Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Part 1: That is going to leave a Mark
On August 14th I severely tore my right calf during the Leadville10K. This race is also known as the "NOX 10k" since it is a hilly trail race at 10,152 elevation. "NOX" stands for "No Oxygen". Standing at the starting line I was in the best shape I had been for 20 years.
This is a photo of my mangled calf. The good news is that after 6 months, the calf has pretty much healed.
On September 11th I hurt the heel of my left foot trying to run/limp down the stairs to answer a phone. I slipped and "surfed" the last five stairs and banged my left foot very badly. This injury has been nagging me for months. I have had to curtail my running. I used to run no matter what. Regardless of injuries or weather I would be out there, as the Nike commercial says, just doing it. I am having a little trouble getting over the memory of intense pain associated with running 6.22 miles over rough terrain with a severely torn calf muscle.
Part 2: Missing Football Games
I officiate high school football. Due to my injuries, I had to sit out 5 games. In 12 previous seasons I had never missed a game. This season the pain just got to be too much. I still worked 17 regular season games. I was happy when the season ended. I then got a call to work a quarter-final playoff game. Being selected to work a playoff game is an honor. I couldn't turn it down.
Part 3: Television
This season I worked three games that were televised locally. I also worked one game that was nationally televised. This is a record for me. I hate to say this, but my fortunes as an official have greatly improved since I lost 80 pounds. The notion is that coaches are used to dealing with very fit players and respond better to fit officials.
The guy in the stripes is me. This was a televised game. I work at the umpire position a lot. This means most plays come straight at me! I was clobbered twice during this game. This game was played on September 16th. My foot and my calf still hurt like heck!
Part 4: The Princess Half Marathon - Pink Tutus
Background: My wife’s cousin Anne invited my wife to run the Disney Princess half marathon on Sunday, February 26, 2012. My wife, Annette, is a serious high-altitude mountain runner. Annette accepted Anne’s invitation. Anne planned a big event with several of her friends. Anne and her friends have come up with costumes that include pink tutus and “team” shirts. Annette is really fussy about her running outfits and is aghast that she is expected to wear a tutu. Anne is my wife’s best friend. Annette really wants to see how fast she can run at sea level. Annette also knows that when the race starts she is going to run!
Anne came to visit a before Thanksgiving. Annette took Anne to the top of Kenosha pass to train on the Colorado Trail. The elevation is over 10,000 feet. Anne told me she ran about ¼ of a mile and was completely out of breath. She loved the scenery. Anne is also asthmatic. She has terrible episodes triggered by her allergies where she lives in Florida. She was pleased that at high elevation in Colorado she had no asthma attacks whatsoever. There is far less plant life at 10,000 feet and what little there is was dormant . Anne wants to move to Colorado. She said she would gladly trade her asthma for cold, snow, wind, rocks and thin air.
Part 5: Who is That Speedy Woman?
Annette is getting ready for her Princess Half Marathon. I came home one day and found her running in place tethered to a post by a monster resistance band. She had a chair in front of her with her laptop playing some exercise DVD. I think the DVD is either Kenpo or P90X. She also does yoga and lifts weights.
She also runs. Her minimum workout run is 5 miles. She mostly runs 10 miles. About a month ago, I was coming home from work and I saw this woman blazing down the road. It took me a while to realize it was my wife! Annette has always been a good solid distance runner. Her nickname is Putt-Putt because she always kept a nice even pace. When she got home I asked how far she ran. She told me she had run a little over 8 miles. I asked her how long it took her to run the 8 miles. She looked at the clock and said, “A little less than an hour.” That meant she had run better than a 7:30 minute per mile pace for 8 miles at 9,000 feet of elevation over hilly terrain in freezing temperatures! She also told me that when I drove past her she had decided to sprint the last ½ mile. I guess we can’t caller her Putt-Putt any longer! She told me later that she had dropped 7 pounds! And she wasn’t heavy in the first place.
Part 6: Still Gimping Around
While Annette is getting leaner and faster, I feel I am getting softer. My darn left foot is healing so slowly. The last time I went running was on December 11th, 2011. I only ran 2.5 miles. Even though my pace was a gentle 12 minutes per mile, my foot could not take the pounding. Fortunately, I have not gained weight but I feel spongy. Right now it is very cold and icy outside. I can put on my boots with Yaktrax and go walking with my Beagle, Lucas. That is all about the exercise I can handle right now.
Thanks for reading my blog.
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Part 1: A Little History
I tore my right calf muscle during the Leadville 10K on August 14th. This grade 3 tear happened at the beginning of the race. I ran the 6.22 mile race stopping nine times when I couldn't stand the pain. I finished the race in 1 hour and 12 minutes. After the race I could barely walk.
Part 2: Six Weeks Later
My right calf is still swollen and still hurts a bit. My calf is healed enough that I can run in short bursts. I managed to run 1.10 miles in about 10 minutes and even sprinted the last 200 yards at 6:15 minute/mile pace. I couldn't stand to go much over a mile. But I was happy I could go a mile!
Then I hurt myself again.
Two a weeks ago, I was flying down the stairs to answer my work phone. My right calf gave out and I "surfed" the last four stair with my left foot. I hit the ceramic tile at the bottom of the stairs really hard. My left foot exploded in pain! I think I broke my foot. I hope just bruised it. Whatever I did to it, my left foot hurts really badly when I run.
Why am I running?
Part 3: Football Referee - The Guy You Love To Hate - That's ME!
I started officiating high school football 12 years ago and have worked over 400 games. This season, due to my injured calf, I have cut back to only 21 games.
I have to work these 21 games. There is a huge shortage of officials and there are no substitutes. When I started officiating, my "rookie" class had 29 new officials. Now, 12 years later there are 4 of us left. That means the attrition rate is 86 percent! Only 14 out of 100 officials stick with it.
I am hurt. But if I am not on the field, there will be a great big hole where I am supposed to be. I can't even take an Advil. I need a clear head.
Why is there a shortage of officials? I can just speak for myself. First, the modest game fees that I am paid do not cover my expenses. It costs me about $1,000 every year out of my pocket. I have to buy all my own uniforms and equipment. I wear out shoes very quickly. A new pair of officials turf shoes costs over $150. Association dues are $125 a year. I spend a ton of money attending off-season training clinics. Driving to the games burns a lot of expensive gas. What do I get for my $12,000 investment? I will tell you:
(1) I have been spit on by fans.
(2) A coach ran up to me during a game and screamed in my face that a seriously injured player lying on the ground was my fault. I know the coach was upset but his tirade still hurt.
(3) I have lost track of the number of police escorts I have had while leaving a stadium.
(4) Coaches scream and holler at me. I have to answer in a calm talking voice.
(5) Players and coaches make lots of mistakes. If I make a mistake, just one, I am labeled by fans and coaches as a horrible human being and a lousy official. I have been told so on many occasions.
(6) I have been "booed" by 10,000 people simultaneously for making a good call they didn't like.
(7) I have to break up fights like this one:
This is a photo from the Denver Post. I was the referee for this game. I am not in the picture. I am intercepting six players that wanted to join the brawl. The guy throwing the flag is my back judge, Tim. Tim is 6'1". The official in the middle of the battle is my umpire, Scott. Scott is 6'7". Comparing the size of the players with Tim and Scott should give you an idea how big these players are. Breaking up fights like this is strenuous. I noticed that SparkPeople doesn't list an exercise that includes jumping between battling football players and pushing them apart.
(8) Coaches holler for flags to be thrown on the opposing team. Coaches have fits when their team gets a flag. They say things like "They are holding my linebacker! That is right in front of you! Can't you see that!" I have a lot of forbearance and rarely throw a flag on the coach for this behaviour. But as all of you know, coaches that make such comments are in violation of Rule 9, Section 8, Article 1 items b, c and d. This rule states that a coach shall not (b) disrespectfully address an official, (c) attempt to influence an officials decision or (d)indicate objections about an officials decision. The comment, "They are holding my linebacker! That is right in front of you! Can't you see that!" Is actually two unsportsmanlike fouls, which is a 30 yard penalty and results in the ejection of the coach for two games. Since almost all coaches have a very tenuous grasp on the rules, they have no idea that I can toss them out of the game. In 400 games, I have never ejected an abusive coach.
There is always a first time.
Working games with a torn calf and a broken foot, my forbearance is getting thin. The next coach that questions my integrity, judgement or eyesight is history!
I work these games for the players. There were officials working games for me when I was player. There were officials working games for my sons when they played. It is called "paying it forward".
Even hurt, I am not slow. Yesterday at a Junior Varsity game, I raced the Umpire down the field at the change of the third quarter. We had to run 98 yards to reset the ball. My Umpire had a slender athletic build. He was also 30 years younger and 30 pounds lighter than me. I beat him by 4 yards! Surprised us both!
Thanks for reading my blog.
Tuesday, September 06, 2011
Part 1: Background
A few days ago, I blogged about my wife's cousin Anne's invitation to my wife to run the Princess 1/2 Marathon at Walt Disney World® this February. Anne wants Annette to participate in the Princess Half with Anne and a bunch of Anne's girl buddies. Annette has some trepidation about Anne's expectations. Anne and her friends are neophyte runners. Annette is an experienced runner with many races including Half and Full Marathons.
Part 2: A Tutu and Pink Shirt - The Plot Thickens!
Anne called Annette last night and was all excited. Anne and her girl buddies had a brainstorm. They plan to have personalized pink t-shirts made. They also decided they l will all wear pink tutus! When Anne was the phone she gushed, "Isn't that a great idea?" I heard Annette say. "Well, it will certainly be unique." Anne took Annette's comment to mean, "Yes, what a great idea!" I personally know that when Annette uses the word "unique", she really means, "No way in the world!"
This is a photo I found of pink shirts and tutus. This is not Anne nor Annette!
Annette comes downstairs to talk to me. She is distressed, "I am not wearing a tutu! Maybe the shirt but not a costume!" Neither Annette or I have ever run a race where runners wear costumes. Annette is a mountain racer. Mountain racers are fun and easy-going. But they are serious runners.
These are mountain runners. Do they look serous?
More mountain runners. Please note that these women are not wearing tutus!
Annette has the things she likes to wear. I cannot picture her in a tutu.
Annette prefers a V-Neck top.
She will wear a tank sometimes.
Her favorite bottoms are Capris
She also likes low-rise fitted shorts. Annette wears a 2 or 4.
She also will wear low-rise loose mesh shorts sometimes.
Annette has not done any low-altitude races. She really wants to train hard and see what she can do. It would take supreme self-control for her to put on a tutu. She has that kind of self-control. I just wonder if Annette would let Anne take photos her in a tutu. Annette won't let me take photos of her when she is in her normal running outfits. She is very camera shy.
I cannot see Annette in a tutu. She said she may start the race in a tutu and accidentally lose it along the way. A tutu makes sense for Anne. Anne is a dancer. Annette is a runner. This is getting interesting!
Saturday, September 03, 2011
Part 1: September 1st, 2011, 7:35 AM CDT Minneapolis/Saint Paul airport
I have been traveling on business this week. Traveling is fattening. Trying to eat well, while traveling with portly colleagues, is a bit more challenging than I would like to admit. I have to keep secret that I try to squeeze in a workout by getting up at 5:30AM. My traveling companions often ask, “You did what?”
I am sitting at a gate area waiting for my flight to Denver. A lady just nearly ran over my feet with her rolling suitcase. Everybody is starting to queue up at the gate. It is 7:40 am on September 1st, 2011. The flight is allegedly leaving at 8:11 am. I suppose traveling is stressful. But there seems to be a lot of nervous people here. I don’t think I am going to miss the plane. Getting overhead bin space for the 8,257 carry-on bags is going to be a challenge. I have a small carry-on garment bag and my laptop case. But if I have to gate-check my garment bag the world will not end. Well, I don’t think so.
I gotta go. They just called my row. I need to hit the men’s room before I get on the sardine can with wings. More later.
Part 2: September 1st, 2011, 9:20AM CDT - Cruising between Minnesota and Colorado in Clear Air Turbulence
I am on the plane with my carry-on stored above my head. Mon Capitan had mentioned prior to takeoff that when we hear the ‘ding-ding” we can turn-on “approved” portable electronic devices. I didn’t hear the “ding-ding” but I turned on my laptop anyway. I can just hear Mon Capitan calling air traffic control, “May Day! May Day! Passenger in 26A just turned on his laptop computer! We are going down! I repeat - we are going down!”
Part 3: Princess Half Marathon, Walt Disney World®, Sunday, February 26, 2012, Lake Buena Vista, FL
My wife is running the Princess Half Marathon on February 26th, 2012 at Disney World in Orlando Florida. Her cousin, Anne, invited Annette to run the race. Anne lives in Florida. Annette goes down to Florida to visit her cousin frequently. Anne is coming to Colorado for Thanksgiving. Anne and Annette are more than cousins - they are best friends. Anne has several friends and co-workers that are also going to run the Princess half.
When Anne asked Annette to run the race, Annette automatically said “yes” before she gave it any thought. Anne is going through a horribly messy divorce and wants to focus on something to take her mind off her personal turmoil. Annette has supported Anne through this dark time. Anne decided that training for a half marathon would be just the ticket to get her mind off her troubles. Anne has never run a race before. Anne’s friends and co-workers have never run a race - ever!
Here is the big issue. My wife is a lean and mean running machine! She is an experienced runner with many 5K, 10K, half-marathons and full marathons under her belt. She is fast! She generally places near the top of her age group.
Can you see what is coming?
When Annette told me about the race, I calmly, but inwardly cringing, mentioned, “You know, Anne is going to expect all her girl buddies will stay together in one happy little group during the race.” I cringed because I knew what was coming. Annette shot back, “Ain’t gonna happen! I plan to run! I got one gear and am going to use it!” Annette’s “gear” is her natural pace, which happens to be pretty fast.
Anne sent a training program to Annette. Annette showed the training program to me. First, the program looks like a 5K training regime to me. The mileage per week is between 9 and 12 miles. There is no training run that even comes close to 13.1 miles. Even a “beginner” 13.1 training program has weekly mileage in 20 to 25 miles per week range. Anne is going to follow this low-mileage plan. She will likely do a walk-run strategy, which is great. Annette is going to blast off the starting line like she is shot out of a cannon.
Annette plans to kick off her training with a run up Webster pass to the top of Red Cone. This run starts at 8,400 feet of elevation and tops out at 12,470 feet. This is an out-and-back run of 22 miles. She can drive up the pass and shorten the distance. She may ride her bike part way. Lock her bike to a tree and run the rest of the way. For Annette a half marathon is an eye-blink!
Here is part of the Webster Pass Trail called Handcart Gulch. It would be advisable not to trip.
Annette is a mountain runner. The Princess half is at sea level. She is thinking of taking our daughter, Katie, to Florida. Katie has blazing speed and was a competitive runner in college. I am thinking that Annette’s cousin is going to be hugely disappointed.
This is the top of Red Cone. Is this the way that everyone trains for the Princess half?
Monday, August 29, 2011
Part 1: Keep Going Until it Hurts
I am slowly starting the long process of rehabbing the injuries I got during the Leadville 10K Trail race on August 14th . My doctor and physical therapist told me I can do low-impact exercise. They warned me to stop doing any exercise that causes pain.
The Genie is out of the bottle. There is nothing that is fun that hurts so badly I have to stop!
Part 2: First Photos of Injuries
Warning: The following photos could be pretty gross!
I think I am starting to get a good inventory of my wounds. This morning I just realized I have a sprained right ankle. I remember during the race that I stepped on rock with my right foot. I was having trouble getting my right leg to cooperate since my calf was torn to shreds. I rolled the ankle sideways and barely stayed on my feet. I didn't notice my ankle was hurt because my calf hurt so darn much. As I start my rehab I have a lot to do. Here are my injuries:
Grade 3 Right Calf Strain
Grade 1 Right Hamstring Pull
Right Ankle Sprain
Right Glute Strain
Left Glute Strain
Right Shoulder Strain (caused by fall during the race)
Right and Left IT Band Syndrome
Attitude is shot
I do have some good parts still:
My left arm is fine. Both quads are good. My knees are OK. My back doesn't hurt too badly. I have all my teeth. My heart and lungs are good. All my bones are intact.
See, I have basis to build on!
I finally had the heart to take a few photos of my owies. The following images don't quite capture the vivid black, blue and green colors of my banged up body. You can use your imagination. I am going to start with the most gruesome photo.
There is a little knob on the inside of my calf. The muscle is ripped above and below that knob. The big dent in my upper calf is a deep muscle tear. The muscle fibers have ripped apart leaving the black and blue dent.
Although the upper calf tear looks bad, the more serious tear is below the little knob. The tear below the knob runs across the muscle fibers. The knob is actually a ball of loose muscle tissue. The upper tear is more lateral. The lower tear is traversal. The traversal tear may not heal on it's own. I have quite a bit of bruising on my lower leg. One or both of these tears may need surgery. The swelling had to go down to clearly see these injuries. I really had no idea I was hurt this badly!
There was damage to both sides of my calf. This bruising is on the outside of my right calf. The tears are on the inside.
The photo is blurry but shows the color of the bruises very well.
I have some bruising from my hamstring strain. There is also a bruise behind my knee but is hard to see in this photo. These bruises are blood that pooled from the hamsting damage.
My hamstring is healing fairly quickly. The bruises are fading after two weeks. There may be a remote possibility that running 6.22 miles on a badly injured calf was not such a hot idea!
Part 3: If it don't hurt - you ain't trying hard enough!
(Note: This statement is contrary to what I have read on SparkPeople.)
I have a rehab program that I am following. I did 10 easy minutes on my elliptical and did my stretching routine. This stretching is mostly aimed at my hamstrings, glutes and IT bands. After all this stretching, I felt pretty good. I decided to take a gentle bike ride. It would have been better if I could ride on something flat and paved. Unfortunately, everything here is dirt and hills. I decided that Stumpy is too radical for rehab. I grabbed my tamer Giant Boulder SE to have some fun. And, no, I didn't hurt myself.
Big Red has an aluminum alloy frame and 21 speeds. The bike is geared strangely. There is a great big hole between low gear and 2nd gear on the rear sprocket. Often you have to downshift the front sprocket before upshifting to second on the rear sprocket.
Here I am climbing hill at 15 mph. Big Red isn't slow. But Stumpy is a lot more aggressive. Big Red cost me $360. Stumpy cost $2,000.
Although it is tough to see, the speedometer shows 32 mph. I took this photo with one hand while moving pretty well. I wanted to capture the cool feeling of speed on a mountain bike.
I think this is a good shot. Big Red is flying at 36 mph. Big Red tops out at 40 mph. Big Red is classified as a "recreational" bike.
The scenery is nice and it felt good to be moving again.
These are really nice trout ponds. These lakes used to be a source of ice. Many years ago, Maddox ice company would cut ice off these lakes.
I stopped by a waxberry bush and harvested a few berries. The waxberry bush is aromatic and smells great. The berries are edible and have a sweet waxy flavor.
Deer and bears like these berries. These berries are sometimes called candlelberries. I noticed that SparkPeople does not have nutritional information for waxberries.
I rode my bike 7 miles in 30 minutes. This is not setting the world on fire but it felt good. After I got home I did some crunches and reverse crunches. I also did curls and bench press. I did some therapy band exercises and a lot more stretching. When I got done, I iced my calf.
Thanks for reading my blog.
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