Archive for February, 2010

My 2nd indoor Triathon, Prospect Park YMCA (With RESULTS!!)

February 28, 2010 Leave a comment

After all this drama with my knee and the go ahead from my doctor to resume regular training, I was very much looking forward to competing in this triathlon on my “home turf” at my gym, the Prospect Park YMCA.  I didn’t really have super high aspirations since I have been AWOL from consistent training for the last 2 months, I’m just itching to compete in something 🙂

I have recently taken a new job and have been working my tail off for the last 2 weeks.  For those that don’t know….I’m a chef and I’ve been putting in about 60-65 hours a week, 90% of which is spent on my feet and running up and down stairs.  In a way, I guess it keeps me in shape but it is also draining and not really race specific exercise.

I choose to do the 9AM wave, just to get started early.  Woke up around 7:45 since the walk over is only about 10 minutes.  I arrived about 8:15, signed in for the 9:15 wave, took a quick tour and went outside for a 1 mile warmup before my swim.

Got in the pool, they give us a couple minutes to warm up in the pool.  At this pool there is a little ledge about 4 feet down the wall, so you can stand on it.  So I did.  And as I pushed off to start my warm up, my left foot slipped off the ledge and the bottom of my shin slammed the ledge…OOOWWWW.  So for 1/2 a lap of my warm up I was cursing under water.  It really hurt, but I had no time to worry about it, oh well.

I’ve been practicing my swimming but not enough.  It’s funny…I actually thought I had made a giant performance leap since swimming my first tri, but today realized that the pool I practice in is only 20 yds 😦  In my training I’ve been steady at 24 laps in 10 minutes.  I managed 26 laps today so I was happy with the PR, and distance wise, it was longer than my first tri, even with the shorter pool.  1st Tri 475 yds, 2nd Tri 520 yds.  26 laps.  Felt slow, but I still was close to the top.  Not sure about official results, but I will post them here in the next couple days.

Out of the pool and we had about 15 minutes for transition, so I changed out of my swim suit into my compression shorts for the run, and over those my padded bike shorts.  I grabbed my Accelerade and shot blocks and headed to the spin room.  The guy that won last year was in the 9:00AM heat so I was able to check his performances as they recorded mine.  He swam 31 laps and now I see he is cranking on the bike.

I adjusted my bike and got comfortable, and then we were off.  This time I brought my ipod so I had some good “hype up” music for my ride.  I started off slower than I wanted.  My goal was 19 miles in 30 minutes, which is 3.33 every 10 minutes.  At 10 minutes I was at 2.90…lazy.  So I cranked it up and was at 9 miles at the halfway point.  I finished with 18.2 or something.  I was 18.4 last time.  It’s so weird riding the spin because there is no bonus for resistance so the wheel is just going, it is basically how fast you can move your legs.

On to my specialty, the run.  This was a much quicker transition since the spin room is right next to the treadmills.  We got 5 minutes to switch.  My running training has been light lately so my plan was to take it fairly east in the first 2-3 minutes then steadily increase depending on how I feel.  The run is 20 minutes.  I started off at 6:30/mi pace and felt comfortable, by 5 min. in I dropped it down to 6:15 and at 7 min I was really feeling a groove at 6 flat pace…then BOOM, all the treadmills STOP…Blank screen.  Are you kidding me!!?!?  This is BS!  Of course there was no way of knowing the stats on our wave, so the only option was to switch treadmills and re-start.  I really tried to play it off and re group, but I wasn’t running 8 minute pace like the guy next to me, I was hammering.  Not to say there is anything wrong with 8 min. pace, but this guy didn’t really look upset that we had to restart.  And an extra 7 minutes of 6:15 pace is no easy feat.  I mean, I can do it, but my plan was to keep dropping the pace down to finish the last mile in 5:30/5:45 pace.

We got about 5 minutes rest while they figured out we would restart.  The only bonus was I was able to get right back into 6:20 pace without a build up, but my mind had already planned on a 20 minute run and at about 15 minutes into round 2, I could really feel the burn, I actually had to back off the pace a bit at one point.  Plus it was an inferno in this gym.  I sweat a lot as it is, but it was really hot.  And they only had 2 little house fans mounted on the wall to circulate a 30ft x 100 ft room…NICE.  My weight before leaving my house was 197 lbs, 1 hour of exertion later I was 193 and that is including drinking at least 32 oz of fluid.  So I lost 6 lbs of water weight.

I ended up with a 3.22 miles score, my first tri was 3.4 and I know I could have beat that with out the power failure.  Tough break, at least it wasn’t the championships, just a tune up.  Not sure if the 3.22 will hold up as the fastest of the day, but I beat last years winner by .1 in the run.

Knee felt great.  No pain.  A bit of swelling but nothing major.  At home icing the knee for precaution AND my shin with a half inch slice on it.  Battle wound 🙂

I am looking forward to doing an outdoor tri where I can actually compete AGAINST people and see where I am at.  Fun times.

Top 10 breakdown

As you can see.  My swim is still my big weakness, but it is improving.  Let me add an ** to my run time which I am sure would have been at least 3.4-3.5 miles, this would lower the other run scores.  I wouldn’t have won, but I would have been in the mix for 2nd or 3rd.  (just sayin…)  We’ll see how it all shakes out in the finals in 2 weeks.


Saw the Orthopedic doctor

February 16, 2010 2 comments

Finally made it to bring my MRI film to the orthopedic doctor.  Apparently the MRI office didn’t include all of the usual film sheets that this doctor is used to.  He inspected the ones they did provide and pointed out the very small horizontal tear that showed up.  The doctor however was “unimpressed” with the cyst.  He mentioned cysts were common in meniscus tears and he wasn’t concerned. He also explained a horizontal tear is a way I could picture.  It is not like a tear on a piece of paper but it is more like a tear as if you were slicing a bagel.  So to scope it and “trim” the tear would essentially make the meniscus more thin in that area.

He did a bunch of leg twists to see how stable my knee was and to check for any pain.  There was no pain or tenderness.  And there really hasn’t been pain or swelling in the last few weeks.  He said he would not reccommend surgery at this time.

He said to resume normal running activity and monitor the knee.  If it starts to swell again or becomes painful, surgery may be necessary but for now back to the streets 🙂

Maybe it will actually heal.  I am doing some ultrasound on it, also making sure I’m keeping my hamstrings stretched.  I am also applying MSM cream nightly, which is supposed to restore collagen tissue.  Meniscus are composed of some collagen fibers, so it’s worth a try….

How to Prepare for Knee Surgery

February 9, 2010 2 comments

Got this online from eHow member “painfuljoints”  🙂

I feel like this is a VERY important step that is often overlooked.  This preparation is the key to having a chance at a quick and full recovery.

How to Prepare for Knee Surgery

Things You’ll Need:

  • Copies of your MRI and x-rays
  • Second opinion from another knee surgeon
  • Consultation with a physical therapist (interview several)
  • Examples of knee “prehab” exercises
  1. Step 1

    // Once your surgeon suggest you need knee surgery, research the type of surgery he suggests, even if it’s a seemingly simple arthoscopy. Take it from a veteran of seventeen knee surgeries on one knee who is still disabled in that joint.

  2. Step 2

    Your quadriceps, which are vital to proper knee function, are some of the fastest to atrophy when not used regularly and are some of the slowest to come back after atrophy has occurred. Thus it is critical to do at least four weeks of “prehab”, specialized knee exercises that strengthen the quadriceps, especially the VMO (or front inside part of the quad).

  3. Step 3

    As a veteran of seventeen knee surgeries, I can give you a list of excellent exercises, but it’s best to get this information from a trained physical therapist. If you do not want to seek out your physical therapist prior to surgery, something I strongly recommend, keep up a workout at the gym at least three days per week with your physician’s blessing, since you may have concomitant illnesses that make workouts dangerous.

  4. Step 4

    One less dangerous to the heart exercise that may help you prepare is what’s called the “quad set.” The quad set consists of lying flat on your pack with a rolled up towel or empty 2-liter soda bottle in the crook of your knee and bunching up the knee relaxing it. Do this exercise in 3 sets of 15 three times per day, and whatever you do on the surgical side of your body, do to the other knee as well because that knee needs to be stronger than ever when the other knee is out of commission.


The long awaited MRI results are in….

February 7, 2010 3 comments

Drum roll please…….And the winner is……tear of the meniscus.. 😦  A horizontal cleavage tear of the posterior horn of the medial meniscus to be exact.  AND and a special bonus that only 5% of meniscus tears get…a parameniscal cyst (I guess I’m an overachiever).  Awesome right?  Yeah that’s what I thought too, awesome.  Well, I haven’t seen the doctor yet to hear what he thinks but I got the results mailed to me.  I thought they would send the MRI pictures, but they sent a diagnosis in words.  That is probably better since I’ve been studying MRI pictures online for a month now and still have see what the descriptions are talking about.

What is a parameniscal cyst….good question, here is the answer,

Definition: A meniscal cyst is an outpouching of joint fluid caused by a tear within the meniscus. Meniscal cysts are most commonly seen near the lateral meniscus (outside of the knee) and are associated with a specific type of meniscal tear called a horizontal cleavage tear. Meniscal cysts can be drained with a needle in the office, but they will often come back. The reason for the return of the meniscal cyst is that the tear that leads to the cyst must also be treated. The meniscal cysts are usually best treated with arthroscopic treatment of the meniscal tear. The meniscal cyst will usually decompress and less commonly returns.

Meniscal cysts are related to popliteal or Baker’s cysts–however, these types of cysts are located in the back of the knee joint.

Although, my tear was not in the lateral meniscus, but the medial (inner part of knee).  So my original thought of an inflamed bursa sac was incorrect, it was actually the cyst that was bulging out of my knee, I guess.  At least it is much smaller now, 6mm to be exact.

I’m not too worried.  Although not the greatest news, I can handle it.  I will have a doctor visit hopefully sometime next week to get his thoughts on the next step.  Meanwhile I will strengthen my leg muscles as much as possible to help with a speedy rehab (assuming of course, I go under the knife).

I am confident in a quick and full recovery.  Boston Marathon plans will obviously have to be put on hold until next year.

Not mine, but an MRI of cyst and tear

Eating For Your Blood Type

February 1, 2010 1 comment

I’ve read many comments about the “Eating for you blood type diet”  and some people think it is the greatest thing since sliced bread and some people think it is “snake oil”.  Well, it’s most likely somewhere inbetween.

I have decided to give it a try.  First I needed to figure out what my blood type is.  I knew at one time, but forgot.  So just to make sure, I looked online for a way to find out what it is.  Sure enough they have a do it yourself kit, sold of course by the author of the book “Eat Right for Your Blood Type”

DIY Test kit

Here is what the contents looked like…

It was a fairly simple process to do, except for the fact that I used the single use needle on a piece of paper instead of my finger.  Curiousity got the best of me.  I wanted to see the size of the needle, and didn’t read the instructions far enough to see it was single use.  Oops.  So I had to take apart the needle contraption and prick my finger manually.

In the end, I re-discovered that I was A+.  I donated blood once when I was in college and they told me what type I was, but I forgot.  Here is what a card looks like after doing the test…


Evolution of Blood Types

Back in the early days of man, there were only blood type O people. This means the surface of the red blood cells had neither A nor B antigens on it. This has carried down until today, when the vast majority of people are still type O.

Around 20,000BC, a mutation occurred, and some people began to be Blood Type A. These people developed an A membrane or antigen on the surface of their blood cells. This blood type became common in central Europe as well as Scandanavia. Many feel this change occurred when farming became common in those areas.

The next change was around 10,000BC. This is when some people developed a Type B membrane on their blood cells. This change took place in Asia and Japan, and biologists are not sure what encouraged this change to take place.

It was not until around the 1500s that the A groups and B groups began to mix as travel became more and more common. This formed the AB blood type, which is most common now in northern India, even though it is still the rarest of the four main blood types. Only 5% of US residents are blood type AB.

Since the different blood types really only matter when you have a blood transfusion, it is only in the past few hundred years that having different types of blood mattered at all – and it was only in 1909 that doctors finally figured out what caused some blood transfusions to work and others to fail!

The next step in my plan was to figure out what foods and beverages I should and should not be eating according to A+ blood type chart.

First off, the recommendation is no meat.  I should be a vegetarian, actually pescatarian, since seafood is good for A+.  I tried being a pescatarian several years ago, but it was more work than I was ready for at that time in my life.  Now since I have access to the Brooklyn Food Coop it is much more likely to succeed.  The coop is full of stuff made for vegetarians AND they are very reasonably priced.  So I have been doing the vegetarian thing for about a week now (I did eat chicken once).

Apparently your blood type can say a lot about you, not only what you should eat, but also your personality, how you react to stress, and other things.  In Japan and Korea it is not uncommon to give your blood type during a job interview or on a date.  This is however much skepticism in the scientific world about this theory.

There is little to no scientific proof that the diet works like it is supposed to or that blood influences personality and here is a good counter article breaking down the reason why.  I plan to keep and open mind and take this diet with a grain of salt (pun intended 🙂 ) but so far I feel good with much less stomach irritation than usual, in only 1 week.  There has been no marked weight loss though, probably more due to my lack of exercise while nursing my knee problem.

By the way, I will be getting an MRI on my knee to see whats going on inside on Tuesday.  I’ll keep you posted on the results.

Here is a chart from Dr. Lam about the good foods and foods to avoid for the A+ diet

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