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2014 or Bust

November 3, 2013 3 comments

The 2013 ING NYC Marathon came and went. And needless to say, I was jealous. But then again my jealousy began the moment I entered the Marathon Health Expo at the Javitz Center earlier this week.

The NYRR organization welcomes all the participants to the Marathon Health Expo.

The NYRR organization welcomes all the participants to the Marathon Health Expo.

I should have ran in my first marathon today. What would have been three years in the making has to be put on hold until next year. The final chapter in my 100 pound weight loss is to run in the NYC Marathon. Unfortunately, two congenital hip conditions postponed those aspirations. Two years and two hip surgeries later I am healthy and ready to begin my journey.

I have come a long way to just stop and permanently end this dream. Truth be told the NYC Marathon has been my obsession since 2010. And no medical condition or any obstacle will come in my way. I have overcome a lot before undergoing two hip surgeries, so what is one more year…right? Patience is a virtue. And my body is a temple.

At the start of the new year I will begin my training. I am giving myself 10 months to prepare for the race. Through the grace of God and the support of my family and friends, this destiny I will share with them. My glory will be there glory.

I race not to finish first or last. I race because I am happy and able. I do not take one thing for granted.

With that said between now and next years NYC Marathon be prepared for blog entries about my training and some surprise entries.

By the way if you are wondering how I am sure about running in the 2014 NYC Marathon well let me give you a crash course on guaranteed acceptance:

  1. 9+1 — A member of the New York Road Runner’s (NYRR) organization must participate in 9 NYRR qualified events and volunteer in one event in one calendar year.
  2. Joining an NYRR sponsored charity.
  3. Entering the general lottery. Registration for the general application process will take place on December 2, 2013. Winners are generally notified late spring.
  4. Winning one of 44 spots in an NYRR contest. I entered the contest earlier this afternoon. 22 winners will be notified on November 5, 2013. And on November 22, 2013 another 22 winners will be notified.

I immediately crossed item #1 off my list. There is no way I am joining NYRR in 2014. The chances I win either #3 or #4 are slim. I would be surprised if I won either. My best bet is to join a charity. Ideally I would like to join a charity that supports our military.

My off season started after the Rock N Roll 10K last month. But that does not mean I am not working out.

My goal...my motivation. 2014 or Bust!

My goal…my motivation. 2014 or Bust!

A Personal Best

July 14, 2013 6 comments

More than 30 hours have passed since I participated in the MLB All Star 5K Run. And while I am sore all over, I feel great. After having hip surgery last December, I re-joined the competitive realm of running.

The MLB All Star 5K Run was a treat.

As I made my way to my assigned “heat”, I noticed the stage was filled with baseball greats and representatives from the New York Road Runners (NYRR) Club. Mascots from the baseball world greeted runners with high fives and photo opportunities. Sadly, I did not get the opportunity to get a photo opp with Mr. Met. Oh well there is always Citi Field.

Prior to the horn, a young girl was chosen to sing the National Anthem. The girl had a beautiful voice; however, she was nervous. She stumbled. Despite that she continued. As she continued to be nervous, all of us (runners), joined in the singing. We helped her through it. After she sang, “…And the home of the brave”, we all cheered her on. She did a great job. And that is one moment I will never forget.

Once John Franco blew the horn, we were underway. I crossed the start line and ran with the crowd. Getting out of the gate I felt great. After one mile I ran a surprising 7:55.

With one mile down I felt motivated to keep up the pace. Unfortunately, that was short lived. With humidity rising, my lungs began to tighten. I was short on breath. Nevertheless, I continued. My biggest mistake, similar to any of my previous races, I did too much too soon. I am in a race and not in a sprint. Hopefully, I will eventually pace myself as I train for the NYC Marathon in 2014.

Struggling and wanting to stop, I carried on. What motivated me to go on was the long road I took to get to the present. I did not have two hip surgeries to prematurely end this 5K. Then as I continued I began to observe the crowd. They were there to root for their runner. That motivated me to continue on.

After reaching the final mile I smiled and proceeded to the finish line. Funny when you hear people cheering that makes you want to finish on top. And once again as I saw the finish line up ahead, I gather whatever adrenaline I had left and crossed the finish line. I thanked the heavens for allowing me to not only run but to complete the race.

Unofficially I completed the race with a new personal best of 25:30. I was proud of the results…unofficially. I met up with my father and brother, both of whom have supported me from the very beginning. With sweat running down my face and my shirt drenched in my sweat I high fived both of them. And began to stretch. Now that was the way to celebrate. Stretching has been a key cog since my second surgery.

Later that day, I logged on to the NYRR website and found my official results. I officially finished the race with a time of 25:34. That’s right I set a new personal best. I beat my old personal best by 31 seconds, which was set last September at the Tunnel to Towers event.

Here are the results:

– Out of 4,754 runners, I finished 1,151st.

– Out of 2,434 men, I finished 876th.

– Between the ages of 30 and 34 a total of  500 men completed the race. I finished 207th.

Overall that was not too shabby. Thoughts?

Heading into the event I expected to complete the race between 26 and 28 minutes. To set a new personal best my first race back is a humbling and amazing accomplishment.

I am already looking forward to my next race. Damon Runyon 5K you have been put on notice. Unlike last year, I will complete the race.

For those wondering, I woke up sore from head to toe. But I still managed to get to the gym this morning and do some cardio. Afterwards, I stretched like never before. It was all fun.

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

 

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.