Evolution of a Man

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Physical Therapy, out for a week.

I went to see a physical therapist, to evaluate my knee and get some tips for making it better, and to receive some advice on when I should go running again. After an initial evaluation, I was told that I basically have slight tendonitis in the patella (kneecap), where my quads attach, and stretching will help, as well as strengthening exercises. She prescribed the following stretches and strengthening exercises (for both legs, to keep them evenly worked out). These exercises are intended to strengthen the quads to the point where they can handle the amount of running I’m throwing at them.


hamstringstretchHamstring stretch

Your hamstring muscle runs along the back of your upper leg. To stretch your hamstring muscles:

  • Lie on the floor near the outer corner of a wall or a door frame.
  • Raise your left leg and rest your left heel against the wall. Keep your left knee slightly bent.
  • Gently straighten your left leg until you feel a stretch along the back of your left thigh.
  • Hold for about 20 seconds.
  • Switch legs and repeat.
  • As your flexibility increases, maximize the stretch by gradually scooting yourself closer to the wall or door frame.
  • Repeat this for each leg 3 times.


Iliotibial Band Stretch

The iliotibial band (ITB) is a band of tissue that runs along the outside of your hip, thigh and knee. To stretch your ITB:

  • Stand near a wall or a piece of sturdy exercise equipment for support.
  • Cross your left leg over your right leg at the ankle.
  • Extend your left arm overhead, reaching toward your right side. You’ll feel a stretch along your left hip.
  • Hold for about 20 seconds.
  • Switch sides and repeat.
  • Do each leg 3 times.




Wall Stretch (Weight bearing Gastrocnemius and soleus muscles)

This stretch primarily addresses tension and lack of range of motion in the gastrocnemius muscle (outer calf), soleus muscle (inner calf), achilles tendonposterior tibial tendon and the plantar fascia.

  • This stretch is best performed in a doorway, although any other flat surface will work. Always perform this stretch while wearing supportive footwear.
  • Stand in the doorway, arms’ length away. Place one forefoot up against the door jam with the heel seated firmly on the floor.
  • Grab the door fame at waist level and pull your hip toward the door frame. Tension should develop anywhere from the back of the knee down through the calf, achilles, heel and into the long arch.
  • Hold for 20 seconds
  • repeat for each leg, 3 times.

lying quad stretch

Lying Quad Stretch

  • Lie on the edge of a table or bed.
  • let one half of your body lean off
  • While holding on to something to keep you on the table/bed, grab the ankle of the leg hanging off (or use a band to pull it).
  • Allow a deep stretch to happen, while pulling the ankle towards the butt.

I was also prescribed some preliminary strengthening exercises (isometrics).  


short arc quads

Short Arc Quads.

  • Place a towel roll under your knee.
  • Kick your leg up working to straighten the knee.
  • Complete 2 sets of 10 reps each leg.

straight leg raise

Straight Leg Raise (Flexion)

  • Tighten your thigh. Once you have the thigh muscle tight, raise the entire leg so your foot raises 10 inches.
  • Lower the leg and relax the thigh muscle. It is important to relax the thigh between repetitions so that you get good at illuming your thigh muscle on and off .
  • Complete 2 sets of 10 reps, each leg.

cross legged adduction

Cross-leg Adduction

In the images above, the exercise I’m doing is the bottom example.

  • Hold your trunk tight and keep your back straight
  • Lie on your side and support your head
  • Cross your top leg in front of you
  • Keep your bottom leg straight
  • Raise your bottom leg so your foot is level with (or slightly higher than) the opposite hip
  • Lower the leg so your foot touches the floor

quad sets with flexion

Quad sets (with Flexion)

  • Sit with a rolled hand towel under the knee
  • exert as much force as you can downward with the knee onto the towel.
  • Repeat 2 sets of 10 repetitions, holding each for 3 seconds, for each leg.

If you feel like getting into running, these are some great stretches and exercises to prepare your muscles and ligaments for the task.  I wish I had a list of these when I started.

Enjoy, and happy running!

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Training week 9 – done!

The run of the 24th of November was my 31st training run, the last run of the 9th week!  (Week 9: Nov. 18th-Nov. 24th)

31 runs in, 9 weeks down, 16 weeks to go and I’ll be running the Saturday Rock N’ Roll Marathon in Washington, DC.

Week 9 Statistics!

Average Run

  • 30:29 minutes

Average Pace

  • 8:57 /mile

Average Distance

  • 3.40 miles

Notable week 9 information:

  • WELL, even though Chris and I knew it was upcoming, we failed to follow the schedule we have been following.  Week 9 was supposed to be the switching point from time trainings (we’ve been running 30 minutes for a while) to distance trainings.  We will start running the distance training Monday; with 3 miles being the goal, Wednesday; with 4 miles, Thursday; 3 miles, and Saturday; 5 miles.  Each Saturday from here until quite near the end, an extra mile will be added on, so in 5 months we’ll be running 10 miles on Saturday.  I’m a bit worried, but not from a running/fitness perspective, but more in a mental one.  I’m worried that I’ll be bored to tears running 10 miles.  I might be loading up the iPhone with an audio book to keep me company.

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Progress on my health goals.

“I don’t know how people live without coffee, I really don’t” – Martha Quinn

The goal that I thought might have been harder than it was, was in giving up coffee.  I haven’t had a cup of coffee (or even a sip) since September 11th.  I really thought I was going to have some psychological issues with removing coffee from my routine, but I have found that it doesn’t bother me.  It does affect me in some ways though.

I’ve found that I have to sleep earlier, and I pay dearly if I skip this to watch a show or stay up and write or read.  DEARLY.  The next day I drag, but I sort of like the idea that this is a natural reaction, that my body is telling me  ‘hey fucker you didn’t sleep enough last night, enjoy your bag of shit day today’.  This sort of ‘body neutral’ feeling is alright.

I’ve also been taking twice daily supplements of Fish Oil and an organic multivitamin, sourced from fruits and vegetables.

I take Rainbow Light Certified Organic Men’s Multivitamin, twice daily.  It’s got a really wide base of vitamins, and is particularly strong in B vitamins (which help provide me with natural energy).  It also has pro-biotics, helping to keep my internal fauna kicking ass.

I’ve been taking Fisol fish oil supplements, and these are for brain activity.  keeps me sharp, and these don’t digest until in the intestines, so no fishy burps (which is key).

I’ve also been drinking Amazing Grass’s Green Superfood.  It’s a green, grassy tasting powder mix that I stir into some water.  Sounds gross, but it’s got a ton of stuff in it, and if you’re even slightly averse to eating vegetables, this helps out big time.  Here are some benefits:

•  Helps you achieve your recommended 5 to 9 daily servings of fruits and vegetables
•  Naturally detoxifies and boosts your immune system
•  Probiotics and Enzymes to aid digestion and absorption
•  Complete raw food with powerful antioxidants
•  Alkaline green plant foods balance acidic pH levels
•  Contains over 70% organic ingredients
•  More organic whole leaf greens per gram than other green superfoods – not from juice
•  Featuring Sambazon organic pure açai powder
•  No soy lecithin fillers
•  Nitrogen packed for freshness

My favorite side effect is being nicer.  I’m less crabby.  I listen more before reacting, especially with my wife.

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Week 5…Done

“Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it”– Oprah Winfrey

The afternoon run of the 27th of October was my 19th training run, the last run of the fifth week!  (Week 5: Oct. 21th-Oct. 27th)

19 runs in, 5 weeks down, 20 weeks to go and I’ll be running the Saturday Rock N’ Roll Marathon in Washington, DC.

Week 5 Statistics!

Average Run

  • 30:01.00 minutes

Average Pace

  • 8:18 /mile

Average Distance

  • 3.61 miles

Notable week 5 achievements:

  • This week was run by myself – and two of the runs I took a different route.  Instead of going the hilly route down by Trump National golf course, I instead went out to Algonkian parkway, and just ran to see how far 15 minutes out took me.  Without the hills, my pace was considerably improved (almost breaking below 8min/mile).  As a friend reminded me though, i’m training for the long run, not the short sprint.

Each man’s life represents a road toward himself. – Herman Hesse

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It seems strange to me that at 37 I’m still learning about who I am. Things that I never would have dug up had I not been looking; monumental things.  Things that drive me, things that shape how I behave.

I’m insecure.

I’ve got a deep seated fear of rejection.

I have no problem getting close to somebody, but only so far.

In my life, I have been blessed with not just a woman, not just a wife in name alone, but a partner.  Someone who believes, who has glimpsed the person I can be (who I want to be).  Someone willing and able to ride out the rough with me.  A partner, a friend, a lover.  My wife.

So happy to wake up next to her, a different, deeper man every day.

This little journey of mine, even though it’s not so old, is already unlocking boxes in my mind that have been sealed since they were made.  I’m redoing the foundations of this old house, so that it will last forever.

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Week 4 is DONE!

“If you ever get a second chance in life for something, you’ve got to go all the way.” – Lance Armstrong

The morning of the 20th was my 15th training run, the last run of the fourth week!  (Week 4: Oct. 14th-Oct. 20th)

15 runs in, two weeks down, 21 weeks to go and I’ll be running the Saturday Rock N’ Roll Marathon in Washington, DC.

Week 4 Statistics!

Average Run

  • 30:50.20 minutes

Average Pace

  • 8:54.78/mile

Average Distance

  • 3.46 miles

Notable week 3 achievements:

  • Insomnia is a bitch.  For some reason, Sunday night at the beginning of the week, I could not turn my brain off.  This is usually associated with too much caffeine, but recent events make that false.  Whatever the case, at 4:45 am I’m still awake and decide there is no way I’m running at 6.  So this week, is one week down a training run.  My first miss.  F!

Sleep comes more easily than it returns.  -Victor Hugo


Third week of training Complete!

“Life is a journey, not a destination”  – Ralph Waldo Emerson

The 13th was my 12th training run, the last run of the third week!  (Week 3: Oct. 7th-Oct. 13th)

12 runs in, two weeks down, I’m 22 weeks from March 16th, where I’ll be running the Saturday Rock N’ Roll Marathon in Washington, DC.

Week 3 Statistics!

Average Run

  • 30:35 minutes

Average Pace

  • 8:39.54/mile

Average Distance

  • 3.52 miles

Notable week 3 achievements:

  • Time expected was ramped up to 30 minutes per run.
  • The hills in this run are a killer.  I’ve been working on my pace, not to go faster, but to find a natural rhythm.  My goal is to breathe only through the nose, inhale and exhale.  Whatever oxygen my body pulls in is the oxygen I’ll be able to use.  The trick is consciously modifying my pace to go slower on hills, to be able to keep with the oxygen intake I’m receiving.  The other trick, is to improve my cardiovascular health, so that each breath is being maximized.
  • This was a solo week.  My training partner was away for the week.

If you have built castles in the air; your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.  -Henry David Thoreau