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Surgery

In one hour I will be heading to the hospital. Apparently I have a displaced fractured that needs surgery ASAP. The doctor is going to put in two rods to push the bones together and then I’ll have a new, stronger hip. I like to think of it as I’ll have a bionic hip. Oh, I can see the race potential now…

I’ve never had surgery before so I’m a little nervous. Perhaps Mario will take a video of me waking up from anesthesia and I”ll have something funny to say. Some have asked if my running days are over. Absolutely not! If anything, I think this will put me on the road to finally achieving my goals. Maybe my injury streak will come to an end.

I’ll be in the hospital for a day or two. Hopefully I can make it home tomorrow because Friday is my birthday!! Celebrating my 31st birthday in the hospital isn’t really how I imagined the day to start.

When I get back home, I’ll post an update. Until then… here’s to my bionic hip! 🙂

 

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

See that gap... it shouldn't be there.

See that gap… it shouldn’t be there.

Training for a DNF

Throughout this past week, I have been shown an extreme amount of love, support, and sympathy. It’s been quite overwhelming, and I am thankful for every bit of it. A few people have mentioned to me that they were so sorry that I had put in all of that training, only to end up in this situation. In that past, I think I too would have felt sorry for myself. Four months of training for a DNF and a pair of crutches…. it’s not the ideal way I wanted to spend my spring. But I don’t feel sorry for myself and I am anything but sad that I spent so long training only to miss out on my Boston medal. I have so many memories from the last four months and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. Mentally and physically, they brought me to a new level.

Here are a few of the reasons I’m not sad about training for a DNF…

First of all, I would have been running anyway. A marathon to train for just gave me a goal. On top of that, those four months were the most rewarding months I’ve ever spent training. To start with, January and February were cold. Like really cold. I learned that I could run in 23 degree weather and be just fine. The track workout I did one February morning with an impending snow storm, made me feel like a real bad ass. It was pretty damn cold with very strong winds, and I made it through every single interval. I high fived myself on the way to the car. Not to mention the mornings I made it to the track before 6:00am, which made me realize there was nothing more awesome than finishing a workout while watching the sunrise.

Then there was the 18.5 miler I did in the pouring down rain with 8 miles at 7:30 pace. I was certain that it was going to be my most miserable run ever. It was, to a point, but it was also an epic run. And it will go down in my books as one of my favorite runs to date. I congratulated myself out loud when I finished. I also came to appreciate running through the woods at Umstead. Nothing makes a run go by faster than ticking off the miles while watching nature pass you by. Those runs made me happy.

 
Then there were the encouraging runs. During a few 20 milers, a sudden burst of energy propelled me through the last 4 miles at a 7:40 pace, which was always a confidence booster. It taught me that fading during a marathon doesn’t have to happen. Another memory I have is dominating the ridiculously steep .5 mile hill along the Raleigh greenway. When I first started training in January, I admit, I walked up that hill a time or two. But as my fitness improved, that hill didn’t seem so bad after all. I came to really understand how the body can adapt. It’s all about the work you put forth.

People always say it’s not the destination that matters, but the journey. The past four months have been a wonderful journey and it taught me a thing or two about myself, my discipline, and my mental fortitude. I was hoping to arrive at my destination last Monday, but my journey got an extension. Which really isn’t so bad because I like long trips. Perhaps I’ll arrive April 2015.  Here’s to the journey!

 

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

10 Things I’ve Learned while on Crutches for a Week

When life throws you a curve ball, a lot of things change. Routine gets interrupted, what you thought was so important you realize isn’t, and you find something within yourself you never knew you possessed. It reminds me of quote I heard once (unfortunately, I can’t remember from where), “People are the most creative when they have the least.” When you strip your life of all the inessentials, you gain a new perspective.

It’s been one week since I’ve been bounding about on crutches. The first few days were pretty miserable, but since then, I’ve mastered the art of opening doors, doing laundry, arm workouts while sitting, washing my hair with one hand, and how to even workout with a client while sitting on a bench. All in all, I’d say I’m pretty resourceful. But there are a few things that really stick out in my mind and I’d like the share them. Here is what 7 days on crutches has taught me:

1) Makeup isn’t really necessary. Before I would hate to go anywhere without makeup. Now that it is such a hassle, I don’t even bother with it. And guess what? I’m still me and Mario still loves me. Why do we spend so much time putting on makeup?

2) Sardines aren’t that bad. Believe it or not, sardines are a superfood. They are loaded with vitamins, minerals, protein and all sorts of goodness. Before two nights ago, I turned my nose up at sardines because they just seemed so gross. Two nights ago, with a little bit of lemon juice and a whole lot of mustard, I ate my first can of sardines. They still aren’t my favorite food, but in the name of recovery, I’ll eat them.

3) I can live without sugar. I love sugar, especially chocolate. However, I can not go to the grocery store right now so Mario is doing the shopping. And he isn’t buying chocolate. At first, I was pretty cranky about it but then I realized sugar is a toxin and may slow down the healing process. A few days without sugar and I’m still alive. Maybe I should try this more often.

4) Raw eggs make green smoothies fluffy. I’ve never consumed a raw egg until a few days ago. I tried it because eggs are such a nutrient dense food and are also one of those foods that can help speed up the recovery process. Sure, I could ask Mario to cook them but I wanted to try it raw in my smoothie. Turns out that it makes a smoothie very fluffy and doesn’t change the taste at all. Yum!

5) Bovine colostrum helps with healing. Now when my friend Regan first recommended this, I thought what you’re probably thinking. Gross! Then my friend Nikki agreed with her and they both swore it helped them to recover from surgery. After a little research, it seems a lot of people feel that way. I get mine in the mail today.

6) Crutches are not suppose to fit directly underneath your armpits. When I got my crutches on Monday, the nurse just gave them to me. I wasn’t aware there was a correct way to use crutches so I had them too tall with the handles too low. Luckily me neighbor Daryl was kind enough to show me how to properly use them and it has made the world of difference. What a relief it has been on my armpits!

7) Things don’t have to be done my way all the time. When you’re unable to cook for yourself, make up the bed, or clean the house your way, you realize it isn’t really a big deal if things are done another way. The same objective was achieved and it doesn’t really matter if it was done your way or someone else’s. Life goes on.

8) Working out is still possible, even if you can’t walk. It is very uncomfortable for me to be sedentary or stuck in a house all day. Every morning Mario puts my weights beside the ottoman and I get in a pretty decent arm workout. Today my goal is to get in 10,000 steps by walking up and down the hallway. I’ve already gotten in a little over 1,000 and will go for the next 1000 after i publish this post.

9) The little things in life are the most meaningful. It’s hard to appreciate how amazing a shower really is until you can’t take on on your own. Or how beautiful the outdoors are until you’ve been stuck inside for a day. Or even how wonderful sleep is until you can’t sleep because of the pain. I have a new found appreciate of all the things I never really took the time to be grateful for.

10) My husband is this best! Yes, I already knew this but this past week has reaffirmed this fact. And I have seen how he really can do it all, from a demanding job, to cooking, cleaning, and helping me with just about everything. I like to think of him as Super Mario. 🙂

Happy Trails and Happy Running,
Tracie

A Day in the Life of a Runner Who Can’t Walk

It never dawned on me just how awesome it is to be able to walk and get around on my own two feet. Since that has now been taken away from me, I can’t believe how much I didn’t appreciate it up until now. Walking, running, jumping, climbing stairs – these are all gifts not be taken advantage of. I miss walking. I miss being able to do things for myself.

But I won’t let that get me down! There is still so much to do with limited mobility and sharp shooting pain with every wrong move. After four days at home, I’ve developed a routine to be as productive as possible.  I’d like to share it with you…

It takes me about 5 minutes to get out of bed. I have to be careful with moving and twisting. One wrong move and the pain will keep me in bed for another five minutes. Then I hobble to the bathroom on my crutches, trying to be alert enough as to not face plant on the floor. (This is very scary when I have to go to the bathroom during the middle of the night.) Then I sit in the kitchen reading the news, checking email, and all the fun social media things. It keeps my mind off the pain for a little while.
Next, Mario joins me in the kitchen and is kind enough to make me breakfast, usually a green smoothie or eggs. One thing I’ve learned throughout this experience is you have to let go of having things done your way. When someone else is having to cook, clean, and take care of you, you’ll gladly drink a bitter tasting smoothie. You know it was made with love. After breakfast, it’s time for an arm workout with some upbeat music. I have mastered the art of shoulder presses, chest presses, and bicep curls while sitting on an ottoman. I’m still in the process of working on my ab routine. The cushiony surface makes it a little difficult, but I think I should have something by the end of next week. Perhaps I should make a YouTube video about how to workout when you can’t walk.

Now that I’m feeling happy with a mini-workout and motivated by some good music, it’s time for a podcast. My current favorites are the Rich Roll Podcast, the Good Life Project, and The Bulletproof Executive. One hour later, and I’ve briefly forgotten about my pain, laughed a little, and learned a thing or two about life. Yesterday I learned about a man who spent two years living completely by the Bible. The man actually stoned an adulterer (but only with little pebbles). That same man also spent one month practicing radical honesty. That’s when you say exactly what your brain is thinking. When some of his wife’s old college friends suggested they hang out, he had to tell them no. Even though you seem like nice people, I really don’t want to see you again. I don’t even get to seem my friends enough so I do anticipate us hanging out in the future. That made my morning. Podcasts really are amazing.

By this time, it’s around 9:00am and time for some meditation. My dear friend Nikki gave me some beautiful mala beads and I always look forward to holding them during my practice. When I meditate, I prefer to be sitting on the floor but due to my current condition, the couch works just fine. Sometimes I find the comfy couch causes me to doze off for a moment but I always come back to the present. That’s the point of meditation. 🙂

Meditation is always followed by some work things on the computer, a hobble around the house, and complaint or two about how damn uncomfortable crutches are. Seriously? Why can’t the arm part be just a little more comfortable?

Now it’s time for lunch and because Mario has left to go to work, this is a very tricky task for me. Getting things from the refrigerator to the counter is such an arduous task that once I get everything out, I’m more than happy to let it all sit there and spoil because it’s so difficult to put it back. But nonetheless, I gather my strength and put it back. By now, I’m tired of sitting in the kitchen and want to move to the couch. The problem with this is that my computer is at point A and I need to get it to point B. Wednesday I found a really big shoulder bag that now serves as my mode of transpiration for all objects. I pack my computer in the bag and head over to the couch. (As I’m writing this I’m wondering why I don’t use it in the kitchen as well. Duh!)

It takes me about five minutes to sit down on the couch. From sitting down to putting my leg up and finding a comfortable position, it’s not an easy task. I spend the next few hours reading, working, looking for birthday gift ideas (I’ll be 31 on Friday!!!), and texting back and forth to my mom. Other than the documentary I watched on Usain Bolt Wednesday afternoon, I never turn on the television. I’m actually pretty proud of this because it’s so easy to get sucked into a tv program.

After all of this, I need a break from the computer. So I read. Thankfully, before my injury I checked out a few books from the library. I just finished reading a few essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Alchemist, and have now started Eat and Run by Scott Jurek. I loved The Alchemist. I think I could read that book 10 more times and never get tired of it.

By now it’s time for Mario to get home so I try and clean up any mess I’ve made. In addition to having to make my breakfast, Mario now has to make my dinner. I’m on this thing where I’m eating as many healthy, superfoods as possible to speed up the recovery process. Dinner lately has consisted of a superfood salad from Whole Foods and sardines. Yes, sardines. Never before this week have I eaten those fishy little creatures and I have yet to acquire a taste for them. However, in the name of recovery, I will do what I must. Plus mustard and lemon juice make the taste a little more bearable.

While Mario cleans up the kitchen, I tell him stories about my day. Anything fun I learned from a podcast or perhaps a lesson from whatever I’m reading. Then it’s time for me to continue working on an ebook I’m writing and then before I know it, it’s time for bed. I end my day just as I started… taking 5 minutes to get into bed and praying that I don’t hear another snap in my hip.

All in all, I’d say the recovery process is going well. I’m learning a lot, reading a lot, getting in little workouts, meditating more, and learning some hard lessons. Patience, impermanence, suffering, all sorts of fun things. On top of that, I’ve learned a bit about those supplements that can help with the healing process. Tomorrow my bovine colostrum, CapraFlex Pro, and Master Amino Pattern arrive in the mail. Wednesday I have an appointment with an orthopedist and Friday is my birthday. Maybe I’ll skip the sardines for dinner that night and have a turkey burger.

Oh to be able to walk again….

Happy Trails and Happy Running,
Tracie

PS: An ER doctor is the one who told me I had a fracture. Personally, I think he is incorrect. I think I have torn ligaments in my hip and that’s what those snapping noises were. Although I think I would prefer a fracture because apparently they are easier to heal. Maybe hip arthroscopy surgery is in my future??

Boston Marathon Recap

Today marks my fourth full day on crutches and I think it’s time I took a minute to write about what happened Monday. My spirits are a little higher today and the pain is less and less every day. Plus my birthday is one week from today so there really isn’t much to complain about. 🙂

Monday morning started out as any other race morning. I woke up, ate, stretched, got dressed and headed out to Boston Commons. As usual, I was 30 minutes early and had to wait before boarding the bus. I made a few new friends, talked race tactics, and made a few trips to the porta potty. When I finally boarded the bus, I started to get excited. Not nervous, but excited. Excited to finally run. I had taken the past two days off and my legs were a little antsy. Plus, I was excited to finally have my moment at the Boston Marathon. It was a beautiful day.

At Athlete’s Village, I loaded up on more food and did the one thing you’re never suppose to do on race day. I ate something new, a PowerBar. Fortunately, it didn’t bother my stomach at all and I felt that my energy stores were ready for the 26.2 mile run. While hanging out in the village, I met Stephanie, a mom of four running her first Boston. She was pretty awesome and kept me company for the hours we were sitting around. Then around 9:50 we headed to the start line and my excitement grew. Again, not nervous. Just excited.

When I finally crossed the start line, I was so happy to be out there. I was cheering with the spectators, high fiving people, and taking it all in. The day of my redemption run had finally arrived. As I ran along, a few thoughts cross my mind. My 7:30 pace felt great, there are a gazillion people running in front of and behind me, and who the heck thought it was such a great idea to start a race at 10:00 in the morning? (Seriously though, late morning marathons aren’t that fun.) At first, everything was going well. Then after I passed the 10K, I could feel my hip start to ache and my pace start to slow. It’s okay, I thought. I’ll just have fun out here. It is Boston, after all. Then at mile 11 I started walking and never ran again.

Mentally, I was prepared to walk 15.2 miles. It would be a long day but I would finally have that medal. I kept telling myself Ralph Waldo Emerson use to take 20 mile walks. I can certainly walk 15.2. Along the way, I met Liz. She was also unable to run so we kept each other company. It was nice to have someone to chat with, however, the more we kept walking, the worse the pain got. In fact, the pain was so bad, it made me nauseous to my stomach.  At mile 17 I saw Mario with my amazing friends Emily and Tyler. Emily ran out to give me a hug and I immediately started crying and telling her how bad the pain was. Mario gave me a hug along with some words of encouragement and my cell phone (smart move). Then I was on my way again. As the pain got worse and worse, I told Liz to go ahead. At mile 18, I sat down to stretch and haven’t been able to walk since.

Thankfully I had my phone and was able to call Mario. He ran to where I was, carried me across the street (I physically could not walk), and got me to a medical tent. From there, I went to the hospital in an ambulance, along with another injured runner, Jenn. This was her 3rd DNF for Boston in a row so we felt each other’s pain. After a few hours in the hospital, a diagnosed hip fracture and a new pair of crutches, I was finally able to leave. Hooray!

How the day went...

How the day went…

When I think back on Boston, I am not disappointed in myself for not finishing. I gave that race everything I had, and I physically could not have done more. I’m actually proud of my effort. However, I am disappointed that I got myself into this condition. The road to recovery will be long but I’m doing what I can to make it a little shorter. From raw eggs in my green smoothies to more supplements than in a GNC store, I’m taking in as many vitamins, minerals, and nutrients as possible. Last night I was actually able to sleep through the entire night, which is a big improvement. It gets a little better every day.

Lately, I’ve found myself asking why do I want to run Boston so badly? Is it because I want to do something that I never thought possible? Or is it because I want to be a part of the few who are Boston Marathon finishers. (I’m great at starting. Just not finishing.) If a medal, a shirt, and a fancy jacket are all that I’m after, then something is wrong with that. Those three things and the fact that I can say I finished the race, will never change who I am as a human being. They won’t make me more or less of a runner and they won’t make me more or less of a person. I know I can run. And I know I’m a decent runner. I’ve already qualified for 2015 and I may or may not decide to go back next year. If I do, great. If not, that’s great too. The end result of that race will never change who I am on the inside.

Maybe that’s the reason all of this happened to me. So I could finally realize that… 🙂

Happy Trails and Happy Running,
Tracie

PS: I want to send a huge THANK YOU to all of my friends and family. Never before have I felt so much love and support than I did on Monday. From phone calls, emails and text messages, I feel like the luckiest person around. And most importantly, THANK YOU to Mario. He has done so much for me these last few days, and without him, I’d probably be face down on the sidewalk somewhere unable to get up. How did I get so lucky? 🙂

 

3 Year Anniversary dinner, just two days after Boston

3 Year Anniversary dinner, just two days after Boston

 

Get well flowers from mom and day

Get well flowers from Mom and Dad