Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Two Milestones: 99% ROM and a Seven Mile Run

The shoulder's improving. Yesterday, after five rounds of assisted SHOULDER - 1 ROM: Flexion - Wand exercises, I did the final five unassisted. The range of motion is nearly 100% now and its strength is returning. Fantastic.

To celebrate, I ran the seven miles from work to home last night. I had no issues with the shoulder during the run. Granted, there was very little shoulder movement, but the fact that there wasn't any pain from the jarring foot strikes has got to be a good sign. In fact, the only issues experienced were in the ribcage (minor) as a result of heavy respiration during the run.

The body's healing mechanism is truly an amazing thing.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Nutrition Tool Box: Emulsified Norwegian Cod Liver Oil

Last Friday's blog had a plug for TwinLab's Emulsified Norwegian Cod Liver Oil. Although setup for comic relief, it wasn't meant to be only that.

Since injuring my shoulder, I've been giving my body the building blocks it needs for recovery. In a the accident has allowed me to reassess my nutrition intakes. So while whey protein and antioxidant rich fruits have been supplemented to help in the short term recovery, I've also taken the time to look at longevity needs.

One such area is in cardiovascular health. We all know that cholesterol is bad. Well all but the HDL "good" cholesterol form. HDL cholesterol reduces plaque and carries bad cholesterol to the liver where it can be passed out of the system.

How much is needed? Clinical studies have shown that a diet of 400mg of fatty acids nutritionally supports cardiovascular health. Two tablespoon of Twinlab's cod liver oil provides 900 mg of total Omega-3 Fatty acids.

Will it miraculously heal my shoulder? Of course not. But it's contributing to overall good health on both a short and long term.

The product comes in three varieties: natural and mint, cherry or orange flavoring. The flavoring helps, but you can still taste the fish oil. But it's tolerable. In fact, I previously took fish oil in the form of a gel tabs. Gel tabs have no taste, right? Wrong. Without fail, every time I took one of those, I'd burp up heavy fish-taste within a few minutes. And I'm not talking about a dainty little Queen of England hiccup. Nope. It'd be one of those nasty guttural uuuuuuurrrrrrrrps that would wake the dog sleeping next to you.

No thanks. I'd rather deal with a little taste up front than have to deal with that later.

So if you're looking for a quick and convenient way to boost your Omega 3 fatty acids, this isn't a bad way to do it.

Whole Foods. $11.49

Monday, June 28, 2010

Not numb, NUMB

I got back on the bike yesterday for a 90 minute test ride with Mike Munson. The shoulder didn't feel great, but it felt good enough. Basically, it now feels like a big bad bruise. The good news was that there were no twinges of sharp pain, nor did it feel numb at anytime during the ride.

Speaking of numb, my friend the Real Wes J is participating in the Nebraska United Methodist Bike (NUMB) for Hunger charity ride this week. Count on him for a podium finish.

Here's one from the NUMB archives, where the Real Wes J just missed the win by a wheel:

NUMB is a worthy cause. Consider a donation. They'll take anything you throw at them, including a third place payout from a CAT4 road race.

Go get 'em, Wes!

Friday, June 25, 2010


Many years ago, I had the privilege of backpacking in Europe with my friend Larry. Larry isn't his real name. But let's just call him that.

Larry and I made great traveling companions. He laid out out an ambitious, low budget assault of continental Europe on a 30 day Eurail Pass and I was content to simply tail along.

We arrived in Frankfurt, caught the first train to Wiesbaden, hopped a boat along the Rhine to Amsterdam, then back to rail into Belgium and so on. Within a week, we were in Paris, munching on a baguette and drinking cokes in a city park.

Larry stood and said that it was time to go.

Go? Go where? We had just arrived.

Larry dusted the fresh crumbs from his khaki shorts and began to head across the street toward a quintessential European Cafe. I stirred, but he turned and motioned to me to sit back down.

You don't understand, he said. I haven't taken a shit since we were stateside. I have to go.
And now for a word from our sponsor, TwinLab

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For overall health and wellness, make Twinlab’s Cod Liver Oil a part of your daily health regimen.

I sat there dumbfounded, weighing the gravity of Larry's last statement. It had been a week since we were in the States. Seven days! Why, what -- how -- how was that even humanly possible!?

A long time passed. Finally, Larry reappeared at the entrance. He had a contorted sort of smile on his face as he picked his way through the parked mopeds and crossed the street. It was a puzzling look, one that could be taken simultaneously for both shame and pride.

Let's get the hell out of here, he said, and without breaking stride, heaved his backpack onto his shoulder.

I hustled to grab all of my stuff. Moments later, I caught up to him.

What happened back there?

The toilet couldn't handle it. It was a small bathroom. I nearly flooded the damn thing. I panicked for a bit before settling on a plan. First, I attempted to unclog the toilet. To do so, I unfolded four paper towels on the floor, and then reached down into the toilet with my bare hands and removed the crap, placing it on the paper towels. I tried the toilet again, but it was worthless. Plan A was out. By then I was gagging. Since the toilet couldn't take it, and I certainly couldn't leave it in the trash can, I had to go with plan B.

So what did you do?

There was a small window to the alley out back.

You didn't

I did.

It was the only solution. Gnarly, huh? I tidied up the bathroom and washed my hands for about five minutes. Then, without saying a word, I dropped a twenty franc note on the bar and walked out.

Later that day, we saw the Mona Lisa.

There's been a lot that's been said about the expression on her face.

Thanks to Larry, I have my own interpretation.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Follow Up Visit

I had a follow-up with the Orthopedic today. A fresh batch of x-rays didn't reveal anything new. That's the good news. The bad is that I still have a separated shoulder and will need to proceed with caution for the time being. The official word is that I've been given the green light to resume low-impact training so long as it's in the normal range of discomfort.

It's not that the shoulder hasn't made progress. The general inflammation has resided considerably and mobility seems to increase as much as an inch per day. The line of discomfort begins when I attempt to lift my arm above neck level. That's better than a few days ago.

As mentioned previously, it's incredibly painful to sneeze or cough. I'd rate it a 9 of 10 for two seconds after the sneeze followed by a solid 8 for the next 20. Unfortunately, I'm reminded quite often of my injury as this is also my allergy season.

Obviously, I'm scratching from this weekend's CSG TT. As for the Omaha Cycling weekend, only time will tell.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The WSCG List

Sometime awhile back, Bryan Redemske's List appeared on Facebook. Bryan put a lot of thought into this list. In fact, his concept was brilliant: whereas most lists actually have items on it, Bryan Redemske's List started off as an empty, blank slate. It's true. Let's take a look at the first two posts:

Bryan Redemske's List edited their Phone and Location
Bryan Redemske's List joined Facebook

First, notice that it records that Bryan's list joined Facebook. That's it-- no content, hyperlinks, photos or any other info. The list simply joined Facebook.

The next line above it states, "Bryan Redemske's List edited their Phone and Location." Now this was truly uncanny. It was as if the list had a life of its own. Meanwhile, the flesh-and-blood Bryan Redemske was only an afterthought. As evidence, look at the word "their" as in, "Bryan Redemske's List edited their Phone and location." This was beginning to feel like that time John Malkovich starred as himself in Being John Malkovich.

Finally, there was some substance on the third installment:

Ryan Feagan is on Bryan Redemske's List. Confirmed.

That Ryan Feagan made the list, and as the first entrant, made a lot of sense. To a lot of people. I'd be willing to bet that since Kindergarten, RF has occupied the first slot on many lists.

From there, Bryan Redemske's List pretty much remained a dirty, secretive little cloud. To this day, it's contents have never been fully revealed. But one thing was for certain was that it involved people he competed against. Though I believe it was a dubious honor to make the list, people actually provoked him to get on it.

Making a list is a good practice. While many lists remain private, posting them publicly achieves the best results.

It's been a week since I wiped-out on my bike. I've made some progress, but there are a number of things I'm still unable to do unassisted. Let this list serve as my public record of my right shoulder's health.

  1. Put button-down shirt on unassisted 06/15/2010
  2. Comb hair with right hand 06/18/2010
  3. Put on deodorant (lift right arm, reach across to left pit) 06/21/2010
  4. Put on tee shirt on unassisted
  5. Run a 10K. Jogging doesn't count
  6. Bike 2 hours. Drop Bryan Redemske's List
  7. Do 20 push ups.
  8. Jump in with Omaha Masters Swim Team
  9. Bench press body weight
  10. Paint the Fence. No really, it's a task I have to do this summer.
Reward: 1/2 gallon of Premium Bordeaux Cherry Chocolate ice cream. Until then, it's a bowl of frozen yogurt for each step.

Monday, June 21, 2010

In Search for Mr Miyagi

My shoulder's making progress. It's not too bad when it's moved slowly. Quick movements, like spasms in sleep, aren't fun. Otherwise, it's mostly dull aches with a lot of lateral stiffness.

Actually, the area that's worse than the shoulder is my ribcage. Coughing and sneezing brings misery.

Last week, I reported visiting my PT, Mike Bartels. As far as I know, Mike doesn't carry a black belt. But, the repetitive motions he's prescribed remind me of martial arts. At least what I know from watching Ralph Macchio's version of Karate Kid.

Here's Mike's version of "Paint the Fence."

I don't know, but perhaps he should call it something else. How about "touchdown Jesus" or "full-throttle-on-carrier-approach?" At least something with a little more pop than the the vanilla description:

SHOULDER - 1 ROM: Flexion - Wand

I mean, how uninspiring. The great Mr Miyagi couldn't even breathe life into that one.

Daniel-san: Mr Miyagi, can't I go back to doing something cooler? Come to think of it, paint the fence wasn't that bad.

Mr Miyagi: No, grasshoper. Do Shoulder-1 ROM Flexion-Wand ... sigh... oh what's the use? See if Jackie Chan can do any better. I quit.

Oh well, I'll have to make do.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Plane Spotting

When i was a kid, one of the favorite things to do with Dad was to go to the airport and plane spot.

My Dad was a loyal, hard-working employee that spent 35+ years with the same company. Part of his responsibilities included traveling. He was on the road probably 25 weeks a year.

On occasion, Dad would take us kids to a parking lot just off Lambert field's main runway to spot planes. As the jets approached, he'd teach us about the different makes and models while giving us details of what he liked or disliked about them. By 10 years old, I became an expert at identifying commercial aircraft. For example, a DC-9 had two tail engines a 727 added a third on the vertical stabilizer. But my favorites were the wide body jets, especially the graceful Lockheed L10-11.

After an hour or so of spotting and feeling the thundering rush of the turbofan engines passing overhead, he'd take us to White Castles for a half-dozen belly-bombers.

Man, what a day spent with Dad.

I've heard that traveling can be very exhausting. I would never know as that's never been a part of my work's responsibilities. But that's what Dad did to make the ends meet and give my Mom and his five children a stable, comfortable life.

Thanks Dad.

Happy Father's Day.

Friday, June 18, 2010

A Time To Build

The body's healing power is amazing. For the first 12 hours after wrecking, I needed a sling to support the weight of my arm as my shoulder muscles were too freaked out to do any work. But since then, my shoulder has improved a lot. The ability to support the weight of my arm has not only returned, but the range of motion has extended inches to feet. Meanwhile, the swelling and general aches and pains are subsiding.

These are all encouraging signs that I was spared serious injury. Of course, only time will tell the extent of the injury.

When I workout, I typically have a goal in mind. That goal is based on a plan that was put together weeks/months before. Workouts tend to have different stages: base, build, peak, etc. The same can be true about your healing plan. When I'm injured, I make a mental switch from a workout plan to a healing plan.

Recovery also takes longer with aging. As you age, it becomes more important to remain focused on giving the body the tools it needs to heal as quickly as possible. My healing plan includes the following: NICE (NSAIDs, Ice, Compression, elevation), good nutrition, therapy and having a positive outlook.

NSAIDS include Ibuprofen (Motrin), naproxen (Aleve) or acetaminophen (Tylenol). I use ibuprofen only because it seems that I tolerate it the best. Choose one and take regularly for 10 days to reduce the inflammation.

10 minutes on multiple times per day. I've found that compressing a drug store ice bag with an Ace bandage is probably the most effective treatment you can do. Ice temporarily restricts the flow of blood in the damage tissue. When removed, the tissue is flushed with fresh blood and nutrients.

Even more so than when working out, recovering from injury requires a diet rich in protein and antioxidants.

I was surprised to find that I had be diligent about meeting daily protein requirements. Research suggests that an active athlete should take 1.2 to 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. I achieve this by consuming high protein foods and supplementing with whey protein powder.

Antioxidant flushing is achieve by substituting green tea for coffee, and consuming lots of fresh fruits like berries, cherries, plums and grapes.

I've already met with my PT, Mike Bartels at Edge Physical Therapy. Mike's a terrific local resource for cyclists and athlete in general. An active competitive cyclist, Mike relates well to the motivated weekend warrior. Since our visit, I've begun a series of light exercises to gently begin working on increasing mobility. If for nothing else, a PT will provide a road map toward your recovery. It's either that or following the advice of a typical doctor: rest.

Having a positive mental attitude helps. Certainly, the body will repair itself regardless of the attitude of the person, but I believe that being positive about your recovery does something more.

You don't have to do it all on your own. Let people know when your injured. The encouragement you'll receive in return will help keep you motivated to stay on your plan.

So thanks again for your encouragement. I hope to join you on the road again soon.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wholesome, Steel-Pole Goodness

What nice notes I received from you all yesterday, wishing for my speedy recovery. Some from old friends, and a few from new ones, including a comment from the 2010 DK200 winner, Cornbread. I should also mention my gratitude to Bryan, Eric and Munson for linking my story in their blogs. Finally, a big shout out to the good folks of Algona, IA for pulling for me. You guys are awesome.

So thanks to all who stopped by yesterday. The get well wishes were appreciated.

Oh wait, what's this at the bottom of my email inbox?

Apparently, I missed a note from Shim, who along with the Real Wes J, was looking out for my well being when the accident happened.

Let's see what words of condolence Shim has to offer:
From: G.Shim0nek
Sent: 06/15/2010 06:37 PM CDT
To: E.Br0wn; W.J0hnson; B.Hanquist
Cc: Brady Murphy

Subject: the scene of the crime.

It looks so peaceful. Then BAM!


Yeah. Thanks for nothing, buddy.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Time to Mend

I took a nasty spill on the Riverfront North trail Monday. I was out riding over the lunch hour with Shim and the real Wes J. As we approached the Mormon Bridge, I lapsed about the existence of a steel pole in the middle of the trail. Unfortunately, that lapse was precisely at the same moment I came around to pass Shim. Upon seeing the pole, I attempted a swerve, but the handlebar's left drop still clipped it, launching me head-first onto the tarmac. My right shoulder took the brunt of the impact. My knee also has a nice contusion and raspberry. The helmet spared my head.

Thankfully, the x-rays were negative on obvious breaks, but the Orthopedic wants to take another look next week with the possibility of an MRI to check for hairline cracks in the shoulder, ribs and for damage to soft tissue.

Projected recovery time: 6 weeks.

In the meantime, looks like I'll be convalescing poolside with my lady, the lovely Ms Katherine. Groovy, baby.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


I've had a Time Trial (TT) bike for a couple years now. Last year, I picked up one of those dorky looking aero helmets. And this year, thanks to Bryan Redemske loaning me his set of Bontrager Aeolus 50mm deep dish wheels, my TT bike was ready to go faster than ever.

The bike did go fast. At least for the first 8.25 miles of the 24 mile course. With a generous tailwind, I was averaging 28 MPH before noticing that the front tire started going mushy. Sure enough, I had flatted.


I couldn't help but think how Dennis Menchov must have felt during his bike troubles at the 2009 Giro Time Trial in Rome. I mean, it was like eerie how similar our TT experiences were. Except that Menchov rode on wet cobbles and I was on dry asphalt. And he had a team car, mechanic and an extra bike waiting for him, while the only person following me was my minute man, Brandon Fenster, and he wasn't about to give me his bike. And Dennis had a spectacular crash broadcast over live international television; mine was a trifle less exciting as I skillfully brought the bike to a controlled stop on a dusty county highway. And I suppose that retaining the maglia rosa jersey meant something special, too.

Other than that, it must have felt exactly the same. Exactly.

Anyway, thanks to Omaha Velo Veloce for putting on a great race. Congratulations to all the victors and all who finished the race. For the rest of us, better luck next time.

Hey Dennis Menchov, let's swap war stories over an Italian soda sometime. My treat!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Shame on You

During a break on our Wednesday night group ride, Shim was hit by a pen thrown from a passenger in a car passing by. Shim muttered something before jumping on his pedals to chase the car down. Seeing him in pursuit, the car made a quick turn and sped down a side street. They got away. But a short time later, the car returned and was caught in the front row of an intersection, waiting for the traffic signal to change. In a scene reminiscent of Tienanmen Squire, Shim and another rider rolled up in front of the car and promptly returned the pen while non verbally clarifying how they felt about the incident. A classic Shim moment if there ever was one.

Shim's defiance reminded me of a time when my Mom confronted a nasty motorist.

Back in the day when I was about ten years old and riding my first of many yellow bicycles, somebody in a 70s-something muscle car was making our neighborhood into a NASCAR training circuit. Neutral-drops, excessive speed and power slides through the corners were just a few of his skills on display that day. The idyllic tranquility of our neighborhood had been replaced by a haze of blue smoke from burning tires, oil, and whatever he was smoking inside the car.

My Mom had become incensed. Ask anyone that knows her and they'll tell you that to see my Mom openly express anger was a very rare event. (Passive aggression & guilt were her strong suits.) A very strong Catholic, my Mom was the spiritual, calming center of her husband and five children. Over the years, we gave her plenty of times to practice her faith and patience, but she was a tough nut to crack. In fact, I've seen my Mom enraged only twice in my life. Once it was directed at Dad. Having never heard them argue before or since, I thought they were going to get a divorce. They managed through it and have been on course to celebrate 50 years this December.

The other time was in confronting this driver.

So as the car was winding up to make another pass around the neighborhood, my Mom goes storming out to the curb to give him a piece of her holy mind. The driver approached at around 50 MPH while my Mom stood her ground at the foot of the street, pointing her index finger directly at him.

It was effective. The driver locked up the brakes and brought the car to a skidding halt about 100 ft down the road. He then dropped the transmission to reverse and laid an impressive reverse-scratch until he stopped the car right next to her.

A thick stench of burned rubber permeated the air. The driver leaned across the seat and asked roughly, "What do you want, lady?"

Heroically, she calmly rebuked him. "Shame on you."

I braced for what I thought was going to be a verbal assault. Or worse. Instead, the best come-back the driver had was to parrot, "SHAME ON YOU!!" He then popped the clutch one last time and left our neighborhood for good.


When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.
-- Proverbs 31:20-29

Thanks for always setting the right example for us time and time again. You are an amazing woman, spouse and mother. Of course, I'm proud to be your son. And another thing:

Happy Birthday Mom!

In Wholesome Steel-Cut Goodness,

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Omaha Metro Area Transit bus paired with my Time Trial Bike

It may look a little odd, but MAT bus racks can transport a time trial bike. As a multi-modal commuter, I recently used this option to bring my TT bike to work for a time trial session over the lunch hour. Thanks, MAT.

See you at the State Time Trial Championship this Saturday.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Photo Credit: Lois Brunnert

A generous person will prosper;
whoever refreshes others will be refreshed
--Proverbs 11:25 (Today's New International Version)

Thanks goes out to all who made the Norfolk Classic Cycling Weekend possible. Congratulations on a job well done.

Nebraska cycling is where it's at.