Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Bountiful Corn!! A harvester transferring corn to a truck in a field on Sharp Road.

Driving over the Bay Bridge yesterday morning in route to my 6-week post surgical check up, I was struck by the beauty of the building day; light wind, crisp sunshine, fall colors, and warm 65 degree temeratures. It confirmed for me that packing running clothes in the backpack earlier that morning, was not just an exercise in futility. The plan was to return to the Eastern Shore after my Baltimore appointment and hit the roads and trails on the island at Wye.

Wood Frog running the road at Wye Island Tuesday afternoon.

It was 2:07 when I closed Julius’s door at the picnic area to start the seven mile “out and back” run to Ferry Point Trail. Decked in a sleeveless EMS shirt and tanked up on water, I quickly fell into pace and took in the surroundings. Immediately, the sounds of Wye filled the rhythm of my mind; honking of geese, twittering of birds, rustling of corn stalks by deer, sporadic crunching of leaves by squirrels, and the drone of a nearby combine-harvester filling the bin with corn. But, along with that came the sense that I was alone; alone in a place where I am usually in the company of running buddies. Michael Valliant and I have enjoyed a couple of hundred miles of running together at Wye Island over the years. It was with him that we laid out pre-marathon “long” runs and discovered the rejuvenation powers of a few hours running on the island can bring. We have enjoyed good runs with our other buddies, as well, all of whom have enjoyed Wye Island’s fields of grain and forests of maturity.

Right after my appointment I thought about texting the RUR group; inviting them to join me for a run at Wye. Surely, one of them might be able to play hooky? But, something made me think otherwise. Perhaps it was the thought that I might ruin the rest of their day, making them wish they could meet me, when they couldn’t. Or, maybe I didn’t call anyone because deep down I needed to have a solo rejuvenation time on my own two feet.

My right knee draws my attention while I run. I have pending a surgical procedure to adjust a torn meniscus. I can feel it with every strike I take, some with less intensity than others. But, I’ve run about a thousand miles on the knee like it is. However, the injury got worse after the Trail Dawgs Race in April, and now it is hard to have a run where I don’t notice it (a few times I’ve had to stop in the middle of a run because of the pain).

But, with recovering from shoulder surgery, the thought of having the knee done seems overwhelming. I have decided to delay knee surgery until my shoulder recovery has gotten to a point where it is no longer intensely taxing on my body. Dr. Murthi assured me that I was recovering extremely well, ahead of schedule in some areas, and that the atrophy and weakness of my left shoulder is going to take a long time to recover. I was encouraged by what he said. In the week leading up to my appointment with him, I have been experiencing pain in my arm that has held me back from doing some of my strengthening exercises. This has been very discouraging. Running does not hurt my shoulder, at all. Patience.

The Rise Up Runners who supported (Joel???) the Michele Laughman 5K in the rain on Sunday. From right: Lori, Laura, Wood Frog, Shaun, Mike B, Mike V, Brennan, Dominic, and Kathy.

On the brighter side, I was able to run the Michele Laughman 5K on Sunday with my friends. Even though I was at least three minutes off from my PR, I felt strong. Even my knee seemed to behave. So, during yesterday’s run at Wye, as long as I kept my mind active in thought, my knee didn’t bother me.

On the return route from Ferry Point the sun was strong on my back. I slid my shirt off my shoulders and let the sun warm them. With positive thought and visualization I willed the sun’s warmth to heal my ailment. It was a good mile of running like that in the sun. With focus on my left scapular muscles I could feel my blood respond to the sun’s energy and warm that area. It is blood flow that heals. The mind can actually direct blood flow, but it takes practice. I, hopefully, inched my shoulder to a fuller recovery.

Wye Island is a place where:
· green Osage fruits lie on the ground
· cool briny water from the river at Ferry Point feels refreshing on my face
· pick-up trucks with teenage boys arrive for an afternoon dove hunt (at first I thought they were looking for a place to drink beer)
· birdwatchers seize their prey
· the roads never get any shorter
· a person has full opportunity to clear one’s head
Pay no mind to the orange "CHECK ENGINE" light. Julius's 220,000 odometer reading.
On a lighter note: Our good reliable friend turned another milestone in his life yesterday. Julius has provided my family and friends with 220,000 miles of transportation up and down the East Coast and beyond. The only place where my family has spent more time is in our living room and beds. Julius is a reliable friend; we salute you.

This coming weekend brings a confusing array of offerings. I will do my second bout of coaching a Saturday swim practice for the Masters. Then, what to do? St. Michaels High School is having a 5K run. The rescheduled Tour de Trappe is being held offering 10, 40, or 100 mile options. Hmm…what to do? AND, rain is in the forecast. We’ll see what happens. In the meantime, swim, run, ride, appreciate, and love ~

Friday, October 2, 2009

Four Week Update

It has been four weeks since my shoulder surgery. At times I feel I’m 90% back to where I was before surgery; other times less. I’ve eased back into work these last few weeks, as I have with running, cycling, and swimming. Physical Therapy has been a good part of my recovery thanks to the good people at AquaCare in Easton. Brian, Jeff, Laura, Kim, and others have moved, twirled, stretched, pushed, yanked, and zapped me in all the right directions. It is a fascinating field.

There may be a 5K or two on the horizon this month, but there is also an appointment with a knee specialist on the twelfth. Surgery on my meniscus tear may be inevitable; more on that later.