Thursday, June 30, 2011


I got a cortisone shot yesterday. Let me preface the remainder of this entry by saying I hate needles, which is odd because I have half my arm tattoo'd. But it's a different kind of needle - I am not a fan of anything that get's inserted*

I know people suffer worse things in life - my boy Mike went through countless tests when he had cancer, and Dom had his blood clot issue. I count my blessings everyday for my good health, but I need something to blog about, so shut up and read.

The needle that they jabbed into my side was the biggest goddamn'd needle I have ever seen in my life and this procedure was a little more complicated that I had thought. The doc warned me ahead of time that because my pain was in a tricky spot in the ribs, there was a chance, albeit slim, that the needle could hit my lung and my lung would deflate. Not particularly what I wanted to hear at the time, but nothing in life comes without some risks I guess. Fuck it. Stick me. So they drag an ultrasound machine** into the room and another doctor comes in to navigate while my docs pokes around with the needle. First, they gave me a numbing shot. Then, I feel him stick the needle in- no pain but just the odd sensation of a needle buried deep inside my muscle. He must have been in there for a good two minutes fishing around and I could feel the damn thing moving around. All the while, doc #1 is guiding doc #2 as if he's trying to parallel park a car -

"Slowly, slowly..."
"Ok a little right. Stop"
"Ok move over and try over here"

At one point doc #2 says to doc #1 - "Well there's a rib. Found it." Great, at least we got the hard part out of the job. If we can't find the rib, we got bigger problems yo***

He explained that with my injury, a cortisone shot is like a grenade **** - he throws it in there and peppers the drugs around a bit to get the greatest coverage.

So I got up this morning and ran- I figured I'll test her out and see what's doing in the ole' internals. I ran 4.9 with no pain at an average pace of about ~ 9:10. The only thing that "hurts" is the spot where he stuck the need and there's a nice bruise on the spot. I've been poked more times this week than a Chinese Hooker during the week of the Army-Navy game*****, between the shot yesterday and my tat work a few days back. And I am going in for more tat work today :)

* That's what she said
** Hey doc if you find a pair of gold cuff links in there, let me know. I've been looking for those for 2 weeks
*** Sounds like someone didnt exactly nail the basic anatomy classes in med school
**** Not sure how I feel about a doctor using the term "grenade" as a context for any type of procedure
***** Yes, I threw a chinese hooker reference in there. That's how I roll.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Crappy 5k

The Crappy 5k went off without a hitch on Sunday. This is the fourth little "impromptu" race that we've done over the past three years and they are always a blast. Everyone comes out, runs a race and then drinks and eats for the next three hours. We're doing another on the 29th of July on a Friday night which is probably going to be trouble since the day following isnt a work day. These two races also serve as training runs for the two girls that we're prepping to be full -time timers.

I ran the crappy 5k in under 25 minutes which is rather amazing. The course was a bit short and adjusted for distance, I wouldnt have broken the 25 minute mark by very much, if at all. My side felt "ok" - not great but not "I feel like someone just stabbed me" painful. It was a drastic improvement over Thursday's Rush Hour Run/ Slog.

Kinda weird considering that out of the last four runs that I've done, three have been races - The Media Five Miler, Rush Hour Run, and The Crappy 5k. Strange.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Not so good

Not so good is how I felt last night at the Rush Hour Run. Dear christ in heaven was it hot! I ran at the gym the night prior and the side started to hurt again, about a mile into the run. I had a big lunch that afternoon and I am not sure if had something to do with the onset of the pain - perhaps the half pound of roast beef from my roast beef sandwich was sitting in the gut like a lead balloon. Regardless, I had pain, so I stopped running at just under 3 miles.

I woke up yesterday to find that my side was sore which is typical with the injury. So I called the doc and I made an appointment to get the shot. Enough is enough. So Wednesday I go in.

So anyways, last night, I figured I'll go out and run as far as I can and turn around when I couldnt stand the pain - it was an out and back course on the river up in Oaks. As luck would have it, a message therapist and chiropractor setup shop right next to our timing setup, and I got a quick adjustment from one of the doctors, that actually did help the pain, although minimally.

So, adorned in full Pickle suit, I setout on the race, midpack. Within about a mile, I couldnt "settle in." I have a couple of mental tricks that I have adopted over the years. I tend to go out fast when I race - usually too fast- and in order to try and back it off, I tell myself to settle in. I liken it to road riding, when I am tucked in a pace line, and I do my pull, I have to tell myself to get comfortable with the pace- to settle in. Relax. Get everything under control. So I have adopted that mantra with just about every physical endeavor that I do - running, spin classes, etc. If I can't get settled in, I know the ship is sunk and the rest of the exercise/race is going to be a shit-show.

I'll sometimes tell myself to "stay ahead of the pain." Picture the pain, and try to ride just ahead of it, like a surfer riding a wave, managing to stay just on the crest of the wave. This concept is a it hard for me to explain relative to the settling in bit.

So, anyway, the point is that I couldnt settle in last night. About a mile in, I was hot and my stomach hurt, so I stopped - walked - cheered the runners, etc. I repeated this run/walk process for the remainder of the race. In the last mile, I had to take the suit off for a bit- I couldnt take the heat. I did manage to run the whole race, albeit slow. This was a shitty week for training. I dont think I will be able to squeeze any type of workouts in today, and tomorrow might be tough as well. I am heading down to the Philly Tri in the am to which Baggadonuts do his thing, and then I have a shitload of yard work to do in prep for the Crappy 5k at my house on Sunday.

The Crappy 5k is a small race that I am hosting at my house on Sunday morning. We're using it as a training exercise for two girls that we're prepping to be full-time timers. I have a few spots left - the entry fee is beer or a BBQ item for the post race tailgate at my crib. It will be a full scale race with our normal race setup, and I will setup a course through the hood that will be a cross between the Wife's Away 5k course and the Brookhaven Sunshine Run course. If you are interested, please let me know and I'll get your registered. I have less than a handful of spots left.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Keep it Simple Stupid

I got the results from the bone scan: negative for a stress fracture. The doc thinks its a muscle strain. I have two options: a cortisone shot, or a dextro something or other (I have it written down). The cortisone is a pain management shot. The dextro is a bit more invasive. In addition to management, the shot tears apart the muscle which then causes the muscle to heal back, in theory a bit stronger. I have to do some research. However, on the handful of runs that I have done over the past four or five days, I have had no pain, so the doc thinks its best to wait on the shot to see how I feel.

I am running the Rush Hour Run tomorrow night in Oaks. This is a great race with one great amenity that attracts alot of runners -- the post-race food. The RD gets a bunch of local gourmet restaurants to setup shop after the run. It's the est post race food spread in the area. I do alot of races as a timer, and I have run a shitload of races as a runner. Quite frankly, man cannot live on soft pretzels and bananas alone. Having some variety is always a good thing. I understand that nothing in life is free and that the RD's have to be very cost conscious with respect to race expenses, however, I always appreciate the folks who go the extra mile - some bagels with peanut butter, perhaps some tomato pie. Runners want a little bit of protein after a run, not just carbs. There are plenty of companies out there that will donate food to a good cause.

I'll be out there tomorrow in the Pickle Suit. It's gonna be another hot one- 86 degrees and a 60% chance of storms.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Odds and ends

I'm glad I didnt go out and ride this morning - it's pouring right now. I had a feeling when I woke up at 5 this morning that I should stay indoors. I ran a mile this morning at an easy pace - no pain. I jumped into a spin class right after I finished up my run with my favorite instructor, Fred. Fred plays great music and his class is hardcore from start to finish. Its unfortunate that I have to leave the classes 15 minutes early because I have to catch the train. my average wattage today was 290 watts. Last week, my average wattage was 280 watts in the same class (both measurements taken over a 30 minute time frame). I am trying to keep my cadence in moderate/big gears. I avoid alot of the standing climbs because I am a "ass in the saddle" climber and that's always something that I need to work on - climbing.

I ran on Sunday - I did the Brookhaven "short course" which is about 3.1/3.2 miles. Absolutely no pain. I was sore as an SOB though from the Media Five miler. I should get the results of my scan today or tomorrow - I am very curios to see what the results say.

Monday, June 20, 2011


I ran the Media Five Miler on Friday night, in the Pickle Suit. My intent was to run one lap of the course and then spectate, cheer, act like a jackass, etc. But I felt ok after the first lap, so I cut our one corner of the course and jumped back into the back for the 2nd lap.

I was hot. That was probably my biggest issue with the run -- the hills and being grossly out of running shape also didnt help. I stopped alot on the course - I hit all of the water stops so I could dump some water down the inside of the suit, and I drank alot of beer. I must have stopped at every damn BBQ and tailgate on the course to have a sip of this, a little sip of that... Some of the people manning some of the tailgates that I hit on the first lap had beers waiting for me on the 2nd lap. The stomach wasnt feeling so good near the end but the amazing part is that I had no side pain, which is ironic considering that I had a bone scan that same morning.

Anyway, by the time I crossed the finish line, I probably had close to a six-pack in me. A good friend, Sue, threw me a beer about 20 meters from the finish line. So now most people either know who I am - the Pickle guy from the Pickle Runs-- or some beer swilling alcoholic jackass who runs around in a green suit as a either a: cucumber/jalapeno/green bean/etc.

I forgot how great that race is - its the only race in the area that gets that kind of crowd support other than the bigger races in Philly. I wish the course wasnt so damn hilly.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Since the temp dropped, its been a bit chilly in the am, chilly enough that I am defaulting to the gym until it warms up again. I am probably the only idiot in the tri-state area that wants to the temp to rise back up into the upper 80's.

The guy who taught my spin class is one of the best instructors I've ever had, and definitely the best at my gym. He plays nothing but rock and metal throughout the class, and he's hardcore from start to finish. He doesnt do any stupid aerobics type shit on the bike, and he's got a good mix of climbs, sprints, tempo rides, etc. If I had to complain about one thing, it would be maybe the lack of enough recovery time. But that might be more of a function of my intensity relative to the rest of the class - I wont lie, and this is not to be construed as 'bragging,' but I bring my A-game to every class, and I think I am one of the hardest working, if not the hardest working m-fer in the class. I guess in theory as I adapt to the training, the recovery time should be sufficient.

I pulled an average of 278 watts for today's class over 50 minutes. That metric cannot be equated to wattage on a real bike, but it's a good metric to use to gauge my fitness. In the beginning of the year, I was averaging 220, then 250, then 260, now close to 280, and that is with me increasing my basline resistance as well. But like I said, today's class was hardcore - big ring, high cadence. I was hitting 400+ a few times. I have to check my HR monitor, but I was redlining a few times this morning.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Dead Things

I see alot of dead things on the road when I do these early morning rides. Raccoons, possums, deer. Reminds of the mortality of human life and how I could become road kill in an instant if I get tapped by a car. At least on the trails, probably the worst I could is hit a tree or loose it on a nasty downhill. I'd probably still walk away in better shape than if I were to have gotten plowed by a car that weighs close to a ton.

What I am doing cannot technically be called "training" because I am not doing any type of structured training plan - I just go out and ride. It's good and it's bad. It's good because it gives me a lot of freedom to just do whatever the hell I want, when I want. It's bad because I am probably not maximizing the time I am actually spending on the bike.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Training Upate

So as it turns out I picked up a race timing gig for the same day as the Guy's Neshaminy Race, so there goes that plan out the window. But, the Fairhill race is July 10th and I am wide open that day so I am going to throw my hat into the ring for that race. I havent been to Fairhill in ages. I cant remember the last time that I raced there. The upside to the scheduling conflict is that I will get more time to train.

The training has been going well. I feel good on the bike- comfortable; probably more comfortable that I have felt on a mountain bike in a very long time. The Jamis is amazing. It's a combination of the suspension system (which I think I finally have dialed in to where it needs to be). The thing climbs like a monster which is surprising for a full sussy that tips the scales close to 28 pounds. The suspension technology has come along way since my last "new" full suspension bike - the shock allows the rear wheel to track over everything. I have yet to loose traction on a climb and the steering is amazingly nimble for a bike with a relatively high head tube angle. The bike descends like a beast which should be expected from a full suspension bike with as much travel as thing coupled with the geometry of the bike.

I am climbing very well. I can definitely see some good progress on my fitness. I am not totally gassed at the top of many of the climbs that would take the wind out of my sails about a month ago. As a matter of fact, I have been working on keeping my power consistent through a climb and not "laying off" at the crest. Also, I am working on good gear selection and keeping my cadence high instead of burning my quads in a big ring - I am not Jan Ulrich. I dont have that kind of power. I am not fast, but quite frankly I really have not had the opportunity to do any real "speed" training. I have been doing alot of solo riding and I really dont get a chance to hammer unless I ride with others, like Lou and Dom.

Speaking of riding, I have been putting a fair amount of time on the bike. I've been going out in the morning to Darlington Woods 2-3x's a week. The rides are short because I am pressed for time, but it beats the spin classes and it gives me the opportunity to put some rubber on the trails. There's alot of things in the spin classes that dont translate well outside, namely, bike handling. Any idiot can put a spin bike on a high resistance level and crank up a hill for five minutes; it takes a special kind of idiot (like me) to crank up a hill on a twisty, rooty loose and maintain traction. In some respects I am probably getting a better cardio workout in the spin class but there's no equal to being on the trails, on your own bike, facing "real world" conditions. This morning I jumped into a spin class for the first time in 2+ weeks because I needed to do a recovery ride - high cadence/ low resistance. Otherwise, I am going to try and stick to the outside world as much as I can. This current heat wave is brutal, but that's also a big reason why I got riding at 5:40 am in the morning - much cooler.