Lake Michigan at Sunrise

Lake Michigan at Sunrise

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Dad Version 2.0

Greetings All!

As most of you already know (by either Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram), my son was born on July 5th at 8:47pm! He is a week old and that dude is a pig! He's growing fast, dude didn't even lose any weight in the first few days! Here are week one's "progress"pictures:
Day 1

Day 7

As for my daughter, she is in the obessesed stage with him:

My wife and I are trying to make sure to make my daughter feel extra special during this time period so she doesn't feel left out, but I'm sure the jealousy stage will rear its head soon enough!

The first week with my son, B, has been tiring, as anyone that has had to stay up with an infant knows! His nights and days are all messed up. Some nights he is awake screaming bloody murder, testing a parent's love and patience until 4am, and the other nights he lets us get a few hours of sleep.  During the day, the kid is an angel, and doesn't stay awake despite my daughter's tornado of activity or our efforts to keep him awake so that he sleeps more deeply at night.

I'm pretty tired and I just lost my train of thought... oh well!

So how does this transition into running? Well back in March my wife reminded me that I wouldn't be able to do heavy running once the kid was born. Three and a half months of being benched made sure that I couldn't do heavy running. So in a way, life made sure I put the baby before miles.

I have a much easier time finding 30-35 minutes in the day to exercise and not make my wife mad and my daughter too distraught than running for 1-2 hours a day (not to say I don't miss running 1-2 hours a day). And what is currently encompassing those 30-35 minutes?

Well today (the day is still Saturday as I write) was the last day involving walking in my Return to Run program. Next week I do three 30 minute runs. Before I started the program I was stoked to run those minutes, thinking I'd be flying through them. Reality set in during the last few weeks. I lost so much fitness, I am going to be sucking wind and getting cramps. I really hope I get my wind back sooner than later! (I also need to drop some of these pity pounds I put on over the last few months) This return has reminded me how hard running is. To have more empathy with people starting out, that you just don't go out and enjoy runs until you put a lot of heart, hustle, and muscle into training. I keep reminding myself of what I am capable of and that I can get back there. To become a good runner again, good enough to run with people again, and push a jogging stroller without getting hurt (I still don't have clearance to do this). I still tape my right ankle to prevent soreness, the next few weeks will be the major test.

Lost my thoughts again! Good stopping point.
I'm out!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

And so my watch begins

Today is my wife's due date for baby number two. Over the last week I've been getting increasingly anxious and restless about the birth. At work I already passed on my projects to be worked on for when I take paternity leave, and my co-workers already started on them even though I haven't left yet! I've been scrambling to find some productive tasks, but it feels more like standing around and not knowing what to do with your hands:

While I roam around awkwardly, I will be hawking over my my phone for the call that it is time for a new lil smokie to come into this world!

What else is going on?

I started week two or four of the return to run program, 3 minutes walking to two minutes running. No complications there! I'm still staying reserved on this, as I mentally am not ready to get excited and face letting myself down yet.  But all good so far (and I'm still taping my right ankle). Right MCL is still stiff randomly, but I'm comfortable on it.

I love going to my daughter's gymnastic's class after work on Mondays!

Many of you know I'm a total Chicago Bulls homer, so I'm pretty hyped about the off season and what changes will be made in the team! (Nikola Mirotic? Carmelo Anthony? Chandler Parsons? Paul Pierce?)

And I love that the Bull's first round pick, Doug McDermott, embraces the Funny:

Also, I went to see an Allergist yesterday on the recommendation of my pulmonary doctor. After my results, the doctor thinks my allergy to cats and having a cat for a few years created my asthma.. Thanks Tucker.

I think that's all I got for now! Hopefully the next update is a birth announcement!

Have an awesome day!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Running for the Numbers

Day two of my return to run program done (26 May).  Six repetitions of 4 minutes walking to 1 minute running. This time around,  I warmed up with some lunges, 5 minutes of extra walking, stretching, then I began the exercise. My physical therapist also taped up my right ankle as precautionary measure. The tape combined with the heavy work she put in (bruising) my leg, left me feeling near optimistic for my return to run now, as I experience no abnormal post run feelings.

(I hope I don't eat my words next week and have to rest even longer)

The walk/run exercise was interesting, as every time I started to run, I felt like I was mentally walking through a portal to my memories of running, forgetting I'm injured, but then a rope quickly pulls me back out once my minute is up. Pay Per View running I guess.

But this post isn't about my 6 minutes of total running, the post is about what rolls through my mind while I walked for the rest of the time.

I started thinking about running for numbers and what feels like success.
My thinking face
I know many of you, like myself, running 6-7 days a week is a way of life. Miss an day? That is a melt down. You muster up the logic to say it is okay and aren't losing any fitness? I know you are still struggling inside, thinking this one missed workout will be the cause of your next missed PR. Just keeping it in your mental pocket of maybe worries.

Have to cut your scheduled workout run short? Oh damn, let's not even go down that road (but the something is better than nothing mantra will at least keep you from OD'ing on Clif Shots).

Make a goal of weekly mileage and fall short, despite some killer runs? Time for new shoe therapy.

I'm not saying any of this is bad, goals keep us motivated, I do all the above. And I miss it, but starting from scratch lets me take a somewhat fresh look at it all again. Losing all of spring and the end of winter to injuries made me dig a deep hole for all those running insecurities, more for my family's sanity than mine. Now that I am easing back into it, the seeds of my running craziness growing out of the ground and ready for me to pick.

And pick I have. The fact that this week I have ran for 9 minutes total has inspired me to chart out multiple exercise paths that lead me back to a 60mpw base by Octoberish.

I can only laugh at my mental progression, as my state of gratefulness is quickly replaced at wanted more. Only a month ago I was hoping to just walk pain free again to now getting the  itch to run every day for hours. Physical therapy gave me the proverbial tip (3 days a week walk/run exercises) and I want the whole thing.

I am looking at this in the best way possible. As my wife is due with our second child next week, fitting in 3 short "runs" a week is a lot more doable, than 50-60+ mile weeks. So if there was ever a time to do this, now isn't the worst time.

Where is this entire post going? A reminder to myself and to you all to enjoy your runs and your health. Keep your goals in mind, but don't let them distract you from how awesome it is that you can run.

Have a great weekend all!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Cutting up a big slice of humble pie

Today was day one of my return to run program and also the start of my new diet of humble pie.

I took my first serving of humble pie about as beautifully as the .gif above.

But wait Declan, you haven't posted in a couple weeks, catch us up!

Let's start with the funny stuff  (not in chronological order):

My wife and I took my daughter to Ravinia to see Laurie Berkner.

Big balloon flowers are great!

I can't wait for the next season of Dr. Who!

Worm season is alive and well!

I had some amazing frozen custard, strawberry blended with a funfetti cupcake at Lickity Split. I am still dreaming of this heaven in my mouth.

Gymnastics (or asstics according to my daughter) classes started again and I can make this for the summer!

And my son is due to enter this world next week (July 1 for those of you reading this in the future).

Now back to my humble pie.

At physical therapy, beyond getting my legs bruises and experiencing near black out pain, I was fortunate enough to use a Zero Gravity Treadmill.

You zip into the treadmill, with some ultra tight spandex shorts on, and the treadmill fills up with air. You then set it to what percentage of your body weight you want to run and speed. My first use of it was at 70% of my body weight, and then 80%. It felt great to run for a few minutes, feeling so light and nimble!  After feeling okay using the treadmill on two different days, I was given clearance to start a return to run program.

Today was day 1 of a 3 session a week program. My instructions for today: Walk 4:30 , Run :30, repeat 6 times.  Obviously everyone will be watching and laughing at me..

Mentally, this reboot of my running is hard to swallow. The decline of my running from peaking, maintenance, trying to stop from bottoming out, to bottoming out has tested my patience, my want to run, and my waist line. Add the 6-7 failed attempts to start running again, and now I'm honestly scared that this will just be another notch on my womp womp belt.

Back to where this post started. I did my first walk/run combo. I had to lock my ego in a box, then put it in a safe, then bury it in the ground, and cover it with scorpions. And I had to tell my doubts to just give me 12 hours to clear things up. The 30 second intervals of running felt like nothing, but I know in a few months I'll look back at laugh at this if this is successful and I'm not tweeting later today that I'm in pain. But right now, I really miss the long free runs, the therapy and escape of the lakefront path, and feeling all the work I put into running reward me in many ways. I'm hoping I can set up a timeline of when this can happen. Maybe I'll do the math later today.

What if my right ankle flares up today? My physical therapist will teach me to tape it up until it gets back to full strength so that I can get into running shape again. My right MCL is doing well, still sore time to time, but much improved. And my left ankle, the one I actually slipped and sprained, feels 100%.  As of writing this, I think I may go for the tape just in case, but we'll revisit the idea at therapy tomorrow.

Okay, so what is going on with you???

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Totally have a happy national running day..please..

National Running Day

A day where runner's take extra pride in their motivation and the running community. Where we can be a little extra obnoxious to non runners when we talk about how we ran today. Totally an awesome day...

Except if you are a sourpuss like me.

I'm totally...

I know I should have my supportive face on, put aside my injury madness... but I end up feeling like this:

I'm sure any of you that are committed to an activity, like running, and get sidelined from it due to an injury, secretly have this feeling when you see other people doing and enjoying the activity that you love.

But you probably want some content here! So let's go!

Last Friday, my physical therapist said I could try doing a back to running program, since I had a few days in a row where my knee wasn't bad. The plan was a 10-15 minute warm up, stretch, then do 5 minutes of running and 2 minutes of walking, repeat until I hit 45 minutes.  I was pumped. I felt like the wind was about to change and blow away my dark injury clouds. I was thinking ahead where I could be in a week or two! Then reality set in..

Saturday brought back a cranky knee that wasn't bending well and increased pain. I took some Advil for my pain/swelling and felt much better after.  Sunday I woke up feeling a bit more limber. I had to try the run. I didn't want to go to therapy again saying I was too scared to try.

Once I warmed up and stretched, I started my run. I felt right away that things were not right.  My right leg wasn't bending back far enough or doing the full running motion. My knee was wobbly. Yada yada yada

Mentally this was happening:

I kept hoping that my knee would magically warm up and I'd be free like a bird on the lakefront path. Once I realized I would be a train wreck, I got off the main lakefront trail and to one of the side trails closer to the lake. It was a test of madness and lost hope. The two minute walks in between the running attempts were rough, not because I wanted to run again quicker, but I was in slow time and had to accept that reality isn't ready to match my dream.

I got home and was thankful that I didn't force ill advised speed or time to happen. I was happy to not be in any intense pain or knee swelling. Although my right ankle did flare up the next few days due to the awkward stride I had.

My frustration isn't so much in the long break from running (I know many people that have had to be benched for much longer than me), but rather the repeated failed efforts to return to running. The time table for my return has always been fuzzy, so my hopes stay in limbo. If you follow sports, I feel like I am constantly on the "day to day" status for months now.

But all is not all wobbly like jello! I saw my sports doctor yesterday who told me I'm probably two to three weeks from running again. I need to use some NSAID pain relievers to control the swelling for a week, as that is what cause my pain and stiffness. My doctor and my therapist told me the reason my knee locks up and can't move without pain sometimes is that my MCL gets caught in the track for my knee cap, so getting off that hurts..Ouchies.

Okay, enough negative nancy. Let's move on.

Life isn't all gloom!
It is totally raining in our living room
And my daughter graduated to her big girl bed!

And some days, it is better to just hang around and do nothing:

I've stolen enough of your attention for one sitting! Thanks for stopping bye!
Enjoy your run :)

Friday, May 23, 2014

To run is human, to rest is feeling bovine

Hello All!

I'm still twiddling my thumbs over here, waiting to get the okay to run again. I got cleared to do light impact exercise, like the bike. I hopped on an exercise bike, and quickly got bored due to the lack of intensity I could offer the machine due to my cranky knee. Although I pressed on with the "effort" just to get some sort of calorie burn. Director's Commentary: I couldn't even get my heart rate up and my body sweating! At least I don't look gross and sweaty right?

One more complaint about my sprained MCL and I'll move on! Getting my leg muscles working and walking around for 10-15 minutes helps the blood flow, reduces swelling, and eventually, I don't have to put much thought into having a normal gait. Great right? Well, working a desk job, or sitting for more than 10-15 minutes does the reverse of walking. Freezes up my knee and makes walking an uncomfortable chore. So if you see me walking weird:

The treatment for my sprained MCL (and my ankles) at physical therapy has easily been my most painful physical therapy bout to date! My therapist, Rachel (same one I had last year), has been using the Graston Technique on both my legs, my right knee, and my ankles.  I'm sure many of you have experienced the glory yourself of the metal tools of torture breaking all that holy scar tissue in your legs. The pain is fun enough, but when they redo areas that were nicely bruised the last session, holy crap. I'm pretty sure I was having an out of body pain experience!

And when my therapist asks if I'm okay, knowing it'll help me in the long run I say:

Still no estimated return time to running. Could be next week, could be in a few weeks! The first week or two running will have hard caps on time running as well (I'm sure I'll complain about that too!).

Okay, I'm getting off my waaambulance. How about some links?

I have linked this a few times before, but come check out my subreddit!
The community is over 600 people strong now and I brought on board a few active members to help get more events going on, like track night!

Ever want to see the public running clubs in Chicago (proper) mapped out? Well I did, so I made the map! I only used groups that have normal runs, open to the public, and some static meeting point.:
Map here!  Let me know if I missed any groups!

I found this running video funny:

I really enjoyed this interview with Steve Jones, "I Never Wore A Watch": Running Lessons From A Record-Breaking Everyman". Gave me some inspiration in this dull rehab times.

That's enough text for today! Kudo's if you know the source of some of the gifs!

I hope you have a great long weekend!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Hold my beer while I finally update my blog

This quote has as much literal meaning as it does motivational to me.:

Over the last few months, I feel like I have been cast to be in this famous story with regards to my ability to run:

My initial injury was a sprain of my left ankle in early March, when I fell down some icy stairs.

I didn't realize I had sprained it (I thought the pain and stiffness was just a bruise). I went to see a doctor a couple weeks later, and he diagnosed it. He told me I could run, just use pain as my guidance. I removed long distance and speed runs from the next week, and felt like I was improving slowly. Then I got a stomach flu and missed the next 10 days. I took this as a blessing in disguise, 10 days rest will be great for my ankle!

We are now at the week of the Shamrock shuffle. I knew I had to try to shake off dust and get at least one sustained speed test in that week. After 4 days of easy runs, I had to test my ankle and fitness. Both were not there. Race didn't happen. I ended up taking my daughter to the zoo (with the jogging stroller), thinking I could enjoy an easy pace and split up the run.

I didn't think the run through enough. Running into the wind with a jogging stroller put a lot of pressure on my ankle and set me in pain. Now we start the horrible next month or so of rebound running.  I would rest 5-10ish days, make sure all the pain was gone, pass the hop test, get all sorts of excited, thinking this would be my return.. and 1 or 2 short runs later, I was in pain again.

Finally, my left ankle stopped hurting (it was a little tight, but improving), but now my right ankle gave me pain after 35-40 minutes of running, and set me limping for a few days after (right side was overcompensating). Rebound running again.

Mentally, I'm getting pissed, frustrated, and defeated. I know I can't complain, I'm not unique in the matter, everyone gets hurt. I just hate it being such a blurry injury that teases me into thinking I'm healthy.  I take another week off, see the doctor and accept a physical therapy recommendation. I go ahead and try to run again just because I had no symptoms, and suffer the same consequences.

Now with the weather turning. the city has been filled with runners . I have to avert my eyes, my frustration builds. Remembering how just as I got injured, I was getting into some new area of sustained running speed that I didn't have last year. I wanted that back, and I want to improve so far beyond that.

As the blog post started, you fall to learn to pick yourself back up. Apparently, I wasn't done falling...Literally.

My physical therapist (same one I had last year during my Chicago Marathon training) put me on rest while she bruised my legs and ankles with Graston tools and works on getting my fibularis longus back into place. I didn't mind the pain, as it validated my complaints stemmed from an injury and were not imagined, and that they can be improved upon.

What could happen during this rest right?

Well apparently, I can sprain my MCL on my right knee! I went out to the Zombie Pub Crawl and fell of a stage while doing a dance that has you hop 90 degrees every verse to repeat the dance. (Note: There was a curtain behind the stage, which I thought was just covering a wall.. not space for me to fall) My right leg stage on the stage and get bent a bad way.

Pre fallen zombie
I went to see the doctor again, he diagnosed it easily. Thankfully he wasn't worried, as all the major injuries were avoided. I'll have to deal with the pain and limp (my knee is wrapped up) for about a week and have my physical therapist work on that as well. Hopefully I can get some estimated time for when I can start running again soon...Or maybe I should just start with walk without a limp again?

To sum this up, I'm obviously Batdad. And as soon as I get out of this injury dungeon (thanks Bane), there will be hell to pay on my running shoes.