Sunday, December 22, 2013

Last Long Run

Today I ran (well, run-walk-run) 23 miles.  hold on, 23 miles.  geez, hasn't hit me yet.  It is the last long run before the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.  Online forums are abuzz with proper corral placements (damn I didn't submit a proof of time, so I'm in the dead last corral), bib numbers, planning for the chaos that is the Expo, travelling ... oh yeah, and training.

Last long run.  so that means the Marathon is 3 weeks away.  The Goofy Challenge is 3 weeks away.
It felt good today, to accomplish 23 miles.  But it felt weird.  I felt "the wall" early on around mile 10-11.  I now know how it feels (I think) to seriously consider just stopping.  I rationalized, it's ok, 11 miles is fine.  it's good enough.  Maybe it will rain so I can use it as an excuse.  I'll walk.  I'll take a break and do another 10 later.  I'm hungry.  Really hungry.

What was weird was how early I felt it.  Yesterday I did 10 miles no sweat.  Felt great.  60 degree winter weather too.  No tiredness whatsoever, felt like I could keep going.  Jeff Galloway's plan was to walk yesterday, but i really want to see if I could walk run both the half and the full for the Goofy, so I did 90:30 ratio yesterday at an 11:19 overall pace.  No wall.

When I ran-walked the Atlantic City Half Marathon, I kinda felt tired around mile 11-12, maybe just from wanting to get it done, but get it done I did in 2:30:09, 11:30 pace.  My 10/27/13 long run of 14.86 miles had my tired at around the same place, maybe mile 12-13, still managed 12:14 pace.  My 17.25 mile long run on 11/27/13 got me tired at feeling at at mile 14-15, and even during my 20.02 mile long run 11/30/13, I didn't really feel any sort of wall until mile 17.

Today, however I felt it early on at mile 10-11.  Perhaps because I ran yesterday.  How about fuel?  I had a waffle with peanut butter, maple syrup, and speculoos spread.  PLUS during the run I had 3 gatorades, at least 3 bottles of water, and 10 cliff bloks.  All tolerated well.  But I was hungry.  I slowed down my ratio from 90sec:30sec to 60sec:30 sec, and that helped. I did take a break at my car at mile 10-11, sat for a minute, had clif bloks.  Then felt great right afterwards, going up to 90:30 again.  A little before mile 20 I changed to 30:30 ratio, which felt so easy.  NO WALL whatsoever at mile 20 (where they say many feel it). Before I got to this point, I was just going to stop, but at this point I felt good enough that I finished up the 23 miles to meet the goal.  What got me through it?  I just thought about how good I'd feel when I finished it, and how bad I would feel if I didn't.  "Run joyfully."  "I got this."

All this talk about mileage, and the wall, and run-walk ratios, and fuel.... I really have to STEP BACK and take a look at what's gone on.  I'm so thankful I'm at this point right now.  With my osteoporosis diagnosis, and multiple injuries, I really just wanted to heal and run again.  The Atlantic City half marathon was a proud moment in my life.  I had worked my way up to there with walking, then doing a modified run-walk by doing walkfast-walk ratios, then working my way up to run-walk.  It took a matter of swallowing some pride.

A couple years ago, when I blew through the Couch to 5k, I was prideful.  I skipped the last few weeks because I didn't want to run-walk.  I didn't ever want to walk.  But I got my lesson when I got injured, and ended up on crutches.  An aha moment came when I swallowed my pride on crutches and got a scooter.  A scooter for my disney trip and a knee scooter for work.  That aha moment told me that swallowing pride to do run-walk would be the same thing -- it would help me accomplish something, and make me feel good, not caring about what anyone else thought.

And I'm a new person now because of it.  A combination of run-walk, light form (feet low to groun, with short shuffle strides), plus the maximally cushioned Hoka One One Bondi B's, have lowered overall physical impact on my body and has allowed me to run.  Not to mentioned my medications and keeping up with my physicians.

Good stuff.  I just say thank you!

Now taper time.  and last minute preparations for the 2014 Walt Disney World Goofy Challenge.  Run joyfully.  I got this.

Sunday, October 13, 2013


In a little over 4 hours I will be running -- well, actually walking and shuffling -- the Atlantic City Half Marathon!

I cannot wait.  I can't believe it's here and what I've been through.  It's been over two months since my last post, since I was officially told no running.

So what did I do?  I listened.  I walked.  I shuffled. a lot.  Got hoka one ones. life changing. figured out i could do the galloway method by walking and shuffling.  walk/shuffled walt disney world during our august trip. got back into training. brick reservoir, bike path, allaire statr park trails.  

when once i had a 7:30 something race pace and 9 something training pace ... i had to live with a 15-17 pace now ... built back up to 12-14.  today we'll see.  play it smart. listen.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Red light

My orthopedic surgeon cleared me to run ...
My orthopedic podiatrist cleared me to run ...

However, today, my endocrinologist said two words to me: "No running!"

I told him that was great, and I do feel relieved in a way.  It is the right thing, especially given my injuries, and it will save me from a great deal of anxiety whenever I feel pain.  I promised myself I would listen to my body.  And listen to my doctors.

But wow.  How I wish I could run.  I got back into running just recently, and exactly one month ago I started training for the Goofy Challenge, albeit run-walk, but hey, I was running.

I have deferred and DNS'd so many races due to injury I really lost count.

And now what?  I'm going to miss the Atlantic City Half Marathon?


The 2013 Walt Disney World Goofy Challenge??

I've already booked a hotel room for the AC Half, and a bunch of us are registered ... and for January 2014 I've already planned my trip to Walt Disney World for Marathon Weekend.  14 of us will be there to run, and have fun!!! ...

 except now you can count me out.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Running Rehoboth

Rehoboth Beach sunrise

One of the best parts of running, and, probably the one that keeps me going and really fuels my runner's high, is that it allows me to be outside and explore new areas.  When I first started running, this part was very unexpected, but it was a very pleasant surprise.  When I used to run from my house to Point Pleasant Beach, I rarely ran the same exact route twice.  I would run straight towards the water (not going in of course), but when there I would go up and down the side streets, in and out of neighborhoods ... to build mileage, and in so doing, would explore as well.

I would look forward to going out of town, as it would offer me a new place to explore and run.
I had planned on blogging and detailing running at Walt Disney World when I went on vacation last year, but as fate would have it I got injured, so I blogged about beer instead (which wasn't necessarily a bad thing).

Last week my wife and I took a nice midweek getaway with my best friend and his wife to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.
Well, the purpose was to check out the Dogfish Head Brewery, take a tour, and get in some tastings:

I may have to devote an entire post to this brewery started and run by Sam Calagione, and the wonderfully delicious craft beers Dogfish Head creates, like the classic 60 minute, 90 minute, and 120 IPAs, and the rare Midas Touch, which is made with honey and saffron.  Delicious.

Anyway, we spent the night at Rehoboth Beach, which is a beautiful little beach town.  It reminds me so much of my home on the Jersey Shore, but this had a definitely unique character to it.  We of course had dinner and later after-dinner beers at the Dogfish Head Brewpub:

The next morning, I got up and out at 6am and took the opportunity to do my Week 4 Day 1 30-45 minute run by exploring the town before the crowds came.  I did a casual 1:1 walk-run ratio, and stopped here and there to take some pics.

Afterwards, it didn't feel like I run at all.  True, it was a walk-run session, and only 30-45 minutes, but seeing the sights, and new landmarks, and experiencing new terrain, was really enjoyable.  It is exactly what I love about running.  And it felt great.  I am not taking this for granted.  I remind myself that for 8 months I could not walk without assistance, but now I am focusing on wellness.  Thank you!

Saturday, July 20, 2013


I saw my orthopedist the day after my most recent MRI, just as a follow up for my paranoid hip pain, and he said everything was fine! In fact, he told me that, from his standpoint, I could run ... and even added, "Marine Corps Marathon in October!"

(I'm already registered for the Atlantic City Half Marathon instead!)

My orthopedist's latest clearance for me to run is amazing news, and I am so thrilled, happy, and thankful that I am ok.

But I am choosing to be ultra-conservative. I did not like being injured. I did not like ambulating on crutches, cane, and scooter, and having trouble even preparing a bowl of cereal in the morning, and was annoyed at working all day on crutches, being stopped every 5 minutes by someone asking for updates and offering unsolicited advice. I hated, hated, HATED that anxious feeling I had the other day when I didn't know what my pain was from.

So now, instead of focusing what I do not want, I will concentrate for what I do want. I want, and I am, healthy. I want to feel good. I want to enjoy exercise without fear of injury or pain. I want to run the Goofy Challenge.

So to do that, I am limiting my exercise to walking and shuffling. That night, after my orthopedist appointment, I went on the treadmill for W3D2 and per the advice I heard from Jeff Galloway on a recent episode of the Mickey Miles Podcast, I did and ultraconservative 5 sec run (shuffle) : 55 sec walk ratio for 45 min or so. My 5 seconds of running was shuffling -- short strides, keeping feet low to the ground, landing under my body, and light touch. Light touch. Light touch. I may use that as my new mantra.

This morning, for my Week 3 Day 3 long run, I went to the Brick Reservoir (with its pretty 1.6 mile loop around the water), with my Hoka One One Bondi B's, and slipped in my old Road Runner Sports inserts, to try them out again and to keep my feet aligned. I did 3 miles in 48:05:93, a 16:12 pace with a conservative 15 sec: 45 sec ratio. Per Galloway, 15:45 corresponds to a 17 minute pace. Again, I'm amazed at the accuracy of this!  Yes, a humble cry from my 7:40 pace in last year's Ocean Medical Center 5k, but I'm a different person now.

(credit to Brick Municipal Authority for the pics)

Sure, the other runners this morning blew past me, and all were continuous runners, as I had been. But I felt great. I didn't care, I was out there, walking and shuffling on my own, and tried to go on the grass as much as I could, with no pain.

I will continue to be this conservative, as it feels great, until I see my endocrinologist in a couple of weeks. We will go over the most recent set of labs I had done yesterday (BMP, Vitamin D, serum osteocalcim, and urine NTP). And this time, I will listen to him.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Listen to your body!

Around April 2012 my groin hurt after running.  So what did I do?  I ran more.  I ran a half marathon in training, and even PR'd in the Ocean Medical Center 5k.  It still hurt.  So I got it checked out, and my heart sank when I found out it was a stress reaction/fracture of my femoral neck.  So I went on crutches...  I should have listened.

The advice was to let pain be my guide.  so what did I do?  I stopped using the crutches and it still hurt.  I ended up having to use the crutches even longer, and eventually had a bone stimulator, overall five months.  I should have listened.

So I got off crutches, and I started running again, October 2012.  And it felt great.  I ran a nice 7 miles through the trails at the beautiful Manasquan reservoir, then again through the Allaire State Park trails ... and I felt my ankles hurt.  So what did I do?  I ran on the treadmill.  My left ankle still hurt, then hurt even more.  I let it go for a week or so, then got it checked out, and almost fainted when I heard the diagnosis: another stress fracture -- this time in my left tibia.  So I used crutches and a boot and even a knee walker/scooter.  Total time three more months.

So I listened.  I went to the endocrinologist, found out I had severe osteoporosis secondary to idiopathic hypercalciuria.  I got placed on medications, and was told not to run for at least 4-6 months.  I got a "yellow" light to start, so I started this month, July 2013, running very little, mind you.  Run-walk per Jeff Galloway, and honestly mostly walking.

Then, last week, my hip started hurting again.  I kept running, and today it still hurt.  I listened.  I called my orthopedic surgeon, and got an MRI about an hour ago.

The result:  no stress fracture!!!

I'm not a religious guy, but I'm thanking the Lord and the Universe right now.  Thank you!!

I will see my orthopedist tomorrow morning.  And now --

I will listen.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

W2D3 -- Galloway in action

I did w2d2 (30 min treadmill) run the other night at the and it was okay, but today, wow. Felt awesome. It was hot and around noon, and no, probably wasn't a good idea to run at that time, butI knew it was going to be a relatively short distance (4 mile long run) and frankly I had no other time today.

I went to the bike path near my house and started a 1:1 walk-run for 4 miles. According to Galloway, a 1:1 corresponds to a 13:00 pace. I was always confused, as did mean 13:00 pace during the run portion? Or the average for both walk and run. According to podcasts and forums online, he meant it would be your average pace. But he doesn't specify how fast to run during the run. Surely someone running 6:00 pace during the run portion of 1:1 would be faster than an average runner.

So I didn't think about speed, just cadence, form, and really being strict about the walk breaks. And wouldn't you know it, I did 4.0 miles in 50:33, or 12:45 pace! Galloway was right!!

A little after mile 2, I felt it ... a smile, that warm excited feeling, the runner's high that I had loved and was addicted to before my injuried when I was doing my 10 mile long runs. I'm a different person now, and appreciate it even more, and said, "Thank you!"

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


quick post, because this was more of a walk than anythng else. treadmill, high walk-run ratio for 30 min. feeling some right groin pulls, taking it slow. shorts are tight too. :)

Monday, July 8, 2013

W1D3 of Goofy training -- first "long" run

Today was great.  It was the first "long" run.  Long run in quotes because, well, 3 miles is not long ... BUT, considering that I'm coming of an injury, it was a great accomplishment.  I completed 3 miles in 36.35, average pace 12:10, which is slow for a run, but I must admit not bad for a 1:1 run walk session.  It felt great.  I am really trying to run slow and easy during the run portions, and really conserve energy.  I couldn't sleep last, not really because I was on call for work (ok that was part of it), but because I really got excited about running again, and particularly about Jeff Galloway's run-walk-run method.  In my younger years (ok last year) I totally did not want to have anything to do with walk breaks, because I felt running should be running!  But because of injury I am swallowing my pride, and walk-run is for the best.  I imagined myself last night completing a half marathon in under 2 hours.  Back in training, pre-injury, I ran 13.1 miles in 2:04.  I strongly believe, based on what I've read, and the podcast I listened to yesterday (jeff galloway was on a marathon podcast), that it is possible to get great times using walk-run.  but right now it's not about time, it's about getting back out there and being active again.  I feel great, I achieved the runner's high today! woo hoo!  I missed it.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Week 1 Day 2 -- outside at last, hello world!

Easing in carefully but joyfully back to running after recovering from injury, the 2014 Walt Disney World Goofy Marathon Challenge is in sight. I went outside today, and ran-walked on the bike path near our house. haven't run outside in 6-7 months, and it was amazing. This is the reason I love running, being outside, not on a treadmill, and actually seeing your progress literally, distance-wise. Yes, it was a slow 2.65 miles in 38 min using run-walk in my new cushy Hokas, but it was nice.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Week 1 Day 1 -- and so it begins

I received my Hoka One One Bondi B running shoes in the mail today from Road Runner Sports. They recommended ordering a half size up, and wouldn't you know it these size 10.5s fit perfectly. I was so excited I slipped them on when I got home and didn't even change out of my formal work clothes. Felt the cushioning right away, and I took a few jog steps in my garage. Felt nice. soft yet stable.

After a quick dinner I headed out to the gym. It just so happens that today is the first day of Jeff Galloway training schedule for the Goofy! Yes, the original purpose and goal of this blog, from Couch to Goofy, is in sight. Of course injuries have plagued me this past year, so I didn't just run out the door and "run 30-45 minutes" like indicated and like I was able to do last year. But thankfully -- oh so thankfully -- I am off my crutches and boot, got the green light from my orthopedist, and yellow light from my endocrinologist, and I was able to hop on a treadmill today and do a run-walk session (60/90 sec ratio for now) for about 35 min. It felt great! Hokas were not heavy, and with the 4-6mm drop, it was pretty easy to land midfoot strikes. I was doing more shuffles, especially at 4.6mph, but who cares? I didn't care that my shoes looked like clown shoes, either. These might be the shoes for me, and I have to thank the Mickey Miles podcast.

Afterwards, my feet don't hurt, and other than my sweat and heart rate, I barely feel like I ran at all! My tight socks hurt more, lol.

I confirmed my registration for the Atlantic City half marathon today, too ... which falls just around the weekend where my long run is to be 15 miles. And so it begins. Yes!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Excited for my new lease ... on running, that is!

Last week I completed a few runwalk sessions on the treadmill and felt great.  I tried my Brooks Ghost 4, with the custom inserts, with the thought that these were the shoes that I was fitted for, let's just wear these to keep my form and feet in line, to avoid injury.

Two days ago I decided I would get a new pair of the Brooks Ghost, excited that after injury I could start running again.  I went to Road Runner Sports, and was 20 minutes too early, the store wasn't open yet.  Instead of waiting, I just turned around and went home.

That may prove to be the best decision I made, because it gave me more time to listen to the Mickey Miles Podcast, in which this particular episode Michelle Sribner and Mike Scopa and their guests talked about shoes ... and the one that got my attention was ...

The Hoka One Ones!

Never heard of them before, but sounds like the opposite of the whole minimalist movement.  These shoes look big and clunky, but are described as very cushiony and "like walking on clouds" or pillows. On further research, they are both maximalist and minimalist.  the heel toe drop is minimal, only 4-6mm, yet the stability is there since there is a wider base.  But the obvious thing is that the midsole is oversized.

The point is that there is an 80% reduction in impact!! from both the cushiony EVA midsole and keeping the feet low to the ground.  This is what I need.  Given my stress injuries, this may give me a new lease on running.  run longer.

I ordered them yesterday site unseen.  Can't wait.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


I did a run-walk workout today on the treadmill, 1:1 minute ratio. Felt awesome. My run was more of a shuffle, and I really concentrated on relaxing and running softly. I imagined myself running light yet strong, and focused on Chi-running technique. I watched Jeff Galloway's style of feet low to the ground and running upright today. I also came across the acronym SOFT (from soft style running i think) which is immensely useful:

SOFT = Stride (180/min), Over (center of gravity over base), Flat (midfoot strike), Tall (upright).

Awesome. Take it easy. I can do this. Injury no more. Light and strong. Atlantic City Half Marathon here I come ... And then the 2014 Goofy Challenge.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Yellow light means go

My endocrinologist gave me somewhat of a yellow light to run ... Kind of in passing said it would probably be ok to start running ... Then on second thought wait till I see him officially.

In any case today I did a modified form of running. I did a walk-run workout on the treadmill (after a great upper body dumbbell workout), with a 90 sec:60 sec ratio, like week 1 day 1 of the couch to 5 k ... Yup, "baby steps" yet again for I don't know how many times due to injury. But today I did something different -- during the "run" phase, I did a light shuffle. I kept the speed of the treadmill the same (4.2mph today) as my walk, but increased my cadence to 90 (or 180/min), kept my feet low, with nice light relaxed form, and concentrated on midfoot striking, very lightly and relaxed to minimize impact and also reduce tension in muscles. Again to avoid injury ... But instad of thinking of avoidance, i'm just feeling good!

Thursday, June 20, 2013


I ran today. I wasn't supposed to, but I did. And damn it felt good.

Well, out of 47 minutes of brisk walking on the treadmill, I ran for maybe 3 minutes, if that. i was careful. Most of the time I walked ... Briskly, then sped up to a shuffle and evenrace walking ... But a few minutes I ran for real. 8 months of crutches due to previous running injuries were a setback ... But not now. I actually achieved a runner's high in seconds!!!!

But I'll be good now. My endocrinologist said could probably start running again, then he said wait ... So i'll wait till our next appointment.

Atlantic city half coming in october. Let's do this the right way.

Monday, May 6, 2013

It's working!

I saw my endocrinologist two days ago and he had good news for me -- the medications were working and my labs were normal! Basically, my labs are showing signs that I'm not spilling as much calcium and that yes, I am now building bone.

He said no running yet, though. Maybe not until August. I feel like I'm Jack fromt the series Lost (best TV show ever) ... SPOILER ALERT ... after season 3 (I think) when he keeps flying on airplanes back and forth hoping it would crash just to get back to the island. Well, I don't want anything to crash! But I do want to get back to the island, the island of the runner's high. I still exercise (doc says I can walk, but I sense he wants me to be careful about the elliptical) and I still enjoy the feeling of exercise ... but it doesn't feel the same.

Vacations are a great distraction ... like a drug. This past April, the day after we got back from our cruise on the Disney Wonder, I went back to work. It was auch an irrational feeling, I felt ok at work, as if work itself was a distraction from the post cruise depression that I would have to deal with when I got home.

Well, Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend 2014 is in my sights. I've had to push back my first marathon several times already due to injury and health, most recently the New Jersey marathon held yesterday. I wasn't even cleared by my doctor to WALK the half marathon.

We'll plan it like this ... get better, start run/walking in summer, walk the Atlantic City half marathon in october 2013, then walk the WDW half marathon with my wife and walk/run the full to complete the Goofy.


Monday, April 22, 2013


just a quick word, as I'm finishing this nice Rogue yello snow IPA ... IPA's apparently have high levels of bone-building silicon, and the hops can prevent calcium loss from bone ... hopefully along with the medicines I'm taking and my weight bearing exercises I can reverse my osteoporosis...

and run again.

that's all I want to do. Run. be outoade, tun far. get that feeling again. race. 5k, 5 mile, 10k, half marathon ... marathon. goofy. i don't care. I wNt to run again. i will run again.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Runner's High

It is often talked about, sometimes in whispers, sometimes in wonder, maybe disbelief ... but for those who believe, it is praised, and those who have felt it, there is a nod of acknowledgement.  It is the runner's high.  It is the feeling of elation and euphoria, felt during and after running ... the feeling that keeps runners going, the feeling that runners go back to.  It IS the reason for the running addiction.  It is the force that allows runners to wake up at 5am to run outside, in the dark, in the cold, in the snow, in the rain.  Even when it hurts.

But what is it?  Is it real?  Is it an urban legend, as some (undoubtedly non-runners) say?

I have felt it.  And I can only describe what it is like ...

The runner's high is Christmas morning.  It is the last day of school before summer vacation, when the final bell rings.  It is hanging out with friends at a really great party, feeling good, with great music, drink, food, and company.  It is achieving a goal -- personal, professional, and spiritual.  It is being at home, with your loved ones, your family, not really doing anything, but just being there with them.  Yes, it's that good.

But really, what is it, and how does it work?

Science points to endorphins that are created during exercise.  The hormones that make you feel good. Like a drug.  Literally getting drunk and high from running.

This may be true, but there has to be more to it from running.  Because of my injuries and health conditions, I have not been able to run.  I have tried my hardest to recreate the runner's high.  I have tried my best to get my body to release these endorphins to get me to that place ... that place of the runner's high.  But I haven't come close.  Today I used the elliptical for over an hour straight.  I used my whole body, I got my heart rate in the target 80% of max range for 90% of that time.  I sweat.  I felt some muscles burn.  I burned calories.

Exercise feels good ... but it doesn't come close to the runner's high.  It doesn't come close to the feeling of stepping out the door first thing in the morning, taking those first few steps, and knowing you are going to have a great run.  It doesn't come close to that moment during a run when you feel like you're floating, effortlessly, and feel that you could run forever, tirelessly.  It does not come close to the feeling at the end of a run when you look back at your mileage, your time, your PR, your new mileage record, your sense of accomplishment.

And no way -- no way -- does it even come close to that feeling in a race when you see the finish line, you kick it, you hear supporters, including your family, cheer you on all the way to the end.

Only running can give you that feeling.

Damn do I miss it.

Monday, April 15, 2013


4:05pm now ... watching the news, details still developing, but there have been two explosions at the finish line of today's Boston Marathon ... 3 dead and many injuries according to the news. Lot of speculation, clock time was 4:09:45, near finish line, if timed, designed for maximum damage.

still developing ... how quickly life can change.

Doctors orders

Yesterday I walked 6.01 miles in about 1:27, or a 14:38 pace. No, it's not running, and a far cry from my running pace ...

but I was happy because the pace was below the time limit for the Long Branch Half Marathon! When I saw my final pace I was thrilled that I would be able to complete the half marathon, set to be 3 weeks away.

I did not want to miss another race due to injury, and I've already sucked up my pride and am content in walking it and bot running, as painful as that is.

But today I spoke to my orthopedist, who says it's fine for me to walk in general, and perhaps even get back to running by the fall ...

But in regards to walking the half marathon in 3 weeks? No.

Not cleared.

I'm kinda bummed, because I want to prove to myself and others that I can do it, because I know I can.

Plus so many of us are going down for the Walt Disney World marathon weekend in january, and I want to at least walk it.

But for right now, baby steps again.
No Long Branch Half Marathon for now.

But I know it's for the best. I do not want to get injured again.

Doctor's orders.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A Lesson in Ego

Three weeks from tomorrow is the Long Branch Half Marathon.  Over the past year, because of injuries, I've missed race after race, including the Spring Lake Five, the Belmar Five Mile Run, the Atlantic City Half Marathon, the Walt Disney World Half Marathon, and the Allstate 13.1 Marathon (whew!).

I've recovered well enough now that I'm on track with my training to actually do the Long Branch Half Marathon.  But, by "do" I mean "walk."


If I am to complete the Long Branch Half Marathon in one piece, and injury-free, I will have to walk all 13.1 miles of it.  Not run a single step.

I should be ecstatic that at this point I'm walking and that I'm no longer a slave to my crutches, and my boot, and my cane, and my scooter.

But it kills me to have to walk.  I'm scheduled for a 6 mile "brisk walk" tomorrow.  When I was running, I never wanted to walk.  If I would ever walk during a run, I was not satisfied.  My goal was to run races ... all the way through, without walking.

If I am to be honest with myself, then I must say I never wanted to be "that guy" who walked during the race, or had to stop to walk.

But now I am that guy.

I'm selfish, I know.

I just don't want to look funny.  There has to be a fine line between power walking and that race-walking we see in the Olympics right?

The Long Branch Half Marathon has a time limit (chip time) of 3 hours and 15 minutes, which would be 15 minutes / mile.  The slowest pace group is 3 hrs, which is at a 13.44 pace.  That's my goal, I figure I can speed walk and try to keep up with the pace group.

I don't know.

Monday, April 8, 2013

First world problems!

yup ... i'm fortunate enough to be suffering from a couple of first world problems : post-cruise depression and depression from not being able to run yet.

yes, there are worse things in life, I know. spoiled and selfish perhaps?

Sunday, April 7, 2013

It's the truth. I can't help it.

I walked 8.1 miles today. Straight; stopping only to tale a couple gulps of water and to go to the bathroom. It took me over 2 hours, but I did it. I should be elated ... A couple of weeks ago I was limping, a couple of months ago I was on crutches, and wearing a boot, on a scooter. For eight months I was injured, out of commission, unable to put full weight on my right hip, then my left ankle.

And today I walked! Far! And ... I should be happy.

But I'm just frustrated.

I want to run.

I see others running past me ... I see posts on Facebook, everyone seems to be running now ... Half marathon here, 5k there ... Training for the Goofy ... training for the Dopey (more on these Walt Disney World marathon challenges later...)

And last year I was running, and was able to run ... far ... half marathon ... Training for full and Goofy.

And now? I'm just walking. I know, I should be thankful. I should just swallow my pride and rejoice that not only am I "back to normal" and able to walk ... but that I'm still fit enough to walk 8.1 miles?

But selfish me. Now i've decided to train for the Long Branch Half Marathon, 4 weeks away. But I will walk.

Swallow my pride and walk. I was doing everything in my power not to run today, I know I could ... But I don't want to get injured again.

I finished the 8.1 mile walk today. No sense of major accomplishment. No runner's high. No satisfaction.

Still wish I could run. It's the truth. I can't help it. That's just how I feel.

Sunday, March 24, 2013


i guess i can elaborate more later ... but i've been getting spurts of anger, sadness, and frustration the past couple of days about not being able to run. I had to skip the Allstate 13.1 marathon this past saturday of course ... and now people are talking about the Goofy for 2014, and training for it ... as registration is coming up. and of course the weather is getting njcer out now. wish i could run again.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


I had previously gotten clearance for some light exercise from my orthopedic podiatrist -- upper body workouts ok while sitting, then ok to stand with weights in one month ... that was almost a month ago. As per treadmill, elliptical, and bike, I would have to check with my endocrinologist.

So yesterday I spoke with my endocrinologist, and basically he said -- ok to do upper body workouts, just watch out for back pain.  Still not cleared for elliptical, treadmill, or bike yet, not until 4-6 months after starting Forteo.  I started Forteo February 22, so that would take me to early April.

I'll be conservative.  I just don't want to get injured again.
As I've been going through this recovery, I have been moving and changing my goals ... I was going to run the Allstate 13.1 Marathon in New York City at the end of this month ... then I decided that I would walk it ... now I don't want to do either, because I don't want to get hurt again.

Maybe I can still walk the Long Branch Marathon in May ... but even then, I want to be sure I'll be alright.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

My Race Box

(credit to

I held the needle right up to my skin -- and hesitated.  There's always that moment of uncertainty right before something happens.  What will it feel like?  Will it hurt?  Will it be quick?  I've always looked away when getting a shot, or getting blood drawn, but this time I had no choice.  With syringe in hand, I was about to inject myself --

With Forteo (teriparitide), part of my now daily regimen.

That was a week ago.  This morning, sleepy eyed, I injected myself with no hesitation at all, and sure, I felt a pinch, but by now it didn't feel like anything.

But let me back up.

A week ago I woke up in some pain.  No, I didn't get an injection yet.  And no, it wasn't from my running injuries, my left pes anserine bursitis, my right femoral neck stress reaction, my left distal tibial stress fracture .. those are either healed or healing.  It was my right arm.  My biceps were stiff, and in pain, and I couldn't straighten my arm.  Obviously it was from working out the day before, my first "backs and bi's" weight training in a long time.  It felt sore the night before, but the next morning, just wow. Ouch.

Funny how things in life are supposed to get better when you sleep on it, whether it's a decision you have to make, whether it's an untoward situation you are in, you know, "it'll be better in the morning."  But really.  How many times have you woken up in the middle of the night with that wicked sore throat, or that itchy bug bite that damn you just want to cut out with a knife.

I put some Icy-Hot on my biceps and both actively and passively stretched it out, extended it ... afraid that it would pop.  Felt pain for sure, then when I went back to bed to sleep in a bit it just went back bent the way it was before.  Oh well.

It did get better throughout the day, carrying a shopping basket filled with goodies helped out as therapy. :)

Anyway, I saw my endocrinologist for another appointment that day, as a follow up after those labs which he ordered.  Some notes:

Diagnosis: idiopathic hypercalciuria

Great, I'm spilling out some calcium in my urine.  Could be a lot worse.  The other labs seemed to be ok, so he even said "it's good it's not mastocytoma."  Um, well thank god for that!

So, treatment wise:
"Easy," he said -- Hydrochlorothiazide 12.5mg, a diuretic that retains calcium.
Also, since he wants me to build up bone first -- Forteo, basically a pulse dose of parathyroid hormone that would stimulate bone growth.  Great.  Except that it's a DAILY INJECTION! Well, he had a sample there and gave me the first dose right there in the office.  Not too bad.  And looking back now a week later it's not so bad doing it myself every day.
And others -- Calcium 500mg/day and Vitamin D 2000IU/day.  Based on the supplements I have at home I'm doing 600 + 1800 for now.  There is a concern for kidney stones with the Vitamin D given my history, so we'll see.

Other advice for me: drink water so I don't get hypotensive.

I asked about diet restrictions. NONE! he said.  Well, that certainly made me happy.  He said I was drinking milk everyday anyway.  But I'll still be careful.  There's a lot of literature and guidelines regarding a diet for hypercalciuria.  Lots of restrictions theoretically though, like caffeine and alcohol (great, just when I discovered the heaven that is pressed pot coffee and just started getting into fine craft beers.)

I saw my orthopedic podiatrist a couple of days later, and told him that I still felt weak in my left foot.  I was doing my Theraband exercises as often as I could, but I still couldn't lift up on my tiptoes on my left foot without assistance.  There's a little bit of pain on the top of the foot, and moreso when I plantarflex on resistance (like the ground with my weight), but getting a touch better.

He said it could take a month for that to recover, since I just wasn't using it when I was nonweightbearing, but to see him in a couple of weeks if it wasn't getting better, and then he would MRI scan it to see if it was a stress fracture in the foot.  What? Are you kidding me?  But he said it would be ok based on the location.  He said maybe using a stiff dress shoe would help it.

Today, a week later, I feel pretty good.  I'm walking around with a little limp, but it's not bad at all.  Still hurts if I toe off on the left.  I'm walking around basically just by picking up my heels of the ground instead of pushing off ... Chi-Walking if you will ...


Something hit me all of a sudden as I was going through the files in my closet, getting my finances and taxes together and everything.  I cam across a box.  A box of some running stuff.  I started this blog as a running blog, and was going to focus on running, and training, specifically for the Goofy Challenge.  But because of my injuries my focus has been more on, well, my recovery and healing.

When I started running seriously a little over a year ago, I would put race bibs and whatnot into a box. I figured I loved running and racing so much I could collect a bunch of these bibs, and medals, etc, and just keep them in the box.  My first year old son saw my box one time, and asked me what it was.  "I don't know," I said, "it's my ... race box." He started cross country running as his after school activity last spring, and although we wanted to hang his medals in his room, wouldn't you know it -- he started putting his medals into my race box as well.  I don't believe I have opened it since my injuries.

Well, the other day, I came across the box, and saw that he had drawn a picture and labelled it, without me knowing, and it brought it all back as to what the whole point of all of this was.

Yes.  This is our race box; and we will continue to fill it.

(Disclaimer: as always anywhere on this site, information here is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional and is not a substitute for your own medical professional's clinical judgment and treatment, and does not intend to pertain to any particular individual's own health situation.)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Strange relief

I need to post this now ...

Found out today more about my injuries, and the possible cause of my osteoporosis: hypercalciuria.

My PMD's office informed me that my 24 hour urine calcium was high, as was my creatinine clearance, and other labs so far are ok.

I will make an appointment with my endocrinologist to get more advice and to see where this is going.
Looking through treatments, looks like dietary (not necessarily more calcium, but regulated.  Cut down on alcohol, caffeine, oxalates, animal proteins ... will have to investigate further).  And possible treatment with thiazides +/- bisphosphonates.

Whatever it is ... right now I feel good.  It's like this strange relief that there is an answer to all of this, why I got stress fractures (osteoporosis) and why I have osteoporosis (hypercalciuria).

More to come.

Moving forward

Because of my injury, I've been away from the gym or any form of exercise for 11 weeks.

I have been off of my crutch, boot, and cane for a couple of days now ... well at least 90% of the last couple of days.  My left foot still feels week, with pain on the top of the foot on plantar flexion against floor resistance, standing on tiptoes ... but my limp on walking has gotten less.

I will be going back to the gym today, and will combine the advice of both Coach Jay Stephenson and my orthopedic podiatrist -- plan:

-walking warm up on the treadmill.  really light.
-sitting upper body exercises on the machines, moderate weight of 3 sets of 10.  Plan chest and tris today, watching my form, because of my osteoporosis
-few stretches post workout

Big difference from my running routines back when I was 100% healthy (looking back at my original training schedule, I was supposed to do a 16 mile long run this week)... but the thing is, I wasn't 100% healthy.

We'll see how it goes.  Not doing a 16 mile long run this week, or anytime soon ... but all things considered -- stress fractures, osteoporosis, crutches, scooter, cane, boot -- this is definitely a step forward.

Just got back from the gym, and it was a good start ... actually a RE-start.  Again.

Treadmill -- 2-2.5mph x 5 minutes (swallow that pride man!).  left foot felt a little weak, slight limp.
Fixed machines:
shoulder press 50lbs 2 sets of 10 (almost to failure)
chest press 50lbs 3 sets of 10 felt good
triceps press 50lbs 3 sets of 10 felt easy
pec fly 55lbs 3 sets of 10 almost to failure at end of 3rd set

Again, swallow my pride!  You gotta start again somewhere.  Better than these months I've been injured.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

(My) Progress

Walt Disney's vision of EPCOT / Progress City

A couple of days ago I stepped into the shower for the first time in 9 weeks.  NO! I don't mean I showered for the first time in 9 weeks, I meant this was the first time I stepped into shower.  I stepped ... I didn't crawl, kneel, shimmy, or otherwise contort my injured body into the shower, like I had to do the past couple of months because of my tibial stress fracture.

I'm progressing quite well with full weight bearing, seeing improvement every day over the past few days.  I'm able to stand on my injured leg now, wasn't able to do that last week.  Still tough to tiptoe, I feel it on the top of my left foot, but my ankle feels fine.  And yesterday my family and I had a normal outing in public for the first time in months ... dinner and a stroll in the mall.  I had my boot on and still hobbled with a cane.  But it feels good.

And at home -- I can walk around without a cane, still limping a bit, but so much better.  I can make coffee, carry my cup, put things away in the dishwasher, and move from sink to stove without doing some weird heel-toe rotation on one foot.  No crutches, no scooter!

Today I had a follow up with my awesome orthopedic podiatrist.  He said xrays looked good ... and there's good news:

-over the next 1-2 weeks I can transition to just wearing sneakers, and transition off the cane
-I can start upper body exercises while sitting
-when I get into sneakers with full unassisted weight bearing, I can start aerobic walking! (yes, not quite the long distance running I did, and what I wanted to do ... but at this point still awesome).
-In one month I can start riding a bike, and start doing weight training while standing
-In the meantime I can use a theraband for calf exercises

As to returning to running ... he did NOT say never.  He thinks it's possible to get back into running, but we would have to wait to see what the endocrinology workup shows.  If I'm cleared, then maybe I can do elliptical and running, but he said to wait.

That's fine.   At this point I can wait.  I just don't want to get injured again.  I want to stay healthy.
I had a bunch more tests done recently by my endocrinologist:
-MRI of the pituitary
-24 urine calcium
-24 urine creatinine clearance
-xyrine N-telopeptide
-serum osteocalcin
-serum histamine
-serum tryptase
-serum b-HCG

Disclaimer: at no point is any information on my blog a substitute for your own health professional's clinical judgement and workup for your own health condition.

So ... hopefully full-on exercise (without running) in one month.  That will take me to about mid-March, and well, I'm still registered for the Allstate NYC 13.1 Marathon at the end of March, and I can technically walk it ... but now I might just play it safe and DNS it.

It's ok.

This is progress.

credit to

Saturday, February 9, 2013

A Different Kind of Marathon

Not exactly the kind of marathon I wanted to participate in ... but today AMC is showing The Walking Dead Marathon, for those who want to catch up before tomorrow's season premiere.

I'm not really a regular fan of the show, I guess I've only seen the first season.

But in any case, today I'm actually wlking like the walking dead! I'm limping around the house on my boot, WITHOUT my crutches! Went to work today too with some crutch assistance, but definitely walking more.

I see my orthopedist in four days, hopefully the boot comes off then. When I'm barefoot, I feel a little pressure/pain on the top lateral part of my left foot, and I still can't lift up on tippie toe on my left foot. But it feels much better and stronger in the boot. At least I can weight bear now.

Walking. Like a zombie. Back from the dead. Now the marathon. The Walking Dead Marathon.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Walking ...

It is 8 weeks today since I've been on crutches ... actually NINE MONTHS since my initial injury, on and off and on again crutches.  In any event, as per my orthopedic's schedule, I should be transitioning to full weight bearing by now.  And today, I see progress!

I'm walking around, more like shuffling around and limping around, my bedroom, with my boot off.  And it is good. I feel a little pressure in my ankle, and the top of my foot a little, and my doc said to expect that.  Funny again, how not too long ago my goal was measured in miles and speed, and today it's measured in steps.

Yes, I'm still in the middle of workup as to why all of this is happening, why a 39 year old male should have severe osteoporosis ... but my goal is more immediate and more selfish --

I don't want to be on crutches when I go on our next Disney Cruise and on our next Walt Disney World vacation!

Been there, done that.  And it was fine, but it would be nice not to have to drag my crutches around anymore, and no more scooter!

Monday, February 4, 2013


Everytime I've gone on vacation, the planner in me makes a nice long checklist of things to do (before, during, and after the vacation), and a checklist of things to pack.  the trick is to think of every single thing (eg, not just cell phone, but cell charger)

I've always wanted to do this ... make the ULTIMATE checklist  (disclaimer, relevant for my family and me only, for either a Walt Disney World Vacation or Disney Cruise, may or may not include things that YOU need). other disclaimer, I'm a guy.

**Feel free to PRINT or REPOST, I only ask that you include a credit or link to my blog, ** THANKS!

decide on destination --
decide on dates --
take that vacation from work --
get call coverage --

transportation (e.g. limo) to airport
reserve airport parking (if driving)
roundtrip flight
update frequent flyer
limo from airport to hotel
reserve airport Hyatt hotel? if need precruise
plan when to pre-pay FLtours -- need to call
print vouchers for transportation
hotel reservation / DVC
limo to cruise port and back if you need
port adventures / excursions
kids activities
cruise adult dinner reservations
spa reservations
limo to airport
or car rental
reserve booster seat
reserve stroller
consider trip insurance
look at driving directions
preload addresses in phone GPS
download movies / podcasts / music to phone/ipad
request refrigerator and medical sharps container at both hotel and cruise if need
transfer disney rewards to your card
tickets to parks / annual pass vouchers
friends' or companions' tickets if you reserved for them
magic bands
tables in wonderland
parking passes if applicable
Landry card for restaurant rewards
AAA card for hotel and other discounts
conference / CME registration if applicable
business cards
subscribe and plan touring plans! (optimize, etc)
email someone itinerary
get confirmation numbers of all above
get DVC member number
DVC membership card
get castaway club member numbers
make cruise dining requests -- servers etc.
pay your bills!
put gel packs in freezer for medications
get a haircut
plan fastpasses
cruise documents
cruise luggage tags
cruise signature page
cruise health information page
contact info / cell / of people you are meeting there
check in cruise
get port arrival time
reserve youth activities
make day by day itinerary
download cruise or park app for every member of party

let tenants, business partners, employees, etc know who's covering
finish all hospital ESAS / charts

ask someone to check on house

empty the camera
empty your phone pics for more room
hold the mail (and remember to resume when you come back)
empty other mailboxes, PO box etc.
set vacation email response
light timers, replace light bulbs
set alarm
timer sprinklers, lockdown sprinkler controls
banking -- deposit checks, get money

multi-sectioned folder
print paperwork for above stuff (limo, flight, limo, hotel, limo, cruise, limo, may include limo vouchers. or car rental)
cruise signature page
tickets / annual pass, including friends' you reserved
magic bands
conference registration etc
passports -- count every single member of family
other ID/driver's license
disney visa rewards card
two credit cards
ATM card
cash for tips, etc.
coins for exact change tolls if you're renting a car
your contact information on a piece of paper in every piece of luggage

clothes outfit for every single day for every person, and lay them out:
socks -- formal and fitness
t shirts
collared shirts
long sleeve sweatshirts / hoodie
extra clothes
swim goggles
formal wear (for cruise dinners, etc):
nice pants
nice shirts
long sleeved button down shirt
jacket and tie if necessary
nice socks
nice shoes
everyday shoes
fitness shoes
flip flops
water shoes
shades case
wrinkle free spray
fitness wear:
dryfit shirts
fitness socks
fitness belt / pouch
pirate shirt

(note: this list does not include women's items, dresses, women's toiletries, etc)

registration / waivers for race
permission for others to pick up bib
Proof of time
head to toe:
hat / sweat band
shades case
long sleeve
watch charger
running underwear
sweat pants
running socks
running shoes
compression socks
compression calf sleeves
Wipes, individual
Chocolate milk
Do grocery there to get running fuel if need: water, breakfast items, gatorade
Rain gear
Throwaways for race
garbage bags for race
extra small cinch backpack to carry expo gear
remember runner tracking
laundry detergent if need

cell phone
cell phone charger
cell phone case
car cellphone charger
extra roaming phone
extra roaming phone charger
ipad charger
power strip
international outlet adaptors
camera case
camera charger
camera battery
extra headphones (kids want to listen in flight)

baggage padlocks
baggage straps
luggage tags
place magical express luggage tags if applicable
remember disney cruise line luggage tags and when to place
remember day bag for cruise embarkation
beach bag with plastic bags

make sure you either have room in your suitcase for souvenirs or bring an extra bag!
bubbe wrap wineskin to bring bottles home

shaving cream
shampoo if you like your own
soap if you like your own
facial wash
hair gel
woman's stuff
anti-wrinkle spray
small scissors  -- for tags, wristbands, etc.
small air freshener spray
colored clips to identify hotel towels

antiseptic spray / neosporin
prescriptions for proof
syringes if need
cooler for medicine if need
freeze packs for medicine
alcohol swabs
anbesol or orajel -- also good for bug bites
sleep mask
cold meds
sore throat lozenge

cool off wipes
sunblock stick / lips etc
gallon zip lock bags
soda cups to fill up on deck
something to autograph for cruise, plus candy for CMs
USB drive
arcade card
snacks for the plane

KIDS STUFF: (will vary, etc diapers if kids)
kids carryon with toys
plastic bags
something to have autographed

gifts for hosts (pasalubong)

final shopping for anything on this list you need!
online checkin for flight and print boarding passes
get money / cash, for tips, for limo

remember to freeze gel packs for medications
check in flight online
text limo to airport
check into hotels onlin

LAST MINUTE STUFF: just before you leave, make sure you have again in carryon:
wallet / ids / credit cards / insurance cards
cash for tips
passports second check
folder with paperwork
final sweep
medications with prescriptions and doctor's name/#
medication travel pack with frozen gel packs
medical syringes if need

redeem annual pass vouchers
get tables in wonderland card
touring plans if parks
whatever special spot picture you always get, etc
rem to get souvenirs for others who wanted some (maybe it's someone's birthday, etc.)
Disney VISA picture
place DCL luggage tags before you get on ship if cruise
confirm ride/limo back

resume and pick up mail
share those pics!
download photopass pics
plan next trip


**Feel free to PRINT or REPOST, I only ask that you include a credit or link to myself and my blog, Patrick Alcasid of ** THANKS!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Extreme Disney Vacation Planning

I woke up this morning at 5:30am for the 14th day in the row without a day off to go to work (weekends too) ... and still have another 7 days without a day off (my choice, my practice ... I'm not complaining) all this plus I'm on Week 2 of my partial weight-bearing on my boot and crutches (hopefully full weight bearing by the end of this week) ... and Superbowl XLVII is today ... but the order of business this afternoon is



I admit it.  I am a planner.  You must have heard about those Type-A vacation planners ... yup I'm one of those, multiple spreadsheet-creating, every-hour-scheduling, multipocketed-folder-carrying, get-up-at-crack-of-dawn-to-get-good-reservations kind of planner.  Especially when it comes to Disney.  Walt Disney World has just gotten way too crowded, and there is just so much to do, and there is so much information available on the internet, you have to stay ahead of everyone else.  Lots of fun controlled craziness in planning.

(credit to

"Death of spontaneity?"  Well, I can't deny that some of the "stop and smell the roses" aspect of appreciating Disney's attention to detail has suffered, but proper planning can save you tons of time in line ... time that can be later spent relaxing.  My family and I have not waited in a significant line in a long time ... when we plan right.  In any event, the planning process itself is part of the joy of the vacation ... for me, anyway.

So let's get down to business.

Vacations we are planning for:
1. 5-night Western Caribbean Cruise on the Disney Wonder!
2. Walt Disney World vacation 2013
3. Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend 2014

The WDW Marathon Weekend is still about a year away, and completing that Goofy is still my goal (I'll walk it if I have to, given my current injuries), so that will be on the side burner for now.

The Disney Wonder
This will be our 5th Disney Cruise, and will put is into the Gold Castaway Club level, for what its worth.  I'm especially excited about this cruise, because it's 5 nights (we've done 2, 3, and 4 nights previously), and we booked a bunch of extras we haven't done before:

-Palo Brunch
-Palo Dinner
-Shore Excursion in Cozumel: Mayan Ruins and Discover Mexico

yes ... a cruise is first and foremost about relaxing, but I couldn't help but track down the Navigators (hour by hour schedule of the ships activities) for this trip.

So, I did a majority of the planning already for this cruise, I paid in full, (originally booked through Dreams Unlimited Travel, who I've worked with in the past, and have been great!  Thanks Merrie!), and booked usual -- limo to airport, flight, limo to hotel, limo to port, CRUISE!, limo back to hotel, limo to airport, flight back home.  I'm depressed already that it will be over.

So we'll just sit back and wait for our cruise documents and off we go.

2013 WDW Vacation
We've been going to Walt Disney World 1-3 times a year for over 20 years. I use a lot of resources, so for my own reference, here's what I can use:

Disney, to be honest not the best website, but good for Dining Reservations
Upromise, to use:
Expedia or Orbitz
Dreams Unlimited Travel
WDW Info -- truly the best overall unofficial disney vacation info site
DISboards -- truly the best overall unofficial disney forum
Touring Plans
Easy WDW
Evernote for my ultimate to-do list and packing list
Dis Unplugged podcast
WDW Today podcast
WDW Radio podcast

something new: My Disney Experience.  I haven't played around with it yet, but may be a useful part of Disney's Next Generation My Magic Plus in Theme Park / vacation interactivity, which will include controversial or not RFID tracking of your moves, purchases, etc.

(credit to

I tried making some dining reservations last night online, but the 6 month mark wasn't quite here yet.  (yes, I'm planning where to eat 6 months ahead of time).  Generally, the crowd calendars on Touring Plans and EasyWDW guide us on what park to go to ... then we plan our dining reservations around that.  We'll probably be getting Annual Passes this time around (because we plan on going multiple times in 12 months), which will qualify us to get the Tables in Wonderland card.

We definitely have our favorite restaurants, but we want to try new things each visit, here's a list of some new and old favorites we want to hit this time:

Monsieur Paul (used to be Bistro de Paris) -- listen to the famous Kevin Klose's review here.
Be Our Guest (in the new expanded Fantasyland) -- listen to the Dis Unplugged review here.
Citricos or Narcoosees
Le Cellier (mainly for the Unibroue beer they serve there)
Kona Cafe (I have yet to try the Tonga Toast)
Via Napoli
maybe Yachtsman Steakhouse

(credit to

(credit to Corey Martin)

I can't wait to eat!  I'll probably do another Walt Disney World Mini Beer Tour and Review as well, so keep an eye out for it.

Since we can't book the dinners yet, I'll look into flights today, and also look into Disney Vacation Club availability of the Contemporary Bay Lake Towers.

(credit to Disney)

So.  let's get down to business!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


12:15am stream of consciousness... was angry the past few nights about not eing able to run. I thought i was ok, and had accepted it due to my health, even told someone last night that once I found out about my osteoporosis I didnt care about running anymore ...

that's not true.

some nights i just want to throw my phone in anger, reading about running, and running quotes, and motivation ... when God damn it I'm already motivated... I never needed the "just do it" and "never give up" speeches because i just loved to be out there running... and now i can't.

BUT. I dont want to be injured again. working everyday on crutches or a scooter is annoying. who the hell wants to go through this again.

better thoughts...

cant wait to go on our Disney cruise! then WDW!

Friday, January 25, 2013

I can't run right now ... and it's okay.

It's amazing what perspective can do.

I saw an endocrinologist today, in regards to my osteoporosis, specifically why a 39 year old otherwise healthy male would have low bone density (thus the cause of my stress fractures).

Without going into too much detail right now, I do have a hormonal imbalance, and more workup is needed.  Just for the sake of asking, I said, "so I can't run?" And he said, "No, you have the bones of a 70 year old."

And, to my surprise, my feeling after being told that I can't run? I'm okay with that.

Really.  The whole purpose of this blog, and my own personal fitness and success goal this past year and half has been to train myself to complete the Walt Disney World Goofy Challenge ... to run a Marathon and a Half.  And maybe I will someday.  Who knows.  My doctor didn't say don't run ever.  But no matter.  As of right now, my health is important to me.  I can still hold that goal ... and I will walk it next year.

I'm okay with the answer because my DOCTOR advised me not to run right now.  My doctor.  Not because my coworkers told me not to run.  Not because random people, especially nonrunners, are telling me "find another sport," and "you gotta stop this running stuff," and "when are you going to stop."  Not fellow runners, not random people who I run into who don't know my health, who don't know medicine, who don't have my health as a priority.  I take advice from my doctor.  And I'm content with that.

But I want to go through this workup, and figure out why my hormones are so out of balance.  And fix it.

Wow.  I didn't think I would have this reaction.  I thought that I would be devastated to hear that I can't run.  And maybe I will feel it tomorrow.  In fact, on my drive on the way to my doctor, I listed to the WDW Today Podcast, and the episode was about the Walt Disney World Marathon.  And I really wished I could run it.  And I still do.  But right now, let me just get healthy first..

I'm okay with that.


The following will be more technical for my own documentation and notes.  This should not be construed as medical advice and should not, in any circumstance, be a substitute for any reader's own physician's history, physical exam, and clinical judgement.
Endocrinologist visit notes:
Low testosterone and low free testosterone for my age, but ok.
Low LH, normal FSH
LH --> estrogen, FSH-->sperm.  men should produce estrogen for bone growth.  testosterone converts to estrogen
No celiac disease, no sarcoid (normal ACE)
prolactin low, which is good
previous results: ionized Ca, PTH, SPEP, UPEP ok.  Vitamin D mild low.  would like Vit D level to be 40, but can't give too much right now bc of h/o nephrolithiasis

Hypercalciuria (idiopathic) -- potential Tx thiazides, to retain Ca
other low estrogen producing
if negative workup, think bone disease, including Marfan's?  (less likely given arm span and no other fracture hx other than my recent stress fractures). Mastocytoma?
not varicocele bc would destroy testosterone in which case LH and FSH would be elevated.

24 hr urine calcium, to be followed by fasting labs the next morning (estrogen, etc).  Also MRI pituitary.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Baby steps ... AGAIN

Quick update on my status ... (mainly for my own documentation really)

I got some labwork done this morning -- LH, FSH, ACE, prolactin, testosterone, and endomysial antibodies.  I already got CBC, CMP, Ca, PTH, Vitamin D, SPEP, and UPEP.  My endocrinologist is just trying to rule out secondary causes of osteoporosis, given that I'm a 39 year old male!

I just saw my orthopedic podiatrist ... he says there is good healing on the MRI and ankle Xray of my tibial stress fracture, and now I can partially weight bear!

Yay!  but what does that mean?  Well, I can put 40-50 pounds of weight on my ankle (I tried it on a scale to get a feel, as the doctor prescribed) for 2 weeks, then on to full weight bearing during the 3rd week.

That means I still need the scooter and crutches.  I'm working with no day off for the next 2-3 weeks (including weekends), and am on call this weekend.  I was hoping to be walking fully this weekend, but this is actually okay, I'd rather use the scooter than crutches anyway.  I can just practice my partial weight bearing at home.

That being said, I have to be realistic about the races I had registered for.

There is the Allstate 13.1 Marathon in New York City on March 23, 2013.  Even if I was running (and I'm not), that would only give me 8 weeks to train.  Doable, but I'm only partial weight bearing.  I was planning on walking it anyway, but even then, even if and when I am full weight bearing in 3 weeks, that gives me 5 weeks to train.

C'mon now.  I'm positive, and optimistic, but I have to be realistic, and NOT FRIGGIN HURT MYSELF AGAIN.  So I'll back out of the Allstate Half, maybe defer till next year.

Now ... I am also registered of the NJ Half Marathon (Long Branch Half) on May 5, 2013.  now that's certainly interesting.  If and when I'm full weight bearing in 3 weeks, I can do a walking program and train to walk the Half in 11-12 weeks.  That sounds doable.  It will be great rehab.

So that's my short term goal for now.

(yes, Goofy is still in my sights for 2014).

I am seeing my endocrinologist on Friday (2 days from now), so we'll see what transpires then, based on some of the labwork that was done today.

Monday, January 21, 2013


Those who know me may describe me as generally positive person, quick to smile and offer warm words (I think, anyway) ... but not today.

I woke up at 5:30am as I have been for the past couple of weeks, not to go to the gym or to run like I had looked forward to in the past, but to get up and go to work.  I looked at the daily affirmation this early, dark, morning, "I love to get up in the morning and greet a new day," and said, "YEAH RIGHT!"

There was something about today ... maybe I was just in a bad mood ... the whole osteoporosis thing is gnawing at me, hitting me in weird ways.  Being non-weight bearing, getting around work -- rushing around, mind you -- is just getting old.  The jokes and comments are getting old.  I understand and appreciate everyone's concern about me.  To be truthful, I'm sure it's more curiosity.  Look at that scooter!  Scooter boy!  How much longer do you have to be on that thing?

It's not their fault.  They're curious.  I'm just getting tired of everything.

I know there are worse things, and many people are dealing with worse illnesses and circumstances.

I'm guessing others would be jealous of my circumstance:

 Heck, I'm married to a wonderful, beautiful, and loving wife, have an awesome healthy son, have a great career which pays well, own and live in my dream home in a great community ... and look, even with all of this I'm just so focused on running again.  But now what?  I get hit with this osteoporosis diagnosis and all of a sudden I'm living in uncertainty and doubt.

But full confession, I'm jealous of others:

When I see runners outside, I get jealous.  Whenever I drive past my old running routes, the reservoir, or whatever, I wish I was there.  When I look on Facebook and see other runners' posting pics of recent races, or PR's, I get jealous, and I get frustrated to no end to see that my own PR's weren't that bad.  I don't think I was bad for a 39 year old beginner/recreational runner, or at least a less-than-one-year runner.

5k PR: 23:48, 7:40 pace (official)
Half marathon PR (in training): 2:04:23, 9:30pace

Not by any means elite, and still a ways to go from the front corrals, but, hey, I think I could hang with an average 39 year old recreational runner.

 But hey, I really enjoy (enjoyED?) running.  It gave me joy, made me feel good.

I'll be getting some bloodwork (testosterone level) done tomorrow, will see my orthopedic podiatrist on Wednesday, and an endocrinologist on Friday.

In the meantime, I'm free to speculate, read, worry (or not), or whatever.  I did read that beers have the OSA form of silicon, which is bone building, especially the India Pale Ale kind!!

So hey, why not?  I just enjoyed a Founders Centenial IPA:

So, we'll see.  So many thoughts all at once, so many things to figure out ...
Why do I have osteoporosis?  Not sure if I want a reason or not ... hopefully it's correctable, hopefully it's curable ... I want to run ...Can I run again?  Will I be able to run again?  How about walking?  yeah, I can walk ... bought Chi Walking, I'll look at that, we'll see ... oh man I have the Allstate 13.1 Half Marathon in March! I can walk that, right?  Can I train in that short of time?  Wait, what the hell?  I'm still nonweighbearing!!  I'm so selfish.  But c'mon, I want to run.  There are a bunch of runners with osteoporosis that I see online.  I can be like them, right?!?!  God, just slow down.  Why, oh why, do I want to run so much.


Why do I want to run?  Why do I want to run a marathon?  And the GOOFY for God's sakes?  Why?

Selfish?  Well ... because it will make me feel good.  And isn't that what we all really want?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Thank you, Coach Jay!

"Just get moving."
                                                        -Coach Jay Stephenson

A couple of weeks ago, (before I found out about my osteoporosis), I spoke with Jay Stephenson on the phone about my running injuries, and we discussed strategies for recovery and prevention.  Jay Stephenson is the former head coach for cross country and distance track at Shorter University in Rome, Georgia.  His wonderful website,, is a wonderful resource for training and fitness plans, with load of informational videos on all things running -- training, races, nutrition, and more.

After I contacted him and explained my situation ... as you know, a 39 year old runner suffering a second stress fracture in 6 months, he graciously offered some time for further discussion and advice on the phone.

The first question to answer was : "Why and how did I get injured?"
(please note that this was before my DEXA scan revealed osteoporosis, and the reason for that is still being investigated).

To answer this, he asked in detail what my running schedule was leading up to my injuries; he asked about my shoes, my form, and the surface I ran on.  Here is my breakdown

Schedule: From November 2011 to May 2012, I started by completing a modified Couch to 5K Program, (modified because I skipped ahead a couple weeks when I felt good, something I should not have done) then had a rather irregular schedule because of work, but tried to stick with 3 maintenance runs of 3-5 miles during the week, and a long run on weekends from 6-13.1 miles, increasing each week.  If I am to be honest, my schedule not regular at all, and I could go for a week without running, then would run several days in a row, and not really pay attention to increasing mileage.

Shoes: did a lot of experimenting.  Video analysis at both a Foot Locker RUN store and Road Runner Sports showed that I have a neutral gait.  Foot analysis at Road Runner Sports showed that I have a high arch.  I played around with Nike Air Pegasus, Skechers GoRuns, Mizuno Wave Creation 13, Brooks Ghost 3, and Brooks Pure Flow 1.  (man I loved the Pure Flow.)

Form: the Foot  Locker Run store analysis showed heel strike, neutral gait (I was wearing shoes).  In contrast, the Road runner sports analysis, showed that I had a forefoot strike and neutral PLUS gait (needed a little more support). (I was barefoot).
Personally I knew I was a heel striker, but tried hard to get onto midfoot (Chi Running) and forefoot.  I wasn't always successful, but the concept of minimalism and form made sense to me, at the time anyway.

 Great video on the basics of proper Chi Running form:

Surface: Almost pure pavement.  I ran on streets and sidewalks leading up to May 2012.  Also a lot of wooden boardwalk.  Very rare grass, and rare treadmill. 

Cross training: none at that time.

Circumstances of my first injury: After a half marathon distance long run in training, 13.1 miles in my new Mizuno Wave Creation 13 with heel strike on pavement, I started to feels a nagging pain in my right groin that didn't go away.  I kept running for a couple of weeks, and thus my femoral neck stress fracture.

So, what did I do then? I was on crutches and a cane for 5 months, I thought I learned my lesson, and then I tried to correct them when I got back to running October 2012 - December 2012

This was my strategy:
-even more gradual acceleration -- I walked more, then did coach to 5 k, then tried Hal Higdon's Novice 1 marathon training program.
-I tried to change my form to a more forefoot strike.
-I varied my surface, and more regularly ran on treadmills and softer trails.
-I cross trained -- elliptical and bike


In December 2012, I felt some left ankle pain after a short 3 mile trail run, so I stopped, then when it felt better, I ran 30-40 minutes on a soft treadmill, and then I found out I got my second stress fracture, a left distal tibial stress fracture.

So now what?  What do I do now.  Coach Jay helped me to identify the reasons for my injuries again -- maybe I was still accelerating my mileage too fast, and I was still doing too much too soon and I had too many fast workouts during the week.  I also figured I was overcompensating for my right hip injury and heel strick by (unconsciously) putting on extra weight on my left, and using a lot of forefoot strike, so that's how my left tibia got injured.

Now, again, this was before my DEXA bone density showed osteoporosis, but his prescription in addition to a modified training schedule? 


He suggested increasing bone density with weight training:
2-3 times a week,
workout with moderate weights (not to bulk up, but to tone), 3 sets of 10.
both upper and lower body.
either free weights or machines, whatever keeps you motivated and consistent.

Little did I know two weeks ago how important and spot on this advice would be, now that I found out that my bone density is low.  I haven't gotten to work out yet, I am still on crutches and a scooter.  First things first, let's heal.  My orthopedic podiatrist called my the other day and said to stay off of it, and he will see me this week, and probably well let me put some weight on my leg.  And I am going to get a testosterone level this week and see an endocrinologist.  Boy, this is turning our to be a  roundabout way to get from Couch to Goofy.  Let's do it right.

But, for giving me your generous time and advice, I thank you Coach Jay!!