I Am Ready

July 12, 2013 2 comments

It has been close to ten months since I last ran competitively. That road has taken me from the highest of highs. However, I cannot say I have seen “the lowest of lows”.

Since I last ran the Rock N Roll : New York 10K in October, I had my second and final arthroscopic hip surgery. The recovery had some setbacks. But those setbacks were expected.

After my second surgery I began planning the races I wanted to participate in 2013. Three of the races I considered were three races I participated in 2012. My first 2012 race was the Damon Runyon 5K race at Yankee Stadium. Due to embarrassing circumstances, I did not complete the race. I did, however, receive my medal. The medal is nice but I have it hidden. I did not deserve it. After discovering why I did not complete the race, I promised myself to race the event in 2013. That race is scheduled for August 12. I will be there.

The second race I vowed to participate is the Tunnel to Towers 5K. This is by far a race that I am passionate about. I am running for our first responders and men and women serving our country. Many of whom do not return the same. By raising money I am helping their families. I am helping wounded veterans. I am doing my best to give back. This race is not about medals or recognition. It’s about giving back. And I am doing just that. This race will be penned onto my calendar each year. Rain or shine I will participate in this event.

If you want to help in this cause, donations could be made at the following link, http://www.t2trun.org//campaign/display/profile.do?campaignId=15986. I am on a mission to raise $1,000 by August 1. I am almost there. Can you help?

In October I am registered to once again participate in the Rock N Roll 10K at Prospect Park. This race is a race for me to enjoy. There is no back story to it. Similar to the Tunnel to Towers, this race will penned onto my calendar each year.

However, I am scheduled to race in my first 5K of the year tomorrow. In 2012, the New York Mets were awarded the All-Star Game. I am a big Mets fan. However, what made me excited about the All Star Game were the festivities leading up to the midsummer classic. One of the festivities is a 5K race benefiting a charity. This year the charity benefits Superstorm Sandy relief. As a proud New Jerseyan, my home state was decimated after Sandy. I helped out in every way possible last year. I am humbled and proud for the cause.

This race will also be my first competitive race since last October’s 10K in Prospect Park. Am I nervous? I am not as nervous as I am excited. Physically I feel great. While I am not at a 100%, my body is more than ready. I have been preparing for this since Dr. Bryan Kelly cleared me to return to the gym.

I cannot wait. My running gear is ready. I am about to buy some songs of iTunes for my iPod. Now where did I place my Garmin watch?

While I search for the watch, please wish me luck. It’s (almost) go time!

Stay tuned for my final results tomorrow.

Jorge

 

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Returning to My Old Self

April 14, 2013 4 comments

The last time I posted an entry I was two months removed from my second and final arthroscopic hip surgery. Since that last entry, a lot has happened in my recovery.

In February, I struggled. Setbacks was the norm. But I overcame those setbacks.

Since those setbacks I slowly returned to my old self.

On March 12, I saw Dr. Bryan Kelly for my three month post-op follow up. To no surprise they were content with my range of motion and quick recovery. The only difference this time around was the amount of atrophy I sustained in my left hip. Dr. Kelly acknowledged I need to build strength and muscle. It was also on that date where I was cleared to return to the gym and resume a limited running plan.

Life is  good.

Since that date I have returned to the gym. With the exception of physical therapy, I ran once on my own. If you follow this blog you know how much running means to me. Just last week I signed up for a 5K sponsored by the company I work for. I am ready. But since the event is a week from this Wednesday, I will participate with caution. My body is not where I want it to be.

Hopefully July, I will have the stamina and strength I desire.

It is only April and already I am planning for three to five running events this year. I am excited.

To avoid injury I am actually learning new stretching techniques. My lower body is tight. And the last thing I need is an injury. I am using tools such as the foam roller, balance board and even a towel. Since the two surgeries I learned how vital stretching is for the success and overall health for an active individual.

I look forward to what my running future holds. After all, all I ask is to run in one marathon. Once I begin and end that 26.2 journey, I plan on retiring from long distant running. I just need to get through this year and next year. My goal is to run the NYC Marathon in 2014.

I am looking forward to this journey.

8 Weeks Ago

February 9, 2013 1 comment

The last time I submitted an entry I was preparing to return to the office after recovering from my second hip surgery. That was about a month ago. One month later I physically feel great.

Being diagnosed with femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) in the spring of 2011 has taught me a lot about my physical fitness and in a way about life.

Two surgeries later I have lot to look forward to. My hips have never felt this good in such a great period of time. Eight weeks ago I had my second hip surgery performed by Dr. Bryan T. Kelly.

The minute I woke up from my medically induced sleep I knew I would return to my old fitness levels in due time. Compared to my first surgery I recovered in a quicker pace. Now I am not saying I am ready to run. Would I like to run? Of course. Those who know me, know running is my drug.

But for now I am enjoying the freedom of being able to walk around without the assistance of crutches. Walking is something many of us take for granted. But being unable to walk can be a hindrance.

Eight weeks have gone. And slowly I am ready to return to the gym. I am basing my return off of last years surgery. I was cleared to return to the gym in March. Unlike last year though, I plan on mixing my routine. No longer will I focus my workout solely on cardio. I will do a hybrid of workouts ranging from cardio to swimming and yoga. This is something I look forward to.

Two weeks ago I met with Dr. Bryan T. Kelly for my six week follow up. I went in for the routine post-op x-rays and consultation. To my amazement he gave me one of the best compliments. After six weeks my range of motion was better than what any of us had expected. He joked, “I would love to clone you.” The thought about wanting more patients who quickly heal was a tremendous compliment from a surgeon who has done the same surgery on athletes and regular patients.

I credit my quick recovery to my workouts and the tremendous staff at STAR physical therapy. Jeremy Crowe deserves a lot of credit for getting me back to my feet.

My therapy has greatly improved my hips. Last year I did my therapy but at times took it for granted. In time I healed. But this time around, my mindset was on getting stronger and faster. In order to get there I need to stay focused on my physical therapy. Each visit to STAR I go with the mentality of doing better than the previous day.

And guess what…I do. I went from 10 seconds on the balance board to two minutes. I still can’t believe that. Balancing for two minutes is not easy. But focus is the key. And so is music. If you do not have your iPod, time will not be on your side. That’s just one of the many workouts I do at physical therapy. It feels great.

I do suffer from tightness but that’s why I stretch often at home and at work. If there was one thing I learned in the last eight weeks, it was the value of stretching. I not only stretch my hips but I also stretch my upper body and lower body. Apparently I am flexible. So I am going with it.

I am content with my recovery. But I could not have done it without the love and support of family and friends. If you are reading this I thank you. I would like to name each of you but I would need a lot more time. But you all know who you are. Whether you are my blood, my coworkers, high school friends, college friends or twitter friends. You know who you are. Gracias desde el fondo de mi corazon! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Eights have gone by. What do the next eight weeks have in store? Let’s wait and see.

Until next time.

Jorge

My Physical and Emotional Recovery

January 13, 2013 Leave a comment

When I last entered an entry, I was a day away from my second arthroscopic hip surgery. I was nervous. But I knew what to expect.

The day of the surgery I was upbeat. I was energetic. I was vigilant.

Upon leaving the house I received wonderful messages from my loved ones. Truth be told I will forever be grateful for their love and support. Consequently, our bond would ultimately be put the test a few days after Christmas. It was something that shook the foundation of our family.

Before I discuss on my second hip surgery. I want to mention what happened two days after Christmas.

I had just returned from physical therapy. My mother, who was not feeling well, had told me she was going to the hospital with my brother. For a few days she suffered from numbness, headaches and disorientation. It scared us. After a few hours she was admitted for an overnight stay. What should have been an overnight visit turned into a five day stay.

And not being able to do a thing hurt me. At that point I was a week and a half removed from surgery. And now I am finding out my mother suffered “Transient Ischemic Attack” (TIA). TIA is often considered a “mini stroke”. The symptoms she endured could have progressed into a major stroke had she ignored the symptoms.

For five days she lied in a hospital bed. That Saturday, the whole family visited her at the hospital. My mother was connected to a heart monitor, an IV, and an oxygen tube. The strong woman that I know and love was now in a bed. She put on a brave face. Who wants to spend any time, let alone the holiday season, in the hospital?

Thankfully, by New Year’s Eve she was medically discharged. Her MRI, ECG, EKG and any other medical examination she went through came back without any problems. She was put on some medication. Of course she has to change her diet. She has to see a specialist in the coming weeks. But overall we are confident she will beat this.

My mother received a wake-up call. She knows it. My siblings know it. My fathers know it. And since her scare, she does not take a thing for granted. I know speak for my siblings when I say, “We are glad to have her around. We are glad to see her happy.” I will keep you posted on her upcoming visit to the specialist. We love you mom.

As for me…tomorrow I return to work. After a one month lay-off, I am eager and ready to return. This past weekend I have been up and around. I am able to get around without my crutches. But I think it would be best I use my crutch(es) to maintain my stability. In one month I suffered atrophy.

I am able to get around inside my home without a problem. But outside my home, my left hip is tight.

Compared to last year’s surgery I feel great.

After the surgery, I was in a haze. But I do remember talking to Dr. Kelly afterwards. It turned out I had a significant labrum tear, which required four anchors. An anchor is similar to stitches. The anchors stitch the labrum back onto the acetabulum. I had the same amount of anchors placed in my right hip last year. Interestingly, my left hip was not as discomforting as my right hip.

I will admit I had a little set back a week and a half ago. I strained my right hip flexor. Talk about doing too much in little time. The strain, while nothing serious, scared me. In the few days before seeing my physical therapist, I knew what to do.

When I saw Jeremy, my physical therapist, he diagnosed me with a strained hip flexor. He suggested I continue with my stretches. What he did next is exactly what I had hoped. He applied acupressure on my hip flexor. I knew what to expect. It hurt. But damn it felt good. In a few days, with the combination of stretching and ice, the acupressure healed my strained flexor.

One month ago I had surgery. My recovery has been a treat. How many people would say that their recovery has been a treat?

As I return to my life, I have to regain my physical fitness. It will not be easy, but I am ready.

I look forward to this new challenge.

This is a mission I will document. My road to the 2014 NYC Marathon has begun. I am so focused that I have already signed up for a 10K race in October. Of course I will do a lot once I am cleared to resume. I will prepare myself for my running season. Join me on this race.

 

It’s Time

December 16, 2012 Leave a comment

Monday morning I will be at The Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. Like last year, I will have my hip scoped for FemoroAcetabular Impingement (FAI) and a partially torn labrum. Last year I had my right hip scoped this year it will be the left side. Since starting the whole process in early 2011, I knew I was in good hands with Dr. Bryan Kelly.

Today being my last day walking without the use of crutches happened to be a great day. Despite not visiting the gym today, I spent a lot of time with my family. The bond I have with my family is what keeps me composed and focused, not just for the challenge I will face but in life. Good times was had. And a lot of laughing is the cure for any ailment. Trust me.

In the last few weeks I have taken my workouts to another level. I used the stair master on a frequent basis. The perspiration dripping off my face proved that I can still be active on a high level. I am proud to say that when I return to my active life, I will pick up where I left off. And whatever weight I gain between now and March/April will not affect me as much. I have been down this road before. And I refuse to regress into old patterns.

My motivation has allowed me to think about the future. Earlier this week I registered for the 2013 Rock N Roll – New York 10K in Brooklyn. Running has allowed me to break free and enjoy being healthy.

As I prepare for surgery I cannot help but think about the great times I had running. Between August and October I ran three races. Each race will hold a special place in my heart. In August I ran the Damon Runyon 5K at Yankee Stadium. That race was my first competitive race. But what made that race far more special and memorable was due to my gaffe. I ended up with a medal I did not deserve. I hit the finish line when I was supposed to go around the final course a second time. My bad.

In September, I redeemed myself when I ran the Tunnel to Towers 5K. I completed the race with a decent time. And above all I ran for those first responders who gave up their lives on 9-11. It was a treat and a complete honor.

This past October I ran my final race. The Rock N Roll 10K at Prospect Park was amazing. It was a cool October morning and I was excited to have participated in the event. The race was far more special as I did it for me. I know that sounds shallow but I wanted to prove to myself that I can stick to my goals. Sure enough I did. And in the process established a new personal record. I completed the race in 51 minutes. Not too bad if I say so myself. I literally shaved off 6 minutes from my own 10K race in Central Park.

I look forward to what will be in store for me come 2013. Stay tuned.

Emotionally, physically and spiritually I feel great. With that said I will enjoy these last hours with family.

Until next time. We’ll chat. Be safe and well. Tomorrow I will be on the road to recovery.

Hurricane Sandy’s Aftermath

November 4, 2012 Leave a comment

Here I am almost one week removed from Hurricane Sandy. While this Superstorm cannot compare to the likes of Hurricane’s Andrew and Katrina, Sandy certainly rocked the foundation off of New York City and New Jersey. Never would I have imagined that a hurricane could travel with such ferocious velocity up north. This may be my ignorance but I have always associated hurricane’s as storms in warmer southern climate.

Never say never, I suppose. In the days after Sandy, New Yorkers and New Jerseyans have seen images of areas hard hit. From the devastation in Breezy Point, Queens to the destruction of my youth down the Jersey Shore. Those images will forever be etched in my head for a very long time.

Breezy Point, Queens lost 110 ten homes due to Hurricane Sandy. A six-alarm fire was reported in the area the night Sandy’s fury affected the metro area. Unfortunately due to flood waters, first responders were unable to get through to contain the fire. By 11 PM, the water had receded enough where responders can get to the fire. But at that point it was too late. The fire had quickly spread. And after hour the media speculated as to how many homes were engulfed. On Tuesday, it was discovered 110 homes were destroyed by the fire. As of this writing, there were no reports of casualties, just minor injuries.

Breezy Point, Queens/A Fire destroyed 110 Homes

New Jersey was hard hit by Hurricane Sandy. If you lived along the coast, the area along the Jersey coast would be devastated. First there were reports that pieces of the Atlantic City boardwalk was ripped apart from the strong gusting winds. At that point, I thought the only damage the shore would sustain would be minor damage with pieces of the boardwalk ripped off. Unfortunately, on Tuesday, I saw aerial shots of Seaside Heights. I could not believe what I had witnessed. The mainstay of Seaside Heights was its amusement park along the boardwalk/pier which sat on top of the Atlantic Ocean.

Once Sandy had left the area, videos came in. The next image hit me hard. The roller coaster which sat above the ocean was now floating in the Atlantic Ocean. While the shore is associated as a summer destination, during the off peak months the area is inhabited with long time residents year round. Unfortunately, they were told that the shore area was severely affected and there was significant damage.

Seaside Heights

Seaside Heights, NJ – The site of where the amusement park used to be.

I am a lifelong New Jersey resident. And if you ask anyone who knows me well, they will tell you how passionate I am about my home state. New Jersey is part of my identity. I have a lot of pride. Whether I am supporting my beloved New Jersey Devils or driving along the New Jersey highways, I love my home state. While I do remember the Jersey Shore and its points from my youth, my heart completely crushed when I visited Hoboken yesterday.

It was a cool Saturday afternoon. I had just left the barber shop. Instead of heading straight home, I opted to walk into Hoboken for the first time in a week. I knew the town was hit hard. I have seen the news reports, and I do have friends who ultimately evacuated. But I wanted to see the damage.

The first thing I discovered as I walked through the Jersey City/Hoboken border were the puddles of water. But as I walked into Hoboken, I saw area residents draining water from their residence with a sump pump. I then smelled an odor that was not fresh. The water more than likely was sewage which seeped in during the storm. The flood waters caused many area residents to throw away many personal belongings. The image of piles of peoples lives crushed me. The area reminded me of  scene straight out of a movie.

Hoboken Debris

Hoboken Residents Cleaning Up in The Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy

As I walked further into town, I noticed how my frown was turning upside down. I noticed that residents were for the most part optimistic and upbeat despite the damage. Some were out and about walking their dogs. Others were helping their fellow neighbors. Merchants were providing residents with free hot meals. Outside of all the bad I have seen or heard about following Hurricane Sandy; I have seen the good in people following this storm.

A Local Merchant Giving Hamburgers to Hoboken Residents

A Local Merchant Giving Hamburgers to Hoboken Residents

There is still good left in this world. And I will pray for those who are displaced in the New York and New Jersey area.

This morning I visited my gym in New York City. The gym I frequent in Hoboken was temporarily closed due to damage from Sandy. Knowing that I traveled to the gym I visit during the week in NYC. After arriving in New York City, I noticed runners all over the area. For some reason I forgot today was Marathon Sunday. But due to the storm and overwhelming pressure, the City of New York decided to cancel the annual event.

As a runner, I was happy for the cancellation. But I do believe the cancellation was three days overdue. The city canceled the event on Friday, two days shy of the event. If you have followed me since day one, you all know my initial intention was to run in the 2012 event. But my hip condition forced me to delay my intention. Had I joined this years marathon class, I would have opted out. There was no way I could have participated in good conscience.

The starting line of the NYC Marathon began in Staten Island. One of the hard hit areas in the five boroughs of New York City was Staten Island. Not far from the start line, at the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, are areas with no power. Bodies being found in homes. Residents were without food and warm shelter. That’s just some of the issues I had with the city and the New York Road Runners Club in the days after Sandy.

But after my workout, I walked to the finish line in Central Park. I discovered the athletes who traveled from near and afar came into Central Park and held their own run.

Runners Partaking in Their Own Race

Runners Partaking in Their Own Race in Central Park

 

While I commend each runner for doing so, I commend those who wore their running gear into Staten Island to volunteer and provide residents with hot meals and helped with the recovery.

I leave you with this…
– If you want to help with the recovery, please visit your local charitable organization and donate non-perishable foods, blankets, diapers, clothes, etc.

– To make a donation to the American Red Cross please visit their website.

– To make a donation to the American Red Cross through a text message please text REDCROSS “90999” to give a $10 donation.

– By phone you can call : 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767)

– In New Jersey an organization called the Ergo Group are mass producing special t-shirts with proceeds going to helping “Restore The Shore”. To buy the shirt please visit their website.

If there are non-profit organizations in the NY area who are producing merchandise with funds going to NYC, I will update the blog.

Please help.

Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2012 Rock N Roll : New York 10K

October 13, 2012 2 comments

In what turned out to be a bitter sweet morning, I started and  completed my final race of the year. The Rock N Roll : New York 10K (RNR) was indeed my final race of the year but it was also my BEST race.

In the days leading up to the race I had one issue after another. Last week I sustained a minor injury that forced me to decrease my training. Last Sunday, I slipped hurrying down the escalator, while trying to catch my train. I landed on my butt and bruised the back of both knees. The injury was not too disconcerting but I acted cautious. Between Sunday and this morning’s race, I worked out two days. The back of my knees were sore and bruised. But the extra time away from the gym allowed me to rest the knees.

I woke up this morning with so much enthusiasm. At five this morning I got up out of bed, showered, dressed and stretched. While I am used to running a 10K on my own, the event was my first 10K and it was also my first race in cold conditions. The cold weather forced me to change my wardrobe. Instead of wearing running shorts, I wore sweat pants. I underestimated the wardrobe issue. Thus I live and learn.

My brother was kind enough to get up and drive me to Prospect Park in Brooklyn. In all of the races I participated I had a great support group. My biggest fans were the members of my family. Starting with my parents – they have provided me with all of the love and support. They have seen an overweight male with no athletic bone in his body, to a healthy male with a passion for running. Their love and support has been special. My siblings are the best. My older brother became my official photographer. His great photography in each race has been great. But most importantly, his decision to see me run will always stay in my heart. Luis you are a great man and a great brother. I couldn’t have done it without you. My brother and sister have always cheered me on even if they were unable to attend my races. They are great. I love them all. Thank you for the support.

My biggest fan, my father, was unable to see me race. I spoke with him yesterday and unfortunately he told me that he was unable to attend due to the flu. It hurt him to say that. But I really understood. His health was far more important than a race. On Facebook this morning, I dedicated my run to him. I know he wanted to be there. Dedicating the race to him was a no brainer. The medal I earned dad is half yours.

Preparing for the race

Preparing for the Rock N Roll 10K

My older brother, Luis, woke up early to drive me to Prospect Park. We left our residence in Jersey City around 6-ish. He was happy to drive me to the Park in Brooklyn and cheer me on. It’s the little things I that makes me happy.

Upon arriving in Brooklyn, our next step was finding parking. After a few minutes, finding a spot was not as bad as originally thought. We found a parking spot and began our way to the starting line. As the night sky made way for daybreak, the starting line was filling up with participants. Weeks before the event the organizers put participants in corrals (heats). Based off my submitted time, I was placed in the middle of the pack (Corral 6). Although RNR gave me an estimated completion time of one hour. After reading the estimated time, I had motivation to beat the time.

About 715 this morning, the organizers announced that each runner proceed to their assigned corral. I said good-bye to my brother and made my way to the corral. He wished me luck, hugged me and I proceeded to my corral. As we waited for 15 minutes, I was mentally preparing myself for this challenge. Music was blaring from the stage, music from iPod was blaring. My thoughts spread out. I stared to my left, then I stared to my right. I prepared my Garmin watch. I allowed my mind to wander as I mentally focused on what stood in my way.

Thousands of Runners Participated in the Annual RNR 10K

PreRace

After the national anthem was sung. Each corral started their race in intervals of one minute. It was our time to run. The minute the announcer counted down to 10, we were on our way. I started my Garmin watch and started my 6.2 mile journey. Weather wise I did not feel the cold weather. Adrenaline took over and started weaving other runners. Moving ahead was a great tactic.

The view at Prospect Park is similar to Central Park. I felt at ease. However, I did realize the park is not as steep as the loop in Central Park. But then again the RNR course was not a loop. Overall I enjoyed myself. I surpassed other runners. Other runners surpassed me. I saw runners of all types of races, sizes and athleticism. I even saw runners dressed in early Halloween costumes. Talk about a fun event.

After 3 miles, I was getting a bit winded. But I marched on. Prior to the race, I felt intimidated. All week I was fixated on the course map. I have done a 10K on my own around the Central Park loop. The map for the Prospect Park 10K seemed a bit too intimidating. Add on top of that, I asked other runners what was it like to run in Prospect Park. Needless to say, I received mixed reactions. With that said, my apprehension deepened. The only way I could ease that apprehension was to actually run the course.

Well here we are, 3 miles in and I feel a bit winded but great overall. For those wondering I had one song on my iPod playing on a constant loop. The song “So Jersey” by The Bouncing Souls played over and over along the course. I rocked out. And even at times I pointed in the sky when lead singer Greg Attino sings, “Don’t forget we’re all one family”. That line gives me the energy to continue.

After getting familiar with the streets of Prospect Park, we rounded for the home stretch. Breaking into a sweat, I knew I was getting close. The joy of completing was unbearable. For a moment I lost focus. I began to slow down, but immediately I regained my composure. Mile 5 soon turned into Mile 6. I was two tenths of a mile away from completing the race.

In the distance I saw the finish line. And similar to the Tunnel to Towers event, I began to speed up. That finish line was mine. And I could taste victory. For an instant I heard my heartbeat. 100 feet turned into 50 feet, which turned into 40 and so forth. I was closer to my ultimate goal. And just like that, I crossed the finish line.

I did it. Unofficially I completed the race 51:20. I set a new personal best. I was overcome with joy and emotion. Running on one good surgically repaired hip all summer long allowed me to do this. After stumbling a bit, I grabbed a bottle of water and two banana’s. I then received the best medal I have received to date.

Rock N Roll New York

I Ran 6.2 Miles For This Medal.

Three races have come and gone. From embarrassment, to patriotism and to redemption, I did it. I accomplished what I set out to do. One bad hip did not stop me from achieving this moment. While today’s Rock N Roll race was my last race for 2012, I am far from retired. I have more juice and energy to race more events. My ultimate goal is to conquer the NYC Marathon. I hope to get that opportunity in 2014. But for now I am enjoying this moment and preparing for my next surgery.

For those keeping score at home here are my final numbers:

– I completed the race in 51:16 (OFFICIALLY).

–  Out of 4171 runners, I finished 606th.

–  Out of 322 male runners between the ages of 30 and 34, I finished 91st.

–  Out of 1412 male runners (overall), I finished 419th.

– Pace : 8:15 (That’s a borderline pace. But it’ll do.)

I could not be happier and prouder. Thank you all for supporting. This is not the end…this is only the beginning. Stay tuned for more entries. Just because I will not run competitively until next summer, means I will give up on the blog. The fun is about to start.

Until next time…THANK YOU.

Jorge