Monday, September 17, 2018

New gear. Running! 2:01:39.



After last week I'm starting to get a little excited.

Certainly, I'm encouraged. Progress is still slow, but it's at least noticeable now. No more nightmares of being permanently out of action. This week I'm worrying more about getting into shape again. Have to remind myself that I've only been running regularly for two weeks. I'm not even to a point where I can go very far without a walk break. Two miles is the max so far. Getting into fall will help I bet. Had a couple of cooler, dryer days last week and it was pretty sweet.

Hey, so let me talk about running for a second. Just a couple of miles at a time, except I did a "long" run on Saturday. Four miles. I've mentioned that running seems to help more than hurt, and doesn't give me any extra pain the next day, so I've fully incorporated running into my daily routine again. That's right ... DAILY. As in, every day (except Sunday). This is going to be a long, slow build up. Two miles per day. This week I plan to extend that to three. Whether I do four again on Saturday or try for five will depend on what three miles a day does to Louie.

Of course, this also means that I'm thinking about how soon I can try for marathon training. No schedule yet, but I have a rough idea. Next spring seems reasonable without going through the numbers. I need to get up over 30 miles per week before diving into an actual training plan, so the first thing will be to figure out how long it's going to take me to get there. Right now I'm at 14. This week may be 20 and I'll likely plateau there for 2-3 weeks.

Anyway, say November I'm ready for higher mileage. February or March would be the earliest time 26.2 would be wise, depending on what sort of winter we have this year. Suppose I can also go back to Planet Fitness and use their dreadmills in an emergency. Given what snow running just did to the old knees, that could be the smart play.

So, those four miles on Saturday. We put T-Rex on the plane for school Thursday morning, so we've got the place to ourselves again. Mrs. Dave was at work that morning, and I woke up early like an old man. Took my time getting ready. Went through the easy portion of my hip exercises (left the weights out) to loosen things up and was pretty happy when there wasn't any pain in the early part of the run. It's been taking up to a half mile before it feels good. No pushing the pace, of course. Ran up over I-275 and out behind the shopping center where Gazelle Sports is. GS is a small retailer based on the west side of MI. Their local store here is two miles from my house, so it's a perfect 4 mile out and back. There's a park-ish area with a fountain and usually some geese and/or ducks. Someday - or so I'm told - there's going to be trails and stuff from there another two miles to the west, all the way down to Hines Park. Perhaps I'll still be here when that happens. The old psych hospital a mile up is finally posted for demolition, so that's progress of a sort.

I ran the two miles out with no break, then stopped to catch my breath for a few. Did OK on the way back, but needed a short walk with a half mile to go. Suppose I could have made it the rest of the way in, but in the interested of keeping the pressure low, I walked. Sue me.

Helped clean the church building for an hour, then drove to Gazelle for my newest piece of gear.

Capture.JPG.559db24226f86892d9296b6db10f6ea6.JPGMrs. Dave OK'd a replacement for Prince Henry back in January for my birthday. I did a bunch of research, then bought a TomTom. I liked it fairly well, but the software (for me anyway) was glitchy and I couldn't get their Help Desk to be much help, so I sent it back. About then I hurt the knee. Didn't see much point in spending the money on a running watch if I wasn't going to run anymore, so I put the whole idea on the back burner. More research and a lowering of the price on the 235 (since everybody wants more features and the 235 doesn't have many), (and, oh btw, I'm running again) turned me back to Garmin and this guy.

He needs a name now. Or maybe he's a she?

First run with him/her/it will be this afternoon.

In case you hadn't noticed, Fall is Saturday. Officially. The forecast for my neighborhood has some good autumnal weather in it, so I'm hoping for a good run as well. Hope everyone who got hit by Florence is OK. So much water.

Going to be watching as many of you running fall races as I can, since there are no races on my calendar yet.

Speaking of marathons, holy Eliud Kipchoges.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Baby steps.

No wasps this week.

Had my last session with Amanda on Thursday. Have to say I was disappointed that what we'd done hadn't made any difference. Not because PT isn't good for anything. I guess being 59 and recovering from surgery just takes more time than I'm comfortable with. No visible reduction in the swelling. Still the same level of pain and the same amount of limping. Gah. Apparently I still have months to go.

But, I'm done with the appointments for now. I have an extensive regimen of stretching and (hip) exercises to continue with to go along with my return to regular running. And by "regular" I mean "consistent", not what I'm used to or what I want to do. Good news (?) is that I'm only limited by pain. Weak hips are a documented culprit in many running injuries, so I suppose it makes sense that this is where we're focusing.

So, here's what's happening.

Strength (everything is 3 x 10)
  • Back, front and side hip extensions with resistance band.
  • Single-Leg Bridges
  • Clamshells with resistance band.
  • Side steps with resistance band.
  • Single leg deadlifts with weight.
  • Weighted squats
  • Fire hydrant with resistance band.
  • Single leg squat (rear foot on chair).
So many dang exercises. BORING!

But, either time is passing, or the boring exercises are doing their thing. Yesterday's run was OK.
Let's talk running for a second. I noticed that after PT the knee was feeling pretty good, so a couple of weeks ago I had Mrs. Dave or T-Rex drop me off and I'd run/jog/walk home the mile and a half from the rehab center. The first quarter to third of a mile, I'd still feel some pain, but it was on the low side and not in the surgery site. I'd have to walk a little every half mile or so, because I'm just so out of shape. Sucking wind is preferable to feeling a knee injury, though.

Last Monday I tried a few exercises and then a couple of miles on my own. Same result. Tuesday I asked Amanda about it and she agreed that if it didn't hurt more than not running, I could keep at it. So I did the same Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday I ran home again after the last appointment. And Friday. And Saturday. If you weren't counting, that's six days in a row running. Each one was about the same. Knee hurt for the first 0.3-0.4 mile, I'd run out of steam at about a mile so walked 20-30 yards (and again after another half mile). But there didn't seem to be any lingering issues. No additional swelling, no more pain than normal. In fact, for the rest of the evening the knee would feel better than it had during the day. Next day would hurt, but no more than previously.

I complained about having no stamina and all the walking until Mrs. Dave reminded me that I've not been running really since February. Duh.

Yesterday was the first day I ran the entire 2 miles. Averaged 9:15 per mile. I even had enough energy to notice the weather (which was overcast and a cool 65 degrees, btw - runner heaven!), the lady walking her two dogs and the guy with the LeBron glasses.

The knee has felt better last two days than it has in a long time. Less pain and less limping, even after sitting at the desk for awhile. I consider it a serious step forward. No marathon plans yet, but just like a marathon, one step at a time.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Of course I ran.

A couple of times anyway. A couple of miles each.

Louis seems to feel best just after PT, so last week when T-Rex needed my car at the same time I had her drop me off at Team Rehab and ran home from there. It's a little over a mile and a half. I had to walk twice because I'm so out of shape, but it was enough to officially call it a run. There was no watch or phone and I didn't record it anywhere. The pain I've been having wasn't any worse than before. I need some kind of movement or it's like the whole inside of the left leg tightens up and pulls on the tendons. EXCEPT ... those muscles don't seem to be tight at all. I'm normally a pretty limber guy, especially for a runner, and I've no issues with any of my normal stretches, or any of the ones Amanda has given me. Any ideas?

That was Monday. Did it again on Wednesday. On Friday, I ran two miles with one walk break. Saturday was OK but hurt on my walk. Sunday and Monday it was sore. Monday night I decided to wear a sleeve on it. Big mistake. Kept it on at work and it was the most pain I've been in since before surgery. Took it off after lunch and it was better. Not good, but better.

Talked to Amanda about it. She's not sure what to do. Tomorrow is my last day and I don't know that I've made any progress. The exercises they've given me are beneficial, I suppose, but there isn't anything that I'm doing now that I couldn't do when I first came in. And still the pain. So, since it seems that running isn't painful and doesn't seem to increase my pain, we're going to try that. I ran two yesterday, will do another couple today and see what two days in a row do. Maybe I just need to run more. Another visit with the doc?

Friday afternoon I went into the yard to trim the trees. Just a few of the lower sagging limbs to give the grass underneath a little light. Did the pear tree. Did the cherry. Then I moved to the Japanese maple at the corner of the house. Cut one tiny little branch. Heard a loud buzzing in my ears and felt something brushing around my head. Swatted at what I figured was a big fly. It didn't scare, but came at me even more aggressively. Uh-oh.

That got my heart rate up right away. Where did this clown come from and what was he so mad about? We often have bees - honeys and bumbles - around, pollinating the flowers, but they pretty much leave us alone if we don't mess with them. Anyway, I swatted at him again, and again. Still he came. Then he had company. Then I felt the stings. Left arm, right arm. I'd knocked my glasses off my face and had run to the patio, where I imagined I'd be out of range. Nope. There was still at least one trying for an opening. Mrs. Dave heard what were apparently my little girl screams and was trying to open the door. I'd come from around the garage side of the house and the back door was still locked. One of those sliding doors (Did you know they call them "door walls" in Michigan? Weird, I know.) with a second lock near the floor. That took precious seconds while my enemy penetrated my defenses and jabbed me in the neck. B@$#@&D!!

The door finally opened after what seemed to me 3-4 hours and I tumbled onto the family room carpet. Mrs. Dave saw the attacker still on my neck, brushed him off and stomped him. The first casualty.
I had three stings. The one on the back of my neck, one above the left elbow on the inside of my bicep, and another a couple of inches above the right wrist. Lucky there were only those, I guess. Put some ice on them and then realized that my glasses were still outside, no doubt on the grass where I'd been trimming branches.

Seemed to me that the 30-40 feet between the patio and the area where I'd been attacked was far enough that I could go have a look and even avoid the flyers while I retrieved them. Nope. I only made a few steps off the patio when I heard and saw something at me. It was like he'd been waiting for me. And he was huge. He looked like a crow, I swear. It was big and black and headed directly AT MY FACE! I tried to duck but it was too late - or maybe just in time. He hit me right below my left eye near the bridge of my nose. The sting was instant, although I did get some satisfaction from making him the second casualty of the skirmish. Back inside.

We could see my glasses on the ground, half way between the cherry and the maple.
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We could also see this, about ten feet in the air, with who knew how many big black fliers circling menacingly around my ladder and both trees.
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Oh. Freaking. Em. Freaking. Gee.

So much for trimming the trees this weekend. Interesting (not going to say "funny" here), I'd spent the previous two days watering the grass, mowing and digging out another tree stump in the back yard, some of that work exactly there under that thing with no idea that this mammoth-sized bug condo was hanging just a few feet above me.

I'm not one to interfere with the creatures of this world. I know they have vital functions to perform in the circle of life and deserve to live out their existence free from the depredations of man. But this is my back yard. There are billions of acres on the planet far enough away from humanity for wasps to build nests and do whatever it is they do. Not in my house. And they came at me first.
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There are only a couple of options for this type of campaign. I had what I thought was a full can of wasp killer from another nest that I'd had in the front yard a few years ago. That one was near the sidewalk and I had concern for the neighborhood kids who walked nearby. It seemed pretty easy as I remembered it. But if they were patrolling the whole yard, how was I going to get at them? The instructions said to wait for dusk when they were the least active. But my glasses!

I waited for several hours, wearing my contact lenses that I usually only use for running nowadays. Every time I looked through the window they still seemed pretty excited. Later that afternoon I thunderstorm came through and that seemed to settle them down. I sprayed at them from an upstairs window, but maybe because of the age of the can or maybe I'd partially emptied it on that other nest, it only gave me a few seconds before petering out. So off to The Home Depot for reinforcements.

I was able to give them a decent soaking, but it wasn't as thorough as I'd remembered doing the last time. You' supposed to wait until the next day to make sure you catch any stragglers who might have been away from home when you sprayed the first time. So I stayed inside until Saturday morning, then went out to check. I guess I expected to see a pile of carcasses on the ground under the tree. What I found was big black bugs flying in and out and around the football-sized thing hanging in the air. Not dead. Not crazy and swarming all over like the day before, but definitely not dead. They must be made of harder stuff.

Anyway, since the bugs insisted on surviving, I decided to get a bigger gun. Back to HD where I bought the biggest gun I could find.
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That's right - PRO. I was now a professional killer. What's that you say? Chemical weapons were banned by the 1925 Geneva Convention? The 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention ban (signed by 165 countries) prohibits the production, stockpiling, and use of chemical weapons and their precursors. Sue me.

This time the stream was strong and solid. I soaked the nest from two sides, then went upstairs and gave it another shot from above. I let it soak through the day and checked it again after work, PT and my run on Tuesday.

This time - like an attack by the Dread Pirate Roberts - there were no survivors.
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The war is over. I won.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Well, hello, Monday.

More writing about not running. Bleh.

Figured with my return to the ortho, I'd let things settle down as much as possible. Then he'd know what was really happening. He did. The good news: the meniscus repair is all in good shape. The pain I'm feeling now is inflammation in the medial collateral ligament. Bad news: I have inflammation in the medial collateral ligament. What to do? He gave me a cortisone shot and prescribed another week of rest and then some cold ointment until it all settles down the rest of the way. Also, more PT if I feel like it. So I rested over the weekend, and it hurt a bunch yesterday and today, more than when I was running a couple of miles on it.

Dermatologist appointment went fine. Scraped off the area on my right leg but had to excise (translation: dig out with a scalpel) a one inch diameter hole a quarter inch deep in the left. Didn't hurt thanks to the lidocaine, but it's pretty ugly. Anyway, he thinks he got all of it. Should find out this week for sure.

Colonoscopy also went well. There were three polyps, all benign. Finding three of them, though, puts me on the three-year plan now, so I have to go back in 2021. Sure hope I have a marathon to schedule around by then.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Ups and downs. 3 miles and some hurt. Other stuff.

Today was the day I was going to write up all about my first 3 mile run and how great it was and that I'm back in business with my running and I'm ready to start planning out some mileage increases and target a loose schedule for the next marathon, which could be as early as this winter since after all I've only done one southern state so far.

As usual I was up early on Saturday. I consider this one of the best things about nearing my 60s. I can lay in bed and feel all, "It's so nice to wake up slowly and have as much time as I want to doze some more or get up - my choice," and after doing that for anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour, it's still only 6:00 AM and I have a bucket load of the day still available to do things. Sleeping in until noon is fine, but then the day is half over. Silly.

With a full day of day in the forecast I decided to get my run done first thing. I haven't been timing my little one and two milers that I've been doing to break in the knee, so Hal's been stashed in an old backpack (from the 2011 Philly Marathon), along with my fuel belt and a half dozen uneaten Hammer Gels. I hooked him up to the charger and had a couple of scrambled eggs for breakfast while he filled up to about 30% - plenty for as far as I was going.

Outside there was some water falling, but not enough to deter me, and 69 felt a lot better than the high 80's I'd been running in the past couple of weeks. I have to remind myself that even though the knee feels OK at the start of the run, I'm still horribly out of shape. Have to take it real easy on both counts. No pushing. This road is a long, slow one.

I ran a mile, then walked for a minute, ran another, walked for two minutes, ran the third and last one. Louie was quiet the whole time. Good boy. Funny the things you remember. I knew I was going to post this run on Strava, and that Strava always measures my runs .01 shorter than Garmin, so I finished at 3.01 so it would show up on Strava as a full 3 miles. Funny the things you do. Don't ask me why I thing Strava needs to show me a full 3.0.

Got rained on. Didn't care.

Spent the rest of Saturday painting. Finished the stairway, front entry, hall and kitchen. Ran out of paint five feet short of the corner of the family room. Was too tired to go get more and finish; that'll be a job for this week.

Also this week is a dermatology appointment to remove the two areas of basal cell on my lower legs, an optometry appointment for new glasses, and my five year colonoscopy. Sort of tired of seeing doctors this year.

And T-Rex comes home for a month from school on break tonight. She's survived the semester and we feel like she's actually made progress. Not perfect - too much sleeping, skipping assignments at the end of semester, too much help doing a few assignments, migraines - but her best work so far. One day at a time.

Louie has been seriously cranky since we cooled down Saturday, though, so I'm no happy camper today. Pain. Stiffness. Puffiness. Called the ortho's office and left a message, asking for advice. I'm I still messed up or just a little behind schedule in my comeback? Should I abandon my personal efforts and sign up for a few weeks of professional PT? Does he need to see me again? Am I overreacting? Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Progress, of a sort.

Many thanks for the good thoughts and the encouragement. Getting kudos for being patient is not generally a thing for me. Not sure I deserve it, either. The fact is, Louie continues to be a serious pain in my knee. Some days, not gearing up for a summer of marathon training eats me up inside. I try my best not to think about it.

The first half of 2018 has had all sorts of suck to it, if I'm being honest. The knee, of course. T-Rex's continuing struggles with school. My mom's unexpected passing. No marathons (I mentioned the knee, didn't I?). Best boss I've had since 1990 left the company. Three days in the hospital stemming from a cancer scare and resulting biopsy with prostatitis.

Now that I look at it, that's only five things I can point to that have not been good. Never mind.

On the plus side, Mrs. Dave and I had a fun weekend in Toronto. I upgraded my church assignment from working with the old men to teaching 7 year-olds. Bought my dream lawnmower. I was able to see Mom for a few days a month before she left us. Read some great books.

So, there's five quick good things.

I guess it all evens out, more or less.

The come back trail is a bit bumpier this time around than from previous injuries. Normally, I get hurt, take time off, then start running again until I get back in shape and can start racing. There's often a few weeks of phantom pain. This time it seems to be more a couple of steps forward and one or two back, and that's after a long and very slow period of restricted range of motion and lingering fluid at the knee.

After two weeks of jogging (no way to call this running yet)/walking a mile three times a week, plus some light PT on the off days, I ventured out for two on Saturday. There was a stoplight pause at a half mile and another at one and a half, plus I walked some steps at one mile. No pain. That's good, right? Start to finish took me about 21 minutes. Not going to bring Prince Henry out until it seems worth the effort to charge him up and strap him on, so I just started the stopwatch on my phone as I left the house and stopped it when I came back.

Yesterday I figured to press the outer edge of the envelop a little more and do two miles again. This time there were no lights, so it was non-stop to a mile where I walked maybe 20-30 steps, then back. Again, no pain. Feeling very positive after that.

Until today when it's kind of sore when I walk, especially after sitting. Someone tell me this is a normal part of the healing process and not a thing I'll be dealing with forever. You'd think as long as I've been running, and as many of the normal sorts of injuries I've had I would know. This is a surgery, though, and that's something I haven't been through before, so I guess that's a big difference. Anyway, PT today.

Two weeks ago I vacuumed the house with Big Mac and a couple of her friends coming into town, and there was a nasty, almost sewer-ish smell from the machine. I changed the bag, thinking perhaps we'd sucked up some ickiness that was causing it. After I finished, it was still bad. I had to spray the house with Febreeze to get rid of the odor. I've never seen a vacuum smell like that. So when the guests were gone I disassembled the head, hose and attachments and found all kinds of guck clinging to the insides. Cleaned those out (holding my nose much of the time), scrubbed them with Mr. Clean, soaked the hose overnight with a bleach solution, then let it all air out for a couple of days. The nasty smell was gone so I put it back together and we seem to be back to normal.

We have a couple of plastic 50 gallon drums we use to store water for emergencies. Learned the other day that even with a touch of bleach to keep it from breeding green stuff, it should be refreshed every few years. It's been at least ten since we filled them. Emptied and re-filled them yesterday.

Mrs. Dave has a hard time watching movies, especially at home. Two reasons. She is constantly distracted with her phone - not social media, but with texts and calls from family and friends. She also falls asleep. Doesn't help that she mostly lays on the couch when we try to watch. Anyways, with the new Bond coming next year, she decided that she wanted to re-watch all the Daniel Craig films. So we've been working our way through Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall and Spectre the last few weeks. It took us three nights to get through Spectre. First, she fell asleep about half way through the Rome car chase. Sunday night the power went out just after Blowfeld drills into Bond's head. So, we finally finished it last night. We may have to do this again next fall. Good thing I like 007 movies.

This week I'll start painting the rest of the house inside. Thankfully the style where every room has to be a different color is out right now and I can use the nice dusty gray we used in the living and dining rooms.

And there's the life of Dave right now. Thanks for reading.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Self-diagnosis: Popliteus Injury

While the surgery site seems to be doing well - almost pain free most of the time, the back of my knee continues to be a problem. As a matter of fact, this pain was the first issue back in February and why I first took time off. The day before I ran again following the first break was when the meniscus started to hurt. That became the worse of the two problems. I figured that all the rest would let that one settle down and by the time I was ready to run again after the 'scope it would be all better, too.

Yeah, didn't happen that way. It's usually OK in the morning getting out of bed, but I don't have full flexion on it without pain and resistance. Putting on socks and shoes, washing my feet - those activities are hard. I'm supposed to be stretching my hamstring more and strengthening my quads/hamstrings, according to this website. This is a little weird because I'm not the typical runner in this area. I've always been pretty flexible back there. I can easily reach the ground with a standing stretch, knees locked. Let me remind you that this is the left side, not the right that gave me the freak hammy issue in December.

I've giving it another two weeks and then calling the doc again.

Took the new lawnmower for its maiden voyage on Wednesday last week. What a difference. The only tricky part was finding the right setting for the variable speed control. I had to nearly jog to keep up with the machine unless I dialed it back from full. I'm in grass-cutting heaven. I almost wish it was spring so I'd have to mow more than once a week.

Painted one of the bedrooms last week. Finished up the trim, installed new electrical receptacles and light switch on Saturday. The window sill and trim had a little damage that needed repair before painting those. This week.

Friday morning, Mac called me on her way home from work, with a loud flapping noise I could hear in the background. She had a tire blow out as she started across the Lake Washington Bridge. It's almost a mile and a half across. I've run there, since it's part of the Seattle Marathon route. There's no shoulder. No place to pull off safely and change a tire or even wait for a tow truck, so she kept going all the way across. By the time she could get out of the traffic lane, her tire was in pretty sad shape.
The rim wasn't totally trashed because it was steel and not aluminum, so the guys at Les Schwab were able to straighten it out, saving her $500 or so for new wheels. Just glad she was safe.

In a bizarrely related story, on Saturday, Mrs. Dave and I were out at Kensington Metropark, scouting it as a location for the Dave Schultz Family Reunion in August. We'd just parked near one of the beaches and talking to Mac about her tire repair, when I noticed a HUGE crack in one of the CR-V's tires. Like about 6 inches long and who knows how deep, along the side wall and onto the tread. Not good. We drove from the park to a couple of tire places to see what they'd have to say. It's going to be close to $200, unless we need to replace two. Since these are original with only 40,000 miles on them, I decided to check the warranty and it may be covered as a defect. We don't recall a road hazard event and there seems to be no sign of any other damage close by like there might be from something hitting the tire. Check that out after work this afternoon.

What an interesting year 2018 is turning out to be.

Next weekend we're taking a little break and traveling to Toronto. No big plans. We'll catch the Blue Jays hosting the Tigers, ride up the CN Tower, see a museum or two, but really we just want to get away for a few days.

Hopefully nearing the end of my time off the roads.

New gear. Running! 2:01:39.

After last week I'm starting to get a little excited. Certainly, I'm encouraged. Progress is still slow, but it's at le...