Wednesday, December 31, 2008

trick knee?

well, I've hit a snag in my 'training' program. my right knee is swollen. didn't notice it until after my tempo run today on the treadmill. I have a history with knee surgeries so I have to be careful.

here's the history in a nutshell: '99 - left knee ACL reconstruction, meniscus removal and repair; '04 - left knee meniscus removal (on the repaired part from '99); '06 - right knee ACL reconstruction, meniscus removal and repair.

left knee has been great since the last surgery. the right knee has been great until about 2 months ago when it inadvertently went into negative flexion during a soccer game. it has been kind of tricky since then. feeling a bit stiff after sitting in the same position, sore in the morning, extending into negative occasionally, etc. I think it just doesn't like the negative as it hadn't gone there since the surgery.

if you don't know knees, a normal knee has both positive and negative flexion. negative flexion is when you lock your knees. after a surgery like mine a person will usually be limited on their flexion capacity because of scar tissue, rehabilitation, and other factors. well, the ol' right knee hadn't been in the negative for over two years. so I'm wondering if it is getting used to it or if there is another problem. either way, it is another hit to my pride and frustrating my efforts to be a quality, competitive runner.

the reality is though that I'm only 33 and I want to be able to run, hike, bike, heck even walk later in life so I've got some evaluating to do...

Sunday, December 28, 2008

cold run

well, went back out for a run today. first since "the great sickness of '08." it was good to get out, but c-c-c-cold. about 5˚ when I left the house. it can be 5-10˚ colder on the trails at the BLM Campbell Tract where I run, so it may have been below zero while I was out.

I ran from the house to the Science Center on the road, then on trails up to the bridge at the Airstrip TH, then down the Moose Track Trail to back to the road and home. Trail conditions were good. About a 4.65m run overall that took me 53min. Jackson came and enjoyed running through the deep snow just off trail.

when I returned home Tiff snapped this pic. Kind of like old man winter...enjoy!

Monday, December 22, 2008

That Hideous Strength

just finished reading That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis. it has been 12 years since I began reading his Space Trilogy in college. I read the first two books voraciously and have read them again just recently. I had never however gotten more than a few pages into the third book though. now that I'm finished with it, I wish there were more.

you know how when you're in a good book and are enjoying it so much that you keep reading and reading, but at the same time know that if you keep reading it will end quicker? that's how it was with this book. I was really into it. C.S. Lewis has an amazing way with words. when reading his work I find my mind thinking actively more often. I dream more. I am uninterested in TV or other mindless pursuits. it is an interesting effect, I agree.

C.S. Lewis really prompts one to think about a variety of different things in his Space Trilogy: science, religion, love, Christianity, hedonism, beauty...what a great read.

I'm officially over the virus/infection I was struggling with the past 2 1/2 weeks, but have to say that it has taken the wind out of my sails in regards to running and establishing a base of fitness. that and the fact that it's 5˚ outside and has been below 15˚ all weekend. it'll happen though. I'll get back out there.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


nothing like a virus to knock you off of your not-so-well made plans. I had been getting in the zone to begin some serious base training when a virus has taken it all out of me. I was in bed yesterday from about 1130am until 10am this morning. no food was had that day. feeling better today but still working it out. the little guy is off his game too, so's Tiff. we'll all come around though. hopefully sooner than later.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

this morning

as I walk up the neighborhood hill the crunching of my studded running shoes on the icy road reverberates off the quiet unlit houses. it's relatively early and the main cross street is empty. I begin to run down the roadside path and an unfamiliar 'thump thump thump' joins in with the 'crunch crunch crunch' underfoot. I figure out it's coming from the pack on my back that contains the necessities for work: clean clothes and a laptop. could be the homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies baked with love by my wife. probably not them though, just thinking about my empty stomach. mild pain emanates from my right knee. I ignore it as that pain is a usual companion, but there is something else slowing me down: my heavy lungs. the pressure within them makes my breath labored and short. I don't know if I'll make it the 4 miles to work; I don't know if I'll make it to the corner. I stop. the vapor from my breath rises up through the 20˚ air, lit intermittently by the flashing LEDs on my headlamp. looking at my watch I realize it's only been 8 minutes since I left the house. turning around in defeat I head back for the warmth of home. 6 minutes later a shower and a hot tea ease my breathing. I'll run to work another day.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

if someone says, "I'm going to shave all my body hair" does that mean their head too?

so on friday, I went snow-board-ing at Alyeska Resort with the East High School snowboard club. what a great way to spend the day, getting paid to chaperone students while snowboarding at an amazing resort. for those who know Alyeska, high traverse opened for the first time friday and first tracks down it were bomber. shoot, even second and third and fourth runs were great. I took along a lomo fisheye lens camera and took some shots with it. the one here is probably the best one from the day...still figuring out how to best use the camera. anyway, it was a ton-o'-fun and I'm quite sore from my first day out on the slopes for the season.

to follow that up, my soccer team had a game on saturday night (at the dome) and I planned on being really wiped, but once we got playing it wasn't that bad. my body feels like it's shaping up even though it's only been a week since I've started from my baseline. we lost, but we always do. I missed wide a goal I should have scored and actually made one I shouldn't have. Dan scored a hat trick. I'm going to try to run commute to work this week, let you know how it goes.

other notes: took some random photos of snow on lightposts (will post later if worth it), manchester united played a nail biter against sunderland on saturday winning 1-0 in extra time, we got our tree put up and Tiff made it look beautiful as always, the little guy loves santa homer...

let me leave with this: is your head just another body part, or is it its own thing? like do you have a body and a head, or just a body? what prompted this question is this, if someone says, "I'm going to shave all my body hair" does that mean their head too?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

blocky may change your life

blocky came into my life today. he turned my day around. what with his sadness turning to giddyness, all by just forming a rectangle with 3 of his friends. be prepared to get silly. I know I did. what's your high score?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

photo from the weekend

just wanted to share a photo from this past weekend. the little guy and the next republican president!?

along another thoughtline, isn't it funny how you can talk to people you haven't seen in over a decade and still connect? just tonight I spoke to two buddies from college, which was now 13 years ago ...sometimes I wish I did a better job of maintaining relationships. selfishly, I've never done it because I'm lazy and so far away from most of the people I was close with. it seems like another lifetime, great friends in college that I now don't know anymore. long lost friends are always the same in that you share the same memories, but so different in that they have lived a lot of life since then...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

establishing a baseline

so today was the first time I've seriously run since competing in the Crow Pass Crossing in July. I use the term 'competing' loosely as I am typically a back of the packer; a 5:10.44 finish for 68th out of 91 men this year. anyway, I've run that 26 mile trail race twice in 3 years without any serious training other than weekly coed soccer games, mountain biking, and the occasional mountain run. other than Crow Pass, I've run the Lost Lake Run twice also, the first time in 2004 in 2:33.11, and the second time in 2007 coming off of my second ACL surgery the previous summer in 3:01.22. to say the least, I'm not fit just a glutton for punishment.

in establishing a baseline today I realized that I'm pretty soft. let me set up the run for you: 10°F, running from my house with Jackson my dog down to the BLM which is typically at least 5° colder than at my house. it ended up being a 4 mile run, about 2.5 of which was on snow packed and frozen sidewalk and the rest on slightly groomed powder and walked-on powder (12" from the weekend snows). I usually run hot so I wore socks and liners with my goretex montrails, windproof front tights, a wicking tshirt and montbell light shell jacket. a flourescent carhartt cap and glittens rounded out the ensemble. I was plenty warm. my shoes also had studs installed this afternoon for the occasion. (that's Jackson, who's also soft, in the background of the picture.) about 3/4 of a mile in I was wishing I had brought my neck gaiter as that was the only thing that was cold but by the end of the first mile, nothing was cold anymore. in fact, as I hit the groomed trail at the BLM I removed my glittens as I was heatin' up good.

my goals in this next summer in regards to running is to run Crow Pass again (in 4:30 or better), Lost Lake (I haven't ever done both in the same summer), and I'd like to run the Hope 50 miler if I feel ready for it. I plan to run the above 4 mile loop a month from now and I'll see if I'm still as soft.

as for other baselines in my life, running causes me to think after I get in the groove. my thoughts often turn to the grace of God and how little I understand such a simple concept...more on that later as my little guy (14 months old) is waking up from his afternoon nap. he's a bit sick today, sounds like Vader my wife says.


what it is?

welcome to the first day of ak worm. this blog is about many things: teaching, art, trail running, mountain biking, snowboarding, life, and figuring out how God's grace is at the center of it all. if any of this piques your interest then look around, make some posts, ask some questions. i look forward to hanging out with you.