Untitled (and really long)

I have thought long and hard about whether or not I would actually write this post. Then I hemmed and hawed about how much detail I would get into if I did decide to write it. In short, I have spent way too much time thinking about one blog post over the past two months.

Well, I’ve decided to share the part of my own journey that I feel is pertinent to this blog. It is, in fact, called Run Stronger Every Day and I am starting from Square One on the way to running again at all. Here goes: this is my journey from surgery to marathon.

Marathon #9…when will marathon #10 happen?

One month ago, I had a planned surgical event that was medically necessary and landed me in the hospital for five days (= FOR-EV-ER). I have never had a serious surgery or any other type of major medical event in my entire life. I’ve had my wisdom teeth pulled, which produced very adorable chipmunk cheeks and my very first case of hives, and I broke my pinky toe right before I left to be a camp counselor for the summer back in college. But that’s it.

The longest I’ve been away from running is one month back in 2009 because of my stupid left gluteus medius. But I could still bike and lift and swim and, you know, WALK. This surgery was major. No, really. It’s classified as “major surgery”. Walking would be a challenge, I was told. Weird.

I like spinning, I do. But running is my 1st love.

Funny aside: I knew I was ok with my decision to go ahead with the surgery when, after my Physics final three days prior, I only felt relief as I headed into the weekend. No anxiety about the surgery. No stress about the what-ifs. Just relief that Physics was finally over. Priorities, I suppose.

Drinks. There were a lot of drinks when I found out I passed Physics.

The morning of my surgery, I tried making jokes as the nurses and doctors hooked me up and stabbed me with needles of all sizes. My Mom, angel that she is, flew in to be with me and JB during my hospitalization. I was nervous, but not as scared as I thought I’d be. Probably because when I asked about a possible complication I’d read about my surgeon responded, ” That doesn’t happen in my hands.” Exactly what I want to hear!

Off I went to the operating room (which was a lot smaller than I expected) where I met my surgical team and briefly reminded my surgeon that I am a vain woman and small, neat scars would be greatly appreciated. He assured me he’d do his best and out I went.

I “woke” up to JB and Mrs. Obi-wan by my side once again in recovery, in the most immense pain I have ever felt in my life. Thankfully, now that I was awake, they could give me the good drugs. I definitely didn’t do any recovering in the “recovery room”. I kept hearing rumors the my room was “almost ready” but, not having any concept of time due to the wonderful narcotics, I was seriously perturbed that everything seemed to be taking so long.

The view from my room. Rainy New York days were just fine by me.

Shortly after I got to my room, my nurse told I was going to walk soon. I told her she was dreaming. I was in a tremendous amount of pain. Turns out, my pain treatment had briefly gone awry and OHMYGODWHYDOESTHISHURTSOMUCH?!?!?!!!! was basically what I said to her.  She fixed the problem, God bless her, and made sure I got several boosters so I could sleep.

These bruises were the result of my least favorite daily interruption: shots. Ouch. Maybe next time we choose a different place to torture? They lasted for nearly 3 weeks!

Early Tuesday morning, she woke me and said we were going for sure taking a walk before her shift ended. Still, the idea of heaving myself out of bed and walking was akin to climbing Everest. Me, a 9-time marathoner, often 2-a-day workout girl, thought that getting out of bed and walking seemed impossible. I was attached to an IV and several drainage apparatus but with the aid of the most wonderful nurse in the entire world, I walked. It was approximately 30 yards, round-trip.

They were the hardest steps I have ever taken in my entire life.

You know how you feel exhausted after a marathon? That’s how I felt. I hadn’t had food in three days, my surgery was four hours long, I was on serious pain management drugs and was terrified I wouldn’t make it.

I did. I made it. I made it to Day 2 and was getting a handle on my new body, new gear, and new surroundings.

The morning after surgery. See, Dad? I’m ok!

Day 2 was crazy. Between flower deliveries (my favorite!), emptying my various drains, an endless stream of checking my vitals, my surgical team making the rounds, figuring out how everything worked, social workers (yes, social workers…don’t know why), and the very awesome Dr. Boz and PAK stopping by to check up on me (how awesome are they?!), it was a whirlwind of activity in my room. I dozed on and off but woke up whenever I got a flower delivery 🙂

Pretty view from my room. The flowers everyone sent brightened every moment of my stay in the hospital.

With the help of the very awesome Mrs. Obi-wan, I walked even more on Day 2. I think we went to the entryway of my wing and back twice. Mom kept chatting about this beautiful mural as you walk onto my floor that I never got to see since I was only semi-conscious when I was brought to my floor. On day 3, I finally got to see it.

The very cool “Chalk Mural” depicting the World’s Fair in Queens, NY on my floor. It wasn’t actually chalk, but we never could figure out what it was.

But in order to get that far, they had to let me EAT REAL FOOD!

French toast never tasted so good.

French toast, turkey sausage and orange juice. Food, I missed you. I was so happy that I took a picture and sent it to my family. Being allowed to eat real food is a big marker post-surgery. I blasted by the “soft foods” order that my resident prescribed in less than 24 hours and was onto “normal diet” so quickly the food delivery lady couldn’t keep up with his orders.

My recovery went about as well as you could expect. I walked more and more, further and further. And while it was never really “easy” to get out of bed, once I was up I was able to make multiple laps on my floor several times a day. I was out of the hospital by Friday afternoon and home sleeping on my couch Friday night.

My pillow fort.

In all the fuss over my surgery, I had forgotten that my birthday was just days later. By then, I was showering and getting dressed all by myself, walking the streets of New York (with a bodyguard), and eating delicious takeout.

My birthday this year was a very laid-back celebration of survival, the gift of life, modern medicine and Sprinkles Cupcakes. I have never been so happy to have a birthday come as I was this year. Not only did it mark the end of a reeeeeeally trying year for me, but it was the kickoff to a year of entirely new adventures, new body and better health.

Happy birthday!
Doggie Howser

I am still not running. I am walking lots and hoping to maybe jump on a bike sometime this week, but I’m in no rush. I am respecting the healing process and allowing my body time to recover. When I do get back to running, it will be entirely different than it was before–and that’s ok. Things will feel different. I might move differently. God knows I’ll be slow as molasses. But I’ll be back and I will learn what it is to Run Stronger Every Day as the new me.

So, here I go. Starting from Square One, I am working toward running the Marine Corps Marathon this fall in Washington, D.C. for Team Fisher House. That’s right, a marathon. Will I make it? Don’t care. I will at least show up and run a few miles at my favorite race. If I have to drop out at some point, I don’t care. I will be there. I will run (a little or a lot). I will celebrate my life and do what I love: run.

I will run…and then we will celebrate!

So far, my journey back has taught me two things.

  1. The body is the most perfect instrument every created.
  2. I can do anything if I set my mind to it.

It’s not always easy. I get frustrated sometimes and the fatigue is more annoying than anything else. The days are not always sunshine and butterflies, though there have been an awful lot of double rainbows in the city lately.

RAINBOWS!! (picture shamelessly stolen from Erica Sara, who makes really beautiful jewelry)

The thing is, it had to be done so there’s no use being all upset about it. I’m going to be healthier for it. I’m already able to do more than I could before. And one day soon, I will Run Stronger because of this surgery. And for that reason, it will always have been worth it.

Now go out and run!

Friday Fitness News: Holiday Weekend!

Well, everyone, you made it! It’s Friday and the long holiday weekend is finally upon us. I will be taking my Physics final this afternoon and flying home to see my family tonight, arriving just in time for Christmas Eve. So excited!

Apparently, this is what is waiting for us in Colorado (stolen from Ginger)

I will be so happy to get on that plane and finally be able to relax and start my holiday. Because holidays don’t really start until finals end, you know? Yes, our tree and stockings have been up for a while and I’ve been playing Christmas music while I wrapped presents, but with an exam still looming, Christmas just hasn’t really arrived for me or JB just yet. That will all change when we step into the Obi-wans’ house at midnight tonight and wolf down some of Mrs. Obi-wan’s cookies. Mmm…cookies.

Ready to be here!

But before all that, let’s recap what’s happening in the world of health and fitness this week. It’s been a busy week!

For all of you who are traveling over the holidays, travel safely. I hope each of you finds time to enjoy the beauty of the season and spend a moment or two with someone you love.

Merry Christmas (Happy Chanukah!) to all and to all a good night.

Now go out and run!

Excuses, Excuses

People will throw out every excuse in the book to get out of a workout.

I don’t have time. I’m not really an athlete. I hate to sweat (clearly these people are not my friends until they ♥ sweat). I have bad knees. I’m tired. I don’t have time. I’m out of shape (seriously, I’ve heard this). I don’t like sports. I’m not looking to lose weight. It’s too expensive. I’m not good at <insert physical activity>. I hate going to the gym. I don’t want to bulk up. I don’t have time.

I am fortunate to have struggled with my weight at a young age. You read that right. Fortunate. Sure, I was always athletic looking, but once high school hit, I had to watch what I ate and work out twice as much as every other girl to maintain a healthy weight. I say that I was fortunate in this way because I learned younger than most girls that I had an average-to-slow metabolism and I couldn’t just run around and eat whatever I wanted. No sir. I had to run. This stayed with me and in my adulthood, I find that working out is not a chore for me the way it is for so many men and women my age who are struggling with their weight for the first time. I love exercising. I learned to love it through sports and getting involved at my college gym. I’m lucky.

So many people I meet are not so lucky. They were thin and fit their entire teenage and college years and, suddenly, when they are sitting behind a desk or having kids or simply experiencing the dip in metabolism that comes with being thirty-something, they’re panicking because they’re overweight. These are often the people who are making the excuses, but who need the most help.

Here’s the thing: I went running this morning and my workout (Yasso 800s) took me about an hour. I have a Physics exam tomorrow. I have Physics Lab tomorrow. I have class at 12:30. I have a blog to write. I have three lululemon athletica events in span of 10 days to run. I have clients to email. I have doctor’s appointments to make (begrudgingly). I have dinner to make. I have three clients to see tonight. I have, I have, I have…

…I have to run.

MAKE the time. It will not always happen organically. You have to devote time to planning and executing your plan to work out. That’s the simple fact of the matter. It’s not easy, but it is simple. And you may not always want to and you may not always feel like you had a great workout, but doing it puts a check in that box of “I took care of myself today.” No one else can do it for you. Do it now.

And now for the time when I will tear down every single one of your excuses one by one:

I don’t have time. I’m calling BS on this one. You have time for Modern Family. Watch it on the treadmill.

I’m not really an athlete. So what?

I hate to sweat. Get over it. It’s good for you.

I have bad knees. Swim, bike, elliptical, cross train, yoga…do I need to go on?

I’m tired. So am I.

I don’t have time. Make the time.

I’m out of shape. How do you presume to rectify this?

I don’t like sports. So don’t compete. It’s a hobby if you don’t compete.

I’m not looking to lose weight. Are you looking to have a long life? Good! Then you need to exercise.

It’s too expensive. So is a hospital stay. I run on my streets. I do yoga in my apartment. I lift at my school’s gym. I use resistance bands at home and 8 lb. weights. Not expensive as you think.

I’m not good at <insert physical activity>. And you won’t get any better unless you work at it.

I hate going to the gym. So don’t. Do an outdoors Boot Camp class. Do yoga at a studio. Ride in an indoor cycling studio and not a gym. I don’t care where you do it, but do something!

I don’t want to bulk up. Me neither.

I don’t have time. You’re a liar.

There you are. My favorite excuses debunked one by one. The key to getting yourself together is wanting to get yourself together. Until you want it for yourself, no one can force you to do it. Maybe you want it because you want to look better, maybe you’ve had a health scare, maybe you’re tired of being tired. Whatever it is, you have to want it.

I want it for you, so if I can help please don’t hesitate to ask. But you have to want it first and most.

Do you want it?

Then go out and run!