Monday, April 29, 2013

Monday Mario

I had wanted to bring Mario back a souvenir from our honeymoon.  Don't ask what I think a suitable "Sorry we went on a great trip without you, but here is a consolation prize" gift for a rabbit is, but I had my eyes peeled.  In Auckland we were at the Sky Needle and I saw something in the gift shop that I couldn't not buy.  It was way overpriced and had nothing to do with New Zealand (though it was made in New Zealand, so there) but I couldn't walk away from it.

Obviously I took this months ago and forgot to share.
"Hello my name is It's a me Mario!"  If you never played the Nintendo game, the humor will be lost on you.

Our second Petfinder installment is also up!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Last Six Months

So about that running...

If you remember, I experienced a right knee issue at the end of October right before my goal marathon in November.  The marathon went well enough and I earned a new PR to cap off five months of high mileage and intense training.  Sometime in mid-November I started experiencing a tightness at the top insertion of my right adductor.  I was told that my right knee pain had been caused by a tight adductor so I figured this was just the top part of the muscle acting up. I did cut back a little but continued to run another few weeks until we went on our honeymoon.  I had Goofy coming up and needed to keep up some sort of base.  I figured I would scale back during the honeymoon and hopefully things would clear up then.

We took a cruise down in Australia and New Zealand for our honeymoon.  I did three runs on the treadmill (have you ever run on a treadmill out on the open sea?  I felt like I was running up and down hills even though the thing was set on 2%) but the pain was only getting worse and I decided to not run the rest of the honeymoon.  That was easy enough mentally.

I did break my little "no running during the honeymoon"rest period for three things:

1)  I ran up the steepest street in the world in Dunedin.  If you ever want to feel like you are pushing the last 0.1 miles to the finish of 5K while moving at a slug's pace this is how to achieve that.  The thing was about 0.25 mi long and we took 4 breaks.

Baldwin Street

Heading up!

Hard to capture in photos, but this sucker was steep.
2)  I ran for about 20 steps in Tasmania just so I could say I ran in Tasmania.  It counts.


3)  We started and ended our cruise at Circular Quay in Sydney.  We got to utilize our ship as a hotel the last night.  We woke up early to do a run from the ship through The Rocks and up and over the Sydney Harbour Bridge.  About 2.5 miles if I remember correctly.

Our ship, Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House.  No better "hotel" location than this!  The views at night were spectacular.

Views from the bridge

Pedestrian path on the bridge

When we arrived home I started back up again even though the thing was still tight so I could have some sort of mileage going into Goofy.  I didn't run much at all considering what I had coming up and then merely survived those races.

After that I took some time off and started back up again fairly slowly.  I got to the point I could run with minimal tightness but post-run it would tighten up.  Yoga would usually set it right and I figured with enough damage control I could keep running.  Through this all I was getting massages, going to my chiropractor, doing Bikram yoga 4x a week, and doing physical therapy.  I was just starting to get back into some speed work and was still feeling doable. Things were looking up.

Then the area right above my left knee started to hurt.  It started up slowly enough and I only felt it during yoga.  I had still not learned the lesson of catching something early.  I didn't ice it. I didn't stretch it more than usual.  Boo on me.  I told my chiropractor about it only when I started to feel it niggle a little while running.  I had it worked on and it completely blew up.  For a few days it would hurt when walking (it would sort of catch and I wouldn't be able to fully extend it).  I took two weeks off from running.  I went on a a short 2 mile test run after that and the results prompted me to take another two weeks off.

Mario gets some love while I work on the tight spots.

I got the green light to start up again and my left knee was feeling better. But even after 4 weeks off with lots of damage control for it, my right adductor was still feeling tight.  I did a few short runs that week.

I recently began working with a personal trainer.  She specializes in corrective exercise for injury and basically targets what my physical therapist was but in much more challenging and dynamic ways.  She asked me to take another two weeks off from running while we started and that is where we are now.

I have to say, I am actually enjoying working with a trainer.  I just show up and she thinks for me.  She tells me what to do, she tells me how to do it, she tells me when to start, and she tells me when to stop.  She challenges me to do things I never would have tried.  She is also working on my upper body strength which I have always known was non-existent.  I work up a sweat and get my heart rate up and that feels good.  I am not sure how I will incorporate this down the road, but I am going to stick with it for a bit and see if and how it helps me.

So we're almost up to 6 weeks of pretty much not running save a few 2 mile runs scattered here and there. To say I am in a bit of a mental funk over this is an understatement.  I am starting to feel like I will never run high quality again.  I realized the other day I have been injured since October.  O.C.T.O.B.E.R.  Yeah.  My left knee is not 100% but I can tell from how it feels in yoga it is almost there.  My right adductor issue still feels tight every now and then but overall seems to have improved in the last two weeks, especially.  I am not terribly optimistic it won't tighten up again when I start up running in a few days but my fingers are crossed.

I have an appointment with a sports medicine doctor in a couple of weeks but may or may not pursue that depending on what happens next.  Frankly, short of saying I have some tumor growing up there, I doubt I will get any advice different from what I have already heard.  Take time off, stretch, ice, massage, strengthen weak muscles.  Pay big money to image exactly what is bugging me.  But it is the next weapon I have so I've gotten it ready.

And that is the "running" story over the last few months.  Not entirely happy but it is what it is.  Onward.

P.S.  My friend, Aron, wrote an amazing post about Boston that sums up what I wanted to say more eloquently than I could.  It is definitely worth a read if you haven't already.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Monday Mario

I finally captured a photo of one of Mario's little quirks.  He will clean his ears in the typical bunny fashion of grabbing them between his two front paws and holding them while he licks them clean.  But I guess sometimes he gets lazy and he'll pin an ear against the side of something and give it a good licking that way.

Smart bunny.
I have exciting news on the Mario front.  I was asked to be a guest contributor to the Petfinder blog!  I am a little late in sharing, but you can see our first post here.  I originally started this blog as a running blog.  I had decided to include "Monday Mario" as sort of a side-feature I did to share rabbity things and photos of the Cutest Bunny in the World.

I did not foresee how Mario would totally steal the show.

It has been an incredible surprise and blessing at how everyone has reacted to Mario.  Over the years a lot of my running blog readers have come and gone, but the rabbit blogger friends have been a consistent bunch.  When I don't feel like blogging about myself or my running I still try to get up a "Monday Mario" for everyone to enjoy.  I suppose this is as much of a rabbit blog as a running blog now.

I feel incredibly proud and fortunate that I can share stories of Mario in a venue which could lead to other rabbits finding homes.  Rabbits have huge personalities and give so much love.  If Mario can show this to even one person out there it would give me so much joy and satisfaction.  I was connected to Mario through Petfinder and I feel like this has come full circle in some crazy little way.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Yesterday morning I got up and watched the elite runners finish the Boston Marathon.  After the announcer signed off, they let the video run for maybe 15 more minutes and I started to see the non-elite people start to trickle across the finish line.  For people not familiar with marathoning, the Boston Marathon is the pinnacle of the sport.  You have to either achieve a challenging qualifying time or fundraise thousands of dollars for charity to be able to participate.  I think most marathoners deep down inside dream a little bit about Boston.  My Boston dreams are not so deep:  I have been hoping to qualify in the next 1.5 years.  I know what this race means to runners.  I thought about the thousands of dreams that were about to be realized out there this day as I left the house to start my day.

Hours later I emerged from yoga and my phone had lit up with messages and missed calls.  I read the first one without reading the rest.  My high school friend wanted to know if had run Boston today.  Was I okay?  I thought perhaps he had gotten confused -- we had talked about how I wanted to run it one year -- and I knew he was aware I have been dealing with injuries.  "No I didn't run.  Really hoping for 2015.  Still coming back from injury :(" I responded.  And then I listened to a voicemail. And I read another message. And I understood what he had meant.

I had typed a post about how I feel but decided it has all been said already or perhaps should not be said.  I will just say that my heart hurts as a human and also as a runner.  I did want to check in so that everyone would not worry.  It was brought to my attention that the bunny bloggers were concerned about my whereabouts yesterday.  You are all a sweet bunch.

I missed "Monday Mario" so will include a photo.  What made me feel better yesterday was giving those furry cheeks a good snorgle.


Monday, April 8, 2013

Monday Mario

I meant to use Mario's birthday mint gift as sort of a perpetual treat dispenser.  Give it some love and it would grow and I could give him a leaf or two every now and then.  I set it up on his old wooden box which has taken up residence by the window ever since I converted him to the lower height pen.  It was a nice spot for it to get some sun.  I let Mario out one night, went into the bedroom for a second, came back out and saw this:

The moment where I could have saved the plant, or grabbed the camera to document and you can see what I decided.  It looked like it could still be salvaged after the above attack, but a few nights later I again forgot to put it out of his reach and he decimated it down to one inch stems and it did not rebound.  Live and learn.

To update on Mario's tooth situation, I found a vet who is willing to file his teeth without him under general anesthesia.  She said she can't do as good of a job so he may need it more frequently, but for me this is a good trade-off for putting him under.  He has had his first treatment and came home and was immediately eating and acting himself so I don't think it was too traumatizing for him.  He does make interesting crunching noises with his teeth so I do think there is something going on and he's going back in for a check-up in another month.  I think she suspects there is some connection between his chronic (now bilateral) weepy eyes and his teeth but I didn't have a chance to question her fully about this (she mentioned his having old looking teeth and something about probable root disease).  She is not very aggressive with treatments and I think she feels she wouldn't pursue anything at this point.

I like this new vet because unlike my other vet she would be willing to do head x-rays without anesthesia and seems to just take a much more relaxed approach.  Vet #1 thought he needed to have his ears treated for debris and Vet #2 felt they weren't that bad and said you don't want to mess with the ears if you can avoid it.  At his age, I like a much more relaxed approach to his health, especially when he doesn't seem bothered.