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Saturday, January 31, 2009


Under the knife

MRI on monitor
On December 30, 2006 I completed a 20-mile run in preparation for an upcoming marathon. I had a busy race schedule planned into the spring and had prepaid several events. My groin thought otherwise. Insert your favorite joke here about pulling a groin. My favorite is the ESPN commentators quick quip whenever mentioning the always laughed at body part. "Today, in a game against the whoevers, so and so pulled a groin - pause for dramatic affect - I hope it was his." It is very important to say, "So and so pulled A groin and not HIS groin." Otherwise the joke would not work.

Anyway, that kept me from running. I was healing up slowly and by Memorial Day, I was beginning to build up my running again. I thought I was back on the road. Since I was not running a lot, I had time for other things, like fixing a big bare spot in the yard resulting from heavy foot traffic and dragging dead tree parts from Katrina the August before.

I took a day off of work so I would have a four-day weekend to lay the sod. Incidentally, were I to say "lay the sod" in England, any self-respecting lady and most gentlemen would feel compelled to slap me.

I worked like a hard working dog. Man, that is hard work. The hard part was the prep. I tilled and pushed and pulled dirt around in a vain attempt to level the landscape. I will level with you, I got pretty close. Once the sod arrives, one needs to move quickly to get it down and watered in. I had no help, because my usual buds had legitimate excuses. John was probably in the south of France, the Virgin Islands, or just hiding out.

As I look back, there was an instance where I was carrying a load of the grass and as I stepped with my right foot, I hit some uneven ground giving my knee a bit of a twist. My foot remained stationary and the knee was wrenched sideways a bit. I heard a pop and felt pain, but it went away and I did not give it any more thought.

When I went back to running, both of my knees were sore, so I thought it was related to the sod laying, sorry mate. Anyway, my left knee healed, but the right knee did not.

I went to the doctor in August. That is almost 3 months of RICE, Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. I read things on the Internet, I took glucosamine, used weights for strengthening, you name it, I did it to get fixed. The doctor said it was probably nothing. X-Rays were negative so I should just take it easy and it would heal.

It did not heal.

I kept running like the doctor said to do, but never any improvement. I could run a couple of miles without pain, but the knee would hurt the rest of the day, especially if I had been sitting down a long time.

I went back to the doctor a year later, July 2008. This time, I stopped running a couple of weeks before seeing him. I felt great at the appointment. Fresh X-Rays were still negative and he told me to come back when I had a problem. I began running and the pain returned.

So in January I returned to the orthopedist, but this time he ordered an MRI. It revealed a slight tear in the medial meniscus. The remedy is arthroscopic surgery to either fix the tear or remove the affected tissue.

Surgery is set for February 18th and in a few weeks; I should be back on the road. I should be as good as new, because the tear is minor and the rest of the knee is fine.

Forgive me Father for I have sinned. It has been two years since my last marathon. . .

Until the next time
John Strain


Friday, January 23, 2009


Time and Memories

I made a "year end" video that is 55 minutes long. That process of making it gave me an idea for another video that appears below. I went through all of the video tapes I had eclipsing 22 years. I then took short clips from them and added an aged film filter to the video to give it that "vintage" look.

Here it is: Time and Memories.

It is hard to believe the first month is almost over.

Until the next time
John Strain