Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The diagnosis

Got done visiting with the ENT (ears, nose and throat) specialist not too long ago. My submandibular gland is still swollen, but it seems to have receded some since a week ago and is certainly less painful (in fact, I'm totally pain free now). Basically have to play it by ear (and nose and throat...see what I did there?) for a few months. If I have a recurrence of pain or the inflammation simply doesn't go away, then surgery is probably a definite. Otherwise, it will hopefully clear up on its own given time.

In any case, I'm back to running and it's about damn time I started focusing since I'm a mere 26 weeks away from Bighorn. So far away, yet so close. I hammered out 11 miles in two separate runs yesterday, which means my mileage for the day exceeded my mileage from all of last week (for some reason, I didn't feel much like running when I was in agonizing pain or drugged up with Vicodin). My second run yesterday was a 4.8 mile jaunt up Lookout Mtn. The mountain appears to be totally snow free when viewed from town, but of course I found some hidden snow fields once I got up there. Really, though, the snow was pretty minimal and was packed down well, which makes for pretty decent running. The fact that I was running outside in shorts just a few days before Christmas is fairly remarkable in itself. And, I was pleasantly surprised that even after all the time off last week, I was able to run the entire runnable route yesterday, albeit slowly. I say "runnable" route, because there's a bit of rock crawling required just before the summit. That stretch might be runnable by someone with mountain goat genes, but not by me. It's even warmer today (52!...on December 20th!), so the plan is to hit the Tinton Trail just outside of Spearfish after work to assess the snow situation there. Alas, snow is in the forecast for tomorrow, so whatever the conditions are now, they are certain to change in the very near future, but I'm determined to tough it out and do as much trail running as possible this winter (even if it requires snowshoes). If I'm going to survive Bighorn, I don't have much of a choice.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I'm Back

Believe it or not, I am still alive. Seems like the last few months just flew by. Really I didn't have much to post about running-wise, but I guess that's no excuse. So, here's a quick update.

My son's football season went well. I found out that coaching football is much more stressful than playing football. I'm pretty sure us coaches agonized over the outcomes of the games much more than the kids did. At 6 and 7 years old, they tend not to overthink things and just go with the flow, which is good. In the end, we had a great season for a first year team. Finished the regular season at 4-3, which earned us the #4 seed in the playoffs. Ended up losing in the first round to the eventual champions. All four of our losses on the year were very close games that easily could have gone the other way....we were literally a few yards from winning at the end of a couple of those losses. Looking forward to next year!

On the running front, I wrapped up the 3rd annual Black Hills Trail Running Series in November. I had managed to win the men's open division the first year of the series and took 3rd last year, so I jokingly stated that my goal going into this year was to finish 2nd so I could have a complete collection of trophy rocks. Well, as it turned out, I finished 2nd, so the collection is now complete. Of course, I'll still be back next year.

Speaking of next year, my tentative race schedule is starting to take shape. I'm about 90% sure that I'll register for the Bighorn 100, which will be my 2nd 100 mile run and my first true mountain 100 (my first 100 being Lean Horse). I'm also fairly sure I'll run the brand new Quad Rock 50 in Fort Collins as a tune-up. Other than that, I haven't decided on anything, but will probably look for something later in the summer, maybe Elkhorn again.

Hard to think of all that running right now considering it's now been 5 days since I ran at all. This is not a voluntary break. I've got an infection in my submandibular gland (one of the ones under the jaw that produces saliva). This infection has made it nearly impossible for me to eat solid foods for the last 5 days, so I'm on a soup and pudding diet, which is getting pretty damn old. I'm on antibiotics and painkillers until I can see a specialist next week to determine if the gland needs to come out (it probably does, since this has happened in a less severe fashion before). I'm getting pretty restless though. I wasn't told not to run, but I've been playing it safe. It doesn't help that the weather right now is pretty spectacular for December in South Dakota and here I am sitting inside, sipping soup. Patience is not one of my virtues, and my patience is running out...

While I'm here, I suppose I better do some advertising for the Black Hills 100. Ryan and I are now the principle owners of the event (under the guise of our new company, Dakota Endurance). Jerry will still be helping out, but is gradually retiring from the race directing business (he has sold Deadwood-Mickelson and Run Crazy Horse to his co-director Emily and Ryan and I will be gradually taking over Lean Horse as well). For Black Hills, we are currently offering a post-Western States lottery discount for the 100M event. Through December 31st, registration for the 100M is $24 off ($175). Just go to Ultrasignup and register. Response has been good so far. I don't have the data, but I would venture to guess that our numbers are up from this point last year and we have some returnees, which is good (it means they didn't totally hate it last year).

That's it in a nutshell. I'll try to be more vigilant about posting, but I've said that before. Hopefully, I can get this damn gland thing taken care of and actually have something of interest to post on the running front.

Merry Christmas!!