Hamming the string


After avoiding the subject for about two months, I finally went to the physical therapist for help with my hamstring. I've been playing on it since Kaimana, but not at top speed, and not without pain and a lot of worry. I knew vaguely what I needed to do for rehab for a normal muscle pull, sure. But the pop I felt/heard when I pulled it the last time, coupled with the seemingly long recovery time, gave me pause.

Apparently for good reason.

Instead of pulling or straining the hamstring muscle, I also pulled it off the bone. Similar to a shin splint, where the muscle's connective tissue to the bone becomes inflamed or begins to separate from the bone, the pop I heard was, according to the diagnosis I received, the disconnection of my hamstring from my pelvis at the insertion point.

This is bad.

Depending on the severity, the injury can take two months to six or more months to heal. The worst possible movement for this type of injury just happens to be explosive moves, say, sprinting and quick acceleration.


I'm supposed to stretch my hamstring ten times a day for the next six weeks as a good start. And work on abductors and adductors, as well as some gentle hamstring strengthening, during that time, too. Fortunately, I've been doing most of what I'm supposed to do for the hamstring to heal (minus that sprinting thing, and, oh, say, playing ultimate), I just need to do more of it (minus that sprinting thing, and, oh, say, playing ultimate).

Starting out a season with an injury has to be as bad as ending a season early because of an injury. Well, maybe. Since this is the first time I've had this happen, we'll see if that's valid. That, and if the 80 grams of protein I've been trying to eat a day will do more than just go to my middle.

24 hours of meat


I don't eat much meat. If I know I need protein, I'll actively seek some meat in my meal, but for the most part, I'll eat vegetables, dairy and some breads. I'm not vegetarian, I'll eat meat, I just won't crave it, or eat it by default.

Friday for lunch, however, was a little different. I was cold, the day blustery and overcast, so I ordered soup at the local Vietamese restaurant. Changing from my usual order twice, I ordered the egg noodles with beef balls pho. Doyle looked at me when I ordered. "I wouldn't order beef balls. You don't know what's in them."

No, I don't. And in retrospect, shouldn't have ordered them.

In the evening, Kris was heading out of town to spend Saturday with his parents in Southern California. Since he was in a hurry, we defaulted to grabbing a meal at McDonalds. I don't know why we ever go there. Except for the ice cream cones, the food is always suspect. And stinks.

Yet, I ate a cheeseburger, just waiting for that moment where the sweet ketchup, bun and pickle overwhelm the "meat" pattie for that one tasty bite that almost makes the rest of the cheeseburger worth it.

An hour later, I was on my way to pick up half the players from the women's team I'm coaching, to drive them to this weekend's tournament. The fields were changed at the last minute, from Stanford to Stevinson, California, 100 miles by road east-ish. One mountain range kept the distances from being only sixty miles as a straight shot.

In the morning, I found myself back at McDonalds, wondering what to order. The $3.50 charge on my credit card, all of my cash in my bookbag at home, paid for the sausage egg McMuffin™ on my plate. I managed to eat half of it before I was overcome with disgust at all the fake meat I had eaten in the last twenty-four hours.

I stopped eating, and threw the rest away.

It'll be interesting to see how my crap smells in the next couple days.

Yeah, yeah, don't talk about poop.


A well know fact is that vegetarians' body odor smells better than meat-eaters', so the smell of the bathroom when I done with it will be different than normal in a day. I haven't eaten such a large amount of crappy meat in a long, long time, so I do have to wonder how much the room will really stink.

Pop goes the hammy!


As usual, we went to Velocity Sports tonight for our Friday night date, er, workout. We warmed up as usual with the rollers, followed by various warmup exercises including jumping jacks of various forms, 50% sprints, and walking, dynamic stretches.

The bulk of the workout consisted of sprints. With eleven people in the class, the instructor, "the short white dude," had to compensate by having us do shuttle relays. Two groups of four offset one group of three, as we did alternating shuttles. I was matched up with another regular, one who regularly matches up with another regular, so I wasn't sure how I matched with him.

When we started the sprints, he was consistently finishing the 20 yards sprints 2 yards in front of me. Sure, it was less than two steps in front of me, but that distance frustrated me, partially because I knew one of those steps was from the start: he started before the returning sprinter crossed the line. The other step was because he was faster than I. So, I kept trying to run faster and faster and faster.

The third set we did was my closest step. The continual sprinting was wearing him down, but helping me out. Yay, ultimate.

Fifteen yards into the sprint, I felt my left upper hamstring pull. I immediately started slowing, but the next step caused a full POP! as my hamstring gave way. I stumbled the last three steps to the end of the sprint, and hobbled off the track as I tried not to vomit, nausea overwhelming me.

The pull/strain/tear was right at my sit bone, much higher than my usual hamstring injuries, so it's going to take some time to figure out which muscle this is, if it is even the hamstring.

All I'm thinking about at this moment is how do I heal and recover to rock at the tryouts this next season?

Wow! He's fast!


In these last few weeks, I've come to realize that, yes, I need structure for my workouts. I certainly have the best intentions when it comes to exercising, but the lure of sleep, or fixing one more bug, or reading another chapter in King Solomon's Mines, via Daily Lit (which I highly recommend as an easy way to read a book, less than five minutes a day to literature bliss). Or, heaven forbid, it's cold out. Cold and dark, bad combination for my evening workouts, to be sure.

ASA Baseball was great for structured workouts, the small class size (that would be two: Kris and I) also helped. Gino was fantastic. The facilities were ridiculously close. Yeah, I miss those workouts. Miss them, and have spent the last year trying to find a good replacement.

A couple months ago, Paul Youn made a mention of a sports training facility, Velocity Sports, in San Carlos. Based on the various injuries I had during the season, waiting until after the season ended seemed like a good idea. Now that the season is over, I followed up on Paul's suggestion and made arrangements for Kris and I to check out Velocity Sports.

The facility is two blocks away from the San Carlos train station, and about 20 minutes away from work by car for Kris. San Carlos isn't terribly convenient, but the location is somewhat workable. I trained up, Kris drove, and we had our first class.

When we showed up, there were ten other people already in the lobby, waiting for the class to start. I followed Kris in, and we joined the rest of the class to go over a roller-stick warmup, followed by walking dynamic stretches, crouch-extend-crouch-jumps, step-ups, sprints and situps. The class size made addressing specific needs difficult, but I thought the trainer did fairly well with what he had. Normally, classes are limited to 10 people, but three people showed up unexpectedly (Kris and I were both expected).

Honestly, looking at the description of the classes, I was expecting to have a hard time with the class. I was expecting to jump into Gino's fourth month classes, with ladders, med ball throws, upper body impossibilities like clapping pushups, and six minutes of intense abs. What I wasn't expecting to be the fourth fastest person in the class. Kris says fifth, but I'm convinced I could beat one of the guys he thought was faster.

We did the sprints as shuttles: we divided into two groups, each group standing in a line thirty yards apart, facing each other. One person would sprint the thirty yards toward the other group. The next person in the opposing group would start sprinting when the previous person crossed the thirty yards next to him. We did six sprints total.

After three sprints, several of the people in my group turned to me when Kris ran past on his sprint. "Wow!" they exclaimed, "did he run track in college? He's fast!" Confused, I looked around, and realized they were asking about Kris. "Oh, no, he played baseball in college, but we both play ultimate frisbee." "OH!" they all exclaimed. Apparently that explained everything.

When I told Kris about the story afterward, he laughed. Yes, he was the fastest there, but clearly the bar was set low if he was, "Wow, he's fast!" fast. We continued to laugh most of the way home.

I think we'll be signing up for the offseason workouts there. The train makes the deal. The morning sessions have fewer people, so we'll probably try those.

Velocity Sports also has team training, where a team can rent the facility for an hour for group training tailored to its needs. The rate is reasonable ($175/hour), so I'm going to suggest offseason training for the team. If we can get 12 people signed up for 10 weeks of training once a week, it'll be $120 per person, but tailored for us. Could be fun.

Does it get any easier?


Just after college, I lived with John Schmidt and his brother Dave in a one bedroom apartment. I did warn that I have lots of John stories.

We would go running most evenings, through the rolling hills of the streets of Monrovia. John would hold back and run my pace with me, I would try running faster so that he wouldn't be bored. He'd often run ahead when we were out of the "bad" parts of town, ones that really weren't so bad.

Most times, my times would improve. Not always, but most times. One evening, having run harder than I had before, I asked in exasperation, "Does this ever get any easier?!?" John laughed, and said, "It doesn't."

"It doesn't get any easier, because you're always pushing yourself. Running slower becomes easier, but running hard never does."

The Nice thing about tearing your ACL

Guest Post Blog

The nicest thing about tearing your ACL is the fact that you have one concentrated injury - and that's what hurts. There's no ifs ands or buts, if it hurts - it's your ACL.

Now that I'm on the mend, despite the ever present swelling anytime I do more than sit on the couch for a day, I'm back in the world of varied aches, pains and scratches. Suddenly it's not about crawling into bed the same way to avoid putting weight on the bum knee; it's suddenly about inching my way in without bumping the scratches on my right elbow, right knee, left ankle, right toes and oh yeah still not putting weight on that knee.

However, the nicest thing about tearing your ACL is not really so nice in the end. I am so glad to be horsing around in pools, waltzing on terraces and playing ultimate again! Thank you Dr. Masters!

Yeargh! It itches!


Gah! This thing itches like mad. I get the stitches out tomorrow, but have another 24 hours left before that happens. If I think about it, it drives me nuts. If I don't think about it, then, well, it's bearable. What is it about the healing process that makes it so annoyingly painful (itching being a low-grade, localized pain).

Now, about that fart...


You blog about the smell of your poop?!

Paul asked me that. Eh, what can I say? It happens. It's not like I haven't mentioned farts before. I guess I hadn't mentioned exactly the smell before, though.

And it's not like I don't have a role model or anything. Because, don't you know, Everybody Poops.

Though, I guess not everyone knows what his poop smells like.

Or what his grandparents' smelled like, either.



6:39 Bella stirs, and wakes me up. She does this every morning, without fail. She'll realize that, oh no! Annie is in the bed! Shock! Horror! She'll jump out of the bed, so that she can bark and huff and puff at Annie from the floor, then whine to get back into bed. What she has Here and now isn't good enough, not quite realizing that what she strives for isn't any better than what she has now.

I head into the bathroom. As I leave I hear mom stir. I try to go back to sleep.

7:30 I must have succeeded in sleeping, because I awake to Kris poking me. poke-poke-poke. I open my eyes. Kris is standing there smiling, dog leashes in hand, making sure I'm up before he leaves.


Poke poke.

7:47 I've avoided waking up as long as I can, yet still need to be ready by 8, I need to get up now. I need to get up now. I walk into the bathroom and realize I stink. If I can smell myself, it must be bad. I'm worried. I jump in the shower thinking, well, at least I won't have to shave for a couple of days.

8:00 Mom and Kris come back. I am standing in the living room naked, looking for new clothes to wear today. I need clothes I can bleed on and not worry about. I hear them walking up, and run from the living room to the bedroom.

8:15 We leave the house for the Starbucks, Kris in another car.

8:20 We arrive at Starbucks, to discover a line out the door. Kris comments he never sees the line this long. I reply, sure, but you never arrive before 9:40 am.

8:30 We leave to drive to Palo Alto. We catch each. and. every. single. red. light on Central until we arrive in Palo Alto. The world is trying to tell me to turn around and go home.


8:58 We arrive in Palo Alto, but I consider the original lot to be the wrong parking lot. We drive to the other lot, I pay my $1.50, and we head over to the medical office.

9:14 We check in at the reception. I have time to sit down, arrange all my crap around me, and open my orange juice before my name is called by the nurse. I drop my orange juice bottle lid.

9:20 We go back to the procedure room. I have to pee.

9:27 The doctor begins the procedure by numbing my face next to my right eye. My face goes numb. It feels like a migraine starting. I start quietly crying as I lie there.

9:30 Crying doesn't help, and is making things worse.

I stop crying.

9:49 I'm done. Mom and I head into the recovery room to sit for a couple hours. We're told to expect to head in for either another round, or repair surgery around 11:45.

I'm given an ice packe to put on my face: 15 minutes on, fifteen minutes off for the next few hours, to keep the swelling down. By this time, I have to pee, and pee really badly. I head into the bathroom, and go. As I'm finishing up, I note, once again, that my poop smells like my maternal grandparents'.

Gah. My period just started.

9:52 I put the pice pack on my face after my mom takes a few picures of my face. She says I look like a a beatup drunk. I laugh, and ask for more pictures. She compilies.

10:07 I take the ice pack off my face, and mom and I talk about sewing machines, quilting and needle point. I make it fifteen minutes before I need to pee again.

We talk about the new sewing machine, how it's $600 more expensive than Mom realized, but how she's really interested in getting it.

I am saddened by the fact that I can't afford to just buy it for her. I feel I should have been successful at this point in my life. I feel as if I have let her down.

I have let myself down.

There are two other patients in here with me: both of them in their sixties, near my mother's age.

I feel so young.

I feel so out of place.

I shouldn't be here.

I wonder what I could have done differently. The other patients are male. One has a spot on his ear, the other on his nose. Both agree he is glad he doesn't have his where mine is. I smile, and wish I didn't, too.

10:22 I hold the ice pack back up to my eye, and try dictating my experiences to Mom. Hearing the words come out my mouth, instead of in my head is hard. I edit myself.

I lose my voice.

I stop.

10:27 I balance the ice pack on my face while typing blind, hoping the editor stays open and the focus stays on the editor. I hope my words aren't lost by a computer glitch that my fingers don't notice.

Mom continues to embroider. We talk about nothing.

We start talking about Mom's mom.

Third of eight children. An athlete, she played baseball. A tomboy. She had a birthmark on her face that was the source of endless teasing. When something wore out, she threw it away. She threw away anything that reminded her of her failures.

My aunt immediately called her dermatologist when she heard my news.

11:15 The nurse comes in to tell me I'm one of the lucky ones. One in four people are clear after the first check. I am one of them. I'll be going in for repair surgery instead of another procedure.

I am glad. I start packing up myself.

6:00 The clock in the repair surgery room is set incorrectly. I no longer know what time it is.

The doctor gives me my options, and her preferences. I can leave the wound alone, allowing it to heal naturally. The healing process will take about three weeks to close, I may have an indent on my face.

I care little about the potential indentation. I care more about the healing time. Stitches means the the wound will heal in a week.

I should not exercise for a week.

A week.

I am allowed to walk.

I am not allowed to use stairs.

I look as if I have been beaten up. My eye is puffy.

I choose the stitches.

I can begin playing ultimate in a week, provided I wear safety goggles. I am not to do any exercise for the next two days. I can take Tylenol for the pain. She offers me a prescription for Vicodin. I say yes, thinking I can use it for the laser hair removal treatment.

After the stitches, I look exotic.

I look like Cleopatra.

I am still beautiful.

I am healthy again.

Trainer or gym?


Yesterday was my last day in my package of twenty training sessions. I kept declining the measurement sessions (every tenth session is a progress-check session, which seems to be a waste of time and money to me), so I have no idea if I've gained weight, lost weight, gained strength, or just wasted my money.

Well, that's not quite true. I know that recently, none of my clothes fit, and that I was frustrated by a trainer or two. Despite those issues, I was going consistently, so I was definitely reaping the benefits. I have all these new muscles, but none of them work quite right with ultimate yet. I think I need to get a couple hundred miles under my feet with them to feel good about that as of yet.

So, here's my time to be wishy-washy, instead of just deciding. Doyle suggested I join a gym with a trial membership (24-Hour has a gym four miles away with a three month introductory membership that I might try), and see if I can stay committed to going. Going to the trainer costs a lot of money (the introductory gym membership is 5% the cost of going to the trainer for the same period), but because of that cost I go without fail (sometimes later than I'd like, but I can often make up the lost 10 minutes afterward).

I think not deciding is hard. It's draining. Do I choose A? Or do I choose B? If I go with A, it'll cost a lot of money, but I'll go. If I choose B, it'll be cheaper, but I may not go consistently. Or will I? Is paying someone to encourage me to keep going worth it? Can I find a workout partner, making the need for a trainer somewhat obsolete?

Gah. Don't know. Need to decide shortly.

Like this weekend.