Friday, May 31, 2013

May in Review

Miles Covered: 29.7 miles
5.4 miles walking
24.3 miles running

Halfway to my year goal of 500 miles.

If I were travelling from Bag End to Rivendell, we would have been attacked by the Nazgul (which is oddly appropriate for this month).

Texas Flower Country Women's 10K

What can be said about this month? I went from this:

to this: 


I did not plan to spend my time this month in pain and immobility. I feel like I have been shoved back to Square One, and I'm frustrated. I know I have until the end of July before I start training for my 10 miler in September, but I'm still afraid my skill and fitness level will not be ready. If it weren't for this blog, my FB page, and the fact that I've already paid my race fees, I would have probably quit by now.

I suppose the fact that I can shift my attention from pain to thinking about these things is a good sign. I've just got to get my endurance back. Which, of course, takes time.

I just have to remind myself that it's a temporary set-back. I have too many plans and schemes for the summer--including another giveaway.

One foot in front of the other is progress.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Gall of It All OR Rethinking My Eating

Let's use this WW pony as a  kind of
unicorn chaser for this blog. In other
words, when you see WW Pony,
there is great TMI potential.
Now that I am gall-less (but not guileless), I am forced to face much of my eating habits. While I've gotten better about my food choices, I knew an overhaul would only really come if I were forced into it by a health issue.

Which is now.

The main job of the gallbladder is to help with the digestion of fat. Without it, eating foods with too much fat is like producing my own brand of Olestra. While not holding on to fat seems like a good idea, it may translate into cramps, gas, and diarrhea.*

I've already been eating better for some time now--lean meats, fruits, veggies, whole grains. I got this. It just a matter of making a few right choices, right? Mostly. For example, last Friday, I bypassed an incredibly delicious smelling pizza for a pre-packaged turkey sandwich--which still had 21g fat because of cheese and mayonnaise. I removed the cheese and ended up only having some gas. Similar situation after eating at Sweet Tomatoes; I kept the dressing nonfat, no butter on my single muffin, small cookie.

Key concept for me: moderation and adjustment. Again, reasonable and doable.

Fat runs away from me now, only my results are way less cute.
But at some point this past week, someone mentioned Indian food, and I had a major sad. My most favorite foods are saag paneer and chicken tikka masala--full of heavy cream, cheese, ghee ... I could eat those things in smaller amounts and as long as I am willing to accept the consequences of my body processing this meal. Again, in theory. I tried a small burrito with some cheese and guacamole--what I would consider "moderation"--and ended up spending a good amount of time in a Kroger bathroom. (Thankfully, I have an amusing word search game on my phone.)

Eating is now consistently asking myself, "Is it worth it?"

Thankfully, I do have a personal chef in my Mister who loves these sorts of challenges, and he frequently brings me most tasty foods. There is also the continual benefit that eating this way will continue to translate itself into more weight loss. I've gotten a lot of advice from people who have lived through this; the whole bland diet is pretty temporary until my system sorts itself out. I've adjusted enough to feed my sweet tooth with fruit and graham crackers.

I also know that I need to locate the bathroom wherever we eat.

If I think too hard (which I do), I worry about how I'm going to fuel myself on longer races. I really don't want to become NSFW Regretsy fodder. Then again, I'm going to have to get back to running in the first place (which is a whole other post).

To make things worse, I've been craving ice cream since before my surgery (two weeks ago today). Maybe someday. But I don't think post-race donuts are an option anymore. *cries*

* A more explicit cautionary tale may be found here

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Gall of It All OR Recovery Plan

Poor dog hasn't been walked for days.
I know that Having a Sad is a normal part of the healing process. Last night I Had a Big Sad--I have been so tired and overwhelmed by many things for some time now, and the act of being still has made me acutely aware of this. I can see this going two ways: either I will wallow in inactivity and depression or I will push myself too fast. Neither is ideal to a long-term recovery.

So naturally I came up with a training plan of sorts for the week:

1. Walk in the morning. Doesn't matter how fast. Doesn't matter how far. But none of this slip on the Crocs stuff. Put on "real" shoes. Put on a race shirt (or something equally inspiring). No more than a half hour.

2. Nap in the afternoon. My doctor said that really it should be no more than 20 minutes, but I went longer today. And if I do, so what.

3. Stop and assess. If I can manage a few chores or do some stuff for work from home, great; but no pushing it. Mind my pain.

4. Ask for help when I need it. I still walk pretty slow, I can only stand for a limited amount of time, and bending is still uncomfortable. Thankfully, I am surrounded by helpful people.

5. Set my limits. Nobody knows how I'm feeling except me. I need to speak up and say no if necessary.

I don't want to sit still, but I can't move too fast. This recovery will be a memory soon enough.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Gall of It All! OR Home Now

Home now for nearly a week.

As the doctor was signing my release papers, he briefly discussed the pathology of my gallbladder. Huge, yes, that part was explained to me. The doctor mentioned, however, that part of my gallbladder was gangrenous and in the process of dying.

Frightening, the more I think about it ... if it had spread ... if I had gone septic ...

I am very lucky. Or blessed, depending on your worldview. Mostly, I am grateful.

My GPS went wonky. It's probably on the same meds I am.
I've been trying to get a shuffle-walk in each day. It is frustrating not to walk very fast. My core is still tender, and my energy level is still pretty low. I know these will rebuild over time, and I've got to give myself that time.

And, no, I do not recommend this as a weight loss method, but I'm down to 180 lbs. I can see my collar bones again.

I'm not writing coherently (hello, pain killers!). I'm grateful for everyone who has stuck by and kept reading. I hate to lose the momentum even though I'm down for the count--for now.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Gall of It All! OR Still Here

Cute Chaser for a TMI post
So, this was the original plan:
  • Take a week off of running after the 10K. 
  • Simplify things to work on sustained running--repeat C25K; some Run, Zombies missions.
  • Get a formal tour of my Y's weight training facility so I can get a code to use their electronic program.
  • Do some social running, like a Moms Run This Town group or the Kung Fu Running Club
In other words, take a step back, take a big breath, and regain the joy of running before attacking a long-term training plan the end of July.

Well, I got the first one done at least. I am still in the hospital recovering from surgery, but I should be going home tomorrow.

Please do not let these put you off
this most delicious veggie.
I mentioned before that my gallbladder was too large to be removed by conventional means. That's because it was the size of a zucchini. Leaves me to wonder how it was that I didn't know. It didn't seem to affect my running performance. My core work, while minimal, was no more painful than it ought to be. I had occasional cramps when eating beef, but I had stopped eating beef months back for that reason.

 It also makes me wonder about my recovery time had I not spent the last year-plus walking and running consistently. My doctor told me yesterday that she was glad to see that I was always up, sitting, walking, moving; too many of her patients lie there. I remember when I had my c-section, I figured that I was "owed rest." I am aware now that a lot of me getting better depends on me--which means getting up and walking when I really don't want to. (I have the added benefit of not nursing a baby this time around, so bring on the narcotics!)

Mister has been holding down the fort at home. The reality that Mom has been gone longer than normal is beginning to sink in with Miss; she cried some last night at her visit. But my family is amazing in how it copes, and I am beyond grateful to how our Community has wrapped its arms around us.

And, because I'm shallow, I wonder how much weight I have lost. I also got a little wistful seeing a news report on a run that I had been considering. I do feel a million times better, however, after being able to shower, wash my hair, and shave. I am still a little afraid of eating, but I feel better after doing so.

Recovery is going to take some time. I need to remember not to rush it.

On a positive note, I woke up Friday morning to the random joy of over 200 followers on my Facebook page. Turns out that I was part of Women Races list of 100 Motivating Endurance Facebook Pages. I follow a ton of the other pages, and it's a honor to be ranked among them. Or to be considered motivating in the first place.

It's going to be slow, but every step counts.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Gall of It All! OR How Not to Rest After a Race

You know I TMI. Your fault if you keep reading.
So, after my 10K triumph (and my not-mimosa-getting non-triumph), we went back to the hotel. Mister took  Miss out to the pool while I showered and rested a bit. I felt off, but nothing really specific. I had just punished my body for an hour and a half, so this is probably all expected.

Walked to lunch. Got a chicken caesar salad. Miss fell asleep at the table (none of us had slept super well). Started to feel bad. I occasionally get bad stomach cramps when I eat beef, which I just thought was changing enzymes in my stomach; felt like that, only the pain never really stopped. Sent Mister and Miss to the pool, hoping to sleep it off. Still too much in pain for dinner. Picked at a Subway sandwich. Downed lots of water and Gatorade. Probably really stupid lack of hydration on my part. Had I been home, I would have asked to be sent to the ER. But the logistics hurt my brain. Tried to sleep it off.

Still not feeling great in the morning. Tried a bland breakfast. Threw up in the bushes outside. Several times. Felt marginally better and was able to eat toast and yogurt. Made a stop at the Texas Capitol Building because we had promised Miss that we would. Couldn't manage the walking around. Slept most of the ride home (as did Miss). Attempted a little soup. Made a doctor's appointment for the morning. Worst. Mother's. Day. Ever.

Monday, still in pain. Saw the doctor. He made the conservative call of food poisoning (although I couldn't figure it). He asked if I wanted to do bloodwork. I said yes. Tried toast. Tried applesauce. Still hurt to eat.

Tuesday, doc calls that the levels for my liver, pancreas, and kidneys are fine. My white blood cell count, however, was very high. I was to come in on Wednesday for more tests, and call him that day if it got worse. It got worse--stabbing pain in my right side. I called him, and he sent me to the ER.

In ER, recommended to have an ultrasound of the gallbladder. First, they gave me some aaaaawwwweeessssooommmmeeee pain killers. (I told Mister that this was his Golden Moment to record me saying something and animate it later.) Good thing, because I got one of those Benign Looking Creatures Who Is Really Evil as a technician. She would ask me to hold my breath, and then be so concentrated on getting that image that she would forget I was holding my breath. Or she would suddenly say, "Stop breathing!" Bottom line: I ain't no ultrasound super model.

Turns out my gallbladder was full of stones and had to come out.

Several hour wait for a room to open up at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital. Fun ambulance ride (like riding in the way-way back of a station wagon, only with more straps). Shared room, but night by myself. Surgery in the morning.

Post surgery glamour shot
No, not morning, I found out on Wednesday, because my surgeon's docket was already pretty full. Most likely late afternoon. Mister, you stay home, do some chores, come later. No, wait, Mister, I was just told I'm going in 10 minutes; surgery should be 45 minutes, recovery an hour, see you at 3PM.

Surgery took longer, though, Gallbladder was too big to be removed laparoscopically ...lap ... that rabbit-like word using normal procedures. I had to be opened up. Which means longer (and more painful) recovery. And probably better scar.

So, I'm recovering in my hospital room now. I've walked a couple times because I'm spooked about having an air bubble in my shoulder like I did after my C-section (painful muther, that). I'm also allowed to have clear liquids rather than just ice chips (as much as I do love chewing ice). I have not farted yet because you asked ... no, wait, that's the nurse.

So, yeah, no running for a little bit. My next paid-for race is in July (virtual 5K through Katy's Moms Run This Town). And a biggie end of September; I expect I will be recovered fully long before then..

And I do not ... DO NOT ... endorse this method as post-race rest, weight loss methodology, or pursuing time off from work. They've got these automated compression cuffs on my calves, though, that are pretty rocking.

More updates as I know.

Race Report: Texas Flower Country Women's 10K

Charity: Any Baby Can

Finish Time: 1:33:42

Some good, some bad.

Let's start with the not so great:
  • Epic storms the day before.
  • Car troubles the week before.
  • Anxiety attack on the drive to Fredericksburg over all the possible things that could go wrong.
  • No bag check.
  • Questionable decision in making my first 10K a trail race, although it was a mild trail. Thankfully hills were mild, and the ground soft but not sopping. Sections of gravel that made me super nervous about going too fast for fear of slipping. Uneven downhill near a creek. At one point, a woman ahead of me tripped over an unseen root. She fell in such an amazingly graceful slow motion, that another woman and I who stopped to assist thought she deserved a panel of judges; she was fine.
  • I hydrated poorly. Due to the four hour car drive so late in the day, I was afraid to drink too much because I didn't want to make potty stops every five minutes. I also thought two water stations would be enough over the course. I am getting religion with a fuel belt, people!
  • I walked too much in the middle. Period.
  • By the time I got to the finish line, the bulk of the buffet had been eaten by the 5K participants. There was still some food coming, but it wasn't worth buying the extra tickets for my family (who had eaten well at the hotel).
  • There were also no more mimosas by the time I finished. Or rather, no orange juice. I had champagne, but I was looking forward to the mimosa part.
  • The line for the massages were around the corner by the time I finished as well. It just seemed like it didn't pay to go the long distance.
Now for the good:
  • Hill Country reminds me of where I grew up in California (only Texas is far greener). I even saw some California poppies on the farm.
  • I really did try to run it with the formula, "the first third with your head, the middle third with your personality, the last third with your heart." The first quarter I did very well in pacing and timing; had this only been a 5K, it would have been stellar. Somewhere in the middle, though, I seemed to have lost my mental way. It felt lonely and slogging. I ended up turning on some Pandora low enough for me to hear (and I was pretty solitary at that point) to keep me on pace. Last quarter, I found my heart again and pushed forward. I managed to run and smile across the finish line, which is always the goal.
  • The surroundings were gorgeous! Although the farm took a toll from the winter, there were still some stunning fields of yellow flowers. The creek had a lovely little waterfall at which I had to slow down for twice. Got greeted by some cows on the other side of the fence. Deer tracks. Fuzzy caterpillars. Flitty butterflies. I'd be glad to learn some techniques of trail running if these are the results.
  • Supportive running group It was an all women run, and women of all ages, body-types, and abilities were present, (Just take it easy on the biscuits and gravy and mimosas next time, ladies!)
  • Dog friendly! Okay, maybe not my dogs. But I met a couple of furry running companions that made me miss my pooches.
  • Saw a scorpion in real life for the first time when walking through the gardens afterwards. This is both awesome and scary, because if there is a creature that freaks me out, it's scorpions.
  • I finished a 10K.
  • I did not come in last.
Do it again? Oh yeah ... although maybe just the 5K next time. If there's no medal, I'll do it for the food.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Race Report: SBEF Running for the Arts Kids 1K

Charity: Spring Branch Education Foundation

This is not really my race to report. But since I'm the Momma, and she made me go with her, I'm reporting it.

This charity is near and dear because this is my child's school district. Even if she hadn't been asking to do another race, I admit that I probably would have asked her do it anyway. We saw several of her friends from both her school, after-school care, and Girl Scout troop. Many reported that they had done this several years now, so I guess it's a Thing.

IMAG1577It's a Reserve weekend, and to make matters worse, one of the cars is in the shop. So we had to do some planning and getting up way to early to get everybody in the right places at the right time.

The information regarding the 1K was not terribly clear. One piece of information said 9AM. Another piece said 5K runners, then 5K walkers, then 1K starting at 8AM; I've done another race with these organizers, and they handled it like that bam-bam-bam. Many other parents shared my confusion, and we hung together until we found good information.

Turned out the race was at 9AM--which meant a lot of hanging about in the chill, after having gotten up very early and not had a proper breakfast. Grumpiness and getting on each other's nerves? Oh, yes.

IMAG1580Eventually, we were in place and ready to go. Little Miss didn't want to go by herself, so of course, I went along. She actually kept a good pace throughout, taking fairly regular walk breaks that were never too long. She would take off ahead of me, and I would run behind. When she wanted to walk, she would tell me to keep walking ahead of her, and she would catch up. My biggest worry with her (which is always) is that she's such a dreamer, frequently gets distracted, and doesn't always notice her surroundings (people, cars, other obstacles...). I wanted to make sure she would stay on track. I'm not sure how long it took us ultimately; we weren't last, and she had fun. If there are lessons to learn, I want these to be they.

I'm proud of my girl and who she is and who she is becoming.

On this Star Wars Day and Free Comic Book Day, may you find the courage to geek what you love and be who you are. I hope I can always support my daughter in this as she makes her own journey.