Monday, April 14, 2014


As summer approaches and my foot creeps ever so closer to being 100%, I'm finally allowing myself to start filling in June, July, and August with some tentative adventures. I hope to fully participate in Colorado's biggest weekend of racing - 8/16 and 8/17. About 30 peaks remain to round out Colorado's Centennial peaks. (I'm always looking for company on these guys. If interested, let me know) I imagine just completing those two tasks will keep me busy, but after sitting around for so long, I look forward to it.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Recovering from a Jones Fracture

Day 0
On Thursday, October 10th, I was at the Pikes Peak Athletics Conference (PPAC) League Meet, doing what I always do during a big meet: run around and scream at kids to run faster.  Cutting across an overgrown field with the head coach, I found myself high-stepping into or onto something.  You'd think I would know what it was, but truthfully, I was so distracted by how it felt that I didn't even think about it until I had limped off a good ten steps or so.  I didn't hear a snap or anything - I just felt like I had jammed my foot up into my ankle and now sharp bolts of pain were letting me know I wasn't about to jog this one off.

I got taken to Urgent Care, where an X-ray confirmed what I had feared - that I had broken a bone in my foot.  My particular break was a complete fracture of the fifth metatarsal.  The location of the fracture within the fifth classified it as one of the three common types of fifth metatarsal fractures:  a Jones Fracture.  

Just a wee little thing...betchya can't even see it.

That night, while hopped up on Vicodin (I hate the feeling!) I did some research to see what I could learn.  I can't say the findings were encouraging.  This prognosis is sobering to say the least:  

If a Jones fracture fails to unite (malunion or non union), which is a common problem with these fractures, it can become a chronic condition. If this is the case, podiatrists will likely recommend that the patient spend more time in a cast, up to twenty weeks.
For several reasons, a Jones fracture often does not heal. The diaphyseal bone, where the fracture occurs, is an area of poor blood supply. In medical terms, it is a watershed area between two blood supplies. This makes healing difficult. In addition, there are various tendons, including the peroneus brevis and fibularis tertius, and two small muscles attached to the bone. These may pull the fracture apart and prevent healing.

Day 4
On Monday, October 14th, I had a consultation with an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Simpson.  We scheduled surgery for the following Thursday, October 24th.  The swelling in my foot was still pretty impressive, and it had to cool down a bit.  The surgical process for my type of Jones fracture is simple enough.  Take a screw and drill it through both parts of the bone, parallel to the shaft of the bone.  Ouch.

My temporary splint got thrown in the trash, and I was given a bionic boot, with its six-velcro-strap beauty.

I took a half-day off the previous Friday, but now I was back to work, in modified form.  Being immobile while teaching a bunch of eleven and twelve year olds isn't the easiest job out there.  I spent a lot of time lying on the couch at home, as well.  Cale and Melissa were both heroes and put up with my constant requests during those first few days.

Day 14
My mom dropped me off at the Orthopedic Surgeon's office late in the morning.  The staff admitted me, gave me some gas, and next thing I know it's over.  Surgery went smoothly.  By now, I had started to feel a little better every day.  Of course, the surgery put me back a bit recovery-wise, and I got to enjoy Round 2 of feeling beaten up.  Melissa brought me home, and the next few days again were rough.  

Day 40
At my monthly meeting with the orthopod, I was given permission to bear weight as tolerated, as long as I was in the boot.  In other words, I could wean myself from crutches.  

Days 43-50

Maui!  I never, and I mean NEVER, seem to go on vacation just for vacation's sake.  Melissa and I went with our friends, who had in their possession for one week a beautiful shoreline residence on Maui's northwestern edge.
If you're gonna sit around and do nothing, this seems like a pretty good way to do it.

I approve of the view
And the recovery drink of choice.
The highlight of the trip may have been getting to swim aside tons of sea turtles.  The ocean swimming also represented my first semblance of exercise in nearly two months.

Day 69
Another milestone!  By now, I had been itching to try putting some weight on my left foot but had managed to resist the temptation.  On my next orthopod visit, I got to lose the boot and begin PT sessions.  I quickly called up my friend Simon and scheduled a visit with him for the next Monday.

I really struggled those first few days without the boot.  My foot had barely any stamina before it started throbbing from all the joint movement that hadn't occurred for months.

Day 100
My first taste of meaningful outdoor activity, I soft-pedaled for a bit short of an hour outside on the west side of town.  Just in time, too, as I had been adding pounds at a fairly alarming rate, going from a pre-break 142 to a high on this day of 162.

Day 130
Just this week, I began "briskly walking" - I can't help but think of mallwalking when I say that.  I kept trying to tell myself that this is no different than if you were in shape to walk the 80th mile in an ultra.  Good luck with that.

I'm probably still a week or two from taking my first running steps.  I'm able to do some real mountain biking.  It's been a while; I enjoy coming back to it.  I'll probably continue to ride more than I have in past years once I'm healthier.

It's been almost 5 months since I've run.  At no other point in my life since I began running have I been away from it for this long.  It's time - I'm excited to be putting this thing behind me and be moving again!

Saturday, January 25, 2014


The best way to kill a blog, in my opinion, is to get hurt and subsequently turn to sulking.

I'm not yet ready to put into words these past few months of sitting on my butt and 'healing', and I'm not even certain that once I am there will even be words worth hearing to describe it.  Basically, I broke my foot, it sucked, then it sucked some more, then it continued to suck, and even when it began to not suck as much, it sucked more because it still sucked.  When it's done sucking, I think I might just pretend nothing sucked.  We'll see.

Till then, I think I'll suck just a little more.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Bells Traverse in pictures

Part 1 - gaining the ridge

  • aka "the warm-up" aka "the Incline without steps"
  • 3,000' gain in just over a mile

Part 2 - Maroon's south ridge

  • aka let the fun begin
  • It's much more of a face than a ridge, but what do I know.

Part 3 - The Traverse

  • The fun part 
  • aka don't tell mom

Part 4 - descending North Maroon

  • aka "the hangover" 
  • aka "the payback"
  • aka "rock glacier hell"

This was my second time ringing the Bells, the first being back in 2010 with Patrick.  I would say this time was as much, if not more fun, than that trip.  On the traverse specifically, we made many different micro-decisions this time around.  Last time, the fear of choosing the wrong line on the traverse had me pretty wigged out.  This time, it became clear that there are many ways to skin a Maroon cat.

As you can see by the pictures, Jake and I "picked up" a random dude named Dustin.  He was prepared to do South Maroon only and we were prepared to cut ties with him.  Other than the absence of a melonguard, his decisions were solid and it was evident he was a guy we could trust.

Both Jake and I felt much better than the day before on Holy Cross.  I only went through a little over a liter of water, whereas the previous day saw me put down at least four liters by the time I went to sleep.

It is easy to view this route in its parts - basically, everything under 13,300' sucks.  I'd rather do a burpee mile than cross North Maroon's rock glacier again.  The climb up South Maroon is steep and relentless - slightly more pleasureable than a 75-minute series of kicks in the pants, but not much more so.  However, the short sweet spot in between more than makes up for it.  There aren't many places out there where one can earn the right to crawl around like a monkey while experiencing some sick views.  It's a classic.  Simply put, if you CAN do the Bells traverse, then you SHOULD.