Friday, February 17, 2012

I am getting some small signs of hope out of my left knee. While the pain at full flexion is still there it seems to be responding well to physical therapy, Graston, and strengthening exercises. I must say, this reminder of my own immortality has been truly eye-opening as it is often difficult to navigate the blurry line between emotion and reason when it comes to running injuries. While I did enjoy a full two-months of injury-free running in December and January the 20 days I've been unable to run over these past three weeks seem almost endless. Please, when I get back to running, remind me to take it easy!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I have been working with the folks at the WS100 in pulling together a couple of great events during the lead-up to this year's race. I am particularly excited about the "Veteran's Panel" which will take place on Thursday, June 21st at 5pm in the Squaw Valley Lodge. Like last year, this event will provide people with an opportunity to hear from a panel of experienced Western States runners of varying abilities. Topics such as nutrition, race strategy and course knowledge will be covered and ample time will be allowed for Questions and Answers. Stay tuned over the next few months for the announcement of the panelists.

Additionally, I am thrilled to have been invited to speak at a pre-Western States reception for the Squaw Valley Institute at the Plumpjack on Thursday, June 21st following the Veteran's Panel. The Squaw Valley Institute is one of the premier non-profit organizations providing support and education to the Greater Lake Tahoe Basin and this reception will highlight the strong bond between the Institute and the Western States Endurance Run. While the event is still more than four months away it is exciting to see such great things beginning to take shape as the race continues to evolve in this new era.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Thank you all for the advice about my meniscus tear. For now I've decided to forego surgery in an attempt to heal the problem conservatively over the next few weeks. I am rehabbing pretty aggressively and have a great team of supporters so I am hopeful. In the meantime, I am attempting to get over my allergy to chlorine and confronting the brutal fact that I am, indeed, getting older.

Retropost of the Week
Another post from October, 2007

I admit to being a proponent of Tim Noakes’ Central Governor model and this fall I am putting the theory to the test. As most of you know, Noakes’ theory suggests that a significant factor in running success is training the mind. Indeed, training the body is essential and good genes are helpful but Noakes notes that a well-trained mind can lead to performances that exceed expectations more often than training or genes can. And after all, exceeding expectations is something we all hope to do once in a while.

So, for me, this fall is a good time to test the theory. Clearly, I am experiencing the accumulated fatigue brought on by having run three 100-mile races since late June and as such every day is a new adventure for me as I continue to travel down uncharted territory. Furthermore, the shorter days of fall, the more intense work schedule I have at school, and the chilly temperatures are all sapping my motivation. And that is where the mind-training part comes into play. In May, I must admit, I have absolutely no problem getting out the door to run. Motivated by the eternal hope of spring and the burning desire to be adequately prepared for Western States makes my mind hum and I am ready and eager to run every day. Now, several months and many miles later, it’s a bit tougher to keep that edge.

For me, the training of the mind at this point in the year is training for the long haul. Every run is characterized by some mental challenge. Most of the time I present myself with a hypothetical mental challenge like coming up from No Hands Bridge on the edge of breaking 17 hours or looking up to Sam Merrill and seeing Tommy Nielsen’s flashlight beam and some of the time I set up a barrier that I should beat even though I am tired (get to the fire hydrant in 6 minutes, run this entire hill, hammer this downhill to get a little extra quad pounding). While these are little, seemingly meaningless goals in the grand scheme of my physical training, they are essential for my mental preparation.

Just over two weeks remain until my run at Javelina. It will be the culmination of the “Andy Slam” for 2007. Certainly, it’s nothing like the Grand Slam but it’s a first for me. And, I must admit, I want to win. I am not sure if I can but I’ll give it a try and hope for the best. My body may be beaten and worn down but my mind will be focused. With the right training it seems to me that the mind is much more resilient than the body and if I can take that knowledge into my race I may just get my third win of the year and gain some mental fitness in the process.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

I haven't written for a few days largely because I've been letting some bad news sink in. On Thursday I was diagnosed with torn meniscus in my left knee. I had initially been told it was not torn but after seeking a second opinion and a closer look it is, in fact, torn.

It is a mild tear on the outside, medial edge of the meniscus so it could potentially heal without surgery. That said, I am, at this point, still contemplating what to do and may not be able to wait this one out without surgery.

For me, I must say, these last eight months have been really eye-opening. First, a severe case of plantar fasciitis and then, just when that was clearing up, my first real knee issue. Of course, I am taking my own advice and maintaining a positive attitude and practicing patience which will hopefully bear fruit in the end. And, I am currently on a ski vacation with my family and it's dumping snow so, how bad could it be? I still have my health, a good job, and a great life. Perspective....

Any advice on dealing with a mildly torn medial meniscus would be much appreciated!