Thursday, December 26, 2013

Giving Thanks

So far so good.  I’m thankful to be back.  Following my last ultra at the Pine Mountain 40 in November of 2012 (yes, November of 2012), I developed some major pains in my groin and abdomen.  It got worse through December and then it became bad enough to stop running after a Ragnar during the first week of January.  I visited doctors and physical therapists with little improvement.  I started pilates.  But I didn’t run.  I spent a lot of time researching my condition, since the doctors were at a loss (I probably had negative 5 hernia checks).  I eventually lucked upon a letsrun.com thread about some similar symptoms…similar pains, similar stories about doctors at a loss over the diagnosis.  By the way, the letsrun.com message board is a great way to waste a lot of time…its pretty much world famous.  Anyway, many of the sufferers came from different sports such as hockey, baseball, soccer, and football, in addition to running.  It was amazing that regular doctors knew so little about this fairly common issue in the sports world.  From this massive thread, I pulled out the common names for my condition - Athletic Pubalgia, Sports Hernia, Gilmore’s Groin - and figured out that there were only a handful of doctors around the world that were experts at dealing with the issue.  Some fixed the tendon and muscular tears with patches and some with sutures.  After pouring through the internet and working through multiple medical papers and putting in calls to my insurance, I eventually settled on getting surgery by one of the foremost doctors for Athletic Pubalgia, Dr. Meyers in Philadelphia.  After months of no running and trying non-invasive rehabilitation with no progress, the decision became pretty easy, even at a cost to me of over $10k!  (I even visited a local surgeon who only did the patch repair for much cheaper, but in the end I figured it would be…well…just a patch.)  I also had my doctor here in Atlanta, who I was feeding research papers to, and he was very encouraging about my decisions.  

Anyway, I scheduled the appointment for the end of April and Allison and I flew to Philly for the surgery.  Dr. Meyers confirmed the bilateral tears through his specialized MRI on that Monday and then I went under the knife on Tuesday.  He had an assembly line going with athletes who had flown in from all over the country for this surgery!  He also had signed memorabilia from professional athletes all over his office who had had the surgery.  The Steelers linebacker was in the office when I was in there.  This helped confirm that I had made a good decision.  So he fixed up my abdominal wall, pubic symphasis (groin), and adductors and I was out that day.  Allison and I actually had a great time in Philly since we stayed downtown sans kids.  It was actually turned out to be a destination surgery for us.  

Fast forward to Thanksgiving.  Rehab and running has been going well.  I’ve been so thankful to be getting out into the woods and the city again.  We spent Thanksgiving with my family in Santa Rosa Beach Florida and on the anniversary of my last ultra, I signed up for my next ultra back….the Harbison 50k outside of Columbia, SC!  Thanksgiving was a blast…we went to the beach, did science experiments, played poker, hit up the Goodwill and record store, drank too much beer, watched the epic Auburn Alabama game (both my parents graduated from Auburn), walked through the swamp around my parents house on a starlit night, and cooked and ate the entire time.  On top of it all, I discovered some amazing long trails just outside of our door (Point Washington State Forest) that changed my mind about trail running in Florida.  It really doesn’t get much better than that.  If anyone has any questions about my experience with the core injury, feel free to email me…I have tons of information!

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

For Boston

This tragedy has hit pretty close to home for me.  I ran the Boston Marathon in 2004, but more importantly I, like so many others, know what its like to come to that finish line after pouring your heart and soul out for 26.2 miles.  And in that state, for some reason, you become emotional and a little confused.  So after watching those videos of the blast and the runners time and time again, I've been thinking a lot about how that must have felt.  Would I have wanted to finish?  Would I have wanted to run away from the blast? Would I have run back to help the victims?  Where is my family? It amazes me that those runners were able to reconcile those questions in that state.   Even more amazing are the folks that were determined to run back and help the victims.

But I know what I would have done.  I would have immediately searched for my family in a panic.  My family are my greatest supporters who are always there for me in races.  They were at that finish line in 2004.  Often in the finish of a marathon like that you desperately want to see your family anyway, but it is very difficult to figure out where they are because of the crowds.  My heart goes out to all of the runners who had family members at the finish and what must have been panic-stricken moments with no clue whether or not their loved ones were close to the bombs.  And to those runners who were stopped and not allowed to go forward with the knowledge that bombs have just gone off in the exact area where their family and friends are supposed to be waiting to cheer them on.  I just can't imagine how difficult that would be.

To me, the heart of the tragedy is that the victims are mostly spectators.  Friends, family, and strangers who sacrifice their time to support and cheer on others trying to achieve personal goals and glory.  It is a very selfless act for a sometimes selfish sport.  I can't put into words how much my family, friends and complete strangers have helped me in accomplishing many of the things I've done in running.  I can say with certainty that the results would not have been the same without them there.  And its these people, who too often go unappreciated, that bore the brunt of the damage on monday.  While doing a very selfless act of kindness and support.  My heart goes out to them and to all of the spectators and volunteers out there that day.

Coincidentally I was in Boston for business yesterday.  So I laced up my shoes and ran down to and along Boylston street to the Marathon finish area and site of Monday's bombing.  The finish area was solemn and powerful.  And of course there were news trucks set up everywhere.  But there were also signs all over the city displaying the pride, strength and courage that has also exploded in Boston.  And with a much greater impact than the physical, cowardly, explosions on Patriots Day.  I was comforted on that run.  As continued to run around the Charles River and over to Cambridge, I was also reminded what a beautiful and unique city Boston is.  I know Boston will push through.  As for me, I only ran four miles yesterday. Because of my core injury, four miles is about all I can stand before it gets too painful.  I will also push through.  I plan to have surgery in Philadephia in about 2 weeks and will train hard to recover and overcome as well.  My injury is nothing compared to the physical and emotional damage that many are facing right now, but they have given me strength. They have also given me a new goal.  I want to go back to run Boston again in 2014.  I think we can help each other recover.

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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Wasatch Backcountry

Had one of the best days I've ever had in the mountains on Tuesday.  Matt and I hired a guide from Solitude Backtracks to do some backcountry skiing in the Wasatch.  Ski Patrol veterans Chris and Trevor showed us around all day and kept us safe.  We started the morning by strapping on avalanche beacons, getting a little avalanche training, and then heading through the Highway to Heaven Gates out of Solitude.  We had the entire Twin Lakes canyon to ourselves.  Pristine.  I enjoyed every bit…from skinning up to bombing down in untouched powder.  Again and again.  After all that work, we had earned our blue ribbons with Chris, Trevor and their avalanche dog.

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Monday, February 11, 2013

Hanlin-land

In Hanlin-land posts are always delayed by the transmogrifier inside my head.  You would think in this day and age they would post almost instantly.  Not so.  These are pics from the great month of December.  But first, I'll give a quick update on running progress.

On the running front...I'm sidelined.  I've had some groin and abdomen pain for a while and tried to run to run through while incorporating some more specific stretches, ice, and vitamin-I.  I also backed off in December.  But played around a bit, built a deck, and some built in book shelves...

I haven't run for almost all of January trying to figure this thing out.  I have been going to PT and doing all of the stretches and started some dry needling.  But I don't think I've responded well so I'm starting to get concerned that it is a sports hernia.  So the new Jason has been sitting on the couch, getting phat, drinking beer, and playing video games...Zelda on the Wii.  I've discovered that Zelda is much easier with the help of the interwebs than it was back in nineteen-of-eighty-nine.  I think I might save Princess Zelda this time.  The side effects of the new Jason have been grumpiness according to Allison.  I miss running.  Allison on the other hand is all wrapped around the crossfit axle...so it's great to see her getting happy and fit.

Holiday lights...
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Sk8 or die at ol' 4th ward (the little kids luv my Simms Kamekazee)...

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Early turns at Crystal Mountain WA...

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Last hurrah in Tacoma...

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Christmas says homemade hovercraft, oyster-fest, friends, family, and shootin'...

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NYE bum-fire...

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Dusting at the cabin...

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