  The light rain and cool temperature was fine at low elevations while I was moving well.  Later, when I wasn't moving so well and the wind was driving rain sideways it wasn't so fun.  I borrowed a jacket from a friend, fleece pants from a stranger, a garbage bag from an aid station, and a hat and gloves that I had sent ahead in a drop-bag.
About mile 60, I started having a deep ache in my legs with each step.  I had experienced this once before at my first Where's Waldo.  It was torturous, but self induced, so I asked myself why I was doing it.  I didn't have a good answer.  But I was at least going to get to the next aid station, at mile 66.  I spent 30 minutes there in a chair sipping chicken-noodle soup by the heater.  I decided I was going to at least go to the top of the peak since it was only another 1/2 mile.  I felt better once I left, so I kept going.  I knew my friend, David Jordan, was waiting for me at mile 83.  The leg pain didn't come back until mile 81.  I spent another 1/2 hour in a chair and again had relief.  We walked about 7 miles to the top of the last peak, then jogged the steep down-hill, ran the dirt road, and limped in to the finish.  I hadn't much cared earlier when they were passing me, but I worked hard to pass people back, and caught everyone that had passed me after mile 60 to finish 4th.

This was my 2nd 100 mile finish.  100 milers cause a high level of physical and mental stress.  If I ever do another, I need to train longer miles for it ahead of time.  Which is another challenge- they take a huge amount of preparation.
My legs were very sore for 3 days.  I was able to do 800m repeats with Esther on the 4th day, but then a couple of spots on my feet really hurt.  I went for a bike ride Saturday, but haven't run again.  Yet.

Next on the schedule is the Ashland loop trail marathon, but it's the same day as state xc.

Sep 3, 2010

Hood 2 Coast

Once a year 12,000 crazy people decorate their cars with double andantes, and run through the night from the parking lot at Timberline to the beach, largely on back roads.  For a fee of $100+ each, the deal includes smelly bodies and car sickness in dusty stop-and-go traffic after 2 1/2 hrs of sleep in a field to get to a long port-a-potty line before dashing down the road again.  It's a special kind of hurry-up and wait.

team 821, van 2, "before"
In my defense, I view it as a celebration of running, and is worthwhile if you have a fun team.
This year I got on a team with 3 cardiologist, several of their staff and family, and a couple of friends that I ran with last year.  One of the guys, Ken, was former Air Force, served a mission to Korea, and works with the young men's organization in the other stake, so I really enjoyed talking with him.

Mike was on a team named ROUS (Runners of Unusual Stamina).  They started before us, but I had hopes initially that our team would catch his and we would see each other.  24 legs into the race, in a field off a small country road miles from civilization, we pulled in to take our last long break.  2 vans down I noticed the ROUS rig, surrounded by sleeping people but I didn't recognize any of their faces as they were each covered to shade from the light.  I found an empty patch of grass, and caught a little sleep, until the guy orthogonal to me straightened his legs and kicked me in the head.  Sure enough, it was my favorite Andrus brother-in-law.  His team was doing well, and we never did catch them, but it was great to see him if only for a moment.  At that same transition, I was also greeted by friends Ammon and Ann Ebert from Medford. 

in a hurry.  At least, I was.
A nice part of being on a slow team is that the only pressure is what you put on yourself.
I had leg 8, which starts and ends with fairly flat 4+ mile legs, and has a middle leg that climbs almost 1000' total over 5+ miles.  I beat my time estimates, especially on the climb.  On my legs, I averaged 5:28/mile, 6:20/mile, and 5:41/mile. I still felt pretty good, so I joined a team mate for the 7 mile next-to-last leg.

our team leader
We enjoyed good weather this year, and made it back to Forest Grove before dark to rendezvous with my wife.  I jumped out of the team van at a stop light to hop into our Honda.  She did a little geocaching on our way back to my sister-in-law Tracy's birthday party then arrived at the posh motel-Lake in McMinnville.  It was after 10pm, and Esther hadn't run yet.  She was dragging Zachary out with her, and not wanting to miss out on the fun, I donned my shoes yet again for 1 more leg.  It's an admittedly strange way to have fun.

May 27, 2010

Mac Forest 50k late report

It was a beautiful morning for a run May 8th in the hills North of Corvallis. I actually paid attention (briefly and early on in the race) to birds singing in the trees, wildflowers, great views, and thick forest. I shed my long-sleeve shirt after the first 30 min. There was some mud in the middle of the run, but not much. I wore light-weight Sacony Fastwich, which gave me adequate traction which was great, but they were a little thin as I felt the gravel through them later on. Maybe next year we'll get lucky and have more bone chilling drizzle and slop like a few years ago.

A bunch went out fast. I think I was in 13th at the top of the first big climb 30 minutes into the run. On part of the descent towards Soap Creek my GPS watch showed under 5:20 pace at one point, but Brian Morrison was still pulling away!

Into the Starker property maze of trails, and on the downwards section of extendo there was plenty of company from the early starters. For the next 10 miles I picked off people as I could, while trying not to fry muslce fibers.

Towards the end of the maze I caught Michael Lynes, who admitted he would have felt fresher if he hadn't just won the Tacoma Marathon the week before. I pulled up even with David Larsen on the long uphill to Dimple Hill and we passed the leader (who was brave but we could tell he was new to ultrarunning because he wasn't carying a water bottle). At the Dimple hill aid station I changed into the green Rouge Valley Runners singlet, to look fresh (and harder to spot in the woods).

David must have blazed through that aid station, as I had to bomber down the hill to catch and pass him. I got a minute or so on him by Chip Ross, but started having muscle cramps - first just when jumping a stream, later in spurts with every step.
So I was pretty nervous heading up the horse trail. That is where a couple of friends passed me last year. I was able to keep it under red-line, and finally hit the gravel road at the top. I came upon a cyclist, who jokingly said "go runner!" I didn't realize until was right up to him that it was Ken!  I had cryptically indicated to him that I might be in town.  He was out on a ride, bumped into extra traffic, figured out what was going on, and rode up the gravel road on his road bike high above the Lewisberg saddle to cheer me on.

I adjusted my stride to avoid having cramping with each step.  Later I got a cramp in my arm.  Started me to thinking what other muscles were beating hard that might cause trouble if they cramped...

That last long uphill doesn't look bad on paper, but it drags on forever. The down-hill was a relief in that it is a different kind of pain. Then it was just a matter of holding on until I heard the sound of my daughters 1/4 mile from the finish line.
I've now placed 5th, 3rd, 2nd, 4th, 6th and 1st at this race. I have loved Chip Ross and dimple hill since running them from my back door in high school 25+ years ago.  4:13:51 was the slowest winning time in a few years, but 16 min faster than I did last year.
It was the first time in several attempts that my parents timed it right to be at the finish line at the same time as I was, which was great.
The following days I just had the standard can-only-go-down-stairs-one-at-a-time soreness. No lasting cramp damage.

Apr 13, 2010

"How many is that again?"

25 laps, 6.2 miles, just over 38 minutes of pain. Bring a book if you want to come watch because it's the 10k.

If you thought you knew what pain was before, think again, it just got redefined.

Feb 9, 2010

Clam Beach run

Saturday we all piled into the car early, drove through the dark while the kids slept to Trinidad California.
Zachary, Esther and I then waited in the cold until we ran in the rain.  I wore a garbage bag as a coat for the first 2 miles.  We crossed a river then ran 2 miles on the beach to the finish.

Pam got in some geocaching until the car battery died.  Joe and Todd got us jump started.  

We had ice cream near Selma and made it home after dark.

Today Gideon and I did a 3 mile tempo with the team, then Zach joined us for a run in the Britt woods, which Esther and I have decided is our favorite place to run barefoot.