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Graham Honaker

Blogging on the road to the Louisville Triple Crown of Running




Mar 26, 2007

The End of the Road (For Now)

It was the worst news a runner could hear. Last week, I was told that I had partially torn my achilles tendon. I won't be running the Papa Johns 10 miler, the Mini-marathon (my all time favorite race), and unfortunately will not be running at all for months.

I suspected things were worse than initially diagnosed when I still had trouble walking last week. I went into my appointment on Tuesday hoping for the best and obviously this news was very disappointing for a number of reasons. I find out tomorrow if I will need to have the tendon surgically repaired.

The range of emotions this last week has been wide. I've gone from the shock of hearing the news (I literally almost passed out) to disappointment (I hate not being able to run the Papa Johns and Mini) to acceptance (ok, so running here in June, July, and August isn't the worst thing in the world.)

These next months will much harder for me mentally than physically. Running is a big part of my life and has been for almost half the time I have been alive. When you have to give up something that you love to do, it's definitely not easy. There will be a lot of things I will miss especially my running friends (though I'll still join them for coffee occasionally), competing in races, the state of good health that running affords, and these crazy things called endorphins that give me a boost most days.

Even in the 2 weeks that have passed since my injury, I've noticed life is very different without running. I don't have the usual voracious appetite (that's a good thing considering I now really need to watch my diet) and don't have the same energy level. It also seems like I have a ton of time on my hands now. I'm watching a lot of tv (shouldn't that Sanjaya kid be kicked off American Idol by now?), reading, and even started putting together a massive jigsaw puzzle (if that's not a sign I am getting older, I don't know what is.) I do make it a habit to lift weights and do situps every night to maintain some level of fitness.

I am not going to lie, it's tough. I wish I could say I wasn't jealous of other runners enjoying this great weather, but that's not the case (I am trying to curb my habit of cursing everytime I see someone out running!) I don't feel sorry for myself because I'm actually pretty lucky (for one it could have been my right leg and I would not be able to drive!) In general I have good health, great friends, a loving wife, and hopefully a lot to look forward to. I know I will be back and ready to run, hopefully sooner than later.

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Mar 19, 2007

Peas, Carrots, and Weights

Well, it sure was tough sitting out the Rodes City Run. The weather looked great and it was terrific to see so many entrants. My buddies Fred and Donnie really ran a great race, wish I could have joined them. It was the first Saturday in years where I've slept in, a strange feeling indeed.

I'm not seeing a lot of progress with my calf injury. I am going to see my friend Pam, a physical therapist, this week to have it checked out. The swelling and soreness have gone down, but I still walk with a limp and can't raise myself up on my tiptoes. My lower left leg looks pretty gross, an array of colors resembling Rocky's face after one of his battles with Apollo Creed. Needless to say, the Papa Johns 10 Miler is not looking good for me though I am trying to stay optimistic.

I am getting a lot of good advice on the leg and trying to do a lot of things to improve it. I put cold bags of peas and carrots on the leg at night which serve to keep it cold (the bags wrap pretty well around the leg.) I've never been a bigger fan of peas and carrots than I am right now! I have to get some exercise so I am going to gym and lifting weights with my arms (while sitting only.) I think I'd go nuts if I couldn't do anything, I will probably start swimming this week.

Congrats to all the finishers of the Rodes!

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Mar 15, 2007

The Best Laid Plans .....

"Pop" - that's the sound I heard Monday night while playing basketball. It's not the sound you want to hear coming from any body part! The yelps of pain as I lay on the gym floor were not pleasant either. Unfortunately, I strained my calf muscle pretty badly on Monday night while playing basketball. I ended up in the E.R. at the hospital and luckily was told that I had not torn anything, initially I feared that I had torn my achilles heel (it can always be worse.) It looks like I am out for the Rodes City run and I hate to miss that race, it's a great one.

This injury has reminded me of several things, the first of which is that I'm not 2o anymore. Secondly, I'm reminded how hard it is not to be out there running. When you get used to something (I've run for twelve years), it becomes habit - I actually believe running is a positive addiction. I've watched more TV the past two nights than I have in two months (this American Idol show isn't bad, though I don't care for the judges!) Finally, I need to remember not to overdo it. Training for these races takes a lot out of you, when you combine that with playing a sport like basketball, it can really be too much. I think this is what (literally) led to my downfall. Perhaps it's time to retire from hoops (the bricks I keep throwing up should have been hints as well.)

My goal is to race the Papa Johns 10 miler and the Mini-Marathon. I am doing everything possible to rehabilitate the injury right now including rest, icing, and elevation. I've gotten some great advice from running friends on how to handle this as well. My noticeable limp draws a lot of questions at work and a lot of "I told you this running thing was crazy!" from the non-running crowd. We'll see how things go and I hope to be out there soon. I am not feeling sorry for myself, but feel sorry for my wife Sarah - I tend to get grouchy when I don't run.

I wish everyone luck in the Rodes City run this Saturday.

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Mar 12, 2007

Virginia is for Runners

I missed running with my group this past weekend, but got to take in the beautiful scenery of Virginia. My father lives in Lynchburg and I got a run in all 3 days during my stay. It's a great place to run with several parks and running trails, all with majestic views of the mountains in the background. I have always enjoyed running in an unfamiliar area, a great way to get to know a city or town. This backfired once when I got lost on a run in Boston. I tried to run to the Old North Church from my hotel and really got lost. It became even more problematic when I asked for help and could not understand the thick Boston-accented replies. Thankfully for our country's sake, Paul Revere has a better sense of direction than I do.

I am really looking forward to the Rhodes City run this weekend. The weather looks promising and this is a great 10K race. I feel our Wednesday night tempo and hill workouts are helping even if they are taking years off of my life. I'll be interested to see how many runners participate in the Rhodes City run considering we had almost 7,000 at the Anthem.

Happy Running

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Mar 7, 2007

Days Between

As I get older, I've learned that getting rest is nearly as important as my training regime itself. I was really tempted to run last night, the mild weather and sunny skies were enticing. On second thought, I listened to my body which told me that two hard days of running and a night of basketball merited a night off! Knowing that I'll either be charging up the Cherokee Hills tonight or trying to keep up with my running buddies on a tempo run also reminded me that it made more sense to take a day off. I'm particularly stubborn in the spring and fall because I generally like to take advantage of the weather and run everyday, it makes my decision a little easier when it is sub 40 degrees. I hope the rest pays off in the next few weeks as I have 4 races coming up (I'm also doing a 10K in Oldham County.) Congrats again to all the Anthem finishers!

Happy Running

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Mar 3, 2007

One Down, 19.3 Miles to Go

Wow, great day for the Anthem 5K. Perfect running weather at the start and by the finish, snow was coming down - all in the span of 3.1 miles! I actually ran about four and half miles to the start of the race with some of my running buddies, Donnie, Mark, Kim, Jon, and Terry (what a warrior, the guy has the flu all week and still comes out to run the race!)

It was really impressive to see how many runners competed today. Louisville is noted for the general unhealthiness (is that a word?) of its residents, so it is great to see more and more people running these races every year. We were like cattled herd at the start and it wasn't easy to get out of the gate.

I finished in a little over 23 minutes, was hoping to get closer to 22 minutes (shouldn't have had a piece of cheesecake at last night's banquet!) Interestingly enough, my GPS read that the distance was 3.3 miles so either the satellites were off today or the Anthem was a little longer than a 5k. Either way, I don't mind too much. My good friend Zach Everson still gives me a hard time about my first 5K which I finished in about 30 minutes, at least I can save some face on this effort. I do give Zach credit, he first got me into running and I haven't been able to kick the habit since.

The best part of the race was seeing my brother's strong finish. It was his first race and he completed it in just over 26 minutes, much better than I did when I started! Great to see his enthusiasm at the finish and I'm looking forward to seeing how he does in the Papa John's 10 miler and the Derby Mini Marathon.

We completed today's run with a cooldown (literally as the temperature dropped and the snow fell) of three miles back to Fleet Feet. Of course the best part of the day was warm coffee at Heine Bros. - 10.6 miles, a 5K race, and many good stories make for a good day.

P.S. - My friend Kristy has put together a great website for our running group http://www.nqrfptr.com/Welcome.html , check it out and come run with us some Saturday.

Happy Running

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Feb 28, 2007

Bardstown Run

One of my favorite training runs is to go up and back on Bardstown Road (from my house this ends up being about 6 miles.) I generally run from my home in the small City of Wellington (near the Bardstown-Watterson intersection) up to Bardstown and Eastern Parkway, then I'll turn around. It's quite an interesting run, the smells take you from the aroma of freshly baked donuts in Krispy Kreme to the tasty scent of my favorite Mexican place - Qdoba (unfortunately as a runner, I can't eat too much Mexican!) It's also interesting to look in to all of the small shops and restaurants along the way, a great "people watching" run. Last night, I saw everything from businessman cutting a deal in a small restaurant to a young girl getting a tattoo on the back of her neck (ouch!)

It's also a challenging run - you really have to pay attention to the plethora of traffic signals and be especially careful about running in front of alleys that do not have signals (I've been near road-kill many times at the alley next to the Douglass Loop Kinko's.) You also expect the unexpected along Bardstown Road - the occasional political protest (thankfully they aren't aware I'm a Republican!), the heckling from the car full of teenagers ("you're running too slow"), or the kid approaching you who looks like he's been time warped from the 80's punk rock scene (hey purple hair looks interesting.) Anyway, it's always an adventure on Bardstown Road. I love our parks, but I also like the constant activity along Bardstown. I know I'm biased, but I actually think the 3-4 mile stretch of Bardstown Road through the Highlands has more of a "vibe" than the Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco (I got a good luck at the Haight in the marathon in S.F. last year.)

I'm getting anxious about the Anthem 5K this Saturday. I'm not a very strong 5K runner and this race usually has a crowded field. I actually prefer long distance races to the shorter 5K's, it takes me a while to get into a groove during a run. This is also the first race I've done since December so it should be interesting.

Happy Running

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About Me


I've been a runner for more than 10 years now. I run Wednesdays and Saturdays with a group of good runners and great people over at Fleet Feet Sports. We train year-round.

I have run five marathons, ranging from New York to San Francisco. I still believe the Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon is the race I enjoy best because of the crowds, the course, and the spirit of the event. This will be my fifth miniMarathon, and my goal is to run it in less than 1 hour, 42 minutes.

When I'm not running, I work as a Legislative Assistant to Councilman Kevin Kramer, who represents the Hikes Point, Buechel, and Jeffersontown areas on the Metro Council.




My Recent Posts


The End of the Road (For Now)

Peas, Carrots, and Weights

The Best Laid Plans .....

Virginia is for Runners

Days Between

One Down, 19.3 Miles to Go

Bardstown Run

Blue Skies Ahead?

The Heart of Conversation

Let There Be Light



My Archives


January 2007
February 2007
March 2007