Thursday, July 28, 2011

Running for the Hansons: by Sage Canaday

What else do you do after having hip surgery, but fire up the Kindle with a few motivating books and read away. The first book I read post surgery is the newly released Running For The Hansons: An Insider's Account of The Brooks-Sponsored Marathon Training Group Made Famous by Olympian Brian Sell (Volume 1) by Sage Canaday. If you ever wanted to know what it is like to be a struggling professional runner hoping to make it big in the running world than this is the book for you. Sage Canaday joined the Hanson's Brooks Distance Projects soon after graduating from Cornell and wrote about his and his teammates experiences with the team.

I enjoyed the book and found it an interesting read. The organization of chapters kept it humming along. It wasn't strictly a linear journal as it bounced along to other topics to keep a flow going. Athletes like Brian Sell and Desiree Davila are highlighted. You get a good feel for what it would be like to train full-time while trying to work and progress as a runner. It doesn't sound easy!

If you are a fan of running, you might find inspiration in the book. It seems written for the crowd, with even a singular reference to Kip Litton. Another Letsrun mentions involves Sage reporting from the January 2010 Boston Indoor Games, where he talks about trying to be the first to get results up on Bernard Lagat's World Indoor record 5000m run. Here is his video:

Here is my video:

I had a better view of the finish right at the line. Lagat handed his victory flowers to the girl next to my daughter. I am not sure who got the video up first!

Sage on pursuing his dream, " Within 5-10 years my body is going to be done in terms of being able to run a national class marathon time. I already hobble down the stairs like and old man, feet blistered, tendons swollen, and muscles banged up. The body can only take so much before it breaks down. We seek to capture our youth, cherish it, and utilize it to our advantage!" Sage most recently ran 2:16 for 8th place overall at the 2011 San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon.You have to give credit to the runners who are pursuing their dreams and if you never had the talent, it can be fun to just read about what it takes to follow those dreams.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Successful Hip Operation!

Monday, I had my operation for a labral tear in my left hip with Dr. Joseph McCarthy at the Newton-Wellesley Hospital. The surgery is a hip arthroscopy that is a rather newer type of surgery. You can read more about the surgery here and even see a video of what they do on that link if you dare!

Having read all the message board posts of various athletes and people that have had this surgery, I wasn't sure what I was in for. One warning: on message boards you tend to hear from all the people that had things go wrong! I was extremely pleased with the results so far! I am doing better than the "best of" scenarios that I imagined. After waking up from surgery, I felt fine. Where was the pain? Of course, I had limited mobility, but I was happy to not have any pains!

When I got home I could sleep on my back and right side and move around slowly without hurting. I was walking gingerly with crutches, but moving OK. Yesterday, I started some light PT movement exercises at home. Today, two days later, I got out the door to go blueberry picking and got some ice-cream with my family. I used the crutches, but I can walk in a straight line without using them. I have to be careful of twisting and rotating the leg, but I never would have guessed that I would feel this good.

Now, I know there is a long recovery and I intend to take it very slowly, no heroics here as I want no setbacks, but it was good to hear Dr. McCarthy tell me before the surgery that I would be running again. The interesting thing will be: at what level? Will my hip go back to where it was a year or two ago? 10 years ago? 25 years ago when I started having problems? or what? I will be happy to just be able to run again, it has been a long year without running.

Tim Thomas, the Bruins Goalie, had the same surgery last year. Things worked out pretty well for him!

Tyson Gay, America's top sprinter, had the same procedure done earlier this July.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Running and Racing in Kenya and Tanzania

Last week I got back from spending two of the greatest and most rewarding weeks ever in Kenya. I was on a mission trip to work in the Mathare Valley slum of Nairobi helping out in the schools and with teachers. Despite the incredible poverty, I found the children to be happy and friendly and it was a privilege to be part of this trip. You can read more about the trip here: although there is plenty more to report and on that blog.

Who would have thought that I would ever be in Kenya and then who would have thought that when I was in Kenya that I could not run? Well, that was the case as I have not run a step since around March due to a torn labrum in my left hip.

Fortunately, I asked the doctor before leaving if there was anything I could take to relieve the pain I was feeling on my left side. I was told it is nerve pain from something being pinched due to the hip. I took a drug that left me basically pain-free for the first time in many years. My hip was not a worry at all and I was able to focus all my energies on the work that I was doing.

Anyhow, I could not resist the urge to run just a little bit. So while on safari, we got out of our vans at a marker seperatating Tanzania from Kenya and I did a short two country run. Then I invited some teammates to join me again for a race between the two countries. It was a blast. Never mind the 40+ pounds I have put on since not being able to run, it was good to move again.

To top off that day, I did some dancing and jumping with some Massai Warriors. I am suprised I got off the ground.

I got to talk Kenyan runners with many of the students I worked with and Ethiopean runners with a host at an Ethiopean restaurant, but I saw very very few Kenyans running. School children were all walking. I guess the runners are up in the mountain of Kenya.

Now the good news. My surgery for the torn labrum has been moved ahead to this coming Monday. If all goes well and after a long recovery, I may be back on the road to running by the end of the year!