Running on Empty

The past two years have not been kind to me in regards to running, and it is my own damn fault! I brushed off solid advice from friends, fellow runners and even my wife. When I began my running journey in 2012 I bit hard like a pit bull, I was obsessed and ran constantly. I ran 2 and 3 times a day on average of 13-15 miles daily, the weight was melting off. In 2013 I had my first injury (Torn hip flexor) and I ran a half marathon with it to a point I was in tears crossing the finish line the pain was excruciating.

I had other injuries along the way that sidelined me periodically but it was Christmas morning 2018 that began my downward spiral. On that early morning run (5 miles) with my friend Ken we were finishing up and had went our separate ways to head to our homes. In that last mile or so I was feeling some discomfort in my right knee but didn’t think too much of it. Just about home I couldn’t run as the discomfort turned to pain, I could barely walk also. As I limped towards the house I managed to grab my phone that I had tucked into our mailbox as I left and called my wife to come down and get me. She was not pleased I woke her!

Once in the house I couldn’t climb our stairs until several hours later once some of the pain subsided. I would see a doctor a few days later and they ordered an MRI. I learned I tore my meniscus and needed surgery in early 2019. While the doctors were in there they discovered some arthritis and did their best to scrap it out but could not get it all.

After several months of recovery I started running again slowly (Yeah rightūü§£ūü§£). But that didn’t last as I quickly ramped up my running and mileage once again. You’d think I would have learned! Since then I’ve had on and off setbacks and ran my final race on July 4th 2021, a local 4 mile race right here close to home. Not long after that race I started to have some pain in my left knee so I stopped running completely. Back to the doctors for another MRI only to discover my left meniscus had a slight tear. The doctors told me STOP running! But did I listen?

In November 2021 I started feeling pain in my left heel but figured it was just plantar fasciitis, however I was wrong. In February 2022 I finally went to the foot doctor and they X-rayed my foot to find I have a heel spur which is into my achilles tendon. The surgery would consist of removing my achilles in order to remove the spur and reattaching the achilles. This would have me down for months!

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas 2022 we tried a procedure to possibly ward off surgery. I spent two weeks out of work and in a boot, so far that procedure it seems to be working, fingers crossed. However I have not been running for almost a year now. I’m not going to lie I do really miss it and crave to run again! I’ve tried cycling, don’t love it. Too many people on their phones while driving. I’ve tried spin classes, they are ok. Then recently I discovered swimming, and with swimming nothing hurts (Yay). Currently I swim 30 minutes, 3 mornings a week and so far I feel good. I will admit it is hard to get up especially this time of year with the cold mornings and head for the pool. And I find it even harder for me not to push to do more. I’m trying to work on the mentality that less is more. An inner struggle for most of my life!

And lastly I’m so tempted to run my favorite race come this March, the Parade Day Mile. ūü§£ūüėā

Cheers!

July 4th 2021 finishing the 4 on the 4th Endwell, NY. Photo by: Van Zandbergen Photography

The Struggle is Real

Since the beginning of the year I have been running consistently and on a plan. I’ve also noticed small gains as my fitness slowly makes improvements. However I’ve also paid more attention to my bad runs where I’ve begun to notice a pattern emerging. In the past this is something I have not given any attention so I am intrigued to say the least.

My “Bad Runs” runs that I believe should have felt less effortless or where my heart rate seems higher than it should are due to several things in my opinion.

#1. Sleep or the lack of: Most mornings I get up at 0330 to be at work by 0430. I find it very difficult to go to bed before 8PM. I’m currently getting on average 6 hours per night. When I come home from work I try to take at least a 2 hour nap most days. I feel that sleep or proper rest plays a HUGE roll in the quality of our lives.

#2. Feeling Rushed:¬†If I don’t give myself down time between work,life, etc and a run my heart rate has the tendency to be higher as well. I firmly believe if there is not a transition period that this definitely affects attitude, approach and performance. Also time constraints fall into this category as well. ¬†I’m keeping a close eye on this one.

#3.Fear: Fear of getting hurt again rules the roost here, as does fear of failing in my workout. This is just a major part of my personality or as my wife calls it “The Mr. Excess” clause. As much as I want to say she’s crazy I can’t because she is 100% correct. Over the years I’ve struggled with this in many aspects. I’ve had this predetermined notion if you aren’t running big miles or fast paces you’re really not running. This is absolute foolish thinking on my part and a major reason of why I’m always injured.

The Positive: This past Sunday was my long run (8 Miles). This would be my longest run in well over a year. I got a good nights sleep, woke early and took the time to do my pre-run stretching, rolling and mentally eased myself into the workout. I was rewarded with a great run!

As I move forward I hope to learn and grow with this process. I also hope that even when I have a bad run/workout I can move past it and live for the next day.

Question: Do you struggle with anything similar?

Cheers!

Long run (8 Miles). This was a great run in my opinion.

My go to breakfast and post run fuel is:
“Chocolate Oatmeal” with raisins. 1 cup quick oats, 1 ounce serving raisins, 1 Tbsp mini chocolate chips and 3 packets Stevia sweetener.

 

 

Lunching Around

I was craving pizza, better yet mushroom pizza so I came up with a fun experiment. I’m not a bread fan by any means so a heavy pizza crust just wasn’t doing it for me, don’t get me wrong I love a good pizza. So I came up with this idea of a portobello mushroom pizzas.

I sprayed two mushroom caps with a little olive oil and placed them in a 400 degree oven. While they began to cook I saut√©ed peppers and onions. I recently discovered at Wegman’s they have thin sliced peppers and onions already bagged up. I let the caps cook for about 8 minutes before adding pizza sauce and back into the oven for another 3 minutes. Lastly I added the saut√©ed peppers and onions along with some shredded mozzarella cheese placing them back into their happy place until the cheese was nicely melted.

When the mushroom pizzas emerged from the warmth of the oven they not only looked delish but smelled amazing. I wasn’t sure how they would turn out since I hastily threw these together, I was pleasantly surprised at how good they tasted. Now a fork and knife is a must with these.

Looking forward to experimenting more in the near future with this.

Cheers!

A little sauté going on © Joe Geronimo

Portobello mushrooms getting happy © Joe Geronimo

I wish you all could smell this, mmmmm sooo good © Joe Geronimo

 

 

The Poor Me’s

I believe in for the lack of better words “Global Warming”. I firmly believe that we cannot just strip the earth of it’s resources and not pay a price for it. I also believe the same stands true for our bodies.¬†We are bombarded daily with countless options that are just bad for us. We are told that we are too busy to make better food or for that matter better choices.

Recently I re-watched a great documentary called “Forks Over Knives” (On Netflix) and I really focused on the science this time more than I did the first time I watched it. I am living proof that this for the most part is true.

In February 2012 I made a choice to change not only what I eat but the way I eat. And over the course of 10+ months of good eating and exercise I dropped over 100 pounds. Fast forward to December 2018 when I got hurt and I couldn’t run for over 9 months. I developed a severe case of the poor me’s and totally fell off the wagon. Actually I kind of crashed and burned a bit. I kept telling myself “Oh I’ll just run it off”, well that didn’t work. So I kept plugging along with the poor me’s.

On January 2nd 2020 I made a pact with myself to get my mind in order, my eating and my running. I’m currently working with a local coach for the running. I’m basically starting from scratch, a total re-boot so to speak. Also I’ve gotten myself on a path to better eating again and I’ll tell you I feel great, mind, body & soul. In 23 days I’ve lost 10 pounds, am sleeping better even though I work a shitty job schedule but most of all I’m extremely happy.

And lastly what I have discovered over the past several years is do what makes you happy and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks. Just that can be a freeing experience.

 

Cheers!

 

 

 

Running Re-Boot

A lot has changed since the last time I wrote about running. For starters what I was doing just wasn’t working, I mean part of my personality is to over do pretty much everything.

I decided I needed a total running re-boot so I’m starting from scratch. So far all my runs have been short distance 2-3 miles and at a conversation pace. I have to say this has been wonderful! I’m after consistency and fitness above all but longevity is the ultimate goal.

I was also refitted for new running shoes which have made a huge difference in comfort. I’m currently in the Brooks GTS Adrenaline 2020’s. Wow what a difference in the weight compared to their older model shoes.

I’m excited and I feel energized and look forward to just taking my time and rebuilding.

Cheers!

To run is to be happy…….

Back in mid September after about a 9 month hiatus I started running again. It has been a tough road both mentally and physically. My knee is still not 100% and I’m not sure if it ever will be. As for my cardio well that is totally gone right now.

I’ve been running on average about 8-10 miles per week since. Yesterday I ran 5 miles and I struggled a little but just being out there was so rewarding. Autumn is my not only my favorite time of year but it is my favorite time of year to run.

Come December I’m looking forward to running a really fun 5K in Seneca Falls, NY “It’s a Wonderful Run“. I’ve run this race a number of years ago and the atmosphere is amazing. I just hope we don’t get a blizzard!

At this point I’m just going to take it slow and see what happens. Most importantly I’m going to try and have fun in the process.

A New Day

There I was, waiting for the swimmers of the “Big George” 70.3 triathlon to enter the water. Glancing over my shoulder I spy an Adirondack Guide Boat gracefully skimming across the painted, silent waters of Lake George. Of course I have the wrong lens on my camera but I still take the shot.

I’m very fortunate to have been able to work in a beautiful place this weekend.

Cheers!

Lake George, NY September 1st 2019 © Joe Geronimo

On the Mend

Three weeks post surgery and I’m really beginning to feel better. Still a touch sore on the inside of my right knee where they went in to repair my meniscus and remove some small amounts of arthritis. Basically I pretty much haven’t done a stitch of exercise since Christmas Day when all this went down and it shows. Man are my calves sore!

My body wants to consume food as if I was still running 30 miles a week and the scale well that thing and I haven’t been friends for a while now. ¬†None the less yesterday was a beautiful day with bright sunshine, a light breeze and some cool spring temperatures. Going stir crazy I decided to head over to the Vestal Rail Trail and do some walking.

I wound up walking 4 miles with minimal discomfort and a tiny bit of soreness. This is huge in the process of healing! On April 11th I return to see my doctor for a checkup and his thoughts of when I can start slowly testing the waters of running again. My fingers are crossed that come end of April I can return. It will take me a while to get back into shape but I’m all about baby steps and doing this process right.

Cheers

Finished my 4 mile walk on the Vestal Rail Trail March 27th 2019.

 

The Winter Blues

On Christmas morning my running world came to a screeching halt. I went out early with my friend Ken to do a 5 miler while our families were still asleep. The pain in my right knee was so bad by the time I got home I could barely walk. I couldn’t climb the stairs in our house for several hours until some of the pain subsided. On New Year’s Eve I finally got into see the doctor and he was concerned about my pain and its location so he ordered an MRI. My MRI lit up like a Christmas tree showing I had what the doctor called a severe bone bruise (Almost a fracture) and a torn meniscus. He was perplexed more about the severity of the bruise than my meniscus. As I sat in his office with my wife you could see I wanted to cry. It was immediately clear to me that I would not be able to run the Parade Day Mile with my son nor¬†with my team in this years Seneca 7 race, I was devastated!

I could not imagine where the bruise had come from as I had not fallen or anything recently. Flipping through the pages in my mind I did recall falling back in early October and banging my knee pretty hard. It hurt for a few days and then went away. I continued my running routine and sometime in late November I would get twinges in my knee while running, kind of like it wanted to give out. In typical fashion of me being me and my high tolerance for pain I kept running on it thinking it would just go away. I was wrong and it gradually got worse, with some days better than others.

I have not run or done anything too strenuous since the holidays. The doctor wanted to wait at least 4-6 weeks to see if my bone healed before doing meniscus surgery otherwise I would need two surgeries. The good news is my bone has healed and I will be having surgery on March 1st. Recovery in theory will be another 4-6 weeks before I can think about running again.

As I mentioned earlier I won’t be able to run with my team this year at the annual Seneca 7 relay race. However I will be there that weekend in April with my friends cheering and celebrating.

Cheers!!

The Winter Blues…..