Saturday, January 01, 2011

Close One Chapter, Open The Next

2010 - in some ways, a year that I would like to just wipe away from the books.  And, a lot of that is  based on just one factor in my daily life (albeit a big one).  Turns out that viral cardiomyopathy tends to put a pretty big damper on your running performances.  And, when partaking in the sport is a bit of a passion, that tends to cast a pall on things.  And, the cloud continues to hang low while I wait till March to see if the drug therapy is working; or, if my heart weakness/low ejection fraction is going to be a long term and/or permanent issue.

But hey, even with that, the big picture still remains all fine and dandy.  When I really kick back and look at things, life is pretty much fantabulishous.

A great wife in Erin - we celebrated our 25th Wedding Anniversary this summer !!!!!!!  Two great kids in Nick and Zoe.  A great career in a job that is challenging and my employer treats me at a valuable part of the organization.  Coaching the Plains High School XC program for the 2nd year was a kick and it was truly enjoyable to get to hang out with this group of kids in the fall.  My parents are now 81 and they're still around to enjoy their grand kids.  My brother just had his first baby at the age of 46; and, it's fantastic to have a new member in the clan.  Thanksgiving with my family in Paradise Valley.  Christmas with Erin, Nick, Zoe and Peg (mother in law) at home in the Clark Fork Valley.  4th of July weekend at the Vermilion Bay property.  XC camp in August during the Huckleberry Festival.  Taking mom and dad to my brother's new house in the Seattle area over Memorial Day.  Doing the Dave Matthews Day Concert at the Gorge Amphitheater in Washington with Nick over Labor Day weekend.  Following Zoe all year to Track, Cross Country and Wrestling events.

When I look back, it was a great year filled with rich and enjoyable memories.  But, 2010 is now in the books.  Today begins a new future.  An empty basket just waiting to be filled.  And, looking ahead, it has all the makings of being filled with with amazing life adventures.

Nick getting married in March in Arizona to our soon to be daughter in law Katie.
Nick scheduled to graduate from Arizona State (cum laud no less) in early May.
Zoe scheduled to graduate from Plains High School (possible valedictorian???) in late May.
My first season as the Head Track Coach at Plains High School.
Camp Vigilante in July.
Nick heading off to pursue his PhD in genetics this fall (so far he has interviews schedule at Cornell, Duke and Chicago)
Zoe heading off to college to study material science (so far she has been accepted at Montana State and Illinois); and, she hopes, Navy ROTC.
Tony & Erin becoming empty nesters and having to learn how to live without kids in the house.

And, running - what adventures will happen to this old buzzard during the coming season????????  I suspect that lots of that will ultimately be dictated by what goes on with the old ticker and how successful I am in seeing improvements to my cardiac function.  Regardless, I'm looking forward to undertaking a weird personal science experiment and maximizing my potential for the year.  We'll just have to take what gets thrown at us with the cardiomyopathy and the age (48) and make the best of it.

And, no better time to get started on that path than this morning.  We spent New Year's Eve at Silver Mountain Resort in Kellogg, Idaho.  (We being me, Erin, Nick, Katie and Zoe.)  The other 4 went out this morning to hit the ski slopes.  But, thanks to some nagging knee pain in my patella, I begged out.  The vastus medialis (the head of the quadriceps on the inside of the leg and just above the knee) on my "bad" leg (the leg in which I fractured my kneecap in 2008) seems to have gotten pretty weak over the last couple of months.  The resulting atrophy has meant that my kneecap isn't tracking properly right now and is causing some pain when running.  (But, especially in any activity causing eccentric contraction - i..e skiing, jumping, etc.)  Since being told to cut back on my mileage for a while by the cardiologist, I had also backed off the core and strength work.  Quad got weak. Knee got sore.

My form and rhythm have been compromised a bit in my running. But, I can get in some miles if I really watch my foot plant and keep my pace in check.  But, didn't want to risk really getting it sore by putting on the skis.  So, just hung out at the resort all day.  Sort of a relaxing day of kicking back, doing a little reading and playing on the computer.

But; first, had to worship the mileage gods on the cold (4 degrees) crisp morning.  Mostly on the Cour de Alene Trail (that runs 71 miles from Mullan to the west) that runs right past the resort.  With the sun out, it felt warmer than 4; and, I got through 3 very easy miles.  My form is pretty ragged; but, when I got down to about 7:30 pace, things smoothed out and the knee felt way better.  Got back to the motel and did about 15 minutes of quad work and strenghtening for the quad/knee stability.  In just a week of getting back to the strengthening work, I'm already seeing improvements.

It's amazing how much fitness I've lost since I backed off the miles in early November.  And, while wallowing in self pity a bit, my diet suffered some as well and I'm about 8 to 10 pounds heavier than I would like.  Add a gimpy knee and it's makes for a situation that will take some time to get turned around.  But, as I said earlier.  I'm actually looking forward to it a bit.  A new challenge, some new goals, a new chapter, a new trail.   2011 - here comes the Muddy Buzzard!!!!

See you on the roads, tracks and trails.

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