"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Thank you, Strother Martin

"A man's gots to know his limitations." (Strother Martin in "Cool Hand Luke.")

Sometimes, you have to beat yourself up pretty badly before you think maybe it's time to rethink things. I guess I made it to that point.

The physical stuff: plumbing and wiring

Athletes tend to have more irregular heartbeats than non-athletes; I've never known why, but it's true. Caffeine in high doses can cause heart irregularities. Dehydration and mineral imbalances can lead to missed or extra heartbeats. I have a common genetic flaw that causes the same problem (Wolff-Parkinson-White atrial fibrillation. Perhaps as many as 1 in 300 people have it; 1 in 100 EKGs show it). It appears I fell at Afton not because I tripped but because my heart stopped working for a few seconds.

I have to cut down on the caffeine and take more care of my hydration. Other than surgery (my brother Bill had it as an outpatient, he calls it "spot-welding of the heart") and blood thinners, there's not much else I can do about it, if I'm going to keep running.

Physical stuff 2: Bones, muscles, etc.

1) Shoulder sprain. Not worth mentioning further.
2) Bone bruise (femur). Not serious.
3) Hip dislocation. I got off miraculously easily. I can't sleep on my left side, or sit in one position, but there was no real damage once it was put back. When it happened, it was the most painful thing imaginable... until I pushed it back and then it was the second most painful. One should never try to fix it oneself (it's generally a two-person job) - that was just stupid on my part - but there was no numbness or coldness and my toes didn't turn inward, so I was pretty sure I had it right. I could've crippled myself.

I walked half a block yesterday. I'll run by the weekend. Slowly.

They tried to make me go to rehab...

I can't bike or swim or row to keep up my endurance, so it's going to have to be rest and walking until I can do more. I'm going to have to start a stretching (yoga) program and start weight training (yawn). I hate cross-training.

The mental stuff

Apparently, I'm depressed. I've had periods of depression before (I give them names: the Abyss, the Black Hole, the Monster) and know what to do. I just need to actually do those things, rather than say I know I should do them.

I need to surround myself with positive, encouraging people. Trailer park goth girl won't cut it.

I need to be less Spartan. A little escapism and luxury is not going to kill me.

I need to remember what it is I like. I need to get back to running because I want to do it, not as some procedure to get me where I'm going. I need to remember to take in the scenery, to be with kindred spirits, to play.

I need to reconnect with my spiritual side. I need to get out of myself and think about others. I need to create. I need to relax. I need to laugh.

I really need to clean this keyboard.


keith said...

Sometimes nothin's a pretty cool hand...

I hope everything gets sorted out. Take it easy and see you out on the trails when the time's right!

Joel said...

Steve, I'd love to talk sometime. After July 30.
I love your challenging approach.
I'm just wondering if there might be a better approach.

Anonymous said...

Steve, trailer park goth girl may not cut it, but the bunnies would. Right?

Pete Anderson

phillip said...

Strother says in
Butch Cassidy And
The Sundance Kid,
"I'm not crazy;
I'm colorful."

brothergrub said...

Grab a copy of Sidhartha by Herman Hesse... Nothing works better for me to re-focus.... (or un-focus...) I re-read it every other year or so...

johnmaas said...

If you want to contact me about travel/accomodation at Lean Horse, email me:
My wife will be coming along to crew, so we will prolly want our own room. You are welcome to tag along to save gas to get there.

Anonymous said...

steve: i have names for my depressions as well. i need to do all of those same things, thanks for the reminder. i just ran for the first time in a long time (too long) this week, getting over an illness. it feels so good. take care.

phillip said...

Your crossing the finish line at Hyland picture made Ultrarunning Magazine current edition.

That should pep you up. . . .
Phillip Gary Smith

Carl Gammon said...

How about another Strother Martin quote from Cool Hand Luke: "You run one time, you got yourself a set of chains. You run twice you got yourself two sets. You ain't gonna need no third set, 'cause you gonna get your mind right."

I hope to see you back out there soo, but heal well, so you don't add another set of chains.

Julie B said...

Ah, this is the post I was referring to. You know what you need to do, that's half the battle. Surrounding yourself with positive people. That's an easy one. We ultra runners are pretty postive. Depression is a tough one. I usually feel it each winter. This past winter is the first time I didn't feel it and I actually had a few things to feel depressed about. Must have been surrounding myself with postive people enough :) Take care.