Me and Dzangel

Me and Dzangel
RMC 5K 2007

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

No surgery is good news? Right? I hope!

Well, I see it been a while since I have posted. Time for the inevitably long winded update. I hope it's not too blustery!
I'll start out by saying my cycling and running season didn't go quite as expected. I healed well from my hernia surgery. Glad that's behind me. I made the decision to put off any surgery on my aching and decrepit hip until fall. So, now that fall is here.....
I had a follow up with my friendly and helpful orthopedic specialist a couple weeks ago. I was to the point where it was starting to become a bit more of an issue. Waking me up at night, aching more throughout the day. He scheduled another MRI to see what changes, if any, occurred since January. There seemed to be some concern with being able to reattach my labrum due to another hip issue. The results were in and - drum roll please - they weren't what I expected. No surgery! Now, this isn't because I had miraculously healed myself in the preceding months. Apparently if that was the case, I'd be some kind of medical anomaly. No such luck. It seems there is a small cyst on my hip. Right where the labrum would be reattached. And drilling and reattaching there would be like drilling in to a cave. It seems there is nothing there due to some arthritis and erosion from joint fluid passing through the weak spot. Now remember, I am not a medical professional. Pretty sure I don't even sound like one. Just attempting to reiterate what I was told. The doctor told me he couldn't operate on me in good conscience. It most likely wouldn't improve things. I would probably be back in six months asking him why he put me through all the pain, rehab, surgery and down time for no noticeable improvement. 
So, again, not sure this was what I expected. I had built myself up to the expectation of surgery, rehab, maybe six months of limited activity and a slow build up to get back to normal. Whatever that might be.
Am I relieved? To be honest, a little bit. I know I'm not a good patient and I'm not very patient. I know rehab would have been a pain and I'd probably have been tempted to push a little more than was wise. I didn't look forward to a relatively inactive down time. But I was prepared to do what was necessary.
Now what. Work on my flexibility. Strengthen the core as much as possible. Add some strength through weigh work (high reps and lighter weights). Add some yoga. Modify my activities to what my body can handle. Learn my limits. It might mean cutting way back on the running but that hasn't been determined yet. Cortisone shot(s) are an option if needed, but I'm holding out on that. Maybe come spring/summer when it's time to start pushing and ignoring those limits.
One thing for certain is that I'm not down for the count. Not even close. Maybe instead of trying to get what little speed I had back, I need to work on my endurance.
I am looking forward to a winter on the Fatboy. I picked it up this fall and I'm having a blast. I like it enough that it could be my go to race bike. I like it enough that I sold my full suspension 29er. I just completed my first race on it and had a blast. I love how the big tires carve through the single track. It gives me an amazing sense of confidence. Now for some snow!
Well, that's where I am. As always, thanks for reading this. I appreciate any comments, suggestions and feedback.
Hope to see you on the roads and trails! Happy miles!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Back on my feet and learning to be patient

Howdy! Welcome back. Just a short update on my surgery, recovery and where things are headed. Or at least what my plan is for 2017.
I would like to say that I am back to 100% or as close as I can be after my hernia surgery. I have behaved. I have listened to family, friends and medical professionals. I am the first to admit I'm not a very good patient, or very patient. Just my nature. But I honestly was as close to a model patient as I could be.
Once I was cleared to get back to my normal routine, I did. But slowly. Really. Slowly. I started ramping up the running miles. I did some short and easy running the end of February/beginning of March. I upped the miles the middle of March and last week (March 20-26) I managed just over 38 miles in 6 days. I felt good. Not great. And I expected that. I've been trying to get in some stretching after every outing to keep some flexibility in my back and hips. But honestly, most of the pain I had been feeling is gone. My back still aches, but that isn't going away. I can deal with that. The running has been almost entirely pain free. No bulging, protruding area in my groin!!! I think that was a big part of my problem. I guess running with part of your guts poking through isn't such a smart move. Who knew? The incision area where the mesh was put in is a little annoying. Other than a small hard spot at the site there is no pain. Yee-freaking-haw!! I haven't headed back to the gym and the weights yet, but I'll work that in slowly. Biking hasn't been a bother either. I did some hard efforts on the trainer over the last few weeks with no discomfort or bother.
I was cleared to return to work on March 6 with some weight limitations and was back to 100% one month after surgery on March 17.
So now what? I'm planning on putting of the hip surgery for the present time. The pain that I was having is mostly gone. Every now and then it rears it's ugly head but that's my fault. I need to be patient and learn when to say when. I'm slowly adding running miles. The speed/pace isn't there yet and maybe it won't come back to what it was. I guess I'm okay with that. I'm not a kid anymore and I never was fast. I prefer long slow miles. Hmmm.....maybe a 50K this summer? I'd like to do a few longer bike events also. Wausau 12 hour solo single speed is on the agenda. We'll see how the summer plays out. I'd like to do Race the Lake again. Maybe on the trusty old steel Trek, just for fun?
So, I guess nothing is really written in stone. I'm going to take it day by day. I'm being as patient as I can and realizing I didn't lose certain areas of fitness overnight and won't get it back tomorrow. I'll bite the bullet and register for something soon, just for some good old motivation and fear to keep me honest.
Okay, that's enough for now. Thanks for reading and following along. I'll be back soon. Hopefully with some concrete goals and plans.

Monday, February 20, 2017

2017! Deja vu all over again!! Wait, maybe not!

Wow! It has been a really long hiatus since my last rambling. As usual, I'll try to keep this short and to the point, but you never know when a shiny object will appear and divert my attention. 😀
2016 certainly didn't pan out as I had expected. In the beginning I had big plans. More ultra trail runs. I would learn from my previous efforts and put that to good use. I was hoping to move up a notch in Marathon Maniacs. In my mind I was ready to put my head down and push through and get some good results. Well.......that didn't happen. If you follow along you know the only ultra result I had was a Did Not Start. Running pretty much went downhill from there. On a positive note, I had a great year on the bike(s). More miles than I've had in years. Good miles. Fun miles. Solo miles. Group miles. Road miles. Trail miles. A few races with mixed results. But towards the end of the year even that was starting to hurt.
So it's back to those damned aching hips. I've tried therapy, exercise, cortisone and steroid shots. More x-rays and even a couple MRIs. And the result is-drum roll please- We interrupt your reading of this for an important update- not what I had originally planned on writing about here. I originally started this entry a couple of weeks ago. After the MRI and a discussion with the surgeon, surgery to reshape my right hip and repair a torn labrum was the plan. I was ready to write this summer off to rest, rehabilitation and getting healthy again. 
While I was at the doctors office discussing my options I mentioned another little issue that had been bothering me for "a while". I had a bit of a bulge in my right groin area. It wasn't always there. I could push on it and it would disappear. At the beginning it would be a non-issue for weeks. No pain. Not really a bother at all. Then it started becoming a more frequent issue. It really seemed to affect my running. It wasn't much of an issue on the bike, but I usually knew it was there. Towards the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017 it was becoming more....bothersome, shall we say. A couple more appointments and I was the proud father of a inguinal hernia. What next?? Really??
The orthopedist I was seeing wanted this taken care of before dealing with my hip.
So I'm sitting on the couch with my laptop and an ice pack writing this while recovering from surgery to repair the previously mentioned hernia.  I had surgery on February 17. According to the doctor it went well. I had mesh implanted to repair the hernia. I was up and walking the same afternoon. Sore, but moving. I've managed a good walk the three days since surgery. I would like to add that they were walks on February days with sunshine and temperatures nearing 60°F. I know I couldn't run or ride, but c'mon Mother Nature, really!? I've tried to be a good patient and listen to Tammy and the rest of my family as they threaten me with even greater bodily harm if I do anything stupid. I'd be interested to know what exactly that defines. In all seriousness, I am being smart and careful. I have a follow up appointment on February 28 and I'll see what I get cleared for then. Even after that I will take it slow. I'm hoping that this might even delay my hip surgery. Maybe the hernia was pushing on enough things in there that it added to the problem. Maybe even changing my running motion. I'd like to heal up and see how things feel. The orthopedist said that this isn't exactly life threatening. I guess it will come down to how much pain I'm in once I get rid of this pain. 
So, it will be a bit of rest and rehab for me yet, but not quite what I was imagining. I may yet have a decent year. I know the hip issue won't go away, and even surgery won't eliminate everything due to the fact that there is some degeneration in the joint. I am going to take this day to day and not get my hopes up but I'm crossing my fingers. I'll know more in a week. Hopefully it's good news. 
As usual, thanks for reading. I hope it isn't too boring. And if you've dealt with these issues I'd like to have some feedback!!