Friday, December 21, 2007

"The KNEE" - Good News...But Not the Rest of the Story...Yet

I saw my sports doctor this morning and I walked out feeling better than when I walked in. He told me that the Route 66 course in Tulsa is not the best running surface around and I would have to agree with him. I'm not sure of the total mileage we ran on concrete but it was alot. I also told him that I had finished the Honolulu Marathon last week and he seemed impressed.

He took the typical medical history and was impressed that I was even running after my heart surgery from 2 years ago. He had me stand in my barefeet, on tiptoes, squatted, and then took my left leg through a series of bends and manipulations as I lay on the exam table. Only one point did I experience any abnormal pain.

His take on the situation is this: The bone surface on the back side of the knee cap should be smooth, alot like ceramic. He thinks that mine has gotten rough and porous like over the years. He said that it wasn't necessarily caused by the running. He also thinks there may be a small sliver of cartilege torn that is behind the knee cap and that is a large part of the potential irritation that I feel. What he wants and is scheduling is an MRI and will see me again next Friday to discuss our options.

He gave me some exercises to strengthen my quads and stretch my hamstrings. To strengthen my quads I sit near the edge of a chair or table, raise one leg until it is parallel with the floor, I lock the leg straight and then slowly lower it to about 30 degrees. I do this several times a day. I have the remnants of a quad in my right leg but my left leg quad is non-existant, or nearly so. For the hamstrings it's the typical stretch, putting your foot on a chair or table from a standing position and then pointing the toes back to the chest and holding for 15 seconds, repeating this 8 to 10 times a day. I think I should have been doing both of these all along.

The good thing about strengthening the quads is that I believe I can do that exercise from my office chair, or in a restaurant, or a meeting.

I asked about the upcoming Houston Marathon and then held my breath. He said at this point he believes I can go. He said that if I had to I could walk the course. So I'm planning on going, woohoo.

So there should be more news next Friday. In the meantime I'm going to try and do a very easy light run on Monday morning, weather permitting.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

I'm in a Quandry

What does one write about when one doesn't run due to a potential injury? I didn't get to see our sports doc yesterday because they had been closed all week without power. I have an appointment next Friday to see him.

I HATE not running, but I also can't STAND the thought of running on my knee to soon and risk a sliver of a chance of doing the Houston Marathon in 4 weeks, well ok, 3-1/2 weeks. I've got the mileage in but I would like to get around 15-20 miles a week next week and the week after that, but I'm beginning to believe it isn't going to happen.

I noticed last night that at one point, I can't remember what I was doing, but my right knee popped, alot like when you "crack" your knuckles. At times that is what my left knee feels like it needs. I wish I knew more.

We still have several hundred thousand people without power in the state. Fortunately for us here in the OKC metro area we didn't get as much snow last night and this morning as they originally predicted.

Now I'm having thoughts of what we were doing last Saturday in paradise.

There was alot of concrete surface that we ran on in the Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa in November, I'm wondering if that is what aggrevated my knee. I can't think of anything else that would have done any damage......grrrrrr.....

They used a new type of timing chip at the Honolulu Marathon that didn't work out too well. It's the same chip they were going to use in the Houston Marathon..and I stress the Houston has backed away from it and will be going back to the older more reliable ChampionChip type of timing device.

It would appear that I'm rambling tonight, guess it's because I really want to be out on the streets somewhere, even though it's 28 degrees here right now. I took communion tonight at church and I asked for God's Will to help my knee heal.

After church Bonnie and I went out to do some last minute shopping for a "dirty" Santa gift for our church small group Christmas Party tomorrow night. Each person that comes brings a wrapped gift for playing dirty "Santa". Bonnie gets to pick a nice gift and I get to pick one that according to her is "butt ugly". At least that was her thought last year and MY gift ended up being traded and fought over the most by the group. I'll try and remember to post pics tomorrow of what we are taking before we wrap them up. Guess that will pass some time of not running too.

Well....Goodnight JohnBoy.....

Friday, December 14, 2007

More Hawaii Pics

The day of reckoning, race day, 3:00 AM for our photo opportunity as a group, the Edmond Family Center for Autism group..."TeamAutism". From left to right Cristy, Phil, Angel, Stacey, Alan, Randy, Steve. We were pumped and excited, little did we know that a scant two hours later we would all look like drowned rats.

Stacey was our first runner across the finish line in under 5 hours 30 minutes, hats off to her effort. I ran with her for 11 or so miles before I began to fade with my knee issues and we agreed we should both run our own race at that point, she was a great organizer for our trip and coach to those that had never run a marathon before, she ROCKS!!! That is Taylor with her after the finish line. Bonnie stayed with Taylor while Stacey and Alan were on the course, when she suggested they head to the finish line to see everyone run to the finish he got upset and said there was no way he could run a race that far. He thought she meant they were going to run the 26.2 miles to the finish. When she got him convinced they wouldn't have to do that he then thought it would be cheating to just "show up" at the finish and again didn't want to be seen as a cheater. More explaining but he was there when it counted for us. We are all so proud of him for making the trip with us and being so upbeat all the time....he's truly an inspiration!!

Yours truly after the finish line, tired, sore, and yes in some pain due to my left knee at that time. After crossing the finish line we got a "lei" of seashells and then had to walk thru water, mud, and muck for another 1/4 mile to get our finisher's medal and t-shirt. That was the worst part of the day.

I had told Bonnie before the race that if we finished close enough to the beach that I was going to give her my shoes and I was going into the Pacific in lieu of an ice bath. The water wasn't as cold as ice water would have been but the wave motion on my legs and feet felt really good. That is Taylor in the foreground with me.

This is Alan one of our walkers and the last of the EFCA participants to cross the finish line. Bonnie was our sideline cheerleader and photographer and she watched over Taylor while his Mom, Stacey, and Dad, Alan were on the course. Again we had some explaining to do with Taylor to convince him it was ok for him to walk with his Dad and that it would excite Alan to see him coming out to meet him. What a wonderful supporter Taylor made for each of us.

Here's one of those famous Hawaiian sunsets as seen from the balcony of our room, the sky sure lit up that evening when that big fireballs slipped into the ocean.


Monday night after the race on Sunday we were treated to a wonderful Hawaiian Luau on the north shore of Oahu. Here is Bonnie and I at the hotel just before we left on the tour bus with our group. Keep that purple dress in mind as it will show up in an unlikely photo in just a bit.

Oh my, here it is already, Bonnie learning to do the Hula Dance. You should see her instructor, no wonder she is smiling so big....he's in another photo just a bit later too. The ladies on the stage did a great job and had a lot of fun with this part of the festivities. We had Hawaiian pig that had been roasted in a covered fire pit, and several other Hawaiian vegetables that we could sample thru their buffet line when we ate.

The theme thru the dancing portion of the luau was based on the Christmas Holidays and it was exciting to see the different island cultures that were represented during each of the different dances.

More of the dancers in various Christmas dress. Even with the Christmas theme, the things you would expect at a luau were never far away, the grass skirts, the dark tan, the festive atmosphere.

Here is Bonnie's hula dance instructor, she said the eye candy made it very easy for her to follow his instructions as he stood just off the camera showing her and the other ladies how to do each of the various steps associated with the hula.


On Tuesday as we waited around the hotel for our evening ride to the airport, we were fortunate enough to meet Eric Mzioki, third place runner from Kenya, and Boniface Mbuvi, fourth place runner also from Kenya, near the hotel hot tub. It was a bit difficult communicating with them, but they very much understood a photo opportunity.

Then to top things off about an hour later we had the good fortune to meet the winner of this years Honolulu Marathon, Ambesse Tolosa from Ethiopia. Ambesse was a bit easier to chat with and also had an intrepretor with him. He was also the winner of the Honolulu Marathon in 2006. It was very exciting to spend a few minutes with him and to realize that he was every bit as tired as we were.

This is Diamondhead taken from the beach in front of our hotel. The marathon took us thru the street in front of our hotel, paralleling the coast and then eventually up over the right hand shoulder of Diamondhead that can be seen on the very right of the photo.

It was a fun and wild 6 days in Hawaii and I debated on adding this photo, then decided not to put it in, then decided oh heck I need to add it. Taken from Senor Frogs, was I surprised when I had to make a bathroom stop while Bonnie and I had chips and salsa there on the day that we left to come home....Add this to those crazy things you might see while on vacation I guess.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Back Home

Bonnie and I arrived back home yesterday afternoon. I felt as though I had lost a night somehow. We left Honolulu at 10:30 PM Tuesday night Honolulu time and arrived at the Oklahoma City airport at 12:50 PM on Wednesday afternoon. This is alot of flying time, I don't know how pilots cope with that sort of thing.

We saw alot of the devestation in the OKC area from the ice storm that they experienced while we were lying on the beaches of Hawaii over the past 6 days. We live in one of the lucky areas that did not lose power during all of the cold weather. Yesterday and today were days of reprieve from the icy mess. Tomorrow (Friday) is promising more weather tho in the way of snow, at least 4 inches plus they are saying thru Saturday night.

On the long flight back to Houston (7.5 hours) my knee gave me fits all night long even with ibuprofin. I noticed that my feet and my lower legs seemed to swell during the flight but didn't say anything to the others that were traveling with us at the time. At the Houston airport we got to talking about general discomfort during the flight and noticed that all of us that participated in the marathon seemed to have similar issues with swelling. Bonnie mentioned that she too felt that her feet had swollen during some part of the flight.

I slept pretty good last night, only having to take ibuprofin at one point during the night and I've got pretty good movement of my knee this morning. Because of the weather I'm not considering running at all until sometime next week.

Now I officially have two of the three marathons behind me in my hunt for Marathon Maniac-dom. The Houston Marathon looms ahead on January 13, a month from today!!!!

I'm trying to get an appointment made with our local sports medicine/podiatrist to talk to him about my knee and get some recommendations from him towards a better recovery effort for me. It seems the weather has played havoc with their office hours this week, but I am hoping to be able to get in to see him tomorrow. He's a member of our running club and that usually helps to get us in or to work us inbetween others on his schedule from what I've been told.

It's good to be back home, sleeping in your own bed, but I do have to admit I miss the weather that we experienced in Hawaii already.

Monday, December 10, 2007

"The Race Report" - - "The Engine That Almost Couldn't"

I'm going to try something different with this report and list/focus on the pluses and minuses and see where that takes us. First for the pluses:

+ I finished the race in an upright position under my own power.
+ I finished with essentially no new injuries or blisters....wooohooo!!!
+ I ran with a great group sponsored by The Edmond Family Center for Autism.
+ Having Bonnie here was a positive thing for me.
+ The fireworks they use at the start at 5:00 AM were beautiful.
+ The rain that came thru at 4:30 AM while standing in the potty line was "refreshing".
+ The rain that came just before the gun start was as good as a shower at home, but no soap.
+ The scenary has to be the best of any race that I've run, though my career is still young.
+ The water stops offered plenty water, gatorade and icy cold sponges.
+ Remembering to bring extra socks in a zip lock baggy.
+ The sun was not a big issue until later in the morning, the clouds were a very welcome veil.
+ The course is challenging but not overpowering, with Diamondhead the only real hill section.
+ The spectators were totally awesome, tho many were Japanese so I couldn't understand them.

The minuses were present but were overpowered I think by the more positive aspects of this race:

- Finish time was 6:49:48 (chip time) for a terrible pace of 15:19.
- Too many participants (over 20,000) left you running in a constant pack.
- The torrential rain at the start slowed things down considerably.
- Wet socks, what else can I say about that.
- My knee giving me trouble early on and throughout most of the race, forcing alot of walking.
- Taking waaaay too long to cross the finish.
- I was too worried about my knee to take any photos even though I did have a disposable camera with me.
- The finish area was LOUSY for a number of reasons, mostly because it was a quagmire.
- We got a shell necklace at the finish line but had to slog thru mud that reeked of raw sewage for a 1/4 mile to get our medal and finisher's tshirt, not something you want to do after 26.2 miles.
- For the finishers they had apples and cookies, not the greatest of food for the end of the race.

While there were some negatives about the run, the positives so far outweighed them, looking back at them the next day makes them seem almost inconsequential. Today after reflecting on things, I would say the mud in the finish area that smelled of raw sewage and the distance the finishers had to walk to get their medals was the biggest issues. I would still put this marathon on your radar screen if you have yet to run in Hawaii it is crowded but still a beautiful run.

I'm down because of the poor finish that I had, but I'm also upbeat that I was able to finish in any time. I feel that I didn't post as good a showing for all that donated on my behalf, it's a personal thing, just makes me feel like cr%p. This makes me want to come back and redeem myself with a better effort.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Thursday and Friday Catch Up Time

There are 5 couples/families that are making this trip to participate in the Honolulu Marathon on Sunday, (Bonnie and myself), (Alan and Stacey and Taylor), (Angel and Phil), (Christy and Matt), (Steve and Debbie). Of this group Bonnie, Debbie, and Matt will not be bib carriers in the marathon. Alan, Angel, and maybe Christy will be walking the marathon; the rest of us will be running.

Yes Bonnie did go with me on this trip. No there is no way that I could have gone out the front door with her. She will be part of our cheering squad, our photographer, and supporter, and she will be watching Taylor while Alan and Stacey are participating in the marathon on Sunday.

We've made it to the Houston Airport (Taylor, Angel, Stacey, Phil, Steve and Bonnie), the others are up near me when I took the pic.

Here's our running mascot Taylor, he is now 7 years old and is a delight to be around. He is a barrel of energy and so willing to do just about anything. When we boarded the jet to Honolulu when they announced our seating group they announced his name as well and that got him very excited.

It was almost an 8 hour trip from Houston to Honolulu. We spent the time sleeping, doing Soduku, eating, and looking out the window....I thought this pic was interesting with the sun dancing off the wing of the plane.

As we made our approach into Honolulu I happened to look down and saw this submarine leaving the area, apparently coming out of Pearl Harbor. I thought that was an interesting thing to see.

"We've arrived in wonderful Honolulu!!!!!!!!!

At this point we had all received our lei's. Angel's right cheek, Debbie, Steve, Matt, Christy, Phil and Bonnie's left cheek. Not sure where Stacey and Taylor were for this pic. Alan joined us later Thursday evening.

Friday we visited the Arizona Memorial, this was December 7, the 66st annivisary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. In the distance here you can see the Arizona Memorial, sitting atop the sunken remains of the battleship Arizona and the tomb of so many of her young sailors. The battleship Missouri is anchored just south of the Arizona. The Missouri is where Japaneses surrender was signed in 1945.

This is one of the Pearl Harbor survivors. He was on our tour and was visiting the memorial for his third and what he feels like his last time. He had visited a friend aboard the Arizona in the engine room about an hour before the bombing started. He had been discharged already but his discharge papers were ripped up and he served for 4 more years. Bonnie got autographs of several other survivors from the bombing at the museum before we took the boat ride out to the memorial.

The watery grave of over 1,000 of the Arizona sailors. Even today the other survivors of the Arizona can be cremated by the Navy and interred in the ship with their shipmates by Navy divers. One new interment was to be made Friday night after all the ceremonies of the day.

Close up of the battleship Missouri.
Here's some of the Edmond Family Center for Autism gang (Matt, Christy, Randy, Bonnie, Stacey, Taylor, and Alan) in front of one of the anchor's that were taken off of the battleship Arizona. The other anchor is on display at the Arizona State Capitol.
At the entrance of Honolulu Marathon Expo.
Friday night we ate at a place called Cheeseburger's in Waikiki. They had the best cheeseburgers I've eaten in a long time.
As for the weather, yes it's rained alot. The temperatures have ranged from 68 to 82 since we've been here. We keep hearing flash flood warnings for the area but have only seen the streets flooded in isolated areas once or twice. The rain never seems to last very long even when it gets really heavy.
Here it is early Saturday morning, Stacey, Bonnie, Christy, and I met downstairs for a 2 mile run. We had a time of 23:36, taking it very easy. Our pace was 11:47 and it was never a struggle even with the high humidity. My knee feels fine so I'm hoping for a great race tomorrow morning.
More later.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Honolulu Bound

Well we have taken the first steps towards Honolulu...wait I guess I've actually taken quite a few steps towards Honolulu in the last 6 months. But at last we are "on our way". We are at the OKC airport waiting to board our flight for the first leg to Houston, then non-stop to Honolulu. We arrive around 3:30 PM which is 9:30 PM Central time.

In checking the weather for Hawaii last night they are having flooding due to rains it seems. PLUS, the mountains actually had a snow advisory!!!!! Yes in Hawaii a snow advisory for the mountain areas. I had no idea that Hawaii had mountains that tall, or that they ever got snow.

More to come later today with some photos.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

I "Feel" Like I'm Ready

Thanks to so many positive comments and prayers yesterday I finally reached the point where again I felt that I am truly ready to "run" the Honolulu Marathon. So many of my blogging buddies have left comments that have in one way or another had a very positive impact on me over the past several days, and last night at church it was astounding the numbers of people that were asking if next Sunday is the day that I am to run and they were all so upbeat, positive, and happy that I'll be running. Thanks to all of this wonderful support my body and mind seem to have merged and once again I truly do feel ready to "run".

Up to this point I had been having thoughts that I could "settle" for a walking marathon, knowing that I could finish that. But I've got the confidence back that is enabling me to "see" the finish. Thanks to all of you. I'm feeling great, I'm ready, I'm excited.

Bring it on!!!!!!!!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

OMG - Honolulu is but a WEEK away!!!!

Finally, after 6 months it's just around the corner, the Honolulu Marathon. We've got our airline tickets, I've got my bib number (6532) and I think you can follow things on the website the day of the race...just remember they are 6 hours behind those of us here in the Central Time I'll leave it to you to do the math...

My knee seems to have recovered from the aftermath of the Route 66 Marathon. Yesterday I started seeing running images again of me any time I closed my eyes, images of the Honolulu marathon course and I've never been to go figure. I did the same thing though prior to the Route 66, all I would have to do is close my eyes and my focus became the race, it is so strange.

I've still not run since the Route 66, it will be 2 weeks tomorrow, but I've been listening to my body and have decided that I am at a level with my training that I need this break and it is just a part of the taper. I will try to run a couple of miles this weekend if the weather will allow it and see how things turn out. The ibuprofin and ice seem to have done the trick with the recovery for my knee.

I'm sooo excited....we leave on Thursday....finally I don't have to say something 2 weeks from this's THIS Thursday!!!! We will take plenty of pics and yes I will try and keep the blog updated more often. I'm sorry that I fell into the funk of not running and not blogging, Molly you woke me up on that...thanks.