Showing posts from June, 2016

All drugged up to go outside

Beat and I planned to hit the high country on Sunday. I was excited about this, but oddly nervous, given the plan was a half-day hike on a non-technical trail. "Thirteen thousand feet? I wonder how that's going to go."

In the morning I gulped down coffee, then continued the self-medication with two Aleve for my hand, two Claritin for the horrendous grass pollen season, full-body coverage of SPF 50 sunscreen paste with so much zinc oxide it doesn't rub in, and since the high-altitude UV barrage charred patches of skin that I missed last week, another sweep with sunscreen spray. Arm sleeves, body lube, bug dope just in case. Frozen water bladder, buff (snot rag), hat, sunglasses. Rigid arm brace to protect my still-healing wrist in the likely event of falling, which has happened in 25 percent of my runs since I had surgery a month ago. Finally, one hit of the inhaler for pre-exercise airway prep. More inhaler hits were sure to follow later.

Sometimes I miss those care…

Lazy days of summer

I'm probably not the only one surprised that the summer solstice has already come and gone. It's been a quiet start to the season for me, with no big adventures or races planned anytime soon, the whole gimpy hand thing, and a disconcerting decline in my running fitness — possibly due to allergies, asthma, or just falling out of shape ... I admittedly have been a bit lazy.

I actually had a decent start with running in Colorado when I first moved here in late April — back when there was still some snow on the ground and I wasn't acclimated. Now, instead of improving, I'm getting worse. I wish I could see stats of my VO2 max now versus 13 months ago, because I'd expect to see a decline. Although I doubt that the whole "I ruined my lungs during the Tour Divide" theory has real merit, this continues to be my fear. Hard breathing doesn't earn me much these days. My legs remain bored with slow plodding, and yet plod slowly is all I can do before dizziness s…

Days at home

I was loping through tall grass on a fading forest road when it occurred to me what I miss most about cycling. I'd been pondering this since I walked past my mountain bike with its sad deflated tires that haven't been touched since January, yelled at my fingers while fumbling with the laces of my running shoes, and stepped outside into wind-blast of grass pollen and heat to go for a run that I felt strangely not enthused about, at all. I say strangely because nine days passed after my surgery before I felt stable and pain-free enough to venture back to trails, and I thought I'd be more excited about it.
I've been feeling down this week. It's not just about my hand, although I'd be lying if I didn't admit that pain and lack of instant-fix (which nobody expected) weren't a large percentage of my sour mood. There was also, of course, the latest batch of world news, mass shootings and this debacle of an election year. There was the onset of spring allergy …

Between injury and recovery

On Friday I had carpal tunnel release surgery in my right hand. The procedure required a long vertical slit through the palm, where the surgeon cut the transverse carpal ligament to relieve pressure on the median nerve, and also removed a fair amount of scar tissue from the area. The scar tissue was especially surprising. A majority of people who suffer from chronic CTS - many for years before they seek treatment - never build up scar tissue and have better nerve response than I did after three months of symptoms. Everything about my case points to acute CTS, except for I never had a damaging wrist injury. Or did I? The long tunnel of scars and bruises is becoming increasingly murky.

What the surgery did determine is that this was never going to get better on its own, and may not still. It's up to the nerve to heal now that the compression has been released. It was, however, badly compressed. As soon as the wound heals I can employ massage to prevent scar tissue buildup and hand …