Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 - Okay . . . that one is behind me!

Guess we all get a little introspective this time of year . . . evaluating last year and planning next!  That's a really good thing!  Nothing wrong with an honest assessment of the last year.  Time gives us a better perspective!  And I love to set goals for the coming year.  I need this goals to measure just how much I under-performed!!

There certainly were some awesome things that happened for me in 2013.  My son got engaged to an awesome girl!  And lot's of other cool things . . . but this is a running blog so I need to focus!

The Good . . .

  • I finished over 56 miles at the Croatan 24 (Nov) raising over $2,700 for the American Cancer Society!  A serious amount of pain involved in doing this but I sucked it up and continued on.  Maybe one of my best ever mental races of my life . . . I stayed in the game in spite of significant adversity.
  • I started the process of getting myself into better shape . . . losing weight, strengthening my core and eating better.
  • On training runs I stopped walking . . . unless I simply had to.  This was a big mental turn-around as I had slipped into a run/walk mentality!  In future races the run/walk approach is key for success but has no place in training (except during my coming recovery).
  • I stayed involved in running even though I couldn't run.  Crewed for friends at several races, (Umstead 100, Mattamuskeet Death March, Tar Heel Ultra)  co-RDed the Medoc Meltdown 50k and Medoc Trail Races.  RD the Bloody 11w, helped with Graveyard 100.  Runners . . . especially ultra runners . . . are simply sources for strength that any association with makes you stronger and better!! 

The Less than Good . . .

  • My foot problems . . . well documented in this blog!  If you want to read about it just start in April and read forward!!!  But the short version is two surgeries all caused by one accident and two separate instances of medical malpractice!
  •  Delirium 24 (Feb) was a miserable race from me!  I simply mentally collapsed and only completed 39.4 miles!!  One of my worst performances in my life!
  • Crooked Road 24 (Nov) . . . I only completed 19 miles.  Foot was simply killing me.  But this race DID spur me to action to address things still wrong with my foot so it wasn't all bad!

All consider 2013 was a suck ass year!!  Goodbye and good riddance!!

Looking forward to 2014 . . .

So now I need to be looking ahead to 2014.  It's time to "turn this buggy around" and do some amazing things!!

I have some races planned and/or paid for . . . but my participation is questionable:
  • The Pistol in January.  I had signed up for the 100k.  Current Chance of Participation = 0%
  • Delirium 24 in February.  I have a score to settle here after my mental collapse last year.  Current Chance of Participation = 0%
  • Virginia 24.  After not running last year I want to be part of Team Off-Some and kick some ass.  Hopefully I'll be recovered enough to do something.  Current Chance of Participation = 20%
  • Bethel Hill Midnight Boogie in June.  Probably my favorite race of the year and one I simply don't want to miss.  I do understand that this year they may not have an official marathon . . . everyone will sign up for the 50 and you can choose to stop at 30 or go the whole way.  Current Chance of Participation = 90%
  • The Last Annual Volunteer State Road Race in July.  This was going to be my focus event of 2014 but honestly . . . it may be that I will need to defer until 2015.  (Don't worry . . . "The Last Annual" part of the race name is a joke!!)  Chance of Participation =10%
  • Bloody 11w Labor Day weekend.  This was my first 100 and I would LOVE to be able to do this again!  Chance of Participation =70%
  • Hinson Lake 24 in September.  I won't miss this one!  Chance of Participation = 99%
  • Croatan 24 in October/November.  Another race I don't plan to miss in 2014.  Chance of Participation = 99%
 Clearly . . . 2014 race participation are totally dependent on how my foot heals this time.  While I'm optimistic that everything will heal up perfectly I am realistic enough to know that my ultra days are at risk right now.  My #1 mission is to do everything I can possibly do to assure I continue to be an ultra runner!

Pictures from the year:

Jordan Short at Delirium 24
Terri Preast and Gary Cantrell at Mattamuskeet Death March 100k
Tim Scott carring both his and Gary's 50-cal ammo can at Mattamuskeet (and Brandon Wilson RD with the evil smile!)
Greoge Wannop with his DFL award at the Medoc Meltdown 50k
Jim Ball at Bloody 11w 111 mile Race
Brian Hojnacki at Hinson Lake 24
Me the day before Croatan 24 - taken by Liz Lord

Sondra Jarvis and Jo Elsmore at Crooked Road 24

Tim Scott and Karen Jackson at Tar Heel Ultra (Tim was bummed as he had to DNF and spend 2 days in the hospital!)

Karen Jackson at the Tar Heel Ultra on her way to winning!


Friday, December 27, 2013

I don't need no freakin' cast!!!!

Progress!!  Cast is now history and I'm in a surgery shoe . . . not even a boot!!!

I went to the doctor yesterday for a 2 week post-surgery check-up and to get my stitches removed.  I made a movie of the nurse unwrapping my foot and lots of pictures of the foot itself . . . but I don't think I should post any . . . it was quite bloody and fairly gross looking (as if a normal picture of my foot isn't!!!).  So you all will just have to take my word for it!

Three incisions . . . one on my 4th toe, one on the metatarsal of my 4th toe and one on my 5th toe (pinky).  But the awesome news here is that my toes are now straight!!

Looking at the x-ray taken a week ago I was fairly concerned because the 4th toe looked all crooked to me!  Not to worry!  That must have just been the bandaging, as each toe was bandaged separately.  Trust me . . . things are looking good down there!!  Looking down at my foot #4 was straight!  And I can actually see the toenail of lil' #5!!!

Right now the doctor has me in a surgical shoe and he wants me to 1) stay off my feet as much as I can, and 2) keep all my weight on my heel . . . no weight transfer to my toes at all.  I was kind of surprised that he re-wrapped my foot in bandages and I still can't get my foot wet . . . even though all my stitches are now gone!  Oh well . . . that's no big deal I have perfected the best and cheapest way to protect a foot (or anything else) when you want to shower!  Guaranteed no leaking!  Maybe I'll write a blog post on that sometime soon.

I asked about what my recovery would probably look like.  He said it depends on what I call recovery!!  Hahahaha!!  I told him for me recovery would be when I could start running again . . . seems fairly simple to me!!  He told me everyone heals differently but he was thinking around 2 1/2 months from surgery might be a good guess . . . maybe a little earlier or maybe a little later.  That would put me around March 1st as the time I would be starting again.

So I guess I'll just have to wait and see how this all progresses but right now it is looking like the Virginia 24 MIGHT be a possibility if I only walk.  Clearly I would not be in any shape to do any running by then.  Vol State . . . still a possibility . . . but again I would have to only walk.  All that is way too far in the future really . . . but I can't help but think about it!!!

I do know one thing for sure . . . I will not push this!  I don't have anything to prove in my running.  Everyone already knows I'm a wimp!  If I try to do too much too fast I risk the future . . . and the future is precious to me!

In the mean time I'm going to do all I can to keep my weight in check and to keep my physical condition as good as I can.  Think I'll go to the Y and see if I can use the ellipse machine . . .  keeping all my weight on my heel.  It that works I'll be doing a lot of driving to Rocky Mount during the next two months!!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Peanut Knife . . . the Ultimate Gift!

This Christmas I got what is probably the best gift I've ever received . . . I got a Peanut knife . . . one of only 4 in the world . . . and each of them are slightly different too!

Opening Christmas presents yesterday with my wife Connie yesterday, she handed me one to unwrap from her brother, Norm Spencer.  Norm is one of my very best friends and we share a ton of interests.  Though he and his wife live in Gallatin, TN, Norm and I manage to meet somewhere a time or two a year for a guy's fly fishing getaway. 

Anyway the gift was a small, walnut stand . . . obviously designed for something specific.  Then Connie handed me another small package.  It was a medium sized, fixed blade knife in a leather sheath.  Cool!  The knife was obviously a hand-made knife with the blade made from a metal file.  You could still see some of the file teeth in the blade.  I thought that was just a little strange in a custom-made knife . . . while files are often used as the metal for a blade, usually the knife maker will grind off all remnants of the file teeth and highly polish the blade.  Still . . . this was a beautiful knife!  And it fit in the walnut stand perfectly!  THAT is an awesome gift for someone who loves the outdoors!!

But then Connie handed me a sealed envelope.

Here is part of what the letter inside said:


You are now the owner of one of four original "Peanut" knives.

  Your knife has been hand made from a file found in Norm "Peanut" Spencer toolbox and a piece of walnut that he had saved from his years at the Mead paper mill in Kingsport.  The sheath was handmade by a Mennonite craftsman at Muddy Pond, Tennessee, from leather taken from Peanut's office chair that he sat in for years.

You have been chose to receive this because of your love and admiration of Dad . . ."

You see . . . Peanut was Connie and Norm's father.  And Peanut was one of my very best friends in this world . . . yes he was also my father-in-law . . . but our relationship was quite unique and and I looked at him more as a friend than a father-in-law.  I loved and admired Peanut . . . and I miss him so much.

This "Peanut" knife is the ultimate gift . . .

Monday, December 16, 2013

It's Amazing!

I'm happy but confused!

Okay . . . me being confused is definitely not the newsflash of the year!!  I'm spent a good part of my life trying to figure out what just happened!!

But today I'm just plain pleasantly confused!

This last surgery was really quite a bit more extensive than my first one.  My doctor worked on two toes this time as well as two metatarsals!

And honestly . . . I'm having way less pain and discomfort than my first surgery!!

Maybe it's not having the pin.  Maybe it's that I'm 20 pounds lighter and in better physical shape this time.  Maybe I'm just in a better mental state!!  I honestly have no idea but so far I'm pleasantly surprised!!!

I went to my doctor for a post-op check . . . actually never saw the doctor but saw the nurse and took some more x-rays.  I mean . . . what is two more x-rays in the overall scheme of things!  My foot already glows in the dark . . . giving me my own personal mobile night light!!  But getting to see the "after" x-rays was pretty cool!  The night of my surgery the doctor call to see how I was doing and he told me what he had done . . . but some it just didn't  make sense to me at the time.  Now it all makes more sense! So here it is!!

First a little education on the bones of your feet!

My foot problems came when I dislocated the two joint between the 4th and 5th metatarsals from their respective proximal phalanges.  This is really the ball of your foot!  My doctor set the 4th about 4 days after the accident but missed the 5th.  That was set by surgery in June (by a different doctor!!!)

So what happened since the surgery is the 4th toe developed a "hammer toe" where the toe curled and the middle phalanges was pushed "up" and forced the metatarsal "down" causing pain in the ball of my foot again!  Got really bad after 4-6 miles and was getting worse and worse every day as the hammer toe continued to get worse.  As a result of the hammer toe the metatarsal / phalanges joint dislocated again.  Adding to the problem, the 5th (little toe) also developed problems . . . the freakin' toe pointed "down" not "out"!! LOL!  Additionally, the middle phalanges was not properly aligned and it caused the 5th toe to start migrating towards the 4th toe, exaserbating that toe's problems. 

Education complete.

Okay . . . here is one of my post-op x-rays.  They didn't remove my cast so this shot was taken through the cast and all the bandaging on these two toes.  These are the two toes he worked on.

The 4th toe has the screw in the metatarsal head where it connects to the "toe-bones" (or phalanges)  that he put in to help hold it in place (it has dislocated again).  Also, the white in the bone above that screw extending to the next bone is some sort of an implant to keep those bones aligned.  Got to admit this 4th toe still looks pretty crooked here, and I'll be talking with the doctor about it.  It may simply be the bandaging that is causing it to appear this way.

To the right is the little toe.  If you count toe bones you'll find one is missing!  He removed the middle phalanges . . . that is the dark space where it use to be!)  What you can't see is that he re-set the metatarsal / proximal phalanges joint on the little toe and he also cut the tendon on the bottom that was making my toe stick down rather than stick out straight!!  LOL!

All in all he did quite a bit of stuff.  But honestly my pain is virtually gone unless I move these two toes!!

Stitches come out the day after Christmas and I'm guessing I be getting another cast then . . . but maybe a boot!  Guess I'll just have to wait and see.  Until then at least . . . no weight-bearing.  Love my crutches!!

After my doctor's appointment I went to Target to solve another problem.  When I go outside . . . my freakin' toes get cold!  I think I came up with a great solution . . . a baby's hat!!
Quite the conversation starter!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Math Skills Remain!

In my last post I expressed concern that my base 20 math skills just might be in jeopardy!  And let's face it . . . that would be totally devastating!  Think of how often you use those advanced math skills!!  I would just be totally lost!

But not to worry . . . I am still digitally complete! 

Surgery went well and when I talked with my doctor tonight he seemed very happy about the way everything went.  Must have been a slow day for him 'cause he just did a bunch of stuff!  Never a good thing when you're asleep in the operating room and the doctor has some extra time on his hands!  But honestly his positive excitement may have come from the size of the bill he's going to be able to send me!

Basically . . . I think that now, my 4th and 5th toes and the metatarsals they are (or used to be) attached to must be bionic!  I didn't understand all the things he said he did but I heard lots of words and phrases that I recognized . . . like  "removed the bone", implant, tack, screwed, released, pinned, "while I was in there" . . . stuff like that!  That last one scared me a little!!!

But I checked and all male parts seem intact so I'm not all that concerned.  Well . . . actually that extension idea was a pretty good one but clearly he didn't do that!  :-(

And my cast is way bigger than the one I had this summer!  I have no freakin' idea why!  Maybe he wrapped my foot more this time so the toes would stay warmer . . . kind of a winter cast instead of a summer cast!  IDK!!

Actually . . . the cast was one of the things he was most excited about!  Last time the cast they put on me made my foot "roll in" and I could not put any weight on it at all even though it had a little "walker" rubber thing on the bottom . . .  and I had complained!  This time he was "giddy" 'cause he thinks he got it on straight this time!!  Sheesh!

Well . . . this afternoon and evening I've been quite enjoying the cool little pain meds he gave me!  My dogs just don't understand why I'm singing and talking to myself!!  They should just enjoy my beautiful voice!

Well . . . we'll see what joy tomorrow brings!  But right now I think I'll pop another pain pill . . . just for fun!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

December 11th . . . a Wednesday!

December 11th is a freakin' Wednesday!  Nobody EVER does anything cool on a Wednesday!

So I'm going to change the game!

I'm going to get FIXED December 11th!  No . . . not that kind of fixed!  I had that fix done years ago!!  Been "shooting blanks" . . . well . . . forget that! . . . let's move along!

But my right foot does need fixing . . . again!  So this is like round #3!!  LOL!

Honestly . . . I don't know exactly what we're going to do!  Get that . . . what "WE'RE" going to do!  I mean shit . . . I'll be asleep!  The frickin' doctor could do ANYTHING!!  I would only know about it later!!  LOL!  Maybe he'll do a face lift!  Or liposuction!!  Or maybe something else cool!  Actually some sort of an extension procedure might be totally awesome!!

But probably not . . . just boring foot stuff.  But based on our conversations I'm thinking my base 20 math skills may be in serious jeopardy!!  And he assures me crutches will be in my future!  Again!

Anyway . . . you readers (all 8 of you!), send me well wishes next Wednesday.  And I'll let you know what the crazy doctor decided to do once I wake up Wednesday . . . sometime!!!

In a couple of months and I'm going to be ready to kick some serious ass!!  Protect yours!!

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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.