Sunday, January 27, 2013

Recovering

It has been almost 4 weeks since I broke my wrist and 2.5 weeks since surgery. This is the first week since the accident that I haven't been so exhausted that I needed to take a daily nap, well that is until I ran 15 miles. Some of my one handed highlights and improvements from this week:


  • I ran a total of 30 miles this week without my sling.
  • Seeing The Mountain Runners with Susan, a wonderful documentary on a race that took place from 1911 - 1914 to promote Mt. Baker in Washington.
  • Dinner out with my parents, even though my mom still had to cut-up my food for me.
  • I made peanut butter cookies (all by myself)!
  • I was able to drive my car, but I am still a leery about driving a stick.
  • I even painted a picture at Nedra's birthday painting party.
My first attempt at painting - ever. 
Not bad for having only one good hand. 

I am noticing small improvements with the flexibility of my wrist while doing my physical therapy exercises, but the PT definitely makes my wrist sore. I also learned to massage my scar tissue, which creeps me out, but if that is what it takes, then so be it. I am aslo allowing myself to do things I normally don't do, like buy flowers for the house and scheduling a massage, so I am not missing the things I can't do.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Unstoppable

Well, it's old news now, but Ann broke her wrist on a Monday and five days later ran 8 miles with me on a trail with bits of ice. We ran again right up until her surgery, and then a mere six days after that, she started back up. We just ran 13 miles on some seriously icy terrain (luckily I slipped, not her). Having a few screws hold her arm together is truly no match for Ann. I am thankful to have such a tough, quick-healing running parter!
Not even a broken arm can stop Ann.

Oregon coast trails

Sun beams hit the well-graded trail

I was at the coast for a rare sunny January weekend, so my husband and I took a little hike down to Short Sands with our young toddler. Although we parked in the usual lot, we noticed a little map and decided to try a different route down to the beach, along the trail to Cape Falcon.
A lovely mess of mud awaits

Gorgeous views down to Short Sands Beach

I am so glad we did. As we walked, a voice in my head clapped and skipped, shouting "This trail is perfect for a run!" Sadly, when we got to the beach, there was no beach because the tide was so high.
The waterfalls seen at the edge of the above photos

A view of Neahkahnie Mountain


I went back the next day and improvised a run slightly longer than just Cape Falcon out and back, about six miles. The sun was out, the mud wasn't too deep, and the views were absolutely spectacular. While there's some elevation gain, it's not steep and the trails are well-graded.
Me (Susan) at the suspension bridge just south of Short Sands Beach

Cape Falcon


I also noticed that this little system of trails in Oswald West State Park connects into the Oregon Coast Trail at both its north and south ends, meaning that we could add mileage in either direction-- even go up Neahkahnie Mountain and back! Of course that got me thinking about doing the whole Oregon Coast Trail in pieces, like we first did with Wildwood a couple of years ago.

Only one thing would've made this run better: if Ann had been there.
A wistful stone near old growth trees

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Broken but running

It has been 2.5 weeks since I broke my wrist snowboarding, I had my stitches removed and my first physical therapy appointment this week. I also got to ditch the splint and upgrade to a removable wrist brace. My physical therapist said my wrist looked good and had a little more mobility than expected, but still not a lot. I will be meeting with a PT 2x a week for awhile. The brace comes off in 4-5 weeks, and I can expect to be fully recovered in 3 months. I can run, but I am suppose to take it easy for the next 10 days. So all good news. Snowboarding and yoga will have to wait awhile.

I am still really tired, I know it is my body healing, but I really want to make it through the day without feeling like I need a nap. This was my first full week back at work and everyday I came home and took a 1-2 hour nap. This is also the first time I have been out and had beers since the accident! I was so lucky that Apex had my favorite beer on tap, Tripel Karmeliet.

First beer post accident!
New Gothic wrist brace

I am extremely lucky that John and are finally living together and he is able to drive me to work, doctor's appointments, cook, help me get dressed and just take care of me. I am also fortunate to have awesome co-workers and friends who are very understanding and helpful. 

So taking it easy running this week meant running 13 miles instead of our planned 18. To keep it easy we just did an out and back on (icy) Wildwood, Jay and Bob joined us for part of it. The first few miles were a little tough, but my body warmed up and the rest of the run felt great. I did take a 2 hour nap when I got home, but only after some food and a hot bath.

Not a bad week, and it should just keep getting better.

Trail maintenance and me in my "running" sling


icy artifacts

Monday, January 14, 2013

Broken

On New Year's eve I was snowboarding, when I caught an edge and flipped forward, which caused me to do a few somersaults down the mountain. As soon as I tried to push myself up I knew something was wrong. My left wrist felt really stiff and it hurt to put any weight on it. Luckily John was right behind me when I fell, he asked me if I thought I could make it down the mountain to the medical clinic. Somehow I was able to snowboard down to the clinic.

My wrist getting iced at the Mt. Hood Meadows Clinic
The nurse in the clinic got my gloves and jacket off, and as soon as I saw my black and blue wrist, it really started to hurt. They were able to take x-rays at the clinic, which confirmed I had a fractured wrist. The volunteer doctor at the clinic that day was awesome, his specialties are shoulders and knees, but he told us he practiced at a Sports Medicine clinic at OHSU in Portland and his partner specialized in wrist injuries. He told me that I probably had 2 options: surgery or a cast. Either option meant that my wrist would be in a cast or splint for 6-8 weeks, and he would advise against running. He said a treadmill might be ok after some time. This really was the last thing I wanted to hear, especially since Susan and I had just signed up for the Gorge Waterfall 50k. No, I take that back the last thing I wanted to hear was that we would have to cancel our snowboarding / skiing trip at the end of February to Austria, because I wouldn't be healed. He told me it would be cutting it close.

I spent the rest of New Year's eve at my moms' with friends, Vicodin and wine. Needless to say it wasn't the NYE I had anticipated, but I made the most of it.

I was able to schedule an appointment with the wrist specialist later in the week. I ended up meeting with his physician's assistant who told me I had a Distal Radius Fracture, which would require surgery, Open Reduction Internal Fixation (ORIF). She also told me I probably wouldn't be healed enough for our ski trip. But she did tell me that I could run since I was going to have surgery, but that it would probably hurt and just to make sure I didn't fall and make things worse.

I was so excited that as soon as we got home, I put on my running gear to go out for a test run. I only ran 2 miles, but I was convinced I would be able to go on my long run (15 miles) the next day with Susan. I laid off the pain pills so I would be ready to run the next day, unfortunately this only worked until about 5am, when I just couldn't take the pain anymore and finally gave into the pain pills. 

I woke up 30 minutes after we were suppose to start our run, I was bummed I missed it, but John said he would go hiking with me in Forest Park instead. As we started down the Birch trail, Bob and Jay were heading out, they had run the first half of the run with Susan. They said she had just taken-off down Wildwood. I gave her a call and she said she would turn around and meet me. John was happy to have me ditch him so he could get an earlier start on brewing. I ended up running 8 miles with Susan on icy trails, with very little pain in my arm. 

Ready for a run or hike
My surgery was scheduled for Wednesday, so I was able to get in 2 more runs on Monday and Tuesday.

As Wednesday approached I started to get more freaked out about the surgery, I had never had surgery before and I hadn't even met my surgeon. Googling the surgery it seemed pretty low risk and common, but I was still anxious. I also stumbled upon Amy Reinink's blog, she is a runner who also broke her wrist snowboarding. I can't tell you how nice it was to come across her blog, it helped to lower my anxiety and also answered a lot of my questions about recovery.
 
Wednesday was a long day, I finally got to meet my surgeon and he told me that I would only be in the splint for a little more than a week post surgery and in a wrist guard for 4 weeks after that. He also said I could do limited exercise after I was in the wrist guard. I am sure my definition of limited is different than his.

Ready for surgery

My surgery went fine and I was able to go home the same day. Luckily my left arm was numb from the nerve block, but unfortunately it wore off. I was in more pain on Thursday morning than I had ever experienced before. No one had prepared me for this. By Thursday afternoon the major pain had subsided and I was able to handle the hour car ride to my mom's house. I spent the weekend recovering at my mom's. I couldn't have asked for a better place to recover.

I went to work today for the first time since surgery, my wrist felt fine and I am off the pain meds, but I was really surprised how tired I was. When I got home from work I passed out for almost 2 hours.

I am really trying not to focus on the things I can't do, but instead find things I can do one handed. Since I can type (slowly) one handed, I plan on blogging weekly about my recovery.




Thursday, January 3, 2013

Snowy defeat by a wiener dog

Ann saw that some folks from Trail Factor were organizing a "fat ass" (a low-key, free, no aid run-- I only learned the term recently when James Varner, race director of Rainshadow Running, was on UltraRunning podcast) on December 15, so we sucked up our new-kid-at-school fears and showed up.  John dropped us off at the Germantown trailhead of the Wildwood Trail, where about two dozen people gathered. Most of us ran through to the Wildwood trailhead on NW 53rd for the "half ass," 25k, while a few hardy folks-- including a couple in Christmas sweaters and knee socks-- ran back for a full fat ass 50k.

Ann catching snowflakes on her tongue
Here's the thing about the run: as we all waited to start, a man arrived with a dachshund. Just an ordinary wiener dog, but I knew that dog would pass me and trample my ego. So my one goal was to stay ahead of him. We started off and the vast majority of people were faster than us, but we settled into a nice line as a snowflake drifted down here and there, becoming more steady, until-- what the what!?-- it was SNOWING. Hard.

I was having a nice conversation with the owner of Haskell the dog, when we hit a hill. He told me that most quadrupeds have longer back legs, enabling them to go uphill faster. Therefore, if you want to get away from a bear, run downhill not up.  Then he passed us. The dog passed us. That was it, and we were basically on our own from there back to Ann's house. We hung on for more than half the run, though, and pushed our pace a bit.

I heard later that Haskell's paws got so cold that his owner had to carry him the last two miles. Now that's love! And he still beat us.

We're definitely looking forward to more runs with this fun group.