Signs of a Good Life (or "I Suck at Racing – Part 2")

If you are one of the tens of followers of my blog (who isn’t related to me and has to follow it because you’re family) then you may remember a few months ago I shared a post about missing this year’s Boston Marathon. You remember the one…I called it “I suck at racing, why I’m skipping the 2011 Boston Marathon.”

About four months have passed so I thought I’d share an update. Yes, my arms are still attached and, yes, I’m still pissed that this year’s race was the friggin’ fastest ever and I wasn’t there to smile and coast my way through 26.2. When I saw the results and did the math, I calculated that I would have finished in about .08 seconds and been at a bar with a beer in hand cheering on the runners in the same amount of time it usually takes me to crest Heartbreak Hill. Oh, well, that’s life and the world spins madly on. I was never a fan of easy anyway.

If you missed the entry, here’s an update. 43 year old idiot who has been in a chair for 20 years and active with his shoulders since he first punched his sisters at age 3 and whipped a rock through the garage window at age 5 still thinks he has the body of a 19 year old. He spends a rather sedentary winter sitting behind a laptop keyboard then hits the racing and training hard first sign of springtime temps going above 60. First days does an easy 5 and feels like Superman. A week later, after ripping out a few 14 milers and hitting the gym hard (“I lift things up and put them down”), dork cannot even lift his left arm above his shoulder and is crying like a baby.


Buys stock in whoever makes ibuprofen and packs about 50 pounds of ice on shoulders for a week. When nothing happens, realizes something is really wrong and starts ringing doctors. Birds build nest in racing chair in garage and cat eats all babies when they hatch. Racing chair spends spring as a vehicle for death and destruction part 2 while I struggle to reach down and pull on my socks.

Cat winning.

Fast forward a bit – 4 months after onset – and here we are. For those who are already bored, here’s the moral of the story. I basically added some “acute” to a “chronic” injury and paid the price.

Good news before bad. MRI showed rotator cuffs are all fine, nothing torn and there’s still some cartilage in the places where it’s supposed to be. (That’s awesome news when you are a dude in a chair and have been warned for years to protect the rotator cuffs like they were diamonds and actually did it.)

Bad news was that tendonitis and bursitis made the AC joint look like a fat man’s belly popping out of his pants and some wear and tear on top of repeated impact – that’s active shoulder use for ya – made the glenohumeral joint a bit crunchy and not so smooth. And on top of it all, there is some loose debris floating around the joint and it has decided to settle in all the wrong places.

Shoulder could be used in a snap, crackle, pop commercial.

Enter the wonderful world of medicine. Xray, MRI, PT, ice, rest, ibuprofen, iontoferesis, ultrasound, therabands, cortisone, DEEP (read tearful) tissue massage, kinesio taping (blue is my favorite color, don’t buy the cheap stuff at Dick’s Sporting Goods and my wife is a saint for learning to do it like a pro and dealing with my complaining anyway) and 2 ortho opinions. I’m almost there. AC joint is getting back to normal and the glenohumeral joint is settling down, too. It’s not like it used to be as a lifetime of use tends to wear down joints like shoulders, knees, ankles and wrists in all active people but I can’t complain.

The loose debris remains the issue and with time and becoming a bit more active it may move, break or settle but if not, well, we will see, I may need a scope at some point. Hoping the body will continue to do its thing and if I respect the shoulder and don’t behave like an idiot again I may be better enough to go.

So chapter two of “I suck at racing” comes to a close. I’m calling this chapter “Signs of a Good Life” and it’s time to move on to chapter three. Time to get a bit more active (albeit not in the racing chair for a while) and see what happens. I likely won’t get back to being the 5 year old rock thrower or 19 year old athletic madman with shoulders and arms of steel but I’m happy to be where I am, glad I have always taken care of my rotator cuffs, happy I took a flyer on this year’s Boston (with the good head on prevention over furthering an injury winning precedent) and hopefully optimistic that time will do enough to get me to where I’d like to be.

So for now, off to beach volleyball practice (I’m the outside hitter) then to toss batting practice, throw the javelin, swim a mile of fly and finish with a sick number of overhead presses. Kidding.