Tuesday, February 26, 2008

4 Miles

Four Miles is such a short distance, usually, for a runner. In the middle of the year, or at any other time, I would have been embarrassed that I ran four miles, only. Maybe if it was in a registered race, or as part of a tempo run or the sum of interval training, I could see myself entering the number 4 underneath the column “Miles Ran” in my running log. But this was no ordinary run, my dear friends. This was my first run in 2008, my first run since I broke my first clavicle, my first run on the long road to recovery. I never imagined after I made my New Year’s Resolution to run 333 miles more than last year, it’d take me 45 days to log my first four. And even though the effort was my slowest in more than a year (7:45 min/mile pace) and I was panting louder and faster than the horses pulling the carriages next to me at Central Park, I’ve never felt happier to be running so slowly. I can’t wait for my next four miles.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Post-Vacation Injury Update

On my vacation, I found a souvenir shirt which nicely summarizes the four stages of a happy snowboarding life. For those who can’t read the fine print, it says “Eat, Drink, Snowboard, Recover,” So why is it that I seem to be stuck in the fourth stage for so long?

Actually, once my shoulder survived the plane ride over to New Zealand (unfortunately, not my bags for the first five days…) it really did not give me trouble for most of my trip. I did my best to avoid the really hazardous sports, like bungy-jumping, skydiving and white-water rafting, even if NZ had the reputation for being the best place to do adventure sports of anywhere in the world. I tried hard to stay the course. Even when my friend went paragliding and asked me to join her, I declined the offer and watched from the bottom of the mountain instead. Most people would admire my courage and persistence. I just wanted to avoid injury so I can run again once I got back to the states.

Even up to the second last day of the trip, I was still doing well. My shoulder felt strong. I had good mobility with limited pain. Then we found a sandy beach in the back of the backpacker’s lodge we were staying in, and all hell broke loose. You see, my friend and I had been driving 1000 miles all over the country in search of a nice swimming beach. Since the first day of vacation, we had been yearning for a chance to run our toes over the sand and submerge our bodies in the crashing waves. But all we found through the whole time we were there were rocky beaches and empty shorelines. We loved the scenery and the hiking, but at least for me, it just wouldn’t be a vacation if you don’t get to spend at least part of the day on a sandy beach. So imagine our exhilaration when we found one right in our own backyard, so to speak. So what does that have to do with my shoulder injury…well, that’s when I broke my restraint and allowed myself to run in the sand…figuring that falling on soft sand shouldn’t hurt that much. I was running slowly at first, then faster, all the while enjoying the nice cool breeze and watching the waves crashing next to me. Next thing I know, my left foot hits a ditch and I’m flying headfirst, landing with all my weight on my left shoulder…

I’ll spare you the gory details, but safe to say that I reinjured my clavicle, and had to return to the sling for a couple of days. That’s why my injury counter is still running and I haven’t as yet gotten back on the roads. There is some good news though. I finally went back to my orthopedics/sport medicine doctor today for x-rays. And although the fracture had slipped a bit more, there is some callous formation around the injury, which is a sign that the bones are healing. As such, he is starting me on physical therapy, and not only that, he’s given me permission to do some JOGGING and LIGHT RUNNING.Woohoo! Music to my ears.

Now if only the weather will cooperate and the snow on the ground outside can disappear, I can finally get back to business!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Back From Vacation

Hey All! I’m finally back; back home after a long holiday hiatus. Hope you all have been well. Although I’m still recovering from jet lag somewhat, I cannot wait to tell you all about my overseas adventures. On my trip across the pond, I saw, heard, touched and experienced many things that were beyond imagination, at least for me. In the process, I learned and developed a new appreciation for nature that I never had before.

So about three weeks ago, I took the opportunity to escape city life and embarked on a twenty-two hour flight across the country and over the Pacific Ocean to the island country of New Zealand. It was sort of a spontaneous trip originally proposed by a friend of mine. She wanted company on her travel and since I needed time away to recuperate from my broken clavicle, I decided to join her for the trip.

The journey began with an auspicious start. My flight out of NYC was delayed for 4 hours, causing me to miss my original connecting flight in Los Angeles. It ordinarily wouldn’t have been too much of a problem, except that because of the flight change, my bag was not yet there by the time I landed in New Zealand. Not only that, but because I miss another scheduled flight on the night of my arrival that was supposed to take me from the North Island to the South Island, I had to spend my first night at the airport waiting for the first flight to the South Island. So, no bags, and no place to stay that first night…not a good way to start vacation.

But once I got to my first destination, Christchurch, the next morning, everything seemed to work out pretty well from there. As backpackers, my friend and I drove up and down the South Island, through most of the important towns. We stopped frequently along the way to do a lot of hiking. And boy, were there lots of hikes. There were hikes up mountains, hikes alongside rivers and streams, twenty minute hikes and six hour hikes. Honestly, I had never hiked as much as I did during this one trip. I guess the reasons they have so many hiking trails is to take advantage of some of the most breathtaking scenery that nature has to offer. Although the trek maybe difficult at times, the sights at the end were so spectacular that you never felt like you were disappointed by your efforts. Not only so, but at times, you got to see beautiful flowers, mushrooms, and the occasional animal in their natural habitat. I mean, where else, can you see a penquin walking in front of you, seals and sea lions sunbathing close enough for you to touch, and dolphins jumping in and out of the water less than 5 feet away from where you’re treading water. I am saying all of this because I have never been a big nature person before, having grown up in big cities all my life. But after this trip, I think I might have to rethink that.(I have included some of the better pictures for your enjoyment. I hope they do some justice to what I have witnessed, because what I witnessed was all pretty amazing.)

As for the people of New Zealand, they were for the most part, very cordial, friendly, and helpful. Although their pace of life was not surprisingly a bit slow for my taste, they took their time to make me feel welcomed in their country. One of the bartenders even sat with me to explain the esoteric rules of cricket, which I previously never understood on my own. (Just as an aside, the only reason I was in the bar in the first place was because they were showing highlights of Super Bowl XLII. I still cannot believe my football team, the NY Giants decide to wait until I left the country to play the most exciting football game in recent history, beat the New England Patriots and make history. That’s alright. I’m mighty proud of them anyways.) They are pretty fanatical about their cricket, just like we are here about baseball. Same thing with rugby. In the few conversations I had with the locals, I get a sense that they secretly despise Americans almost as much as they hate Australians. Don’t know if it’s true but just a gut feeling.

Overall, it was a great trip; much too short, in my opinion. I know I have a lot of running blogs to catch up on. Will also update the status of my left shoulder as it pertains to my running plans in the next post…(for a hint, see that counter on the right side, it’s still running!) In the meantime, I have to sleep off this jet lag.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Quicky from Me!

To those precious souls who still check this poor excuse of an ex-BQer, ex-runner's blog waiting for an update on my injury status, I am honored yet embarrassed that you're still here. Who am I to deserve such attention and loyalty? Let me start by thanking you all for your well wishes and kind words. And although you might have worried that I must have gone over the deep end waiting for my shoulder to heal, the truth is that I'm secretly hiding out in a very beautiful and remote part of the world for the past three weeks rehabilitating my injuries (you know, the way the pros do!) I'll be back in the states this weekend, and will have a full report on my travels (including pictures) and my bum shoulder for all my faithful followers. In the meantime, have a Happy Valentine's Day for all the lovers out there and keep running strong!
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