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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.

 

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Measurements

April 15, 2012 Leave a comment

Today I woke up feeling good. After yesterday’s 9+ mile walk I expected to wake up sore. Needless to say I anticipated to get in my cardiovascular workout and personal training session late in the morning.

On May 20th, I will walk down the aisle and accept my Master’s Degree. The road to May 20th started back in March when I made my return to the gym. At that point I hit the lowest point in my health since 2008. Granted I did not significantly gain weight, but at the same time my confidence took a hit. In January, I returned to work after a one month recovery from arthroscopic hip surgery. While recovering my wardrobe consisted of hoodie sweatshirts and sweatpants. If you own a pair or two you will know they are comfortable no matter body shape. But after being cleared to resume to the office, I had to give up the hoodie and sweatpants for my old dress shirts and slacks.

Returning to work was a thrill. Being home with cabin fever for a month would make any person eager to return to his or her life. However, I feared about putting on those slacks. I did my best to maintain a healthy diet; however, keep in mind, I had the procedure during the holidays. Being inactive during the holidays was a major blow. Upon putting on a pair of slacks in January, to no surprise my slacks barely fit.

Again it was a bit discouraging, but a sense of optimism arose. I thought to myself, “If I could lose 100 pounds, then I can regain my old-new shape.” But to get my “old-new” shape, I needed to bide my time between January and until the time I would be cleared to return to the gym.

My goal was to return to the gym by April and prepare for graduation and my second hip surgery. To my surprise, again, I was cleared to return to the gym sooner than expected. After seeing Dr. Kelly for my 12 week post-op follow up he recommended I could return to the gym on a limited schedule. Returning was not easy but it was not hard.

At some point in March, I bumped into my old friend and personal trainer, Mitch Heard. At this point he had left the NYSC to train people on his own. What started out as small talk ended up as a partnership again.

On March 18th the partnership began. Despite my limitations, as I still recover from hip surgery, I did not miss a beat. For the interim we are focusing on upper body training. Most days I am sore, other days I do not feel a thing. But I know when I achieve my goals I can look back and laugh on my psyche from January.

As I close this, the week after my first session with Mitch, he took measurements. The plan, as with any training, is to progress into a healthier and fitter me.

Here are the measurements from March 25th:

Weight: 161

BMI (Body Mass Index): 23.1 (Considered Average for Adult Male) **Mitch used a body index meter

Arm: 11 7/8 inches

Waist: 32 5/8 inches

Abs: 36 5/8 inches

Hips: 38 inches

Leg: 18 1/2 inches

My next measurement day will be the week before graduation (May 13th).

Until next time. Peace out!

Surgery is Knocking on My Door

December 18, 2011 10 comments

It is Sunday December 18, 2011 – and I am hours away from hip surgery. Interestingly, when Dr. Bryan Kelly gave me the news about surgery, I was scared. Of course, who would not be scared upon hearing the word, “surgery”? You would think I am used to surgery by now.

After all, I have had two medical procedures in the past three plus years. In 2008, I had ankle surgery to repair a ruptured anterior talo fibular ligament (ATFL). A year later, I had my gall bladder removed. The difference between the two procedures and what I am about to face tomorrow is my health. In 2008 and 2009 I was in the process of losing weight. Ultimately I dropped 100 pounds – I have never felt so good about myself.

Physically and mentally I am prepared for Monday morning. For four months I have tirelessly prepared for hip surgery. Upon receiving clearance to resume my workouts, I took advantage of each workout session. No matter how great I felt or how exhausted – I gave each session my best and all. The only thing I was unable to do workout wise is run. Dr. Kelly specifically instructed me to do anything with the exception of running and using the spin bike.

However as a fitting tribute I had to put aside Dr. Kelly’s edict. For my last workout, I wanted to pay a stirring tribute to what will ultimately lead me to the NYC Marathon. For weeks I planned my final workout. Sure, the stair master, elliptical and the spin bike (which I have not used since February) have been crucial in my weight loss. But it was running that made me feel good.

Giving up running hurt bad. Yes – I had the gym. Yes – I enjoyed each workout. But not being able to run hurt. Nevertheless, I had to run today. I know Dr. Kelly did not give me the green light. But dammit if I am never running again (unlikely though) I am going out with a bang. And that I did.

My final workout started and ended on the treadmill. For 95 minutes I ran for the first time since late-February. In 65 minutes I ran for 5.68 miles at an average speed of 5.5. Then in 35 minutes I ran for 2.65 miles at an average speed of 5.2. Today was not about losing calories or losing weight. Today was a day for me. Today showed me that after 9+ months I still have what it takes to run the marathon. Yes – I was slow. But damn I felt great.

With the final seconds ticking away and The Bouncing Souls on my iPod I felt a bitter sweet moment. I choked up a bit. To think I will not be able to run or do any sort of cardio for at least six months. That hurts. But I know in due time I will get back to my training. For the interim I just need to take care of myself. I will need to watch my weight. And with that I know things will be alright.

When I walked out of the NYSC this afternoon I was on a “SOMBER HIGH”. All I have to keep me motivated are family, friends and this blog. Rest assured while I may have taken a break from blogging in recent months, now that I am getting my right hip repaired I will have a lot to blog. Be prepared for a great ride. Physically I will be in pain. But my spirit will keep me going.

Here is a photo I took this afternoon minutes after my final run on the treadmill. “It’s Go Time.”

Spirits High

Feeling great after running for 95 minutes on the treadmill.

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