Prior to Tim’s scheduled surgery, several nurses at the hospital told us that Dr. Cameron likes to see all of his patients out of bed and walking soon after the surgery. Tim, the gadgeoholic that he is and wanting to be an ” A” patient, decided to purchase a pedometer from City Sports in Fell’s point so he could track all of his foot steps during his hospital stay. Side note: I never realized that Dr. Cameron’s definition of SOON meant, that Tim would be walking the morning after surgery in the intensive care unit, with a foot long incision on his belly, still covered with bandages. I still don’t get that one but Dr. Cameron definitely knows what he is doing so who am I to argue.
Let’s just say that Dr. Cameron was really proud of Tim for tracking his footsteps on the pedometer for the next several days. Tim would meet Dr. Cameron every morning in the hallway at 5:30am as he arrived to do his daily hospital rounds.
In less than a week, Tim left the hospital and joined me in the apartment that was one block from the hospital. I considered renting another unit due to the stairs leading to the bedroom; however, Dr. Cameron once again encouraged more walking by going up and down the stairs. You probably think that this doctor is some sort of drill sergeant. It was required that we stayed in Baltimore for another week after his hospital discharge for follow-up to ensure he was stable enough for the 5 hour drive home.
Although Tim was walking, there was no way he was going to return to running any time soon. Well, that is at least what I thought at the time. In fact, I contacted several of the race directors inquiring about refunds for the entrance fees we had already paid for due to the extenuating medical circumstances. And since I was not in the frame of mind to even think about training for the Irongirl in August, I sent an email requesting a refund or deferment for that race.
Most race directors were kind and refunded our race fees. That is up until I heard back from the Irongirl headquarters. There was no such luck getting a refund or deferment from them, so I decided to use the wait and see method to determine if I would be arriving at the starting line. I would wait to see if I could get into triathlon shape for the race, knowing that I would only be able to allocate 3 weeks to train for the swim and bike portion of Irongirl.
We returned home to Syracuse the third week of April for a little over a month then it was back to Baltimore so Tim could start the next phase of his treatment. Every day for the next 6 weeks, Tim received radiation and adjuvant chemotherapy as part of a clinical trial at Johns Hopkins.
What you don’t know is that Tim was eagerly waiting for the magic number of 6 weeks to be over post surgery so he could start running again and resume normal activity. I think my eyes popped out of my head when he told me he attempted a run exactly 1 day after the 6 week mark.
When we arrived back in Baltimore it took some time to get acclimated to high temperatures and humidity. The heat was a nice change; but, considering we arrived in Baltimore wearing our long pants and winter coats, the warm weather was a shock to our system.
Our daily routine included getting up early to run in an effort to beat the high heat and humidity and traffic. Our workout was followed by breakfast and a bus and subway ride to the hospital for treatment. I can tell you that the other patients in the waiting room were shocked that Tim found a way to muster up the energy to run every day. Several of the other patients going through radiation treatment expressed how difficult it was for them just to get out of bed. The first few weeks post surgery, our workouts combined both running and walking. I did witness vast improvements every day with Tim’s endurance and pace.
To take advantage of this beautiful Baltimore weather, I decided that I wanted to work on my running speed by entering road races. And since I did not have my bike or swimming gear to train with, I figured that working on my speed in the 5K would give me a great foundation for the run portion of Irongirl. When I mentioned to Tim that I wanted to run the McVet Memorial Day 5K run, I could not believe his response. Tim said that he wanted to run the race as well.
Not only did Tim want to run in the race, he decided to double my distance and run the 10k. Ok, I definitely wimped out and still ran only the 5k .Tim finished the 10k with his average pace at 9 minute per mile. If that is not an inspiration, I don’t know what is. Here is my husband who just had major surgery with the 12 inch vertical incision running down his abdomen, running 6.2 miles in 95 + degree temperatures. I really don’t know how he ran that distance so soon after the surgery but he did.
Every weekend after the Memorial Day 5k & 10k, we ran in races and the distances kept getting longer. In the end, my goal was to race well in the Baltimore Women’s 5k classic.
One of the things I loved about Baltimore is that you could find several road races to choose from every weekend. Here is the list of races we completed during our stay in Baltimore.
June 4th- Charles Village 5k
June 12th- Survivor Harbor 7 miler
June 18th- Baltimore 10 miler
June 25th- Dreaded Druid Hill 10k – Tim
June 26th- Baltimore Women’s 5k Classic- me
Watching Tim run every day and race every weekend inspired me like you wouldn’t believe. It prompted me to create and live by a new motto. NO EXCUSES! I decided that I was no longer going to complain about things I had no control over like the hot weather, the course condition, my minor aches and pains etc. These things were all trivial now in the scheme of life. What is important to me is that I am healthy and still can run so I need to make the best of it no matter what.
Tomorrow you will read about my final race performance in Baltimore and how I bared almost all in a race away from my home turf.
What inspires and motivates you to workout? I would love to read your story in the comments sections.
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