About Me

My photo
Austin, Texas, United States
I'll make you laugh, or break my neck trying. This is usually accomplished with daily bouts of swimming, biking and running. A former "chub-a-holic," I got fit and healthy the good old fashioned way and went from a mid-pack athlete to top age group runner and triathlete. I'm a Writer and USAT Level 1 Certified Triathlon Coach. I guess that makes me part Tina Fey and part Jillian Michaels. Visit my coaching site at www.fomotraining.com

Friday, May 28, 2010

You Know You're Injured When...

Brutus is now using my crutches as a pillow. He's obviously getting
used to my lifestyle.

It's Been One Week...


It's hard to believe it's only been a week and 2 days since the hip surgery. In one respect, it feels like forever since I've been a slave to the couch and the CPM machine. By the same token,  I'm amazed at my activity level in the last week. I can't thank my friends and family enough for being here physically and emotionally. I'm grateful for the visits, phone messages, emails, texts from people who are "in the neighborhood" and want to know if I need anything, the food deliveries, the chauffeurs who stop by and take me to lunch and to doctor's appointments and hubster for the wonderful anniversary afternoon of food, shopping and picnicking. It may be hotter than hell already, but just getting out of the house feels like a mini-retreat. In the last week, I've been able to venture out to do a lap on the track (with crutches, of course), Whole Foods a couple of times, lunch with former co-workers, and I even got out to meet my T3 group last night for the unveiling of our Ironman Coeur D'Alene video from 2009.  Ironic that I was gearing up for an Ironman one year ago and now I'm not allowed to put weight on my leg. Actually, it was about this time last year that I was going to see Dr. Sellers complaining of numbness and pain in my quad/hip flexor region. Today, I get to get out of the house again and head to my very first official physical therapy appointment. Needless to say, I'm grateful for any opportunity to move and make forward progress.

I've checked off a lot of those "when I have some free time" projects too this past week...catching up on shows, magazines, blogs, emails and other non-essentials that can clutter our existence. I've written three articles this week for Livestrong.com and I'm thinking ahead and mentally manifesting goals and dreams for 2011. Lord knows, I have plenty of time to visualize, reach out to mentors, and do some goal-setting meditations.

Man, it sounds like I've had the most amazing week of catching up and regrouping. It has been wonderful, but I have to be honest, I also catch myself getting a little down and suffering a bit of anxiety. As an intrinsically self-motivated person, it really is difficult to just "be" and not "do." There are some moments when I slip into a bit of a panic..."I'm not doing enough...I'm lazy...I'm getting fat...I'm not contributing...people are judging me...I'm judging myself...I should be working...I should be doing SOMETHING..." I believe they call it good old-fashioned GUILT.  While I'm essentially on my butt all day, hubster is getting up, going to work, saving a few lives, coming home, cleaning the house, doing laundry, and fetching things for me when I ask. I know I've reached my tolerance level, but I keep thinking he'll hit his limit any moment now. Does any of this sound familiar? I suppose that's why, even now, I still create a daily "to-do" checklist. At the end of the day, I like to know that I'm accomplishing something...Even if that something is simply taking a shower.

So, needless to say, it's been a topsy-turvy week of emotion. For the rest of the world, it's a much-needed three day weekend. For me, it's three more days of recovery. The Capital of Texas Triathlon is this weekend so I hope to get out and spectate. Nothing will inspire me more.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Day in the Life...

I'm not gonna lie. Sitting here on the couch doing nothing totally blows. My experience over the last week has been a mundane combination of waking, hobbling downstairs (which I've now mastered, thank you very much), making coffee and a semblance of breakfast, and then retreating to the couch where I watch my leg move up and down in the CPM Machine while catching up on episodes of "Glee" and "Dr. Oz."  I read,  write articles, spend way too much time on Facebook and challenge my literary skills with multiple games of "Words with Friends." After about 3-4 hours of that excitement, I get up and spend about an hour making lunch, all the while wondering how I could possibly be hungry since I burned ZERO calories sitting on my butt (thank goodness I have a decent basal metabolic rate). The afternoon is spent doing much of the same. Even my cats think I'm being a bit lazy. Yeah--these guys.

For exercise, I climb the stairs on my crutches, shower and brush my teeth. Whew...exhausting. I sit in our steam shower for 15 minutes at 105 degrees just to remember what it was like to do yoga. Unfortunately, I can't really bend over and do "standing head to knee" or "rabbit pose" right now. I sit in the sauna and basically talk to myself (and whoever is getting a good laugh from up above).  My afternoons are spent back in the leg machine and catching up with friends by phone and email. I can't thank you enough for reaching out to make sure I'm alive and sane. I'm definitely alive. I can't speak for my sanity.  This view gets a little boring...and reminds me that I need a good shave and pedicure.

On a positive note, I've written a couple of good articles, finished a book, started my Training Peaks coaching tutorial and have made contact for potential future writing endeavors.  I also get 9+ hours of sleep a night and, so far, my leg/hip feels awesome. I actually start some physical therapy this week and my first follow up with the surgeon is next week. I can only hope this means I'll have some independence soon. By independence, I mean to say that I hope I'll actually be able to drive myself places and walk up and down stairs without a crutch. Soon enough, I'll be able to get in a pool and move my legs back and forth. I've never been so excited about aqua jogging in all my life. I have to convince myself that I haven't become the pile of fluffy goo that my body feels like right now. Sad, isn't it? Less than one week after running my final "marathon," I feel like a chubby sloth. The mind can play cruel tricks sometimes.

Thanks to friends and hubster, I've had some wonderful outings. I actually did a lap on the track a couple of days ago and met some friends at Whole Foods for my first scooter adventure! Michelle came by on Saturday and gave me some wonderful downtime material (trashy romance novel and chick flicks!!) Most people would kill for this meditative and reflective time. I just hope it doesn't kill me first.

Until then, I'll just keep jumping these little hurdles one at a time...

Because that's how I roll!!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

My "Aha" Moment

What if you were given the chance to tell the world one of your "aha moments?"  I'm talking about sitting down in front of a video camera and telling the story about a pivotal moment in your life that pretty much changed everything for you. What would you say? What would I say?

It was most definitely a serendipitous "cosmic coincidence" (which isn't a coincidence at all) that I received the following email last Monday, May 17th on my 37th birthday...two days before my hip surgery. 

I work for the company that is producing Mutual of Omaha’s “proud sponsor of life’s aha moments” campaign– visit www.ahamoment.com<http://www.ahamoment.com>  to see what an aha moment is and the great real stories we filmed during the campaign in 2009.

Associated to that, we have a 34-foot Airstream mobile film studio that is traveling the US on a 25-city tour to capture the country’s aha moments. We are headed to Austin this 
Thursday, May 20th & Friday, May 21st, and would love to invite you  to share what lead you to lose 60 pounds & focus on your health, and how your life has changed since. I came across your blog, and think you would have a great story to share! You would just have to step into the Airstream studio for a few minutes and tell your story on film, which would be posted to www.ahamoment.com <http://www.ahamoment.com> . 

 Me?? Step in front of a camera to tell a story about, well...ME?? Aw shucks...I could NEVER do that. ha ha... The problem was--there was a good chance that I wouldn't be able to do it. I was going to be two days post-op and I had no idea what condition, shape, mood, or pain I'd be in on Friday.  I can't drive right now so my parents would have to drive me downtown, find a parking spot and help me get to the airstream trailer studio (which I now covet). Surely, I didn't want to be the surly girl on vicodin who gets on camera and says, "Yeah, I got myself in shape, but I also tore my hip in the process of doing it, too!"

Nope, I wanted to be the inspirational Carrie who imparts life-changing wisdom and humor on whoever hears and sees it. Of course, it's wisdom of common knowledge...believe in yourself, set goals, achieve them, repeat, repeat, repeat... They asked me to talk about what it was like to run my first marathon. Looking back, I've had several "aha moments" in life. Haven't we all? The www.ahamoment.com website describes them as: a moment of clarity, a defining moment where you gain real wisdom - wisdom you can use to change your life. Whether big or small, funny or sad, they can be surprising and inspiring. Each one is unique, deeply personal, and we think, worth sharing.

Why was running my first marathon such a major "aha moment" for me?  The list of reasons seems endless, but can be summed up simply as empowerment. It was the missing prop that now dresses my current stage. I felt like superwoman when I crossed that line.  Truly, Wholly Invincible.  About two dozen of my co-workers secretly had t-shirts printed up and were wearing them at various points along the course. They knew how hard I worked for this and were there on race day from start to finish. It truly taught me the power of self-confidence and self-actualization. I think it was the first time when something that seemed "impossible" to me became "possible." Not only did it become possible, it became real. I began to respect myself. And, THAT, I believe is the actual "aha moment."

Once I gained self-respect, everything became possible including coaching, stand-up comedy, pursuing other fitness endeavors, changing jobs, and eventually finding the man of my dreams and creating a team that far exceeds ANYTHING that I ever thought possible. 

So, that is what I shared with the film crew on Friday as I hobbled my way into the mobile studio and recounted my moment. During a time when I'm admittedly feeling a little down and sorry for myself, it was good to hear a positive, uplifting and hopeful message. It was even better to know that the message was MINE.

Here's to many more "aha moments!"

My favorite race photo and "aha moment" in the making!
(I still have the infamous "Run Bitch Run" sign :-)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Day #4 Post-Op: Permanent Couch Imprint Forming

I broke a sweat today. Well, sort of...I sat in our steam shower for 10 minutes at 105 degrees just to feel the heat, to feel my heart rate beat a little faster, to sweat out the toxins from the last few days, to feel alive. Certainly not the workout I'm accustomed to, but I'll take it. Of course, I also look like a complete idiot because I have to wrap a trash bag around my hip/leg/butt to not get the bandages too wet. So, yeah, I look like a creepy naked adult wearing an abnormally large plastic diaper. Sexy, no?

In the 3 1/2 years we've lived in this house, I don't think I've been on the couch as long as I have since coming home from the surgery center on Wednesday. I'm trying to enjoy the downtime, but I'm not enjoying the bloating, distended belly and constipation that has also come as a result of the surgery. As if I don't feel crappy enough (pun intended), now I have to look in the mirror at a somewhat swollen version of myself. I certainly hope that lovely little side effect goes away soon because it is doing nothing for my self-esteem right now.

I still keep waiting for the major pain to kick in, but it hasn't. I'd say at Day four, that's a good sign. In fact, I totally feel like I could put weight on this leg, but I dare NOT! The most pain I feel happens to be from the blisters that have formed on the palms of my hands from the handles on the crutches. I'm actually using a pair of cycling gloves now. I prefer to call them my "driving gloves" because it makes me feel fancy and decadent--not pathetic and useless. I also walk around the house with a backpack in case I need to transport books, water, phone to different rooms. Basically, I'm sporting the barefoot hiker look.

Cooking is a bit of a chore, but that's no different than it was when I had use of both legs and arms! God Bless Whole Foods and their vast array of options. I've probably been overdoing it a bit the last couple of days. Lots of trips up and down the stairs, in and out of cars, getting up and sitting down, etc. Almost laughable that these little things are considered "overdoing" it. Damn, I have a birthday and fall to pieces in one week.  I said "goodbye" to my Mom and Dad this morning. I'm sure this wasn't their ideal vacation, but it was a huge help having my Mama nearby to help shower me, dress me and do laundry for the first couple of days until I got it all figured out. Hubster is, as per usual, a saint and master of patience. And my kitties...what would I do without their love and mounds of fur? I spent the first two nights on the couch and they were right there with me. I think they're loving my couch time more than I am!

Let the fun continue and the bloating cease. Next up? A little vino with my girl Michelle. She knows how to lift my spirits!

Sympathy recovery

My boys are recovering right next to me on my makeshift couch/bed.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Day #1 Post-op: I'm Officially a Hipster

The Sheep Heading to the Slaughterhouse...
Thanks to Muna for the awesome crutches!

Nothing like running a marathon and then having a hip scope the next day! I'm sure 9 out of 10 physicians would NOT have recommended this (like they do everything else), but it was therapy for my mind and emotional well-being.

Where I'll be chillin' for the next couple of weeks

I'm currently sitting on the couch (command central) as the CPM Machine moves my leg up and down. So far, so good. On a pain scale of 1 to 10, I'm feeling about a 2. Just some stiffness and mild discomfort. I keep thinking that the horrible pain will start any minute now, but I consider myself healthy and blessed that I've been relatively pain free. I haven't really tried to maneuver the steps up to my bedroom yet, but I'm going to have to today to wash the stink off my body and grit from my teeth.

The surgeon spoke with Shawn and then called me last night to make sure everything was going well. Right now, I'm deliriously optimistic. He trimmed down all of the loose cartilage around the tear, including some strange looking appendage that was dangling there. The Doc told Shawn he's never really seen that with a labral tear. Needless to say, he cut it off! He also shaved down my hip socket as he noticed a Pincer Impingement that more than likely caused the tear. Basically, the hip socket gets in the way of the ball joint and the rub creates the inflammation and subsequent tear.  (see pic below) I'm ironically relieved that the Surgeon did find pretty major damage. I had visions of him getting in there and going, "Oh, it's not that bad. This probably isn't causing all of your pain."  Needless to say, that's probably not the case.

I'm taking it as a good sign that, 1) he said everything went great  2) He didn't say, "You can never run again."  I start PT next week, but no driving for a few weeks.

As my friend Muna said, yesterday's surgery was the low point. From here on out for the next couple of months, I get to rehab, recover and get stronger ! Here's to a new and improved hip!

All smiles in the pre-op room

Looking totally stoned in the recovery room

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

And There You Have It...

My personal 26.2 mile journey one day before hip surgery. I can't say
it was pretty, but it sure was lovely. Thanks to those I saw who gave
me much-needed shots of adrenaline. It wasn't my PR or a Boston
qualifier, but I'll take it.

Monday, May 17, 2010

26.2 Miles of Gratitude, Hope and Lunacy

Three years ago on my birthday I was a week away from getting married. Two years ago, I was in Tuscany, Italy sipping vino and eating pizza. Last year, I was in Napa sipping even more wine and gearing up for my second Ironman. This year, I'm hanging with my parents and in-laws in Austin gearing up for hip surgery! Oh, how times have changed :-)What a difference a year makes, eh?

I'm excited and nervous. In one respect, I feel like an injured animal. I want to run away, crawl under a bush and hide from everyone and everything. But, like most injured animals, I still have a little feral fight in me. Before I give up, I want to attack just one more time.

On my birthday run this morning, I decided that my last fight will be a 26.2 mile jog Tuesday morning to celebrate life, health, and new beginnings. Running is what started it all for me, after all. I would give up darn near everything to be able to run pain-free again. Call me overdramatic, but I can't think of a better way to go into surgery than with one last marathon under my belt. If surgery doesn't go well, at least I'll know I ran one last 26.2 jaunt on the life-saving trail of Lady Bird Lake. If all goes as perfectly as expected, I'll have a new time to beat :) (which shouldn't be a problem).

If you're out and about tomorrow morning, join me for a few easy miles. I have no choice but to take it easy. I haven't run more than 15 miles since last July! I'll probably leave my house around 5:30am and head straight to the Lake so that I'm done before it gets too hot. That way, I can spend the rest of the day with my parents prepping my house and my mind for what is about to come.

So, here's to living life to it's fullest and giving the surgeon something to do on Wednesday morning! I want to be able to tell him, "I ran a marathon yesterday! Now, fix my hip, dude, because I've got a lot more of these planned!"

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Walk a Mile in My Shoes

Lost in thought...
This picture doesn't even come close to showing just how high I was 

In a former life (and I know I've had a few), I was a total Mountain Mama. Earth chick. Rock Climber. Probably even some form of mountain animal. Who knows... Every single time I step foot in the mountains, I feel like I'm coming home. I can't even describe it adequately. I know as a flatlander originally from Ohio, it REALLY doesn't make sense, but then again, most intuitive things don't make sense. You just KNOW them to be the truth.
Modeling my Pearl Izumi syncroFuel XC Trail Shoes...So NOT sexy

In addition to watching Richard and several other Austin friends totally rock Ironman St. George, we also turned it into a National Parks vacation visiting some of the wonders of the U.S. including Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, Arches National Park, Canyonlands Nations Park and Snow Canyon State Park. When we weren't hiking among the world's most beautiful scenery, we were seeking out trails in and around the St. George and Moab areas. I know Austin has a great Greenbelt system, but it was nothing compared to walking out of our St. George house and hitting wonderful trails just a few steps away. As I tried to describe to others, I felt like I was a character running around in someone's painting...like, here was this palette of perfection and I was somehow in the middle of it pretending to be "trail runner girl."  I guess I wasn't really pretending. I did have some spectacular trail runs and my legs were doing great thanks to my Pearl Izumi syncroFuel XC trail shoes. They arrived literally the day before we left for Utah and I've never worn these shoes before. Rookie mistake #1, right?? Never run in shoes you haven't broken in...oh well!  I went on a couple of small hikes in them and then did about 4-5 great road/trail runs with absolutely no problems. I'm now anxious to try out their road shoes since the trail shoes were so comfortable, light and flexible. I highly recommend giving them a try if you are into trail running. Just being out there completely reignited my love for running amongst the rocks, hills and trees. Maybe I was a squirrel in a past life?! Or a cheetah?! Or a turtle...

The other fun shoe I tried were my Vibram Five Fingers! I still haven't attempted a run in them, but decided to hike in them at Bryce Canyon. They were quite the topic of many glances and conversations that day. Lots of Europeans were hiking and I would catch them staring at my feet as we passed by and then I would hear them launch into some kind of French or German chatter immediately after passing. I'm sure it was something to the effect of, "What the hell is she wearing--Stupid American Girl!"

Trail shoes or five-fingered slippers, Southern Utah was brilliant. I highly recommend this vacation if you truly want to get away and bask in the glory of Mother Nature. We timed it perfectly too because the weather wasn't too hot and the parks weren't crowded at all. I know I could've easily stayed in the area for another month to do some rafting, cycling and more hiking/running. Alas, reality calls home every time.

Strangely enough, it's time to put my trail shoes and vibrams away for awhile. I'm glad we spent precious time together out in the hills. It's only a matter of time before we reconnect and share more runs. For now, I'm off to take a walk down a different path of restoration and healing. Let it begin!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Perhaps I Should Move to Japan :-)

My in-laws just got back from a vacation to Japan and they thought of me...Glad to know I've made some kind of impression :-) Tofu Doughnuts?!?! Even I'm a little leery of that one!

I do love my green smoothies...

and a Mini-Honda Element called "My Box!"  (Hell, if the name iPad works, why not My Box?!)

Must. Have. My. Box.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Do You Work?

Since I quit my full-time office job last Fall, so many people have asked things like, "What are you going to do now???" and "How will you keep yourself busy??" (As if I sit sluggishly on the couch every day and wait for my mani/pedi).  I stated from the get-go that I had two main goals:  become a certified USA Triathlon Coach and do some freelance writing.

Well, after a weekend of classes in Tucson back in March and a comprehensive exam, this came in the mail last week:

And, since February, I've been a freelance writer for www.livestrong.com.  

I've had about 20 articles published on various topics including:

...to name a few

You'll never reach your goals if you don't set them. And this is only the beginning...

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Apparently, I'm channeling my inner Snow White and having a lovely
conversation with a Zion National Park Squirrel.

What could we possibly be talking about?!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Change is a good thing.

Change is part of life and happens to everyone.

Change is an opportunity for me to grow.

Change always means something good is around the corner.

Change brings new people, new opportunities and new perspectives.

Change helps strengthen my self-reliance, inner fortitude and inner faith that I can handle anything.

Change is never a punishment.

Change allows me to learn or understand something new.

Change reminds me to let go and surrender a little more to life. 

-Ariane de Bonvoison's "Change Manifesto-An Optimist's Beliefs About Change" from 
The First 30 Days: Your Guide To Making Any Change Easier