Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I was out running my long run this weekend when I started thinking, something that I should not be allowed to do and especially not whilst running. The thoughts that started rattling around inside my head were how much I hate my long runs lately. HATE. I blame Amy Lawson for this (because it couldn’t be my fault), she mentioned on our first podcast that she always thought about how much she hated running while she was running. Anyway, I was thinking about how slow my long runs have been lately (something you’ll all be able to see when I post my December running log in a couple of days, I know you’re all eager to see it), and how much I loathe my long runs. They’ve felt like such a chore these past few weeks. Somewhere running ceased to be fun and enjoyable, and when I realized this at mile 15 of my scheduled 20 miler, I stopped. I considered what this meant for my marathon training and I didn’t care at all because there was a 90 percent chance that if I pushed on through to 20 miles I’d have quit running altogether. Forever.

So I’m heading into the taper with one 18 miler, one 16 miler and no 20 milers under my belt. It’s the perfect recipe for my first ever DNF! Or maybe, for a downgrade to the half, which is awesome because the half marathon in Phoenix is 13.1 miles less than the marathon and that sounds really appealing at this point in time. On the one hand I’m tempted to still go out and try to run the marathon because if I don’t do it now then I probably never will and no one likes a quitter. On the other hand I’m not so sure I actually want to run a marathon, which is probably not a good mindset to be taking into it.

I’ll probably end up running the full marathon anyway, but I’m guessing that you’re going to want to shield your children’s eyes from that race report.

On a lighter note, I’m off work all week which means it’s harder to keep up with all of your blogs but that will remedy itself in January when I get back to the office. When I’m at the office I have much more peace and quiet to read blogs, plus they block my access to Facebook’s Texas Hold’em game so I have nothing better to do. I hope that you are all doing well and that your runs have been more productive than mine. I’ll catch up with you all in the new year.

Friday, December 26, 2008

New Running Gear

You guys will never guess what I got for Christmas this year: New Running Gear. (Was that not clear from the title?) I got running shirts, a running hat, running gloves, I even got a some stretchy bands which means that I can join Viper’s quest to prove that Nitmos is an idiot. Is this still something that needs to be proved? I mean are there people out there who still think that the world is flat and that Nitmos might not be an idiot? Doesn’t seem likely.

I also got my final race instructions from the PF Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon, but I don’t think that was a Christmas present, I assume it was done just to freak me out a little. As of this post there are 22 days left before the marathon and I’m so underprepared I’ve probably got salmonella poisoning. Fear is a great motivator though, I haven’t skipped any of my scheduled runs this week, which is good, but I also haven’t skipped any servings of dessert or candy, which is bad. This weekend I’m supposed to run my 20 miler and I’m holding out hope that the weather will cooperate so that I can run it all outside.

Did anyone have a December to Remember? Go ahead and tell us in the comments so that we can all hate you and your hoity toity lifestyle with your Summers in the Hamptons. I hope that you choke on your beluga caviar and your Cristal champagne this New Year’s eve and don’t even get to enjoy your new Lexus into 2009.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas

This will be the last post here at Half-Fast before Christmas, so I wanted to take a few minutes away from all the sarcasm and juvenile humor and wish you all a Merry Christmas. As you all stop by here today, think of this post as a personal and meaningful Christmas wish to you and your family, kind of like that scene in Christmas Vacation where all the suits walk by Chevy Chase and he wishes each of them a Merry Christmas or something along those lines.

Thank you all for taking the time to read Half-Fast. I’ll probably have a post on Friday, (not that anyone will be around to read it) but in the meantime, run hard and stay warm in this nippley weather we’re having. I’ve no doubt that you guys are the jolliest bunch of a-holes this side of the nuthouse.

Monday, December 22, 2008

18 Miles of Misery

I woke up on Saturday morning and I was eager to get started on my long run. (Note: Only one of those things is true.) The sun was shining and I thought that it looked like the perfect weather for my first attempt at 18 miles and I was right it did look like the perfect weather for 18 miles. I flipped on the active menu on our TV to see what the temperature was and almost crawled back into bed. It gave an actual reading of 22 degrees but also proudly proclaimed that it “Feels Like 8 degrees.” As if that wasn’t enough there was also a cute little wind icon on the screen, right next to the phrase “27 mph,” and yes, I’m being facetious about the wind icon being cute. I’m still trying to figure out how to punch the wind in the face without looking like a total idiot.

Undaunted (lying again) I bundled up in my warmest running gear, donned my sunglasses and headed out the door for the first of what would be three 6 mile loops. The wind was brutal, there’s just no other way to put it. Many of the paths were still covered in ice and snow and the headwind that I was running into was brutal, did I mention that already? (I hope that you’re not sick of hearing about how much I hated the wind because that’s going to be a continuing theme in this post.)

On the upside, I was able to entertain myself by firing snot-rockets and loogies for record distances during most of the first loop. By the time I started running the second loop it was less entertaining and more of an annoyance that my nose wouldn’t stop running. I cursed my nose. I cursed the runner who had obviously run this path before me wearing YakTrax. I cursed YakTrax for not giving me a free pair to review on my blog. I cursed each and every one of you who have ever encouraged me to run a marathon. I cursed the headwind that I was running into and then chuckled when I thought ‘headwind? They should call it giving-head wind because it sucks!’ Then I cursed the wind again because my lips were so dry the chuckling cracked my lips.

I finished the second loop feeling completely sapped of strength and decided that I was done battling the wind. I headed inside and finished my final 6 miles on the treadmill and I think it’s safe to say that I’ve never loved my treadmill as much as I did on Saturday. Don’t get me wrong, I cursed the treadmill too but not nearly as much as I had been cursing the wind.

Friday, December 19, 2008

My Knee is Painfree, Slower than I Remember

The good news with my running lately is that I’ve been able to run with almost no pain in my knee, probably resulting from the 600mg of Advil coursing through my veins. The bad news is that I seem to be slower. I’m blaming the slowness on the 2 weeks that I took off from running to nurse my injury, and I’m starting to rethink what my marathon goals should be, but that’s for another, more boring post.

Due to the icy paths and sub-freezing temperatures here in Colorado recently I’ve been forced to do some of my runs on the conveyor belt of boredom, which is probably better for my knee anyway. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself as I trundle along like an unclaimed suitcase, endlessly circling the baggage claim carousel.

Thus far in my training, the furthest that I’ve run is 16 miles and while it was a good run, it’s been more than 6 weeks since I went that far. I have two more long runs before the taper starts (18 miles and 20 miles) and the forecast for this weekend is not making things easy. There’s still ice on the paths and tomorrow is going to be 21 degrees with snow flurries. I simply refuse to run 18 miles on a treadmill, you’d have to be clinically insane to try that (looking at you Kristina). A friend suggested I go to a nearby Rec Center that has an indoor track, but the track is only a tenth of a mile which means that I’d have to run 180 laps and I’ll be honest with you, I can’t count that high. Seriously, I have trouble with any kind of math while I’m running. One time I accidentally ran 11 miles instead of 10 because of a miscalculation when adding ‘distance remaining’ to ‘distance already covered.’ I’ve never hated math more than I did that day.

Anyway, the success or failure of my scheduled 18 miler this weekend will be a defining moment in my marathon training, and ‘when a defining moment comes along, you define the moment, or the moment defines you.’ That’s a movie quote folks, 5 Half-Fast bonus points in the comments for the first person who can tell me what movie it’s from. 5 Half-Fast bonus points and $1.42 will get you a gallon of gas these days. Bonus points are non-refundable, non-negotiable, have no cash value and may cause a slight itching and burning.

Only 6 shopping days left, almost time for me to get started. Enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Where It All Began?

I was recently at my parent’s house, lamenting all the cool toys that they’ve bought for my children that they never bought for me and generally being an ungrateful son when I came across a box of some of my old school work. One of the items in the box was my old ‘News Book’ where we kept a record of the things in our lives that we deemed newsworthy. I’m not sure what grade or age I was in when I wrote the entries in this book, but clearly it was sometime before they taught us punctuation or appropriate sentence length. You may catch some distinctly British phrases mixed in because I grew up in England and also, you should probably be reading it with an English accent.

It says:
June 6
In the holidays was when my daddy took me out for a 1 mile run and I went to Village day and I tried to win a football lots of times but I never did get one and I went on the merry go round and then I had a go at throwing a ball at the can and I got a key ring with a cat on it and my worst thing was when I got a pain in the neck and I got sun burnt.
Now, this brings up some interesting questions like; what on earth is Village day? Was the pain in my neck from the sunburn or in addition to it? Was this my first ever run or had we done this before? Did we run any intervals during that mile? What was the elevation profile like? How do you stretch one sentence out over 2 pages like that? Because seriously, that would have been a useful skill to have remembered in college. And finally, why the hell was I in school on June 6th? That’s practically the middle of the summer. These are all things I’d like to know. I wish I could go back in time and grab that little boy who wrote that by the collar and yell “be more specific,” while shaking him violently, because I think I’d be the better for it.

There were a number of other entries in the book that were a lot funnier than this one, but I found it interesting that I apparently started running and writing about running a long time ago. Check it, I even got a comment on it.

It’s also kind of neat that even at a young age you can see my writing style starting to develop into the complex style that I still use today on my blog and I still run just like I did in the holidays and I even ran last night on the treadmill and I didn’t want to because of the pain in my knee and then I did and soon I’m going to run a marathon and I’ll probably write about it too and I’m going to be fast and I hope that my knee doesn’t hurt and soon I will learn about punctuation and appropriate sentence length.
Exciting Podcasty Update: The new podcast is up, download it here or search for it on iTunes.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Year in Review

Christmas is almost here, which means it’s time to look back at the goals we set at the beginning of the year and see how we’ve fared. Fortunately for me I couldn’t find a goal-setting post at the beginning of the year which means that I didn’t fail to meet any of my goals, if that makes sense (it made sense in my head). Last year I wrote a year in review post talking about all that I had accomplished but this year just doesn’t have a finished feel to it, and it probably won’t until I run the marathon on January 18th. Ironically enough, it was my year in review post last year where I first mentioned that I might consider running a marathon. I really wish that someone would have stepped in and stopped me right then and there. So instead of taking the time to craft a well thought out post about this past year, here are some bullet points.

Things that I’ve done this year that you probably don’t care about:

  • Set new PRs in the 5K, 10K, and Half Marathon.
  • Participated in my first podcast.
  • Signed up for my first marathon.
  • Started the SY5K Challenge.
  • Ran a race in a Gorilla suit, a lifelong goal of mine.
  • Sought out an evil arch nemesis.
  • Found one. (Except, replace evil with annoying.) As of right now Viper has re-claimed all 4 PRs, 5K, 10K, 13.1 and 26.2 but I’ll have my sights set on several of them for next year. For those of you wondering, I will not be eating my sweaty Red Sox hat. “I’ll eat my hat,” is just an expression to convey disbelief, no one really thinks that you’re going to literally eat your hat. It’s kind of like when I tell each and every one of you to kiss my derriere, I don’t expect you to literally do it, just figuratively. I will however admit that Viper proved me wrong, he did indeed run 32 miles last week. Bravo and congratulations for putting in some marathon type training in order to reach an arbitrary mileage goal that you’ll probably still fall short of. In fact... yeah... if Viper reaches 1,000 miles for the year, I’ll eat my shorts.*

That’s about all I have the energy for right now. I’m currently in the heart of marathon training and it doesn’t feel like a good time for careful retrospection and summation, plus “careful retrospection and summation” so doesn’t sound like something that you’d expect to find here at Half-Fast anyway.

*No I won’t, because it’s just an expression.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Get to Shaving Already!

Of the 94 stubble times that have been submitted for the Shave Your 5K Challenge, I have received only 19 smooth times. Perhaps people have forgotten about the challenge, or perhaps they’ve gotten slower and are too ashamed to e-mail me their times, fearing that I will mock them mercilessly (a well placed fear if ever there was one). The good news in all of this is that the less people who submit smooth times the greater your chances are of winning! Thus far it appears that there has been some pretty impressive shaving going on and I’m sorry to say, some pretty impressive cheating going on too. I just re-checked my originally posted terms and conditions and wow, are they long. They are as lengthy as my... well... let’s just say that they’re lengthy and leave it at that shall we? Anyway, the terms and conditions do state that I have the right “to disqualify anyone who submits a stubble time that I feel is significantly slower than it should be” and I’m so glad that I put that in there because disqualifying people sounds like a total power trip and tons of fun to boot.

I’ve decided that I won’t be posting the results until after the competition ends on January 1st just to keep you in suspense. Okay, you got me, it’s mostly because I like to procrastinate and put things off to the last minute, I haven’t even bought a single Christmas present yet. Why would I? There’s still 2 more weeks left before Christmas!

That’s all I’ve got for today. Have a good weekend and enjoy this video of the Mother of the Year and her son enjoying some kind of evil amusement park ride. Or maybe it’s the mother who’s evil, not the ride. By the way laughing at this video is equivalent to punching your one way ticket to Hell, so it’s a good thing that I wasn’t laughing at the video but rather at a joke I heard the other day.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Emergency Procedures: Dance Off!

Emergency Procedures is my quest to differentiate Half-Fast from any other running blog out there. It is an ongoing feature designed to give runners the advice that no one else does, and appears on a random and inconsistent schedule despite its severe lack of popularity. Today’s topic, as you may have already guessed, is Dance Off!

I think that we can all agree that if there’s one thing Vanilla does well, it’s dancing. If there’s two things that Vanilla does well it’s dancing and talking about himself in the 3rd person like some kind of hot shot, superstar athlete. Naturally, I’ve never been worried about being challenged to a dance off while out running on the trails but that’s because I’ve got the moves to get you into the grooves, or something like that. However, it occurs to me that some of you might be terrified about the prospect of being challenged to a dance off because you don’t know how to get in to the groove or even how to shake your groove thang. Well fear not my friends, because Vanilla is here with another useful Emergency Procedures post to teach you how to win an impromptu dance off.

You’re running along, just minding your own business and enjoying your tunes when someone steps into your path Black Knight style and issues the all too familiar “None Shall Pass” edict. You’re about to be involved in a dance off... to the death! Here’s what you do:

Start out with the always popular running man. You’re probably already in your running groove and your running groove can be easily morphed into a dancing groove by starting with the running man. From there I always recommend shifting into Vanilla Ice’s Ninja Rap. “Go ninja, go ninja, go!”

Now if this kid knows what he’s doing then he’s probably going to come back at you with the Chicken Noodle Soup dance and maybe he’ll even pop and lock it, but don’t back down now. Tell him to step off, “I’m doin’ the Hump,” and bust out the Humpty Dance. Remember that the Humpty Dance is your chance to do the Hump. After that I’d reach back into your bag of tricks and give him some of the classic moves; the shopping cart, the lawnmower, and the sprinkler.

He’ll be taken aback by your prowess on the dance floor and resort to the robot and maybe even *NSYNC’s Bye Bye Bye puppet dance, which is a good point but that’s when you hit him up with MC Hammer’s U Can’t Touch This and Too Legit to Quit. He’ll probably be all, like “I see your point but here’s some moonwalking in your face!” And you’ll be all, like “Whoa, you’re good but can you handle my electric slide?” And while he’s still reeling from your awesome electric slide that’s when you hit him up old school with the ace up your sleeve: The Thriller, because “whosoever shall be found, without the soul for getting down, must stand and face the hounds of hell, and rot inside a corpses shell.” Game. Over!

Just remember, whatever you do, do not, under any circumstance, ever, ever do the twist. If you’re even contemplating this, then you’re way too old to be participating in a dance off in the first place. Also out of the question: walking like an Egyptian and the chicken dance. Stop. You’re just embarrassing yourself.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Race for Remembering

Last year on Sunday morning, December 2nd I ran the Colder Boulder 5K and set my stubble time for the Shave Your 5K Challenge. Later in the evening, I found out that about the same time that I was running that race I had lost a good friend, if you were reading Half-Fast back then you may remember my post paying tribute to Jason Wenger. It seemed only fitting that I should remember him this year when I ran the race. So, this past Sunday morning Candis and I went and picked up Carl (Jason’s Brother-In-Law) and the three of us ran the Colder Bolder 5K wearing our softball jerseys. (Jason used to play on our softball team and the team has since been renamed JWengs in his honor, likewise the new jerseys have ‘JWengs’ emblazoned across the front, which is why we chose to wear them for this race.)

I don’t mean to bring down the usually jovial mood here at Half-Fast because I know you don’t come here for heart-wrenching, tear-jerking posts but this is my Colder Bolder 5K race report and I can’t talk about it without mentioning Jason. Now without further ado, onto the actual race report and some much needed juvenile humor.

The Colder Bolder is a series of invitational races based on your finish time from the Bolder Boulder 10K race in May. I was running my race at 9:10am, and Candis and Carl were running their race at 10:10am, giving me an hour to finish the 5K loop and take over kid watching duty from Candis and Carl.

The gun sounded and I was out of the gate at a 6:00 minute mile pace. This was due to the small field, the downhill start, and the fact that I knew Candis was around the first bend taking pictures. After a good solid minute I dropped back to a 7:45 minute pace which was my goal pace for this particular 5K, but like all goals I decided that it needed to be changed mid race. Actually I didn’t decide it needed to be changed, my lungs did. Entering the second mile I could not catch my breath, I felt like my lungs were the size of testicles at a Polar Plunge meeting.

Also slowing me down was the cotton softball jersey I was wearing. The temperature was in the 50s, and I was burning up. I was struggling to breathe and my jersey wasn’t breathing at all so somewhere in the midst of mile 2 I removed the jersey hoping that it would cool me down and improve my speed. (Note: I was not topless, I had a long-sleeved compression shirt on under the jersey.) Alas, taking off the jersey did not magically make me faster. I still found myself struggling to stay below 9:00 minute miles and my teeny, tiny lung-sticles were on fire.

I gave up on trying to PR and put the jersey back on, finishing in 25:26 (8:21 pace) and shaving exactly 30 seconds off my time from last year. None of us PR’d in this race, Candis came in at 30:13 and Carl finished in 32:22. I think that my apparent lack of lung capacity and inability to hold the pace I wanted was due to having taken a couple of weeks off from running to rest my injured knee. The race showed me that if I still plan on running the marathon in January then I had better get myself back into running shape quickly. I’ll be hitting the treadmill for some speedwork tonight (it’s snowy and icy outside today) and I’m back on the full training schedule effective immediately.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Cleaning Really Interferes with My Running

[by Candis, as if you couldn’t tell that from the title]

[image by Ian, as if you couldn’t tell, because this is how I pictured it]

Children and dogs are much dirtier than I was led to believe. I think owners of the previous understate this to those of us considering an acquisition.

This morning (is 1:30am morning?) my floors were bombarded with messes from both ends of our personal acquisitions. You should know that I’m a germ freak. Our home is not however freakily clean. (Odd eh?) Ian did not marry me for my cleaning skills- or he’d be gone already. He must actually like me. See, years of barely cleaning has paid off. I now know how much I really mean to my husband. Try it if you like, it’s risky though.

Even us ‘barely-cleaners’ must draw the line somewhere and I draw it at poop and throw up. As such, I spent a working man’s day and 3 boxes of baking soda disinfecting 2,000 square feet of floor.

My back is KILLING me (and to preempt the sarcastic, it’s not just because I’m not used to such extended periods of cleaning). I attempted a few lame runners’ yoga poses to fix my pain and trod off to our hamster wheel. It was the most painful easy run of my life. My arches hurt, my ankles hurt, my hip-flexors hurt, my back screamed and my shoulders locked. Usually I only come up with one reason I should stop running and have to talk myself through it- five is much harder to reason with.

This simply won’t do. It’s not even a running related injury, it’s an “I need a maid” injury. There you go honey, the perfect gift for me this year. I just can’t clean anymore.

Weekend Plans

The picture you see to the right (click to enlarge) was requested in the comments of yesterday’s post by tfh. Long winded commenter extraordinaire Glaven, beat me to it and offered up this version of the image, but I prefer mine because... well... because it’s mine. Thanks to tfh for the suggestion.

On Saturday I’ll make my (hopefully) triumphant return to running aided by 600mg of Advil, and on Sunday I’ll be (hopefully) Shaving my 5K at the Colder Bolder. If things don’t work out for the Colder Bolder race on Sunday then I guess I’ll just use my 5K time from the Skirt Chaser in September. I realize that the September Skirt Chaser race is outside of the window for running your ‘smooth time’ race but I’ve appealed to the race director (me) and I’m confident that he’ll grant me an exception if I need one (he will).

Several of you mentioned in the comments that I should not be taking Advil prior to running and I’ve heard that same thing before in the past, and so I mentioned this to the good doctor when gave me the advice. His response was that he didn’t think it was a big deal. He said that taking anti-inflammatories prior to exercising might diminish the benefit your muscles receive from the exercise but not enough to be of concern to someone who isn’t at an elite level. The other downside that he mentioned to taking Advil prior to running was that it would mask pain, and one of the functions of pain is to prevent you from injuring yourself further, but he dismissed this in my case because he said my knee was structurally sound and that running on it was not causing any further damage. I’d be lying if I told you that I don’t still have some reservations about taking Advil before running, but keeping in mind that he’s a doctor at an Orthopedic and Sports Medicine practice I’m going to give it a shot. I’ve googled the subject to try and find some definitive reasons not to take Advil before running and there’s a lot of information out there but most of it is posted on message forums and starts out with the phrase “Well, I’m not a doctor, but I heard...”

Below is my injury riddled running log for November. It has been mentioned by at least a couple of idiot bloggers that no one wants to see this and I’m well aware of that. If you’re not interested in my November running log then you can just skip the rest of this post, don’t worry you won’t be missing any jokes, just raw data.

11/22/20086 Mile Loop (x 2)Long14 Mi2:22:0910:10
11/19/20083 Mile LoopEasy3 Mi26:278:49
11/18/20083 Mile LoopEasy3 Mi29:009:40
11/15/20086 Mile LoopLong/Injury :(5.15 Mi48:099:21
11/12/2008Misc.Intervals (6 x 800)5.46 Mi48:408:55
11/9/2008Grand Lake (elev 8300 ft)Hills5.11 Mi49:339:42
11/7/20086 Mile Loop (x2)Long14 Mi2:15:299:41
11/5/20085 Miles Out & BackTempo5 Mi42:268:30
11/1/20086 Mile Loop (x2.6)Long16 Mi2:30:309:25
Distance: 70.7 miles
Total Time: 11:12:23

P.S. This is my 400th post! W00t!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Fashion Statement

Despite what you witnessed in the previous post, Vanilla is the height of all fashion. The image you see above is a trendy boutique near the Spanish Steps in Rome, not the Rome in Georgia, the one in Italy. It makes me wonder what the Spanish Steps are doing in Italy, do the Spanish people know that their steps are in Rome? And is Spanish similar enough to Italian for the steps to even understand the people there? Are the steps bilingual? Not that there’s anything wrong with that. No doubt these are questions that philosophers have pondered ad infinitum (Latin!) over the centuries. These pictures come from Xenia the Warrior Princess who, rumor has it, pondered the answers to the above questions while running the Spanish Steps in Rocky-esque fashion. From the horse’s mouth (though I’m sure Xenia’s mouth looks nothing like a horse’s):

I was wandering around Rome yesterday and came across your eponymous shop near the Spanish Steps.

Is this where you're marketing your new line of sexy shorts? ;)

Eponymous: adjective - A name, as of a people, country, and the like, derived from that of an individual.

If I had to go look it up then I think we can all agree that you guys were going to have to go look it up too. Man, I hate people that are smarter than me and try to prove it by using sesquipedalian words.

Amy, Nitmos, Raz and I are going to be recording another Podcast sometime over the coming week and being that we’re a group of unimaginative mouth-breathers (speaking primarily for Nitmos and Raz here) we’d like to ask for your input. If you have any topics you’d like to hear us discuss, or if you have any questions that you’d like us to answer for you then please leave them in the comments or e-mail them to me and I’ll pass them on to the others. Please don’t be offended if we don’t select your question to answer, it’s not necessarily because your question sucked, it may just be because you’re fat and ugly and don’t deserve to have your question addressed by 3 beautiful people and an idiot on a podcast. I’ll leave it up to you to figure out who the idiot is, but I think it’s obvious.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

“Maybe you just can’t run that far”

That’s what the orthopedic surgeon told me yesterday just moments before he doubled over in pain from a kick to the groin. OK, so I didn’t kick him in the groin, but I wanted to.

Since I went straight from work to visit the doctor’s office I was still wearing a suit and apparently you can’t take x-rays through suit pants. Really? The machine can see through flesh and muscle but it can’t see through finely crafted, Italian, merino wool faux polyester from Indonesia? I was handed a pair of one-size-fits-all shorts to wear for the x-ray part of my visit and fortunately for you, Candis was with me to snap a picture of me looking sexy as hell in oversized shorts, dress socks and a shirt and tie.

Tucking the tie into the shorts really completes the ensemble. As I walked across the office to the x-ray room I could tell from the looks I was getting that all of the nurses wanted to get in my pants, and the good news is that I had room in there for every single one of them.

Shortly thereafter, the doctor came in and inspected the x-rays. The only conclusion that could be drawn from the x-rays was that beauty is NOT skin deep as the x-rays proved that my knees are sexy all the way through to the bone. Other than that, everything looked normal. Perfectly healthy knees. X-rays = useless. Hopefully that means that I won’t be charged for them, right? Right?

Next the doctor had me lie down on the table and he flexed my knee every which way possible. He poked and prodded, he twisted, he hyper-extended, he did every trick in the book to try to cause pain or discomfort but nothing came close to the discomfort I had felt earlier when he paraded me across the office in sexy shorts like a piece of meat. It was not even remotely unpleasant and I think I may have even nodded off for part of the exam.

Finally, we got to talking about the injury. I explained where the pain was (behind my knee) and told him how it only comes on after an hour or two of running. I explained how excruciatingly painful it is when it appears and how it disappears completely after ice, Advil and a few hours rest. The final diagnosis was that I probably have a tiny Baker Cyst (also known as a Gargamel Cyst) in the back of my knee that gets irritated after running for any length of time. Incidentally, no one guessed Gargamel in the comments so you all suck at diagnosing running injuries as much as I do. That’s when the doctor told me, in between coughing fits, that I could continue running and that maybe the pain was my body’s way of telling me that I just can’t run that far. He even jokingly told me that maybe I should stick to half marathons, but it wasn’t funny. He suggested I keep running, building my long runs slowly to the point where the pain starts. He also recommended taking 600mg of ibuprofen before my long runs.

The good news in all of this is that the marathon is still in the picture depending on how far I can run prior to the pain starting up. I’m going to take a couple more days off and jump back into running again this weekend, after all I’m running the Colder Bolder 5K on Sunday with Candis and Carl and it will be my final attempt at Shaving my 5K.

The most disappointing thing about the whole trip to the doctor’s office was that I didn’t even get to pee in a cup. That’s always the best part about going to the doctor’s office. I know it probably wouldn’t have helped with a diagnosis, but shouldn’t we at least give it a try on the off chance that it would? Maybe my knee hurts because I’m pissing out pieces of my knee’s meniscus and it would have showed up in my urine sample along with traces of excellence. Hey, you never know.

Edit: I Googled Baker Cyst and it turns out the other term I was looking for is Ganglion not Gargamel, however I will continue to refer to the little bugger as Gargamel because it seems more appropriate.

Monday, December 1, 2008

It’s Not a Tumor

The mystery of my knee has been solved, thanks to the miracle of internet self-diagnosis. I recently followed an ad to the iVillage Symptom Solver website which asked me lots of questions about the pain and then proceeded to tell me that I have rheumatoid arthritis.

If it is rheumatoid arthritis then I’m screwed because the Symptom Solver also told me that there is no cure for R.A. That Symptom Solver has the worst bedside manner ever. Seriously, you can’t break that to me a little easier? You can’t tell me gently that there isn’t a cure? You can’t warm up your hands before we do the hernia check?

Despite the thorough diagnosis of the Symptom Solver, I won’t be cancelling my trip to the Orthopedic Specialist this afternoon. Hopefully he’ll be able to give me a better answer, with any luck it will even be the right answer and hopefully his hands will be warmer too. I’m actually kind of excited to go see the doctor and find out what’s wrong with my knee and what treatment it requires. I’ll bet dollars to donuts that it’s not any of the items listed on Symptom Solver’s results because even if I lose, most donuts cost close to a buck now anyway.

My guess is that it’s Patellofemoral Syndrome or Chlamydia... no... wait, I think I mean Chondromalacia. It had better not be Chlamydia, I hear that will really mess up your knee.