Thursday, July 28, 2016

Suck me, tick!

I really do think about posts to write all the time, but No, not really. No excuses. Eventually I will get back to regularly posting - that's how it seems to go. Ebbs and flows, after all.

So, Lyme disease. Just one of an ever-expanding cadre of tick-borne illnesses. As a life-long hiker, runner, and then trail runner - I have had remarkably little personal experience with ticks... *dramatic pause* UNTIL LAST YEAR!

Starting with our trip to upstate NY last June, I've now had a considerable amount of experience with ticks and their awful bacterial infections. First, my dad and brother contracted Lyme disease. They were lucky in that they presented the classic "bulls-eye" rash which, coupled with their overall feeling of unhealth, lead to an early diagnosis. Then, about a month ago now, Devyn found a tick crawling on her thigh while we were sitting on the porch. Two days later, a pimple appeared on the back of her leg, which turned into a large, black, swollen, painful open sore. A day or so after that, she began feeling lethargic, feverish, had a weird pressure in her head, and eventually developed a spreading rash over her extremities that moved onto her abdomen. The fever did not abate when she started Keflex for her was only until she started doxycycline that her symptoms began to improved within the first 24 hours.

THEN, about a week ago, I found a tick latched onto my calf after a run. I removed it and thought I was in the clear until this past Tuesday when I realized that I was sick - Neck stiffness, interocular pressure, nausea, body aches. I started doxycycline about 36 hours ago and the symptoms are starting to go away.

So, here's a great article that sums up everything I've learned about tick-borne illnesses. I promise you, a lot of what is talked about in this article will be new information.

Here some takeaways, both from the article and from the other reading I've done and conversations I've had with medical professionals over the past year.


1.) Ticks can transmit disease in about 10-15 minutes of attachment. Not 24 or 48 hours I had always been told - They had to engorge and then de-gorge in order to spit their bacteria into you.

2.) Remove a tick with tweezers or a pair of credit cards. Don't burn them or cover them with Vaseline or any of the other home-remedies.

3.) Tick-borne diseases are on the rise. This is due both to better understanding of the diseases and hence more diagnosed cases, but some research suggests that it's also due to the spread of the various strains of the bacteria across the country, like the type that causes Lyme.

4.) Some types of the illnesses are treatable. Generally, this treatment is always doxycycline (or perhaps doxy with another antibiotic as well). The course of treatment needs to be AT LEAST two weeks if not longer. I will also mention that my dad, for instance, had his Lyme treatment extended because the first provider he saw correctly diagnosed the Lyme, but then put him on the incorrect antibiotic.

5.) The symptoms of the different tick-borne diseases are varied, but after talking to at least dozen people who have had Lyme - The one thing that seems consistent is that everyone felt sick, but felt weird, too. This is really not science-y of me to say, but I did think it was interesting that everyone said that before they finally went to the doctor, they knew the were sick, but it felt different than any other sickness they had experienced previously. Common complaints from everyone were headache, coupled with neck/shoulder stiffness, and a feeling of pressure in the eyeballs.

6.) Many doctors are not very experienced with tick-borne illnesses. There is not a significant amount of time spent in medical school discussing this topic. Devyn graduated from NP school at fuckin' Yale, in the forested and tick-filled Northeast, and there was no talk about Lyme disease, how to differentially diagnose it, or how to treat it. If you think you might have been bitten by a tick, you should be well-informed before conferring with your healthcare provider...unfortunately, there still isn't a highly-accurate standard test for a patient that may have early-stage Lyme or other tick-disease. Here's a link to some of the tests that can be performed, but from what I've read, it's still pretty tough to exactly diagnose a tick-borne illness in the first stage (a month or two sometimes).

Ok, that's all I've got to say on this right now. I felt compelled to write this because I've really been surprised at how different some of the information is online regarding ticks and that many articles still include the older information on how to deal with them. Also, I've been surprised how little experience most health care providers have with tick-borne illnesses. More so than if you have the common flu, you really need to be your own advocate if you're concerned that you may contracted a tick-borne illness.

Ok. That's it. Enough enough. Let me know if any of this sounds unreasonable or woefully mis-informed.

Bridger Ridge Run next month. Really pumped!

Monday, May 23, 2016

McDonald Forest 50k and summer plans

Three days? Two nights? Safe to assume old Edwin Starr was a back-of-the-packer.

I compose blog posts in my head on a daily, near-constant basis...which might surprise you, as I have been posting less-frequently than ever during the past couple of years. I don't know what to tell you.

Well, I do know what to tell you, I guess...the McDonald Forest 50k in Corvallis, OR is a real nice, real fun time. I ran OK and finished 9th in 4:35. I met Josh Z. in person, which was a real treat and should the opportunity ever present itself, I encourage you to do the same. Josh is a class-act and showed it by running with his cosmic heart and not his earthly head and ran his fastest Mac 50k for 3rd place.

I am really happy to have back both the enthusiasm and physical health necessary to run ultras! It's been a long, weird couple of years with regard to running and I feel more "myself" now that I'm back boss jogging like a motherfucker again. I also feel myself more.

A new leaf shall I turn and for fewer jerking-off jokes shall I yearn.

But oh boy dat grammar gonna stay sweeeeeet.

"You are my candy girl/And you got me wanting you."

It's funny how I certainly learned a lot from running trail/mountain races over the years, but after a a couple away from it, I had to re-learn some of those lessons over again at the Mac 50k. 1.) I really didn't taper or rest well leading up to the race. I never really used to worry too much about rest before racing, but we ran and hiked every day around Portland during the week and on race day, my glutes and lower back felt tired and sore from the sustained, steep hike we did around the Multnomah Falls. Philosophically (and verbosely), I don't know how I feel about that...on one hand, life is short and I want to make the most of our vacation and it would have been a bummer not to hike those falls on a beautiful day. On the other hand, I spent a lot of time running and getting ready for this race and I definitely short-changed myself by hiking and running a bunch beforehand.

I need to think...THINK! bout what I'm tryin' to do to me.

^^The Falls were pretty worth it.

The other thing I did wrong is what I think of as "The Classic" in terms of running errors...I went out too hard. I was too excited about racing, being around a bunch of people, and running in a new and luscious land...and I started falling apart around mile 19 and was passed by three guys before the finish who had each been pacing themselves much more masterfully.

So, yeah, I really would like to race again soon. And on THAT note -

D and I both got into the lottery for the Bridger Ridge Run in Bozeman this August...the course looks excellent and we are both really pumped! I haven't been quite this excited for a race in a long time - although I think that any time you win a lottery, the stoke level goes up...if/when I organize my own race around here, I may have to impose a "lottery" (which everyone who registers will "win") if only just to give the participants an extra shot in the arm of thick, oily, stinking, straight-from-Afghanistan STOKE.

Summer's essentially here. You are essentially holy. Go get you some blessed sacrament out there, Truey Gooey Balooey! It's all love (except for when it isn't)!


Saturday, April 9, 2016

Escalator to Heaven

Whelp. Good times 'round the outpost. Knee was bugging me again (getting older. what a scam. dwelling upon this reality gets me looking for a sturdy rafter to hang a rope.) but as I've reiterated on this blog recently over and over's FINE. I'M TOTALLY OK WITH HAVING THIS KNEE PROBLEM AND IT'S A SET BACK I WELCOME AS OPPORTUNITY FOR GROWTH, MATURITY, AND AS A TEST OF MY GOOD JUDGEMENT. 

At this point, however, I just want to take a shit in the mouth of good judgement.

So, yes. Trials and trib's. Smiles and squibs. True lies and factitious fibs. 

I've been running the famous stairs in Bisbee quite a bit as going up doesn't seem to bother my knee. 

D, Papo, and our friend Celia givin' it on Staircase #5 of the Bisbee 1000 course, aka Stairway To Brutal Soul Death Infernal Choke Torture (no, not as pithy as "Number 5", but much more accurate).

Here's summoh a'dat staircase jam y'all lovin' - Number 8 and feelin' GREAT* 

*like jamming my thumbs in my eyes

Papo straight vogue'n like the saucy bitch that he is. 

Here's a sunset sky. Time for bed.

Spring has sprung and your time has come! Love seein' everyone out there getting a piece of the earthly action and gaining some traction with a side of satisfaction. You should be following me on instagram. It's where I post all of the dog pics. @pattythurber

(new legally changed name)

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Alma, CO and whatnot

We took a quick trip up to Colorado to visit friends the weekend before last. So funny to think of how much time I've spent reading about Colorado and looking at pictures of it VS. how little time I've spent there. It's definitely on the short list of places we want to move to after AZ. Also, D and I are engaged and gonna get hitched next April. I know it's really corny, but...she's the best thing that's ever happened in my life and I can't believe she's willing to marry a mess like me.

View from our cabin at 11,500 ft. 

Using the oxygen concentrator we found in the closet. I'm not sure it did very much, although it seemed pretty useful for hangovers. I may have to invest in one. At some point in the future...when I have money.

Devyn, haughtily rebuffing Mt. Lincoln's lascivious stares. 

Back home in AZ, atop Miller Peak in the Huachuca Mountains. There was a med helicopter doing something near the ridge where we hiked. It landed and then shortly thereafter two black military heli's took over in the same spot. All told, there was about 4 uninterrupted hours of helicoptering going on, focused on the same little spot on the ridge. Being that this part of the Huachuca range is just a couple miles from the Mexican border, I'd assume it had something to do with illegal smuggling. Build it tall and strong, President Trump!

My knee has been acting up again lately. I must be gaining some intelligence in this arena, because 3 years ago a running injury would have sent me into a two day funk of drinking and depression. Now, I whine for about an hour and then dutifully get on my bicycle and ride the shit out of it. Still, it's frustrating because I feel really fit right now and would like to just run a lot. I've been doing a little jogging and hope to be back running pain-free in the next few days.

Nursing classes are going fine. The motel continues to be a source of irritating people and funny interactions with them. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Makin' it (t)rain

So, the knee is all good and I've been upping my running quite a bit. I had just over 10 hours last week, with some quality hill work and a couple of decent long runs. In Chile, when I was in shape, I had strung together several months of 12-14 hour weeks, mostly structured around back-to-back long runs in the mountains...a tried-and-true staple of ultrarunning to be sure and just something I find fun on the weekend.

Then as well as now, I really don't follow a very formal training plan. I tally my weekly running hours and I make notes about how each day feels. I try to make sure I get one hard hill day, one day of some faster flatter running and at least one long run (if not two, for that sweet-ass B2B).

One thing that I have always done with my running that is maybe a lil' more structured (in the sense that it involves specific times/distances) is revisit certain routes and track my times for them. Not ground-breaking exercise science by any stretch or a unique idea at all...but it has been the only form of Training (with a capital "t") that I've been able to implement consistently. I do enjoy track running, but if I'm not literally living across the street from one then I don't keep at it over the long term (which I used to do in two different places I've lived).

Around Bisbee I have two routes that I do with the intention of comparing the efforts over the span of several weeks and months. The first is a half-mile-ish uphill run that I do as a hard-as-I-can effort. My best time for it pre-knee injury was 6:05 which I whittled down over the course of 3 months, lowering my PR by a few seconds each time. When I time trial'ed it after a week back to running, I managed to hit 5:55. Then, later that same week, I decided to really go for it and wheezed out a 5:36. Fuck yeah, bruh.

The other route I do is a once-a-month trail loop in Brown Canyon in Sierra Vista, AZ. It's a little over 5 miles and not a huge amount of's extremely runnable and that's the point for this one. I've only done this route 3 times. The first time was something like 41:00 minutes, but I had gotten a little lost trying to follow the trail. The second time I hit 38:35. Today I ran 36:12 and felt like the effort was hard, but not quite as hard as 1st and 2nd attempts.

Here's the Brown Canyon route.

It's been awhile since I've written straight-forward running shit. I realized the other day that I love reading the minutia of other people's running and...hey, why don't I stop being a dick-tease about it and give the world a peak from time-to-time of my own nerdy jogging pussy?*

*or dick, if you're a lady or a flexible fella. Long-time readers know I like to keep things on a level playing field.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Deep Thoughts

Here's another article about Ryan Hall's retirement.

He says "“There’s no 10,000-hour rule to mileage. It’s not like, if you do 100 miles a week, you are going to be a great runner. You might be at your all-time worst running 100 miles a week.”

Over the past few years, I've philosophized internally (my basic resting state is a swirl of disjointed, sweeping "truths" that I concoct/reinvent continuously) about running and life...and one thing I keep coming back to is a variation of the well-trodden "correlation does not imply causation."

With running, I think it's different but the general underpinnings of the above truth are similar - it'd be more like "Running 100 mile weeks does not make you a great's spending years patiently getting to the point where you truly CAN run 100 mile weeks comfortably (or somewhat comfortably) that makes you a great runner."

Not quite as's a work in progress...

The Running-of-100-Mile-Weeks is just the hood ornament on a very carefully, lovingly maintained car. What sort of a sad-sack just buys the decapitated hood ornament and then hopes to slowly attach the hood it...then a windshield, etc...?

*looks down at closed fist and slowly opens it to reveal sweat-slicked hood ornament that smells like cheese*

I swear to God, I wrote this while taking a shit just now. It lowers my blood pressure and makes my thinking much clearer.

That's it! Have a great Thursday, y'all!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Not to jinx it but...

...I think Rio still may be in the crosshairs this year.

I was in Michigan at the beginning of last month, jogging easily on some old trails I used to run often, and my left knee started to hurt. This is an old injury, one that fucked me in my cherry-red bottom back in 2013. So...being older and wiser now...I continued to run on it everyday for the next two weeks.

To be fair, it only hurt a little and some days not at all, but the end result was the same as in 2013: I couldn't keep running.

But I'm not quite AS stupid these days, so I have done a really good, disciplined job of rehabbing my knee and the results have been positive. I started running easily again last weekend after about 10 days of no-running. During that time, I signed up for a free 2-week trial at the local gym and elliptical'ed like hell, rode a bike a little, and did a bunch of strength work designed to shore up my hips and knees.

I feel pretty good. I don't want to get ahead of myself, but I think I'm in the clear. Gonna continue to run cautiously this week.

My 2016 goals right now are:
1.) the Arizona Trail half-marathon in April. Defending champ.
2.) the McDonald Forest 50K in Oregon in May.
3.) something in June/July, not sure.
4.) Get a lottery draw for the Bridger Ridge Run in Montana for August.
5.) the Mogollon 100 in September.
6.) somehow use my 100-mile fitness to prepare for and WIN the Bisbee 1000 race in October.

Number #6 is the only real question mark here. I am serious though. I want to win that race.

Also, D found a stray chihuahua at her clinic near the MX border. And I guess we're keeping him. He seems to run OK and looks like a mummified that's cool. His name is Doug.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Towers Run

D, Dog, and I did a longer run up to the second set of cell phone towers above Bisbee. It's 10 miles roundtrip from our door. Here's a picture of the road looking down and towards town.

Here's the data for the 1st set of towers...add another hundred or two feet of up and another 1.6 miles. Gotta start promotin' Bisbee running.

Here's a picture of the dog, 2 minutes after coming home.

That's it for today. 
No idea why I'm posting again, but I'm sure the reason will slowly reveal itself over the course of many awkward boring updates.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Mulligan's Island

Let's just let that little* post from yesterday slide, shall we?

A little toasted this week...had a weird long day of running last Sunday in Tucson...did some jogging at 9,000 ft. on Mt. Lemmon and dodged children sledding into the highway on tupperware lids. Good thing their chain smoking fathers were taking selfies nearby. Then we came down and ran Blackett's Ridge in Sabino Canyon. It's a fun, steep, short technical run with amazing vistas on the Santa Ritas and down onto Tucson.

Monday I ran w/ a buddy in town. He ran for Kansas State and can still fake it through a 5K sub-16:00. So, despite him nursing a supposedly bum ankle, it was still a faster run than usual. Then I ran with D and the Dog in the evening. I might have even done some plyometrics.

Tuesday, we ran steadily up the dirt road above town. It's always tough. Steady, steep uphill with very nice views of the adjacent mountain ranges.

Wednesday, did some weird stair repeats (Bisbee has shitloads of long staircases). Ran a bit. Might have done some of the same later in the evening, too.

Thursday, went and chased some deliciously stupid Strava CR at a popular trail in Sierra Vista. With a little bit of straining and quite a bit of hacked up phlegm, I managed to come away with the "win," and by that I mean I'm a huge loser. Definitely getting fit these days though.

Today I ran with the dog very easy. Hopefully tomorrow we'll do some longer stuff and maybe a run and bike on Sunday...

With the big snowstorm making love to the east coast tonight and the temps in SE AZ in the 60's and sunny...well, friend, it's real real nice.

*very long and pointless

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Whoa Nelly!

So, let's dish joggin', my bossy joggers.

When I moved back from Chile in March of 2014, I had some lingering pain and issues on my right side. I had been keeping-at-bay a batch of painful spots in my right lower back, under my right glute, my right hamstring, and my right foot in the form of plantar fasciitis...for 2 years-ish. When I finally finished running the Columbia Challenge race in Chile and flew home the day after, I really wasn't in too great of shape. I was tired, beat up feeling, and the pains on my right side were about as bad as they've ever been.

This was not the usual post-race ouchies, but a true, deep-down exhaustion and...well, it was like a dam of pain and nagging injuries had finally burst and I felt like a very old man: I couldn't get out of bed in the morning without stretching, I couldn't walk right most of the time, I could barely jog, and more than anything, I was in actual, conscious pain most of the time. In particular, the dreaded plantar fasciitis was remarkably painful.

It was stupid. Ain't nobody fucking paying me to do this shit!

Real talk.

So, I struggled through that summer, trying to "train," running crazy uphill miles on a treadmill in the garage while watching movies, running long out-and-back runs on flat farm roads in Michigan, and never really putting together any fitness because I was a mess physically. I did try to foam roll, do exercises, stretches, wear a toe-sock thing for the plantar etc. to try and rehab my body...but I was never willing to take the necessary time off from running to really have any of that stuff be very effective. 

I'm so dumb, deep down inside, that when I stop to consider the magnitude of it, I feel as though I'm leaning over a cliff's edge, staring into a chasm with no rock bottom. 

Wing-suiting through the inky depths of my stupidity. 

(I shelved this post for a bit and now I'm now writing on it again, months later and drunk. Here we go...)

So all that summer 2014 training was for naught. I was physically fucked. Mentally mucked. Spiritually sucked. Etc.

...And then I moved to NYC. And I started bartending in the West Village 5 nights a week. Mixing $16 cocktails for billionaires (seriously). Stupid. It's only the daily, shitty-but-always-available tiny pleasures of our modern lives that keep us from rising up and killing off the people who have all of our money. It's like exfoliating your gotta keep the useless shit at the top scraped off! Or else!

Or else what? You look old, tired, and ashy. That's billionaires are doing to your skin right now. That's the point.

Greater sins never existed.

So, there I am bartending in the city and running a bit. But I really did sit myself down and say "You gotta relax with this running shit. You're not very good at it and you spend too much time thinking about it."

And I was right. AM right. I did just that from fall of 2014 until fall of 2015...I ran about 5 days a week, easy short jogs, and I mostly lifted weights at the remarkably cheap gym in Williamsburg. I stopped reading running blogs. I stopped "training" for a future race. I stopped reading ultrarunning websites. I didn't know who won WS100 or Hardrock or UTMB...I knew exactly how to make either a traditional daquiri or a Hemingway daquiri...I also knew the difference (blind taste test) between oysters sourced from Virginia vs. MA. And wine made from grapes grown on different sides of the same mountain range in France. Seriously.


So, yeah, it was good. I ran a 4:43 mile on the treadmill during this time. I set the treadmill to SPEED 22 and the pace calculator on it said "4:43/mile" and I ran until the distance calculator said "1.0 miles" and that was that. That was my running highlight of winter 2014/15. Letting a robot slap my feet.

Jesus! This is so much text. I've gotta stop now. I'll just publish what's here. Maybe a part two soon. I'd like to start writing on this again. It's good for me.

At any rate, just in case you were worried, I'm doing just dandy. Life is truly very very good right now and I could not be happier about it.

Thanks to all those blogs out there that don't stop and start with months of inactivity! I'm all of your Truest Believers! Please never let your well of sanity/insanity run dry!

Platypus Thatched-roof

P.S. I'm on Instagram now as pattythurber  (I'll never topple a billionaire at this rate)

Trail near the house goes right to the ol' border con Meh-hee-coh!

Got in the paper again for running slowly. I thought Arizona had Olympians living here?  

Snow day!

Dog day!

  Kinda Drunk Day!