Friday, January 28, 2011

The 2010 Forest Park Road Runners Annual Dinner & Awards Night

I'm going to cut to the chase because, despite how gaudy I can get when I deliberately want to brag and show-off, I really handle success almost as bad as I do defeat. So here it is. I won! I won the Male Runner of the Year Award for the 2nd consecutive year for my club which has nearly 100 members! Forest Park Road Runners is not only one of the best clubs in New York, but with the fact that its been around for 30 years, it's no doubt has great staying power.

And in addition to that, imagine when I was told that I was able to defend the crown for the first time ever in FPRR history. Wow!

Okay, some photos, a video, and then I'm outta here!

That's moi, Marilyn (Female Runner of the Year) and Tom (Member of the Year, also repeat!)

Alex and Karen, and Alex's mom Carmen and her better half Jimbo "Wood Panelin'" Lewis!

Wow. Who the hell am I ?

God. It sucks to be injured right now!!!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I'm getting better. Back now is just sore like someone used it as a punching bag...

Hey, guess what? As lousy as the title suggests, this is a marked improvement over how I felt just a few days ago. It's nice to know that even at 45 I'm more resilient than what I had given myself credit for. I went to 2 acupuncturist appointments, and feel better. I can now lay down in bed without worry of screaming. What a plus, right? I even did a little walking yesterday, to get the blood circulation moving. I went to my docs office to get my sick papers filled out for my job. I should be back at work by next Monday, and truthfully, I can't wait to get back to work. Staying at home is driving me mad, to be honest. How many movies and playstation 3 and bed rest can I handle? I thought a lot, but not so, as I've learned. Anyway, I really miss running, and I miss being my normal self. A little depressed to be exact. Everybody is giving me encouragement, especially Karen, who keeps telling me to hanf in there and that I will eventually be back to old form. I really hope so. I miss being me.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


I just got back from my 2nd ever trip to an acupuncturist (with yesterday being my first time ever). So far, and thanks to Zhong Sun, I'm acutally able to stand and sit without having to use my legs and arms to brace myself. Between her methods and my body's natural properties to wanting to heal itself, I'm feeling grateful that I am improving, however, I have at least a couple of weeks more before I even attempt to even try a jog. Walking I can do, but with all the ice outside, I have to be extremely cautious about where I walk.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Out of Commission

The title is one that I had hoped I would never have to use. Until last week, I was beginning to go on a roll. Registering three consecutive weeks of 30+ miles. And then it happened. On a snowy weekday, I had promised to take my kids sledding down Pilgrim Hill in central park.

As we walked up to the top, I noticed a couple of rather large moguls, surely the ones you want to avoid, at any age. As I got to the top of the hill, I noticed that my kids had already gone down the hill. With a camera and iphone in my backpack, I decided to throw it over my back, before going down.

It was on the very first downhill that disaster struck. Despite trying to steer clear of the path of the mogul, I was drawn directly towards it. Sitting in an upright position, and gaining speed, I realized that there was no way to prevent missing the mogul. I held as tight as I could, and before I knew it, I went airborne, at least a good 5 feet high. It was amazing that I held on to the board beneath me, however and with the force of gravity, my upper torso was arching back. I further tightened bracing for the impact, and when I landed, it was as if I were dropped from a sixth story window. I could swear I heard gasps from people around me, as I kept careening now totally out of control towards the bottom of the hill.

Once I got to the bottom, I was in so much pain, that I could not even move. My hip felt like as if it had been broken. And no sooner than I was experiencing this horrific feeling, another sled, this time a mother with her toddler kid, slammed into me, knocking me back down to the ground.

I could barely move. My kids ran over to me, nervous as they should have been. As I slowly got up to get out of the way of the remaining sledders, I placed myself on a bale of hay on the side of the track protecting against a tree. I couldn't even breathe the pain was so bad. And it took me minutes just to get my cellphone. My arms were violently shaking from the impact. I finally managed to contact Karen via text, and she called me back. She was at the gym, and raced over as fast as she could.

When she got there, the three of them nearly carried me to 5th Avenue, and got me into a cab ride. It was one of the most painful cab rides ever. We came upstairs, and feeling like I got into a 12 round steel cage match with the Undertaker, I laid down in my kids bed. As I kept whining as to why why why, my daughter Stephanie, assuming the role of psychiatrist told me that it was an accident and to maintain a positive attitude.

A few hours later, Karen had us sit down for dinner. I kept feeling some sharp pains near my hip area, but the muscle spasms were far worse. We sat, and ate, and for a moment, I thought things were getting better.

And then came the end of dinner.

As I started to stand up, the sheer brutality of the pain that shot down my lower right back and into my hip was so much, that I let out a ferocious yell. It was loud enough that my kids and Karen alike got scared. As I instinctively tried to move towards the bedroom, another blast of fury coursed through my back. Unmerciful pain that I cannot even describe accurately, other than to say that it felt like someone had taken a foot long knife and stabbed me all the way in, and turned it downward once inside. Again, I yelled for dear life.

At this point, my wife began to panic, and asked if she should call 911. I didn't want to scare the kids (though, I didn't realize how scared they already were with my horrifying screams), but as I tried to lay down in bed, the pain was even worse. It was the most crushing feeling I've ever had, and this is coming from someone who has gone through over 8000 miles of running and a vasectomy to name a few things. I yelled yet again as I tried to roll over onto my back, and at this point I went from saying "no" to begging for "yes" to call an ambulance.

The EMS workers responded immediately and were there within 10 minutes, as they rushed me to Mount Sinai Hospital here on 5th and 99th, Bernadette came to get our kids.

I was able to walk slowly into the back of the ambulance, this was only the second time in my life I had ever been the victim requiring an ambulance (the first was when I was training for the 1984 New York City Marathon - story for another day).

When I got there, they placed me on a wheelchair, and wheeled me into the hospital. How patethic I thought; This was the hospital that I would pass by doing 7:30 pace miles, and now I'm being wheeled into inside of it.

Fortunately, the EMS workers were very nice and helped me not have to wait in the waiting room. They took me straight to triage. Moments later, Karen showed up (God Bless her), she had food for me.

The hospital is a very sad place. People much sicker than you, throwing up, dying, old people with not much hope; this is another reason why we should all do what we can to stay healthy and avoid hospitals at all costs.

Not long after Karen arrived, they took me for xrays, and made me give a urine sample to see if I had punctured my kidney. After all, there was a metal camera in that backpack that rammed itself into the soft of my back when I landed on what might have been a snow-covered boulder.

Forutnately, no blood in the urine. Thank God.

The X-rays came back and they were all negative as well. In fact, the doctor joked about how nice my spine was.

I laid back in the bed in triage for awhile longer, but felt bad for Karen, so I asked to be checked out, on my own recognizence. We got home at about 1am.

Before I left though, they gave me a valium, a percoset and about 600 mgs of Motrin. I also took another 400 mg of Advil. Laying in bed at home was eventful. And despite all of the meds, I could hardly sleep that night, from all of the pain I was still in. Fortunately, I literally passed out at around 6am. Karen called my boss, to inform him what had happened later on that day. Honestly, I didn't even wake up until 3pm that afternoon.

Too late to cancel the Jet's party that Karen and I were hosting. We just let people come in, and warned them of my condition. I spent my time between laying in my bed, and coming out for cameos. Everyone felt bad for me, but none more than I did. I kept looking around at all my palques, and my running achievements and wondered if I will ever feel normal again.

Monday, came and went. I called my Doctor. Doctor Ezra Bendit. He and especially his staff, are the worst doctors ever. I have nothing against Doctors in Long Island, but I can honestly tell you that they are about a hair better than a quack. I still, for example, have a pain in my right upper shoulder from November of 2009, and it is still causing me pain. Anyway, I called to advise them of the situation, giving them great detail, and offering to fax copies of the of the xrays, the reports, everything, and to hope that I can get a diagnosis, medication, or at least a specialist referrered. The lady I spoke to on the phone, Debra, I think her name was, had to be the rudest person on Earth. After explaining to her the ordeal that I had gone through, her only answer was that I had to come in to be examined, later on that Thursday. And this was after I explained that I had no way to be able to drive a car 50 miles in the condition that I was in. She made no exceptions, offered no alternative, but instead said, "Perhaps you should find another doctor" and hung up the telephone on me!

Doctor Ezra Bendit. YOU, AND YOUR STAFF ARE FIRED! I only hope that EVERYONE sees my blog and stays away from your horrible little practice at 1181 Old Country Road, st. 3 , Plainview, NY 11803 Phone Number 516-931-2320.

The only reason why I had gotten a doctor in Long Island in the first place, was to save time from leaving my job to visit a doctor, but I have decided that my health is more important than my job, and if I have to now take a day off from work just to get just treatment, I will.

Upon the advice of my good friend Claudio, whom I met through Karen, he suggested that the Hospital For Special Surgery, is among the best in the world. They recently merged with Cornell Medical Center, another prestigious center. At the football party, Claudio told me that he had issues with his wrist, and after a few months, it was like new again. He sold me.

I found a doctor by the name of Dexter Sun a neurologist. I can't say anything but great things about him and his staff, and best of all, they take my insurance! Dr. Sun, was very nice to me, and imediately had me undergo an EMG (Electronmyography). It's a test to see whether or not I had sustained nerve damage, Fortunately, no nerve damage. Whew. He then prescribed, prednisone, percosets, valium, and more motrin. With all these drugs, I decided to keep a running log of when and how much I was taking, plus I would also log an "episode" for whenever I had a yelling fit from moving in the wrong direction. Trust me there were many of them. Even as of this morning, Friday, I've had some doozies.

I went back to see Dr. Dexter, yesterday, and he was dismayed, not at me, but at the fact that they still had not gotten the xray reports from Mount Sinai. So he sent me across the street to the Hospital For Special Surgery to have another one done. Then today, I went to see him again, and he had me do the MRI. I had a little bit of a tough time laying down without yelling, but the people at HSS were sweethearts, and they did a great job in getting me to lay down without passing out from the pain. I nearly fell asleep while in the MRI for the 20 or so minutes.

Later on the results I got were all good. No nerve damage, and no skeletal issues of any kind. No spine injury, bulging or slipped discs. So despite all of the pain I've been experiencing, God must have been on my side somewhat, to have spared me a much worse outcome.

Still, was the issue of the involuntary pain that even today, Friday, was so crippling, that all I can do is freeze up when I experience it. Dr. Dex, was still unhappy that I was still feeling this way, so he suggested to see the best acupuncturist he knew over in Fort Lee, just over the GW Bridge. Karen left early from work to get me and drive me over there.

Unfortunately, she does not take insurance, but what she did for me this evening was something of a minor miracle. I still feel pain as we speak, but the shooting pain is not as common now. I never had acupuncture done on me before. And it was a challenge for me to get on the bed. But with her help, I got on, and she place several needles in my back (and you know how much I hate needles, that should show you how desperate I've become with all of this). Then she applied a slight vibration, played some soothing music, and came back every so often to check on me. She also placed some heat on the needles, which felt good. After it was done, she rubbed some alcohol over the area, "L3" she called it. Initially, I yelled, but then as she kept doing it, I did not yell. "Conditioning the muscle to release and relax"as she dubbed it.

I have another appointment with her tomorrow. She, like Doctor Sun, have been a saving grace to my sanity thus far. I hope I can recover from this soon. In the meantime, I am making this a public promise to everyone. I am never going sledding, skiing, or anything that does not involve running again.

As for my job, I spoke to my HR. They have no reason to see putting me on short term disability, now that they have a letter from the Doctor, suggesting that while I am still in too much pain to drive that long a distance to/from work (1hr-2hrs each way) that he suggests that I work from home. According to HR, if my manager agrees. I can start working again this monday from home. I really hope I can work right away, I feel horrible not helping out my team, despite my unintended and unfortuntate event. I can sit for hours on end with no pressure to my back, so logically I think I will be able to. All I can do is wait and see.

Anyway, and like the title suggests, I'm out of commission now, but I will be back. Slowly but surely. And I will have my day in the sun again. I promise you all of that!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Math question: What does a Apple iPod Nano a wireless set of headphones and a hacksaw add up to?

Ran pretty well tonight. Sinking down a sub-7 for the last of my 6 miles. I still hate treadmills though, and am looking forward for even a traction-less surface run around the big loop in Central Park this Saturday.

Awhile ago, when I was the owner of a shuffle, I had bought these cool headphones that allowed me to snap the iPhod shuffle right into the ear compartment, enabling me to run completely wire free. Well the shuffle days are long over, but I still had those headphones.

I've now been the proud papa of the latest gen Nano, which is not much larger than the shuffle. Hmmm... I wonder...

So...I took the hacksaw out of my toolbox, and started going to work!

And....SUCCESS! Here's the final look:

Yep. That's Thin Lizzy if you're squinting too hard!

The sound quality is good, and the freeness of no wires, is a blast. Another weapon for the warrior Blogrunner to behold!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Week 1: It's Nice To Be Running Again.

After a touch'n'go December, it was nice to get back to some form of normalcy (if that even exists) in my world. Finished up with 34 miles, and thanks to Mother Nature, most of it was indoors. Never minded running in the cold, but running on the ice ain't what's written on the box the contains my Brooks Adrenaline size 10s.

My quip about this week would be the sluggishness which is to be expected. All in all a good start to the year. No marathons until October for me (at least I think), so plenty of time to get the program right.

My wife hates the winters here, and being that's she Floridian, I can understand and sympathize. However, it's in the hope and reality of knowing that great days for running are ahead of me again, that makes the anticipation of kicking ass-phalt soon enough, all the more fun.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Runnin' With The Team

It was nice to finally get a much-missed opportunity to run with my team, the Forest Park Road Runners!

I got there a few minutes late, parking my car well down Woodhaven Blvd, so I had to book* to catch up to the team. About 1/3rd of the way in, I caught up to Bonnie, who was running with John for whom I haven't seen in a long time. We saw Mickaelle run by, and a few moments later, Pauline ran past us, turned around, and ran along with Lori and others who were with us as well. Before long our esteemed Prez, Jack was in the group. He was wearing shorts on a day where the mercury struggled to get above 26 degrees. But that's what makes Jack, Jack.

Going to the new clubhouse was interesting. The former entrance was completed BRICKED OFF! The entrance now is in the front, facing Woodhaven Boulevard. The new clubhouse is smaller that the old one, but at least it is new and freshly painted. Honestly, I wish the Parks Dept. could have expanded the size of our clubhouse, because it makes it challenging to have everyone who comes to these meetings a chance to sit, or at least not feel squeezed in. Given the sorry state of the economy, New York in particular, I guess I should be considerate for what they did for us.

Once inside, I saw a lot of friends that I've been too long in not seeing enough. Ben, Ed, Max, Ellie, Tom (Brogan), Wilson, were among the many that braved the elements today that showed up. Many had asked how Karen was doing. I kept repeating the same answer, "She is doing better than us. She decided to sleep in!"
Bonnie was there selling some team merchandise, and I scooped up a nice brown furry (or 'ferry' as Karen pokes fun about how I pronounce it) hat.

It looks like our annual team celebratory dinner will be on Saturday, January 29th. This should work well because my sister and my stepmom and Jim will be here. Hopefully, they will like to come with us for this fun event!

Our team dues (for Karen and I) are due. Have to note to write it down and bring it with me to the party! At $10, membership is an absolute steal! The club is going to subsidize even more than that per person for the party, so imagine that!

Also our annual Forest Park race was announced to be held on May 15th. Whereas I was not able to participate last year, I'm going to do whatever it takes to clear my calendar so that I can be on hand. Not to run it, but rather to participate, race marshall, hand out water, take photos or whatever else may be needed.

As for me, I did 4 miles on the nose today. And while my overall speed was a little over 11 minutes a mile, with all of the chit-chatting I did along the course, I felt so much better today than I did yesterday. The submission of this blog is proof of it. I was so out of it yesterday, that I actually took a nap in the afternoon before waking up to see the Jets take care of Peyton's Colts last night. A nap? And in the middle of the day???? What am I, middle-aged or something?

33 miles for the week. Up 10% from last week. Perfect. I feel like I'm coming back.
Watch out world.