When Life Throws You a Hernia….

You often realize how incredibly lucky you are.

I know I haven’t written much lately, have been feeling a bit weird towards running and my body and didn’t know quite what was going on, so instead of voicing it out, I did what I do best…. Keep it in.

The last few speed work runs I have done, and a couple of my tempo runs have been really hard. Pushed my body harder than normal and was feeling good over the results time wise, but not over how my body was feeling. I felt worn out and my abs were hurting more than normal, chalked it up to having my abs stitched during lower body lift and I was good to go.

Until Wednesday’s tempo run with Kendall. I don’t even think we were a km in before I was having the urge to dry heave. We stopped I heaved and then away we went again. My abs were sore but I kept speeding up even when I said I wanted to slow it down…. And dry heaved a few more times along the run.

I got home, took a bath and crashed somewhat early, sleep has been off and one eluding me for a while. Slept in 30 minutes past my alarm and knew it would be a rough day at work.

And then I got out of bed…. And holy crap let me tell you I almost threw up then and there. I couldn’t stand up straight. My abs felt like a hot knife was ripping through them and I was once again dry heaving. Showered, slowly got ready for work, and sat down at the kitchen table arguing with myself that I would not call in sick because I overdid it running.

I do not call in sick to work, it’s not who I am unless I am really sick. As long as I was slightly hunched the pain was bearable and I didn’t have the number to call in sick anyhow. A little voice inside my head kept saying this was wrong, not normal and I needed to see my weight loss surgeon ASAP. So I text’d a friend asking how bad traffic was going into Richmond so I could prepare myself for the drive.

I called work, told them I was going to the hospital and drove myself hunched over like an old lady 30+ km to Richmond. I got ahold of my surgeons office as soon as they were open, and they couldn’t get ahold of Dr Sampath because he was in surgery. The receptionist said go to emergency and tell them you are a bariatric patient and I have let Sampath know you are there.

In I went. The triage nurse saw me right away and got me into a room ASAP. They took blood, took vitals, prepped me for IV and Sampath saw me as soon as he could. He ordered a CT scan to ensure I had no blockages in my bowels and no internal hernias.

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Trust me this was not how I planned to spend my day. I had gotten ahold of my husband and let my parents and brother know what was going on, and thankfully for social media let my friends know (and got in shit from multiple family who are far away over vague info with staying I am at emerg)

Vicki, my best friend who is more like a sister, said if I needed her she would leave work and come. I said I was fine. I signed paperwork to keep me overnight and called Ron saying please come to the hospital. I had my CT scan and they moved me into a different ward afterward. Vicki said they would come get my car (joys of few friends being able to drive standard) and I was trying to keep people updated.

Now let me tell you, this is why my surgeon rocks. This is the reason I drove past 3 closer hospitals to come to Richmond. My CT scan showed nothing. No hernia, no blockage, but Sampath was not willing to accept that. He bumped people waiting for the OR, scrubbed up and took me in. I signed off on paperwork saying more or less he would go in laproscopically and see what was wrong. If it was a hernia he’d fix it. Any bowel obstructions, if it was tangled or caught he would cut me open old fashioned and do what he had to. Let’s face it, any other surgeon wouldn’t have done that because they don’t understand how my body is different internally since weight loss surgery.

By 7pm I was somewhat awake in recovery, asking for Ron. The nurse, as they always do because they are awesome, snuck him in. The verdict was a small internal hernia that didn’t show up on the scan. If left alone, it would have probably caused me more serious problems later on.

And of course having my phone in the ward allowed me to realize how lucky I am for what I have in my life. People who I didn’t expect to message me did, family members ripped me one for scaring them, and I felt incredibly grateful over who I have in my life.

Sadly this might put a kink on my plans for what I had set as a time goal for Birch Bay Half. I don’t know how long I will be sidelined from running. I do know that my health comes first and as one friend said, “take this time focus on diet, get eating healthy drop weight and push it when you can go back”. I love my friends.

And because Kendall rocks here’s a random picture of her because nobody needs to see my double iv arm

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Sunday’s Run and my lack of Beast Streak

According to the training plan set out for Kendall and I for Birch Bay, this past Sunday was to be an easy 14k. With having done a sub 30 5k tempo on Wednesday and hill repeats on Thursday, I figured a good flat route was our best option with as little traffic as possible. So I convinced Kendall and Molly that we should do one of my favorite road routes out of Burnaby. I call it “A Run of Two Cities” as the route is an out and back from Burnaby, into Vancouver and back.

I was so excited to wear my new Sugoi toque for the run

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I picked up Kendall and Molly around 10, and the 3 of us booted into Burnaby, where we parked the car and left the keys at the Burnaby Running Room. A friend was working, so I told her what route we were doing and is we weren’t back in 2 hrs send help.

The route we ran is by far one of my favorites. It’s flat, pretty quiet on the traffic front and can be extended to almost any distance you need. It’s an out and back route which leads you along the North Fraser River. Normally turn around would be under the Knight St Bridge, but both our watches said we didn’t have to go that far today. We darted back for a km along the walkway by the river near a bunch of condo’s instead of the bike/walking trail for a bit of a scenery change and had a chilly headwind. In fact most of the run felt like we were up against the wind, but it was sunny and no rain so no complaints.

We ran a good pace, and to say it was an easy run would be a lie. My feet were hurting, Kendall’s legs were tired and Molly just kept going like the energizer bunny, stopping to pet whichever puppies she could along the way. She wasn’t as much a fan of intervalling as I am, but that’s ok.

We finished in my best time for a 14k

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And then I made us pose for a picture in the store. The first one was a little dark

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But we got a better shot the second go round. (Look Ma!!! Handana’s!!! I seriously don’t know how I ever ran without one)

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Afterwards we headed back to Surrey where we went for some amazing post run sushi (yes this one plate was all my food and yes I did take some home)

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Molly had to rescue the ice out of Kendall’s glass…….

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Kendall decided to model her new Sugoi beanie that I bought her to keep her head warm for our winter runs.

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And I just took a selfie to feel important.

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Even though I didn’t manage to maintain running 3k every day with the November Beast Streak Challenge, I have to realize I did not fail. I have managed to stick with a training program thus far, and am being serious towards my goal race in February 2014. I haven’t followed a proper program for a race yet, so this is new to me, and at the same time pretty exciting. Tempo runs, speed work, hill repeats and easy long runs are all a regular part of my week now. So I am listening to my body, and making the miles I do log in November count. And I am not a failure for not completing the streak, I only fail if I give up on myself which I refuse to do.

Happy 2nd Surgiversary to me

September 2006 – I weighed 450 lbs. I am not going to discuss my journey up to surgery in this post, but will down the road maybe. But it is not what today’s post is about.

November 14, 2011 I weighed 352.8 lbs

I walked into Richmond General Hospital with my mom, husband and cousin at 7 am and booked myself into surgical daycare. I underwent 8 hours of surgery in which my surgeon performed a gastric bypass procedure referred to as RNY and removed my gallbladder as well.

I was in the hospital for 4 days due to excessive vomiting and not being able to get up and move around. Nothing says fun like having your body filled with gas for laparoscopic surgery, not being able to walk and have it exit your body and vomiting over every small thing. I have never had such buyers remorse syndrome in my life as I did those first few days. Water wouldn’t stay down, and any liquid food was so thick I couldn’t get 2 spoonfuls in before I was done.

I remember being so upset and sad over how I felt. I remember being so tired and in pain and thinking that this was the worst decision I had ever made in my life. And I cried a lot. I would lay in bed uncomfortable and cry, not knowing how to deal with not being able to eat, not keeping food down and the pain of my stomach from being sick was beyond what I expected. Ok so I didn’t know what to expect but that was not it.

My brother, whom I talked with almost daily while I was in there made a comment to me that I will never forget. He said, “They tell you to walk a mile, you walk 10 miles instead. And you will do it, no matter how impossible it seems, because I believe in you.”

And I didn’t believe it was possible. When I started running at 330 lbs once I was cleared to do activity my pace was around 11-12 min/km. People out for a walk on the track used to lap me. It devistated me and made me feel like a fat girl that everyone stared at and whispered behind my back.

But I didn’t stop or give up, because I refused to be someone who people said took the easy way out. I refused to give up on my goal of running a half marathon and refused to let my brother down with believing in me.

My original goal was Las Vegas Rock and Roll Half Marathon which is this weekend. I wanted to make sure I had plenty of time to get ready and run this race and complete it.

Things change, goals change and I ran my first half marathon within 18 months of surgery and completed with a time of 2:50:25. Since then I have finished 4 half marathons and am following a training program faithfully to run sub 2:15 at Birch Bay on Feb 16, 2014 with Kendall and another friend Suzanne.

I look back at where I started, and think wow… 2 years went by pretty quick.

So here’s to 2 remarkable years, goals being smashed, and always remembering my brother’s words and how much faith he has in me.

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Walking back to the hotel with my Dad, husband and brother after my first half

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2006 – 450 lbs

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2011 – 340 lbs 2 weeks post surgery

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2013 – 195 lbs 2 years post surgery and 5 months post lower body lift

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Running Buddies

After my last post, you know my solo pitty party, I ended up going out and banging off a killer 5k at the track on Wednesday and had a much needed Thursday of hill repeats.

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Kicking my own ass at the track

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4 x 400m hill repeats

I ran solo on Wednesday but Thursday I met up with Simi, Molly and Kendall and we all ran together. Even though we all had our own pace, it felt good to be out with a few girls running.

Kendall has become a pretty big part of my running, whether it be the two of us talking about pace, encouraging each other to sign up for races, or pounding the pavement together. Between us, I am sure we’ll end up being broke with convincing the other to sign up for races.

Currently our training plan is to sub 2:15 at Birch Bay Half Marathon on February 16. We have 2 halfs booked in April, one which will take us to Vegas, so I am looking forward to that immensely.

Today, I didn’t want to get out of bed and run. I was tired, grouchy and bitchy. But I knew once I got out there I would feel different. Kendall chose the route and we ran a hard 12k, probably our best pace to date.

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The fact we are still capable of maintaining conversation during our runs helps me a lot, and I find it to be a great stress release. I was able to bounce some of my personal shit off on her, and the run was extremely therapeutic.

I have known Kendall for just over 2 months, but it feels like a lot longer. We push each other, encourage each other, and seem to sync when it comes to pace. And today, at the end of our run as we flopped in the grass outside her house, I realized how lucky I am to have her as my running partner for Birch Bay.

I know we both have our own goals for 2014, mine being trail oriented, and hers being able to run a half without stopping (I love me some intervals so I applaud her) but it doesn’t mean we can’t encourage each other. Kendall has offered to be my “people” for Baker Lake 50k. She brought me cupcakes and cheered me on with Molly at my first ever solo half.

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I am extremely lucky to have a vast group of friends I run with, and all of them are dear to me, and mean the world. And I am especially thankful for the friendship that has come out of running with Kendall. Who knew asking me to run a 14k back in September randomly was going to lead to crazy shit??

Here’s to one hell of a year in 2014, with epic races and amazing friends.

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Nonsensical Ramblings

I keep sitting here, trying to think of the words to write, of what to say and how to not sound like an idiot. But what the hell, I am not perfect.

I know I don’t talk a lot about my personal life, and I have mentioned that I underwent weight loss surgery, but I don’t know if I really ever discuss how it’s affected my life.

I struggle with low iron, low energy and of course I suck at proper eating. My protein levels are low, my body doesn’t always absorb what it needs to, and sugar/carbs can make me violently ill. Eating the wrong thing can cause me to vomit or dry heave, which causes my heart to race and my body to break into a sweat.

Because I am an idiot and I don’t fuel my body properly, before 90% of my races I am almost running on empty. Now this is completely controllable but up until now I just sort of shrugged it off and dealt with it.

Reality hit me really hard yesterday. I skipped a run 4 days into November’s Beast Streak Challenge where all I had to do was run 3k a day for the whole month. My body, lacking proper food, proper sleep, proper vitamins and god only knows what else was on barely function mode. I made it through my 9 hour shift at work, got home and just wanted to cry.

I forget sometimes that I need to let my body recover. I do not have the capability of fueling my body as easily as others. I require a multitude of vitamins daily and hover on the border of being anemic, even with my daily iron supplement. And when my body gets run down, I tend to just shrug it off and keep pushing things when instead, I should be smarter and just take that time to recoup.

I still haven’t let myself recover from my dual race in September. I have jumped into training for my next half in February, in which I am trying to sub 2:15 with Kendall. Not only that but add in the November Challenge and being part of a Nike study on gender and injury my days are booking up. I am also working as much OT as I can, not getting proper sleep and finally seeing a chiropractor over longstanding body issues.

I am done. I am worn out, tired and some days feeling that I just don’t know if I can really do all of this. I feel like I am a failure because I haven’t accomplished as much as others and feel like I hold my friends back when we run. I know that this isn’t true but there are days I do have my own pity party.

I just am having one of those weeks where I am personally struggling, people who I miss are far away, and I hate admitting feeling like I do. It’s overwhelming sometimes and I just need to figure things out diet wise, sleep wise and stop beating myself up.

I am also beyond terrified of not achieving the goals I have set for 2014. I lack confidence in my ability, and I need to cut that shit out. Just one of those days.

I know this made no sense so…. Rant over. Thanks for listening and those who read and comment…. I appreciate it xoxo