Monday, October 22, 2007

Recovery - Day 5

I'm feeling much better today than I did over the weekend. Healing doesn't seem like a general curve towards 100% health, although that is what I expected. It is more a case of fits and starts. While I remember having sharp pain in the middle of the night, sharper than I had during the day, I also woke up feeling much better than I have since the day of the surgery. I wasn't nearly as stiff and I had no initial discomfort. Standing for a long period of time definitely aggravates the site and I feel a growing sharpness in the discomfort the longer I stand up. Sitting helps, although I don't get quite the same amount of relief as when I lie down. All things considered, though, I am pretty happy with how I am feeling. No pain meds today, drove myself to work, and I feel okay sitting at my desk.

If only work itself could improve...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Day Has Arrived

So, I had my hernia repaired this morning. Since they do hundreds of thousands of these surgeries a year, it is a fairly quick and standard operation at this point in medical history. They used to gash people open and keep them on bed rest of six weeks, but now it is a small incision and you go home once the anesthesia has worn off. Well, as soon as you feel like you can leave - I wasn't entirely sane when I got in the car. I've had general anesthesia twice now and I've thoroughly enjoyed both experiences. I do have to be careful, though, because I have no filters at all when I am coming out of it and I have said some rather off-color things. First time it happened, I talked about a character I saw on Saturday Night Live that shot diarrhea from his mouth. And, this time, I declared how I hate a guy named Randy. Randy happens to be a nurse in the NICU at the very hospital I had my hernia operation done at.

In any case, despite some apprehension going into the procedure, everything worked out great. I don't remember much, frankly. They gave me a sedative prior to wheeling me into the OR, so everything is foggy from that moment until I woke up in recovery. From what Audrey says, the doctor came out to see her within 30 minutes and said that everything went very well. So, within a period of two hours or so, I filled out all the paperwork, got prepped and wheeled into the OR, they repaired my hernia, and I recovered and got back in the car to go home. I wish everything could be so easy.

Audrey drove me around a bit, got me a coffee and a snack, picked up my prescription, and brought me back home to rest. I've spent the rest of the day just lying in my bed, basically. I am getting antsy because I'm just sitting around, but I'm doing fine otherwise. I can get out of bed and move around...very slowly. The pain isn't too bad, but there is a lot of pressure and soreness. It feels like bad constipation and a severe muscle sprain, although it is localized and I don't really feel like I have to crap at all. Interestingly, peeing has not been a problem at all. I think that a full bladder actually makes it hurt more, so I get some relief by going to the bathroom. But I expected the act of urinating to hurt and it doesn't at all. I had a few bouts of lightheadedness earlier in the day, but my last foray out of bed was just fine. I made it to the kitchen for a moment and then came back to the bedroom without any dizziness at all.

So, that was that. I'll take it easy tomorrow and Friday as well and I'll be back in the office next week. I am going to try and walk a good bit more tomorrow and hopefully get outside for a stroll on Friday or Saturday. I'd like to jog a bit late next week, but you never know. I know that some runners have gotten back on the trails within two weeks, but I am planning on it taking more like three.

Side Benefit of Running

Losing your toenails...yuck. I should take pictures of my blackened toenails and blistered feet, but nobody really wants to see that stuff. I just peeled off my second black toenail. I guess two really isn't much compared to experienced marathoners or ultramarathoners, but two lost toenails in two years in double the number of toenails I had lost prior to this. My sister once dropped a brick on my foot, which busted up my toe and I lost that nail. It took 12 years or more before I lost another one. At least I can say that losing them from running is less painful than losing them due to a brick.

Same toe on my right foot both times now. I wonder if that toe is just longer than all my other toes. Or maybe I need different shoes.

Army Ten Miler, Round 2

Ugh. So, I ran the Army Ten Miler again. I think I probably said in the past that I wouldn't, but I signed up because a friend of mine was going to run it. And, it is a good training race prior to a fall marathon. But, it is huge and its size makes it a real pain in the ass. It is a pain to get the packet, it is a pain to slog through the crowds at the expo, it is a pain to get all the silly emails from them, it is a pain to get up earlier just to secure parking, it is a pain to deal with overcrowded public transportation, it is a pain to push your way through the crowds in the starting get the picture. Add to the size of the event that the t-shirts are really rather ugly, the registration fee isn't cheap, and that the course is the same well-worn course that every race in DC seems to use. I like the idea of running over the bridges and past monuments and all that, but I've done it several times now. So, I'm not exactly looking to do it anymore. I can understand that there are probably a lot of first time racers who really look forward to seeing the sights as they run, though.

In any case, despite my complaints, I ran the race again. Last year, I ran it in 1:16:42, which is a 7:40/mi pace. That was faster than I expected at the time and I was very pleased with that effort. This year, I was hoping to crush it. I've said this before, but I did a fair amount of speedwork this year and I was hoping to see those efforts rewarded by some great PRs at this time of year. Based on my run at the PVI Runfest, I thought I had a shot at getting close to 1:13. I even thought I might have had an outside chance at breaking that. But, it all hinged on the weather and that didn't look good.

Like most people, I run way better in cooler, drier weather. Hot and humid days just aren't good because I get overheated quickly and I just can't run as fast. But, nice fall weather is a perfect fit. So, I was looking forward to the Army Ten Miler because early October should have great running weather. But it didn't happen this year. Instead, race day was forecast to go into the 80s and to have 90% humidity or higher. No good for me.

The day of the race was really uneventful. Same old story, different race. Get up early, grab some coffee, drive to race, park, and hang out. Pee, pee again, and then just wait for the race to begin. They did a wave start this year, but that ended up clogging the lines for the bathroom as the first wave got ready to go. So, when I had to go a second time around, I started looking for a tree or a bush or something. Every time I started heading towards a thicket that was already in use, some soldiers would show up and try to shoo the urinating runners away. I didn't have to go that badly, so I just held it and figured I could pee on the course if it got to be uncomfortable.

The race started and I was pacing pretty evenly. I think I ran the first half a bit fast, but I felt like I had enough energy heading into the second half to hit a time I would be happy with. Unfortunately, the heat and humidity undermined that effort. Despite starting off with a shot at a 7:15/mi pace, I kept slowing down. With just a few miles to go, I knew I wasn't going to hit my goal. Well, I would do better than I had last year, but I wasn't going to get the kind of time I really wanted. So, I just tried to run as hard as I could and let the chips fall their they might. I wish I had more to say about this race, but it just wasn't that interesting or exciting. In the end, I finished in 1:14:58. Not what I wanted, but a 7:30/mi pace on a bad day isn't so bad after all. And, any improvement is acceptable.

Afterwards, I heard a lot of reports about the slower runners finding that the water was all gone by the time they got to the aid stations. I also heard that people were jumping in the fountain in front of the Capitol building and that some folks were so desperate that they were scooping water out of garbage cans. I guess they were getting pretty desperate towards the end. While it didn't effect me, bad organization and lack of race support is just one more good reason not to run this race again.

Army Ten Miler Bib # 4150
Washington, DC
October , 2007, 8:00 am

Time: 1:14:58
Overall Place: 1233/17579
Gender Place: 1084/10078
Pace: 7:30