Day 42: Sore?

I rose early today to get my run in.  The morning was stunning. Wispy clouds floated in front of the eastern pink sky. Camel’s Hump was silhouetted, surrounded by red and orange. Robins sang. A cool wind caressed the new grass. I wore shorts. I stood for a minute before heading out, soaking in the beauty. I live in a fine place.

My ankle was sore today. It was sore yesterday as well but I reckoned it would figure out that an injury was unwelcome if I ignored it long enough. That didn’t work, apparently. Like the house guest that won’t take the hint and keeps sticking around, the soreness persisted. I had to run short again. And slowly. But I got some miles in and marked off day 42 of consecutive days running.

It wasn’t a pain, really. It didn’t ache. It felt like an overuse situation, which  is somewhat understandable. Nonetheless, I wish it would disappear. I am hoping it will. In fact, I am confident it will. I have come too far to break the streak now. If I can run 42 days in a row, I can do more. I do tend to be overambitious. Heck, I am already thinking I should go for 1,000 days in a row. But that is ridiculous at this point. Let’s get to 50 days first, then 100. After that, we an talk. This soreness is, as I said, not welcome. It keeps me from dreaming big. It checks me. In some ways that is good, but I like to dream big. Who wants things boring?

Tomorrow I will have to rise early again to fit in a run. If I wait until the afternoon it just won’t happen. If I have to run short, or walk a little to ease the ankle nagging me, I will do that. I am hoping, however, that the healing process will take care of my lower limb and I will be back on the road soreness-free. I hope as well that the morning is a stellar as this one. That will make it worth it no matter what.

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Back from Busy

We have been out and about for a couple of weeks now, so no posts here on Mercury on the Move. We travelled to New Hampshire and Maine and returned for some R & R from our R & R. Our garden has gone crazy, despite the minimal rain. The garlic all needs to be pulled now. Potatoes are ready to be dug up. Basil has filled out and should be pesto-ed. We have a few zucchini that are way too large. Those things grow like nuts, I tell you. We even have a couple of melons that are looking good, and the popcorn is maturing nicely. My daughter picked some carrots today (despite the “don’t pick anything until you ask” rule). So our garden has been doing well on its own. No need for a gardener for a couple of weeks.

We ate sandwiches tonight for dinner–cucumbers and lettuce and tomatoes. Our tomatoes are finally weighing down the vines with ripe fruit. And they are tasty as can be. The bonus this summer is that we have some cilantro that is ready now as well, as are some onions, so we can make fresh salsa with ingredients mostly from our garden. Maybe tomorrow.

I borrowed a power washer from a neighbor this morning and, after a couple of hours of trying to get the thing to hold pressure, I managed to wash the west side of the house. It looks mighty clean, even though lots of paint was washed off in the process. I hope to get at least started on painting that side tomorrow. I did put in some good work today, as I had to do some hefty trimming of trees and shrubs to get at the wall to wash it. The weather keeps holding for me as well, so I may be able to get that side completed before the summer ends for me.

The wild card here is my eye. I managed to poke myself in the eye with my sunglasses a few days ago. We drove back from Maine with my eye tearing and blurry and, worst of all, in lots of pain. I drove right to the doctor who told me I indeed tore my cornea. It has to take some time to heal and I am smudging this petroleum gel goop into my eye to ward off infection as well. Today it felt decent, but I do have to wear glasses instead of contact lenses, so bright sun is a bear. Luckily the side I need to stain next gets sun only late in the day. If I get started early, and I am careful enough to avoid dripping paint on my glasses, I should make some progress.

We have one more small adventure planned for the summer, but that is only a couple of days. I might just get my project done after all. I did decide to leave the north side of the house for next summer. Why stress about it? We want to apply some funky spray to the house to keep the cluster flies at bay this winter, and painting is a no go after that happens. I will, I admit, be happy to have three sides stained, plus the porch. That is a fair amount for one guy for a summer. I’ll call it good.

I will also enjoy some fresh salsa while I’m at it. And some pesto. And other good stuff. Fall will be fine.

Long Rainy Run

I haven’t gone on a long run in the rain in a long time. Today I broke the streak. I ran eleven miles, hills and cold and all, in rain all the way. This was fine with me. Running in the rain is peaceful, mesmerizing even, and it means I won’t get too hot. Not only did I get in eleven miles but I also hit the 30 mile mark for a week. That also has not happened for a long time. I felt good, although I did run slowly, mentally and physically. But there was one problem.

Once when I ran the Vermont City Marathon in Burlington, it rained. Not the whole time and not all that hard, but it was a wet day, rain on an off. At every aid station volunteers hand out water. At some of them they hand out snacks. On this day some volunteers were handing out Vaseline. They do this on sunny days as well, although I hadn’t really noticed it before. It helps with, well, chafing, if that happens to be a problem. I declined the oily goo. Who needs that stuff, I thought.

At the finish line that day I saw a man with a bloody shirt. He hadn’t cut himself. Nothing so easy. The rain had made his shirt wet and his nipples had rubbed against that wet shirt and there were streaks of blood originating from those two points. He had rubbed his nipples raw. That, I remember thinking, looks painful. The thing is, it has since happened to me. Not nearly to that degree, thank Jehovah, but enough that I had to be careful what I wore for a few days. It happened on a rainy day when I was out running for a long time. Kind of like today…

Look, I’m not proud to admit that I have this particular injury here. I can’t say it is embarrassing, exactly, but it does open one up to the possibility of ridicule. Being a tenderfoot is one thing, but a tendernipple? That can’t look good on a resume.

It isn’t all that bad. I’m just a wee bit sore, and I’ll need to be careful what I wear. No heavy duty work shirts on the old bare torso for me. It goes to show how long I have been out of the habit of running. I didn’t even think of the fact that I might run with a wet shirt for, I don’t know, a couple of hours. Sheesh. I’ve got to learn this stuff all over again? I thought I knew how to learn from my mistakes. Apparently not.

I don’t plan to run at all tomorrow. I need a day off and it will give me a chance to heal up, if you know what I’m saying. At least I’m not really injured. I feel pretty dang good, actually. I could run tomorrow if that felt like the right thing to do. As it is, I will stay away from my chosen fitness activity for at least one day. And even if I don’t sleep in later than usual, I may just hang out in pajamas well into the morning. I mean, it will be Sunday, right?

Proof of a Higher Power?

So we have a couple kids and I basically stop running.  I go from at least a marathon every year to a 50-miler then pretty much doodly squat.  Partly because of this I had back problems.  If I had kept up the physical activity, I would probably have been fine, but it got bad enough I needed surgery.  That meant I was out of commission for a long time.

Needing surgery told me that I needed to start running again.  When I have been running, my back is good to go.  Slack off and things weaken and get sore.  I was really getting up there in the miles last summer when I pulled a muscle.  It took me a long time to get there, being slow and cautious, not overdoing it, taking it easy.  But I still got hurt.  That meant lots more time of rest and lots more time without running.

This winter and then into spring I started to really get out there again.  I again started to put on the miles and I felt that the 50-miler might be within reach this fall.  I was feeling good.  Then, on a trip to Disney World of all places, I smash my toe on a suitcase so badly that my whole foot turns purple and I start limping around.

I am sure I busted it.  I taped it for a while and it started to feel better.  It still hurts too much, however.  I should really ice it and take ibuprofen and put it up for a few days, then get back to walking around.  But I haven’t done that.  I have been joking with my spouse that maybe this is proof that there is a higher power who does not want me to run.

But maybe this is proof that there is a higher power who does not want me to go to Disney World.  Or who does not want me to work, since a desk job contributed to needing back surgery.  Or who wants me to where shoes more often, even in Florida.  Or who wants me to pack with a suitcase on a table or a bed instead of the floor.

I have had a few setbacks to getting in the training.  I guess I just need to keep the goal in mind and get back to it once more.  I can still run 50 miles, as long as I don’t turn into a frail old man before I get all the training in.  Even then, I might be able to do it.  Most people wouldn’t do that kind of thing, but that actually motivates me to do things.  No one else wants to do it?  Might just be worth doing.

Anyway, I don’t really think that all these obstacles to my running goals are proof of a higher power.  I have seen others use just this kind of thing to justify belief.  Many people do that, in fact.  Since many people do it, however, I am motivated to do what they do not do.  I am going to do my own thing, dangit, and when I stop hobbling around, I am going to get started on that right off.

Pain But No Worries

Tonight I got this pain in my upper back, between my shoulders. What is the scoop with that? I wasn’t lifting anything or straining myself or doing anything that might have caused an injury at that moment. I was walking toward the kitchen to cook up some beans for dinner. And pow! Sharp pain between the shoulders. It is sticking around.

Whenever I have any kind of injury, I reflect back to when I had back surgery. Two years ago I was dealing with some serious pain. I literally was rolling on the floor at night, unable to sleep. I went to a chiropractor and saw my primary care doctor but the pain stuck around. Ultimately, I had surgery for a ruptured disc. A neurosurgeon sliced me open and took about the bad juju.

All that was a drag, of course, but it happens. We get hurt sometimes and we can’t predict when it will happen and how badly it will happen. But here is the deal: I had no worries about paying for all the care I received. I have great a great health insurance. Even chiropractic care was paid for. I paid nothing for all of it.

I am lucky and I know it. How many people don’t have any health insurance? Forget the huge deductibles or problems that won’t be covered. What if I simply had no coverage at all? Given the medical issues I had, I would have had to pay thousands of dollars. I would still be paying for that without my health insurance.

I met a high school student today who got injured playing football. He is hobbling around on crutches, just as he was two weeks ago when I saw him last. He tore three ligaments and will need surgery. He doesn’t have it scheduled yet. He is unsure when it will happen. My guess is that he does not have health insurance even close to what I’ve got. Does he even have any? Is his surgery getting put off because he can’t afford it?

Vermont has pretty good coverage for minors. We have a state program to cover children whose parents do not have health insurance or can’t afford it. As a state, that is a smart thing to do. The legislature has talked for a while now about passing legislation that would cover everyone, regardless of age, who does not have access to coverage. I hope that may one day happen.

So, I have some pain that is slowing me down for the evening. Sure, that isn’t what I want. I am worried what it might be. Could it get worse? Could it be a sign of something really bad? I will not worry about those things until the pain persists. Otherwise, I won’t worry at all. That is a gift.