Posted in Concussion, Concussion Recovery, Injury, Life lessons, Rehabilitation

Sept 7, 2021

The day things changed

September 7th 2021 started out like just like any other warm September day. The sun was out, the temperature was not too warm and there was a gentle breeze to really keep things comfortable.

As I was finishing up my workday, I looked out the window and asked myself:

“What do you want to do today, ride or run?”

Since I had not been running much recently, I decided that today was a good day for a run. Looking back with 20-20 hindsight, it was NOT A GOOD Day for a run.

I went upstairs got changed into my running gear, came downstairs, pulled on my running shoes and headed out the door. The first 2-1/2 miles of the run were uneventful. I passed some people on my local trail and was thoroughly enjoying the run. In a matter of moments, things would go completely off the rails.

The last thing I remember from the run was passing a lady who was out walking her dog and thinking “That is a cute little dog!” which is completely out of character for me.

The next thing I know, I am flat on my back in the middle of the road, with blood dripping out of my head and have EMT’s and the police asking me what seemed like a million questions. Since I had no idea what happened, they shared with me that as I was crossing through an intersection a car came around the corner in the wrong lane and hit me. Fortunately for me, there was a witness who gave a description of how the crash occurred to the police while they were on scene. To this day I still don’t know if my head wound was from hitting the windshield of the car or from hitting the ground, but in the long run it really doesn’t matter.

Yes, getting the staples put in hurt.

As I got some awareness of what was going on, I tried my best to figure out how badly I was hurt. I quickly determined that I could move all of my extremities, so I wasn’t paralyzed. That was a relief. I also concluded that since I could think and speak, my brain was reasonably intact as well. That turned out to be not quite so correct, but there will be more on that later. I could see the cuts, scrapes and a big bruise forming on my leg, but since there were no bones sticking out, I guessed it wasn’t too badly hurt. However, I found out later, the injury was a bit more significant than I originally believed.

Can you say – Morel-Lavallée lesion – a closed degloving soft tissue injury, as a result of abrupt separation of skin and subcutaneous tissue from the underlying fascia. 

The Riverdale Park, MD EMTs did a great job in caring for me. They responded to the call in a matter of minutes, and then had me prepped for transport and delivered to the Washington Hospital Center Trauma Unit in less than 25 minutes. One of the EMTs was even kind enough to turn off my Garmin when I asked her. Great customer service.

The first thing that happened at the hospital was the ceremonial “Cutting Off of the Clothes”. Before they started, I asked: “Do you really have to cut my clothes? Can’t you just slide them off?” I knew they couldn’t do that, but I figured it didn’t hurt to ask. Anyway, replacing my running gear wasn’t a big concern at the time.

Then they proceeded to do a concussion screening and the normal battery of tests, x-rays and CT scans. All of these came back clean with no broken bones or bleeding in my brain which was a great relief. While I was waiting for the all this to start one of the Doctor’s asked: “Is there anyone you want me to call?”

I said to him: “No, but if you can hand me my phone, I would like to call my wife, if that is OK. I would prefer to call her myself, it would be better?” With that he was relieved and handed me the phone saying: “Thanks. I really don’t like making those kind of calls.”

The phone call to my wife went something like this:

Hi honey are you home?

No, I’m not. Are you?

No, I am in the hospital. I was hit by a car while I was out on my run, but everything seems to be OK. I am about to go for X-rays and a CT scan.

What? Hit by a car? Are you OK?

Yes, I seem to be fine. I have a big laceration on the back of my head and a bunch of cuts and scrapes on my leg, but other than that I think I am OK.

What happened?

I have no idea. I am missing about 5 minutes of my life. From what they told me as I was crossing the street, a car hit me.

Wow! That doesn’t seem good. Is there anything I can do?

Not really. Because of COVID only patients are allowed in the hospital. So I can call you when I am done. I love you and will talk to you later.

About four hours later I called my wife to come pick me up with five shiny new staples in my head and diagnosis of a “mild” concussion. I was shocked that they didn’t even give me a wheelchair ride to the door, they had me walk myself out to the waiting room. Not good customer service.

The Strava title for the day sums it up nicely.

Stay tuned for more. . .

Posted in Life lessons, Racing, Rehabilitation, Training

Training Nov 26 – Dec 9

I know I that I intended to post weekly updates, but of course life got in the way and one week turned into two and before the it becomes three, I decided that it was time for me to sit down and pull a post together. So here goes.

As I look at my calendar from the past two weeks, one thing is crystal clear. I have been able to get in all of my workouts without fail. As I said in my last post, it is pretty easy to get these in since none of them are very long, averaging well under an hour. What is is also clear, is that I am recovering well day-to-day and don’t have a need to add rest days into my schedule at this point. I am sure that will change when I begin to build more intensity into my program once 2018 rolls around. For the foreseeable future, I intend to stick with a 3 day per week running program and begin to build in my OCR specific workouts around that base.  I intend to hit 2 or 3 of those per week depending on how well my recovery goes between workouts.

Nov 26 - Nov 9 Training

As I look at the past three weeks, one thing that I can see is that my volume is ramping up nicely. That is show in the chart below. The only thing that might be a problem is that I am probably ramping up a bit faster than I planned. But as long as I feel good and my foot stays pain free, I intend to keep raising the duration until I get up to about 10 hours per week. I don’t expect to be there until the end of January or early February at the soonest.

Duration

What I have also seen in the data is that I am doing well stick to the “Low Intensity Training Plan”. As can be seen below, the vast majority of my training is in Zone 2 followed closely by Zone 3. Those 2 zones accounted for nearly 85% of my training last week, just the way I want it to be. As I move forward into the new year, my plan is to slightly drop both the Zone 2 and Zone 3 percentages and add that time into Zones 4, 5 and 6. When that happens, I will be more or less training at two intensities, really hard and really easy. My goal will be for the intense portions to make up no more than 25% of my training volume.

Zones

In comparison, I pulled a selection of data from last year and it was far, far different. The vast majority of my training time was in Zone 4, the kind of hard, but not really too hard zone. The one that really wears me out when I grind through it day after day. This is what I am looking to avoid this season.

Data 2017

Finally, as I look at something that is completely new to me, I have my Heart Rate Variability chart below. Based on what I have gleaned from various sources, including EliteHRV and HRV4Training an increasing HRV and a decreasing CV is an indication that my body is responding well to my training load. If I see this heading in a different direction, then I will have to take steps to modify my training plan. But, until then I am just moving forward.

HRV Chart

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Injury, Rehabilitation, Training

Training Nov 19-25

This was not a good week for me to pick to start reporting since my plans needed to revolve around traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday. This meant driving to Virginia on Wednesday and spending time with family until it was time to travel home on Friday. But, nonetheless, it was better to spend the time with my family rather than worrying about missing workouts. There will be plenty of time to make up for the missed workouts, but, you can’t make up missed family time.

Even with two days out for the holiday, I was still able to get five workouts in for the week. This isn’t too hard when your long workout for the week is just over 1 hour. That makes it pretty easy to make time in the day for a workout.

What was good about the week was that I was able to stay fairly true to my goal of easy aerobic workouts. The big column in the chart below represents the time in Zone 2 – what I am defining as my easy, aerobic pace and was where I was 54% of my time. The next bar is slightly higher in intensity and encompassed about 18% of my time. And in reality most of the time in Zone 3 was probably close to the Zone 2/3 border.

Training Nov 19-25

So what did my training look like for the week?

On Sunday, I thought I would start off with a fitness test – 30 minutes on the Concept 2 erg, shooting for max distance. I ended up at 7338 meters. The workout also included about 10 minutes of warm up. Cool down consisted of lying on the ground, gasping for breath. This workout was what gave me time in the two highest intensity zones in the chart above. My average HR for the effort was 167 and my max HR was 178, not bad for someone who’s measured max HR is 187.

Monday was 50 minutes on the elliptical trainer. I did intervals of 1 minute above threshold and 7 easy minutes.

Tuesday was an easy run. I went for 3 miles which was above the 2 miles I had planned, but my foot felt good so I added in some extra distance. The run was slow 9:28 pace but my HR stayed in the desired zone. This was a big win.

Wednesday and Thursday were off days, which was a good thing. My foot was a bit achy from the run on Tuesday.

Friday was another easy paced run, 2.5 miles at a 9:33 pace and once again I kept my HR spot on in the aerobic zone.

Saturday was an indoor aerobic circuit day of the elliptical trainer, inclined treadmill and erg. I did 2 circuits through with 10/10/12 minutes on each. I kept my HR low until the final time on the erg and then I let in creep up into Zone 4. All in all it was a great workout.

So I had a successful week of training. During the upcoming week, I am going to add a little bit to the duration of my workouts while keeping the overall intensity low. For the week I had 210 minutes of training, including 5.5 miles of running, So for this week, I will bump this up to 230 minutes and about 6 or 6.5 miles of running. Slow and steady will win this race.

 

Posted in Life lessons, Musings, Rehabilitation, Training

Training Plan

I am embarking on a new training plan to see how it works for me. The plan will be based on a statistically insignificant number of participants me (n=1).

The theory that I am following is based on a couple of premises:

  • I need a bigger aerobic engine;
  • I spend too much training time in the “Grey zone” to hard to be easy and too hard to be easy; and
  • When I incorporate strength work into my routines, i.e. OCR specific elements like heavy carries, pull-ups, and burpees, I over tax my body. Then it takes too long to recover for my next workout.

What does this look and feel like in real life? I am not really sure since I have never been able to follow a plan like this before. I always fall back into the theory of if a little is good, than more is better. While, I know in intellectually that this is not true, for some reason I always fall short on my ability to follow through on this.

So that is why I need to have this public experiment on myself. Maybe this will be what keeps me on the proper path as I move forward this year. So instead of trying to do the same thing and getting the same results I am going to try something different. Instead of my training being done in my own little world, I am going to let the world see what I am doing and see if this can keep me accountable. So with that said, I intend to guide my training in a couple of ways which will be new to me.

First, I intend to have my workouts planned for the week so I don’t have to figure out what to do on a given day, I will know exactly what the day entails. The workouts will be based on what I get from Yancy Camp, but in fairness to Yancy and his amazing program, I won’t be posting my exact workouts, but only a generalized version of the workout for the day. I plan to publish my workout plan for the week on Sunday and then a wrap up for the week the following Saturday. Or these may eventually morph into one posting

Second, every morning when i wake up; when I am done with my workouts for the day; and and when I am done with my training for the week,  I will ask myself a couple of critical questions.

  • How do I feel?
  • Do I feel beaten up to the point where I can’t workout?
  • Am I recovering well day-to-day or am I struggling to keep going?
  • How do I feel at the end of the week?

I will also be doing something else new, tracking my heart rate variability to see if that quantitative measure in addition to the qualitative measures gives me a better insight into my performance.

For a change I intend to track these answers and attempt to determine a correlation between how the data tracks and and how well my workouts go.

Anyone who wants to join me on this journey is welcome to follow.

Posted in Injury, Rehabilitation, Training

Training Begins: Oct 30 – Nov 5

Week 1 is in the books and even though it wasn’t perfect it wasn’t a bad start either.

The chart below shows my training time for the week broken out into HR Zones.

 

Chart

My goal was to keep 75% of my efforts in my aerobic zone (TrainingPeaks Zone 2).  For me, this is between 132-143 bpm, based on a max HR of 185 and a resting HR 45. As I did these “workouts”, that range seemed VERY, VERY low and at times it was hard not to bump up into zone 3 or even higher. I kept asking myself:

“Are these really even workouts?”

It felt like I was out for a leisurely stroll on what ever piece of equipment I was using  This was especially true while I was out on my bike.

When I did the math for the week I came out to 180 total minutes broken down to:

  • Zone 1 – 27 minutes – 15%
  • Zone 2 – 93 minutes – 51%
  • Zone 3 – 37 minutes – 20%
  • Zone 4 – 20 minutes – 11%
  • Zone 5 – 5 minutes – 3%

Numbers which are not far off my goals. The main thing to do are bump up some of the Zone 1 to Zone 2 and scale most of the Zone 4 down to Zone 2. I will see how that goes in week 2.

But, my two takeaways from the week are:

  • My foot feels great: and
  • I am not sore even though it was my first training in six weeks.

I plan to continue with the non-impact exercises for the next couple of weeks and then begin to gradually reintroduce running to my program either the last week of November or the first week of December depending on how impatient I become to start running again. Then as I progress through December I hope to be back to a level where I can run an easy 5k by the middle of January. That seems like such a low goal, but at this point by goal is to aim low and succeed, rather than aim high and injure myself.

But in the end, it just feels nice to be active again.