Saturday, February 28, 2009

Giving back

Unfortunately, I had to back out of the Chilly Half Marathon this weekend, so I decided to take the opportunity to volunteer at both the expo and event. I also brought my little sister and her boyfriend along to help them accumulate some of their required community service hours to graduate from high school this year.

We had fun at the expo today and saw many familar faces (including Marci and her hubs - thanks for saying hi!) while handing out race packets and shirts. Tomorrow we'll be at the finish line in chip removal. The forecase is calling for bloody freezing brisk temperatures, so we'll be bundled up waiting for the runners to come in.

In running news, I did achieve my double-digit goal and ran 10K on Thursday afternoon. My quads were pretty sore by the end of it, but it felt pretty good overall. I haven't had a chance to run yet this weekend, but hope to squeeze in a short one tomorrow.

I hope everyone is having a great weekend and good luck to the Chilly runners tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Back in the game

Thank you so much for the outpouring of support on my last post. It seems like you guys are almost as excited as I am that I can run again, and that means the world to me.

Last night I laced up and headed out for my second run post-injury. Everything clicked immediately. I felt fantastic! I stuck to a comfortable pace right around 6:00/KM (I'm not even going to think about pushing the pace until I get my distances back up) and felt like I could keep going and going and... you get the idea.

I set out to run only slightly longer than Sunday's 4K, but finished off at 7.1 (4.4mi). I could easily have kept on going, but Mom was expecting me for dinner. (Pancakes, anyone?)

Based on how I felt yesterday, I'm hoping to get a 10K in the books before the end of this weekend.

And speaking of 10K, I registered for the Sporting Life 10K yesterday.

Canada's EASIEST and one of the fastest downhill 10k's, it runs right down the middle of Canada's most famous street—Yonge Street!

Whether you are a novice looking for the easiest course around to complete your first 10k or a seasoned veteran setting that new PB, this is the event for you! Sign up today and join 10,000+ fitness enthusiasts in the dash down Yonge Street.

I loved the energy and excitement of this event last year and I blew my own goal out of the water with a 49:10 finish. It's a famously fast course and I am definitely looking for another PR. Any of my fellow Torontonians going to be there?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Good news x 2

This morning I had my follow-up appointment at the Fracture Clinic. My shoulder has healed up very nicely since the accident on January 24th. The x-ray indicates almost complete healing and I have full mobility of my shoulder/arm. It will take a little bit of time to build my strength back up, but doc suspects I will be 100% in another few weeks. YAY!

And the even better news? I ran yesterday. I ran! I was extremely nervous as I stepped out the door yesterday afternoon (in a snow storm, no less), but I was pleasantly surprised. My shoulder didn't bother me at all (didn't even wear the evil blood-clot-causing sling). My legs felt like they could GO! GO! GO!, but I took my time and held an easy pace. By the end of 4.2K (2.5mi) my lungs felt like they were going to burst, so I headed home feeling satisfied.

I'm not sure what to expect as far as building my endurance back up, so I'm taking it a day at a time. It just feels so darn good to be able to run again. Hallelujah!

There's still some really, really crappy stuff going on, but a little bit of good news can go a long way. And let me tell you, I really needed some good news right about now. Thanks for all of your comments and support. It helps having people behind me, even virtually.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

4 Weeks Later

It was four weeks ago today on that fateful January day when I decided to go cross-country skiing. I hadn't even considered the possibility of getting injured.

For two weeks, I was almost completely laid up.

In the third week I learned that I had developed a blood clot in my arm as a result of the immobilization.

In the past four weeks I have been to the urgent care clinic three times, my family doctor once, the hospital four times, the blood clinic twice and the clinic for my blood thinner injections eight times (my stomach is covered in bruises). Over the next couple of weeks, I still have countless appointments including the fracture clinic about my shoulder on Monday (he will probably suggest that I start physio - more appointments!), the thrombosis clinic Thursday and more blood tests. I hope to be finished with the injections this weekend. My date book can't keep up!

Through all of this, my husband has been far, far away on a business trip that was extended from four weeks to seven.

The good news is:

• Hubby comes home two weeks from today
• I feel confident that I can start running again

Unfortunately, there has been some significant bad news around here this week (not health related). It is not something I am prepared to discuss here (yet), but if I am MIA, you'll know why. Sometimes I feel like running away from everything and taking a leave of absence from 'life', but other times I think I should just keep moving forward and distract myself however I can.

Maybe getting out for a run will help clear my head...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Icing on the cake

I'm getting sick. I just have not been feeling good for the past couple days (lack of appetite, headache) and today my throat started to hurt. I have been around a lot of sick people (not to mention all the time spent in the hospital), so I won't be too surprised if I picked something up. Hopefully it won't amount to much.

Not much else to report here - I've been getting my shots and taking my meds. I have another blood test (and an appointment with my family doctor) tomorrow, so I am hoping for good news.

I planned to hit the gym tonight, but some family stuff came up after work and now I'm curled up in a blanket on the couch with a bowl of soup and I'm not going anywhere. I'll try again tomorrow.

My tentative plan is to try a light run this weekend, which will be four weeks from the accident. My shoulder has been feeling really good and I think (hope) I'm ready.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Weekend Recap!

Thank you for all of your comments on my last post with your advice, encouragement and virtual hugs. It's been a bumpy ride and your support has been priceless. I have spent more time in the hospital over the past few weeks than I have in my entire life!


• After spending all day at the hospital, I stayed home to unwind for the evening with Nights in Rodanthe.


• I woke up feeling pretty bummed that I would be spending Valentine's Day without hubby for the first time in 11 years.

• Took another day off exercise after getting the blood clot news on Friday.

• My Mom and sister came over to cheer me up in the afternoon.

• Went for my next anticoagulant injection.

• Received a beautiful flower arrangement from hubby.

• Spent the evening with my best friend who ditched her hubby so I wouldn't be alone. How's that for a good friend? Thanks Sarah!


• Went to the gym for some bike, treadmill and stepmill. Felt good to exercise.

• Another injection.

• Dinner at Mom & Dad's.


• Family Day in Ontario - holiday!

• Woke up early to go to the hospital for my blood test.

• Spent four hours (!!!) waiting for the results (thankfully, I brought a book): levels have not changed. My liver is metabolizing the drug too quickly (common in young people). Dose has been doubled.

• Another injection - really starting to feel like a pin cushion now.

• Dinner with my best friend and my sister-in-law (who are sisters) and their families.


• Shoulder is doing great. Have not worn the sling since Thursday. I might try a light run next weekend...

• Hubby comes home in < 3 weeks!

• This week is going to be hectic: injections every day, blood work on Thursday, Thrombosis clinic on Thursday, have to squeeze in an appointment with my family doctor, hoping to hit the gym a few times. Not to mention work!


Hope you all had a great weekend!

Friday, February 13, 2009

The verdict

It's not good news, but it's not terrible news either.

After the ultrasound this morning, I was sent directly to the hospital, where I ended up spending most of the day. I have a blood clot.

Thankfully, it is in a superficial vein (i.e. not a major 'important' vein). The condition is called Superficial Thrombophlebitis, which is generally not something to worry (too much) about. However, they conducted an ultrasound of my neck and my entire arm and found some evidence of Thrombosis in my upper arm (not so superficial).

I had the option of allowing it to hopefully dissipate on its own (with a small risk that a piece of the clot could break off and land somewhere significant, like my heart or lungs) or taking blood-thinners.

I've decided to pursue treatment because the risks of leaving it alone definitely scared me, and I can handle the lifestyle changes involved in being on blood-thinners.

I have already started taking the rat poison medication with a shot in the tummy, and will get a shot daily for the next 3-5 days (depending on a blood test on Monday). After that, I will be taking pills for at least 3 months and up to 6. Throughout this entire time, I will need weekly blood tests.

There are some dietary and alcohol restrictions, but mostly I have to be careful not to cut myself. I can handle this if it means I don't have to worry about an Embolism.

I think I asked a bazillion questions, but forgot to ask about the implications of exercise (running in particular). I have not found anything online that suggests any risks, except with full contact sports for obvious reasons! I'll ask the doctor tomorrow when I go for my next shot.

It has been a whirlwind of a day. All I have had a chance to eat is a donut and I am physically and emotionally exhausted.

Oh, and the kicker? The clotting is a result of my arm being bent in a sling for 2.5 weeks. The doctor compared it to a hose with a kink in it. Would have been nice if someone had mentioned this risk when they gave me the sling!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I have good news and bad news

The Good

In the past two days, my shoulder has improved significantly. I was able to leave the sling off all day today, except to exercise (25 mins bike, 10 mins stepmill). The shoulder was a little achey, most likely adjusting to holding the weight of my arm again, but for the most part it felt good. Motion is still limited and I can't push/pull/lift anything, but I consider this tremendous progress.


The Bad

Over the past couple days I have developed a strange lump under my skin in my forearm. This morning I woke up and it was red, swollen and painful so I made a trip to the clinic. The doctor seemed a little baffled and admitted that she had no idea what it could be, but she seemed to take it seriously. She immediately put me on high-dose anti-biotics (incase it is infected) and anti-inflammatories and I have an ultrasound tomorrow morning.

Please tell me not to worry.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Hello Exercise!

I'm pleased to report that things have gone well since returning to work yesterday. I have to get used to waking up early again (*yawn*) and it takes me forever to get ready (staying in my jammies all day was easier!), but I can't complain too much. I've had lots of help with transportation and everyone at work has been extra patient and accommodating. I kind of miss my lazy days, but it's good to be out of the house and back into a routine.

Even better news is that I've been able to exercise! It feels so good to be active again. It's not running, but I'll take it. Yesterday I walked for about 45 minutes on my Mom's treadmill with incline and speed intervals to keep it interesting. It was actually a great workout! Today I hit the gym after work for a 30 minute hill program on the bike followed by a gruelling 10 minutes on this beast: the Stairmaster Stepmill.

It's basically a revolving staircase and it kicked my butt!

After that, I walked another 20 minutes home.

AND IT FELT GREAT. The best news is that none of this has aggravated my shoulder in the least. I'm hoping to walk, bike and/or climb every day to keep myself as fit as possible. I can't even explain how good it has been for my mentality to be active again. The sedentary lifestyle does not work for me.

My mobility has also continued to improve in the last few days. I think I can see the light at the end of this tunnel...

Sunday, February 08, 2009


I joined my clinic group this morning at our instructor's house for a lovely brunch after their run. It sucked not being able to enjoy a beautiful 21K in the country with the gang, but it was great to see everyone and get some encouragement. I have been assured that they will be there waiting for me when I'm on the road again and train with me for a fall marathon.

I'm still coming to terms with the fact that I won't be able to fulfill my spring plans. Even if I'm running again in 4 more weeks (which is likely the best case scenario), I won't be ready for a full in May.

The only consolation is that I hadn't registered yet!

I'm trying to keep a positive attitude. In the grand scheme of things, this will only be a blip on the radar. I have a lifetime of races ahead of me. But it still sucks. This is the longest I have not run since I started about two years ago.

The good news is, my shoulder feels a lot better. I'm able to take the sling off for a couple hours at a time without too much discomfort and mobility has increased significantly since my appointment last week. It's still going to be a long road, but the improvement is reassuring.

I'm planning to start walking on the treadmill at my parents' house this week. If that goes okay, I'll try the stationary bike at the gym. Hopefully I can maintain some semblance of fitness over the next few weeks. After 14 completely sedentary days, I feel like a blob.

I'm going back to work tomorrow and I know it will be good to get back into a routine. Sitting around the house all day has not been good for my mental or physical well-being... although I think I have read more books than I did all last year and I have enjoyed watching Ellen everyday. :)

Thanks for your continued encouragement and support.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Interview and Foto Friday

Jess sent me these interview questions earlier this week. If you'd like to participate, see the instructions below.

1. What is the greatest challenge about fitting training in with the rest of your life?

My weight. This may seem unusual, but I struggle to lose/maintain my weight while training for long distances. It seems I still have to figure out how much to eat (and what to eat) to adequately fuel my body without using the training as an excuse to pig out. I have deep-rooted food issues and this is an ongoing battle for me.

2. If you could only choose one distance to race from here on out, what would you choose and why?

I would have to say marathon. If I only had the time/energy/resources to complete one marathon per year as opposed to, say, four half marathons or five 10K's, I would still go for the marathon. I've only run one so far and I'm not done yet.

3. If you could live anywhere, and cost of living and job availability weren't issues, where would you want to live?

I would love to live in New York City, but only temporarily. Long-term, I can only imagine living right where I am now in Greater Toronto suburbia. I love that I'm close enough to the big city to enjoy its conveniences, but far enough away to avoid its inconveniences. Plus, I couldn't stand to be away from my family.

4. What's the best part about your typical day?

During the week it would have to be the short time in the evening before bed when hubby and I can finally unwind together. Before that, we always seem to be rushing around. On the weekend, I love waking up in the morning and hanging out before starting our day, especially if we don't have much going on and we can just take it easy.

5. If you could only accomplish one thing in the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

Motherhood. I'm not ready for children just yet, but I have always pictured myself as a mom. I have a wonderful relationship with my parents and I look forward to giving them grand-children to love... although my mom is not ready to be a grandma just yet. ;)

(Great questions, Jess!)

To play along:

1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. (I get to pick the questions).
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview others in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.


In honour of Foto Friday, this is me straddling the Prime Meridien at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England in 2007. This was one of the coolest parts of the trip.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Three Things Thursday

1. Last night I finished 50/50. I barely put it down after starting it the previous day. Believe it or not, I had never even heard of Dean until he was introduced to me via the running community, and what an amazing story. I loved how the book was simultaneously motivational and informational, peppered with training tips, nutritional advice and random tidbits. I'm pretty sure I was one of the few who still had not read it, but if anyone out there is still missing out, you must read this book! (Thanks again, Melanie!)

2. You may recall that I was the December winner of free shoes from Running Shoes Reviews. I received my Adidas AdiSTAR's last week. Check these out!

Thanks Liah!

3. The Chic Runner is giving away a copy of Eat This Not That. Click here to check it out and enter your name.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Shoulder update

First, thank you so much to Mel who has kindly loaned me her copy of Dean Karnazes' book 50/50. I have heard nothing but great reviews and can't wait to crack it open this afternoon.

I saw the specialist yesterday morning. After some poking and prodding and another series of x-rays, the diagnosis is a Grade III Separation. The images below illustrate a healthy shoulder compared to this type of separation of the AC joint.

Grade III - A complete separation of the joint. The acromioclavicular ligament, the coracoclavicular ligaments, and the capsule surrounding the joint are torn. Usually, the displacement is obvious on clinical exam. Without any ligament support, the shoulder falls under the weight of the arm and the clavicle is pushed up, causing a bump on the shoulder.


In my case, one of the coracoclavicular ligaments was able to hold so the separation is not quite complete. Still, doc measured a 6mm (non weight bearing) separation. Just looking at the x-rays made me cringe. Ever notice how an injury hurts more when you know what it is?

The prognosis is several weeks of rest. Surgery is optional but not required. It should heal naturally and completely with just a permanent bump on my shoulder to remind me of this unfortunate incident.

I will continue wearing the sling for comfort and can use my judgment and remove it when I feel ready. In the mean time, I have to take it off at least 4 times per day to perform light mobility exercises.

I will see the doc again in three weeks, at which point I can begin physiotherapy. He expects significant improvement before that time and I hope he is right.

Next week I will go back to work on 'light duty' and I also hope to start incorporating exercise back into my life. I'll use the bike and treadmill to keep my fitness up as much as possible. At this point I have no idea when I'll be able to run again. It's disappointing because I have really been enjoying my clinic and was looking forward to some great races this spring. I will just have to let myself heal and take it a day at a time.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

On a day like today...

...I really miss running.

I woke up this morning to sweltering above-freezing temperatures and a bright sunny sky. It was painful to spend all day indoors. It's been 8 days since the accident and ten days since my last run. This is definitely not the way I intended to finish the month.

I feel sluggish, bored and frustrated. Hoping for some answers from the orthopaedic specialist tomorrow.

Thanks to everyone who ran some miles on my behalf this weekend. I don't know what I would do during times like this without such a great support group.