So April is close to ending and I’ve enjoyed a month of blogging. It’s also been a pretty good month of running. Highlights include getting some revenge on the Tely route, seeing a finish line in the Flat Out 5K, nearly drowning while running on Saturday, and getting a sub-24 minute time at the Mundy Pond 5K today.
I’d never have been in the position to accomplish anything if it wasn’t for all the support I received this past summer/fall while recovering from the heat stroke at the Tely.
After my friends/family finished the Tely for me, they never just went home. They were by my wife’s side in the hospital every day. Whenever people could get there, they came. Morning, lunch breaks, evenings. My wife and mother always had a support system there. I remember waking up and being overwhelmed at the people in waiting room at that very moment. Despite being weak, a little yellow, with eyes that couldn’t focus, and speech resembling the adults from Charlie Brown, I wanted to thank everyone then and there.
The 3+ weeks I was in hospital there was a steady stream of visitors, well wishes, cards, and food. I was desperate to show these people improvements, and get out of the hospital so they could get on with their lives. I can’t express how much I appreciate the staff at St. Clare’s. The nursing staff were very supportive and did a great job of keeping my spirits up, and making humbling situations seem very normal (Although, nothing motivates you to learn to dress/wash yourself then the day a male nurse shows up to do it for you).
The St. Clare’s PT staff did a great job getting me back on my feet. It was slow. Standing and sitting was exhausting. I remember being elated to stand on one foot for an exercise.
I was super anxious to get home, wanted my wife to go back to semi-normal existence, I missed my dogs, and I was tired of that room. Every morning I’d have hope that I’d be able to get home, only to be crushed over and over. Finally, when word came that I’d go home, it was one of the most joyous moments of my life. I’ll never forget that car ride home, never knew Topsail Road could be so scenic.
Once, I was home, and off an IV, the real work began. Right away, I put the walker out in the vehicle for trips out. At home, I was going to walk. A trip down the hallway could be pretty tiresome.
I started at the Miller Centre that week. I was hesitating to go there, debating a private physiotherapist, but I had no insurance at the time, so I said I’d give it a shot. I have to say, they do an amazing job. Just like the nurses, while they are overworked, when the focus is on you, you have their complete attention.
I will always be grateful to Cindy, my therapist. I had 3 sessions a week, and every time I had measurable improvements. I gave everything I had in the 3 weekly sessions. The day they let me go on a treadmill I was delighted (the appreciation for treadmills soon passed again). Despite Cindy keeping me in line with training.
When I left the hospital, they warned me it’d probably be late October before I got back to work. Once I got clearance to drive. I pushed Cindy and my family doctor on this, working hard to prove I could handle it. I walked through the doors of my workplace on September 15 (on a limited schedule). Well ahead of expectations. Perhaps I did overdo it a little, days were a bit more tiring then I’d admit back then, but it was great to have something resembling a normal life.
On September 17th, Cindy surprised me by asking if I’d be up for trying some light jogging at Quidi Vidi. I wasn’t going to say no. Quidi Vidi was where I’d learned to run, and here I was going there to re-learn to run. I was on a tight leash, 3 and 1’s with heart rate limitations. That first day out we did 4.5 KMs in 47 minutes, but it felt like I was flying when a month earlier I was happy doing a loop of the nurses station with a walker.
I started running outside of physio with rejoining New World Running Club. I was still on heart rate limitations though. Had my watch set to beep once I hit a certain heart rate, meaning it was time to walk for a minute. Janet and the others were great at keeping me in check. Making me follow orders that I probably wouldn’t have if I was on my own.
In January, it was time to start really running again. I knew I needed a running group to be part of, I was hesitant to run on my own. After moving Paradise in the late-Fall, NWRC wasn’t very convenient to get to. I instantly thought of the Paradise Running Club. I’d always seen the crowds of yellow and black at races. It seemed like a large enough group that I’d likely find people running at whatever pace I was capable of. Also, after I’d been out of hospital a couple of weeks, I discovered the ‘Other’ box on Facebook messaging. I had about 30 messages sitting there from people I did not know, but who had sent well wishes while I was in hospital. There were a number of these from people who identified themselves as being with PRC. I wrote everyone who wrote me back, thanking them for the support.
I did my first run with PRC on January 15th. Right away I knew I’d enjoy the group, and I’d definitely find the support I needed to get up and running.
Despite slower paces, I feel like I’m a better runner than I was last year this time. I’m running smarter. I’m willing to go easy on runs, take regular rests, and just enjoy the runs.
A lot of people are surprised I’m running again. Wonder if I’m worried about what happened last summer, happening again. As I said before, that was my fault. My own poor awareness. What will keep me in line is remembering the people who gave up time in their lives to wait around for me to wake up.
The first night I was in the hospital my wife decided to deal with the stress by writing in a journal. She wrote down what the doctors told her, what she saw herself, how others supported her, and most importantly her feelings. She kept this up until it was clear I’d recover. About a week after I got out of the hospital, I had her read it to me. I learned many things about that week I never knew, piecing together timelines and events. It was hearing exactly what she went through though that week that I rely on keeping me grounded to reasonable expectations. To train for things properly.
I look forward to continuing to run with all of you, supporting each other in whatever goals we have for the year whether it’s the Tely 10, a marathon, a triathalon, each and every goal.
You are all welcome to share in my goal for the year as well, coma free in 2015J
Thanks for reading everyone!
PS. Congrats to all our Mundy Pond 5K racers today. We had a number of PBs. We had some first time racers for the LTR group (who put up some very impressive times). Congrats to Madeline for earning her first running medal, hopefully the first of many. Remember you need to remove it before going through airport security!