Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Support’

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.

 

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

 

Reflections From an Injured Man

**Writer’s Note: This entry is not intended to be bitter. I do not want to come out as a person with sour grapes. In fact this entry is a reflection of where I have been and where I want to be in the future. Enjoy!**

As I reflect on the eve of my 31st birthday, I cannot help but feel different. And by “different” I mean I have seen my fair share of good and bad days since July 2, 2010. But for now I will focus on where I have been since the start of 2011.

I entered the new year with a sense of vigor and hope. Entering the new year I was in the best shape of my life. My workout routine along with my family and friends are a major part of my life in 2011. I entered the new year with a clear path. “Focus” was the operative word. No longer did I want to be heartbroken. No longer did I want to be the overweight kid who barely could run a few blocks without running out of breathe. No longer did I want to feel the negativity that has surrounded me for years.

Yes, in 2009 I lost 100 pounds. And for the most part I kept it off. But two months into 2011 I suffered a set-back. If you are a regular reader to “runjorgerun”, by now you know about my diagnosis. In March I was diagnosed with “Femoroacetabular Impingement” in each hip. The condition was a major setback in my pursuit of running in the 2012 NYC Marathon. Upon receiving the news of my condition I immediately stopped working out. Sought a second opinion and received the good news of opting for conservative treatment instead of surgery.

For the last three weeks I have been in physical therapy for my hips. They are still sore but with the power of faith and positive thinking I hope to resume my activities by August.

2011 has not been my year in terms of my health. Outside of the Femoroacetabular Impingement, I was also diagnosed with a neck strain which may have been caused by “knots” in my shoulders and neck. Of course I sought treatment. And let me say getting an adjustment to your neck and/or back does wonders.

And lastly, but most recently, I sought treatment from a oral surgeon. For about a year, I had a lesion on my lower left lip. I thought nothing of it at first but after recently pondering my future with a certain young lady, I decided to seek guidance from an oral surgeon. The good news he believes the lesion on my lip is not cancerous. The bad news to determine how safe the lesion is a biopsy would be required. This past Monday I had Dr. Kim perform the biopsy.

The procedure did not last long and I was placed on your typical Novocaine anesthetic. After 20 minutes, I was out of the surgeons office and on my way to the office. Was I groggy? Sure. But quite frankly, I was in minimal pain. The longest part of the procedure were the stitches. Overall it was an interesting experience; and while I wait for the stitches to dissolve I am confident that on July 12th I will receive positive news.

With everything that has occurred since the start of the year, I can say “I am a shell of myself” but I am not. However I can honestly state that at some point after receiving the news on my hips,  I played the whole “woe is me” card. I did put myself down. All of a sudden I saw mental images of my old self. The person I vowed never to be again.  Fat Jorge reappeared.

The images then became motivation. While my waist size has increased a bit, the voracious appetite I owned years ago has never returned.  Living this way took time to develop. And I refuse to return to my old habits. Now do not get me wrong I do indulge every now and then. But while I am away from the gym I have to indulge a bit less now. However, I may have to make an exception this weekend.

In any event NO SOUR GRAPES on my part.  This negative will turn into a positive. And in no time I will reclaim my fitness. However, as I mentioned earlier I am grateful for the circle of family and friends in my life. Their support and guidance has really been helpful. And to my loving girlfriend Jessica, thank you for your support. You are truly someone I care about.

Until next time. Have a wonderful holiday.

Jorge

It’s HIP To Have a Healthy HIP

June 30, 2011 2 comments

THE TRUE CHALLENGE HAS BEGUN

Since my first initial visit to STAR physical therapy, I have learned a lot about my body. In particular I learned how weak my hips were. Currently after four sessions (fifth session is tonight), I still remain “cautiously optimistic” about the future of my health.

I know at some point I will be able to hit the gym and get back on my routine. Starting over is never easy. But I have to put things into perspective. Right now my goal is to strengthen my core and the areas surrounding my hips. The kind folks at STAR, in particular Jeremy and Amanda, have guided me on what to do, how to do it, and how often it should be done.

At STAR I always start out with a 10 minute cardio session. The stationary bike, while not my favorite, has been a blessing. Considering after three months of not being able to workout, I quickly discovered how winded and out of shape I have become. Regardless, I break out into a sweat. I truly miss sweating after a great cardio session. Perspiration is my indicator of how great of a workout I endured. It’s also an indicator of keeping myself hydrated. But that’s another story for another day.

Upon completing my brief cardio session I proceed to the “Multi-Hip” machine. Obvious by the name the machine serves multiple purposes.  By selecting the appropriate amount of weight I then work on different areas of the hip by using the machine.

First there is the hip extension. Doing three sets of 15 on each side is never easy. But all I can do is think about the benefits. The key to this, as in any other workout, is to do it a pace that is comfortable to the person (in this case me), and to have proper posture. If you feel soreness in your outer hip muscles, then you did something right.

Upon completing that I am then asked to work on the hip abductions. The hip abductions are the hip muscles in the inner hip area. The key to this is to do it a speed that is comfortable and challenging. Swinging your thighs to 15 times is a burn all on its own. But you are not done. Upon completing the inner abductor you must then work on the same hip but this time working the outer abductor. This seems easy but rest assured it is not easy.

Oh and by the way each workout is not complete until both hips are worked on.

One of my favorite exercises/strengthening routines at STAR is the leg press. At 60 pounds, I definitely have not lost a step. Ok…maybe I lost a step or two. But that’s neither here nor there. One thing Amanda discovered about my prognosis is the form. My knees slant outward instead of staying straight. To get the proper form she suggested I put a mini ball between my legs to properly position my legs as I do a press. Doing the leg press took me back to New York Sports Club (NYSC). I miss the fun of lifting weights. SIGH!

After three sets of 15, I then do some stool (chair) stretches.

First there is the stool rotation. This involves “the involved knee on a stool” and rotating the leg outward and holding it for 10 seconds, then rotate the leg inward and holding it for an additional 10 seconds.

Secondly there is the Hip Flexor Stretch with a Stool. The involved knee is placed on a stool (as my hips are parallel to a table). I slide the stool back until a strong stretch is felt in the front of my hip. The stretch is held for 30 seconds. And once I completed it, I alternate between each hip.

Lastly there is the Hip Abductor Stretch with a stool. The involved knee is on a stool (again hips are parallel to the table). I then slide the stool out to side until I feel a stretch in the inner thigh. Again, this stretch is held for 30 seconds; and upon completing it, I alternate.

I bet you are asking yourself, “What if I do not have a stool to do this at home?” Good question. There are ways of doing the same stretch without a stool. For the Hip Flexor Stretch and Hip Abductor Stretch, a person can do it standing. Same time applies.

I can go on and on about the other routines and stretches but I will leave it at this for now.

I remain hopeful things will work out for the better. A lot has been happening in my life in recent weeks. And quite frankly, it has been happening for the better.

I know with the help of positive thinking this can only lead me down to a great road.

By all means leave comments, tips and idea. Words of encouragement is always welcomed. 🙂

Have a great day.

Jorge

The Road to my 1st Physical Therapy Session

June 16, 2011 2 comments

If you have been a reader of my blog since its inception, by now you know my goal is to run the 2012 NYC Marathon and maintain my good health. But in a discouraging twist of fate the goal of running 26.2 miles hit a major road bump.

For months prior to getting it diagnosed I have felt discomfort in my hips. Initially I brushed it off. My answer to the discomfort “improper stretching”. What did I know? I am not a doctor. But I diagnosed myself as such. I felt I knew more about “health” than anybody. Yes I was naive and gullible. As the weeks mounted I continued my training. Then by February my condition progressively got worse. I was hurt. I knew it. But I continued.

Around mid to late February I knew something was wrong. After a great run on the treadmill I came up lame. However I did not feel a thing until after I left the gym in Hoboken. As I walked home I began to feel some discomfort in my right hip, thigh and groin area. Something was not right. But I continued to walk home to Jersey City. After reaching Jersey City I developed a limp and a discomforting sore in the aforementioned areas. I kept it to myself. The last thing I need is someone to tell me I was overdoing it. In recent years I have overcome a lot. This was not the time to stop.

But after listening to myself I decided to take a two week break from training. Hopefully that time would allow me to heal and mend. Now if you know me well you know that I LOVE to use the internet for research. And if you know me well you know I LOVE to use Google and/or Wikipedia as my main reference. As I mended I used Google as my go to destination on diagnosing my condition.

I discovered a lot of interesting theories as to why my right hip was sore. They ranged from: not drinking too much water (lactic build-up), improperly or lack there of stretching of the hip flexor muscle, to needing a hip adjustment. All very interesting theories. Each of which contained content of symptoms that I experienced. Then I realized while the internet could be a valuable tool, it could also be a tool that can make one worry. In this case the latter took precedence. But as usual I swept it under the rug.

After two weeks I returned to my routine and felt minor discomfort. Unfortunately my return to my training was short lived. The soreness reappeared and I knew I was legitimately hurt. It took some convincing from my good friend Judy to seek medical attention. She recommended some orthopedic doctors near my office in Manhattan. I did just that.

I received care and a proper diagnosis after an x-ray and an MRI. However, there was something about this doctor that made me feel apprehensive. For instance after he diagnosed me with Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI) in each hip, he encouraged me to continue working out. In particular he suggested I should take up spinning. (Author’s note: I have used the spin bike way before this doctor encouraged me to do so.) But for him to say spinning while I was physically hurt did not sound right. The only bright spot I received from this doctor was NO SURGERY.

After hearing that I felt great. But after talking to another good friend of mine, I developed second thoughts. At her encouragement, she recommended I see Dr. Bryan Kelly out of The Hospital For Special Surgery. Franny recommended it after seeing a co-worker of hers experience the same condition but with a complete tear of the labrum. In my case I just have a small tear. Nevertheless, I took her word and proceeded to the process.

Fast forward to May, I gathered all of my health records from Doctor 1  and submitted them to Dr. Kelly. Had I known how long the wait for a consultation would take, I would have not waited until May and proceeded in April. But school took precedence. After hearing from his staff, I made a consultation for the day after Memorial Day and a few days after my California vacation. I figured if I was getting surgery California would be my entire summer.

The day came. Dr. Kelly and his staff made me feel at ease. He asked many questions. And after my response he recommended I try the conservative approach. He wants me to try physical therapy for 8 weeks. And if after 8 weeks my hips does not respond to the treatment, the next step is an injection (possibly a cortisone-like injection) in the hip joint. And if that does not alleviate my discomfort the final step would be surgery.

So here we are…I begin the conservative approach today. Physical therapy. Those two words are synonymous with Jorge Briones. To get to where I want to be again, I have to endure some road bumps. And those road bumps will come in the form of discomfort and to an extent pain. If that is what it takes to get back to good health then so be it.

Thankfully I have the support of a group of people that MEAN the world to me. And for that I will personally thank ’em. First off my loving family…My older brother Luis. Without his support and guidance I would be a wreck. My siblings Geraldine and Carlos. My sister is my best friend she always chooses the right words to lift my spirits. Where would I be without my parents. My father, Luis Sr., is the ever loving concerned father who has supported my endeavors for as long as I can remember. Papi gracias. And lastly, I want to thank my mother. I felt bad hiding my condition from her. She did not know about my condition until early June. The last thing I wanted was to worry her. I knew things would be okay, but as the saying goes, “Mother knows best.” And she did. She had a hunch something was wrong with me. Afterall my gym bag has been collecting dust along with my running shoes and my workout gear. I told her about my condition. To my pleasure she supported me. It took a load off my chest. And I do apologize for holding this from you. I had no intentions on doing so. Gracias mami. 🙂

Then there are those in my circle who mean the world to me. Without their support I would be a shell of myself. First off, Judy…Judy has been one of my best friends for four years. We have had an up and down road when it comes to our health. We are fighters. And we support each other whenever we need the guidance to fight our ailments. Franny…what can I say about someone who has been there for me and supported me since 2008. She has been my ally at work and outside of it. Then there is Veronica…she has had my back and has encouraged me to follow my dreams even when they seemed far-fetched. These ladies have meant a lot to me. And like my family, I owe them a lot.

To an extent I can also thank my followers on twitter (@hip_hip_jorge). I would love to name ’em all but I am pressed for time. They know who they are. And I want to thank those who are fans of my “Run Jorge Run” Facebook fan page. And of course, David. His wordpress journal about his own weight loss is remarkable. Keep it up my friend (http://testingtruechange.com).

Between now and July 29th (follow up with Dr. Bryan Kelly), I will document all the twists and turns, up’s and down’s, good and bad moments from physical therapy. This is only the beginning. And Lord knows I need a workout stat. My expanding abdomen hates my guts. Sorry bud.

Until later.

All feedback is welcome. Any advice, comments is appreciated.

Jorge