Severe Tendonitis & Partial Tear

workout003That’s the official verdict. After all this time, after three doctors, x-rays, physical therapy, personal training, self-medication, and a couple of jars of snake oil, I finally have an answer.

There is severe tendonitis of the proximal patellar tendon with superimposed partial tear of the articular sided proximal tendon fibers, comprising 50% of the tendon thickness.

I went to a new doctor in my neighborhood recently and was referred to Laith Jazrawi, M.D., a sports medicine expert at NYU Langone. Dr Jazrawi and his associates performed some physical examinations of the joint in addition to x-rays and an MRI. The MRI confirmed all the suspicions but also highlighted the additional tearing of the tendon fibers which was probably been exacerbated by my stubborn refusal to stop running over the last year.

Although slightly worse than expected, it’s actually somewhat of a relief to know what the problem is. I’m tired of laboring up stairs and popping pills to mask the pain. If I’m going to make the NYC marathon later this year I need to be more serious about fixing the problem.

The initial round of treatment prescribed by Dr. Jazrawi was a relatively simple process involving nitro patches designed to promote restorative blood flow in the region. It’s only been a few weeks, but so far so good. The pain crops up less frequently, and even more encouraging, rarely strikes when climbing stairs – the one place it would hurt the most. If that wasn’t positive enough, throughout the diagnosis and treatment process, I have been running between 15 and 20 miles per week.

I’m delighted to finally be making progress with this issue and hope that, over the next few weeks and months, I can continue my recovery process and take my place on the starting line at Fort Wadsworth, Staten Island in November.

These Headphones Rock

bose_sie2iEvery once in a while we come across a product that performs far beyond our expectations. Last week I had just one of those experiences.

I had tried numerous headphones over the last couple of years, never finding ones that really suited me. The over-ear type don’t give a good sound and the in-ear type make me very uncomfortable. And then I found these beauties from Bose. I really like the semi in-ear design, which allows users to hear ambient noise such as car horns, along with the Stay Hear tips that hold the headphone in the ear while running and working out.

The other day I realized that I had left them in the small pocked on the side of my running shorts after the previous days gym session. A mild moment of panic set in when it dawned on me that my shorts were midway through the spin cycle. Jess managed to intercept the shorts before they landed in the dryer and rescue the headphones. Imagine my surprise when, after plugging them into my phone, they were still working!

That’s not all. A couple of days later I dropped the very same headphones into a pint glass of water. And yet again, they survived the ordeal and continue to provide me acoustic entertainment. Most modern products are not made to last, companies opting to trade in some level quality to shorten lifespan in the hope of driving up recurring sales. Clearly that’s not a practice that Bose engage in.

If you’re in the market for some new headphones, I would highly recommend the SIE2i’s. Do you have any favorite products that exceeded your expectations?

2013 Year in Review

2013YIRAnother holiday season has come and gone, and it’s time to cast an eye over my achievement throughout the last twelve months. After the personal successes of the previous year, I entered 2013 with high hopes for myself and some lofty ambitions. Unfortunately, things did not work out as planned and instead of celebrating personal records and marathon completions, I dealt with recurring injury problems and an ongoing lack of motivation.

Just like last year, the point of this review is not to rehash my success or failures in each individual event, but to look at the bigger picture and try to learn something from the past year that helps me in the next one.

My goals for the year were:

  • Finish 9 NYRR races & qualify for the 2014 NYC Marathon
  • Set a Half-Marathon PR
  • Run my first NYC Marathon
  • Run a race in under 8:00 per mile
  • Avoid serious injury
  • Don’t let running interfere with my wedding

Of the six goals I set out for myself at the start of the year, I managed to achieve a few of them. Most important of all, was ensuring that running did not conflict in any way with my wedding plans. And I’m happy to report that everything went off without a hitch. The wedding was fantastic, the honeymoon a dream, and I have thoroughly enjoyed the first seven months of what I hope is a long and happy union.

In terms of running, the year had it’s share of us and downs. Things started out well, as I carried my good form and conditioning into the first few weeks and set two personal records over the 10K and 4M distances. The second of those runs had an additional dimension of success in that I completed the distance in an average time under eight minutes a mile.

From there however, things went downhill. For the first time ever, I abandoned a race and karma seems to have continually kicked me in the arse for that failure all year. Perhaps I had developed a sense of invincibility after making such stellar progress, or else it was the lack of real goals after completing my first marathon. Whatever the reason, my motivation took a nosedive after the DNF and I struggled through the remainder of the year. I barely managed to get in shape for any of the half marathons I miraculously completed. My knee condition stopped getting worse but never really got better either, and I started to use lame reasons for avoiding runs and workouts.

There were two highlights during the remainder of the year. The first was the Fifth Avenue Mile, which I finally fit into my schedule. I hadn’t done any specific training for the event, but still managed to complete the distance in a time of 6:45. The experience was entirely different to the traditional 4/5/6.1 mile race and is something I will aim for again in 2014.

The second highlight and the years best achievement was a shared one – completing the Philadelphia Half Marathon with my sister and brother-in-law. Recent converts to running, they decided to give it a go following some encouragement from myself and decent performances in local races. That the three of us crossed the finish line at all was a fantastic achievement.┬áThat the three of us crossed the finish within a couple of minutes of each other was remarkable.

I continue to read a lot of running related material, picking up useful nuggets of information on products and training habits where I can. I have started to compile them into notes and am creating a set of workouts using the Garmin training tools that come with their Connect application.

As far as the coming year, I would like to get back to my form of 2012. To do that, I need to put in the training time across multiple disciplines (speed, hills, stamina, etc.) and that is heavily dependent on my knee holding up. Over training may certainly be the cause of my problems, so hopefully the reduction in workload and introduction of cycling and swimming will help to maintain my fitness while simultaneously reducing the stress on my joints. In terms of times, I would like to do a half in 1:45, run a 4 miler in under 30 minutes and a 10K in under 50 minutes. The other focus area is the social aspect; meeting more runners and learning from their experiences. That starts with getting involved in group runs with the North Brooklyn Runners. I’ve threatened this for a while, so hopefully this is the year I can make it happen.