Monday, February 20, 2017

Surgery Update: Week 3

Week 1 post surgery had me just working from home and little by little having the leg worked as much as normal as I could make it.  Went to the surgeon for my one week follow up, and he finally cleared me up for non-weight bearing exercise as tolerated and for PT.  Good because I had been on the bike since Day 4, ha.

My knee has been improving exponentially with each day.  The first week at PT was nice and the exercises were good enough for me to improve without being sore all the time.  I also restarted Pilates and little by little, the adjustments went away.

Then, at the start of Week 3, around Day 14, the PT told me to not forget my running shoes because we MIGHT head to the TM for some running.  I felt like Darla from Finding Nemo when told Piranha is a fish, just like your present...

There is no better present for an injured runner than being told they could run.  Ha.

Did two PT sessions last week with some warmup run/walking at 2:2 ratio on their TM.  She also increased the weight bearing exercises to 140lbs for leg presses and calf raises, and 120lbs for one leg presses.  Sheesh.  My legs look very lean, even though I am used to weights, these are mega weights. I should do this more often!

So, being that I've already been run/walking for 12 minutes every PT day, I thought of heading outside for a "stroll" on Friday afternoon.  The weather was nice, probably our last day in the 70s before the 90-100F months.  I went outside and tried to keep the running portions very slow (probably not slow enough, lesson learned) and used the 2:1 range to keep it similar to hers.  Mile 1 was OK, then I headed to 1.30 and started my running segment and CRACK, my ITB cracked so loud, I almost thought someone had thrown one of those cracking things kids do.  Sheesh.  I immediately stopped and said, hmmm, this is not good.  I didn't feel bad, nor the leg felt worse, but CRACK?  Seriously?  Maybe it needed to crack but I was 1 mile away from home and I just decided to walk back.  Just in case, you know.  18 years of running and never been injured for anything done by running itself, but hey, trip and tear a meniscus and all you can think is did I break something?

Got back home and felt OK, but iced the leg most of the night.  Pilates on Saturday was a bit painful, in that the area was tight but we worked it out pretty well.  I didn't feel anything by the end of the day.

So, I woke up on Sunday with both quads super sore (I guess the fascia release released a lot of pent up tightness from them on Saturday), but otherwise, fine.  Decided to use the Treadmill this time (the high for the day was 88F so better).  That way I could control the speed better than I could outside.  Last thing I wanted was to see cars beside me and me thinking I was Superman, right?

Anyway, started with a 0.25 walk, then eased up with 1:1 run/walk range for a mile, that went well.  Still super slow and keeping it at 4.5 on the Treadmill.  Then 1:30/1 for Mile 2 and 4.5 speed.  Kept the ratio at Mile 3 but raised it to 4.6.  Then Mile 4 at 4.7.  Then decided the last mile should be with a 2:1 ratio and 4.7.  No pain, no tightness, no nothing.  Really stopped at Mile 5 because I didn't want to overdo it (5 miles is not too long for someone used to running 2500 miles a year or thereabouts).  But it felt like I could go on forever.  No knee swelling, no super tightness areas, no nothing.

Today, at PT, my ITB was super tight. I don't think it was from this run but from the failed run from Friday.  So, there are still areas to work on around the knee.  But recovery is going wonderfully.  I was tentatively hoping for 4 weeks off running post surgery.  My first run was in Day 19.  I can't complain!

Now for next week, I am planning on increasing the running ratios and the speed, little by little, and my goal will be to run 3:1 or even 4:1 by the end of the week.  The faster I can increase the ratios without issue, the faster I can get to full running and better training.  We'll see. The knee will guide me.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Surgery Week 1

Since I wanted to have surgery as soon as possible so I can get back to running as soon as possible, my surgeon squeezed me in at the end of January, January 31, to the exact, for the surgery.  I rushed to get everything ready with work and whatever tests I needed it, and was happy to have gotten a date a week after my consult.  No time to waste, ha.

Surgery Day
This surgery would be solo.  Hubby couldn't take the day off to stay with me and, although my dad offered to come, the surgery was really no big deal, so I didn't think it would necessary to screw everybody's schedules off.  My neighbor/friend Sheryl could either drop me off or pick me up, and hubby would do the one she couldn't, so we arranged everything well.  Hubby stayed with me until it was time to leave for work and I was sent to prep for the surgery at around 8:15am.  I was put into the preop room maybe by 8:30am, but I have no notion of time since I had no Fitbit, watch, nor my iPhone.  Sheesh!

After doing the preop with the anesthesiologist, who had to make sure I don't go into an asthma attack or high BP like last time, I spoke with the surgeon and then...I woke up from the surgery, ha.  It was all done in the blink of an eye, I didn't even have time to sleep at all. 😜

By the time I woke up, I had either called my friend for pickup or someone had done so.  I was very much awake but the memories of that were blurry.  Sheryl took me home but not before we got some lunch at McDs (yay, nutrition!).  I spent the rest of the afternoon on the recliner, but had no pain and was able to move well.  I had this huge bandage on top of my knee that kept getting loose and moving every time I did, but overall, nothing major. I even cooked dinner that night I felt great!

Recovery (Days 0 - 6)
Everybody had warned me that the meds would last until the next day and then I would be in pain, but I really wasn't.  I woke up on Wednesday super tight and I could not move the leg well because of it, but it wasn't really painful.  I started working from home that day and even attended court, so all day was spent with a laptop, the phone and the recliner.  I made my husband get me dinner that night, at least, but not before I tripped on Sammy's tail and almost tore my meniscus again.  She still thinks I tried to kill her by yelling really loud.  Oh, well.

Thursday was more of the same, but not too bad. I removed the bandage and had to remove the huge cotton ball that was in front of my knee because it was moving and falling more than it was doing its job and had the first look at my knee.  Which I am going to share with you because, oh well, if I had to see it, so do you.  It does look like my surgeon wrote a book on my knee, though.

This was the day I was allowed to drive if needed and of course, my stomach needed it at lunch, but otherwise, I spent the whole time where you see me.  On my recliner working.

Friday was the first day my knee felt better.  I also accidentally removed that bloody tape you see there as it was falling off on its own and I helped it. :)  I was able to move better and even go up the stairs without pain.  Going down the stairs without pain was left for another day...

Saturday and Sunday was spent at home most of the time, except for an errand to Publix on Saturday morning, and a light bike ride (indoors on Saturday, outdoors on Sunday).  Very light effort so as to help with the leg turnover.

I had my surgeon follow up today and am allowed to do everything low impact, so PT and Pilates have started.  Will alternate days of biking with days of walking, and hoping I can get to running in less than 3 more weeks.

Knee looks much better, if you want to see it so that you don't die just thinking of that prior picture:

They do say this surgery has a fast recovery but I didn't expect it to be 4 days before I would dare to hop on the bike.  It took me 10 days after my hysterectomy!

Thanks for reading. Stay tuned for Week 2 which includes, PT torture.  Ha.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

One Car Accident and Surgery is Needed...

Well, 2016 ended up with someone T-boning me before Christmas Eve and me not having my car back for 3 weeks.  That's fine.  Training had been going well for Houston up until that point.  My neck was a bit fucked up after the accident but a couple of adjustments and I felt A-OK.  But a week after the accident, my knee started feeling funky, my hamstring and calf also sore.  I could run with it and no pain, just an ache was present, so I did not think anything of it.  2017 came in and I was tapering for Houston.

Then, on my last run before Houston, so much pain.  I couldn't even walk afterwards.  No matter how much tape and massages I did before Houston, the pain was always there.  I started the marathon knowing I wouldn't finish.  I did 1.92 miles according to my Garmin, none of which were painless.  Walked back to the hotel and iced the knee until my husband finished the half marathon.

I have a torn meniscus.  Most likely caused by the car accident, according to my doctor, or a fall or twist to my knee around that time which I don't recall having.  Heading to a surgeon appointment on Wednesday.  Fortunately, these types of surgeries have a quick recovery.  I already missed Houston (registered for 2018, so...) and will probably miss RnR DC and Raleigh (we'll see).  But now I will have a plan this week to fix it.  And I hope the fix is soon.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Space Coast Marathon 2016 (Just one more for Intergalactic Level!)

On Thanksgiving weekend, I ran my fourth Space Coast Marathon, the fourth of five Space Coasts to get the special 5 year medal and the Intergalactic Challenge.  I still remember the first time we registered for this challenge and how much fun it has been.  Not sure what the race has planned for after the challenge, but I hope it's something as amazing as this has been.

The race is great.  The RD really does a great job with not only the race, water stations, medical, potties, etc., but also on the post race party, which includes, among other things, free unlimited beer, breakfast (pancakes, even eggs), towels, and everything else you can think of.  Unfortunately, I don't really enjoy the party much as I am done when I finished the marathon, in more ways than one.  But hubby, who runs the half marathon, always partakes of the celebrations.  He just knows he needs to have a beer for me when I finish. :)

Training has been almost non-existent.  Since Chicago and later Indy, I have had a tough time breathing and just basically moving.  I did some research and thought the blood pressure meds might also be causing my lack of energy.  They did some labs on me and they came back perfect (well, my cholesterol is high, but only because my good cholesterol is extremely high, which is good).  I guess half an avocado a day does that to you!  Anyway, being that my BP has been super low in the last month, my doctor/husband agreed to take me off the regular BP meds (the ones that were causing my swollen legs that hurt in Chicago and what I thought was the cause of my lack of energy).  This was a gamble and something I would never thought of trying a year ago when my BP was 160/95.  But it remained in the 120s so we also removed the diuretic.  That's when I started feeling better.  Two days before this race I had no energy.  I could barely stay awake.  Once we took off all BP meds, it took around 2-3 days but the morning of the race, I felt great.

However, as I said, training for marathons has been nonexistent.  I have run 40-50mpw but no long runs, and no energy to run them.  I knew the race would not be fast but I was hoping to get close to 5 hours and I think I could've done it had I pushed.  But as you'll see later, the race was too much fun for that.  My only other goals were to finish and to have energy throughout, something that was lacking in Chicago and Indy.

Race Weekend
We thought of getting to Orlando a day earlier this time around, to meet with some friends and maybe drink around the world at Epcot, but since hubby and I had to work on Friday (I took the day off but he couldn't), we ended up spending another night at home, eating some leftover turkey from Thanksgiving, watching a movie, and just relaxing.

We left on Saturday morning and stopped at our usual pancake place for breakfast and headed North.  This time, the trip felt shorter, so it was just near 2pm when we arrived at Cocoa and stopped at the expo.  We did our expo thing quickly, so that we could get to our Mofongo place, El Guavate in East Orlando, as quickly as possible.  We always do that for lunch and it has always been a great lunch pre-race, plus it's the best mofongo outside of PR, in my opinion, so worth a stop ALL THE TIME.

After lunch, we headed to run some errands, get water, breakfast, etc., and managed to meet our friends, Beth and Shane, for a drink (was bummed to not come in Friday to see them so it was nice to manage the meet!)  Once we went back to our hotel, we rested a bit and then went to dinner at a Mexican Restaurant near the hotel which we tried last year and loved. It was nice once again.

Here is me and Beth.  Shane and Richard are not in the picture, but they were there as well. :)

Race Day
Woke up at 4:45am and got ready.  We headed to the race parking area around 5:15am and got there pretty quickly.  Parking wasn't an issue this year and we were ready to walk to the start by 5:30am. The half marathon starts at 6am and the marathon at 6:30am, so we were there timely.  I spent the next 30 minutes on a potty line only to realize they had no toilet paper there, so went the other potties and spend the next 15 minutes there.  I was able to see my husband start his race and then headed to my start.  I stood near the 5 hour pacer (there were two, the regular pacer and the Galloway pacer).  My plan was to keep up with them as much as I could.

Of course, when we started, the runner pacer passed me and was too fast for the next 13 miles and the 5 hour pacer passed me at Mile 18 or somewhere around there.  So, I stayed between the two until then.  I know the runner pacer was too fast as I was running faster than 5 hours and I couldn't even catch him!

The first 7 miles went well.  I was taking it easy but my pace was back to my regular easy pace.  At Mile 8-9, I had to use the potty again, sigh, and I lost around 4 minutes, but still making good time.  I felt bad after that for a while, around the time where I have wanted to quit the races lately (mile 9-11) but it passed and I crossed the halfway point at around 2:26, I think, I don't recall.  As we headed to the point where the HM starts going through the finish line chute, there is a Worm Hole, an area where marathoners quit the race, their chip is taken out and then they join the HM runners and go through the finish.  I saw a couple of people do that, and I felt tempted this time around, but I felt much better than I had felt in the last two marathons so I continued.  Miles 14-18 went well but I was getting slower every mile.  My lack of LRs was felt right here.  But still, I felt strong throughout and it was just an issue of how long til the 5 hour pacer would pass me.  I had not seen them at all for a while, so no idea how ahead of 5 hours I was.

The second half was full of me seeing some of my friends coming by to finish:

At Mile 18, I saw a Beer Station.  So, I stopped and drank a cup.  I talked to the people handling it and thanked them for being there.  They told me there was a bacon station ahead, yum, so I continued on.  I did not see the bacon station 1/2 mile away as they indicated, but there was a vodka station, so I stopped as well. Got two cups of vodka and mango. Yum.  Talked to them for a bit and they did confirm the bacon station was the next so I moved on in search of bacon.  I found it!

I actually stopped here to post the following in FB (with the picture):

The 5 hour pacer just passed me. And I don't care cause I've had beer, vodka and bacon and it's only Mile 19. They promised Blue Moon at 22.

Then I continued.  Mile 19 and 20 were a blur.  I was getting slower but having a lot of fun.  I kept with the 5 hour pacer until around Mile 22, where I saw the Blue Moon station and had more beer.  Took another picture, talked to the volunteers, had fun.

Heading down to the finish started feeling hard at Mile 23.  I was slow and finally making it hard for me to continue running.  At mile 25, my calf tightened enough for me to worry.  So, I walked around 1/2 mile then and thought about walking it to the finish to conserve the calf, but I noticed it was harder to walk than to run on it, so I started a shuffle that took me to the finish.  As usual, hubby was near the finish ready to take my picture.  Normally, I would yell something at him, from I FORGOT MY INHALER, DAMN IT, to GET ME A FUCKING BEER.  This time I just smiled and didn't say much.  Damn.

Finished in 5:18:18, but it was the best marathon I've felt all year.  So, success achieved!

This week has been much better!  I finally have lots of energy and no issues.  I hope my BP continues the way it is and that I won't need to go back on meds any time soon.  Bring on 2017.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Indy Monumental Marathon RR

I was looking forward to running Indy for close to a year, since it was a race that people recommend, it's where my BFF lives, and it is always cold and good for running.  They also said it was flat but to this Miamian, that shit was NOT flat.  But still, everything else was true.

I had been dealing with asthma issues since the Chicago Marathon, plus my hamstring and glutes were sore during mostly every run, so I wasn't expecting to be fast by any means.  My plan was to break 5 hours on this one and to have fun.  Since my BFF Mary said she would run with me, my plan to try keeping up with her and not make her waste her day.  I kind of fail at that, but we had tons of fun!

We arrived at Indy on Friday afternoon and headed to the Bru Burger Bar, a place friends had recommended as having great burgers.  They were probably the best burgers I've had.  I had the Mexicali Burger and Richard had the Bru Burger.   Both were amazingly good.  Next time, I'll try The End Burger, just for the fried egg, ha!

After lunch, we headed to the hotel to check in and rest a bit.  Met one of my friends from the Chicago forum and Sub-4 Hour FB group, Michelle:

Glad to have finally met her in person.  She had a great race!

After a while, we met my BFF Mary downstairs to meet her kids, which are as amazing as her.  It's amazing how we met online and ran one of the Disney Goofy races together.  You learn a lot about a person when you run for 3+ hours with them.  We became BFFs after that and talk to each other almost daily.  She was key in me finishing the race, because I sure did not have a good day. I told her to not let me walk too often and not let me quit.  She achieved that and more.

We forgot to take a picture of all of us so failed at that!

Then, it was time to meet the Dailies FB Crew!  So many of my friends are online and I've had the pleasure of meeting many in person through the years, but from the Dailies Crew, I've only met three so far, so it was great to meet more of them for dinner.  Here is us:

We had a great time and great food.  Richard had the Club Sandwich and I had Fish and Chips, which I've never had before a race but will have many times more because my stomach was happy with that.

We woke up at around 6:30am and got ready on Saturday.  Once Mary was ready to meet us downstairs, we headed that way so we could meet one of our friends from the Love INKnBURN group, Jeanette:

It was 36F and lovely.  Everybody was freezing, but me.  I think I was born in the wrong country (PR) since I feel like I belong in the snow, haha.

Hubby did not take a picture of us, so again, we failed.

I also got to meet another one of my friends from my Sub-4 FB Group, Marciano, and here is both of us at the start:

He also had a good race. Hubby also had a great race and ran a 2:29.  Which left me.

We started out doing pretty well, between 10-10:21mm and walking the water stations.  I felt great until around Mile 14. Mary noticed I was slowing down but so far, my lungs were holding.  But at some point, I started sounding like Darth Vader. I used my rescue inhaler every two hours and even that didn't feel like it was enough.  At some point, Mary said I did not look good, but I told her we could move on.  I started walking sooner than I wanted (Mile 16ish, I think) but we were still ahead of Chicago and that made me happy.  We took a couple of pics throughout the course:

 By Mile 18 I was done. I mean, my lungs were done.  Poor Mary was running ahead of Darth Vader, LOL. I wanted to walk all the way to the finish, but as requested, Mary never faltered in getting me to start running again.  We headed to the finish and I started crying. Crying from the frustration that I had lost my endurance (mostly due to my meds) and that once again, I had a disappointing race.  But, by the time I crossed the finish I had shaken that shit off and headed to the finish line with a smile on my face, as I knew I had beaten my Chicago time by somewhere close to 25 minutes.  Not fast by any means, but getting better.

We had a great time, for sure. Fun in spite of my issues.  After the race, we met with LRB for lunch:

Since the race, I have been able to get off two medications and feeling much better.  Endurance has been wrecked from the BP meds (which right now I am not taking because my BP has been too low).  But now I'm rebuilding.  I have another marathon next week.  All I want is to continue improving.  The time for attempting a PR might be there next year, but right now I need to continue rebuilding the endurance that I lack.  2016 can really finish soon.  Good riddance!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Chicago Marathon RR

Late to the party but here is me after the Chicago Marathon. What this picture does not show is that this was my goal race but I had to modify training when my husband found out he had a brain tumor (a gigantic one, bigger than a fist), that he went through surgery and he is A-OK, that he recovered and ran his first Half Marathon post surgery (and almost PRd), and that all of that left my training very crazy. And in addition to that, my asthma doctor told me on Monday, I only had 52% of breathing capacity. I have done 36 marathons, including this one, but I never expected that by Mile 1, I was so slow (for me) that I didn't even want to push. I wanted to quit, I was slow. My husband kept texting me not to quit and I felt guilty for bringing him to Chicago after all of that only to quit another marathon (I've quit before due to the asthma). So, I finished. I was slow (for me), I felt like all this year was a waste in my training. But when I stepped into the hotel room, my husband was so excited I finished, he showed me what was important: perseverance, hard work, being alive, even imperfect. I finished for him.

So remember, when your races don't go as planned, but you still finished, it's all good. I seemed to have forgotten that until now.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

RnR Chicago Half Marathon - The Road of Missed Marathons, Brain Tumors, and Life Turned Upside Down

So, our next adventure was the RnR Seattle, my next marathon.  We were ready and all but had been tired for work and other stuff, so not sure if we were looking forward to this trip.  Then, the day we were leaving, we couldn't find our check in information.  My husband, sigh, had booked the wrong date and we were scheduled to fly there the next month (*facepalm*).  So, it was partly a relief that we did not have to travel that particular weekend and we were able to cancel everything and reuse the tickets for our next race.

So, on we continued, with me starting to train for the Iceland Marathon.  Then, on July 8th, my husband went to get a CT Scan and found he had a giant brain tumor.  It was a shock to see the picture of his brain with fist + ball inside of it.  It was a tough weekend for us, and we spent it calling doctor friends (being a doctor has its privileges, I guess) and getting consultations with brain surgeons ASAP.  Fortunately, we were 99% sure it was a benign tumor, as it had the particularities of a non-malignant one.  Yay for that.

So, we had a race on July 17th, the RnR Chicago Half Marathon.  I was going to use it as a race effort to gauge where I was training wise.  We asked his brain surgeon whether we could go and he assured us he could and he could run.  So, I decided to run it with him.  He would go straight from the airport to packing and sleeping and then going to the hospital at 5am the next morning, so for us it was our last vacation for who knows how long.  We made the most of it, I am sure, going to our favorite restaurants and sights.  We love Chicago!

The trip was filled with some stress and worries, including that my mom had what I thought was a stroke that weekend but declined to go to the hospital until the weekend after (more on that later).  We raced and had fun, as you can see from the following pictures.  We came close to his PR even though it was a somewhat warmish day:

Overall, it was a great weekend, except for the worry of what was soon to come.  My husband went through brain surgery for almost 11 hours on Tuesday, July 19th.  They removed 65% of the tumor (the rest could not be removed), he had probably one of the best brain surgeons in the nation.  He was home the next day (amazing, right?).  He started running again two weeks post surgery and is now getting ready for his first Half Marathon back from surgery.

Unfortunately, my stress would soon be higher as my mom had a stroke and they found a large aneurysm in his brain.  She went through the same brain surgery my husband had, except hers was a bit different, and her recovery was much slower.  I was able to fly to PR after three weeks of hubby's and her surgery to see her and she is doing much better.  No more stress and no one is allowed to get sick ever!

So, due to all of that, we missed the Iceland Marathon.  Which is fine, I prefer to have a husband and a mother alive and well than running another marathon.  I'll do it next year.

On to the next marathon week.