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January 17, 2019 8:42 pm

Broken Leg – Part Two

When we left off, I had arrived at home from the Emergency Room in the wee hours of the night. I was so hopped up on adrenaline that I never did end up falling asleep that night and stayed awake for the entire next day. I mostly spent the morning responding to DMs and text messages.

Once clinics were open, I began making phone calls. First, I called the orthopedic surgeon that the ER referred me to, but they told me that due to my insurance, I needed my Primary Care Provider to refer me to them – the ER wouldn’t cut it.

I made a call to my PCP and had to leave a message. They took a while to call me back, and referred me to a local orthopedic surgeon affiliated with the only hospital in town. I actually preferred this, since I didn’t relish the idea of having to travel an hour each way to see the ortho that the ER recommended.

I was told to wait a couple of hours and then call the orthopedic surgeon’s office to make a plan for surgery – my PCP had already sent over my x-rays. I waited approximately half the time they said and then called.

It took them THREE HOURS to call me back, and when they did they asked if anyone had called to schedule me yet. I replied that they had not, and they told me their weekend on-call orthopedic surgeon was super backed up in the operating room, but once he was out of surgery he’d be calling me himself to make a plan.

Up until this point, I was still assuming I’d be able to see a doctor that day. Once it was getting close to the end of the business day and I was facing the prospect of a weekend full of long, painful nights, I started to despair.

HOURS later, at 8pm, the orthopedic surgeon finally called me. He said I needed surgery for sure, so rather than having to call their office on Monday to schedule, he advised I just show up Monday morning (reminder: I was speaking with him on a Friday night) for an appt and then we’d see about putting me on the surgery schedule.

During this terribly long wait for an update, I had a really poorly timed bathroom break and ended up crying the entire way back from the bathroom to the couch. Using crutches was really difficult, as the splint from the ER went up and over my knee and was very heavy. I had not cried up until this point, so you know it was bad. After that experience, I figured out that I should time my bathroom breaks to be approximately an hour after taking medicine but not less than an hour or two before needing to take them again. It was a short window of time! I also almost passed out once on the way back to the couch – it was early in the morning and Daniel was taking me before he left for work, and I had to sit in a chair and then needed him to hang on to me in case I blacked out. I didn’t, ultimately, but everything went fuzzy and I definitely came close.

Insurance Woes

On Saturday, I began to do some insurance-related research. The weekend on-call doctor I’d been assigned wasn’t familiar to me (I live in a very small town. We know who the local doctors are!) and when I attempted to look him up on my insurance’s website, he was not listed as an in-network provider even though all his coworkers were.

Knowing that my out of network deductible was FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS (because the United States is a backwards hellhole that doesn’t have universal healthcare), I promptly panicked. I called the orthopedic surgeon’s office and left a very tightly-wound voicemail indicating I liked the doctor when I spoke with him on the phone, but for insurance reasons I had to see somebody else. I said he wasn’t showing as an in-network provider and if he’s not in-network, my deductible is astronomical and there’s no way I can be on the hook for the full cost of my surgery.

I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink after midnight on Sunday in case they decided to go ahead with surgery. I showed up Monday morning and as we were parking, I saw I had a voicemail from their office.

In it, the admin assistant acknowledged she’d received my call about wanting to switch providers for insurance reasons, and wanted me to know that even though he shows as out of network, it’s only because he’s new to the practice and he’s actually contracted with all the same insurance companies his coworkers are.

To recap: I was assigned this doctor Friday the 2nd. I requested someone else via voicemail early Saturday the 3rd. I was arriving at his office for an appt on Monday the 5th. (This info becomes important later.)

NOTE: I know I have several non-US readers, so if this insurance stuff is confusing, I’m so sorry and it’s confusing to all of us too.

Surgery

Once I was taken back to the exam room, I kept telling Daniel that I cannot let this guy so much as LOOK at me or else I will be on the hook for everything out of pocket. The sad thing was, I really liked the doctor! (We’ll call him Dr. K.) Daniel asked if I wanted him to talk with the front desk and I said YES, so he went to do that. Dr. K came in and I said the same thing to him – it’s not about YOU, it’s just that you’re not listed on my insurance. He reassured me it was fine and that he’s on all the same insurances the other doctors are. Daniel came back and said the front desk told him they’d spoken with my insurance and it was all fine. I wasn’t sure I believed them, but I was in pain and had been suffering with a very broken leg at home for four days and I was ready to get this show on the road.

Dr. K scheduled my surgery for that same day at noon, and we headed to the hospital. My mom’s cousin (“Aunt K”) was my pre-op nurse, which could sound embarrassing but was actually really comforting. It was nice seeing a familiar face! I also liked my anesthesiologist and we talked about how we both used to live in Portland. I had to have blood drawn for a pregnancy test even though I have an IUD and Daniel has had a vasectomy but AN ABUNDANCE OF CAUTION I guess. They gave me an IV and placed a nerve block for my leg, which is kind of like a leg-specific epidural that goes in the back of your thigh, close to your knee pit.

The only terrible part of the whole ordeal was in the operating room as they were trying to knock me out. They applied an oxygen mask and told me to breathe deeply and count backwards from ten. As they were saying this, they pushed something cold through the IV in my hand. It was so PROFOUNDLY painful that I screamed and burst into tears and so the last thing I remember before going under was me scream-crying and someone rapidly telling me to keep breathing so I’d go under faster.

Happily, I woke up a while later with a repaired leg and ankle and the news that Dr. K didn’t have to put in removable pins to hold my tibia and fibula together, meaning this surgery was one-and-done and I wouldn’t have to have a followup surgery to remove anything. Yay! Daniel told me my surgery took about three hours.

Aunt K was also my post-op nurse, and she took great care of me while I recovered. I did need some anti-nausea medicine at some point because I felt gross, but recovery was pretty uneventful. I mostly had to pee a lot! I munched on some crackers and toast and eventually felt good enough to leave the hospital.

Recovery

The next few days were a blur of round-the-clock babysitting since I couldn’t get my leg on or off the couch by myself for bathroom breaks. Thora also came down with some kind of barfing sickness so not only was I completely non-functional, anybody who babysat me had to be willing to enter a house with barfing child germs. We went through a lot of Clorox wipes that week.

I was instructed to be completely non-weight-bearing for six weeks, so Daniel’s mom brought over a hard plastic school chair with wheels and it changed my life! I could sit and be pulled to the bathroom instead of having to crutch there! Later, she brought over a walker – one of the fold-up ones with a little seat that elderly people use to get around. I would sit on it and scoot backward through the house. (This is not its intended use, and it specifically advises against doing it on the walker, but it worked really well for me!) I cannot overstate how revolutionary this walker has been for my recovery. It has gone with me everywhere and I love it.

In total, I spent three unpaid weeks off of work, mostly sitting at home on the couch. I didn’t watch much TV; it felt too busy. I also didn’t feel like I had the concentration for books, so I spent a lot of time on social media. I tried not to do much online shopping.

One of the biggest struggles I had was with hygiene and self-image. The idea of showering with my enormous splint was so daunting – our house doesn’t have a bathtub, just a single standing shower stall, so space was an issue and I was terrified I’d accidentally get my splint wet and have to go in to get it replaced. I did a lot of awkward sponge-baths with soap and a washcloth. Daniel kindly washed my hair in the sink.

I was living in men’s sweatpants that we cut off at the knee for my splinted leg and at the ankle for my non-injured leg. I had a hard time wearing underwear since my regular cotton ones wouldn’t stretch over my splint and the synthetic underpants I had made my skin hurt.

I just felt so gross all the time. Unwashed! No underwear! Men’s sweatpants! Dirty hair! Ugh.

Follow-up

I had a followup appt two weeks post-surgery. They took my splint off, and I got to see my repaired leg for the first time. I was told my incisions looked amazing and Dr. K was really pleased with how I was healing. I received a walking boot (not for walking though!) and instructions to not put any weight on that leg until my next appointment six weeks from then.

That appointment was on Christmas Eve, and a high school classmate was my X-ray tech! She and I talked about our kids and Christmas shopping and it was really nice. Here’s what my repaired bones look like:

X-ray of leg and ankle showing a metal plate on each side and lots of screws
Front view showing the two plates and twelve screws holding everything together!
Side view X-ray that shows the plates holding my leg and ankle together.
Side view that shows the plates a little better. Dr. K said “Ignore the bone shard at the back. It’s fine.”

My X-rays looked great according to Dr. K so I was told I could start putting weight on my leg again! My instructions were: wear the boot for walking for four weeks; you can take it off to sleep (GAME CHANGER); after the four weeks, you only need to wear it if you’re going to be going outside because it’s snowy and icy. Whew!

Currently

Once I was allowed to put weight on my leg, I felt like my recovery really sped up. I’m still using the boot, but I can hobble around the house without my walker for short distances.

Lately, I’m noticing if I spend too much time upright or walking without my walker, I do get some swelling/pain under my skin, almost like the screws are irritating it from the inside. It looks completely normal from the outside (no redness or anything scary) but feels like a bruise. Kind of wishing I had Dr. K’s email address to ask him if that’s normal… maybe I’ll call about that tomorrow!

There’s a lot of stuff I’ve failed to document here (like my whole pain medication saga) but this is basically the gist of it all! It’s been such a wild ride. So many of our family and friends have supported us throughout my recovery, whether it was bringing meals or babysitting me or babysitting the kids and I’m so grateful for all of that and everyone who reached out to me over social media or via text! It’s been a pretty lonely recovery (I haven’t been anywhere besides work, parents houses, and my doctor’s office since Nov 1st) so my “pocket friends” have been a lifesaver.

I’m also happy to answer any questions you might have about any broken leg or ankle-related topics – I’m pretty open about my recovery!

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January 16, 2019 2:05 pm

Broken Leg

In December 2017, my friend and coworker Tarra told me she was going to start participating in a “Fresh Meat” (newbie) roller derby program in the bigger town about an hour away from where we live. She offered to be the carpool “derby car” if I wanted to come along, and I definitely did!

Four women smiling after completing their first roller derby practice.
Tarra, Bronwyn, Tatum, and Meggan smiling after their first Fresh Meat roller derby practice.

I started January 2018 and went to practice twice weekly, and I loved it! Roller skating is super fun.

I graduated from Fresh Meat onto the actual team in May (I won the “Brave Little Toaster” award for trying everything even if I wasn’t sure about it at first) and then in the fall I got to participate in my first scrimmage and then a Halloween bout!

On November 1st, I ran a bunch of errands before practice. I went to the book fair at Wesley’s school, went and got us both flu shots, and then decided to early vote in person “just in case,” knowing I had two derby practices between that day and midterm Election Day on Tuesday. I wanted to be sure nothing came between me and voting for Paulette Jordan for governor and voting to expand Medicaid coverage in Idaho.

I was the carpool car that day, so I drove Tarra and Bronwyn to practice. It was a pretty difficult practice for me – I’m okay at skating but horrible at endurance work and I was exhausted. I kept taking breaks to regroup but was still overexerted. Finally, our coach told the few of us that were struggling that we could do our own thing for a bit until we felt like we were ready to rejoin the group.

Once I gathered myself, the group had started a new drill to practice jamming. You skate up to a group from behind and try to make your way through. I felt good enough to try it.

I skated up to the group and started bulldozing my way through. I made a little bit of headway and then took a strong hit from the left that knocked me up and off balance a bit, and as that was happening, I took another strong hit from the right and immediately felt my lower left leg break while I was still off-balance. I screamed and fell to the ground where I screamed again as I landed.

Practice stopped right away and the girls confirmed that I really was hurt and needed an ambulance. Someone called, and as we waited for the EMTs to arrive, my teammates removed my skate and cut off my sock so they could assess the damage. They told me my ankle looked pretty swollen and bruised, but I could only focus on how badly my leg hurt and kept saying there wasn’t anything wrong with my ankle. (Spoiler alert: there was.) One of the first non-injury related things I said to them was that I was SO THANKFUL I had early voted so at least I had that out of the way.

My teammates were amazing and even though I was in a lot of pain, I wasn’t ever scared. I felt like they handled my injury and getting me emergency help really well.

I was lying in a very awkward position – I was on my back with my left leg stretched out forward but with my foot tipped out, so the outer side of my leg rested on the ground and my inner ankle was toward the ceiling. My right leg was bent with my foot on the ground, and my right hip and buttcheek were off the ground slightly. This was admittedly difficult to maintain but it was truly the only position that felt remotely “comfortable” if one can really be comfortable with a broken leg.

I didn’t cry, but it hurt a LOT and I definitely squeezed my eyes shut and did some very deep labor breathing. My friend Bronwyn later told me that she wasn’t sure if I was even hurt that badly because I seemed to be handling it fine, and once the EMTs arrived I felt like they made a similar assessment!

My friend Tarra brought over my wallet and phone, got close to me and said, “Here’s your phone and wallet. I am coming in the ambulance with you. Your gear is in your van and I’m giving Bronwyn the keys to your van, and we will meet up with her later.” SHE IS PERFECT, A+ HOSPITAL BUDDY, COULD NOT HAVE ASKED FOR BETTER.

I texted Daniel that I had broken my leg but that the EMTs were on the way and I was being taken care of – no reason for him to get the kids up or drive to meet me or anything. That must have been a horrible text to receive, but I wanted him to know what was happening even if he couldn’t help!

Once we were in the ambulance, one EMT kept putting words in my mouth to describe my accident. Like, “so you were skating and twisted your ankle?” and I’d say “NO, I got hit and it BROKE my LEG. My ankle is not even an issue” and he’d say, “so… you got hit and then you landed on your ankle and hurt it?” And I’d have to repeat that I FELT MY LEG BREAK and had no idea what happened to my ankle but that I did not land on it. I felt very frustrated at this point but I think he finally got it in the end. I rated my pain at an 8/10 at this point and Tarra told me later that it surprised everyone in the ambulance – they didn’t expect it to be that high based on how I was acting.

We arrived at the hospital and I’m not going to lie, I was more nervous about my impending hospital experience than I was about my leg being broken. I have a well-documented history of trauma in hospitals and while I trust them to repair whatever physical injury I have, I remain very concerned with how they will treat me as a human being. Fortunately, everyone was very kind and (once I got pain meds) it was actually kind of a jovial atmosphere.

Once I got X-rays, the doctors determined that I’d broken my medial malleolus (inner ankle bone) clean off and had fractured my fibula (outer lower leg bone) in two places.

Two fibula fractures.
Fracture of my medial malleolus.

The ambulance driver came back in to check on me at this point and since the X-rays were up, he asked if he could take a non-identifiable photo of them and I said sure. He couldn’t believe the breaks were that bad! I said I told you all that it was my leg, and he laughed and said sometimes people just know!

The worst part of the whole thing was when it came time to splint my leg. Tarra semi-jokingly asked if I wanted to hold her hand during it, and as I was about to decline, the nurse was like “YES, great idea, get over here!” Tarra grabbed my hand and they assigned someone to hold my foot in place, which meant keeping it bent at a 90° angle and it was excruciating. They applied the splint materials and I firmly squeezed Tarra’s hand while she asked me about what my kids did for Halloween and what they dressed as and where we went. It was the PERFECT distraction. Easy questions to answer, which gave my brain something to focus on besides the pain as the medical professionals wrangled my broken body.

We were told they needed to consult with an orthopedic surgeon before discharging me since it was clear I needed surgery but they weren’t sure if I could wait or if it needed to be done that night. Unfortunately for me, the ortho on call just… never responded to the hospital’s calls (which is VERY BAD, if you are on call you HAVE to answer) and they tried and tried but couldn’t get ahold of anybody. Ultimately, they got someone to consult — I noted they did not say they got an orthopedic surgeon to consult — and decided to discharge me and have me follow up with an orthopedic surgeon in the morning.

Overall, I felt like I did a good job advocating for myself during my time in the ER. I asked to take photos of my X-rays! I asked doctors to repeat things to make sure I understood them! When they tried to have me leave the ER at 2am with a prescription for pain meds but no actual pain meds to make it overnight until the pharmacies opened, I voiced my concern about this and we got it sorted out before I left.

We connected with Bronwyn, who was in charge of my minivan, and she came by to pick us up.

To get me in the minivan, the nurse recommended we lay the front seat down and have me scootch up so I’d be sitting on the flat back of the seat with my leg out straight. We got me into this position with some effort and then I realized the headrest was between my shoulder blades and my whole head and neck would be hanging semi-upside down for the hour drive home and I was like… nope. We need to do something else. We were all laughing pretty hard at the sheer absurdity of the situation.

Somebody pointed out that the seat was so far back that if I just kept scootching up and over, I’d eventually come to land squarely in the backseat, which is exactly what I did. This let me prop my injured leg up on the center console between the two front seats and it was actually comfortable and I could even use the seatbelt. Tarra drove my van home with me in the backseat.

When we arrived at my house at approximately 2:30am, I texted Daniel to move the car so we could pull the van really close to the house. He did that, and then as I was getting out of the van and attempting to make my way to the porch stairs, I heard Daniel mumble something about “not feeling well” and looked up to see him white as a sheet. I told him to go inside and sit down so he didn’t pass out and he agreed, so Tarra and I were left to figure out how to get me into my house. I eventually sat down on the steps and scooted up them on my butt, which worked better than I expected.

Tarra’s husband had arrived at this point and I couldn’t help but laugh as they stood on our porch, looking down at Daniel and I who were both sitting on the floor, wondering if they should actually leave us in this condition. We waved them off, thanked them profusely for their help, and then spent the next fifteen minutes sitting on the floor and talking.

I eventually butt-scooted my way to the couch, where Daniel went about setting up the funniest (to me) barricade for the children so they wouldn’t unknowingly jostle me when they got up in the morning.

A screencap from my Instagram story that night, showing the sign Daniel made.

The story of trying to schedule surgery and then actually having surgery and the subsequent recovery is too long for this post, but MAN it has been a wild ride.

Huge thanks to Tarra for being the absolute best hospital buddy a girl could ask for — she kept saying I was “easy” to help but truly, she was such a good friend to me in my time of need. May everyone have a friend like her!

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October 6, 2014 10:59 am

Strength

strong – strôNG (adjective)
1. having the power to move heavy weights or perform other physically demanding tasks.

I started a bodyweight challenge for the month of October in order to beef myself up a bit. I’m tired of barely being able to support my own bodyweight on the monkey bars when I play with Wesley at the playground – I miss the days when I was a competitive gymnast and was able to do a ton of pull-ups no problem.

I’m happy I’ve chosen to take on this challenge. It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for a while; I know the things my body used to be capable of, and it’s hard when I remember I can’t do those things anymore.

strong – strôNG (adjective)
2. able to withstand great force or pressure.

During my labor with Thora, I felt very strong. Contractions were definitely uncomfortable and painful – I don’t want to minimize the difficulty here – but I knew I could do it. One of the signs of transition (the stage just prior to pushing) is often the woman saying “I can’t do this anymore” or “Just give me the drugs!” and I made it through without saying either of these things! It was so, so hard, but I never felt like I wanted to be drugged. I was tired, and hurting, and I kept saying “I could handle these [contractions] better if I could only get a break between them!” but in hindsight, I was handling them fine.

——

As a woman, we’re conditioned in many tiny ways over the course of our lifetimes to avoid feeling strong.

Weight Training class in high school was open to both genders, but girls rarely took it. You just knew it wasn’t for you.

Girls say things like “I don’t want to lift weights because I don’t want to get bulky.” They aren’t told it’s actually kind of hard to get “bulky” and it’s not going to happen on accident.

Growing up, we’re told that “boys won’t want to date you if you seem like you can beat them up.”

Girls are encouraged to keep quiet and not make a fuss.

Women are told childbirth hurts. What they aren’t often told is that during labor, if they don’t receive drugs, their bodies naturally secrete hormones and chemicals to minimize the pain of labor. Instead, it’s just expected that we won’t be able to handle it and we receive drugs as a matter of routine during childbirth. As a result, many women miss out on the endorphin high of a natural labor.

I’m tired of it.

——

I am PROUD that I was able to make it through twelve hours of labor completely unmedicated – it took a ton of mental strength and I proved to myself that I could do it. I was wired for HOURS after T’s birth because of my endorphins.

I am strong.

I want to have functional muscles, and joining this bodyweight challenge is the first step toward that goal.

And I’m getting stronger.

Forget stardust—you are iron. Your blood is nothing but ferrous liquid. When you bleed, you reek of rust. It is iron that fills your heart and sits in your veins. And what is iron, really, unless it’s forged?

You are iron.

And you are strong.

-n.t.

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June 27, 2013 7:41 pm

Second 5K: Complete!

In my last entry, we discussed my slothlike running capabilities and my 16+ minute miles. You will imagine my surprise when, in the middle of my run, my Nike+ app spoke up and announced that I had completed a mile in just shy of 14 minutes.

As it turned out, my slowest mile in this 5K was 14:09.

5K miletimes

I knew I was pushing myself because my face got hot way sooner than it usually does, but I still felt good otherwise so I didn’t try to back off. I had no idea it would improve my mile time that much!

Additionally, I ran the whole way! My final time was 47:08, which is about two minutes better than my first 5K.

Second 5K completed! I RAN THE WHOLE WAY!!!

I ended up with a small blister on the inside of my right foot, and toward the end of the race my left foot hurt when my toes were flexed (so, every step). But! The rest of me felt totally fine. Tired, but fine, and I bet I could have run for a tiny bit longer if my feet didn’t feel so awful.

It’s hard for me to describe how I felt when I realized I was nearing the last leg of the course and I still felt good enough to keep running. I started tearing up! Even as a competitive gymnast in high school I could never run this much or this far – I don’t think I’d ever actually run an entire mile before starting C25K. I’d always run the straightaways on the track and walk the corners.

I finished the race kind of in awe of myself and what my body can do – it was kind of weird having a moment by myself where I knew nobody. I sat on the grass, snuffling to myself while updating Twitter, and stretched my legs and watched the other runners finish.

This makes me really excited to sign up for another race – now that I know I can run the whole way, I can concentrate on improving my overall time and my individual mile times as well.

I wanted to say thank you to everybody who commented and tweeted at me before and after the race! I definitely thought about all of the messages while I was running and it helped keep me going. ♥

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June 20, 2013 8:48 pm

Slothlike

I understand that listening to other people talk about their workouts is possibly the most boring thing ever, but I can’t help myself.

Saturday, I went for a run at my parents’ house. I’m still doing C25K, and have been repeating days from weeks 6, 7, and 8 for the last few weeks. I can run 25 minutes at a time pretty well (used to be my former personal best!), and have run for 28 minutes a couple of times now. Saturday’s run was for 28 minutes, and I felt FANTASTIC at the end. I felt like I could have run for longer!

Running at my parents' house is way prettier than where I usually run.

Monday, I read this article on Medium, in which the author decides to take up running. Here is an excerpt:

My first run was just two miles at 12 minutes per mile. That’s pretty slow. However, for a non-athlete I felt fairly good about it.

I read that.

I stopped.

I went back and read it again.

My Saturday run? The one in which I felt amazing? My Nike+ app said I ran 2.32 miles, and that I averaged 16:43 per mile. This is after running three times a week for nearly SIX MONTHS.

I know all people are different, but it is still immensely frustrating to read something like that, where somebody blithely picks up a hobby you’ve toiled at for weeks and blows right by you while chattering about how badly they suck at what they’re doing.

I ran my first 5k on Halloween, nearly five months after I had taken up running as a hobby. […] I finished in 28 minutes and was super happy.

Oh hai! I finished my first 5K in FORTY-NINE MINUTES.

I then sunk deeper into despair and self-pity and googled “16 minute mile.” Lo, a wild mistake appears! I couldn’t tell if I should laugh or cry at some of the answers on this Yahoo Answers post:

“A 17 minute mile is dreadfully slow, that is like a slow walking pace. Either you are quite out of shape (and you should know when you are) or the tredmil is off (probably not) My slowest mile was 13 minutes when I was a fat 6th grader, but now I run a 8 minute average mile. Down to 6 hopefully soon. Good luck.”

DREADFULLY SLOW. 13 MINUTE MILE AS A FAT SIXTH-GRADER.

“I know this might sound cruel but my team and I had this bet that at the end of the season we would try to run a 17min. mile. Over half of us said it couldn’t be done, you just proved us wrong!!!”

THIS MIGHT SOUND CRUEL. A 17-MIN MILE COULDN’T BE DONE.

“I am almost positive that treadmill is broken
17 minute mile is like walking
or if the treadmill isn’t broken, then you are a bit out of shape”

ALMOST POSITIVE THE TREADMILL IS BROKEN.

Could they shame this poor question-asker any more? Seriously. I couldn’t make this up if I tried. There was ONE supportive commenter who encouraged the person to keep it up and possibly take up C25K as a training method, but nearly every other comment was super incredulous and/or outright shaming of the question-asker.

A while ago, I tweeted this:

…and got several responses that said I should go for it.

That’s how to support someone who is a slow runner!

——

I have my second 5K coming up on Saturday. I know I won’t finish in 28 minutes like our post author above, but that’s okay. I’m only concerned with my goal, which is to run for a bit longer than halfway, and/or improve my time a bit.

Not everybody can run eight, six, or five minute miles. Some of us take two or three times that, but least we’re still out there running.

I’m a slow runner, and that’s okay.

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April 28, 2013 2:42 pm

First 5K!

This last weekend, I completed my first 5K! It was called the Hope Pie Run, and you brought a pie and $5 to enter. I made a simple apple pie.

I got there early and, despite recognizing a high school classmate’s parents, I didn’t know anybody there. Daniel was at work and my parents were watching Wesley, so I just milled about and tried to kill some time before the race.

I had skipped my Friday Couch to 5K run in favor of using the race as my workout, primarily because the workout was “jog 20 minutes” and there was no way I was going to do that two days in a row. Heh.

That idea worked out nicely – I skipped the five minute warm-up walk and started the race jogging, and I made it all the way to the halfway point before taking a walking break! This was a personal best for me – previously, the longest I’d ever run was for 17 minutes and then I had an asthma attack. This was 25 minutes of running, or a mile and a half! And my lungs felt great.

I walked almost the entire second half with a couple of jogs here and there. I run incredibly slowly; it’s the only way I can do any kind of distance running at all. In the end, my time was almost equally split between the first and second halves.

Some of the people who had finished the race already came out to cheer on the rest of us, which was really nice. I finished the race running and ended up with a time of 49.26, which is around a 16 minute mile.

I finished my first 5K!

After you finished the race, you got to go inside and sample slices of delicious pie! I chose chocolate (good until I noticed coconut shreds in it – not what I was expecting!), sugar cream (never heard of it – it was plain but yummy), blueberry (best!) and someone else’s apple pie (good).

After my pie, I left and almost forgot to check my final time on the board! I was in my car getting ready to back out of my parking spot, and I realized I couldn’t tell anybody what my time was if I didn’t know. I had to shut the car off and run inside to check!

Also – when I was eating pie, a tiny lady in a cute matching Nike outfit sat across from me and started a conversation about the race. She mentioned she wasn’t a runner and had simply walked the whole way (which surprised me), and then said, “not like you though! You ran almost the whole way, didn’t you?

I did correct her since I only ran the first half, but I still appreciated that somebody noticed my hard work! (Even if I am the slowest runner to ever run. People walking occasionally passed me, if that gives you any idea.)

I felt pretty good the next day – the outsides of my hips were kind of sore but that’s basically it. I’d totally do another 5K to see if I can improve my time a little, or maybe run for longer than halfway. I realize that my time is dismal for anybody who considers themselves a runner, but because I do not consider myself a runner, I am pretty happy with it.

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April 9, 2013 3:55 pm

I’m A Machine

Last month, inspired by Melissa’s success, Daniel and I adopted a quasi-paleo diet. I say “quasi-paleo” because Daniel is a vegetarian and it’s very difficult to be fully Paleo while veg unless you want to eat eggs for every meal (no), and because I am a wuss and I don’t want to spend every waking moment counting carbs.

Food

I went from eating a big bowl of cereal with 1% milk every morning to eating two eggs with a bit of olive oil.

I went from eating a dry english muffin as the main part of my lunch to eating chicken cooked in olive oil and balsamic vinegar with a giant kale / sweet potato / roasted mini pumpkin seed salad on the side. Sometimes the salad is my main lunch item. Sometimes I bring spaghetti squash topped with spaghetti sauce instead.

I eliminated my morning snack of (sugary and/or fake-sugary) yogurt.

I went from eating crackers and cheese (or a Snack-Pak chocolate pudding, or a string cheese, or two mini Fruit Roll-Ups, or all of the above) as an afternoon snack to eating beef jerky or blueberries or some pistachios.

Daniel and I also made modifications to dinner, like having food-processor-shredded cauliflower as a base for yellow curry instead of white rice, and I like it better than the rice! I also tried making “pizzas” with mushrooms as the base instead of dough. (Just for me though, because Daniel hates mushrooms.)

I cut down on my evening chocolate fix, and did not go obscenely overboard in buying Cadbury Mini-Eggs this year. I think I only bought four bags, total? And I still have a half of one left in the cupboard.

I’m finding I have a tendency to be “afraid” of being hungry; small meals make me worried that I am going to be starving later and not have anything to eat. I am slowly training my body to understand that it’s okay to have a small meal because I can always eat more later if I need to.

C25K

In addition, I took up Couch to 5K. I run three times a week now, and I find myself looking forward to my runs. Me! The person who only runs if A) I am being chased by a bear, or B) I need to catch a bus.

I took a week off for a wibbly-feeling knees and only ran twice last week (repeating the last day of C25K Week 2) because of said knees. If my health insurance didn’t suck so terribly (catastrophic-only, super-high deductible, etc.) I might have thought about visiting a doctor for it, but both my knees feel great this week so – fingers crossed – no doctor for me.

I’ve also been going to free yoga at our public library 2x/month for the last few months, which has been fun.

Changes

None! I haven’t seen any positive changes (weight loss, inches lost, mood, etc.) but I am hoping they will happen eventually. In the meantime, I just get to feel really virtuous about my kale salads.

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November 10, 2012 10:13 pm

The Annual Brief Running Phase

It seems like every fall, I go through a phase where I really feel like I should be a runner. Actually, let’s start this by saying I am not a runner by any stretch of the imagination. I was a competitive gymnast for a while, but the only running you do in gymnastics is on vault, which is really more like sprinting anyway. I am not built like a runner and I don’t enjoy it very much.

And yet, every fall something in me tells me I should start running. Slowly, of course, just like Doctor Mama says. (Sometimes I get really ambitious and I think I’ll take up Couch to 5k.)

I actually went through with the running attempt, twice, following Doctor Mama’s advice. The first time, I went out for a run and made it FIFTEEN WHOLE MINUTES before nearly having an exercise-induced asthma attack and giving up. The second time I tried, I made it eleven minutes and was nearing the asthma threshold again so I stopped. I didn’t feel confident enough to try it again.

I don’t know what I’m supposed to bring on my run – my phone? keys? id? – and I don’t know where to put the stuff I do bring or how to dress appropriately for weather/exertion. I often feel like people are staring at me because of it. My boobs are so huge that it takes at least two bras (one normal, one sports bra) to reign them in to an acceptable degree. I have proper shoes (from a running store of good repute, even) but that’s practically my only item in the “pro” column for running.

This year, the urge to run is hitting me a bit later, like now-ish. Part of my problem now (besides the above) is finding a suitable place to run. I like to have my path planned out ahead of time, but there aren’t very many decent sidewalks here and the only track in the city belongs to the high school, and I doubt they’d like some random yahoo showing up unannounced to use it. In the dead of winter, no less. Where do you running people go in the snow if you live in a small town and don’t have a gym membership?!

Plus, there’s the childcare problem. I have two strollers, both sucky for different reasons, and neither of which will work in the snow. I only ever feel like running when Wesley is napping and I can’t very well leave him by himself.

I don’t even know where I’m going with this post; mostly it’s amusing to me that this same running urge happens every year in the fall, and then goes away again. Does that sort of thing happen to anybody else? It’s pretty much always in the fall, and the urge to go running comes and goes for a month or so and then leaves for another year.

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July 17, 2008 8:38 pm

The Fitness Class and the Wii

Several weeks ago, I signed up for a fitness class. The company that puts it on used to call it “bootcamp” but they changed the name to make it sound less scary. It meets three times a week (Monday, Wednesday and Saturday) for an hour, and the classes are different each time.

So far, we’ve had a few yoga classes, some pilates, a few mixed martial arts classes, and some cooking and nutrition classes. Eventually, there will also be Nia and Budokon.

It’s been pretty fun – I will say right now that I really wish I had some results to show for it but I don’t. No weight loss, no inches lost. Honestly? I often think my body is incapable of losing weight. Take, for instance, the time I had to have all four wisdom teeth out at once and I couldn’t eat solid food for FOREVER and lived off of slim fast and the occasional tuna sandwich – didn’t lose a pound. The time I moved to Portland and went from driving anywhere I needed to go to ditching the car and walking EVERYWHERE? Nothing doing. The time that I got the flu in college and couldn’t get out of bed for three days or eat anything more than saltines and ginger ale? Nope. The time I got really into using the elliptical machine at an old apartment gym and worked out at least three times a week for three months? NOPE. I have never, ever lost weight. Every time that you see me is the heaviest I have ever been in my whole life, and that is sometimes hard to deal with.

That said, I am far more aware of how little exercise I used to get before I joined this class. I walk about 7 minutes to work in the morning and 7 minutes on the way home, and I take a yoga class once a week for an hour since it’s put on for free at my workplace. I sometimes walk to the grocery store (or back) which is about ¾ mile each way, but that’s sort of it. I don’t have a gym membership, I will not take up running (I tried the Maggot way and managed 17 minutes once (a personal record) and about 13 minutes the second time and nearly had an asthma attack so I stopped) and gymnastics is sort of out of the question at this point.

I still have my exercise DVDs (don’t laugh) but I haven’t been very good about using them. Might be the 2nd story apartment and not wanting to piss off the neighbors, I don’t know. I am going to try to be better about using them, especially since part of my homework for this fitness class is to walk 30 minutes a day, every day.

Part of the process to up my fitness level involves me wanting to get Wii Fit. I finally managed to obtain a Wii (thank heavens) and it has been amazingly rad so far. I am stalking the Wii Fit Tracker like a madwoman to see if it ever goes on sale online, and I missed two “in-stock” notices while at work today because I was in meetings. ARGH.

At any rate, my fitness class is over mid-August and I’m sure I will update with my progress. Cheer me on, will you?

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