Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Rewind

I don't care if it's cliche to do an end-of-the-year post. I like setting goals for the year, and I like seeing how I did with my goals from the year before. So, if you don't like reading these types of things, I apologize for exposing you to another ego-centric, westernized, tired blog post.

After hitting all my goals for 2011, I thought I'd set some tougher goals for 2012 to keep me from getting too full of myself. Mission accomplished (at least on the setting harder goals front--I might still be too full of myself).

I made 12 goals for 2012, and here's how they came out:

1. Write some different kinds of blog posts.
Though this goal was vague, it was just specific enough for me to meet. While most of my blog entries were pretty similar to those of the past (race reports, medical issues, etc.), I did manage to throw a recipe in there, a prayer, and a week long log of my first 100 mile week.

2. Pace Laura during her next PR-setting marathon.
Done and done. It was fun running with Laura for 26.2 miles--even with her swearing at me for most of the last three miles.

3. Get some misguided company to give me free stuff to review on my blog.
Mizuno won the misguided company award. I really need to review the pair of Wave Ronins they sent me.

4. Break 4:50 in the mile.

Here's my first failure. I missed 4:50 on three different tries. My best mile came in January at the Meet of the Miles where I ran a 4:51.

5. Break 16:45 in the 5k.

This one I got. The Med City 5k was one of those rare races when everything clicked. I came in at 16:17.

6. Break 1:20 in the 1/2 marathon.
I made this one too, clocking a 1:16 at Gopher to Badger.

7. Run over 2500 miles.
Ugh. I ran even less than 2011. Even with a 100 mile week, I only made it to 2,264 miles. Breaking my leg on November 7th didn't help--I haven't run since.

8. Finish a triathlon without drowning or falling off the bike.
Success! Though I was pretty worried about drowning, I managed to finish the Rochesterfest Triathlon without having to be resuscitated.

9. Learn more about running.
Another vague goal that I believe I met. While I was a clinic instructor at The Running Room, I learned a lot about running just from the questions the runners asked. I didn't read as much this year, but I got to listen to a lot of other runners, including a physical therapist at the Running Room Clinic, and another physical therapist after breaking my leg.

10. Make it a whole year without kidney stone removal surgery.
Thankfully I made it for this one--after the kidney stone of 2011, this may have been the goal I'm happiest about reaching.

11. Break 34:45 in the 10k.

Nope. It's hard to PR in the 10k without running a 10k.

12. Turn 30 and run 30k.
Yes. Another successful birthday run.

That does it for 2012. By my count, I was 9 for 12 in the goal department--a solid 75%. If you're looking to suffer through 2013 goals post, stay tuned.

Happy Running!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

I'm Published!

I'm pretty sure they publish anything, but I've got an article in the current issue of "Run Minnesota."


You can read my article here:

I especially like the graphics they picked to go with it. For the record, the fitness model pictured next to my article is completely unfamiliar to me.

In other news, I am no longer teaching at Quest Academy, so the next time I have an article in "Run Minnesota" it's going to say I work at Paideia Academy. The school is closer to my house, and the job should offer me a little more time to focus on grad school and write more blog posts. I'm also pretty pumped to be able to ride my bike to work (when the weather is better).

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Basketball Jones

After my last marathon, I decided it was time to get a little more balance in my life. Play some basketball, focus on my career a little bit, and not obsess so much about logging miles on the road and treadmill. Life has a funny way of giving us what we ask for--I think God has a sense of humor.

Image Credit
Two days after I turned 30, I went to the YMCA for my morning workout. I was sick of swimming, so I decided to embarrass myself at a pickup game of basketball. I walked up the stairs to the gym of the Edina YMCA and asked the cake-eaters if I could join their game. They said I could, but after I told them I hadn't played basketball in two years, one of the resident gym rats told me, "then don't shoot."

Great, I thought to myself, day one of basketball, and I'm back in 11th grade ,where the point guard puts up 40 shots and hits 13 of them, but if I go in and miss one shot, I'm back on the bench.

So did what I did in high school: I kept my mouth shut and started playing. My ball handling skills were gone, my shot was iffy, but I still had decent court vision, and I still knew how to get rebounds and pass. By the third game, I was finding my stride. I stole a pass and took off down the floor for a layup. I went up to the hoop, rolled the ball off my finger tips and onto the glass.

Before I could brace myself for a soft landing, I felt a body impact me. My vestibule sense was thrown off-kilter, and I headed down to the ground. My left leg straightened in front of me, and when I hit the ground I felt a jolt in my knee. I rolled to the ground, holding my knee.

"Sorry, sorry," the player who fouled me said. He was in his late 30s or early 40s, and was quick enough to have caught me from behind to challenge my layup. The layup had fallen through--the first shot I'd made of the morning.

"It's fine," I said. "Good hustle, you're just playing hard." So hard you knocked me over and hurt my knee to stop a layup in a pickup basketball game.

I stood up and walked around. My knee hurt, but I could walk on it. I wasn't tired enough to be done with my workout, so I jogged back and forth on the sideline to see how I felt. I felt OK, so I picked it up again. It didn't hurt too bad, so I tried making some cuts.

"OUCH!" my knee screamed. OK, I thought. It looks like cutting is out of the question.

I played a couple more games, running up and down the floor, but not playing much defense. My team let me guard someone a little slower. By the end of the second game, my knee was throbbing. I asked for ice at the front desk, and the nice lady gave me one of those instant cold packs.

The ice pack wasn't so instant, however, because no matter how many times I shook it, smacked it, or twisted it, it wouldn't get cold. I had to settle for turning on the cold shower directly onto my knee.

This blog post is getting a little to long-winded, so I'll cut to the chase. I broke my leg. Not a bone-snapping kind of break. Rather, an impaction fracture of the femur and tibia. Apparently those to bones can smack into each other if you land just right. I'm not radiologist, and I'm also terrible at MS Paint (I haven't practiced since junior high), but I did spent an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out how to label my MRI for the blog. If you cant's read it, it says, "lots of fluid," and, "Ouch! My bone!"

An MRI of my knee
On my follow-up appointment, Dr. Voigt showed me where there were itty-bitty cracks in my femur and my tibia, and a little 4mm piece of blood (or bone) hanging out in there. There was also a crap-ton of fluid in the picture, which made sense as I woke up the day after with a knee the size of a grapefruit.

Oh, and the really fun part in all of this was that Laura was out of town doing a presentation at a National Association of Early Childhood Educators Convention in Atlanta, so I stayed with our friends Brit and Jared. They were sports. Brittany was pregnant with twins, so Jared got to help us both out. It was almost as good as having Laura wait on me hand-and-foot, though Jared didn't hug me quite as much.

It's been over a month since the injury, and next week I start physical therapy. My right quadriceps muscles have atrophied 4 cm, and the doc says the bone still needs time to heal, so no running for now. It's been really cold and snowy, so I haven't gone completely crazy without running yet.

I'm guessing I might not be playing basketball when I come back. I don't seem to have good luck with ball sports.

Happy Running!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Advent Running

Although Tom Petty said, "The Wa--AI-ting in the hardest part," I actually enjoy the waiting of Advent. Although Jesus was most likely born in March or April (since the shepherds were keeping watch o'er their flocks by night), Christians decided to steal a pagan holiday and turn it into a Christian one, and just like that, BAM! Jesus gets born in the middle of winter.

 Sure, he was born in Bethlehem, so it was probably chilly that night, but it almost certainly wasn't snowing. The daytime temperature was likely in the 70s. But that's neither here nor there. The point is that Advent is a time when waiting isn't the hardest part, though I'm certain that it was hard for the world as it waited for a Savior.

Much like today, people in the Middle East were killing each other constantly. Different empires came in and took over the region of Israel, enslaved or exiled its people, suppressed their parts or all of their religion.

Over two thousand years ago, the people of Israel were waiting for a Savior. A Messiah. Someone to rescue them from Roman oppression and occupation. They had a temple, they had synagogues, but they didn't have self-governance.

So they waited for some to save them. What they thought that person looked like, I don't know. Maybe someone coming in with chariots of fire, swinging God's blazing sword, with an army of angels en tow, ready to kick out the repressive Romans rulers.

But that's not what happened. Instead, the Savior was born in a barn. The first person to visit him were the poor field hands whom no one would believe when they came to town saying they'd seen the angels and the Savior of the World, laying in a feed trough, born to a young, poor couple. People would say they were crazy, or at least drunk, and couldn't have possibly seen what they claimed.

Image Credit
That little Savior grew up. He walked the earth for around 33 years -- and he walked a lot of it. I don't know if he ran, but I do know he covered a lot of miles. He walked throughout Jerusalem, through Samaria, in Judea, through dangerous territory where many governmental and religious leaders who rather see him kill than preach and teach.

He also liked to go off by himself to pray. The Gospels often mention him going to a "quiet, solitary place" to pray. In fact, some translations say, "a lonely place.

I know he can relate to me, because he's walked these dusty, dirty, earthly roads. He sought out time to be lonely, by himself where he could pray. Part of why I run is to escape from the noise that bombards American life. So many things are calling for my attention: work,

And he did it perfectly. He knew when he needed to rest. He knew when he needed to help others. He knew how to teach while he walked, when he sat down, and in how he lived His life. People hated him because he did everything right. They tried to trap him in his words, they tried to trap him in his actions, but he didn't fall for any of it. He was always loving, always caring, and always desiring to bring people closer to God.

So they killed him. It's what we humans do. When we don't understand something, it makes us uncomfortable. And who wouldn't be uncomfortable by a guy claiming to be God?

The funny thing is, he didn't stay dead. You can disagree with me here, as this is somewhat of a leap of faith, though not as much in our modern times with all of our scientific "miracles."

So really, while the wait might be the hardest part, the wait is actually over. God sent his son, to be born on earth, to humiliate himself to our tiny little human level, to pay the price for all our mistakes. I don't understand the entire cosmic justice, but I think it's pretty neat.

Right now, I'm waiting for my leg to heal. I'll be waiting to run for at least three more weeks, but that's another story for another blog post.

Happy Advent!