Friday, October 31, 2008

A Very Happy Halloween

I wasn't too creative with my costume; I dressed up as a trail runner for Halloween at work and also at a party we went to tonight. My husband Kenny surprised me with his costume. When we first went to the party, nobody knew who he was because of the mask (I hid on the side of the house and listened to everyone's comments). It was funny to see him with all that hair; he kept playing with it all night. Rock on, Kenny!
I wore this sign on the back of my 'costume':
This picture didn't come out great, but here I am with one of the Village People (my friend Eddie):My wonderful friends and me (Marybeth, Renee, Camille (Wayne's GF) and Wayne):
Marybeth has really been my best female friend for a long time now. She is a strong and amazing woman and was there for me a lot during my ordeal. Wayne is one of the top Master's runners in Tucson. Wayne and I have been good friends for a long while now, but we had a falling out last year. I was able to own up to my part of the conflict and things have been great ever since. Don't knock admitting a wrong when it is due; it can mean the difference between bondage of self and freedom.

Since I was all dressed up to go running and I've been pretty stressed about my work situation (more on that later - not good news), I decided to go for a run. I NEEDED a run. My first run in 4 weeks since I fractured my wrist. 4.5 miles. It felt great. I will probably go again on Sunday. I was feeling a little depressed and I knew it was time to start running again.
No problems with the wrist during the run. I think it is healing up well. I'll go back to the doc in 2 and 1/2 weeks for updated x-rays. It is only sore when I 'overdo' and use it too much. I still can't pick up or pull anything really heavy, but I can do more and more as time passes. It has made me aware of how lucky I am and how blessed I am to have such great friends. That's how it usually works; it takes some sort of problem in my life to make me reach out for help. So, I guess it was a good thing after all.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Walk Away Renee

I WALKED 9 miles today at a 15 minute pace. Walking takes so long! I am a little too high strung; running is more my speed, but I'm not back to running just yet. My legs are tired and sore from the walk, though! I didn't have any weird pain or blood rush sensation in my wrist during my walk, which was great! I rode about 15 minutes on the exercise bike, but ran out of time to do any more. I also did a variety of leg exercises on my weight machine when I got home, and a bunch of core/stomach exercises as well, so I feel full of energy today. I have lost around 4 pounds since my accident.
I have pretty much decided to not do the Tucson Marathon, which is on December 7th. I emailed the race director, and although they don't do transfers, refunds or roll-overs, she offered to give me 1/2 off next year if I kept the email. I will probably be able to get back to running in a week or two, but won't really have time to get enough mileage in before the marathon. If I did run it, I would be likely to push it, and could end up injured. Not worth it.
Instead, I'll put my focus on the Tucson Trail Runner group trail run on December 21st. It will be a 50k; a lot of it will be on the same course as OP50. Of course, I'm still doing Pemberton 50k, also.
Can't wait to get back on the trails. I just watched a show that had Evel Knievel on it; so don't go calling me crazy.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

3 weeks ago today...

I was sitting in Northwest Hospital in Oro Valley, doped up with morphine and waiting for surgery on my wrist the next morning.

The healing is slow, but every day gets better. I can now pull up, button and zip my pants and shorts without much pain. I'm sleeping pretty good finally. Typing is getting easier with my right hand and I'm able to write a little. After going back to work this week, my hand has just been pretty sore from using it from time to time, but everyday it feels better. I'm still a little bruised and swollen, but it sure looks better than it did on Monday.

What I can't do with my right hand: open jars or bottles, shift or start my vehicle, wash my hair or face, open doors, hold or lift anything more than a few ounces, push a grocery cart and so much more. My left arm is already looking bigger than my right from using it to compensate.

I really miss my weight workouts almost as much as my running. My husband told me to just do left handed exercises, but I'm already going to be imbalanced as it is!

I've used the exercise bike twice this week (once for 1/2 hour, once for an hour), done some sit-ups and a few weight exercises with my legs. I've been pretty tired going back to work and I'm just not going to push my body right now. It needs time to heal.
Here I am just having fun with Kenny and the dogs on a walk in Rillito wash. Thank you everyone for all the wonderful emails. I couldn't have made it through the last 3 weeks without all of the support.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Happy Birthday to me.

I'm certainly a happy gal!

I'm 41 today. Not too worried about getting older as long as I'm having fun and don't have to look back some day and wish I had done ______(fill in the blank from your own personal 'bucket list'). I'm definitely not going to let that happen.
Good news for my birthday! I went to the doctor this morning and got my stitches taken out. They took a set of x-rays and the doctor (Bowers, who is supposed to be an excellent orthopaedic surgeon) said it looked good. Here are a few of the x-rays showing my titanium plate and 9 screws (back and side shot):

I asked, "Does it look like it is healing right?" Of course, I expected him to say yes. I was looking at the x-rays with him and it looked good to me! He said, "Well, you really can't tell if it is healing just yet, since it has only been 2 weeks. I just want to make sure no screws have fallen out and everything is still in place." He told me this with a straight face and a little mischevious laugh. He said indeed that all the screws were right where they were supposed to be and it looked good.

Here are some pics before the stitches were taken out (Kenny took them for me):
After the stitches were taken out, my right arm looked so bruised and fragile (and skinnier!), that I was afraid to move it much. He put a few pieces of tape over the wound and then moved my wrist and fingers around to see if I was having any pain. It really didn't hurt much and he was pleased with how I was coming along. He suggested I periodically 'make a fist' to try to get some flexibility back. Here I am in the doc's office after the stitches were taken out and I've got quite a happy slappy look on my face:
And, some of the bestest news of all, look at what he is having me wear for the next 4 weeks:

I wasn't sure if he was going to give me the same splint I was wearing, or end up casting it. Looks like I got the best option - a lightweight, REMOVEABLE hand splint. I can remove it for showering, but I probably won't for another week. He said other than showering, I should keep it on at all times. I'm just happy that I can finally wash that arm!

And for the ultimate bestest news of all, he told me that I could run before the 4 weeks was up, although I probably should give it a few more weeks first. Wahoo!!!! No trails, of course. He said nothing where there could be a big risk of falling. So, I'll have to stick to roads for a while, but overall, it was fabulous to hear the great news. I'll just wait and see how I feel after two more weeks. My biggest concern has been and still is to ensure that my wrist heals up nicely.

Kenny took me to Einstein's bagels afterwards to celebrate, and I ate a most delicious cranberry bagel. Later on today, we'll make a ton of chile rellenos from the batch of roasted chilies that Kenny picked up in New Mexico last month. We freeze them when he brings them home and enjoy them all year long in everything.

Yep, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to me indeed. :)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Meet Taos, my new running buddy!

Got a new dog last week. Kenny named her Taos, since he met her in Taos, New Mexico last month while doing an art show there. She is a Louisiana Catahoula Leopard dog - we got her through the Catahoula rescue organization. She is super cute and high energy and ready to run when I'm all healed up. I love running with Dixie, but she is getting a little older and can't run very far without limping the next day.
What a ham that Taos dog is turning out to be.
She looks a lot like Dixie when Dixie was a pup. Here is Taos at around 7-8 months old:
Here is Dixie at around 6-8 months old:
We now know that Dixie dog is part Catahoula. The markings are just too similar. Dixie is also black lab, which has become more dominate the older she gets.
Welcome to our crazy home Taos!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Carondelet 10 mile race

No, I didn't run it; I was a spectator! I set my alarm for the first time in two weeks and went down to support a bunch of friends that were running the race. I figured that I'm likely to get back to work on Tuesday (if the doctor gives the okee dokee on Monday) so I better get used to getting up early again. I had a blast yelling at all of the runners coming in. How fun!

I saw Joel, the trail running fella (in the picture on the left) that was right there with me at Charoleau Gap when I fell two weeks ago. We chatted for quite a while after he finished the race and we 'debriefed the incident' which was good for both of us, I think. I was so glad he was by my side that day. He still couldn't get over how slight of a fall I had and what resulted from it. It confirmed to me what a fluke it was. I think falling on that large stretch of hard rock (which is not really representative of the trails I run on) was just being at the wrong place at the wrong time. You know what that means - still going to be running trails again people. Don't try and talk me out of it! So many people have tried already, but if I avoided everything with risk, what fun would life be? Not very. :)

I saw so many friends today - Sheryl and Steve F., Nancy, Lisa, Steve H., Dennis, Mark, Wayne, Martinho, Dan, Lynn and Joel (both from work), Randy - hope I didn't leave anyone out. It was great seeing so many people I knew. I enjoyed cheering people on - I was glad just to be out there and didn't feel like I was missing out.

I walked 3 miles on Monday, 5.5 on Tuesday, detoxed from painkillers on Wednesday and Thursday (boy, was that painful - besides the take home painkillers, they gave me morphine in the hospital!), and walked 3 miles on Friday. I also got a very used exercise bike on Thursday, which I tried out on low speed for about 25 minutes on Friday. It doesn't feel too good to have blood pumping into my wrist, so I'm keeping my heart rate down for another few days. Getting some exercise really helped me feel like I was reclaiming my life! I felt pretty down last week and longed for the return and comfort of my busy, yet crazy life. A friend of mine suggested I enjoy the down time; it doesn't come very often in life. Point taken.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Charoleau Gap run recap and an injury update

Well, I am finally getting around to posting a report from the Charoleau Gap run, which was last Saturday, October 4th. First, an update on the aftermath of the accident:

While I'm certainly not feeling 100%, I am feeling a little bit better. I am still on pain medication - having screws in your bone is pretty painful - but I'm taking less and less as time goes on. I sleep an awful lot. The doctor won't release me to go back to work until my follow-up appointment, which is on Monday, October 20th, my 41st birthday. At that time, I'll get my stitches out and the doc will take a look at a new set of x-rays to see how the bone-knitting process is coming along. I'm anxious to get to that appt., because that will determine my activity level for the next 4-6 weeks. I'm already planning on getting a stationary bike, and hope that I can really get to town on training on that. At this point, I don't miss running very much, but I know that once my energy level returns, I'll be itching to get active again. I know it will still be at least the middle of November before I can run again, but feel confident that I can keep up some of my fitness level until then.

Typing takes about 10 times longer than usual, since my dominant hand is non-functional, but I hope to be able to respond to all of the e-mails I have received sometime this week. My mother (my mother!) told me I could turn the properties of my computer mouse around, which makes it much easier to type and post and edit pictures with my left hand only. Thanks, Mom!

The outpouring of love and offers to help have been overwhelming and have reminded me of how good I really have it. Kenny left for Silverton on Friday morning, and won't return until Monday, so I've already been taking people up on their offers. Kenny was in Santa Fe last Saturday when my accident happened; his plan was to head up to Silverton for a second load (mostly his work equipment) after the weekend. Of course, my accident changed his plans, and he quickly drove back late Saturday night and was there at the hospital Sunday morning in time for my surgery. However, he really needs to get back to work, since he has a bunch of local art shows coming up, and with no tools, he was dead in the water. We felt I was pretty stable, so he went ahead and went (I actually showered and washed my hair all by myself yesterday - one handed!) He has had the never-ending job of taking care of me all week, and has done a fabulous job.
Okay, onto the fun that precipitated the predicament I'm in now...

I joined the Tucson Trail Runners for a run last Saturday out at Charoleau Gap. I was planning on doing about 15-18 miles, depending on how I felt. About 8 of us left right at dawn (Joyce left a little earlier), with everyone doing varied distances. This is a 4-wheel drive road, so we were starting early to try and beat the traffic. It is an out and back, heading into the Catalina Mountains on a very rocky road, although some parts were nice and sandy, too.
I was behind Wayne for much of the first hour, but he turned around due to some pain he was having. I finally made it to the 'Gap' around 1.5 hours in, which is about 6.7 miles out. The last mile or so to this point was very rocky and tiring. This is a crossroads for other trails, which I'll have to save for another day. I decided to go further, which is downhill - a welcome break. I went another 2 miles and turned around. On the way back, I ran into Joyce, who was working on 19 miles, and we took turns swapping pictures. It was really pretty on the other side of the Gap. After passing the Gap on the way back to the trailhead, it was all downhill, although the rockiness slowed me down a lot (looked like ZG territory in some spots!)
There were tons of yellow wildflowers along the road:
So, I was just about at 14 miles when I had stopped for a moment to snap some pics. Right at that time, along comes Joel, one of the TTR runners. I snapped his picture, and chatted with him as we walked down a rocky, steep spot. I was walking slowly down this spot when my foot skidded on some sand/gravel, and I lost my footing and slipped from an upright position to the rock underneath me. Before I hit the ground, I unwittingly put my right hand behind me. As Joel passed me, I landed on the ground to the sound of "snap!" I matter-of-factly told Joel, "I broke my wrist'. I pulled my right arm around with my left and showed Joel, who instantly suggested I sit down. I was so bummed! The skin wasn't broken, but my hand was sitting at a weird 45 degree angle to my wrist, so there was no doubt in my mind that I had broken it. I was so glad Joel was there - I kept apologizing for ruining his run. We noticed a man and woman with a 4-wheeler parked about 100 yards ahead. Joel ran and asked the guy if he would take me back to the trailhead, which was about 3 miles out from where we were. I was very calm and so thankful that I didn't have to walk back! I was having some signs of mild shock, including some shallow breathing, but for the most part, I didn't freak out. My arm really hurt getting bumped around on the 4-wheeler on the way back, but I wasn't complaining! God was certainly taking care of me that day - what luck to have Joel show up at the moment that I needed him, and if it had been 2 minutes later, the people on the 4-wheeler would have been headed back and we would have not seen them. I had been running alone for most of the run until then. How strange.

Although this picture was taken on the way out when Wayne C. was in front, it shows the approximate spot that I had my accident: Joel called 911, so the ambulance was waiting to take me to the ER when we got to the trailhead. A lot of the TTR people were there and were so wonderful to me. I was having so much fun until it happened! See Joyce's account of the run, too.
I'm glad to know that in the face of adversity, pain, and calamity, that I'm able to stay calm. I would like to take a Wilderness Medicine course in the coming year; as much as I'm out in remote areas, I think that is a skill that would be good to have. It is one thing to injure myself, but I want to know what to do to help a fellow runner if they get injured, too. I was worried that the whole 'medicine' thing would gross me out, but I think I'll be able to stay calm enough to help someone out. We'll see! I have been thinking about it since my last accident, so I'll have to see where the courses are offered.
Thanks again to all of my friends and family who have loved me and prayed for me. I know I will heal quickly and be back out there in no time.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Recovering slowly...

Thanks to everyone for your well wishes and prayers. All of your emails have been wonderful. I feel very loved and believe that I am truly blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life. Since I'm right handed, which is the side I broke, I have to type with my left hand, which is tiring and difficult. I figured this was the easiest way to update everyone.

I was finally able to get a shower and wash my hair today for the first time since I broke my wrist - mostly with Kenny's help. I'm still on pain medication, but I have taken less today than yesterday. This is my 1st broken bone, and it is extremely painful. I have been pretty sick from the anesthesia and painkillers (they gave me morphine in the hospital, and now I'm taking Ultram), so I haven't been eating much - crackers, mostly. I do a tremendous amount of sleeping.

I don't have a full cast, but a splint and Ace bandage instead. I didn't break the skin when I broke my wrist, but the orthopaedic surgeon had to make an incision to reattach the broken bone with a plate and 9 screws. So, I'll have to get the stitches out in 2 weeks. If it doesn't heal up well in 6 weeks, then the doc will cast it for a little longer. I wasn't thrilled about spending the night in the hospital (1st night ever), but the NW Medical Center in Oro Valley was like a hotel, with a beautiful view of the Catalina Mountains, so it wasn't too bad. Good food, too.

At first, I understood that there would be no exercise for two weeks, and then I thought I could go back to running (although I knew trail running would be out until I was fully healed to minimize the risk of falling). However, I sure was disappointed to learn that any running could jeopardize my healing (my balance could still be thrown off and to risk any falling, even on a road, would not be good). To keep up my fitness level, I can walk, do weight machine exercises with my legs, and I can ride a stationary bike.

I have come to accept this as I know a lot of people right now suffering with injuries and such, and I feel pretty lucky that it isn't any worse.

I'll use this time to spend with my husband and maybe just go to some races to support other runners (even though I won't be pacing Troy at JJ100, I think I'll still be there to cheer him on).

And yes, when I can return to running, I will also return to trail running. Some people might think that is crazy, but it is my passion. I also think that the accident was just a fluke - a freak accident. Actually, I learned that wrist fractures are the most common fracture.

Well, that's all for now. When I'm able to do a little more, I'll post pictures of the Gap run (typing is one thing, cropping and dragging and dropping pictures is hard with a non-dominant hand). It was fun. It is always fun and games until someone pokes an eye out! (or breaks a bone!)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Charoleau Gap run ends in wrist fracture

Got in a 14 mile run at Charoleau Gap with TTR on Saturday. 3 miles from the finish (I was on schedule for a 17 miler), I slipped while negotiating a rocky, downhill spot, which I was walking at the time. I put my hand out behind me to break my fall and I heard the snap of my wrist. Thanks to Joel, the rest of TTR, and a good samaritan on a 4-wheeler, I got back to the trailhead, and received an ambulance ride to NW Medical Center in Oro Valley. I spent the night, and had surgery on my fractured radius bone (sitting at a 45 degree angle) first thing this morning. Before surgery:One metal plate and 9 screws later, I'm home resting. Very painful. Doc says no running for 6 weeks. Looks like Tucson Marathon is out, as is pacing Troy at JJ100.

More later about the run when I can type again. Thanks to everyone for all of your support and love, especially my friend Jason, who came to the hospital to take care of me until Kenny could unexpectedly get back home Saturday night (he came home this week, but was headed back up for a second load).
Acceptance is difficult today, but I'm hanging in there. I feel blessed to have such wonderful friends and family.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Road ID

I finally ordered my Road ID (in pink!) and received it in the mail this week. I was given a Road ID gift certificate from Laszlo at one of the Blue Pants Racing Summer Trail Series races for $15 and hadn't used it yet (thanks Laszlo!). I wanted a pink wrist ID, but had to settle for the ankle one, since they never had the pink wrist version in stock. Anyway, I feel better, because I do a majority of my running by myself. Just knowing that Kenny will be contacted if something were to happen to me is a good feeling. It has my name, address, and Kenny's phone numbers. I had one line left on the plate when I ordered, so this is what I put:

I love trail running!!!!!!!!!