Tuesday, June 1, 2010


My God, it's been a long, long time since I updated the blog. My original intention of keeping a detailed diary leading up to and after my surgery. I did that to my own satisfaction. The second intention was to detail my recovery. Initially that was only half-hearted, however, in moving on, I failed dismally to keep posting.

In all probability anyone checking out the Blog would feel justified in concluding that I've not been doing so well. Nothing could be further from the truth - I'm absolutely flying it!

My next target is the relay in the Cork City Marathon on Monday June 7th, where I'll be running both for my Club, Eagle AC and also for C Team - Cancer Survivors, doing three legs (16.7 miles) in all. My ultimate target for 2010 is to run the Dublin City Marathon on October 25th. Target time is 3:18 or better, with the real target being the 2011 Boston Marathon M55 qualifying time of 3:45.

Summary: With respect to Prostate Cancer, I had my surgery, an open Radical Prostatectomy, on May 22nd 2008, just over two years ago. I am, to all intents and purposes, fully recovered. My PSA has been monitored regularly since and has remained at <0.02 ng/l. In other words undetectable. I have been fully continent since June/July 2008, some 6 weeks after the operation and have not worn a pad by day or night since then.

I do wear a small, cut down, pad when running, mainly to protect my running gear, prevent chafing and for peace of mind. Sometimes I just 'spot' it. Occassionally, it can be quite damp. Generally it's in between, but it's steadily improving. I reckon that there will come a day when I'll have the confidence to go without. On the other regular side effect of surgery, things are improving all the time and I've a smile on my face. That's all I'm going to say on that matter - it's for discussion with my wife and my surgeon only - period!

I've been doing a few things that seem to be improving the slight leak while running: Clearly the running, general fitness and well being helps enormously. My surgeon has never recommended kegels, so I've never done them - well I tried a (very) few times early on, but, as progress was excellent, I stopped doing them. What my surgeon recommends, to this day, is stopping and starting your stream. I do that and i'm not going to stop doing it. It worked for me.

One thing that I've started doing in the past six weeks or so is using a Foam Roller and this has strengthened my midriff/abdomen/lower back. I reckon it's having an effect, but I still have a way to go.

To conclude the health aspects, I don't think I could be doing much better. Thank God for this. Starting out on the PC rollercoaster, I had been prepared to be unable to run again, to be fully incontinent and to have full ED. None of those situations has occurred and I thank my surgeon, care and God for that.

My running is coming on leaps and bounds. It's been a slow process, but now (touch wood) it's progressing like an express train. I've been doing around the 60 mpw mark for the past 6 months. I reckon I haven't missed a day since October last and I've started getting in the prizes (M55, mind you, but 'How bad?) and my peers have started to take notice.

I'll probably go back and summarise my running recovery over the past two years in a few later posts. For the moment, I'll just outline the past two months.

I suppose I may as well start in April 2010:

April 2010
Earlier this year I started measuring the Cork City Marathon course and later volunteered to measure the inaugural Great Island 10, in Great Island, aka, Cobh (pronounced cove), Co. Cork. This race was to be held in aid of the Irish Cancer Society, with all proceeds going to the Society, so I couldn't pass it up. So it was that in early April, I found myself on Sunday morning measuring the remaining part of the Marathon and then heading off to Cobh. Tough morning, doing two courses. It took 7 hours in all, from home to home.

Race day was on Sunday April 16th and off we set over the hilly 10 mile course. Obviously I knew the course from the measuring, but I'd measured from finish back to the start ..and it's totally different when you're running, as opposed to being on the bike. Anyway i was prepared for the fast downhill sections over the first two miles, before we encountered the severe hills. Eagle clubmate Paul Cotter was my target. We had had many fine battles on the road before my PC reared it's head and even a few before the surgery. Since the surgery, the only times I'd beaten Paul was when he was 'taking it easy'. I reckoned that today was my day though. With two miles gone, I got occassional glimpses of Paul in the distance, about 250m ahead. The next two miles, from 2 to 4 were the severest section, so I bided my time.

Once we got over the second severe hill, with several more lesser ones to come, I started working and every time I caught a glimpse of Paul, the distance between us was less. Finally on a long straight section, with a steady upslope, from 6 to 7.5 miles, I had him firmly in my sights, catching up close to the top of the last major downhill section. I still held back, not letting him know I was there, knowing that he'd stride off down the hill. Sure enough that's what happened and was about 15 metres ahead at the bottom. The 8 mile mark was 300m up the road and I saw a mutual colleague there calling out times. Dreading the "C'mon John!" call, giving away my presence to Paul, I decided to move up on his shoulder before then. The call came "Well done John! Good running!" Usually that's 'like a red rag to a bull' and Paul takes off. This time I decided to boot the boot down and pressed on. Paul kept pace for the next half mile, all the while we were increasing the pace.

Finally, I heard his breathing lessen and drift back. 1.5 miles to go and a tough section. It was now a matter of getting as close to 70 as possible. I'd done 72:25 in Mallow back in February. Finally up the last slope and on to the finish in 71:06, with Paul 24 seconds behind. I finsihed as 6th M50 (there was no M55 category) but this was great: tough course, good time and my colleague and arch-rival beaten.