Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Solid row, MRI, kids, politics

I started off today with a solid rowing workout in the basement. Sandwiched between a 2K warmup & cooldown, I rowed a hard 4K in 13:59.5. I felt like I was working at about as sustainable of a pace that I could handle for the first 2K (7:05), but I was able to squeeze it down a little more, rowing the next kilo in 3:30, and the final kilo in 3:24.5 (last 500m in 1:40.5). I'm just now starting to get some confidence back with the rowing workouts.

After getting RG to the bus, I attempted to stalk GZ at work, by having an MRI on my foot at nearby Flatiron Imaging. They gave me a CD of the MRI pics, but I haven't viewed them yet. Would I really know what I'm looking at? That said, I should throw the disc in and take a look. Maybe my foot will look better on the inside than it does on the outside. Or better than GZ's 9 toed wonders, there for all the world to ogle.

The rest of the day was spent hanging out with RG and KG, and taking care of the usual home front stuff - laundry, cooking, etc. These days can actually be stressful at times. I did OK most of the day, but by dinnertime, the kids were wearing on me a bit.

I'll close with some political talk of the last couple of days.

On Eliot Spitzer, I found Al Lewis' column in the Denver Post yesterday right on the mark. After discussing why a lot of folks in Wall Street and elsewhere in the business world were happy to see his fall from grace, he closed with the following lines:

"People spend a lot of time challenging my motives," he said. "But
. . . challenging the motive of the prosecutor is the last refuge of
the guilty."

I loved that line. I loved his righteous indignation. I loved his ability to
humiliate powerful wrongdoers.

Too bad he blew it all on a

Wow. I agree. While at the time, I didn't see Bill Clinton's work with Monica Lewinski as that big of a deal, I've come to realize the consequences of his actions and the resulting mess. He certainly wasn't able to accomplish much as President after the scandal broke. And he wasn't able to really campaign for Al Gore, which led to the disgrace of the last 7 years. Spitzer may not have been loved in many circles, but he was a guy who had been mentioned as Presidential material, and while things weren't going swimingly as NY's guv, he had big things ahead of him. I guess we've all got our issues.

And as for Geraldine Ferraro, she made her comments (about Obama being where he is because he's black) more than once. Her words weren't an accidental slip. Like much of the Clinton campaign, they're calculated. And they were calculated as another desperate move by the Clinton team to scratch and claw there way back into this thing. Like Clinton's line about her and McCain having all the foreign affairs experience, while Obama gave a speech in 2002. Oh, but I forgot, they want Obama as their VP candidate...

Ferraro's comments simply hold no water. According to her, when running for President in the USA, it's suddenly a great thing to be a black man. That makes a lot of sense, what with all the black presidents we've had over the years. I won't call her an outright racist, but it was another attempt by the Clinton camp to cast Obama as "the black candidate." Clinton has already lost most of the "black vote" so they probably feel there's nothing left to lose there. This is another example of why the Democratic Party needs to push Clinton out of this race - for the sake of Obama's chances in the fall against McCain, for the sake of the Democratic Party itself, and for the sake of Hillary Clinton's future as a respected Democratic politician.

Obama has won twice as many states as Clinton. Obama has the lead in pledged delegates and overall delegates. Obama is leading in the popular vote.

It's time for the official to step in and declare this a TKO for Obama. It's time for the Clintons to get out of the way, and make room for a more tolerant, more experienced, and more inspiring candidate. It's time for a change.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

"Down in it"

"Kinda like a cloud I was up way up in the sky"

3 years ago. March 5, 2005. The scene was Dempsey Indoor at the University of Washington in Seattle. The result? The line below tells a lot:

11 728 Gelbean, Tim Fleet Feet 14:20.00 14:46.96

Interpreting this little line of information for you goes like this:

I placed 11th (out of 21 starters/20 finishers).

They spelled the name wrong, as I had all kinds of trouble getting entered into the meet, and as of the day before the race, I found out I still wasn't entered at all (even though I had flown to Seattle!).

Next, I was racing for the Fleet Feet Racing Team in Boulder, and managing the team at the time. Those were definitely the proverbial good ol' days. I can't put into words how much I miss the racing, the managing, and being a teammate. It was a big part of my life.

"I was up above it"

14:20.00 That was my seed time. Yes, I was ambitious and optimistic. But I had good reason to feel that way. I was in the best shape of my life. The spring before, I injured my achilles shortly after (during?) a 4:08 (1500m) / 8:49 (3000m) double at CU early in a planned track season. I came back later that summer and felt fantastic running a 15:09 5000m, again at altitude. An injury-free stretch ensued, in which I got stronger and stronger. I ran 19:09 for the Purple Runner 5.8K Buff Ranch course that fall. In early January, I PR'd at 3K - indoors and at altitude - with a 8:48.7 at CU. After that race, I talked with CU's Mark Wetmore, and asked him for recommendations on where to attempt a fast indoor 5K - he said the University of Washington (sea level, raised but flat oversized track, great competition). That became my focus, and based on my performances, and several track workouts, my "if everything goes well" goal became 14:20. I really felt I was ready to step up to another level, and was planning on running in a "big time" 5000m race at Drake or Mt. SAC later in the spring. I was ready to go.

"Just then a tiny little dot caught my eye It was just about too small to see"

14:46.96 In talking with PH, GZ and JL shortly after the race (on PH's phone - funny, I had forgotten that), I wasn't celebrating my small PR (old best 14:47.2, outdoors in 2002). I had a bad day. I tried to take the perpsective of "on a bad day, I PR'd, and I'm disappointed - in a way, that shows how far I've come, and how good of shape I'm in." I had just never imagined the race going that way. I never felt too good, lost focus for much of the race, and rallied for the fractional improvement to my best time. I had assumed that no matter what, I would run sub-14:30.

The full results from that meet:

"But I watched it way too long That dot was pulling me down"

I headed out for a classic, post-shitty race, extra long warmdown. Of course, GZ and I had been doing XL warmdowns a lot in those days. I remember feeling a bit light headed at some point during that one, but I still probably covered 8 miles or so. After heading back to the hotel, and getting cleaned up, I then headed out for dinner (Cheesecake Factory), and a solo walking tour of Seattle. Eventually, I headed back, picked up a quite large amount of Cold Stone Creamery ice cream, and returned to my hotel room. After a stretch of stubborn focus, my binge eating had returned. The next morning, I enjoyed a long run at nearby Tiger Mountain. The long run was planned, but with my issues, it also served as a bit of a purge. More eating followed, including the leftover ice cream from the night before, and eventually I made it to the plane. I remember not eating on the plane, not eating when I got home, and not eating again until the next afternoon. Bad move.

"Now I'm down in it"

I continued to struggle with my eating, and the consequences soon became evident. A week or two later, and already heavier, I attempted to warm up for a meet @ CU, and my hip hurt me so bad, I finished the warmup and scratched out of the 1500m race I was scheduled to run. Despite being in great shape, I basically ate my way out of that track season. I eventually saw a psychologist about my eating disorder, which helped somewhat, but after several sessions I stopped going as I didn't feel I was progressing at that point.

"I used to be somebody"

I continued training and racing, and actually had some successful races (Greenland Trail 50K & Boulder Backroads Marathon come to mind) and logged some significant miles that year. However, in late July 2005, my left forefoot started hurting me. My painful neuroma that I had dealt with off and on since 1993 was back. I have dealt with that and/or a problem with my big toe ever since. At the same time, I struggled with my weight, and much of the racing and mileage took place 15-20 pounds heavier than my norm. At my height, that's not a good thing - 185# and competitive distance runner don't go together. My training and racing suffered, and eventually the racing came to a stop at 2006's West End 3K.

"I used to have something inside Now just this hole it's open wide Used to want it all I used to be somebody"

I thank Trent Reznor for the "Down In It" soundtrack to my tale of woe. While I obviously had problems prior to March 5th, 2005, I do view this day as a turning point in my life. While I have had some happy times in the last 3 years, on the whole, I've been dealing with some dark times.

Tomorrow morning, I have an MRI scheduled for my left foot, with a followup/review of the MRI on Friday. I'm looking for a definitive diagnosis of my problem(s), and I'm actually hoping for a solution such as wearing a walking boot or cast for several weeks.

I want be a runner again. I want to run, talk, and live with my circle of running friends. I want to plan, and dream, and race. I want to live.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

If I'm not running, are non-running workouts really cross-training?

Some good discussion with GZ earlier - some re: MAF, some re: my life. Thanks.

A couple of easy workouts today:

10M on recumbent bike (27:35), Level 7

4.93M on Precor 5.37 Elliptical (46:00), "Fat Burner" Level 10

Looking forward to some positive results tonight from Obama. The more I hear about the Clinton camp, the less I like what I'm hearing. It's time for Clinton, and then Bush to move over. 20 years is plenty. If Clinton hangs around much longer, it's gonna get a lot uglier for the Dems.

Monday, March 3, 2008

30:00 on the Arc Trainer

Work was sloooooow today, so I managed to hop on the Cybex Arc Trainer at the store - 1.21M of the Hill program in 30:00 @ level 7. Easy enough that I wasn't sweating through my clothes, difficult enough that I burned a few calories, stayed awake, and added to the total activity for the day. JL and I decided today to finally order an elliptical machine of our own - the Precor 5.37 EFX Elliptical machine to be exact. JL has actually been driving the purchase for the first time ever, and combined with my need for quality, alternative cardio options, the time was right.

Oh, today's rowing workout

Nothing exciting today, as I had a short, hard row yesterday morning - a 2K TT (time trial) in 6:57.9. So this morning, I did a building 10K row in 37:59.7, splitting 19:24.1/18:35.6. My entertainment this morning consisted of a mix of watching MSNBC political coverage (yes - I'm a junkie) and listening to Beck's The Information on my iPod, which kept me occupied enough to get through a steady (read: boring) workout on the rower.

My name is Tim, and it's been 19 months since my last race...

When I finished the West End 3K on July 27th, 2006, I wouldn't have guessed over a year and a half (and counting) would go by without lacing up the racing shoes. I've certainly done some running. I even had hopes of getting my foot feeling better in time to run the Boulder Backroads Marathon that September. At the time, I was dealing with a neuroma between the 2nd & 3rd toes of my left foot AND possibly a stress fracture in the sesamoid bone in my big toe joint of the same foot.

In layman's terms, my left foot was fucked, and had been for some time. I had dealt with the neuroma off & on since 1993. The stress fracture was new, having been diagnosed in May of 2006. My podiatrist, Dr. Thomas, requested an MRI to determine whether the pain I was experiencing was a neuroma or a stress fracture. The answer basically came back: yes.

So August gave way to September, and with my foot not any better, I painfully decided to take some time off from running. Initially, I gained some satisfaction and fulfillment from some indoor rowing on my Concept2 rowing machine. That lasted for a couple of months, and I decided to ease my way back into some running. My thought was that if my foot was bothered by faster, flatter running, then perhaps I could get by with slower, hillier running. I did some trail runs, and played on my treadmill; experimenting with previously ignored incline levels per GZ's recommendations. This lasted for awhile, but ultimately, while my foot would do OK on the mill, it was never anywhere close to full strength outdoors.

In late spring of 2007, I began a series of 6 alcohol injections into the neuroma, with the goal being the destruction of the nerve. I also began on working on a common struggle of mine - dropping some weight to give my (hopefully) healed foot a break when I returned to outdoor running. As the shots went on (every 2 weeks), the weight gradually dropped off. Upon recommendation from my doc, I gave the foot some time to heal up from the shots (they can cause some tissue damage as well), and started running outside again a bit in late summer/early fall. While I enjoyed some of the running, my foot never felt right outdoors, and I think my big toe was more of the problem. So...back to the treadmill. But as the fall of 2007 wore on, eventually my big toe was bothering me even on the treadmill, and just walking around.

My last run was in early December, 2007, and I've filled that time rowing, riding my recumbent bike, and some elliptical machines. My rowing progressed through January into February, but I did something to irritate my upper abdominal/rib area back on February 8th and am only now getting some quality workouts started up again.

Also on February 8th, I visited an orthopedist in Boulder, Lorri Fulkerson, and based on some x-rays, she diagnosed my left big toe joint as arthritic, with some bone spurs to deal with as well. She told me to check in with my podiatrist, Dr.Thomas, to have some adjustments made to my orthotic to better support/protect that big toe/joint. She didn't tell me not to run in the future, despite the chance my foot might get worse down the road (she's in Boulder, after all, and people play). But she did mention that while I might not be able to run 40 miles/week, I might be able to run 10-15 miles a week. Similar to what GZ had touched on recently re: doctors and running, I refrained from telling her I was hoping for 80 miles/week...

I guess I would say the last few weeks since that appointment have been yet another mourning period for me, as I dealt with the "A word" (arthritis) and the recommendation of heading up to Ft. Collins again to see Dr. Thomas. I had hoped for a MRI, the diagnosis of a stress fracture in the big toe (which I do feel I have - one spot specifically hurts when I press on it), and wearing a cast or a boot for 6-8 weeks. I just want a definitive answer of what will make my foot healthy, pain-free, right. This foot hasn't been right since July 2005, when the neuroma started acting up for the first time in a few years. Since then, I've dealt with the neuroma, the big toe/stress fracture, and achilles pain - all in the same foot.

So I scheduled an appointment with Dr. Thomas for noon this Friday. At this point, I refuse to give up running, and I really have to fight for it.

I have to keep putting one foot in front of the other...