This was the weekend when I could finally run/exercise. OK, I ran once earlier, but it was only a short jog and this weekend was going to be nonstop action.
Saturday was the NY Mets Run for Homeplate 5K. I was glad that I did that little jog on Wednesday since it gave me an idea as to how hard I could push myself. The answer I got was not much. So I had every intention of just doing this race as a nice easy run. The morning dawned hot and humid with a promise of more heat and more humidity. Chelly and I headed over to Shea for the odd 10am start. We picked up our bibs and headed into the stadium picnic area to take a gander at the field and watch a little of the kids running. I used to be a baseball fan and a big Mets fan. They're still my team, but I've not been following baseball much the last few years. But I was still excited over the opportunity to see Shea from a different vantage point. I used to go a dozen times a summer when I was a kid and I always sat all the way up in the grandstand area. The picnic area is usually set aside for corporate groups or others with moolah.
As races go, this was kind of ::meh:: Very hot, no shade, rough roadway (I almost fell flat on my face due to potholes) and, of course, I was out of shape. I settled into a 10:30 - 10:50 pace. Nice easy jog. Just wanted to last the distance. Managed to finish in a chip time of 33:18, official time of 34:38. 66th in my age group, which I would be thrilled with normally, but there were only 81 in my age group on Saturday ;-) I felt pretty good after the race. Nowhere near the feeling I usually have, but not too bad for the lack of running for a month.
Next year, if I run this one again, I'm going to bring my camera with me while I run and just take advantage of the opportunity to catch some great photos. This one is practically in my backyard, so I don't mind just using it as workout.
After the race, and after being unceremoniously shuffled out of the stadium, we headed back to my place to clean up and pack the car for the Harlem Valley Rail Ride on Sunday. We headed upstate to Poughkeepsie where we got a motel room for the night in order to be able to make the early ride start. This was my first organized bike ride. It also was the longest bike ride I've ever done and only the second time I had taken my bike out on the road. I was looking to do all kinds of new things this weekend!
Sunday we got an early start. After breakfasting at IHOP, we headed up to the start point in Millerton, NY. Dutchess County is a beautiful area and I was looking forward to riding through the countryside, even if it was supposed to hit 91 that day. We arrived at the parking area after a little bit of wandering through local roads and proceeded to unpack and unfold the bikes. Chelly immediately noticed an unusual sound coming from her bike when she was rolling it around a bit. We tried to locate the source and noticed a broken spoke. It looked like our ride was going to be over before we even got started. We asked one of the volunteers who told us there was a repair tent set up at the checkin area. So we walked the mile to the checkin only to be told that wasn't a repair they were equipped to handle. They pointed us to a local bike shop near the start of the ride. So we decided to pick up our stuff and walk over. If the bike wasn't rideable, Chelly told me to do the ride myself and she'd hang out in Millerton. The bike shop wasn't much help except to tell us that we might be able to do the ride without the spoke. The wheel was going to have to be repaired either way, the ride we were planning was on fairly flat paved trails, so Chelly decided to go for it.
The ride was wonderful. I highly recommend the Harlem Valley Rail Trail for biking and other activities. Most of the ride was shaded and I didn't feel uncomfortably hot. The beginner ride we did was basically 11 miles out and 11 miles back on the Rail Trail. I didn't have any real difficulties, except for 'numb butt' and some pain and stiffness in my right knee which I felt a twinge of on Saturday in the race. I was flagging as we approached the end, but I'm pretty sure that I can manage a bit longer ride if I was in better shape. I'm going to sign up for the 35 mile option in the New York Century Ride in September and see if I can do that. My only cringe is the really early start time in upper Manhattan. I foresee a 4am wake up call :-)
OK, I couldn't wait any longer. I went out yesterday for a short, easy run. At least it should have been easy. Three weeks with no running changes the definition of 'easy'. I was just planning on jogging for 1 - 1.25 miles. 10:00 per mile should be easy, no? Well, I did that pace but I was pretty wiped at the end. Sweat was pouring off of me like I had come in out of the rain. My heart was racing and I thought I was going to pass out. I drank some Gatorade Endurance when I got back and whole lot of water on top of that. Got in the shower and was sweating in the shower. How gross.
Today I feel a little sore in my quads. My incisions are kind of irritated, probably from the bouncing. They still look the same, however. So, no harm.
This weekend is a 5k race I signed up for prior to the surgery The NY Mets Run for Home Plate. I'm planning on doing it just as a fun run. I'm going to have to try really hard to slow myself down. I feel like a junkie that has been detoxed - I'm going to overdose trying to work at the same level as pre-surgery. Need to remind myself that it will take some time to get back to where I was.
I'm also doing a 20 mile bike ride on Sunday. They're giving us like 7 hours to complete it. I should be able to do it even if I just walk - I hope.
Today was my two-week checkup after the surgery that paused my life. I've been feeling pretty good, except for some pain and irritation at the incision sites and, perhaps, a lower energy level. I was told at the hospital not to do much of anything for at least a week or two and no heavy lifting for at least four weeks. The first part hasn't been too hard. I was feeling overwhelmingly guilty for the first week or so that I wasn't running or exercising. But after doing some internet searching and some chatting with fellow recent operatees (hello one pink fuzzy!) I came to the realization that I just had major surgery! I mean I knew that, but it hadn't really sunk in.
Well, the checkup went fine. The doctor said the incisions are healing nicely. He also seemed a bit taken aback that I had already returned to work and my regular daily schedule. (See, I should have been milking this more). I tried to pin him down on when I could go back to running. I'm not sure that I want to go out and run today (it's over 90 and my midriff is still kind of sore) but I was thinking perhaps this week. Nope. He says that I shouldn't be running until at least the four weeks is up. He said I could try some walking and/or swimming if I like, but no running. Blast! I don't like swimming and walking is so boring!(some cheese with that whine?)
I'm planning on pushing that schedule just a smidge and suiting up for the Met's Run for Home Plate on July 29. I don't care if I end up walking for the whole course. I really wanted to do this one and I got an entry (the race has been closed for weeks) so I don't want to waste it. I'm also going on a biking trip that weekend after the race. I'll probably end up just doing support for Chelly or sightseeing around the area if that isn't needed. August is pretty empty (why couldn't this have happened the first week in August instead?) so I'll be trying to build up my stamina again for the fall races.
As an aside from all the whinging, I have added a link in the sidebar to my Flickr account. I've posted a few pictures from my Colorado trip (pre and post operation - see if you can tell by my expression) and will be adding to it here and there.
This is a gallbladder. A little organ located just beneath your breastbone and off to the right a little. I don't have one anymore. And so is the story of my vacation.
I flew to Colorado on Wed, June 29, to visit with my sister and to celebrate my birthday on the 30th. My sister, Jacqui, met me at the airport as she was coming in around the same time from a business trip to Florida. We grabbed our bags, stopped at Panera's to pick some stuff up for lunch and headed to her house. We hung around for the afternoon, catching up and relaxing. Later, she took me to the outdoor store to pick up a pair of light hikers which were my birthday gift from her and her partner. That night, we went over to the local mall for live music and beer.
Friday morning I got up and did a short run around the trails in the area. My sister lives in a development area outside Boulder, but the builders leave loads of open space as part of their plans, and this leads to pleasant running areas. I saw tons of prairie dogs scattering as I did a slow 3.25 miles, just to loosen my legs and start to acclimate to the altitude. It was kind of hot and a little difficult to breathe, but it was much better than I remembered from last year.
After lunch, we headed out to a local park area for a hike. It's gorgeous up there. We hiked for a few hours, saw the remains of a deer, which was probably some mountain lion's dinner and basically enjoyed ourselves.
On the way home, we stopped for a beer at a local establishment to celebrate my birthday. We discussed dinner and it was decided to go for Mexican, which is one of my favorites.
Saturday morning I woke up with a bit of heartburn, which I figured was from the alcohol and meal the night before. I've been getting heartburn, sometimes really bad attacks for years, and hoped it would work itself out. We headed into Boulder to take a stroll on the Boulder Creek pathway and to check out the Farmer's Market. The Boulder Farmer's Market is a pretty good one and they have a nice food court area which serves different ethnic and organic foods. I had some dumplings made with chicken, basil and vegetables which were tasty. I followed that with a big ginger-spice cookie. My tummy was still hurting, but no worse than earlier and I was trying my best to ignore it.
Later on, after doing some further grocery shopping, we headed home. My sister was going to grill for dinner, so she started setting that up. By this time, the stomach was getting worse. I hung around for as long as I could, but decided to try and ease the pain by relaxing in a hot bath. This didn't work and it got progressively worse through the night.
My sister had a bike race the following morning, so I tried not to make too big a deal out of it, but it was excruciating. As soon as she got home on Sunday morning, I went and told her that I thought I should go see a doctor. We headed over to the nearest urgent care facility. As soon as I got there, they started running tests to try and figure out what was going on. It's pretty hazy to me as I was dozing in between and as soon as they thought it was safe, they started giving me painkillers. These didn't actually stop the pain, but I was floating above it. After about 4 hours at the urgent care, they decided to send me over to the hospital emergency room. My main concern by this time was that I was dying of thirst. I wasn't allowed anything. I was begging for ice chips, but due to the stomach upset and the still to be made determination, I wasn't allowed to eat or drink anything. I eventually ended up going over 48 hours without food or water by mouth. I was admitted to the hospital just after midnight Sunday night after going through a CAT scan and a sonogram that determined that my gallbladder was completely blocked by a 2.5 centimeter stone. I was set up in a room with a pump to self-administer painkillers (nice!) and put on full assist, which meant I had to ring for help every time I had to go to the bathroom. At least they let me go to the bathroom.
Monday morning, still without food or water, the nurse came in to discuss my options with me. They would release me, if I chose, to have the gallbladder looked at when I got home, or they would operate. She told me that I could probably fly either way, but she thought I'd be much more comfortable post- rather than pre-surgical. Since I was still in some pain and would have had to face dealing with NYC emergency care, I opted to stay in the hospital and have it out already. They operated Monday afternoon. Monday night I got dinner. Jello and clear broth never tasted so good.
Tuesday morning my sister went to the race that we were both supposed to run. Afterwards, I called and told her they were releasing me. I bumped my flight back as my original flyout was on Wednesday. I could have done it, but it wouldn't have been too comfortable. Instead I left on Friday. My sister tried to entertain me for the remainder of the week. We did a little window shopping on Wednesday and Thursday we went to the Denver Science of Museum which was nice, but she wasn't sure what to with someone who couldn't be active and I was in some discomfort and loopy from the painkillers. My flight back sucked in too many ways to get into and I've been kind of depressed due to the whole thing. I'm now trying to decide whether to go to work tomorrow. Physically, I could probably do it but mentally I so don't want to be there. We'll see.