Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I'm still here
I recently heard from someone who said "I haven't heard anything about you since the run, are you okay?" The answer is a definite yes. The day after the run I left town with my family for a house boating vacation week at Lake Powell. I appreciate the concern.

My recovery from the marathon was better than I thought. I rested for two or three hours that day but was up and going later. I got a good night's rest and was up at 500am the next day to leave for Lake Powell. I definitely believe my persistent training paid off in my quick recovery. I resumed my running in the pool yesterday, although I will scale back a bit on the mileage. It has made me feel much more energized and healthy to exercise consistently and with intensity. Something we all need however, as an aging person with a spinal cord injury I realize how essential it is for me to maintain a good level of fitness to counteract my lack of overall strength and reserve. We recently started a Wellness Program at Neuroworx to provide that opportunity for any individual with paralysis in our area.

An update on pledges: to date pledges and donations associated with the marathon run total $10,610. THANK YOU again. It will be put to great use at Neuroworx and will make a big difference. For those who are still wondering about how to complete your pledge, simply mail a check made to The Hull Foundation to 10376 S. Jordan Gateway, South Jordan, UT, 84095.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Made It!
Although much tougher than I anticipated, I completed my 26.2 mile run. Wow! The last 2 miles were brutal. My time was 5 hrs 56 minutes 56 seconds. My goal time was 5 hrs 30 min. Hey, I'm just happy I finished however only being 26 minutes off my goal makes me very happy.
I had many people stop by today to say hi and share encouragement and by the end the pool was surrounded by friends and family. It was wonderful to have so much support. Thanks to all who took time out of their day. Also, several of those who stopped left generous donations, enough so that I believe we will reach our goal of raising $10,000. THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

Days like today remind me of one of my favorite sayings: The person who says it cannot be done, should not interrupt the person doing it. (Chinese proverb)

There are many things I still cannot do. I am very grateful for things I can do. Thanks again to all.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A twenty minute run today to stay loose was all that was required. Now it's time to see if the training paid off. This afternoon was pasta party time as we celebrated the five year "birthday" of Neuroworx and tried to "carb" up..
I am amazed by the number of well wishers and very much appreciate the words of encouragement. I did a brief question and answer session with Newsweek.com today. You can read the article at: http://blog.newsweek.com/blogs/thehumancondition/archive/2009/06/12/this-weekend-quadriplegic-athlete-runs-marathon.aspx.

So here goes...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Water Temp
Yesterday was another 30 minute/2.45 mile workout. Today was a rest day although I got in the pool to stretch and walk for ten minutes.
Several people have asked about the temperature of the water. Normally for physical therapy uses the temperature is kept at 92 - 94 degrees F. I found that for longer runs, especially over 60 minutes, I have to lower the temperature to about 80 - 81 degrees F. Otherwise I become too overheated and performance suffers.
One aspect of spinal cord injuries that is not discussed much is temperature regulation. Anyone with a high spinal cord injury (neck or upper back region) will have a disruption of thermal regulation. These individuals typically do not sweat below the injury level and short of panting like a dog, easily become overheated. This can cause more serious problems such as autonomic dysreflexia (an abnormal sympathetic nervous system response; think too much adrenaline) or heat stroke.
When exposed to a cold environment the paralyzed body does not form goose flesh and does not shiver; two mechanisms the body uses to preserve and generate heat. This combined with muscle atrophy from paralysis, often leads to the person feeling "cold-to-the-bone" and requires quite some time to rewarm. For individuals with incomplete paralysis and spasticity, the cold causes increased spasiticity and stiffness making it more difficult to move.
For me, cold definitely affects my ease of movement and coordination. However, too much heat usually leads to rapid fatigue, increased nerve pain (from my paralysis) and sometimes a headache. Finding the right water temperature for long runs has required some trial and error.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

As word has spread about what I am trying to accomplish, I have heard from several of my former obstetrical patients. Their messages have been wonderful gestures of support, truly unforseen rewards and I am very humbled and grateful they would take the time to contact me. I miss the practice of medicine (although I don't miss the stress, sleepless nights and threats of litigation) primarily because I miss the people. These brief but sincere messages of thanks and encouragement come from those people I had the priviledge of serving as a physician.

Today's run was 30 min, 2.54 mile workout. I realize I'm in better shape because I was ready to keep going. Let's hope I feel that way at mile 23 on Saturday.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

One week to go
Saturday's six mile run felt good. I was able to maintain my 12 minute per mile pace and ran the entire six miles non stop. Only another 20.2 :)
The last two weeks I have included some cross training by doing a 36 minute workout three times a week focusing on core body strength. I have utilized a vibration plate machine
(The Wave, http://www.wavexercise.com/ ) to augment the exercise. I am also doing this in conjunction with one of the PT students currently doing an internship at Neuroworx. We hope to make this a six week case study looking at the potential benefits of vibration augmented exercise for spinal cord injured individuals.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Good Things
Yesterday was a rest day from training although I did get in the pool to stretch (the warm water is great) and to walk for five minutes. It helps with my stiffness which is a constant problem due to the residual spasticity that exists because of my spinal cord injury. I was back to running this morning for 30 minutes (2.43 miles). Although I enjoyed the rest day, it felt good to be back running today. Tomorrow will be a 6 mile run.
Hydroworx, the maker of the therapy pool I will use has pledged their support. In fact, the president of the company is trying to get some of his employees to run a marathon, in relay fashion, in one of their pools at their headquaters. They are located in Pennsylvania. We talked about creating a video hookup between us to share. Sounds like a Skype opportunity.
As of this morning, the pledge amount totals $6390 (or $6939 if I make my goal time). This is wonderful and I appreciate the generous support. We are close to the goal of $10,000. Thanks again to everyone. Scroll down for a list of those pledging.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Thanks Ed & KSL
Ed Yeates from the Salt Lake NBC affiliate did a very nice news story on my upcoming run. Ed is wonderful reporter and always does a great job.
The link is: http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=6703397
I have been training since the last week in January. To date I have logged about 370 total miles of running in the pool to prepare for the marathon. I run six days a week. Monday through Friday I run based on time and exertion. On Saturdays I run for mileage. My longest run was on May 23rd for 20 miles. That will be the longest as I taper down in anticipation of the 26.2 on June 13th.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Many Thanks!

Thanks to all of you who have pledged your support, either monetarily or otherwise. It is very much appreciated. My original posting on the blog occurred on Friday the 29th of May and by the time I had finished my ten mile training run on Saturday, there was already about $3200 pledged. As of this afternoon it is closer to $4500 ( possibly a little more, since several individuals have taken me up on the offer to double their pledge if I can surpass my goal time).

A few have asked about stopping by on Saturday the 13th during the run. Everyone is welcome to come by and say hi although watching a partially paralyzed old guy run 26 miles could be extremely boring. However, I would love to have you stop by and see our clinic, Neuroworx, and get idea of what we try and do for those with spinal cord injuries. I estimate I will be running from about 700am to somewhere close to 100pm. Neuroworx is located at 10376 S. Jordan Gateway (400 W.)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

What's Next
The past ten years have been both extremely difficult and exceptionally rewarding. Despite the fact I am still partially paralyzed and numb in all four extremities (a "walking quad") I am particularly fortunate to have as much function as I do. One of the things I cannot do is run, at least on land. As part of my rehabilitation I have utilized a therapy pool created by a company called Hydroworx. The pool incorporates an integrated treadmill in the floor. Because of the buoyancy created by the water, body weight is decreased, and with the accessible treadmill, I am able to run. In fact, it is one of the rare times that I don't feel paralyzed.
I have used the pool regularly to maintain fitness. Six months ago I felt I needed to do something to recognize the ten years that have passed since my accident; something a bit extraordinary, something that would provide a challenge and goal for me. Given my paralysis, it is all too easy to be reminded of things that I can no longer do. While running in the pool one morning it occurred to me that the pool provided the perfect opportunity for me. Since it allows me to run, I could use it to push myself. I made the decision to run a marathon (yes, 26.2 miles) in the pool.
For the past five months I have been training on a daily basis to make this happen.
On June 13th, 2009, starting at approximately 700am, I will run a marathon in the Hydroworx pool. Not quite a full underwater marathon, since I will be in water up to my chest, yet as far as I know the world’s first “in the water” marathon, certainly for an incomplete quadriplegic.
My goal is to complete the 26.2 miles in 5 1/2 hours which is an average of 12 minutes per mile. Since water is approximately 700 times more dense than air, as one increases speed the amount of resistance increases significantly. As my training has continued, I have gradually been able to maintain higher speeds for longer distances.

In addition to my personal ten year "anniversary", June 13th also marks the five year anniversary of the opening of Neuroworx. (http://www.neuroworx.org/) Neuroworx is a community-based outpatient clinic providing physical therapy and rehabilitative services for individuals with spinal cord injuries and similar conditions of paralysis. It was created in partnership with my physical therapist, Jan Black, and is part of the The Dr. Dale B. Hull Foundation, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization. It is unique in its focus and approach to spinal cord injury rehabilitation. It is medically-based yet innovative using activity-based rehabilitation techniques to provide opportunites for individuals to maximize and optimize their abilities after injury.

Part of the mission of the Foundation and Neuroworx is to raise funds for specialized equipment and to assist patient's with inadequate funding. If you would like to help with our mission, would you consider a pledge in conjunction with my run. You may pledge an amount per mile (assuming I may not make the 26.2) or a set amount. If you really want to provide an incentive for me, consider doubling your pledge if I can finish under 5.5 hours.

You may pledge by leaving a comment on this blog, emailing info@neuroworx.org or by calling Neuroworx directly at 801-619-3670. Donations are tax deductible.

Thank you for taking the time to visit this site and for helping us make a difference to those who have experienced the devasting results of spinal cord injuries and paralysis.