Friday, May 30, 2014

Preparing for post-surgery

Well . . . I'm REALLY glad the nurse suggested I wear my post-surgery sling around the house to help me see things I will need to change for after the surgery.  It has been a real eye-opening experience!

What I don't know is how much I'll be able to use my fingers and hand of my left hand.  I know any lower are movement causes you shoulder to move slightly and slight shoulder movement will HURT!  Also I don't know when they will let me start dangling my arm down and move it in small circles.  I hope soon!  This will be the key to putting on a shirt and putting on deodorant under my right armpit!  I still haven't figured out how I might be able to wash under my left (non-surgical) arm!!!

Typing and texting are going to be a challenge too I'm thinking . . . but maybe if I can use my right hand more that I'm fearing that won't really be so bad.

And let's not even talking about wiping my ass!!

In the kitchen it looks like there will be many challenges . . . especially if I can't use the fingers and hand of my right arm!  Washing dishes . . . especially a glass is going to be interesting!  I may just buy a bunch of paper cups and paper plates to use for awhile.  Cooking will be limited for sure.

I'm wondering where I'll end up sitting and sleeping.  I have a great recliner but I'm afraid the arms just may be a little too high!  So that means my sofa . . . not the most comfortable sofa in the world but it just may have to do!!

I'm also REALLY concerned about getting along for the first 4-7 days.  I understand shoulder surgery is a quite painful surgery and just barely moving your arm hurts like hell the first few days.  If I lived in a city, there would be a bunch of people that might be able to help me out a little.

But where I live I only have one full-time neighbor.  And I just hate to ask people for favors.  Especially when that favor maybe something like "Hey Bud!!  Would you mind coming over and washing my armpit and then putting on my deodorant for me!!"  All I'll hear is the click of a disconnect!!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Oh Boy . . . Here we go again!

Will the fun just never end?

Got the results from an MRI that I had done on my shoulder.  Been having lots of pain that has just been getting progressively worse and worse.  I knew something was wrong but just needed facts.

My guess was a torn labrum.  Turns out that was correct . . . but there was more.

Torn rotator cuff. a torn bicep tendon and some bone impingement.  And my doctor, Dr. Mark Wood with Wake Orthopaedics, says there is virtually zero chance of this heal on its own.  So surgery is necessary.  Dr. Wood operated on my son, Michael's shoulder and he really like him . . . and I did too!  Tons of experience and a proven track record . . . plus easy to talk with.

The type of labrum tear I have is called a SLAP tear which is quite common but a real pain!!  My labrum is torn in several places but what makes it a SLAP tear is that it is torn where the bicep attaches . . . so both the bicep tendon will have to be severed and the re-attached to the bone and the labrum will also have to be repaired and re-attached.  The bone impingement will just be some bone sanding to remove the spots where unnatural bone build-up has occurred.

Surgery is next Friday morning, June 6th.

I have complete confidence in my doctor and the outcome of the surgery . . . but I am honestly scared to death about the first week or so of recovery.  Living by myself will prove to be quite the challenge as I understand it.  Luckily my wife, Connie, will help me as needed . . . especially the day of surgery.  I also now have some neighbors that will be around and hopefully I can get them to give me a hand when needed.  I do worry about all the challenges that are simple when you have two arms but with only one arm and a ton of pain in the other . . . life will get quite challenging I understand!

The doctor's nurse suggested I start wearing my post-surgery sling around the house now so I can find out all the "issues" before surgery.  Sounds like a good idea and I've already found several changes I need to make!

Like I've done with past surgeries I'll try and do updates.  But I guess typing will be one-handed so don't expect any capitalizations!!  My writing will look like Laz's!!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

OMG!!! What is happening?

The impossible is now possible!  The truth is really lies.  And lies are really the truth!  Nothing is the same anymore!  The world is cattywampus!!!  The real is now unreal!

Today . . . I ran barefoot!  Well . . . not literally barefoot but in my Luna Sandals!  Left the Hokas at home!!  I know . . . I know . . . I have upset the balance of nature and have done what I promised I would NEVER, EVER do!  But I did.

I have not been a fan of the "barefoot fad" and have kidded quite a few of you true believers!  My buddy Chad Wollenberg was an early convert and sang the praises of Luna sandals for several years now.  I just didn't listen to a word he said!!

Now don't get too upset!!  This change may well prove to be only a temporary misalignment and I may well return to my old Hokas and set the world right again.  But I needed to experiment . . . and the world order be damned!!

Actually Karen Jackson is to really blame . . . I am only a pawn in the overall scheme she and the Luna folks have to take over the running world!  If you don't know Karen, she is THE ultra running queen of the impossible.  She does stuff that simply can't (or shouldn't) be done . . . Like the Tarheel Ultra and more 100 milers than I care to mention!  And she always runs in Lunas.

I crewed for Karen at the Tarheel Ultra and was totally amazed she did it all in her sandals . .  and her feet had relatively few issues when you consider the distance of this adventure was 367 miles!!  So I'm thinking if these sandals are good enough for her . . . they are probably okay for me too.  But trust me . . . they look way better on her!!

Hope the picture of this sexy leg and foot isn't too "racy" for the women . . .
Before I had my last foot surgery I ordered a pair.  My thought was I knew my foot would be swollen for months and my last foot surgery I had HUGE trouble finding shoes I could wear . . . even my flip-flops weren't wide enough.  So the design and adjustability of the Lunas just seemed to be worth trying.  And they worked like a freakin' charm!  They are now my daily wear!  I just love them.

My foot is honestly doing really well (assuming you've been reading my past blogs!!) but things aren't perfect.  After 15-20 miles my foot really starts hurting and the furthest I've been able to push it was only 42 miles.

So I started thinking that maybe my foot needed two things . . . increased flexibility of movement and strengthing.  So . . . me being my own combo trainer/PT/Doctor . . . I decided that just maybe the Lunas might help.  So today I did my first run in 'em!

Me being the light-footed petite runner that I am . . . I was concerned about moving away from the awesome cushioning the Hokas provide.  That cushy ride is so, so nice!  And the Hokas really don't weigh much at all!  These Lunas are not all that cushiony at all!!  I got the most "cushy" Luna they made and they are still FAR from what I would call a soft ride!!  So I was worried (and still am to a degree!).

So I started my run.  Just taking it easy and seeing how everything felt.  Right off the bat I notice something unusual . . . my gait changed.  I didn't make the change knowingly . . . my bidy just did it!!  No thinking required . . . which is a good thing!!  My stride saw shorter and I was landing mid-foot just like normal.  While the ride wasn't a soft, it didn't seem to matter!  Odd!  Second thing I noticed was the weight reduction.  That is NICE!!  By the end of 3.3 miles I knew there was a big weight difference that should translate into even FASTER runs for me!!  hahaha!  I may earn that nickname TripleF eventually!!  (Freakin' Fast Frank)

I was scheduled for a hard run today, so for this one I averaged 79% of Max HR . . . pretty hard for me but this was a short run.  Averaged a blistering (no pun intended!) 11:37 pace!!!

So . . . so far so good!  My foot seems no worse for the wear and so far my knees and hip are doing okay too.  My feet do feel a little more tired (strengthing) and I DEFINITELY felt the required increase in flexibility!! The sandal attaches between my big and second toe and I worried that I had not "toughened" up my feet enough.  Believe I do have more toughening to do but I experienced no problems over only 3.3 miles . . . 6-8 miles would have probably been too much though.

I have no idea if this experiment will become a permanent change . . . but it seems like a good way to add both flexibility and strength at the same time.

And who knows . . . maybe the world can adjust to this new state!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Gettin' real!!

The Last Annual Volunteer State Run is getting close . . . July 10th is the start!!  Oh shit!!

Okay . . . everyone at every race sets up all the reasons they might not do well!  Not enough training miles, injury, sickness and all sorts of other bullshit!  I do that too!  It gives me great excuses for not doing well.  And honestly . . . I'm not lying!  There are good reasons I won't do well!

But Vol State is a totally different animal . . . one I have never faced before.  And I'm scared.

Okay . . . I've failed at plenty of ultras so one more failure really wouldn't be that bad . . . right?   Honestly . . . I'm really not very much of an ultra runner.  Oh . . . I've finished a bunch and I guess that does qualify me . . . but realistically . . . I suck!  I suck overall!  I suck in my age group!  I just plan SUCK!!  But I do try.

I could blame my poor performance  on misfortunes . .  injuries, etc.  But honestly it's deeper than that.  I just am not a very good ultra runner.  Period.  I sort of try.  And sometimes I convince myself I am giving it all I have.  But usually . . . I don't.  I try harder than some maybe . . . but I RARELY push myself to my limits.  Physically I probably have more talent than I have mentally.  Hahaha!!  That's a sad reality!

Oh . . . I try.  Believe me I try.  But honestly I just don't have that "If the bone isn't sticking out of the skin . . . you can go on" attitude.  I'm weak.  And Vol State isn't for the weak!!  Vol State eats the weak for breakfast!

Don't know about Vol State?  Well . . . here is the skinny!

314 miles . . . starts in MO . . . Ferry to KY for 10 miles.  Then enter Tennessee . . . cut diagonally across TN . . . run a short while in AL and then finish in GA!!  314 miles.  You have 10 days. Only a 50k a day!!!  Sounds easy!  Heck . . . you can walk that!!

And you can.  Many do!  But if you think walking 50k each day for 10 days is easy . . . well . .  you are just plain STUPID!!  Come try it!!!

This is a freaking beast!  Maybe the first few days is doable . . . but you have to be tough as steel to finish this sucker . . . physically  . . .  yes . . . but mentally is WAY more important!  Your body follows where your mind can take you!!  And when you mind quits . . . you are out of options!!

So no bullshit . . . I"m trying to decide if I should give this a go!  I had planned in trying last year . . . but foot surgery in June killed that idea.  So I decided to try for this year.  But then another foot surgery in December.  Then . . . two eye surgeries in April!  WTF!!  But everything seems to be okay now and I'm trying to build back up!!  So far so good!

But in late April I had my first big test . . . the Virginia 24 Hour.  Honestly I did okay for the first 20 miles or so . . . but then my foot began hurting.  Bad.  I pushed on until I finished 42 miles . . . but the pain was bad.  And I quit.  Period.  And no post-race doubts . . . I had honestly given it all I had.  My foot was done.  No damage but it simply couldn't go any further.

So . . . Vol State is quite a ways longer than 42 miles . . .and even with additional healing time . . . I'm doubtful it would hold up the whole way.  And this trip is a long, long trip to have to bail out early.  A day's drive to get to the finish.  Then a day's bus ride to the start.  And if I quit it could take 4-5 day or MORE to get back to the finish depending on when I quit!!

So do I just give this a go?  Or do I defer again for another year?  It's not cheap!!  But . . . I'm not getting any younger!  But 314 miles seems unrealistic since I had to quit at 42 miles just a few weeks ago!  Honestly . . . I don't need Pollyanna blowing smoke up my ass!  Honestly . . . I'm trying to decide if I should just give this a go . . . or defer another year.  Either is a good option.

I'm leaning towards deferring but my wife, Connie,  thinks I should go try it.  Of course . . . she is the beneficiary of my life insurance policy . . . Hmmmm . . .

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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.