Friday, July 29, 2011

quote of the day

"To improve your stride, look at your shoes. To improve your soul, look at the horizon."

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Sunday, July 24, 2011


This is the last photo of my knees while they're a matching set...

Back at the beginning of May, I played an outdoor soccer match, as I had done every Wednesday night since the weather started warming up. I played ok, as usual. Drove home, as usual. Took a shower, worked for awhile, went to bed. As usual. When I woke up on Thursday morning my knee would barely support my weight and hurt like hell. I figured I'd managed to tweak something and vowed to stretch more before Sunday's indoor match.

I'm not the most gifted athlete in the world, but I do have a couple things going for me...I have a high tolerance for pain and I heal quickly. So when Thursday came...then Friday...then Saturday...and the knee was only feeling worse, I knew something pretty major was up with it. Of course I kept playing, but the next time out on the pitch, I found that I could go fine in a straight line, but every time I tried to cut or turn, the joint opened up and let out a really horrible pop. That settled it...I called the Shelbourne Knee Center. Dr. Shelbourne had repaired both of Kelly's torn ACLs and having seen him work and seen how seriously they approach rehab and getting the patient back not just to functionality but to 100% competition ready, there was no question who I was calling.

I met with Dr. Urch, the other surgeon in the office, and within 30 seconds he diagnosed my torn meniscus. We thought it was a relatively minor tear, and decided to put off surgery until the fall. Back I went to the soccer pitch. Problem was, the tear was getting worse. I thought i could play through it...I've finished matches on broken legs, after dislocating fingers, and on too many sprained ankles to count. This was different though...I didn't trust the joint, and worse, I couldn't tell from the feel of it when it was going to give out on me. So after two or three matches playing at about 60% I was frustrated and called Dr. Urch back to schedule my surgery.

After meeting with Bill, the rehab coordinator, I learned that the normal recovery time for a menisectomy was six to eight weeks. My goal...four weeks.

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Wednesday, March 09, 2011

season of change

Ok I'm going to wax religious for a bit, so if that's not your cup of tea feel free to skip on to the next post. Don't worry though, I'm not going to beat you over the head with a bible or any other such silliness. I might make you think a little bit, though, so if that's not your cup of tea either, feel free to move along at your leisure.

While I don't fashion myself an overly religious person, I am a cradle-Catholic, went to Catholic elementary school, and even taught for two years in Parochial schools. Most of the time if anybody asks I tell them I'm a "spiritual agnostic"-- I think there's a higher power of some sort, but I truly believe that any attempt by Man to discern the nature of that higher power is very nearly futile.

So with that semi-contradictory nature in place, I do try to observe the spirit of many Catholic rituals. To be honest, I don't feel the need to go to Mass every week. I feel much closer to God closing my eyes on a sunny day and feeling the warmth of nature pushing through my eyelids or feeling my body respond after a good long run, than I do sitting in a dark building full of people reciting a bunch of words they probably don't even understand. What I do try to honor is the spirit of the faith--helping humanity and improving myself as a person.

So anyway, today is Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent. Growing up I was always told that I had to eat fish on Fridays and had to give something up. As to why...yeah never really got a clear cut answer beyond "it's a sacrifice". This morning I had something of an epiphany. I was always told to give up sodas or chocolate. I realized that if I just gave something up like that, it wouldn't help me. All it would do is serve to make me miserable and grouchy for six weeks. God can't possibly want me to be a crab to my family like that. Why not use this time not so much as a Catholic thing, but use the time to continue my path to becoming a better person. I chose to "give something up" that will be very difficult for me, but in the end will actually make me a _better_ person, not a _worse_ person, than I was before. I'm choosing to give up stress for Lent. It will definitely be a challenge for me, and I will be giving something up that is detrimental to my mental and physical health. And in the end, I'll be a better person. Sounds like that's more following the spirit of the season than giving up Hershey's.

Oh...and I hate fish. Luckily I really like cheese pizza.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

growing up

Molly finished her second-ever chapter book that she read all on her own. She loves to read every night before bed.

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Friday, January 28, 2011

like a cheap steak

When I was a kid, I wanted to be tough. Being a child of the 80s, I got most of my ideas of what tough was by watching movies. Jean Claude VanDamme and Schwarzenegger tended to be the most-often rewound VHS tapes (well, all were second to Top Gun, but that's a different story entirely).

Anyway, I got it into my head that if I stretched and could punch things I'd be tough, so around I went punching (okay, tapping) my wall and trying to kick things as high as my head (okay, more like waist level). I also spent a fair amount of time pestering my dad to get me a set of free weights. He not so politely declined and pointed me at the snow-covered woodpile in our back yard and told me to move it over five feet, and I'd be in shape. Bear in mind we heated our entire house with a wood furnace...the woodpile was seven feet high and three hundred feet long. I not so politely declined his counter-offer and went on pestering.

In the meantime, I sat warm and cozy in the house and played video games (and watched those movies!). And got softer and softer.

In college I finally found athletics and realized that I love being a jock. Over the years I've gotten interested in more sports, most recently running. As I've run over the course of this winter, I can feel my thirty-seven-year-old body getting stronger and tougher. Six months ago I'd have to stop several times during a one-mile trot, gasping and wheezing the whole time. Now, it's nothing at all to me now to layer up and go out for a quick three mile run in the middle of a 15F snowstorm. I've dropped several pounds, added a lot of muscle, and don't feel the slightest bit nervous about being on foot several miles away from home now. Though the end result is vastly different from what my thirteen-year-old self envisioned as tough, I finally feel for the first time in my life that I'm not the soft blob I used to be. Well not entirely anyway. I'm shooting for my first half-marathon this spring and still have quite a bit of training to do.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

this is my church

My dad was an interesting character when it came to religion. It's taken me until several years after his passing that I think I really see who he was when it came to his beliefs. On one hand, my dad was a devout Catholic. But maybe without even realizing it he knew that the Church is a construct of Man, and as such comes with all of Man's flaws. He found a way to truly commune with God, though, and he chose to live his life in a way that allowed him to express that and experience that. For him, he was always most at home and closest to God when he was out in the woods, surrounded by nature.

Lately I've started this quest for personal transformation that I wrote about earlier. I'm trying to live a more "zen" kind of life--decluttering physically, emotionally, spiritually. One of the biggest things that's helped me with that is running. Good lord, I never in my life thought I'd be a runner, but over the past couple weeks I've found myself out on the trails at 9pm, 15F, with a flashlight and half a dozen layers, including a full-face mask. It's just that it's so clean, so purifying, to be out on a run, knowing that my mind is emptying and my body is strong enough to take me miles away from home and then miles back. Feeling the sun on my face or seeing the stars wheeling above while I pad out the miles. I've been doing some reading about running, (saving that for another post) and I'm really seeing what the true hard-core runners feel...I'm exhausted at the end of a run, but totally exhilarated and spiritually refreshed at the same time.

Whether it's just simple endorphins or something deeper, Dad...I see what you mean now.

Location:Greenwood,United States

Sunday, November 14, 2010

transformations and good introduction

A year ago if you had told me what I just did, I would have laughed in your face and called you nuts. As I write this, I'm sitting here on a 40F Sunday morning, looking out at cloudy November skies, and cooling down from a 4.3 mile run.  A run.  Running.  I always saw people out jogging and while maybe I didn't laugh at them, I kind of almost pitied them in a way.  They always looked so miserable, especially on days like today, headbands wrapped around their ears, the rest of their face windburnt and red, layers upon layers of clothes to keep out the winter.  I'd buzz past them in my nice warm car, probably sucking down a large Coke or a vanilla latte or something, and wonder what on earth could possess someone to just go running down the street.  

Somewhere in the back of my mind it may have occurred to me that there was a disconnect in my thought process somewhere, since I considered myself an athlete, playing soccer at least two nights a week in leagues full of people ten years younger than me.  But in all that, I never saw the point of running just for the sake of running.

I'm going to try to get back to blogging...I know it's been a long-assed time since I wrote anything more than a facebook post or twitter update, but there's definitely something to be said for sitting down and putting out a few paragraphs.  I'll try not to bore you, I'll try to find something profound to say at least once in awhile.  You see, I'm undergoing a transformation.  Running is the catalyst, but it goes so much deeper than that.  I'm seeing life in a whole new light these days.