Thursday, December 29, 2011

Running again

Yesterday I had a really fun run!  Not all that far and not all that fast!  But a great time none the less.

Anytime I'm visiting my hometown, I HAVE to go for a run at Bay's Mountain Park.  I've run those trails for probably 30 years or more and I still get excited as I drive up to the Welcome Center.  The park has it all . . . sweet, flat fine-gravel roads, beautiful single track, views to kill for and hills . . . plenty of ups to suck your breath away and make your legs spaghetti!

This trip was especially nice because I was taking two beginning runners up there to run their first trails!  That's right . . . two total trail virgins!  My nephew, Andy Hicks and his wife Blake started running back in the spring and have become quite dedicated.  But they have always stayed on the roads so this was going to be fun.

Blake has been sick for several weeks and had not run much . . . and I was glad!  Not that she had been sick, but that I would have someone to walk some with me!  We decided to just do a short one around the lake on Lakeside Trail . . . a beautiful and fairly gentle trail but enough hills to make it a good experience.

Temps were in the high 30s or low 40s . . . perfect for a run!  Trails were in great shape . . . with just a little mud to make sure it was a genuine 'trail' experience.

We definitely didn't 'burn up' the trails . . . but that wasn't the plan or the point.  We all just wanted to get out there and run some and walk when we needed to.  And that is just what we did!  Most enjoyable!

When we got back to the planetarium I jokingly suggested we continue on up to the observation platform, thinking Blake and Andy would say no way.  How wrong I was!  Blake said let's do it!  And off we went.  Maybe 1/2 mile up to the top but I tried running sections!  Just what I needed!  And the views from the top were super.  I just love Bay's Mountain.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Off-topic Thoughts

Okay . . . disclaimer up-front.  I'm a Republican.  Not a "dyed in the wool" one but most Republican basic beliefs and my personal ones tend to line up fairly well.
  • the less government the better
  • minimize regulations
  • decisions are best made as close to the individual voter as possible
  • If people make decisions they must live with the consequences of their decision.
But I sure got upset at this last weekend's Republican debates.  Seems some folks suggest long-term consistent positions are a positive, and if someone has changed their positions it's bad.  Both Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich were put to task for changing some of their past positions.  Seems some believe folks should always be consistent.

But I believe consistency is not always a virtue!  I'm suggesting that if someone is always consistent, it is a PROBLEM, not a virtue.

Can you imagine in baseball, if a batter always bunted, or if a pitcher always threw a curve ball what would happen?  Their stay in the major league would be very, very short!  Batters would quickly adjust to the curve ball pitcher and in just a few innings batters would just tee off on the guy!

Situations change.  And different situations call for different responses and strategies.  Change is not a four letter word.

Imagine a world where everyone stayed consistent and unyielding in their beliefs.  No compromise . . . ever.  Nothing would ever be settled.  Republicans would just always say 'No new taxes!' and Democrats would never consider significant reductions in the size and scope of government.  Republicans . . . . no revenue increases and Democrats . . . no spending cuts.  Stalemate.   And things would just continue to get worse and worse.

Oh . . . wait a minute!  That is EXACTLY what is happening today.

Republicans . . . sometimes a tax increase may be okay.  A minor increase in taxes to super high-income individuals won't halt economic growth.  These folks can still get by.  And maybe . . . just maybe . . . to pull America out of the huge deficit we're in we may need to ALL PAY A LITTLE MORE TAX!  Not forever.  But maybe for a few years, we do.

Democrats . . . we've GOT to HUGELY reduce the size of our government and our regulations.  Sure groups of people will be hurt and they will protest and complain loudly.  But America is spending WAY too much.  And if we do raise taxes some, that money has to pay off our debts.  NOT MORE SPENDING!

We all probably know in our hearts we have to 1) reduce our spending, AND 2) increase our revenues.  BOTH!  PERIOD.  So get over it and start addressing the problem.

Our elected officials have to learn to compromise and NOT always be consistent.  Things that may make sense when our economy is growing and vibrant just don't make sense when times get tough.

I really believe that the major factor influencing Americas politicians . . . Republican and Democrat . . . is striving to get re-elected.  Make the voters happy and you're re-elected.  We need to remove that as a possibility so our elected officials can focus on what is good for America and not what will get them elected again.  Term limits are mandatory but will be hard to make happen.  Not sure it that is realistic or how to really get that started.  This has been talked about for years and years and nothing ever happens . . . except more talk.

But in the mean time, it's okay to change your thinking on things.

I honestly agree with Republicans  that our real problem is WAY too much government spending.  When you take it program by program it's hard to say no.  Health care for everyone . . . sounds good!  Medicare and Medicaid . . . fantastic  And this list goes on and on!  Quite frankly it would be nice to give everyone in America a new Lexus!  But we have to be realistic.

So many American look to the government to take care of them, rather then take care of themselves.  There is a feeling of entitlement . . . that they DESERVE unlimited unemployment, etc.  They are owed!

 So to stop or cut these programs back will make folks MAD.  Lots of fussing and complaining!  And if a politician is worried about getting re-elected, they will cave.  Give the people what they want.  But we've got to cut back . . . dramatically.

I'm a believer in going to each government agency and saying . . . your funds are cut 30%.  YOU figure out how to best fulfill your agency's mission with the new level of funding.  Each agency will figure it out!  Maybe it's not an across the board 30% . . . maybe it varies agency by agency, but the cuts should be large.  And these cuts are not just one-year cuts . . . they are long term cuts.

I wouldn't have said many of these things a few years ago.  But I'm changing my mind.  Our situation has changed and my positions have migrated in response to the new environment.  So I'm not consistent.  THANK GOD!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

It's all about YOU! And me!

I've got to admit, I'm somewhat torn about who this blog is for.

When I write stuff, I've got to admit I'm usually thinking about trying to make reading this enjoyable for you, my 5 readers!  I know there are quite a few folks that read my drubbings . . . I can see the web stats.  And I really do love it whenever anyone leave a comment.  (Quite frankly it just makes my day!)  Hopefully I can make you smile!  Or if I really "hit it out of the park" I'll make you laugh out loud!  But that doesn't happen much.

No . . . I'll settle for just entertaining you a little.  I know I'm not a talented writer, but I do get a kick out of writing this blog.  I try to keep my focus on running and running related topics.  But not always.  Sometimes I just ramble off course.

But I'm finding there are time I write this blog solely for me.  Selfishly.  Just to express whatever it is I'm feeling.  Reader be damned!  Like my last post about my excitement about being able to run again.  Not funny.  Not entertaining.  Just my real feeling about finally being able to again do what I love.

I don't apologize for this.  And I'm guessing you'll continue to see both kinds of blog posts from me.  Some may be somewhat entertaining.  Some may be totally boring.  Bottomline: You get what you pay for!!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

So happy!

Saw Dr. Jones, my hip surgeon, today and he was really please with were I was.  Jeff Miller, my PT, got me well along and basically strength and mobility were at 100% thanks to Jeff.

Dr Jones told me if I were 25 he would turn me loose . . . but since I'm 62 he thinks I need to go forward more slowly.  Start with a .5 mile run.  Then add a minute each day (if I can!).  Any pain I stop.  Period.

Today I ran my first easy 1/2 mile in 5:30 after a 1/2 mile warm up walking.  No pain whatsoever!  Sooooooo Happy!  I promise to keep within Dr. Jones' limits . . . but I'm running again!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Top 10 advantages to not running . . .

Okay . . . been thinking about this!  The top 10 advantages to not running . . .

10.  I've cut in half the amount of washing I do each week!

9. No race entry fees to pay!

8. I get to eat a 'real' lunch each day rather then either Subway or Starkist Lunch-To-Go Tuna.

7. Not having to listen to all the bad jokes told at the Y every day!

6. No travel expenses for a race!

5.  No running shoes purchases in months!  My shoes may be dry rotting, but they aren't wearing out!!

4.  My gel supply hasn't need to be replenished since June!

3.  My resting heart rate no longer freaks out my doctor!

2.  It doesn't matter that I haven't moved all my summer running clothes out to make room for my warmer winter clothes.

And finally . . .

1. When I get in my car to go home, it doesn't have that smell of sweaty running clothes that have had all afternoon to 'ripen!' 

So with all these great reason to be happy not running, why do I miss running so much?

Hopefully . . . this Thursday my doctor will tell me I'm okay to start running again!  I've got my fingers crossed! 

Ahhhh . . .  I can smell those sweaty clothes in the car already!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Things are changing. And change is good . . . right?

Okay . . . it seems this blog is no longer about running.  I wish it were.  But it's not.  So if running is what you want to read about, just stop now!

No . . . this blog is slowing becoming an old man's 'whinner's blog' of little medical issues that really don't amount to much and are only really important to the person it's happening to.  But since THAT person is me . . . well . . . the blog just has to adjust some.

I'm guessing in another month or so I'll be branching into a whole new line of posts.  A few topics are already on my list to discuss:
  • Prune juice (the natural approach) vs a laxative from CVS.
  • Magnifiers, big print books,  Kindles . . . what are your options when you need to read.
  • Secrets on how to pass a driver's test when you're a senior citizen.
  • Planning for Medicare.
  • How to remember where you put your list of things you wanted to remember.
  • Knitting and quilting . . . men can do it too.
  • Why are all these people passing me when I drive?
  • Soft foods
This should really be exciting.  Stay tuned!

Hopefully in a few more weeks I can start back with my running theme . . . but for now . . . I'm whining!

The Hip

Houston . . . we have progress . . . just not so much of it.

Things ARE getting better but progress is slow at best.  Up until today my furthest walk has been ~ 2 1/2 miles and that felt pretty good.  And I've done that twice.  But the last two days I've stopped my walk at about 1/2 mile.  It was hurting and just not right . . . so I quit.  I could easily pushed through the pain . . . it really wasn't all that much.  Even the end of a marathon hurts way more.  But it just doesn't feel like something I should 'push through.'  So I quit.  Twice.

But today was a new day.  A totally beautiful morning and my hip felt good so decided to try it again.  And the result . . . a new 'comeback' time and distance record!  That's right, friends and neighbors! 5k in a few minutes UNDER one hour!  Whoaaaa!  And the pain never changed from when I started until I finished!  Encouraging!

My hip's range of motion is just about back to normal but there are a few positions I get into and things I do that just plain hurt!  For instance sometimes my hip just plain locks up.  And I have to carefully manipulate it a little to get it working again.  Another example: riding a bike kills me.  Not the down-stroke but as the pedal comes back up!!  Doesn't matter what resistance level I use.  WTF???  That's just plain crazy!  But it's real!  This REALLY hurts!

My next doctor's visit is in early December.  And we'll be talking about just what I should do when there is pain.  Do I back off / stop doing whatever it is I'm doing?  Or do I carefully push on through the pain?  I can do either . . . I just don't want to do the wrong thing and screw up my recovery.

But for right now . . . running is out of the question . . . for sure.

The Kidney Stones

We finally have all the information back regarding my kidney stones so I went to my Rocky Mount urologist to determine some plan of action.  Just sitting around waiting for another stone to pass seems like not such a good plan when you consider:
  1. I live alone in a very rural place with not many folks around full time . . . so I have to drive . . . can't get anyone else,
  2. It's about a 40 minute drive to the nearest hospital,
  3. Of the three stones that have passed, one took 2 days to make the trip, one only about 4 hours and one stopped 3/4 of the way and just got stuck,
  4. I guess I'm just a wimp when it comes to pain, and
  5. I've got maybe 7 - 9 more stones just waiting for their chance to break out and make their own journey to sunlight!

My urologist consulted with all the doctors in his office and here is what they collectively said:
  • The analysis of the stones I passed indicates these are not a type of stone that will break up if they try ultra sound blasting (lithotripsy) again.
  • I have a huge prostate . . . so frickin' big it makes stone removal from my kidney REALLY, REALLY hard.  They really don't think going up 'that way' to the kidney is a viable option.
  • The other option is to go in through my side/back with something like an arthroscope, get to the kidney and get those frickin' stones.  But they are afraid to try it that way.  It seems all my stones are in one little group in my left kidney.  Really high up.  And right up against my spleen and they think that is risky and tricky approach.
So, bottom-line, they have referred me to a doctor at Duke.  December 19th is my appointment.

Now aren't you glad you wasted your time reading this????    :-)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Too much or too little , , ,

Just a quick little update. 

My hip doctor told me that . . .
  • once I started walking (November 2nd) I should initially walk no more the 1/2 mile.  Fine.  So far, so good.
  • when I add distance I should add no more the 10% at a time.
He didn't tell me . . .
  • How many times a day I should walk the 1/2 mile.
  • How long of a break I need between these 1/2 mile walks
  • how often I could add distance . . . every walk?  every day? every week?
As a good patient how am I supposed to know these things??   :-)

So if he meant 1 walk per day and increases 10% per week, today I should have walked .61 miles.
But if he meant 1 walk per day and increase 10% per day, today I should have walked 1.9 miles.
But if 2 walks per day was okay and add 10% to every walk, today I should have walked 7.93 miles.

Well, in my confusion today I walked 2 miles. 

What am I?  A frickin' mind reader? So did I walk too much or too little?  I can't read his mind!!  (And I won't call!!!   :-)  )  I'm thinking that maybe I should step it up!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

My Next Target

Okay . . . do you know who this guy is?

If you are an ultra runner in North Carolina you will probably recognize this as Tom Herbst, a long term ultra runner and member of the Mangum Track Club from Fayetteville, NC.  But . . . to me . . . Tom is my competition . . . my next victim!

In truth, Tom is one really nice guy and one hell of an ultra runner with more ultra runs under his belt "then Carter has Liver Pills."  This picture was taken at last year's Umstead 100 where Tom had an unsuccessful attempt at yet another 100 miler.  I only mention this DNF because the only reason Tom wasn't successful was because he had a nagging hip issue.  That's right! Hip problem!

I saw Tom several times since April and his hip continued to be a frustrating, nagging injury.  Months later I posted on either this blog or on Facebook about my 'weird' hip problem that just wasn't improving. It was Tom who told me that he thought I likely had a torn labrum and suggested that I read up on a torn labrum to see if I thought this made sense as my hip problem.

After a few days of internet investigation I was certain that Tom was correct! (and it turns out he was!)  Tom was experiencing somewhat similar symptoms and had surgery scheduled in October.  Tom had had an MRI which shoued a significantly torn labrum.  But when the doctor when in . . . SURPRISE!! Tom's labrum was 100% fine . . . no damage at all.  BUT it turns out he had a much more difficult problem.  Tom had developed a bone spur on the head of his femur and that bone growth had torn up the cartilage on the inside the hip socket (acetabulum).  Post surgery Tom was on crutches for ~6 weeks . . . 4 weeks with no weight-bearing.  As a result of his extensive recovery period, Tom and I actually started walking within a week of so of each other!

It was really great having someone who REALLY understood what I was going through and he was great all through my process from initial doctor's visit to post surgery rehab.  It was great to have someone that was just a few weeks ahead of me to help me understand and deal with what I would soon be facing.
Stephen Lilly and Tom Herbst finishing the 2010 Medoc Meltdown 50k

Bottomline:  Tom is a great guy.  But that really doesn't matter now.  No . . .  Tom and I have decided to have a spring Geezer's Race where he and I will compete head-to-head to see which one of us can go the farthest distance.  Not a time event but a distance event!  We haven't firmed up exactly which race we'll use . . . guess we'll both have to see how our rehabs are going before we firm up the competition.  The bet is a cold beer and you can bet whoever wins will make the VERY, VERY most out of the ceremony!

But I'm concerned . . . because in Tom's first week of walking he completed a 4.5 mile walk at Weymouth Woods!!  My doctor is insistent that I walk no more then .5 miles right now . . . and that is about all I feel like I can complete.   So Tom is definitely in the lead today.

So right now I'm focused on how I'm going to beat this young rascal at this ultra game!  No way I can let him get these braggin' rights!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Another boring update!

Smokin'  !!!!!

.58 miles today!  And my walking pace was pretty good . . . around 18:30 pace!  Woo Hoo!!

This week I did visit my doctor.  I was concerned that I didn't have a pain pill for two weeks . . . but when I started walking and began physical therapy, my pain level increased and hadn't gotten any better.  I was concerned that maybe during my kidney stone experience I had messed up my hip.

Dr. Jones listened and then got some x-rays.  Bottomline: everything looks good.  I just need to show more patience.  One thing he showed me really blew my mind . . . a before and after view of my femur head.  It really amazed me how much bone he had removed . . . bone that was causing the labrum tear. 

He wants me to keep after PT without pushing through sharp pain.  Just brush up against the pain.  Show patience.  He reminded me I had big surgery.  He really did a whole lot of repair and correction and it would all take time to heal.  Pain may continue up to 6 weeks post surgery and possibly even more.

So I will show more patience.

.58 miles sure isn't very far.  But quite frankly it was all I needed to do.

So when will I be able to resume running?  Good question!  I really am not sure.  But I'm pretty sure it will be awhile!

Patience!!  Patience!!  Close you're eyes!  Take a deep breath . . . exhale slowly . . .  relax . . . it will come . . .

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Quick update . . .

Quick update -
  1.  Passed another kidney stone this week.  Small little 'fella and didn't cause all that much pain.  But I have about twelve more of his big brothers just waiting.  I've got to address this.  Waiting is just not okay.
  2. Hip doing really well.  Get to start walking tomorrow!  And I get to drive!  Big day!
Overall . . . things are really, really good.  Just can't wait to start training again.

Looks like Tom Herbst has a couple of days head start on me.  Tom had his hip surgery about 6 weeks ago . . . something a little more serious then mine.  But Tom has completed several 100 milers . . . plus he is way younger then me!  But I'm still willing to spot him these advantages . . . I'm just looking at this as an even start.

While we haven't decided on a race yet, we plan to have a spring competition.  Most miles completed will win!  I can taste my prize beer already!  Tom better make sure its really, really cold!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

One Hip Report

Okay . . . it's been a totally crazy 12 days since my hip surgery . . .
  • Surgery was Wednesday, October 19th.  Coming home I was nauseous but that only lasted maybe 2 hours.
  • Post surgery, I didn't need any pain pills.  I did take one Thursday morning just to see what it felt like.  Very minimal pain.  Biggest problem was getting my muscles used to crutches.  The first week I couldn't put any weight on my hip.  Very hard getting around and carrying stuff.  Plus, I had a strict 90° rule . . . I couldn't bend my hip to body angle less then this.  This was another pain!  Exercise prescribed: toe touches and leg lifts.  Leg lifts hurt as he had 'released' my hip flexor tendon (released = cut on purpose!)
  • Really early Saturday morning I started passing two kidney stones.  Put in the hospital.  Sunday afternoon I finally passed one, but doctors determined my kidneys were getting at risk and so on Monday morning I had the remaining stone surgically removed.  A really, really tough three days.  Back home Tuesday.
  • Had my post-op meeting with my hip surgeon Thursday.  Everything looked fine and I could start partial weight-bearing.  Found out the 90° rule would last for 4 weeks.  Plus, I couldn't drive for another week!  That sucked!  I have the order to start physical therapy but I can't get there until I start driving . . . first session scheduled for the Friday after I can drive.
  • Started feeling actual pain from my hip!  WTF!  Over a week post-surgery and pain starts??
  • Saturday, I took two crutching excursions one about 300 yards down the hill and then back.  The second about 300 yards the other direction. but Saturday night I had to take a pain pill to sleep.
Okay . . . I can feel my hip range of motion getting smaller and smaller and it's sort of like a cartilage tear in my knee . . . almost 'locking up' at times and feels like its almost dislocated.  And it all started with partial weight-bearing.   I am convinced I am not doing more then the doctor wanted me to do . . . I'm not pushing any limits he set.

Took it fairly easy today (Sunday) but probably went almost as far.  For every other surgery I've had the key to reducing pain was exercise . . . so that is what I plan to do.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


I was doing great after my hip surgery. Staying on my crutches was a pain but not all that bad.  Went to bed Friday night and slept good.  Woke up at about 4am and needed to pee.  Back to bed and I started thinking that that piss was different somehow!

Out of 1,000s of pisses it was odd I thought this one was unusual.  Then . . . from zero to 10 on the pain scale in 5 seconds flat.  What the hell was going on?  But I had it figured it out in 10 more seconds . . . I was passing my first kidney stone!

I've know I've had a significant number of these jewels for several years.  I've even gone to the hospital and had a lithotripsy to try and bust these up into tiny pieces that should pass easily.  That didn't work at all.  So we (meaning my Urologist and I) were just watching these tiny stones.  WTF?  What did he thing these mini-atomic bombs were going to do?  And I learned that my Doc . . . well . . . I now understand he didn't have too much to lose in this waiting game!

Now I found myself in a pickle!
  • I live 30 minutes from the nearest hospital, 
  • I live alone 
  • I couldn't drive my car
  • I couldn't walk without crutches
  • I really don't know my neighbors very well
Damn!  Deep crap!

I called Connie and she said she was coming up to the lake and that if it 'got bad' I should just call 911.  I hung up and decided to wait for Connie.  That lasted all of 30 seconds and I knew I had only one choice . . . call 911.

I crutched around trying to get some shorts on . . . not easy to do with my hip!  Plus I needed to find some pain pills!  Finally, I just laid down in a little ball on the sofa and waited.  10 minutes and a knock on my door and the EMTs were here! . . . I could hardly answer their questions.  On the way to the hospital in Roanoke Rapids the EMTs gave me morphine for the pain . . . no help at all!  Nothing!

I really don't remember much of the rest of Saturday and Saturday night.  When the stones started moving I was out of my mind in pain.  (Yes . . . a CAT scan showed there were two medium to small sized stones moving.)  Then the stone would stop moving and relief would come fairly quickly.  I was pumped full of some high-powered pain relievers, but in all honestly they seemed to do little good.

And they wanted me to drink water like I never had before to try to help the little buggers along.  This continued all day long and all Saturday night / Sunday morning.  Folks - these weren't big stones . . . just 3-4 mm and they made a 100% baby out of me.  I cried, I yelled, I cussed . . . nothing helped.

Bad periods lasted 3-5 hours.  Then an hour or two break and then start over!

By mid day Sunday things still continued on unchanged but the blood tests were showing a rapid decline in my kidney function and the doctors were concerned.  The only answer was they had to go and get the stones.

You don't want to know how they actually do that.  (Hint: they don't cut you skin . . . I'll leave it at that!)  My only questions involved making sure I was going to be totally asleep the whole time!

Sunday night I finally passed one of the two stones and I was excited!  Maybe I could avoid the surgery!  I drank glass after glass of water with renewed passion.  But this last little dude was not coming out!

So Monday morning I was rolled into the operating room . . . and the next thing I knew I was being rolled into recovery.  I saw my doctor in the recovery and he  told me he had been successful in getting the stone (there was about a 10% chance we would not be able to and we would go to Plan C.  And Plan C is way worse then Plan B with is worse then Plan A.  But luckily Plan C wasn't needed.  The relief from the stones was immediate but in it's place were new instruments of pain.  But none hurt anywhere near as bad as those stones!

Here is the little nasty sucker I passed Sunday night.  Looks innocent enough!

Came home Tuesday and still having pain, but it is sooooo much better I'm almost giggling at it!

I've never claimed to be able to stand pain well . . . but I didn't think I was as bad as I was.  Those two little bitty stones kicked me butt like nothing ever has!  EVER!  If it had been a 100 miler I could have just quit.  But there was no DNF at the Kidney Stone 100.  You have to finish.  Period.

My daughter has passed several stones and she says they hurt really bad!  Hurt hell!  They are ungodly!  She must be able to handle way more pain then me!

And two surgeries in less then a week is just wrong.

Friday, October 21, 2011

So far so good . . .

Well . . . the surgery is in the past!  Thank God!  Now it just healing and recovery.

This was a super stressful few days for me!  First my son, Michael, was moving to Texas!  That's right!  He got a job with Booz Allen Hamilton in San Antonio and you guessed it . . . he had to leave the day of my surgery.  He had planned to drive me to Raleigh Wednesday morning for the surgery, drive me back to the lake and then leave for Texas.  But issues developed and he had to leave early, so Michael, his two dogs and I piled in his U-Haul van at 5:00 am and drove to Duke Hospital on Wake Forest so I could be there by 6:30.

Luckily, Charles West was able to be there during my surgery and drive me to Rocky Mount, where Connie took over and drove me to the Lake!  Stressful, last minute changes!  The hero of the day was Charles!  For sure.

Surgery was scheduled for 8:30 and I guess we started on time.  I just remember the recovery room and talking with my doctor there.  He told me things were pretty much as he expected based on the MRI . . . he repaired and then detached the labrum, sanded off both the hip socket and the hip ball then reattached the labrum.  He 'released the hip flexor tendon (cut) and repaired the two torn ligaments.

There was a surprise though . . . he found arthritis which was not what we wanted to see.  Nothing he could do to correct arthritis and he can't be sure how much of my pain was coming from the torn labrum and how much from the arthritis.  Guess we'll find out later!

The amazing thing is I've had very little pain.  Took one pain pill the morning after surgery just to see what it felt like.  None since and it is now Friday afternoon.  They don't want me to bend my hip more the 90°.  That is a problem!  Anytime you sit down or stand up you flex more then the 90°.  Plus, when you sit and type on a computer you bend forward more then the allowed 90°.  Just hope this limitation doesn't last long!

Crutches suck!  That's the only real soreness I've had . . . sore muscles from the frickin' crutches!  So how do you carry a glass of wine or an open can of beer?  Beats me!

I'm supposed to be doing leg lifts . . . but that is the only movement that really hurts so I'm holding off a few days on those.   I'm sure I could drive fine . . . even slamming on the brakes.  But no driving for a week at least.

So . . . all in all this has been quite easy so far.

Monday, October 17, 2011


Okay . . . shit happens and any chance of me getting more races in during 2011 is nill.  So if I haven't achieved my 2011 running goals yet they won't get done!  So let's review . . .

Here were my 2011 running goals and my results

#1. Make sure 2011 is a year of FUN in my running.
  • I achieved this goal . . . and that is most important!

#2. Fastest Marathon - Over 5:30.
  • I haven't checked but I really don't need to.  I know I did this.
#3. Number of Marathons or Ultras - Over 14.  Average at least a marathon a month.
  • I did well through June . . . and did technically finish one more marathon at Hinson Lake in September.  So I totaled 10 runs of marathon distance or longer . . . (plus Uwharrie 20 which to me feels like a marathon when I'm done!).  Only one of these was a 'Lilley Special' run where I was the only competitor.  I didn't count long training runs.  Since it's just mid October I'm not feeling too bad about missing this goal.  If the hip had not developed into a huge hindrance, 15-20 was in the bag.
#4. 75 miles or more at the Umstead 100.
  • Okay . . . a fail at Umstead.  I only did 62.5 miles and I'm still disappointed in myself about that.  Physical failures I can stand but Umstead was just a mental failure.  But I did learn.  And finished 75 miles at Goldsboro!  And I honestly believe I could have finish the full 100 at Goldsboro had I not gotten some nasty blisters.  So . . . since I'm keeping the score I'm going to declare success here . . .just not 100% success!
#5. Finish 50 miles at Boogie.
  • Success here.  I was DFL by so far Doug almost had to declare me a 2012 finisher!  But I did finish.  Again, blisters did me in.  Plus, I did have the beginnings of my hip issue.  I didn't complain or write about it, but I was having problems there too, but I just didn't think it was anything other then one of those pains we get as we just get older!

#6. Get at least 4 folks to try an ultra for the first time.
  • I really can't say that I was the reason that Amber Shingleton, Jon Shingleton, Eric Ghilloni and Arthur Bennett finished an ultra.  But I do think I helped some!!  Actually two of there weren't in my original list!  And I few that I had on my list are still there as targets!  Beware folks!  I'm coming after you!

So . . . with my hip surgery this Wednesday, I need to adjust goals so I can continue 2011 with some running goals.  I'm NOT done for the year!

Remaining 2011 Goals
  • So that is my #1 remaining goal for 2011 . . . I will run again after surgery and before the stroke of midnight New Year's Eve.  If I'm able to do that . . . . well . . .then 2011 will have been an awesome year for my running!
  • I was hoping to have a race with my friend Tom Herbst before the end of the year, and that still may happen.  About 4 weeks ago Tom had a very similar surgery to what I'm going to have next week.  Tom may be race ready but I'm afraid that may be a little too ambitious for my recovery.
Will I write to my blog between surgery and when I start running again?  Not really sure.  When I had knee surgery a couple of years ago I did do a daily blog on the recovery to running.  But that was only a 10 period or so.  Not sure I will this time since it will be a longer recovery period (at least 2 weeks on crutches and possibly more depending upon what they find when they stick the arthroscope in and turn on the light!)

If I do write something, I would strongly urge you to not read it.  Zero chance it could even be close to interesting.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Eco-Training - close . . . but not perfect yet!

If you are one of the 10s of people that actually take valuable time out of your day to read this blog, you may remember the new training program I have in development I am calling 'Eco-Training'.  Essentially, with Eco-Training, you keep your long runs to an absolute minimum and back off your mid-week runs to eliminate trash miles.  The motto is basically 'Low and Slow'.

Well, after this last weekend I have come to realize . . . 'Eco-Training' isn't perfect!    There are still a few, what I believe to be, minor 'tweaks' needed for perfection.

Realistically, few true innovations are perfect when first conceived and put into practice.  Even Albert Einstein's theory of relativity wasn't perfect to start with.  Few people realize that his original formula was E=m^2c.  But things were just not working out for him using this formula.  Quite frankly, it was just a big dud!  Nothing!  Perfection came for 'Al' (as us friends like to call him) only when he realized he needed to just move the '^2' to the far right!   Then . . . magically . . . BANG!!!  Perfection!

So 'Eco-Training' isn't perfect yet.  A few minor adjustments still do need to be made.

My first test to the Eco-Training experiment was at Hinson Lake 24 hour Endurance Classic this last weekend and it was here where a few of the weaknesses of the original plan started coming to light. 

First, 'Eco-Training' doesn't seem to help one build blazing speed. 

I was disappointed that my lap times increased to a small degree.  So I'm really not sure at this point what adjustments are needed to the Eco-Training plan to correct this.  I have determined three possible hypothesis to investigate . . .
  1. Long runs and mid-week runs need to reduce even more to allow more time for those 'fast-twitch' muscles to be fully prepared, or 
  2. Training needs to be increased to better prepare those 'fast-twitch' muscles to get up to speed with the rest of your body, or
  3. My lack of speed at Hinson Lake was actually within the normal range of performance fluctuation and no Eco-Training plan adjustment is really needed.
I have trouble believing it could even possibly be #2, but as a highly-trained scientist I need to keep my mind open here!

Secondly, my endurance could have been better.

Originally I had established 75 miles within the 24 hour period as a goal and would have considered 100k as an acceptable minimum.  At Hinson Lake I completed 27 miles - falling just short of this minimum goal.  True . . . 27 miles is VERY, VERY close to 62.5 miles (when you consider intergalactic distances) but a miss is still a miss!

Again, the same two possibilities exist and perhaps additional adjustments to the plan will be necessary.

Other Runner Input

Additionally, along with excited runner support from across the world, I have received suggestions for a few additional factors to consider in the Eco-Training plan.
  • Psyche Wimberly, the world renown ultra runnerette from the Asheville area suggested I begin testing the addition of mid-run naps into both the training and the target event itself.  All I can say is "BRILLIANT!"  Since I didn't want to spoil the scientific integrity of work I had already done, I chose NOT to incorporate Psyche's addition into the Hinson Lake run.  But I do plan to add this to all future development and testing.
  • Diet and it's possible effects on performance was suggested as an addition by 'Dr.' Jim Plant, an innovative dietitian known around the world for his unique perspective on food and drink.  I plan to have a number of special 'diet sessions' with 'Dr.' Plant (aka 'Jimbo') in order to get a fuller understanding of all the principals involved.  Right now, I've only heard a few of his theories surrounding beer (specifically Yeungling beer), Spam, Vienna Sausages, jerky, bacon, cheeseburgers and a specific variety of cupcake know as a 'Shimmel cake' developed by Amy Schimmel another well-known ultra runner.  (Incidentally, Amy just set the new World Record for mileage with a full leg brace . . . . and yes, she was fueled with her special cupcakes!)  These foods and other 'Plantings' (as I like to call 'Dr.' Plant's suggestions) will be included in the grueling sessions we are  planning.  I have full confidence that with Jimbo's help there may be some very positive outcomes coming soon.
  • And I am thinking I should include rest during periods of 'non-exercise'.  As we all know, training involves both the running 'work' as well as rest and recovery.  So, to bolster the rest period effectiveness, I am planning to experiment with the use of crutches during the periods between running sessions.  This should give one's body additional time to prepare for the next exercise-intensive running session.
All in all, I'm pretty sure we're on the right track.  These 'tweaks' should provide us with additional data for analysis.  As with all scientific endeavors, progress will be slow and careful . . . but the results should be well worth the wait.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hinson Lake 24-hour Endurance Classic

Hinson Lake 24 is still my favorite race . . . . this year I had even more fun then last year . . . but in very different ways.

Going in I had virtually NO expectations.  I honestly hoped to finish five laps or so,  The day before, as I was setting up, my hip started killing me so I questioned if I would be able to even finish two laps.  Honestly.

But Saturday morning came and my hip felt pretty good.  After 5 laps it did start tightening up and the pain started, but it was on and off.  Really quite strange . . . for maybe 1/2 of a lap I would limp along at less then a stroll.  But then . . . the pain would reduce for a little while!  Then the cycle would repeat, though it if hurt more and more as time went on. I have not idea why the pain would come and go.  Very strange.

But I did manage to limp through a marathon.  My slowest marathon ever!  BY FAR!  But my spirits were high all day and I had a total BLAST!

But there are a number of things that make Hinson Lake special . . . and a few thing that made this year at Hinson special.  Here are some of them . . . in no particulay order.
  • Ultrarunners are, for the most part, just incredible folks to be around.  Warm, friendly, fun-loving and encourging are a few words that come to mind.  To a degree, this is true of all runners . . . but you just have to spend some time at an event like Hinson Lake to see and feel the difference.  Jim Plant said Hinson Lake feels like a family reunion and that is 'spot-on!'  For some strange reason, I just feel very close to a large number of the folks . . . even though I really don't know them all that well nor do I really see them very much.  But the feelings are real.  There is a love out there amoung this group and newcomes are welcomed with open arms.
  • Tom Gabell and his family quitely put together a fabulous event.  Things run smoothly.  Seemingly low stress (from my perspective but I bet Tom has stress that he hides!!).  Volunteers always make races and Hinson has excellent volunteers.  Extremely supportive and understanding!
  • Two spectacular athletic performances this year that I knew about.  First was Mike Morton finishing over 160 miles within the 24 hours.  About three miles short of the North American record I believe.  The second was Andrew Surrette . . . an 8 year old who had not signed up to run but just wanted to.  No training at all.  But some great genes!  Drew finished just over a 50k . . . 21 laps or 31.92 miles!  His mom tells me was 'a little sore the next day!!!   :-) The picture above is Drew running with Naresh Kumar and Joey Anderson.
  • I love to see people break through limits!  PRs are great but they focus on time.  I especially love to see people go further then they have ever gone before.  That first time they finish a 10k or a marathon, etc.  At Hinson Lake we had a ton of folks that busted through their previous longest runs: Amber Shingleton, Jon Shingleton, Brandie Ghiloni, Eric Ghiloni, Margaret Bentley, Arthur Bennett, Alane Floyd, Liz Fuson, Amy Surrette, Drew Surrette, Kayla Surrette, Andy Surrette, John Adamof, Chad Wollenberg, and I'm sure I'm missing or forgetting many others.
  • Having a 1.5 mile loop in a 24-hour event is fantastic.  You just keep telling yourself you can do 'just one more loop' and then another.  All in an enviornment where other runners just 'suck you along' with words of encouragement.  You think you're done . . . but you rest a few minutes and you stary thinking "Another lap is ONLY 1.5 miles . . . I can do THAT!"  And you cam!
The run itself was fairly uneventful.  Race started at 8am.  There had been rain the afternoon before and during the night, but it pretty much ended by race time.  But MAN . . . was the humidity level high!  Temps were comfortable but you almost sweated just standing still. 

I did my usual run / walk for maybe 10 miles.  Then the walking started getting longer and longer.  Around my 12th lap I was running some and the ol' hip just gave way . . . not really 'locking up' but more just not able to support any weight.  Then, a little later, while running again the same thing happened.  So from that point on I just walked.

We were very lucky we had the rain as it made the hill just after the bridge easy to negotiate.  Last year it was like running in the loose dry sand high on a beach.  This year the footing was easy.

Liz Fuson ready for Mt Hinson.

Only cool thing I ran into was the biggest copperhead I've ever seen crossing the trail.  He was probably 3+ feet long and 2 inches wide at his widest.  Beautiful.  I stopped just to make sure no one hurt him . . . and he just crawled off, minding his own business.

Stopping at 18 laps was an easy decision.  Hip was hurting pretty bad.  Plus, everyone from RMEC had bailed when they heard another storm was coming.  So I hung around the shelter for awhile with Joey Anderson and then decided to go take a nap.  I had ever intention doing a few more laps when I woke up, but that was not to be as the hip had other ideas.  So about 2 am I started counting laps.  What a ton of fun!  The madhouse of people from Saturday had dwindled to a small but steady stream of runners all night long.  Saw so many people achieving there goals . . . a bunch of 100 milers, 62 miles, 75 miles, etc.  Saw RayK finish his second 100 miler in as many weeks!  Saw Bill Keene finish another 100!  And saw Mike Morton rock the running world with his 163.9 miles completed in 24 hours.  Not quite a North American record . . . but close . . . the second best all time!

Here a a few pictures: 

Doug 'Boogieman' Dawkins just before the 8 am finish.

Sharon Scott at the start.

RayK finishing his second 100 miles run in as many weeks!  Amazing!

Denise Martin saving another runner!!

Mike Morton maybe 3 minutes after he finished!

  • Tom Gabell, RD, presenting Mike with his award!  Amazing!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Totally Ready for Hinson Lake 24

Ever since my Boogie 50 finish this June, I've been carefully planning and training for Hinson Lake this year.  I know a lot of you all were not sure what was going on . . . no races for me since mid June.  No races, very few posts . . . all part of a carefully laid out and executed plan for a fantastic Hinson Lake performance!

The secret is I have been following a totally new training plan in preparation for this endurance event.  One that might seem odd to some and stupid to others.  But let's just wait and see how this training experiment turns out!  "The proof is in the pudding!"

Going back to my Boogie race / walk . . . many of you thought the blisters were the reason for my slow time and actually I tried to make you BELIEVE that was the case!  But Boogie was really just part of the plan!  The key to solid endurance running is pacing and dealing with the mental side of a challenging run.  So Boogie was really a carefully planned race and I intentionally developed the blisters on the bottom of my forefoot for two reasons: 1) character training . . . learning to deal with the pain and suffering involved when things just do go well, and 2) I had to figure out a way to keep me from going too fast!  The blister idea was brilliant, if I do say so myself.  Few of you would have ever even thought of this tactic and fewer still would have executed it to the degree I was able to!  So Boogie wasn't the disaster you thought . . . it was just part of the plan.

Now my new training plan is equally innovative and has required a significant amount of "out of the box" thinking again!  But really the plan is quite simple and is based on the premise that "less is more!"

Now I've got to admit that this as been an excruciating plan to actually execute.  In the past I have kept my mileage fairly high and tried to race a marathon or further every other weekend or so.  But that needed to change, it just wasn't working for me any more.  My times were just getting slower and slower.  I needed a totally new and innovative approach to my training.  Hence . . . my new plan which I am calling "Eco-training!"

Eco-training (soon to be patented) centers around not wasting needless energy by doing too much running or exercise.  Save all that for the "focus event" . . . in this case, Hinson Lake 24.
  • First and key to Eco-running . . . long runs are a total waste of effort, all they do is make you tired and sometimes sore.  So with Eco-running, I've minimize my long runs leading up to Hinson Lake.  With effort, I've managed to keep all my long runs under 6 miles.  In total I've only run 4 times over 5 miles since mid June!  That's right!  Think of the energy I've saved!  This is not insignificant!
  • Mid-week miles are really just trash miles and no one needs many trash miles.  So with my new Eco-training, I've eliminated these from my weekly plan.  Since Boogie, I have run no more then 2 times per week and many weeks only ONCE !  Eliminating all trash!  Another hallmark of this brilliant plan.
Okay . . . I know some of you are already questioning the wisdom of this, but remember what I said . . . the proof will be in the pudding!

So my training is complete and it time to start the "tapering phase" of my Eco-training for next Saturday's race.  But enthusiasm may have gotten the better of me and I'm hoping I didn't do too much today: 5.43 miles at a 11:17 pace . . . a solid 1 hour and one minute of quality training.  I just hope that wasn't too much . . .

Monday, I'm having an MRI and a follow-up visit with my doctor mid-week just to make sure everything is in perfect condition for my PR effort!  I should be perfect come race day!  Then . . . I can apply for my patent.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

One bad apple . . .

Forgive me for this post.  I shouldn't write anything when I'm mad.

As many of you may know, this last weekend Cam Kelly and I hosted the Medoc Meltdown 50k . . . a Fat Ass run around Medoc Mountain State Park.  We had 61 sign up and 51 showed up to run . . . our biggest group yet.

Cam and I intentionally try to encourage everyone to come out and run.  You don't have to try the full 50k.  The shortest loop is about 3.3 miles and if that's all someone want to run . . . hey . . . we're happy and glad they chose to come out and spend some time with us!  We get several folks every year that are trying trail running for the very first time!  I love it!

For simplification sake we posted the Medoc Meltdown results on the Rocky Mount Endurance Club (RMEC) web site.  We did this for two reasons . . . 1) next year the Meltdown will be hosted by RMEC and 2) it may bring a few new people to the RMEC club site.

Now, don't get me wrong . . . the Meltdown is a 50k ultra event and I hope more and more folks choose to try the longer distance.  I love ultrarunning and I love ultra runners!  But we're happy to have any runner or walker show up.  And we'll stay until the last person finishes . . . no time cut-off.

As a group, ultra runners are the most supportive, encouraging folks I've ever been around.  And there is inspiration surrounding each and every person.  Each runner has their own stories of their own challenges and frustrations.  These stories are shared as inspirations to everyone else.  NEVER have I been made to feel like a second-class runner because I'm so slow.  Ultra runners do nothing but encourage and celebrate my little accomplishments with me. Never "look down their noses" at my slow times.

Guys like Rick Grey.  Rick has finished more 100 mile runs then I have ultras!  And he is always up near the front of the pack!  But Rick is there at the finish of every event, cheering finishers . . . until the last one comes in.  And at Boogie this year he even hung with me to try and help!  That's right, Rick . . . walking with me at the end of the line!  Encouraging every step of the way!

Or Laura MacLean.  Laura wins races but then stays to cheer too!  And unless you ask Laura you'll never know she won the frickin' race!  That's just the way she is!  Awesome person!

So maybe you can understand my frustration with a single 'bad apple' that has to make condescending remarks on the RMEC site about the club and runners that haven't tried an ultra.  Why on earth would someone want to make comments like that?  I just don't understand.

Most ultra runners would be telling folks "You can run an ultra if you try!  It's not really as hard as it sounds!I''ll help you!"

NOT belittling folks who run less then ultra distances.

There . . . I feel a little better . . . .

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Another 'whinning' blog . . . I suggest NOT reading this. Even I'm bored.

I'm a frickin' moron!  Actually . .  a 'hypochondriac moron' to be exact!

Every day it's something else!  A few common threads over time but basically I'm a mental train-wreck!

Monday - felt good and had a fun day running; 96°
Tuesday - another good day running; 98°
Wednesday - Took the day as a rest day; 100°
Thursday - suffered from heat and a hip that started hurting again; 95°; hip hurt all day and night.
Friday - okay run; hip was fine . . . zero pain; 90°  But post run, my hip is starting to hurt again.  But not bad.

So I decided to do two Medoc laps (about 17 miles) Saturday morning.  As I left the house it started to rain!  PERFECT day!  Nice and cool!  I totally love running in the rain!

I planned to meet 9 runners from Richmond, VA who were coming to the Medoc Trail Marathon this fall and wanted to check out Medoc trails.  We met at the picnic shelter and at about 8:15 we headed out.  And my hip felt great!

These guys and gals were much faster then me and after about 1 1/2 miles they went on, leaving me to poke along, splashing in the puddles!  I did take a saw with me and did a little trail work along the way.  But after passing the graveyard near Firetower, the hip started complaining.  And by the time I got to the creek, it was just plain hurting!

Every time I walked, the horseflies attacked!  And they were vicious!  Never seen them this bad.  Meltdown folks are going to love them!!

Coming back towards the shelter on Discover Loop, I saw a huge limb hanging in the trees.  When I pulled it down it totally blocked the trail so I had to saw it into parts to clear the trail.  All the while the horseflies were having a feast on me!  Took 10-15 minutes to clear everything.

Then, about 1/4 mile later there was another tree down, totally blocking the trail! Just my luck!  Another 20 minutes for the horseflies to have their way with me!

Finally I got back to the picnic shelter and I knew I was done!  Damn hip was killing me,

Back at the house and it's getting worse and worse.  And I really can't pinpoint where it hurts.  It just hurts!  Almost makes me nauseous.
Okay . . . it's a few hours and a second dose of ibuprofen later . . . the pain has eased.  And I'm walking with just a little limp!

We'll see how she feels in the morning.  If I have any hope of some marathons / ultras this fall I need at least 15 miles this weekend.  Maybe the road will be easier then the trail.  Don't worry . . . I'll do loops around the neighborhood assuming that I feel like trying it at all.
Now it's Sunday morning.  And it's weird - almost no hip pain this morning!!!  Yesterday I was suffering . . . couldn't move without pain.  Now, one day later, I'm virtually pain free.

For the most part this is GREAT!  Pain gone!  But from another perspective it's not.  No way I can go to see a doctor when my hip isn't hurting.  I would feel like a fool (well . . . maybe even more like a fool then I normally feel!)

But even with the pain relief I don't think I'll run today.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Quick update . . .


 I promise I'm not dead!

Running has just not been happening much for me in the last several weeks.  I had planned to sort of take a break . . . but not this much of a break!

Basically two issues: 1) lack of motivation due to heat / humidity and 2) hip issues. 

The hip problem comes and goes . . . some days it hurts pretty bad.  But other days, not so much.  Very strange!  But not bad enough to see a doctor yet.  I thinking that probably some time off will help.

The heat / humidity issues are just killing everyone!  But with my motivation lacking, I'm just not getting it done!

Hopefully "the broiler" has run it's course and things can get back to a more normal, miserably hot summer!  No planned runs until Hinson Lake 24 and I'm not planning to do any preparation or training for it.  I'll just run what feels good and see how far that takes me.

After Hinson, I'll get back into some sort of a training mode . . .  who know . . . I might even actually follow some sort of plan!  Have done that in several years!

In the mean time there is the Medoc Meltdown 50k and the Medoc Marathon to keep me occupied.

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Littleton, North Carolina
World's Slowest Runner . . . well, at least in contention for the honor. Just your average "below average" runner.