31 May 2016

core | walk

Today was my first core workout since my surgery! Sure I was weak but no pain. Bonus.

I was pretty wiped out and my legs were SORE (all that descending yesterday...) so I just took the bus to work.

30 May 2016

up Mt Teneriffe down Mt Si

Boom. My first trail run in freaking months! And we could not have picked a nicer day for it.

The skys were totally clear, the sun was out, it was 45 degrees at the start and at least 60 degrees at the finish. The Salmon Berries were HUGE and ripe and I was just so damn thrilled to be back out in the woods and to have it not hurt my hip. Thanks to Thomas Frizelle for the company and for being willing to run at my recovery pace.


When I asked Thom if he would be up for a slow run he said yes and then said I should feel free to suggest a route. Thinking that I could manage 10-12 miles I looked at my running history and found this one. Mt Teneriffe is always awesome and I recall really liking the Talus Loop Trail the one other time I ran it so picked this. As a bonus, Thom had never done any of this and I always love showing someone a new cycling or running route.

The climb up the Teneriffe trail is always rewarded by spectacular views on a nice day.


For some reason (perhaps because the entire trail to the top is not officially complete?) most people take the road to the top of Teneriffe. I did that once and it sucked. Instead we took the trail to Teneriffe Falls and then just continued to the top. Road be damned.

From here we ran down the road just a bit to the crossover trail that connects Teneriffe and Si. To my surprise we encountered four other people on the crossover trail! How cool that hikers are utilizing this too, it really expands your options.

Running down Si was super fun but I was very tentative. First and foremost because my hip is still very suspect but also because I had not been out on the trails in quite a while and the last thing I wanted to do was wipe out and further delay my full recovery. And of course it was pretty crowded.

Luckily all went well and by the time I got back to our car you would have been hard pressed to wipe the smile off my face.

By the time I got home my left hip did flare up a little... but it was not much and I'm hoping it won't last. I suspect I was a tad overambitious with this route? That's the first time I have felt any pain since I took six weeks off from running. Luckily it did not prevent Shelley and I from taking the scooter downtown and eating and drinking our way through some super cool places in the Pike Place Market that we had never been to before. Oysters and beer, I love that!

First time in #EmmettWatsons #OysterBar. Yum! #PikePlaceMarket

Here are all my pictures and video.

29 May 2016

Madrona loop

After a few days of cycling I laced up my running shoes again.

I'm planning my first post surgery trail run tomorrow so headed out in my trail shoes just for the heck of it. They really are pretty comfy, they're just not quite as squishy as my road shoes.

All went well, I'm still pain free. And without looking at my watch, I went just a hair faster on this loop than I have recently so hopefully this means my running fitness is trying to make a comeback.

28 May 2016

showing some friends new bike routes

Some friends and I decided to sign up for and train for RAMROD so each weekend has included a nice, long ride.

Today a new person was added to the mix and the result was a subdued pace but the conversation and company was excellent. And once I accepted the social nature of the ride I still had a great time. Not to mention that we had a super weather window and by the end of the ride my vest, arm warmers, knee warmers and gloves were off. Nice.


It's been so much fun showing Nick and Barbra cycling routes! Many of the roads that I have ridden numerous times are brand new to them and each time we cover a new route they are both so impressed and appreciative. It has made me re-appreciate some of the roads and scenery I have taken for granted. That's a good thing.

Nick Dey


Barbra Dey (on the left in the white jacket)


The roads were a bit damp at the start and it was only 50 degrees so I test drove my brand new Sealskinz Oversocks. They rocked!


And my matching(!) Sealskinz Merino Sport Gloves were perfect as well.


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27 May 2016


Took the zero today. I think it was the right call. I need to remind myself that I'm still only two weeks out from my kidney surgery.

It was wet going to work but on the way home it had cleared up and warmed up quite a bit. Of course then I was wishing I had ridden my bike... :)

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26 May 2016

bike commute

Last night I thought about taking a zero today as I was kind of tired. Instead I just turned off the alarm and slept in. It was just what I needed.

The weather never really cleared up today but it was still dry, just a little windy. So for the first time in ages I wore a long sleeve shirt on my ride home. No biggie.

I saw Frank Colich on the way home, nice of him to say hi.

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<iframe src='https://connect.garmin.com/activity/embed/1185856397' title='commute home +' width='465' height='500' frameborder='0'></iframe>

25 May 2016

Madrona loop (with Justin Angle) | bike commute

OMG, today was my first time running back-to-back days after my kidney surgery and it felt okay. There was one point where I thought my hip was complaining but in retrospect I suspect it was just the power of suggestion... When something has hurt for a whole year you can't help but think you feel it coming back I suspect.

Justin Angle was in town and we got the rare chance to run together - it was a blast! We took a few dirt and stair detours on the usual route for variety and scenery and I was huffing and puffing on all the stair climbs big time. Justin said it looked like I was moving pretty good so there's that. It was great to catch up.

The run felt harder/faster than it was. Perhaps I'm still a bit weak (read: I know I am still a bit weak) as it's just two weeks out from surgery.

After work I had planned to go long on my commute but work stress and perhaps these two runs flushed my vim and vigor down the toilet. I just rode straight home.

24 May 2016

Madrona loop | bike commute

Hit the bricks this morning for what is just my third run since surgery and my second outdoor run.

It felt good and so I inadvertently went a bit faster and subsequently found the limit of my current fitness. Whew, I have a ways to go. But running pain-free is pretty freaking awesome. Here's hoping it continues. right?

On my way to work I saw my kidney surgeon for my follow-up visit and confirmed that my tumor was benign and that no additional scans would be needed. All I have left is the usual/protocol Renogram after three months to ensure kidney function continues to be normal.

I am feeling pretty good! Here is what I looked like three days ago when the Steri Strips came off..

Went for my first outdoor run post surgery and it felt so good I took my steri strips off. Cuz that's how I celebrate.

23 May 2016

22 May 2016

catching up with Martin (the start of comeback 4.0)

It's been a while... turns out not being healthy and motivated to exercise affects my desire to blog. I know, right? At least that is changing. So here is what Martin has been up to.

Surgery. More Surgery. Even more surgery. You guessed it, some more surgery.

ASIDE - I should get frequent flyer miles at Swedish Hospital.

Here are some dates.
23 March 2015 - I got a hernia repaired.
11 January 2016 - I got another hernia repaired (this one on the other side).
22 January 2016 - I had surgery to stop some internal bleeding.
11 May 2016 - I had a "mass" (aka "tumor") removed from my right kidney.

Still way bloated with CO2 but I'm home and healing starts now. Comeback 4.0.

But hey, the tumor was benign! And Tuesday May 17 I started commuting to work on my bike again and Thursday May 19 I went for my first treadmill jog and Saturday May 21 I went for my first outdoor run after this most recent surgery so things are looking up! Plus, today. Boom.
Where to start? Perhaps with my self esteem. :) These days I identify as an "ultra runner". For sure there are times when I run more or less but since I decided to focus on this activity after I stopped racing bicycles I have done the following.
Obviously when I participate in an activity I like to immerse myself...

Turns out that all my talk about "just having fun" and "I just like being active" wasn't being 100% honest. When I decide to focus on something I really (REALLY) want to be able to do it. And when I can't I get bummed. And when I say bummed I of course mean I turn into a whinny baby that unfairly wears on Shelley and makes all my friends think I'm trolling for sympathy. Which I kinda was?

ASIDE - I find it fascinating how someone's (self-proclaimed) identity can be so closely tied to something (dumb?) like a specific or narrowly defined activity. For some it's a physical activity, for others it might be writing or cooking or whatever. Humans are complicated. And we get upset about trivial shit.

On the upside I am feeling better. Not just physically (finally!) but also mentally. During all of these surgeries and recoveries I was also dealing with intermittent hip pain. At first I thought it was due to the hernias but when it returned after each repair I had more scans and tests which is how the mass on my kidney was discovered. "Oh by the way, you this spot on your kidney here... and the only treatment is surgery." I think I did find out what's up with my hip, I might - my last MRI was unfortunately not definitive - have a torn labrum on the left side. But that's another story.

Which is a nice segue to my other update - my ability to run (not to mention ultras) and race when I'm not recovering from surgery.

Ever since my hip first flared up just over one year ago my running has been sporadic at best. There are days when I am almost pain-free and there are days when I can hardly walk. Prior to this injury I was running about 50 miles/week and prior to this last batch of visits to the hospital it was reduced to perhaps 20.

When I finally (hopefully) figured out what this pain is being caused by the advice of my care providers was to stop running. Stat. Talk about going cold turkey, it sucked.

As we all know, some people stop and others "stop". This time I didn't fake it and took a total vacation from running that lasted six weeks. After six weeks I was pain-free so saw my hip doctor (who's name is Dr. Downer!). Here is what he said.
  • You are pain-free, I only treat pain.
  • Even if we operate, labrum surgery is not guaranteed to resolve your issue.
  • The MRI you got which indicates you might have a tear was not done with contrast, is not definitive, and if you experience pain again we should start with another scan.
  • I recommend you chat with your Physical Therapist and slowly re-introduce running.
What...?! After more than a year of pain I'm supposed to run? I'd be lying if I said I had not been steeling myself for the worst news. To hear this was actually a shock.

So we did slowly re-introduce running. What does "slowly" mean? It means never running more than four times per week. It means running on a treadmill. It means the first week I ran ONE mile. The second week I ran two miles. The third week I ran three miles. You get the idea. Since flat running was always the most painful thing for my hip, I became intimate with the incline setting on my treadmill. Turns out going uphill didn't hurt me at all even when this was flaring up so that's all I did, run uphill.

And it worked. I slowly increased my almost daily treadmill run to six miles and then I gingerly went outside for a jog. Talk about trepidation! Never before in my life have I been scared to run. I just kept thinking, what if this starts to hurt again? Will that mean I'm done with running for good? Yikes. Luckily it did not hurt. And to date I'm still pain free. FINGERS CROSSED.

Did I mention that cycling dos not hurt my hip at all...? And it just so happens I have a room full of bikes, how convenient.


Ever since I started focusing on running I have still gone on several fun rides and commute to work by bike whenever the weather is conducive. So when I couldn't run at all I decided to ramp up the riding. And guess what? It was fun. And in just a few short weeks I was back to doing long rides on the weekends. And Seattle was in the midst of heat wave. Sometimes the stars do align.

Did I mention the tumor was small? And that it was on the edge of my kidney? Hence my doctor could perform this surgery laparoscopically and there was no need to slice me open and I still have most of my right kidney. So much to be thankful for.

This process has been super educational and beneficial for me. It has made me realize that for all my moaning and groaning I have it freaking easy! It isn't like I lost a leg or broke my back or got blinded, if something like that were ever to happen to me I hope I could muster exponentially more positive attitude than I did this time. And once again it made me realize that people care. First and foremost Shelley has been a rock. For sure a rock that would have been justified in rolling its eyes more than it did so hooray for Shelley. And the friends that I did keep in the loop about all this crap were also very upbeat and encouraging. I have awesome friends! It also brought my family a little closer together, my sister and my father were and are extremely sympathetic, caring and supportive.

It is WAY too early to say whether or not I'll run another ultra but that is my goal. IT'S MY STATED GOAL! :) And so far (six more outdoor miles yesterday!) so good. And here's to having the support of your loved ones and the luxury of sufficient leisure time to try.

For a change, I'm looking forward to my run tomorrow. Progress.

Carnation Valley with friends

Nice! Just 10 days out from kidney surgery I manage to pull off a century ride. I wasn't setting any PRs on this ride but hey, that was not the goal. I was with friends, on my rain (read: heavy) bike and the weather cooperated in brilliant fashion. Goal of having a good time accomplished.

This route is relatively flat but it was awesome to finally log the big miles/hours. Thanks to John Phillips, Nick Dey and Barbra Dey for the company.

Food always tastes better when you are famished.

21 May 2016

Madrona loop

I couldn't be happier!

Today was my first run after my kidney surgery and it felt great considering. I still can't get a full lung of air, it feels like my chest is a bit constricted, but otherwise no issues.


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