Friday, December 21, 2012

It's the end of the world and I feel supine.

Injury news. Fair and
I have been struggling. Every run is an effort and each recovery takes days. My gait is off and the resulting misalignment assaults a new muscle group as quickly as I adjust to the last insult. Quad pain morphed into ham string issues which brought on piriformis issues which birthed a jacked up hip which resulted in iliocastalis problems which compromised my lower obliques. When angry, the piriformis likes to swell intruding into the sciatic nerve's personal space. If the stars align just right it can also trap the pudendal nerve which, among other important functions, services your naughty bits. Have you ever mis-hit a soft ball with an aluminum bat? My stellar event transferred that stinging sensation right to my perineum. Hilarious really. My torn perineal brevis gave me a tingling perineum. The iliocastalis pain referral imitated a kidney stone pretty convincingly and the lower obliques convinced me I had a bladder infection. This resulted in a doctor's visit and a culture. Dem bones, dem bones, the ankle bone's connected to the pelvis bone. 

If you push your body quickly enough, you are sure to be first in line to pick out the best cast colors. Hurry or you may end up with yellow. I did not start this post to wallow in my injuries or to seek your sympathy. Münchausen! Gazuntite! O crap, I think my overuse injuries just caught turrets. 

I wanted to honestly catalog my return. And these problems with my chassis came as a surprise. I was not forewarned by the surgeon or the physical therapy folks and I found no mention of anything similar on the internet. I did a lot of abdominal work waiting for my rehabilitation process to allow a return to running. I branched into every alternative exercise short of square dancing while I waited for the green light. Did I unwittingly set up some problem areas before I resumed training? Or perhaps my 6 week couch to half marathon approach contained a small flaw. My 1500 miles per week in the car may contribute a knot or two. I imagine, just like Ragu, it's in there; the answer that is, not soybean oil. 

Outline the difficulty I am having now, look back and appreciate the distance traveled later. I would like to share a few of the tools I have found to make this transition easier. I don't advance my religious views on the internet. I don't politic on the world wide web. I don't sell boy scout popcorn or candy bars for a high school band in the cloud. (By the way why not click on an add in the upper right when you are done reading this?) But in spite of my well established record of providing only frivolity and hijinx on this site, I now break my streak with an endorsement. If you have muscles and/or tendons I recommend that you purchase The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief, Second Edition. I have pushed this book on my friends (those who have muscles and/or tendons) like Tutanchamon pushed a pyramid scheme. I have surprised relatives hopeful for Christmas ties or birthday socks with a copy of this book. Buy this book, buy a Thera cane, steal a foam roller, and kidnap a good massage therapist. Make sure you vet the therapist through your spouse. Don't find one directly off of an interstate exit. Avoid recommendations from spas that use a moniker involving the word lucky.

In the two months since my last post, I established a delicate balance between over training and injury. I spend equal amounts of time practicing both. The repaired tendon has held up remarkably well. The rest of the body, not so much. 

NY wainscoting.
I traveled to New York on business a week after hurricane Sandy devastated the state. A great opportunity to add some red dots to my gps running map. The city looked as damaged as my skeletal system, but appeared to be mending at a slightly faster rate. I felt sympatico with the bipolar behavior of the city. Times square was drowning in tourists doing normal touristy things, while half the city waited in gas lines and navigated trashed infrastructure. With's help, a brief window between work and my return flight, and an over confidence in my own navigation abilities, I managed a 4 hour running/subway tour of the island. Hotel price gouging was the latest NY fashion trend, but I managed a nice suite in a Brooklyn Hasidic neighborhood, bordering what I assume is the pizza district. I alternated between running and subwaying and managed to take in Grand Central Station, Rockefeller Center, Times Square, Wall Street, Battery Park, and parts of Brooklyn. It was fun running through the suits, tourists, and general bedlam. I got to eat Subway, next to a subway. I sucked up some culture (and a slice or three) and left only slightly off balance.

NY navigational system. 

Enter the chiropractic. Staker Chiropractic Center was able to shore up the NY damage. It felt as if everything was falling apart when I ran, because everything was falling apart when I ran. The city sidewalks were a bit harder than my usual dirt trails. After diagnosing a leg length discrepancy just shy of an inch, the bone cruncher managed to pop my Sacroiliac joint back into place after 3 visits. Instant relief. I wasted no time feeling good and made a hasty return to long running on the trails. I was able to limp through one lap of der Scott's crazy 8 tour. I lost him early, but managed to follow Jay's dust trail back to the group after he took a wrong turn and looped back. Its a bit disheartening to loose both speed and endurance, but I really enjoyed the company of some familiar faces and the delicious taste of Hammer Perpetuem chalk. And Iris raised the bar on running fashion, sporting a Christmas sweater tech shirt, complete with reindeer.

I found the sandwich boar too heavy.
I left Scott's romp bruised, but satisfied with my long run's recent mileage increases. Happy to discover that the world was ending on December 21, 2012, I scheduled another run with Scott & friends to begin at 11 PM on that last day. If Armahgeddon arrived before midnight, I still planned on counting the run as a 13 miler. Most prominent archaeologists agree that the Mayans always counted a run at its start in their log books. As it turned out I had to finish the run, but Jay Spadie helped us celebrate our continuing divine comedy with a shot of Hot Damn cinnamon schnapps. Note to cardio aficionados: schnapps makes a poor running fuel. The idea to run through a closed park morphed into an event after Scott posted a detailed map and timetable on FB. I started to grasp FB's power as everyone from my mother to my massage therapist wished me luck on my upcoming adventure. I hoped the extended rsvp invitations did not extend to park rangers. Who wants to ring in the Rapture in Smokey the bears pokey? With over 44 people invited and an almost 9% appearance rate, I was intent on placing in the top 3 in my age group.

Pic stolen from Bart Bechard.

Because of my slow healing ankle and overall daily balance challenges, I promised to stay on the bridal paths. So after a brief stint in the parking lot timing how long Jay could stand around in shorts in sub-30 degrees, we unanimously decided to take the single track trail hurlgolly (name changed to make it mathematically impossible to tell which park we were in) into the park. Questioning the wisdom of our decision, Scott fell superman style face first within 50 feet. Luckily, I had chickened out and left my diabetic friendly Michalob Ultra at the gate. It surely would have gone all over bubbly with Scott's jostling. Besides if caught, I only had enough bribe money for trespassing. Among the four of us, we had 3 head lamps and a full moon, but barring Scott's early balance issue, our only close calls were a water crossing and a troll sighting near one of the bridges. We killed the headlamps and let our eyes adjust to the low moonlight once we hit the bridal paths. Cat-like I only ran off the trail twice. The quicksters outpaced us for the last time on South pigeon trail (name changed to make it alphabetically impossible to tell which park we were in), after we debunked the Mayan calendar and confirmed our continued existence in the physical plane. This calender debacle calls the entire Mayan office suite into question. I know their power point is for crap.

Warm up.
Anxious, not to miss any whining about my pace, stamina and injuries, Scott stayed with me. The rest of the run was as perfect as the start. I love night running by moonlight. You fall into a pace and exist in the moment. The darkness acts as blinders and your not overwhelmed with excess sensory perception. Your mind just blanks. It is very relaxing, and a powerful enough experience to shut even my pie hole for minutes at a time. The miles melted into one another and passed without event, until we exited past the ranger dwelling near 2 AM. It was lit up like an Escape from Alcatraz movie. I only counted 9 searchlights and guard towers, 6 armed guard patrols, and 4 German shepherds but there may have been more. The lights from the cabin washed onto the exit road and tried to illuminate our profiles. Our black running ninja suits proved up to the scrutiny and we hugged the shadows. I cleverly adopted the danger as an excuse to squeeze in a walk break. The reprieve lasted only briefly before samurai Scott shattered the night silence and stepped on the loudest dry leaf in North America. We picked the pace back up and stayed just ahead of the armed ranger guards, attack dogs, spotlights, laser sharks, and my nighttime imagination. Fortunately, all pursuit ended as we exited the unnamed park and crossed the highway back to our vehicles. The tree canopy that had provided a nice wind break ended and we were fully exposed to the arctic blast over the highway. The wind tunnel discouraged all from our back trail, but slightly threw off my balance as my bollocks searched out warmer climes somewhere near my lungs. The rest of our group had waited to make sure we survived the elements as well as Mayan astronomy and we parted until the next end of the world.

Broadway style tap dancing, as illustrated by Slippers the water nymph.
Unconcerned about recovery due to my promised immediate demise, I might have pushed the mileage a bit too far. The night run agitated my músculo iliopsoas and my hypochondria. So I shall continue to roll, massage, limp, complain and stretch my way back to mobility. My new reasonable and balanced approach to longer distance is to gently stress, wait for complete recovery and then gently stress again. I shall begin immediately; as soon as I get back to 30 mile long runs. I have Uhwarrie 20 in five weeks and Umstead marathon in nine. Both of my race goals are survival. Last year Uhwarrie was the final insult to my torn tendon. Since that 20 miler, I have not run over 14. I want to get back on the horse. In particular that horse. That rocky, unrunnable, ankle biting Uhwarrie horse. 4 weeks later Umstead, mainly for the pint glass. I opted for the earliest surgery available in April of 2012 to give me the best chance for a full marathon return at Umstead. Its going to be close. Its so good to be out there again, and I am attaining common sense one malady at a time. Run for pleasure, elliptical for punishment. 


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Spinx Run Fest 2012

Spinx, not Sphinx.
I have long been a fan of both corporate gasoline conglomerates and run festing, so this weekend's Spinx Run Fest 2012 was a real no-brainer for me. Spinx is a small southern chain of gas stations that makes a petrol that tastes slightly better than their turkey sandwiches. If you too have been obsessing over my ankle surgery saga, you are no doubt aware that this race weekend followed my brevis repair by exactly 6 months on the Gregorian calendar.
That translates roughly to 8 new moon, "oh craps", on the Mayan calendar. I resumed running 11 weeks ago and was in no way ready for this race. The Big Punkin 5k run/walk was probably a better fit for me, and that only because I was prohibited by blatant ageism from entering the L'il Punkin kid's run.

Speedy Gonzales and friend in skirt.

Guess who got back from the restroom line 2 minutes before
the starting gun? Hint: not pictured here.
Not too long ago, my mother and I established a tradition of running a half-marathon together each year. We had previously run this event together in 2010. If you understand together to mean, drive 350 miles to your parent's house, wake up at 5:30 AM, drive back toward Durham to Greenville, SC and then run entirely separate from one another because you had some vague arbitrary time goal. My rehabbing back toward the mid-packers has allowed me a bit more perspective. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to run step by step with my mother again. Unfortunately, she has not been blessed with the benefit of my new perspective and was in this event to race down everyone and anyone she knew. My mom commonly places in her age group and scrutinizes race results like a hypochondriact analyzes webMD. Her long time running partner Christie G, Christie's husband William, and myself were all fair game. I have not been over 10 miles since Uhwarrie in February. I was hoping to pace my speedy matriarch to a PR pace until mile 11 or so and then limp in myself.

If you squint, you can just see her invisible jet.
I believe my mom is a pretty well rounded runner (she was running 5Ks before the training wheels came off my Schwinn). Her major weakness is her under estimation of her reserves. She usually comes out conservative and finishes strong with a bit left in the tank. This time we were looking to come out a little quicker and to finish just mostly alive. This HM has an ugly profile. It lulls you in with 6.5 miles of downhill and then the second half of the half (I guess that would make it a 1/4?) is all uphill. Interspersed throughout the route, a spongy track like material parallels the paved paths that make up a large part of the course. It feels great, but I think it saps a bit off your pace. Think Buick Regal ride rather than Porche performance. Its also pretty narrow and very crowded. Personally, I chose to run with my healing foot on the squishy material and my good foot on the asphalt. Think drunk pirate. This approach allowed me to equally annoy those on both sides.

If not for those meddling kids!
I felt that Spinx adopted the Paul Ryan austerity approach toward race management for 2012. By slashing the pork out of aid stations and the post race table, we almost balanced the SC deficit with savings realized from the Gatorade and water only stops. The 2010 race offered warm grits (which we originally thought were mashed potatoes) at the finish. Its funny what you crave in a race. It was the thought of that hot hominy that propelled me through the later miles. Had I known it was only dry Folsom State sandwiches we approached, I might have despaired  In the spirit of bipartisanship, I do freely admit that the pre-race coffee policy remained unchanged from 2010 for those over the age of 55. Fortunately for me, I appear to be in my early 70s before 7:30 AM and SC does not yet require ID to caffeinate. 

Before Roy Hobbes arrived.
I wore my kilt again for this race. Mainly for ventilation and to shame my mother. This led to a rather urgent chafing injury that resulted in a mid-race visit to the medical tent. I asked for Vaseline. Here again, budget cuts were evident. The volunteers cracked open a beer cooler emblazoned with a red cross. The ice chest was lacking petroleum jelly, but after some brief fondling they came up with a generic KY in a squeeze tube. Hesitant, but desperate I experimented. It worked, but I left in 50 shades of red. My tortured thighs were moving again. If only it had been Astroglide I am sure we could have dropped another 30 seconds per mile. Although creature comforts were scarce, vital medical care was available. We witnessed a down runner receiving an IV administered by medical personnel and the police did a great job protecting the course.
The races proximity to All Hallows Eve scarred up some costumes. The runners and spectators did a fair job of Halloweening. We shared the pavement briefly with some of the Superfriends from the Justice League, a lederhausen clad German fellow, a couple ballerinas  and a few thousand Clemson fans in a subtle orange.

Southern Belles.
Our pacing was spot on. We started losing a bit off of the pace average around mile 11 as mom tired and I ignored common sense and the objections from my left tendon. Just then, I spotted her friend Christie walking a rather nasty uphill section. She is mom's junior by more years than the legal drinking age and has finished ahead of her in every half they have entered. They both conducted themselves as proper southern ladies, curtsying and politely wishing each other their best with gleaming smiles. But I know better, I watched their eyes. Nefarious intent! Christie found new resolve and took off before we had even offered ice tea. So ginned up on the idea of passing her friend, my mom threw caution to the wind and tried to up the pace. With a Herculean effort, I managed to hold her back. We walked the rest of the hill and saved our reserves for the rare downhill ahead. Christie burned up a lot of her remaining energy on that hill and was unable to catch us after we finally passed her about a quarter mile later. A casualty of the high temperature and humidity (and my brilliant pacing), we crossed the finish 59 seconds ahead of mom's running partner. Christie's husband was rumored to have prepared for this race with a long run approaching 6 miles. He finished further back. I don't know how he found the reserves in those temperatures.

Mama's boy.
My favorite part of the Spinx race, the finish includes a quarter mile dash around the outfield of Fluor Field. The home of the AA  Greenville Drive baseball team. As you enter from right field, your image is projected onto the jumbotron. Slightly more devious than my mother, I entered on the inside loop and was announced over the loud speaker, "Ryan McCarty from Durham NC." My mom may still be vexed that I stole her thunder. She prevailed in the end. Drunk on glory and Gatorade, my mother charged through me like a base-runner trying to beat the throw to home plate, as I tried to snap a finish picture (honest). She finished in 2:27:38. One full second ahead of me. A second that I am sure will quickly morph into minutes then months over each re-telling until we meet again next year. I enjoyed every second we had together, except for the last one which I obviously ran by myself. I may have to Tonya Harding her until she gains my own enlightened Mahatma Ghandi socialistic running perspective.

Best costume made of small children.

Call it a foul tip.

Dad's post run recovery routine. 1st time my 
upper body was sore post race.

Elvis sighting.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Oops! ...I Overdid It Again


"Oops! ...I Overdid It Again"

yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
Ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch 

I think I Overdid it again
I made you believe you could fully bend
Running seems like a rush
But my limb is just not serious
Losing all common senses
Establish trigger points to plague me
Oh leggy, leggy

Oops!...I Overdid it again.  Stressed my collagen, fear I am maimed,
Oh leggy, leggy
Oops!...You're repaired kind of,

Not ready for trail gloves.

Your too easily spent.

You see my problem is this
Foam rolling away
Wish piriformis, could truly stretch
Cry from nagging torment
Palpable nodules afflict in many ways

Losing all common senses
Establish trigger points to plague me

Leggy, oh

[Repeat CHORUS]

Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
Ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch
"Muscle, before you spasm, there's deactivation to have"
"Oh, it's beautiful, but wait a minute, isn't this...?"
"Yeah, yes it is"
"But I thought its a week till the Spinx half-marathon in Anderson"
"Well leggy, I bent down and stretched for you"
"Oh, you shouldn't have"

Oops!...I Overdid it again, your not smart
Got lost in Medoc, oh leggy
Oops!...You try to treat me with kid gloves
I'm not that flexible.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Medoc Trail Marathon and 10 Miler 2012 Review

Stop eye-balling me.
5 months 2 weeks post surgery, and finally, a race review. But first, a tangent. I ran the Medoc marathon option last year in peak shape, but missed two gel intakes and suffered a 29 blood sugar near mile 14. I wandered off course and ran face first into a tree. My bib  trail name "Hypo Hazard" proved more prophetic than farcical. After inhaling 150 carbohydrates in gels, I slumped on a stump for over 30 minutes fighting the urge to go toward the light. I don't remember much of the final 12 miles, but I did finish. My sub 4 hour goal unrealized, I crossed the line around 4:45. Completely exhausted, it took me over an hour to summon enough energy to drive myself home. You would think such a bonk would leave Medoc permanently on my naughty list, but despite the near death experience, I really enjoyed last year's race. It felt befitting to use the site of my biggest blow up to relaunch my running return. So, enough background, after months of cut open ankle photos, nude ellipticaling, and prologuing; a race review. 

Medoc decoy.
Medoc Radio.
Medoc night-light.

Medoc Trail Races are unique in that they offer group camping as part of the festivities. This presents a real devil's bargain: Do you wake at 3 AM and drive from Raleigh (or farther) into the middle of nowhere? Or do you gain an extra hour of sleep by driving from the nearest hotel with indoor plumbing? Of course not, you camp. For those that find fold-out sofa beds sinfully luxurious, the lost art of camping may be for you.

Sage advice.

For you carbo-loaders, there is also a dinner option. As the T1 diabetic envoy, I had respectively declined this offering. The menu was too carbohydrate rich for me, consisting mostly of pasta complimented with sides of Applebees. "Eatin' good in the neighborwoods." 

Four group camp sites were offered this year without restriction. If you can find a piece of ground big enough for your tent, its all yours. A word of warning for future 
racers, campsite 3 is the social campground. I pitched my tent in prime real estate while it was still light outside and relatively rural in the community. I was close to the fire pit, the showers and my truck. Wise in the ways of Medoc camping, Jim and Jade Wei made an impromptu visit for a little fireside camaraderie, then smugly returned to their secret private campsite, rumored to have both Egyptian cotton linens and a flat screen television. By 11 PM, the ravers, hippies and hooligans had turned campsite 3 into a discotheque, complete with laser lights, tweekers, bar brawls, and I suspect, sexual malfeasance of some sort.  

No Wei. Way! Party time. Excellent.
The race organizers had stopped by with warnings of the latest MEDOC sightings. Luckily, a guitar and a budding vocalist, kept the mythical beast at bay. Obscure folklore dictates acoustic renditions of Katy Perry's compendium lull the savage Medoc. After enjoying the fire, a beverage (Thank you Tennessean Steve Stout, master of both fire and spirit), but before the youths had organized a Gangmam style flash mob, I retreated to the shelter of my truck. The flimsy membrane of my tent was no match for jacked up whipper snappers and an aerial blitzkrieg of falling tree nuts. 

With all of the seats down, the maximum 64 inch cargo hold offered by my Ford Escape fit my 68 inch frame like a hot dog in a hamburger bun. Although stuck in a fetal position, I felt secure in my Medoc resistant fortress. The falling tree nuts made a tranquil gonging as they hit the top of the metal roof, which proved an easy melody to drift off to sleep. The 40 degree temps and 5 degree tilt of the laid down seats made for an ideal shelter. If you have the chance, just do it. Running a trail marathon is a challenge to brag about. Running a trail marathon with a hideously contorted body makes you a special 
breed of idiot. 

Race morning Medoc sighting.

I hope this includes insomnia and rheumatism.

This year my surgeon gave me the green light on the 10 mile option, assuring me everything would be fine as long as I did not twist my ankle. Easy enough on a trail run. I targeted 12 minute miles. In an attempt to avoid any competitive stupidity, I started at the very back of the pack. I was still struggling with removing my sweat shirt after everyone else had cleared the start. I finished my last swig of coffee and lumbered off.

The 10 mile race starts 30 minutes after the marathoners and has about a mile of out and back on the roads to prevent trail pile ups. I had forgotten the NB MT101's I had planned on running in, and was forced to wear my new pair of Merrell Trail Gloves. I am still pretty new to zero drop shoes on the road, so I stayed on the grass shoulder. This helped govern my pace to a more doctor recommended speed. I maintained this reasonable approach for a remarkable 20 minutes, before succumbing to my inner bunny. The sensation of racing trails again felt so good, I immediately disregarded common sense. A dead Garmin 305, left me data-less and more susceptible to reckless behavior. 
Shhh! Linda hears Medoc coming.

I was fortunate to catch Linda Banks around mile 3. She was yet to warm up, as this 10 mile trail race is about 90 miles short of her usual endeavors. We seam to run a lot of the same races, and after a 6 month hiatus it was encouraging to run with a familiar face. We stayed together for a few miles until she tired of my company and faked a shoe tie. 

Deanna Ramse finds the finish.
Near mile 5 I made a new friend and then stalked her. Deanna Ramse, also began with a measured start, before upping the pace at the half way mark. I latched on to her and after having failed to shake me over the next mile, she acquiesced to formal introductions. We did drift apart occasionally as she keeps a pretty consistent pace and I still love to fall down hills. But for the most part we stayed together. We pushed each other, and I ended up finishing much faster than 4 out of 5 doctors agree to be reasonable. We passed quite a few runners over the last 3 miles and I would guestimate a well below 9 minute mile pace.

Beats rehabbing by a dam site.
Two miles over my longest post-surgical run, I was fading as we approached the end of the trail. I could hear the crowd at the finish near the top of the hill and slowed to a walk to gather my reserves, so as to look cool in front of the cheering spectators. I had gained a few steps on Deanna, and softie that she is, she encouraged me on with a tap on the back and a "your almost there." I promised her I would catch up. Spurred on by the siren sounds of the crowd, I let her accelerate toward her certain destruction. Little did she know that at Medoc when you exit the trail and hit the greenway, the finish is still 2 dogleg rights away. I started running again, before the people could see me, and kicked at the first right turn, leaving about 200 yards. What some call dirty pool, I call prior Medoc experience. I was able to catch Deanna, as promised, and pass 2 runners less then 25 feet from the finish, jaunting me into the 23rd place of 25 in my age group. I ended up with a 10:48 pace average, well bellow my target, and just fast enough to feel slightly recovered. 

Top 3 overall.

I finished in time to see the specter, Tim Surface, finish the trail marathon in an unholy 2:41:01. A new Medoc record. Running friend, Dan Bedard, (more like post run drinking cohort, as he runs faster than I bike) finished in 3rd and invited me back to the group campsites for refreshments. We were joined by 2 of the age group winners from the 10 miler. I took this rare opportunity to learn the secrets of the fleet of feet. They were all tired and unobservant so no one noticed that I was not an indoctrinated member of their speedy tribe. They spoke freely. Unbound by their secret by-laws and rituals, I will now reveal their 3 core tenets. 

First their recovery is fueled by pickles and hot peppers. To date, the USATF, is unable to effectively drug test for any of the major pickled products.  Their second secret is a recovery beverage dubbed PBR (my guess is Probably Beer Really), a substance I was unable to positively identify as it was shielded by a red plastic cup. The third principle, "Run faster". This mantra covers both training and racing. After this is fully understood (a process that takes many years), students of the quick, graduate to "Don't slow down". 

My blood sugar finally dropped to refueling levels, so I headed back to the pavilion to greet the finishers I knew and eat normally  forbidden foods. In addition to the usual post-race fare, the volunteers offered a great rice and beans with plenty of salt and bags of cheerios, candy corn and peanuts labeled Medoc mix. I appreciated the gallons of hot coffee too. Medoc takes pride in being a race by runners, for runners and uses the novel approach of spending entry fees on those in the race. Nice shirts, good eats, and this year's surprise finisher's swag was a Medoc branded Nathan hand held water bottle. The finisher medals looked spectacular. One of the three best races in the triangle area. The trails are moderate and the support is top notch. Thank you for another great race Medoc team.

Scott Lynch adds to my Napolean comlex with his full
sized marathon finisher's medal.
I watched a lot of my old compadres finish the full over the next few hours. All of whom are looking very fast from my perspective. I am close to being compatible for a long slow run with some of them, but I have a good ways to go to regain my former millage. I experienced a lot more of this race than I usually do. It was a privilege just to run it, and my new status, as born again newbie allowed me to just take it in. I was not caught up in shaving seconds off my mid-pack pace. I just enjoyed the gift of a beautiful day at a terrific race with some great peeps. I have never had a better pre-race stomach. I briefly considered kimchi for breakfast. Its going to be a long while before I surpass my old speeds, and I could not be happier.

Brandy Burns trail rash.

On a scale of 10, Linda 's knee  pain is 3.141592653589.

Steve, Jim, Ryan.

Brandy's Medoc impersonation.

Susan makes me glad I stopped at 10.

Its hard work staying this pretty, but hot
showers post-race  are a big help.
6 months post surgery.

Pic stolen from Facebook.