If the miles behind me could be put into words before you, you would feel my efforts, my struggles, my desires. Most of all you would see my joy. Watch me from afar run the trails and hills and miles upon miles and you will see ...

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

No Miwok, Stress Fracture, Toothless

Well, that's it in a nutshell. I emailed Tia the race director for Miwok and told her I was out due to injury. Hopefully someone else can take my place from the wait list on short notice. I have to say a big "thanks" to everyone who was so supportive and helpful with advice on my situation and dropping out of the race. Carrie, Ian, Jim, Tracey, Britni, John, Gary, Ferg - it means a lot.
I had my bone scan today with part 1 being showing up at the hospital and getting an injection of some kind of radiation that would help illuminate the fracture. Part 2 was four hours later involving two different scans that were seven minutes each. Lying on my back for the first one, it was inevitable I would fall asleep on the fourteen-inch wide bed. I was woken up for the second one which was done while lying on my side. Even though this was fairly uncomfortable, it only took thirty seconds to zonk out. Could be all the yard work I've been doing on the yard for three days straight, just ask my back. Anyways, I managed to convince the technician to fess up what he saw and it indeed is a stress fracture. Acute. But - he also said it was healing. This would explain why it's been feeling better the last few days walking around. Still hurts to run therefore Ian has me doing a mega week of cycling culminating with a five hour bike at the end of the week. My back is already not looking forward to that.
Yes, I'm still toothless. I have an appointment with a denture guy next Tuesday so he can take a mold of my teeth and fix me a fakey.
This Sunday is the Vancouver Marathon. After actually enjoying my experience at the Sun Run (shin pain notwithstanding), I am actually going to miss racing it this weekend. I've done a race this weekend for the past four years - 2007 I did the marathon, 2006 was the Elk/Beaver 100km, 2005 was the Vancouver Half, 2004 was the marathon again. I would have continued the streak with Miwok but we've already covered that. I miss the self-competition and racing the clock. It's never about placing but trying for a PR. I love having the clock tick by and taking my mile-splits. I can't say I'll never do another one.
More after the crazy cyling week.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


I went to the oral surgeon last week who explained to me my options with the tooth - implant, bridge, denture. The only one he does is the implant but for "$4,000", that's more than what the 'other' type of implants cost. I told him, no, I will not be going that route. I would rather live with the gap and lisp than buy a tooth for that much. Regardless of which way I went, once the tooth is yanked, I have to wait a few months for the bone and gums to heal before anything can be done. Funny that my dentist expected this guy to pull the tooth and put in the screw for the implant when I hadn't even decided on what I was going to do. How he doesn't know you need to wait for everything to heal, I don't know. Last Saturday the tooth finally fell out on its own but I could put it back in like a fake one - great for parties and grossing out the kids.
Anyways, I had the tooth extracted (love the sound it makes when it's pulled from the bone) yesterday so now have to explain to everyone I see how I did it, of course embellishing a bit to make it somewhat interesting. I usually throw in that I have scurvy or need to drink more milk.

I finally admitted to coach Ian and myself that I have more than just shin splint pain now in the right leg. I saw Dr. Prassad at UBC on Monday and he figures I have a stress fracture. I have a bone scan on the 30th to verify his diagnosis. Very frustrating that it's in the other leg now and he recommended two weeks of no running. Hmmm. Miwok in ten days, how is that going to work? Well now I have to decide do I do the race and risk getting even more injured and waiting that much longer to recover? Do I wait until closer to the race to see if I feel better? Do I go down and watch and feel serious envy that I can't run this thing? Do I cut out now so someone else can have my spot? It's totally my fault as I thought I could advil and ice my way through it. Had I told Ian earlier we could have backed off the schedule and nipped it in the bud. Live and learn. Each day I wake up I hope it to feel better and it so far it's a bit better so you never know. I for sure could fight my way through the race but am pretty sure I'd pay for it. It didn't help I did a 34 mile run on Saturday then the Sun Run on Sunday with the Coast Mountain Fleet Feet corporate team (1st in the transportation category, 8th team overall thank you). I felt crappy in the 34 mile run but awesome in the 10k the next day. I was breathing easy through the first 5k still doing sub-6 minute miles. A couple little rises didn't slow me down at all and I had a great kick at the end. I guess all those @#$%! 20 minute intervals from Ian paid off after all!!

So I have a few decisions to make. I should save myself for Bighorn in June and Spartathlon in September. It's not like Miwok has been on my 'to do' list, it just fell on a good spot for training for the 100 mile run. I was still stoked to do it, though.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Appointments and Updates

So on a crazy Wednesday last week I had my massage appointment at 9:45, doctor at 10:45, and dentist at 12:00. Of course I did all this knowing how late my doctor always is I arrived at 10:50 and waited until 11:20 to actually get in to see him (hence the brilliance in booking my dentist, a five minute drive away, at noon, and not earlier).

Massage was good, lower back extrememly tight from working on deck - ongoing.

Doc is concerned I have LVH (Left Ventricular Hypertrophy - google it. It's too hard to explain other than the left ventricle of the heart gets enlarged from "excessive exercise" (is that what I do?), restricting blood flow to the aorta, potentially causing chest pain, heart disease and the like. He said the ECG was abnormal so is setting up an appointment to see a cardiologist for an ultrasound to measure the wall thickness of the left ventricle to see if there could be problems. As it's not an emergency, it'll be a couple months until I get in so don't hold your breath waiting for an update.

Dentist took x-rays of the loose tooth from Diez and found it to be fractured and in need of replacement. I had forgotten it was the same tooth as about ten years ago that had a root canal becuase I smashed it before. The x-ray showed that it was mostly filling and resembled a hollow tree, not very strong. His suggestion was to see a specialist (cha-ching$$$) to see what they suggest but assumes that they'll go with what's called an implant (no silicone involved) where they screw into the bone and put a crown on the screw. I'm thinking a gold crown would look killer right in the front. I guess an alternative would be a denture but they think the denture wouldn't be very stable because of it's size and location. They are, however, covered by the dental plan. Seeing as the implants aren't normally covered, I asked the receptionist how much they usually run. "Usually", she says they cost a couple thousand dollars. I'm thinking a gap in my teeth is cheaper with better conversation possibilities. I need to make a call to my benefits lady at work tomorrow to have a better idea of how to tackle this one. Next time you see me I could be sportin' a gold tooth with a diamond in the middle or no tooth at all.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Diez Vista 50k

Being on the receiving end of a cold the last ten days I wasn't sure how this race would turn out. On top of that I was dealing with a ton of issues needing attention around the house. Not that I'm making excuses, because if I didn't think I could race, I wouldn't race or I'd treat it as a long run day.

Friday night before was spent finishing up part of our back deck and a few other odd jobs that needed to be done. I hadn't finished putting my stuff together and taping my feet until 10:30. Not that I'm making excuses, I've just been more prepared for a race in the past than this one.

The day dawned warm and sunny. No, wait a minute, that was my dream before I awoke to dark and rainy. It was overcast the whole day with a steady drizzle greeting every runner out in the open throughout the day. At least under canopy it didn't seem so bad. We were even treated to snow at three different areas of the course.

Tracey arrived at our door at 6 a.m. and we headed out to Port Moody. Tracey was going to take some pictures and get in a run of her own while waiting for the race to unfold. We arrived at the perfect time of forty-five minutes ahead of the start, just enough to avoid the bathroom line-ups and get everything together. As people were getting their numbers and sweatshirts, I heard one person registering with the name of Hal Koerner. This guy wins almost every race he enters, having bested everyone last year at the Western States 100mile. Other names that I heard being passed around as late entrants were Brian Morrison, Gary Robbins, and Matt Hart. All of them extremely seasoned veterans in trail running. It made for an interesting day.

I, admittedly, started out faster than I probably should have, possibly due to how I ran Chuckanut with the leaders in my sights. I didn't want to let the fast guys go but after about twenty minutes of heading up, up, and up Diez, I knew I had to back off at least a little. The thing I remember most about this race two years ago was that the flagging was a little sparse and not so easily spotted. Seeing as I ran this part a while back (albeit the opposite direction) I had some idea how to traverse it and stay on track. I was within sight of Matt Hart for a bit and with him in the position of "the guy in front", he was prone to a few "pauses" while he looked for the right route. This may only take a second or so, but it throws you off your pace and you have to get back up to speed. This enabled me to catch up to him and use him as a trail blazer for a bit. We chatted here and there and eventually Aaron Pitt closed the gap and was with us, after I took the lead and surely slowed us down.

After a steep, steep descent, we came to a fast flat stretch where we caught up with Hal Koerner and could see Brian Morrison in the distance. I'm sure this caused me to go faster than I would have on this section of flat. As we were nearing the drop bag aid station, we passed Hal (who dropped at this point from a recurring plantar injury), came out of a trail, and were supposed to cross the road and continue to another trail that would lead us to the aid station. I honestly did not see any markings and from memory of an old race map, remembered we turned up the road. The funny thing was that there was the same pink flagging tape along side of the road so thought it was the correct way, not knowing that it was actually tape put there by Hydro indicating those trees were to be taken out. Anyways, we were almost past the parking lot where the aid station was when people started waving us towards them. In we went where we grabbed our stuff and I heard someone say, "What were you guys doing coming down the road?". Obviously we had, or I should say, I had, made a mistake. Matt, Aaron and I ran together wondering what had gone wrong and whether a DQ was in the works.

Funny enough we ran into Tracey at this spot and I asked how many people were ahead of us. She said two, so we figured it was the leader then Brian Morrison. When Brian came up behind us ten minutes later, we agreed we (I), screwed up. Brian convincingly passed us and this is where Matt fell back and eventually dropped due to nagging hip discomfort. After more of the upwards trudging, Aaron fell back a bit with problems of his own. I always saw Brian ahead of me but just couldn't bridge the gap, not that I was overly concerned. Around this point I was starting to feel crappy, whether it was the snow coming down, cold wind, my cold, or just going out too fast and paying for it, I'm not sure. Near the bottom of the out and back, Gary Robbins passed me looking absolutely awesome. On the way back up he passed Brian to stay in second place. Of course, I didn't really see too much of that as they had both gapped me quite nicely. Through the power lines again and over some rocky terrain I was in a real low spot. It took until the last really steep ugly stretch to get some energy back. I started taking in more Carbopro 1200 and this seemed to put something more into my legs.

While drinking from one of my bottles, as I'd done a million times in the past, pulling on the tab with my front teeth, the tab didn't pop out and instead broke one of my teeth!! I looked down to see if first some of the plastic had splintered off and was stuck in between my teeth but it was fine, it only felt that way because one of them was loose. Wasn't that just the icing on the cake for how I felt.

The last steep part was as bad as I remembered it from two years ago and the down to the lake was equally enjoyable. However, I remember the final leg to the finish being really long, and today it was quite nice. I even picked up the pace some and was running solid until out of the blue there was a mountain of stairs to climb. Although this wasn't as bad as the Dirty Duo stairs near the finish, they hurt nonetheless. It was only two hundred feet to the end so had to suck it up and look good and do a decent pace to the end. Unlike '06 when I swore I wouldn't do this race again, I was quite happy with how it went overall. I improved five spots and twenty-five minutes. Today my legs were tired but not the deep soreness I've had in the past which is a good sign and I'm looking forward to the training for Miwok coming up in a month. 200 kms down, 1061 to go.