I really only have three things on my Christmas list this year; unfortunately, none of them can be answered or gifted:
1. Find gainful employment
2. Get a better knee
3. Have my lawsuit settled
I've never felt so "stuck" - however some of my friends and family have been quite helpful and supportive so that's been a positive.
I haven't written anything in a few weeks. There were times I intended to, and tried, but just couldn't do it. I just don't feel like I have much to say. I could list my swim workouts, my attempts at running and a handful of boring bike rides, but it didn't seem inspired.
The one good thing I've finally done with myself is that I purchased a car the other day. Used, but a 2006 so not terribly old. Somehow, at age 28, this was my first ever buying experience at a car dealership. Thanks to my friends at Bob Bell Ford, the process was really easy and they gave me an absurd deal. And, thanks to the check I received for my totaled bike, it made purchasing the car as a cash deal much easier. Of course that means I have no money to buy a new bike, so I was quite sad as I wrote the check for the car. I'm hoping that, since I no longer have to rely on car/walking/rides from others, that I can be motivated to be more proactive in my job search.
It's silly to me sometimes to think of how proud I am of these miniscule baby steps I have to take right now.
We had our 3rd Annual Awards Night the other night - as always a great celebration of our accomplishments for the past year. I try and make sure I prepare awards ahead of time so I can say something about each person, then because it's me I get jumbled in my index cards and inevitably forget about one or two until I'm reminded. Our team is unlike any other I've ever seen, and I'm reminded of that each year when we do this. Thanks to the race timing that we did this year to earn a little extra dollars, we ordered some pizzas and had the party at the store.
My friends then surprised me with an amazing gift - a new digital camera! For the last decade I've only owned my manual SLR Pentax K1000, which has been through a lot. And since it's become increasingly difficult to find places to service cameras like that, and film/developing are expensive, I knew I'd eventually have to move to the digital world. I wish I had this for the whole year as I spectated at something like 22 races this year! So for 2010 I'll have it, and I'm pumped because I definitely won't be racing for a while. My friends routinely go above and beyond for this gift, which I really don't deserve and wish they would just not worry about!
Another ritual of Awards Night is I hand out index cards and everyone writes down their goals for the next year. Because we are more than "just" runners - meaning, we have other things in our lives that are important to us - I always ask for a few running related goals, and then personal related goals. I love being able to watch as the group strives to hit their marks, and then review every so often to make sure they're on target. Of course sometimes things come up that prevent you from reaching any of your goals, then you feel like the year was a waste. For the record, I don't actually feel like my year was a complete waste, but that's for another post.
The bad news I have is that my PT says I really am not doing well with my progression. It's weird to think that I'm not doing the best of any post-ACL surgery patient of all time, because I feel like I could still beat most people at a sprint tri right now, but it's the truth. There are two other dudes who had ACL surgery right around me and I asked the PT how I stacked up. He told me I'm the worst by far and we just can't figure out why my knee refuses to straighten out completely or bend better. I go into PT every MWF and feel as if it's the first time I've ever been there sometimes.
At the same time, I've seen some pretty unbelievable progression. Obviously I've been swimming well for 5 months. That sucks. I'm tired of the pool. But I'm getting faster and stronger. If I have any shot of competing at Columbia or Eagleman, I need to know that I can swim in the 20:xx range (Columbia) and 27:xx range (Eagleman). I say this because there is no way on earth that I run as fast this year as I did last year.
It also means I have to get back to (minimum) where I was last year on the bike. This is a tall, tall order. Ideally I'd need to be even faster. And unless my lawsuit is magically settled in the next 2-3 months or I find a job that pays me more than I was making previously, I just can't rationalize spending the money on a time trial bike just yet.
If I can continue with the 4-5 hours per week in the pool (not much need for more), and start getting up to 6-8 hours on the bike, I think I should be in good shape. Running is going to be in the 2 hour per week range for now I think, at about 30-40 minutes every other day. I managed to run about 5.5 minutes at 6:20-6:30 pace on Monday night with the guys as they finished their run. It felt like an absolute sprint. Wednesday I ran down to the Square to meet the guys for WNR. 7:34 to the Square (1 mile, mostly downhill). Probably ran about that pace with them until 19 minutes on my watch. Walked about a minute, then ran uphill for 2.5min. Then walked downhill for a minute and started to run the last mile home (uphill). The uphill feels easier than downhills right now, so I got to the top of the hill in good shape to be under 7, but then the last two blocks are downhill to my stoop and it hurt. 7:00.5.
The only thing between me and full recovery now is that my knee refuses to cooperate and get better like I ask it to. Is that too much of me to ask?