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The Road To 26.2

March 28, 2014 Leave a comment

**Writer’s note – This entry was typed on the night of Wednesday March, 26.**

 

It is 9:52 in the evening and I am still in my work clothes. Typically I am in my pj’s and in bed. But after the evening I had I am celebrating.

If you have followed this blog since 2011, you know I aspired to run in the NYC Marathon. But two hip surgeries since 2011, put those aspirations on hold.

Since undergoing two hip surgeries in 2011 and 2012, I never thought this day would come. Last December, as I prepared for my first Christmas without the use of crutches, I had the opportunity to register for the 2014 NYC Marathon lottery. Granted the lottery gave me a small glimmer of hope, but it was a chance I needed to take. I knew if I did not earn a spot through the lottery, I will have a shot by joining a charity.

On March 26, runners from all over the world waited for a response from marathon officials, myself included. I waited and waited. It got to the point where I periodically logged on to my G-Mail account. And while on the website, I would constantly hit “F5”. Imagine how one little entry can make one person anxious. I was anxious. I was nervous. I was on the edge.

My anxiety took me to new heights. My workout this evening was slow and painful. I meant that in a metaphorical way and not in a literal way.

The hours and minutes passed and up to that point no response from the New York Road Runners.

By the time I got home I logged on to my NYRR profile account. To no surprise I received my answer. I received the standard “Thank you for registering, but you did not earn a spot” line. Again I was not surprised but I was disappointed.

While I expected disappointment, I knew what I had to do. The next opportunity I had to gain an entry is through a charity.

Low and behold, I searched the list of charities participating in the marathon. Two stood out. One was for cancer research and the other was for military support. After thinking it over, I decided to join Fred’s Team. Fred’s Team is a charitable organization that raises money for Memorial Sloan Kettering and goes toward cancer research.

So here I am. I am raising money for cancer research. The moment to train starts now.

See you at the finish line, November 2.

To donate please click here — http://mskcc.convio.net/site/TR/FredsTeamEvents/Freds_Team?px=2669493&pg=personal&fr_id=2150

In the coming weeks and months I will blog about my journey and training. Let’s do this together.

 

New Year, New Me?

January 12, 2014 Leave a comment

Happy (belated) New Year’s. I wish you all a happy and healthy New Year.

So why did I title my blog entry as “New Year, New Me”? Well…for starters I entered the new year without the use of crutches. My medical history has prevented me from starting the new year healthy. Two hip surgeries later, I feel great.

And as I enter the new year pain free, 2014 will be a defining year for yours truly. In 2010, I was at my healthiest and strongest. Upon feeling healthy and vowing to never look back at my old 250+ pound self, I decided I wanted to run the NYC Marathon in 2012.

Fast forward to 2011, I felt my body breaking down. Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI) was the cause to my malaise. My hips hurt. My confidence shattered. And my desire to run in the NYC Marathon in 2012 was in question.

Enter Dr. Bryan T. Kelly in the spring of 2011. His experience in arthroscopic hip surgery has been mentioned in this blog countless times over. But once again I must state, we approached this head on. One option given to me was to alter my activities. Running and working out has become a constant fixture in my life. While I stopped working out for six months at the discretion of Dr. Kelly, my confidence was not completely deflated. And my dream of running in the marathon was not dead. The dream was and to this very day remains ALIVE.

Two hip surgeries later I have never felt better. My hips no longer ache. The running path is clear. I am now running without worries or fear. Today I prepare for my toughest and most probably task, the NYC Marathon.

Training has not been kind to me. But I recently realized I was the one to blame. For instance my cardio lacked intensity. I became too complacent. The monotony of using the elliptical machine five days a week mentally drained me. On the first day of the month, I decided to mix my cardio. I re-included the use of the spin bike, the treadmill/running path, stair master, etc. It truly feels like 2010.

My goal between now and the NYC Marathon (November 2) is to mentally and physically prepare myself for the grueling 26.2 miles of fun. Yup fun.

The first item on my checklist is to lose the weight I gained from the two surgeries. In 2010, I weighed 150 pounds. Three years and 15 pounds later, I do not want to weight 150 pounds, but I sure as hell do not want to weigh 165 pounds. In the coming weeks, I plan on finding a personal trainer. I also plan on going for more runs. But of course that last item is contingent on the weather. I do not mind running in the cold, but when a “polar vortex” hits the area, my limbs mean more than a run in the park.

Is this really a “New Year, New Me”? The answer is simply “no”. For one I am not keen on resolutions. Secondly, I met my goals in 2009. And now that I am healthy, “it’s go time”.

Stay tuned. I will go through a lot of peeks and valleys.

 

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!

Rock N Roll

October 13, 2013 1 comment

Yesterday I participated in my final competitive race of the year. Out of the four races I have participated in this year, the Rock N Roll New York 10K is the longest race I have participated in.  The 6.2 mile event, now in its third year, is yearly held in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. I am no stranger to the park. Earlier this summer I ran in the MLB All Star Game 5K and last October I ran in the Rock N Roll 10K. The course is nothing like Central Park.

The course is not as “hilly” or “steep” as Central Park, but it is close to it.

Over the course of the week, I was concerned about the reported rain storm set to hit the New York area. I have never participated in a competitive race in the rain. How would I prepare? Do I participate if there is a downpour?

As the weather lingered in my mind, I continued to prepare for a 10K. My training heading into Saturday was lack luster. But I gave it my all.

My favorite part about an upcoming race is claiming my racing bib. Runner number 5335 was ready and hoping the weather would cooperate.

Saturday came and the weather held its own. It was cool chilly October morning. I arrived a bit late. By the time I arrived the corral/heat I was assigned in had taken off. Heat 5 was off and running. I was corralled with Heat 6. As the clock counted down, I mentally prepared myself for a 6 mile journey.

The M.C. counted down and as he uttered “1”, we were off and running. The East Lake Drive was congested with all types of runners. At first I though to myself, I am not going to finish with a good time. Last year I finished the race with a time of 51 minutes and 16 seconds. From the start I was in trouble. And unlike my last race, my health and pace was not in question. Would I get through crowd?

Upon finding room along the East Lake Drive, I was able to break free. And as we hit the arch in Prospect Park, I was off. I broke away from the rest, hit my strides and never looked back. 

 

At the half way point of the race (5K) I ran a near record pace. Could I keep it up?

Not once did I feel out of breath nor body tightness. Unlike the previous three races, I mentally and physically felt prepared. I would also attribute my good health to my chiropractor and massage therapist. Without their treatment the day before I would probably not have felt 110%, at the end of the race. I owe them a great deal.

When my body aches during a run, I am generally looking at my Garmin watch. That is never fun. Fortunately, during this event, I rarely viewed my watch. I was on my game.

As miles three turned into mile four and five, I knew I was running on a record pace. Question is what would my final time be?

Only one way to find out, keep on running. As mile 5, ultimately turned into mile 6, I felt the euphoria from the crowd. I turned my jets on. I pointed at the sky. And in the distance I saw the finish line. I was doing it. I felt great. Crossing the finish line was my goal. I was 6.2 miles away from my second consecutive Rock N Roll medal. Low and behold, I did it.

I crossed the finish line. Unofficially I broke my record. I finished the race in 51 minutes. WOW! I did it. My hips, knees and back felt great. I collected my medal. The medal was worth the run.

Ultimately, when the event organizers posted the official results, I was in shock to discover that I completed the race with a time of 50 minutes and 51 seconds. A new 10K record was met. I beat my old personal best by 25 seconds. Amazing.

Ending my running season at the Rock n Roll 10K is a fitting tribute to why I run and why I love running. Where do I go from here?

My off-season has begun. However, that does not mean my training ends. No. No. No. I decided earlier today to go for some outdoor runs during the winter.

In 2014, I plan on participating in the same events. However, my ultimate goal is to participate and complete the NYC Marathon in 2014. Unoffiically, “Destination 2014” is underway. One year from November, I will run in the one race I have dreamed of since 2010. My goal is to train. Get lean. Develop a runner’s body. And most of all, stay healthy.

Hang on to your seats the fun is about to get underway. Another successful running season has come and gone. Wait for 2014. We will have some fun.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let The Countdown Begin

October 6, 2011 4 comments

In one month NYC will once again play host to 40,000+ runners in the annual ING NYC Marathon.

Initially I wanted to write about the history of this event. But unfortunately lack of time contributed to this preamble to what I will eventually write about.

Just know rain or shine runners from all over the world will start at the Verrizano Narrows Bridge in Staten Island and run their way through five boroughs culminating in Central Park after 26.2 miles. No marathon compares to running in NYC. For the elite a hefty financial purse awaits the winner. For the runner enthusiast the sense of accomplishing a feat some dare not to challenge.

As you know I have my reasons for wanting to participate. The day of the race was supposed to be the start of my official countdown to the 2012 NYC Marathon. Unfortunately, a hip condition has prevented me from participating for two to three years.

While I am disappointed, I will keep my head and spirits high. Because I know in 2013 or 2014 I will be ready. NYC enjoy it. But prepare for one more in a few years. I will take the challenge and win!

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The MRI and Hip Injection

August 13, 2011 2 comments

Before I begin, I want to say I having been rockin’ out to Alkaline Trio (Alk3).  I have been on an Alk3 fix since seeing them in concert this past Wednesday. A side note, I realized I’m too old to stand in a general admission pit at any punk rock concert. Moshers and I do not get along. Nevertheless, the show rocked and Alk3 tore Irving Plaza down.  Now to business…

24 hours ago I visited the fine folks at The Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS). I had to spend virtually the whole day in the area. The last time I saw Dr. Bryan Kelly, he requested I get an MRI on each hip and an injection. Physical therapy did not help the ailing hips. And as I mentioned before the folks at STAR (Sports Therapy And Rehabilitation) treated me exceptionally well. Each session I was challenged to my core. I owe a major debt of gratitude to the folks there…in particular I owe Jeremy Crow and Amanda Wohl a lot. They were patient during my bad days and as mentioned challenged me on my best days.

Without their support I would not have a background in how to rebuild my core and help regain strength in my hips. With that stated, the folks at STAR will see me again. Afterall, Dr. Kelly recommends surgery. When? Well that depends.

The MRI he requested will depend on when surgery will take place. If the results reveal severely structural damage to my hips then he would recommend surgery at some point this year. Thankfully, the recovery time from this procedure will take 2-3 weeks. After that I can return to work. Initially I was  told by a friend the recovery time would be 3 months.

In the past I have had two medical procedures. I no longer fear going “under the knife”. It’s a part of life. And the only way I can get back on the road to the NYC Marathon is by getting this procedure. On Wednesday, I have tentative plans to see Dr. Kelly for the results. I say tentative due to jury duty…yes it’s my civic duty to participate.

Before I provide information on the injection, let me state the MRI made me a bit claustrophobic. In years past I’ve had MRI’s and CT Scan’s, but never for the duration of the most recent MRI. I was enclosed for about an hour. At one point I am almost fell asleep. Closing my eyes to not witness the enclosed MRI was a big mistake. But thankfully I stayed “still”. I had no choice.

Anyway, after the MRI I had an hour to kill. After a long session, I needed nourishment’s. No need to get into the details of what I ate and where. Just know I had a good lunch.

I returned to HSS with 20 minutes to spare. Filled out necessary documents. But as I was filling out the documents my nerves and the apprehension took over. For weeks I have heard about this “hip injection”. I’ve heard how painful the procedure would be. But there was no turning back.

Once again I changed into a hospital gown and went into a cold surgery-like room. At first the doctor seemed a bit annoyed. But after a while he loosened up and made me feel at ease. Noticing how I lived in Jersey City, he reminisced about his days as a youth growing up in Jersey City. That was the ice breaker. I knew I was in good hands.

He discussed the steps involving in this non-invasive procedure. He first stretched my hip to determine the level of pain/discomfort of my hips. After each stretch I would give him a number (0 No Pain- 10 Painful scale). Each number was documented on a chart to classify how I felt before the procedure. The same chart was given to me to document how I felt after the injection.

He then used a fluoroscopic x-ray machine. The machine determines where the doctor should inject. It helped determine where the femoral head would be located. Once he located with the help of an object taped to my hip, he would make a mark. Following that step he rubbed some local anesthetic in the area.

After applying enough anesthetic he discussed steps I should take in the event I develop any side effects and how long I should feel any relief. After that discussion he was ready to begin. I took a look at the needle and felt comfortable with something so long would make it’s way into my hips. The closest pinch I felt occurred when the needle made it’s way into the muscle area. Otherwise I was as comfortable as possible.

Then he injected into the needle the chemicals. Three different chemicals was injected into my femoral head. Each chemical had it’s own purpose. The question is which of the three chemicals would help alleviate my discomfort. As of now I have noticed a difference. While I am experiencing discomfort, the number has drastically decreased. In a way this may have bought me some time. At least I can hope and pray that it bought me some time.

Stay tuned on the MRI results. In the meantime, I need to find my way to the gym. Dr. Kelly has given me the green light to return. Unfortunately in recent weeks I have been unable to return. For one reason or another my return has been put on hold until September. This week I have a lot on my plate, including jury duty.

I look forward to the future. However, I am a bit disappointed that my “Destination 2012” campaign has prematurely come to an end. If I need a procedure on each hip, I am looking at a possible date for running the marathon in 2014 or 2015.

Nevertheless I appreciate your support. I know things will work out for the better. I am a firm believer this set-back will only make me stronger. I believe.

Enjoy your weekend folks.

-Jorge