Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Oh BPD, I Loathe You

I'm generally pissed off at the world today. So my Bipolar Posting Disorder (BPD) is creeping back in. Well there has to be an upside to that. But here's what's bringing me down today:
  • It has rained for 12 out of the last 10 days here. The organic gardener in me loves this much rain, and I wish I had my beds better prepared for it. So I'm pissed at the yard for not being finished yet.
  • Actually, out of the last 17 days, it has rained for 15 of them. This is why Seattle has such a high suicide rate? I can believe it. One of the sunny days was last saturday when I got the 13 mile run in. More on that later. All this rain, no time on the bike, no easy time outside at all (we don't have a covered porch or any way to sit outside and listen to the rain in this house) is slowly sucking my soul away. I love anything "outside", so no "outside time" doesn't make this John a happy fella.
  • I hate deadlines. You might be able to tell, but I'm really a laid back guy. I work hard, and get everything done right. But putting pressure on your time creates stress and makes things go much worse. Mentally, it's a whole different perspective. I mean I'm really, really laid back. I've been known to tell people: "fuck it, dude. it's only cancer. you come, you go, whatever. let's go play golf." And that kind of attitude has worked for me so far. But now I'm so sick of deadlines and time pressure and being forced to work on the weekends that I'm going to throw something heavy in the general direction of the office. Not having the time to complete anything ANYTHING is really starting to get under my skin.
  • I hate software testing. I know it's a necessary process, but there's nothing like spending 2 weeks having other people find your mistakes. I test the software to make sure that the objectives are met, I didn't misspell something in the code, text a appears in the database and on the web site where it's supposed to, that kind of thing. Then the software testers get it and find 25 other ways to break the same thing. Better the testers break it than the customers, but try convincing yourself that letting a team of other people point out your flaws directly to your boss is a good thing. You can't do it.
  • Did I mention the steady, depressing rain?
  • I'm sick of having one day to complete a three day task. Then on day two, you get another three day task dumped on you. Then on day three (when task 1 and task 2 are nowhere close to complete) here comes another three day task and they all have to be done tomorrow before it goes in front of the client. I was actually told a few weeks ago that I needed to have something done by the following monday. I responsded that it would not be done before february. Expectations, anyone?
  • I want to finish something! anything. Multiple spreadsheets with different task lists where everyone is expecting the entire list to be finished. Can I just finish one list please!
  • Sorry for dumping all of the work crap in here. I guess the pressure is starting to get to me. Truly, I don't believe in pressure. I define stress as a manifestation of fear. And fears are meant to be conquered. So if you can conquer your fears the stress will dissapear. Therefore, I don't feel the pressure even though other people are actively trying to create it on me. That makes you question your competency and how the office folks in Atlanta view this little coder 2.5 hours north up I-85. And THAT will stress you more than the actual pressure they are trying to create.
  • Not only are the pressure and deadlines affecting my psyche, they are creating an environment that is not good for health and family. I've been missing workouts, getting them in when i'm really too worn down to make it effective, stress eating..... and missing family time. I work at home so I can spend more time with the kids. Now I have to work the same 8 (or 12) hours a day that you do, I just do it from home. So I go upstairs for dinner and get to play with the kids until bedtime. Then crash with the wife and watch some tv or whatever relaxing we get to do. Eating dinner with the family and then going back downstairs to write more code defeats this purpose. Leaving the kids with grandma for one night (saturday night) so I can drive back home (1.5 hours) to work a full day on a sunday over thanksgiving weekend really really defeats this purpose. and then that deadline got pushed back anyway.

I really appreciate all of the advice from the last post about my knee pain. I've never considered Advil the enemy, I thought it was more of a necessary aid like running socks. I've always taken it before running, well always since I started the marathon training plan back in October. One of the benefits of working from home is a flexible schedule. So I usually get some things done in the morning, then go workout about 10:30 or 11 am. yesterday, my workout was a 4 mile run. I hit the gym about 8:30 pm. So I was mostly pissed, having a huge nicotine craving that started about 2:30, and ready for a good run to make everything feel better. Running makes the stress go away, right? that's how we keep ourselves healthy?

It was not a good run. I really wanted to post today that I ran without advil, and everything was fine, no knee pain and my form was great. But I can't do it. The knee pain kicked in about 3 steps into the run, and didn't let up. I had to stop and walk twice. during only 4 miles! Only 3 weeks ago I ran 12.2 miles without walking. So this is not cool. And it's not an aerobic capacity thing. it's a pain thing.

The source: I'm trying to narrow it down.

  • Since I'm pissed at the world, is the world getting pissed right back at me?
  • I weighed in before the run at 202. oh boy, that's not cool. Stress eating/weight gain. I'm frustrated with my nutrition right now. I've run out of interesting healthy things to eat. The week after thanksgiving I was weighing in at 196. 6 lbs makes a huge difference on knee pain.
  • The extra weight puts extra pressure on the impact points. This could be it.
  • It's been more than a few months since I went to see my chiropractor. I miss him.
  • The marathon training plan is 539 miles, I started with new shoes. We're over halfway through now, and I do well to get 300 miles from a pair of shoes. They say when you get a new pain, blame the shoes and buy a new pair. this knee thing is definitley new and definitely pain.

So now I'm in uncharted territory. I have no idea what to do about this. Here's what I'm thinking, and I'm COUNTING on you to tell me what's right or wrong here.

  • New shoes? I haven't been tracking my milage on these shoes as I am just that lazy. I am going to take Marcy's advice and keep my next pair of shoes in the box and write the miles on the box as I use them. I hate shoes (stop laughing Gazelle) that wear out this fast.
  • Watch the diet? Wait and see if getting back under 200 will help the pain? I've been eating pretty bad lately thanks to outside influences. Non-healthy pizzas, even (gasp!) der ultimate evil McDonalds once for only the second time this year. I was sweating McD's grease out on the treadmill last night. I was disgusted and that's hard to do.
  • Make a chiro appointment. the toughest part about this is getting the time away from the desk to get out there. And paying for it.
  • I hate HATE hate HATE hate HATE western medical doctors. Need proof? I will always choose the organic alternative. But I might need some kind of a bone scan or MRI. Both knees? that's weird. My left shin is showing some pain, and I've had shin splint problems through the whole plan. Maybe a stress fracture? Heavy runners like me have more impact problems than you thin folks. And you have to fuel up so much for the long runs that it's not easy to lose significant weight during a marathon training plan.
  • Stop skipping workouts. I think this might be a biggie. With work pressures, the cross training days have become web coding days. Yoga time has become coding time. So only running, and missing some runs thanks to the work pressure is taking its toll. I think this may be the biggest culprit.
  • More stretching. See yoga note above. I was the most comfortable running when I was the most flexible.
  • RICE? I haven't been icing the knees, but I do keep them elevated while at my desk downstairs. And I'm always at my desk. So maybe adding some ice during the day, before & after workouts, or whenever will help. i've got the rest and elevation. What do you do about compression?

Please add anything else you can think of to this list. THIS is frustrating. Everything is frustrating.

And because BPD must have an upside, this one is short but really cool. Bigun's kindergarten class is putting on their Christmas show at the church today. A bunch of 3, 4, and 5 year olds on stage singing carols has got to be one of the cutest things you've ever seen. I'll be sure and get some pics. It's Bigun's first time performing on stage and she's super excited. We already picked up some flowers to give her after the show.

I hope your day is at least better than mine!


Wes said...

Us software developers have tunnel vision bro. We know what the expected out come is. We test to make sure that outcome is met. That's why in agile software development, we look at everything that could possibly go wrong before we start writing code. Once we start coding, the boundaries are defined. Good news is, bugs are expected. It is almost impossible to write software without bugs. If it was this way, there would be no jobs for QA testers :-)

As far as the knee goes, I've been told that a lot of knee pain is due to imbalances in the leg. Your knee is being pulled out of alignment because one set of muscles in your legs is stronger than the other. Ways to fix this include (balanced) leg strengthening exercises, warm up, cool down, and stretching. You should roll your legs too, before and after you run.

I'll send you my bill. I need it back in three days :-)

the gazelle said...

I agree with Wes (about the knee, not the coding - I know little about that).

I would suggest upping your stretching & strength, more yoga, more foam rolling, lose those 6 lbs & get some new shoes (and it's okay if you're not into shoes, you're just a guy after all). If that combo of things doesn't help, then hit your chiro -if he's good, he'll tell you if he thinks you need an MRI or X-Ray, but I would try to fix it yourself before paying others to fix it for you. BUT - again, don't leave it too long....

Nick said...

Hi John,
Where's the location of the pain? Outside, inside, under knee cap, etc?

P.O.M. said...

I think that all of the above put together will work.
Get new shoes
Get back at your fighting weight
Do yoga & stretch
See a PT or Chiro

Hold off on the Western med doc until later - they just say to stop running and that's not the answer for peeps like us.

Carolina John said...

Wes, i knew you would understand. I did get monday's deadline pushed back to next wednesday, so some of the pressure is off. And they agreed to actually let me finish the integration list before re-testing thank god.

The knee pain is very sharp on the inside and outside of the kneecap. it's right in the middle part of the joint. I've never had to fight through an injury so i'm not really sure what to do. Especially with my first half marathon 3 saturday's away. Ice today has been helping some, and i'm going to try some yoga tonight.

thanks again guys.

ThickChick said...

As someone who has been very lucky to not experience serious knee problems (even with my ever-fluctuating weight issues) I can't give you any advice on that front.

But as someone who deals with the rain on a very frequent basis (PORTLAND OREGON!) I suggest getting your girly ass out there for a run in the rain. Haha, that was the mean coach version of me typing. But seriously - throw on some gear and run in the rain. I actually kind of like it AND it will get you outside, burning off some pent-up stress.

Have fun at the performance, sounds adorable!

Mendy said...

Oh wow. Sorry to hear about all that's going on. I can totally relate to you on the pain when running. I'm having bad shin splints (and have for a VERY long time). I (plus others) think I have shin splints. I think I am having a lot of issues because of my weight as well.

I think you nailed everything and it's good to get it off your chest. Glad you did that. Hang in there.