If you're new to Cycling-Through, please take a second and read some of the "Posts of note" in the list to the right. Then, if you see others that you appreciate enough to recommend for that list, let me know.
Also, please feel free to comment - even anonymously if you must.
Thanks for reading!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Picture of Disappointment

The weather had been predicting rain for the entire weekend. I was thrilled. Pastor, Matt, and I had planned another 6:30 am hike in Briones, and I was hoping for some spectacularly nasty weather.

For goodness sake...
I get up in the dark and ride 6 miles to the park with lights to keep from getting plastered. We hike through the mud for upwards of 10 miles, climbing an average of 3000'. I ride the bike home.
...not even the faintest element of adventure to breach the placid surface on the sea of the routine. The least we could ask for is dumping rain.

We got none. A barely perceptible mist in the headlamps was the only meager meteorological nod toward augmenting our adventure. From the summit of Briones Peak we witnessed the next county getting deluged.

We got none. I sit here typing - dry, warm, caffeinated - post adventure. It's raining outside.

All was not lost. We were briefly witness to the eruption of Mt. Diablo. A providential parting of the heavens provided a strangely prosaic validation to a mountain lamentably victimized in its designation. In spite of the metaphoric austerity, we were all 3 taken aback by the momentary show of artistry. For-shame, We had naught but the cameras on our phones.

Oh, that You would rend the heavens!
That You would come down!
That the mountains might shake at Your presence—
2 As fire burns brushwood,
As fire causes water to boil—
To make Your name known to Your adversaries,
That the nations may tremble at Your presence!
3 When You did awesome things for which we did not look,
You came down,
The mountains shook at Your presence.
4 For since the beginning of the world
Menhave not heard nor perceived by the ear,
Nor has the eye seen any God besides You,
Who acts for the one who waits for Him.
Isaiah 64:1-4

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Recovery - Running - Rain

Another $30 co-pay bought me a few minutes with John P. Woll MD, who after studying my lackluster knee xrays declared that the only really good chance of mollifying the Pre-patellar Bursitis causing my knee to look like it swallowed a golf ball, was a simple outpatient surgical procedure. "We have an opening tomorrow if you're interested."

Sensing my hesitancy, he offered to drain the swelling again and let me think about it. Suddenly a needle in my knee was sounding profoundly cheery. I think there was only 1 needle this time, though I wasn't watching. He froze my knee at the injection point rather than sticking me with a small amount of anesthetic like the last guy. That worked for me, and I was up and walking out of the room behind him, rather lying slimy with sweat waiting for my blood pressure to come back up. Finally he wrapped the knee and told me to keep it so for 5 - 6 days encouraging the swelling to stay down. Dr. Woll still only offered me a 40% chance of it actually solving the problem.

It worked. Sort of.

I'm running again, and riding a little. Vince and I rode a short 50 mile loop last Saturday, and that, after having run about 5 hilly trail miles on Thursday afternoon. I had been drained earlier Thursday morning, so with my knee looking normal again, I was powerless against the urge to be back out in the open with my heart pounding and lungs burning. I had my brace on, and kept it wrapped as instructed for the majority of 6 days. I'm no longer bracing or wrapping the knee (I could hardly stand it, plus it made my lower leg swell if I didn't move around), but the knee swelling has still come and gone, though to a far lesser degree, over the course of the last week. I haven't eliminated surgery from my options though procrastination has been victorious so far. I guess winter is the best time to recover and I should get it on if I'm going to go there.

A few spitting rain drops were refreshing, though a poignant reminder that summer has surrendered to fall.

This Thursday I ran in the Martinez hills again - alone, with the first real storm front of fall 2010 moving in just a few thousand feet above the peaks I was crossing. 4.6 miles with 1000' of elevation gain was a good warm up to our family walk to Baskin Robbins. This was Becky and I's 10th anniversary celebration. We were doing it up big with 1 scoop apiece.
I had brought a plastic picnic table cloth to throw over Gianna in the jogging stroller just in case the sky opened up on us. The rest of us wore rain jackets that really only proved useful against a variant irrigation sprinkler half way home.
My 4.6 mile run, with a double loop around the high school track.

This morning Pastor, Matt, and I hiked from Old Briones Rd. around 6:30am. With 2 blinkeys and 2 headlights, I slogged along the soaked streets on my mountain bike to get there right on time - completely soaked - not from the drizzle, but from perspiration trapped inside my rain jacket. The high tech fabrics they make technical cycling gear from are designed to promote "breathing" and evaporation of the inevitable perspiration. The rain gear is supposed to allow water vapor (evaporating sweat) to exit whilst preventing rain from entering. Supposed to. I fear that I may be vaporizing more than it can handle. Fortunately everything else I wear is "quick dry" so about a mile down the trail I was reasonably comfortable. Then the trail began climbing - and the process started all over again.

I met these six guys on the trail and took their picture as they sorted out their route.

I'm still awaiting the tally of miles we covered, though my unofficial total comes to nearly 11 miles in 3.5 hours. We climbed at least 2000', but that is certainly conservative.

Another 6 miles on the bike brought me home to a warm (second) breakfast, and the water bottle of coffee, that I had forgotten on the kitchen table at 6:00 am. It warmed up just fine in the microwave.

I don't see sunshine in the forecast for at least 2 more days. I fear it is time to break out the cold and wet weather gear for good, or possibly just lay off and send the "ok I'll do it" email to Dr. Woll. I'll think about it tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

She Was Right Again

So I've had some weird swelling on my knee. A Kaiser doctor drained it for me (using 3 separate needles) over a week ago, and drained the vast majority of blood from my cranium at the same time. As I was watching exam room ceiling swim above me, I heard the doctor saying something about my pre-patellar bursitis possibly coming back if I didn't stop doing whatever had brought it on. I was still trying to figure out what I had done to "bring it on," as the main cause is supposedly spending time on your knees. I received no clear or likely causation from the doctor nor admonition regarding cycling or running.

I have a 9 month old and a 7 year old, so my time spent on hands and knees may have spiked a little recently, but still...

24 hours after having my knee drained into a syringe roughly the size of San Francisco Bay, my left knee was bulging again. After a week of hopeful procrastination I emailed my doctor, who immediately ordered x rays and scheduled me with an orthopedist.

A week and a half after the needles I showed up for the x rays. At check in the technician indicated that I still had an x ray pending for a wrist injury from several months back.

Oh yeah... My wrist injury from New Years Day (And re-injury on the Tahoe Flume trail in August)

I had called for that appointment to placate my wife back near the beginning of the year, but then conveniently never showed up. The technician behind the desk informed me that they could nuke both appendages for the price of one - and I just couldn't say no.

Just for the record: I don't like going into rooms that have warning signs and lights all over the outside of the door, and I don't like the fact that the x ray tech always dives behind a thick wall and a pane of glass, leaving me posed and exposed while crunching and sucking noises emit from far walls and nearby instruments in rapid succession.

She blasted my knees and wrist in impossible poses at various angles, and then sent me on my radioactive way.

I got a phone call from a doctor today. About my wrist? "It seems that sometime in the recent past you must have fractured the scaphoid bone in your wrist..."

Becky's gonna love this...

She literally punched me when I told her.

You can read about it here. It might as well be talking about me.

Hopefully I'll get some good news about my knee in the next week or so when I visit the next doctor. I'm backing off in the mean time. Not that I have much choice - remember that 9 month old and 7 year old...? Maybe I'll work in a commute ride just before my appointment so the doctor can really see it bulge.