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Our Health Care System Ė More of a System than Health Care

Monday, July 28, 2014

Warning Ė if you are not currently active in the health care System, you will find this completely boring. However, if you or a loved one is sick, or if you are new to The System, then I hope that my experience and insights below will be helpful:

Today is the 3 week anniversary of my broken ankle. While the recovery has been a challenge in and of itself, itís nothing compared to navigating the current state of our health care. I will state that I am totally against Obamacare, even though I am on a plan through

Since 2007 I have pretty much fully paid for my own health insurance. Before Obamacare I could afford a PPO plan on my own, but now even the worst plans with $10,000 deductibles are about the same price as a good PPO plan was several years ago. PPOs have always been my plan of choice, because when you are hurt or sick you simply go to the specialist that deals with your illness or injury. I always shied away from HMO plans because you have to see a primary doctor and get a referral to see a specialist. I never heard anything good about them and if you are sick or injured you had to wait a longer period to get treated, because you essentially had to make appointments with 2 doctors, and you have to give the primary doctor enough time to see you and do their paperwork before you can see the specialist. That is part of The System. It cuts down on costs, but also extends the patient's suffering and sets the stage for worsening conditions.

I was laid off at the end of January, and the cost of my PPO COBRA was in the area of $800+ per month. No way can I afford that, and since I don't have any illnesses or conditions, I figured I didn't need that level of coverage. I was going to go without healthcare insurance (I have taken this risk in the past), but now that it is mandated, I was forced to go into The Marketplace to find something affordable. Unfortunately, even with a stipend, I could not afford any PPO plan and had to go into an HMO. Since this injury (and in dealing with my Mom's healthcare System), I have discovered some not so very good things about the modern American health care system.

Note that there is a difference between the insurance company and The System. The insurance company is the entity that you pay your hard earned money to and they, in turn, come up with the rules to make sure that regardless of the patientís condition, that the insurance company will not pay one cent more than is necessary (The System). In other words, coverage for only the very basic care is provided, and if you want to be properly healed, comfortable while healing, and/or heal faster, you better have a checkbook.

The following are things I have learned in The HMO System:

1. If you get injured such as you have a broken bone after hours, make sure you go to an urgent care or ER that is covered by within The System. Failure to do so will put you out of The System and you will pay BIG TIME.

2. The urgent care facility will bandage you up and advise you to see a specialist. You may get on your insurance companyís website and find a specialist and make an appointment. That is fine, but you still need to see your primary physician first. You can either:

A. Set the specialist appointment out far enough in the future to make sure you get in to see the primary. I have found that the primary doesnít care that you have a broken bone, and they may not ďsqueeze you inĒ between people with colds and stomach aches since you are not unconscious. Never mind youíre in a splint and the bone could be starting to heal incorrectly.

B. OR you can set the specialist appointment and then harangue the primary into seeing you a day or two before that appointment. I would choose this option because you can always reschedule the specialist appointment.

3. Once you see the primary, they are to supply a referral. Now this is where things got confusing, because neither the primary, nor the insurance company, nor the specialist knew exactly how The System worked in this regard. The primary felt they just gave the insurance company the referral and their work was done. The orthopedist said they needed the referral from the primary and an acceptance code from the insurance company. The insurance company (who confirmed they had the referral but in truth did not Ė something I had to follow up with the primary for 2 days to get done), wasnít sure who was supposed to do what and after speaking with 3 different people and insisting SOMEONE needed to call my orthopedist with an authorization code, someone finally did it.

I felt everything was finalized about 3 hours before my appointment, but the guy at the orthopedist that I worked with for 2 days to get all of this legwork done, not call me back to confirm that they had received everything they needed. I decided to go to the office anyway, and they did not have the paperwork that I would refuse to leave until treated. Three days in a splint for a broken ankle was long enough. Thankfully everything was in and I was treated.

4. My doctor informed me that he will remove the rigid fiberglass cast on August 7 and put me in a boot. I just spoke to the insurance company, and while they won't cover the cost of a boot, they will put the purchase price towards the deductible, but I have to use their medical supply store. Two friends loaned me their boots, which I showed to the doctor last week. He felt one was too large and the other would work okay, but I tried the second one on my good foot, and I think it will be too big, so I need to be prepared when I arrive to have a boot that fits.

This is just one injury and not a very complicated one at that. I think if I break something again I will go to an ER instead of an urgent care. The ER would have casted me then and there, rather than wait 3+ days to see a specialist, not to mention the extra trip to the primary and the hours and hours of phone calls just to make sure I would be treated by the ortho.

The bottom line is this: If you need treatment, you MUST follow up with any and all doctors, hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, etc. involved in your care, as well as the insurance company.

If you or someone you know is in the health care industry, they can make millions of dollars being a Health Care System Advocate and help people navigate The System (insurance and doctors) to ensure proper care for loved ones. I donít believe any such advocate exists. I and my 3 siblings have all pitched in to help my Mom and it is a part time job for each of us (more so for my brother and sister who are local to her). I canít imagine what people do when they are ill and either donít have family or have family members who might not have the time, intelligence, or education level to navigate The System.

My best advise is not to get sick or injured!

emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DDOORN 7/28/2014 11:27PM

    This is why the compromise of the Affordable Care Act (I think it is a gross over-exaggeration to pin this all on Obama by calling it Obamacare) was a mistake and Obama and others should have not caved into the GOP and insurance company lobbyists and should have gone straight to Single Payer.

The Affordable Care Act still leaves the insurance companies holding all the cards...and guess who loses?


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MBSHAZZER 7/28/2014 2:55PM

    Single Payer Health Care NOW!!!! Seriously, it's ridiculous, we provide billions in aid money for various reason to other countries but refuse to ensure each and every citizen gets health coverage. I have great insurance through my employer at a low cost to me and I still hesitate to go to the doctor because what is covered and what is not, along with what it will cost me, is so confusing.

My friend Matt had a heart attack 2 weeks ago. I visited him at home over the weekend and saw they had given him prescription aspirin... who knows how much more that cost than OTC! I bet his bill for double bypass and 8 days in the hospital, plus a HHC person to change his dressings is over $500k. Ridiculous!

BTW, my friend Lindsay is a Health Care Advocate. She is a licensed attorney, but has her own business doing patient advocacy and works country wide. I am going to send you an email with a link to her website. See if she can assist you and your sibs at all.

Hang in there!

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Good News and How I Am Spending My Time

Friday, July 25, 2014

First, the good news:

I went to the doctor yesterday and after an x-ray he told me that the bone has moved back into place and is healing as expected. I am really happy with that.

I have two friends who loaned me boots that they had from previous injuries. I brought both of them to the doctorís office to ask him which one would be more appropriate. Unfortunately the one that was more suited to my injury was too big, but he took a good look at the second one and said that this would do just fine. He felt that the cast can probably come off in 2 weeks and I can then go into the boot. While I understand that I wonít be able to do a whole lot more, I will be happy that I will have a little more range of motion and be able to take a ďrealĒ shower, not to mention take the extra weight off of my leg. Being able to scratch when itchy will be nice too.

Now, how am I spending my time?

So far I have been pretty slacking. Maybe slacking isnít the right word, because whenever I donít have the leg propped up, the foot immediately swells and it gets tighter and tighter in the cast until my toes start to tingle and it feels like a vice around my ankle. Itís uncomfortable to downright painful, and the swelling takes a while to go back down once I prop it up again. So I spend a lot of time on the computer and watching TV. I have applied to a lot of jobs (I am currently unemployed), and I have finally been getting calls from recruiters. I hope to have at least some phone interviews scheduled for next week. Since I canít drive yet (hopefully the boot will give me that freedom), if I do have a face to face interview I will have to find a driver, although I hate the idea of showing up to an interview not driving myself.

Where I have been slacking is that I should be doing some upper body and core exercises and I have not. My goal today is to go through Coach Nicoleís chair exercises and put together a workout. Before this accident I kept telling myself that I needed to get back into the gym and do upper body and core work, so now is the time. Once I get back on my feet I will need that strength to get me through rehab and back to running ASAP.

Speaking of rehab I have been thinking about what I can do after the 8 weeks are up. I know I will go into physical therapy and I have watched You Tube videos about how to rehab an ankle after a break. Most of that is range of motion movements. My gym has a pool, and after talking to the PT of course, I think I can start off by walking laps, followed by swimming. After that I can probably cycle, and then after that I can start light running. The more I thought about it, the more I realized recovery is a marathon and rehab will be a triathlon. As long as I keep looking at it in those terms, I wonít have a problem getting through either. I will be a while before I can play underwater hockey because that involves wearing fins and doing quick, sudden sprints. That puts a big load on the ankle, so that may be the last Return to Normal item on my list.

Anyway I am feeling much better and I think I can start doing more around the house. My boyfriend has been very helpful through this time, but he sure doesnít see dirt and clutter. Maybe he does, but he doesnít see them as a problem. He is also gone from around 7:00 a.m. until 8:00 or 9:00 p.m., so he doesnít have the time to do much in the way of housework. I, on the other hand, sit here all day thinking ďI need to clean that,Ē but I either donít have the mobility to do it (or do it well), or it takes so long for me to do the task using crutches or the wheel chair that my foot and ankle swell before I finish. The doctor said the swelling should abate in the 4-6 week range, so I am really looking forward to that.

In the meantime, I will continue to find constructive things to do. I am a project manager and have fallen behind on the 60 hours of professional development units I am supposed to complete every couple of years. I found a Groupon that offered all of the courses I need for $99, which is great because a lot of online courses are hundreds of dollars and may only provide 20 units. I also found the public library has some great e-books and have ďborrowedĒ them to my Kindle reader. I think I might be able to view DVDs as well, so maybe I can go back and watch the early Game of Thrones that I missed. Finally, I recently got interested in essential oils and borrowed some real books from the library to learn more about that. So I think I have enough to keep me busy and then some.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JSTETSER 7/28/2014 6:20AM

    You are a wise woman!
Let your body heal, or it will take longer!

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GARDENCHRIS 7/27/2014 9:30AM

    hope the leg stops swelling for you soon..... such a pain to not have our mobility.

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    Injuries are a setback but they are also a nuisance. They interfere with our preferred schedules. All we can do is make appropriate adjustments and move along!

Make Today the Greatest Day of Your Life

emoticon Until Tomorrow!

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DDOORN 7/25/2014 9:30AM

    Listening to your body is HARDLY slacking! SO pleased to hear that the healing is progressing well!


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MBSHAZZER 7/25/2014 9:20AM

    As a professional slob, I have to side with Ben on this one! LOL! It's hard to not let it go when you are there all day, seeing dirt and clutter and not able to do anything about it, but try to not let it bother you.

It sounds like you are actually being quite productive. I think for the first few days after a major, unexpected and disruptive event like this, you have to just slack and figure stuff out before being able to move forward. It sounds like you have a great plan for rehab and are using your downtime very well... good mix of productivity and relaxation.

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My 8 Week Marathon

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

About 2 Ĺ weeks ago, I was carrying a 40 lb bag of water system salt to my softener tank. It had been raining on and off for several days, which is typical for a South Florida July. I stepped on a wooden deck, not realizing how slippery it was when my right foot slipped out from under me and I started falling over. On my way down I heard a pop, thought, ďUh oh, this is NOT good,Ē and then I hit the ground, thankfully on grass.

I knew it was bad, and my second thought was, ďThis is really going to screw up my running.Ē After rolling around moaning for a bit, I was finally able to think straight. I live on a dirt road with the houses spaced apart on just over an acre each, and there isnít a lot of traffic on my road. Although it was just before 5:00 p.m., I didnít think anyone would be coming by any time soon. I needed to get in the house and call my boyfriend to take me to a hospital.

There was no way that I could stand up, and I couldnít even crawl, so I half dragged, half scootched myself though the open garage and into the house. Thankfully, my cell phone was within reach. I laid on the cold, hard tile floor and called Ben, but just got his voice mail. I left a message knowing he always calls back within a few minutes. I wanted to get off the floor but could not seem to get positioned to pull myself up. While I was waiting I decided to call my next door neighbor who is a retired nurse to see if she could come over and help me to the couch. Although she is always home, I got her voice mail, too. I didnít bother to leave a message, and tried Ben again, but it went to voice mail again. I managed to reposition myself and got over to the couch. I texted Ben hoping that if he looked at his phone he would notice the text before noticing the missed calls. Finally a few minutes later he called and said he was on his way.

Ben arrived in about 30 minutes and we went to an urgent care. After some x-rays it was confirmed that I broke my ankle. The break occurred just above that little bone that sticks out on the outside of the ankle. They splinted me and told me to see an ortho ASAP.

That night I found an ortho that is covered under my insurance and I called the next morning and made an appointment for Thursday afternoon, two days later. It turned out that I could not see the ortho without a referral from my primary, but the primary would not give me one without seeing me, even though they received the medical report from the urgent care. I went to the primary the night before the ortho appointment, and then I spent all morning on Thursday calling the primary to confirm they sent the referral, the insurance company to make sure they received the referral and that they approved the appointment, and then the ortho to make sure they received the approval. Everything was completed by 11:00 a.m., and my appointment was for 2:30. Talk about cutting it close!

I went to the ortho and they looked at the x-rays I provided them from the urgent care. The doctor confirmed it was broken and said I would need to be in a cast for about 8 weeks. I was just glad I was finally getting a cast because the splint wasnít holding things together very well, and every time I moved it was pretty painful. The cast was better, although I was kind of surprised that the doctor didnít take another x-ray to confirm that the bone was healing correctly, even though the doctor told me that healing had already started. I asked about when I might be able to get in a boot, and I think he said maybe after 4-6 weeks. He further said that he wasnít sure my insurance would cover a boot, and if I wanted to pay for one myself it would be about $300.00.

I have another appointment with the ortho tomorrow to check the progress of healing. Two of my friends have been in boots, and they each loaned me one. I am taking them both to the ortho tomorrow to find out which boot would be better and when I can finally get into one. The cast gets really uncomfortable at times, especially when my ankle and foot swell. On top of that the weight of the cast is constantly pulling on my knee, hip and lower back making all of that hurt. I still have to keep it elevated, and anything longer than an hour not elevated makes it swell.

As the swelling goes down, I am also starting to feel the ancillary injuries in terms of either pulled tendon or muscle on the inside of the leg. I have had to put my foot down a couple of times when I have lost my balance on the crutches (I got a wheel chair but crutches are easier for some things), and the pain is not as bad as it was 2 weeks ago, so that is good.

I keep thinking about Scott Jurek when he broke his ankle about 40 miles into a 100 mile trail race (Western States I think?). He decided to keep going because he knew all the swelling would stabilize the joint. Honestly, that man is made of steel, because I would never in a million years be able to put weight on a broken ankle. I had respect for him before, but I found a whole new level of respect for him now!

I had just returned to Florida from Michigan a couple of days before this happened. I was in Michigan for a couple of weeks taking care of my Mom who is very ill. I went up there to give my brother and sister a break. Until I am back to walking around again, I wonít be able to help her, so they will have to able to handle things for at least a couple of months. I know they can do it, but they both have families of their own and itís hard for them. I also have been unemployed since February, and I have not been able to put 100% of my attention to job hunting since I have been traveling back and forth to Michigan every few weeks. My plan was when I got home to find a job, as well as finish my home office renovation project that I started a couple of months ago. While the renovation project is somewhat stymied, I can pick out the crown moulding and window trim, and install the window trim, even in my current condition.

On a positive note, I had some inflammation in my right toes from marathon training last fall. I continued to race through the winter, as I missed last yearís race season due to some minor health issues, and that injury never healed. I now have 8 weeks for that injury to heal as well. I am also able to spend more time focusing on the job hunt, and I am confident I will find something very soon. I will just need a chauffer to drive me to interviews and work until I get out of this cast, since I broke the right ankle and canít drive.

So I call this my 8 week marathon because I am finding that the mental challenge of being stuck in the house, unable to drive, and dependent on others (I am a very independent person so this is killing me!), is akin to the mental challenge of running 26.2 miles.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

OPTIMIST1948 7/24/2014 10:46PM

    I agree. Total mental challenge!

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    Hang in there - thinking of you

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MBSHAZZER 7/24/2014 2:49PM

    Carolyn, I knew this had happened, so now I know the whole story. I am so sorry you are dealing with this on top of all the other stuff you have going on. I did have to LOL that one of your first thoughts was about how this would impact your running!

I like how you are looking on the positive side. It's really too hot to run now anyway. Many people don't take enough of a break of let things really heal. Sometimes an externally imposed break for longer than you would take on your own is helpful with the healing process.

You might want to look into adding tart cherry juice extract into your diet. Seems to help with soft tissue issues. Won't be helpful for your ankle, but might help with the other aches and pains that come from being off kilter due to the injury.

speedy recovery!

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IFDEEVARUNS2 7/24/2014 2:06PM

    Wow, it does indeed take a lot of mental fortitude to get through this!


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MARGARITTM 7/24/2014 9:56AM

    Wow that stinks on many levels.... I hear ya on the injury - not running makes me grumpy (as I sit here with an ice pack on my (supposed/hopefully healed stress fracture.

Sorry about your Mom - been there before too. Take this time to regroup and Restart.

See you on the road soon!

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PMRUNNER 7/24/2014 7:49AM

    Oh no! Hoping for a full recovery!(and patience through the recovery too)

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JSTETSER 7/24/2014 6:11AM

    I hope that you find some good books and movies, and spend some time on the Spark.
I would really miss my runs, bikes and kayaks if I hurt myself.
Can you build up your upper body while healing!

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BHENDRICK2 7/23/2014 8:00PM

    man that sounds like really bad luck i hope things get better emoticon

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Trail Racing - What a Blast! (Pictures)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Wow! I can't believe it's been over a year since I posted a blog. I will have to put a catch-up blog out soon, but in the meantime, here is a race report from my first (and recent) trail run.

I have been running for about 7 years now, and all of my races have been on the road. A few weeks ago, however, a friend of mine asked if I wanted to do a couple of trail races with her. I couldnít do both, so I chose the Citrus Trail in Inverness, Florida. Inverness is a small town about 30 minutes north of Tampa, surrounded by many lakes, springs, rivers, and preserves, and is known for diving with manatees in the winter months. It is a small Florida town, with huge 100+ year old oaks dripping with Spanish moss. There is still enough 1920s architecture to let you know it has been here a while, although shopping centers with the typical commercial stores and restaurants are starting to pop up. Judging by the number of doctorís offices I think there are a good number of retirees in this community.

This particular race offered distances for pretty much any runner Ė 4 miles, 10 miles, marathon, and a 50K (31 miles). Since I hadnít really run much since my back to back marathon/half marathon in early December, I opted for the 10 miler, as did my friend (she is training for a 100 mile ultra in August). I was really excited about this race, and even more pleased that it was really, really small Ė just over 100 competitors in total.

After driving about 3.5 hours from the West Palm Beach area, we arrived in Inverness, checked into our hotel, and then went to race check in. Check in was at race start, which was in a primitive campground in the Citrus Wildlife Management area. I was liking this already, as I am a HUGE lover of being outdoors and in the woods. I have run on dirt paths in the past, but I had no idea what to expect on this trail. We asked the race director about the conditions, and were told that it was mainly single track, nothing technical, but to be careful in places where the pine needles were thick, because that could get slippery. I was happy to hear that because I only have road shoes and didnít want to spend the money on trail shoes for just one race. We got our bibs, then walked the first part of the trail just to a feel for what we were in for. It seemed pretty easy, and it was starting to get dark, so we left.

Our next stop was to scope out a place for dinner. As we were driving into town, we agreed to bypass the commercial restaurants and asked the woman at the hotel check in for some recommendations. We were given the name of a couple of Italian restaurants. One was mainly pizza, so we skipped that one and checked out the other one. It looked good, so we went back to the hotel, cleaned up, and went back to the restaurant. The place was packed (a good sign), but the service was a bit slow. We ate and then went back to the hotel to get ready for the next morning.

Since this was a trail race, you really canít start in the dark. They also started the different distances off at different times. The 50K and marathoners went off at 7:30 and the 10 mile and 4 mile racers started at 8:15. Since we were about 10 minutes from the race start, we didnít have to rush and even had enough time to get the free hotel breakfast. I get ready pretty quickly, so I started taking things down to the car. On my way back in I stopped in the breakfast area to check out what looked agreeable for pre-race, and to grab a cup of coffee. There was an older couple (maybe late 40s to mid-50s) eating breakfast who were obviously dressed for a run and I recognized them from check in the day before. I stopped to chat. The woman told me that she loved trail running and felt that she was born to do this. The gentleman was a bit more sedate but I could tell he was getting pumped up, too. I found out they were doing the 50K. I wished them luck then went upstairs, grabbed the rest of our stuff, had a quick breakfast and left for the race.

The nice thing about racing in central to northern Florida in the winter is that the mornings are crisp Ė this morning was in the low 50s, which to me is pretty freakiní cold. My friend is really small with zero body fat, so she was freezing too. We sat in the car until about 15 minutes before race start then got out to warm up. Between the 10 mile and 4 mile race there were maybe 50 people. The race director counted down from 5 and then yelled GO, which was a nice change from the various canons, air horns, and rocket blast offs that I have become accustomed to.

I had read that I should expect to finish a 10 mile trail race about as fast as my fastest half marathon time, which was around 2:10. So 2:10 was my goal. I started off at an easy pace, and as I loped along, my left calf was starting to tighten, which has been my latest issue. There was a short, but slightly steep hill and it really complained when I started going up it, so I had to walk. I decided that I should probably walk the hills in order to ensure that I donít pull something mid run and that I also have some gas in the tank for later. That turned out to be a good approach because there were a LOT of hills on this trail Ė in fact it was almost constant up and down, although most of them were long and not very steep. Still, it takes it out of you. On the long not so steep hills, I ran as I felt comfortable, but walked the steeper ones.

Within the first mile I got ahead of a number of people, but most of the other folks were way ahead of me. I could occasionally see an orange shirt through the trees, but I was mostly alone. It was wonderful. The only downside to trail running is you really canít look around too much and you canít space out (which I tend to do when running alone), because you need to be aware of where you are putting your feet and what is coming up to trip you. That was fine. It was quiet, and other than my breathing I could only hear birds calling to each other.

The course was basically a big loop, but at about 3 miles, there was a .5 mile out and back, so I was able to see everyone who was ahead of me as they returned from the leg. I saw the woman from the hotel and she had a big smile on her face as she recognized me and said hello. The other person I noticed was the woman in the orange shirt, and it seemed I had gained on her (it turns out she missed the turn and had to go back so lost some time). I paused briefly at the turn around for the out and back to take a picture then got back to racing.

Once I came out of the out and back I could see that Orange Shirt was not as far ahead as before, and I thought I could catch her. She seemed to be slowing and walking more; she was definitely walking the hills as was I. Finally at Mile 5 I caught and passed her! I think she was in my age group, whoo hoo! As I passed her I could see a guy in a white shirt ahead, and I told her, ďIím going to get that guy.Ē He, too, was walking the hills, so it seemed as I would catch up to him as he was walking up a hill, he would start running at the top as I was walking up and I would lose him. Finally around Mile 7.5 I caught him up a hill Ė he had stopped to fiddle with his I-whatever and headphones. I guess music was more important than racing. Good for me!!!

Next, with about 2 miles left to go, I saw a man in a black shirt up ahead who was walking. I caught up to him and it was the gentleman from the hotel breakfast area who was doing the 50K. I needed to walk a bit so we chatted. I told him I saw his girlfriend earlier (she was about 10 minutes ahead of him), and that she had a smile on her face and a fire in her eye. He laughed and said how much she loves trail racing. He then said she was 58 and he was 73! Wow! They both looked so much younger!! I walked with him longer than I wanted, and while I enjoyed our chat, it threw me out of mental racing zone. I took off, but the last mile was bit tough and I had to really push it the last .5 mile.

As I was coming in I looked at my Garmin, which was 1:57: and change; final time 1:57:21. I was second in my age group, but they only gave medals to the first finishers in each age group, which is in 10 year increments. All in all, I was really happy with my time, since I came in 12 minutes faster than goal time.

I would highly recommend this race for a first-timer. I loved how small it is, how nice the course is, and how well it is run and organized. We were told over and over to be self-sufficient as there were only 2 aid stations. The course was superbly marked, although some of the 4 milers missed a turn and wound up doing 8 miles! For my race the stations were at mile 2.5 and 7. I ran with pack. I had 70 ounces of water in the bladder, 2 GUs, and one 8 oz bottle of Accelerade. That was perfect and I think I only used one GU, drank about 6-7 oz of the Accelerade, and probably 20 oz of water. It was cool throughout the race, and in the woods for 90% of the course, so I didnít sweat a lot.

After the race we wanted to eat, and found a super cool restaurant called The Hen House. They serve breakfast until late, but you can also get pot roast at 6:00 a.m. Again, this is a small business, and I am all for patronizing local businesses over chain stores when possible. I saw a number of senior citizens standing outside the place, and I told my friend that if there are seniors there, you can bet the food is decent and itís not expensive. I asked one of the women how was the food, and she said fabulous and itís cheap! She was right and I rest my case.

If anyone is thinking about doing a trail race, I would suggest researching the race beforehand to know what youíre getting into. You may need trail shoes and gaiters to keep the dirt and rocks out of your shoes. Florida doesnít really have difficult terrain, although I think I am going to eat those words in mid-April when I plan to do another one Ė the 15 mile distance at J.W. Corbett. Itís only 3miles from my house (almost NOTHING is 3 miles from my house), but I understand that you run through swamp water followed by sugar sand.

After this, you can bet that I will be adding 1 or 2 trail races to my annual racing repertoire.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KAYOTIC 3/29/2014 11:03AM

    Great report, I enjoy trail running, have never trail raced before. Sounds like you found something to add to your repertoire!

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    Thanks. I just informed hubby that next season I might just attempt a 4 miler or the 10 miler.

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MNCYCLIST 3/28/2014 8:51AM

    Sounds awesome, I might look for a trail-race later this year!

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GARDENCHRIS 3/28/2014 8:00AM

    Glad you had a great time. emoticon

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TXPATRIOT 3/27/2014 11:15PM

    Very cool! Love the pictures!

Thanks for sharing.

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VONBLACKBIRD 3/27/2014 5:41PM

    How it and the write up...thanks.

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MBSHAZZER 3/27/2014 3:49PM

    What a great report! Sounds like an awesome introduction to trail running /racing. I love being outdoors, esp. in woods away from traffic and NOISE, but I would definitely trip over a root and permanently injure myself on a trail run! I trip over flat pavement on a regular basis as it is! LOL!

Enjoy the next several trail adventures!

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PASTAFARIAN 3/27/2014 3:42PM

    I enjoyed your report. But, while your words claim you are new to trail racing, your description sounds like you are a veteran. You did everything right! Pacing, hydration, hills, choosing the right distance, etc. Even your advice about shoes is good. Yes, some trail races are fine in road shoes. All depends on terrain and conditions.

I'm also a fan of small races. So glad you didn't mind being alone. That's always a special moment when you can be running alone in the middle of the woods (and someone else is waiting ahead with food)!

PS: Have you joined SP's trail running team?

Comment edited on: 3/27/2014 3:43:58 PM

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JAMIRBLAZE 3/27/2014 1:12PM

    I've just started running actual races (been running on and off for 6-7 years), so it's always nice to read a report of Florida races that aren't Disney sponsored - I'm in the Orlando area. Thanks for the write up.

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Pushing On Through HM Training

Monday, February 18, 2013

Last week I was a little concerned as I strained a calf muscle where it connects to the back of the knee. Every time I would stand up after sitting for a while, it hurt enough that I had to limp the first few steps. Once I would walk a few steps it felt fine, but a little tight. Running didnít seem to make it worse and I was trying to decide whether or not I should continue to run on it. Since running didn't make it worse, I thought I would push it a little to see what would happen afterward, but if it gave me any trouble I would stop, or if it got worse, I would lay off of it for a few days.

I was scheduled to do speedwork on Tuesday Ė 1 mile of warm up, 3 x 1 mile sprints, followed by 1 mile cool down. I decided to scrap the idea of any speed and just go out and run easy for no more than 4 miles. It turns out that I only had about 2 miles in me, which had me pretty discouraged. However, when I woke up on Wednesday, the knee felt much better! I figured doing a little was better than doing nothing at all or doing too much. I had a tempo run scheduled for Thursday, but decided to put it off until Friday to give it a little more rest.

By Friday it was probably 95% better, but I decided that since I had 10 miles scheduled for Sunday with only 1 day of rest in between, that I would only do 3 miles. My 3 miles were slower than I wanted them to be, but that was fine. I did them and my time wasnít horrible either. I had a nice run along the waterfront, and even though it was a little warm and humid, there was a light spritzy rain that kept things a little cooler than they would have been.

Usually the day before a long run of more than 10 miles, I like to take it easy and make sure I eat well. Well that didnít happen as we had an underwater hockey party Saturday afternoon, and I indulged in a small cheeseburger, some cheesy potatoes, 2 beers, a few chips and salsa a few bites of venison steak, sausage, and jerky (I like venison but I donít get it often), tossed salad, and fruit. I left the party around 5:00, and I knew I would be hungry later since I really didnít eat a lot, but the stuff I ate wasnít very healthy. On the way home I picked up a bunch of veggies and made a delicious vegetable soup that hit the spot later in the evening.

Living in Florida, I am used to running in 70+ degree weather and anything below that and I feel cold. As luck would have it, a cold front moved in Saturday evening, and I woke up to temps in the low 40s with a nice stiff wind and higher gusts. I putzed around for a couple of hours, not wanting to go out until the sun rose and warmed things up a bit, so it wasnít until after 10:00 that I left the house wearing 3 layers of clothes (a sleeveless tech shirt, a long sleeve tech shirt, and a windbreaker vest. I tied a knit ski cap with ear flaps on my head (and of course a pom pom on the top) and donned my fleece gloves. I had on long running pants (I wear these maybe 3 or 4 times a year). It was about 50 degrees. I laughed at myself because I thought if any of my family from Michigan saw me, they would think I was crazy for putting so many clothes on.

Regardless, the wind was biting and blew right through the clothes. The good thing was that the wind was coming from the north/northwest, and I my route had me going east for 5 miles and then back west. The first 2.5 miles wasnít bad because I had woods to my left which blocked most of the wind. The bad news was that I was sweating, and once I was running along the main road, there was nothing blocking the wind. But at least it was mostly at my back. The halfway point on this route is a grocery store, so I went in to fill up the water bottle and take a GU. The next 2.5 miles was tough as I had been sweating and was now running directly into the cold wind. I was chilled for about a mile but the wind was drying me off to some degree and it actually felt pretty good.

I did this run with a friend who is training for his first HM, and since I am pretty much starting over training myself, I wanted to keep it to no faster than a 12:00-11:30 pace. We started off at 12:30 which was good, and after a couple of miles we picked it up a bit. Coming back was a little slower at first, but we wound up with negative splits. I have been trying to teach my friend that he needs to slow down at the beginning of a distance race, because he will need something for the end. This was the longest he has ever run, and for most of the other distances longer than 3 or 4 miles he takes walk breaks. He usually runs those alone so itís easier for him to walk.

I usually like doing my long runs alone because I like the time to myself. However, I wanted to run this one with him because I wanted him to get a sense of what itís like to run a long distance without walk breaks and also what controlling your pace at the start will give you at the end. I knew he would pace me, and as long as he wasnít hurting I knew he wouldnít stop as long as I kept running. After the run he commented that he was glad he took it easier at the beginning. From his perspective he felt that the payoff would be that during the HM he would still be running in the higher miles as others started walking. I told him that it didnít matter what others were doing, just that he kept moving, but I guess if your goal is to run when others are walking thatís as good any goal!

I was pretty sore after the run, especially my right hip. I have had problems with it in the past, but this was pretty bad. Other parts of my legs were also hurting, so I think itís time for new shoes. I am only mildly sore today, but I havenít run 10 miles in over 6 months so some soreness is expected.

A couple of weeks earlier my friend learned the importance of fueling during long runs. He was doing an 8 mile run and only took a 16 oz bottle of water with him. I knew the run would take him over 1.5 hours and it was a warm and humid morning. Since he ocean swims every morning with his buddies, and didnít want to give that up, he left the house at 7:00 and ate a granola bar on the way to the beach. He then did a 1 mile swim, got a coffee, and drove back to the house and then started his run. He ate nothing else!

That morning I started my run while he was out swimming, and was almost done when I passed him as he was heading out. I saw that he didnít have much water and I felt concerned. I finished up my run, showered, and then grabbed a power bar and a bottle of water. I drove along the route and found him about 2 miles from home with barely a swig of water left and sweating profusely. He ate the bar and drank some water and said he couldnít believe how much better he felt. Since then he is more cognizant about fueling properly and taking enough water. I suspect the whole ďI donít need food or waterĒ to be a macho thing, but I think heís getting over that and becoming more sensible.

We talked a little bit about fueling and I told him that most people will take a gel at about the 6 mile mark and that's it. I pointed out to him that he is a calorie burning machine, so he may need to fuel around 4 miles and again around 8 or 9, but that's something that he needs to experiment around with during training. He IS listening and finally taking the training seriously, so I think he will have a good HM experience.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MBSHAZZER 2/19/2013 11:20AM

    Ben is doing AWESOME!!! I am so impressed, but of course, he has the best trainer on hand to help him out! You have also made fantastic "strides" as well - sounds like you are almost completely back to normal. WTG!!! You guys are going to totally rock that HM!

BTW, I was so miserably cold on Sunday! It may be "warm" compared to the rest of the country, but we Floridians are not cut out for temps below 65*! We have too much other crap to put up with to contend with such nonsense!

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KAYOTIC 2/19/2013 10:04AM

    That's great that you can guide your friend through the training, and good for you for listening to your body, and taking rest when needed! Sounds like you are doing great!

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BILL60 2/19/2013 8:04AM

    Way to go and way to lend a hand to a friend. I'm sure he'll be helping others when the time comes.

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WINDSURFNERD 2/18/2013 11:20PM

    You are a great friend to guide your friend through his first HM. It sounds like your recovery is coming along, I hope you get stronger and stronger! As a Californian, I bundle up for a run when the temps are 50's or below...we are wimps! ;-)

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COOP9002 2/18/2013 2:22PM

    Awesome job on getting your run in spite of the challenges. A friend of mine who has ran a few marathons tells me that days like this build character. Blessings upon you as you get ready for your run.

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