12 week update and F.O.M.O. 

It’s finally here!!! 12 week post surgery. I know, I know. It doesn’t seem like it’s been 3 months. I hear it almost everyday. HOWEVER, when it is your foot stuck in a boot, it seems like a lifetime.

I am officially done with the boot. Seeeeee ya! I wish someone would have warned me how uncomfortable it would be the first week or so out of the boot. Every step is thought out, to ensure the foot lands evenly on the ground, or the fire ignited inside your foot and you don’t dare attempt another step. Okay, maybe that is a bit exxaggerated, but you get the point. I did wear a lace up brace for a week and a half, until I felt stable enough to walk without any added support. I kid you not, I felt like a baby giraffe learning to walk again.


So, here I am. Boot free. Brace free. And walking semi normal. X-rays showed new bone growth and my orthopedic doc sent me on my way. That means I can race?!? YEAH RIGHT.

I laid in bed one night (every night actually but this one night in particular) and got the bright idea that I would do the swim and bike portion of Vineman 70.3. I would turn my timing chip in at T2 and DNF, but at least I would get to race SOME of the race I had once trained so hard for. I went to my PT (physical therapist) with this bright idea and once again my dreams came crushing down. Swim portion, yes. Bike portion, don’t even think about it. With just 5 weeks until race day, I wouldn’t have enough time to get the ankle strong enough to ride 56 miles with rolling hills. “Just not worth it” were the words used. Ugh!! This is stupid. I pouted and stomped my feet like an upset 2 year old (not really but in my head I did). So…no racing.

The. Fear. Of. Missing. Out.

Sitting on the sidelines watching all your bada** friends compete in races is fun. It gives me a whole new perspective to the sport. HOWEVER, afterwards, it sucks emotionally. I want to be out there training and racing and pushing myself to the limit. Three weeks ago, it was Morgan Hill Sprint. The month before was Millerton Lake Triathlon. The month before, Ca Classic 1/2 Marathon. This weekend, Folsom.

As we inch closer and closer to Vineman 70.3, it gets harder and harder to be sidelined. I am so close, and yet so far from racing again. I promised to be honest throughout this process and this is it. I do not feel sorry for myself. I KNOW I will race again. You can BET I will come more determined to the 2017 race season. But for now, I have to accept that 2016 wasn’t my year to race. I hate it. I am not patient. I am grateful for the time away from the sport to spend with my family and friends. It’s just….hard.


I will be at Vineman 70.3. I will not be racing. Not even the swim, but I will be there. I will be there at the finish line to see my best friend cross the finish line in her very first 70.3. I will be ecstatic and proud. I will cheer, scream, cowbell, and give hugs to all my teammates as the take on the course. I fully expect the days following to be hard emotionally. I will do my best to prepare myself, but to be honest, I don’t know how I will handle it.


Stay tuned. For now…I will slowly start riding my bike outdoors and begin speed walking. Progress. 

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Top 5 things they should have told ME before having surgery. 

  
I am currently 6 1/2 weeks post surgery and there are definitely things I feel like the medical staff should have warned me about. Everyone is different, I get this, but here is my top 5 “You should have warned me” list. 

#5. No sleep…. to sleep ALL THE TIME. 

The first week after surgery, sleeping was quite a chore. Just as I was about to fall asleep, I would want to turn over, and well, good luck. With my foot propped up on two pillows to prevent swelling, turning from one side to the other wasn’t easy. 

However after the first month, and the fear of rebreaking my ankle while I slept faded, all I wanted to do was sleep. I would wake up with the kids, get them off to school, have some breakfast, and head back to bed. And by back to bed, I mean in bed, “napping”, until the kids got out of school and I was forced to leave my bed.  “Your body will recover faster if you rest”. Yeah, yeah. But let’s be real….sleeping ALL day isn’t healthy for the mind or body. Someone should have told me I was going to feel like a sloth while I adjusted to the crutch life. At what point do you need a “Get your arse out of bed” intervention? A day? A week? A month??? Send in the troops! 

#4. Oh, you thought you were independent? Not anymore. 

The medical staff taught me how to walk on crutches before I left the hospital. What they failed to mention was the fact that my independence was taken away the moment they handed me the crutches. Imagine life with NO hands. Yep. That’s what walking with crutches is like. Need to carry something from one room to the other? Hopefully your husband is free to help. Need to move laundry from the laundry room? Ask your kids. Grocery shopping? Walking up the stairs? Hahahahaha. You are kidding, right?!? 

For the first 3 weeks after surgery, I was fortunate enough to have friends and family help with dinners. I couldn’t stand long enough or move around the kitchen well enough to fix my family dinner. My mom stayed with us the first week to help take care of the kids. Cleaning the house wasn’t even an option. For a stay at home mom, I literally couldn’t do all of the things that needed to be done on a daily basis. Mentally, this was a very tough adjustment. Who would think  I would miss cleaning the house? I must be losing my mind. 

#3. Menopause? On top of a broke ankle? This is a bad joke. 

Back to sleeping. As if turning from side to side and finding a comfortable position wasn’t hard enough, add night sweats in the mix. I would wake up in the middle of the night SOAKED in sweat. Right after the surgery, it was the worst. The first couple of nights, I was so freaked out that I had an infection, I crawled out of bed and took my temperature. Night after night, I would wake up sweaty. It gets old real quick. It is only now, 6 weeks later, that I wake up and don’t feel like I peed my pants or took a shower while sleeping. It’s a wonderful feeling, let me tell you (enter sarcastic tone). But it wasn’t only at night. I would be standing in the kitchen and out of now where, break a sweat. Standing in line at the grocery stor, break a sweat. Sitting on the couch, break a sweat. These sweats weren’t nearly as bad as the night sweats, but none the less, weren’t fun to deal with. 

#2. No matter the task, big or small, it feels equivalent to climbing Mount Everest. 

Think about how many times you walk from one room to another…how easily you walk to the bathroom, get a drink of water, fill your car with gas. Everyday tasks that we complete without much thought. Someone should warn you that crutch life will make these everyday tasks feel impossible. It would take me 10 minutes to get up, hobble to the bathroom, and hobble back. Not to mention, I would break a sweat and need to sit for a minute to recover afterwards. Grocery shopping would literally take ALL of my energy for the day. How in the world did I go from training 1-4 hours a day, to this? Even 6 weeks later, these everyday tasks are still challenging. 

And last and most important….

#1. I have the most amazing and supportive friends and family. 

This obviously is something I knew before my injury, but I can’t yell it loud enough from the mountain tops. With all the challenges and negative feelings that came with my injury, I was flooded with text messages, phone calls, Facebook comments, and visitors that made even my hardest days so much easier. For three weeks, we had friends and family help with dinners. They took time out of their busy schedules  and money out of their pockets to help us. I had friends help me find doctors, medical equipment, and gave medical advise. There were random text messages that stopped the tears from rolling down my face. Friends would stop by just to say hi and make sure I was doing okay. Others got me out of the house for workouts and lunches. The list goes on and on. The medical staff could not have known just how wonderful my friends are, but love and support is the number one thing that has kept me from going to the dark side of depression. I am forever grateful and saying “thank you” just doesn’t seem like enough. 

So here I am, heading into week 7. I am feeling stronger. The good days out number the bad. I have graduated to one crutch and am allowed to swim. Recovery is long and hard (understatement of the year) but it isn’t forever. 

Until the next blog….get out there, love life, have fun, and love those around you!! 

What do you do when you’ve always eaten to perform? 

I am a little over 4 weeks into this journey. I have started physical therapy and although I am still non weight bearing, I am able to move the ankle to increase mobility and flexibility. I cannot put into words how nice it is to know that my ankle is not super fragile and can be out of the boot while I am at home. Freedom…well, sort of. 

In the past 4 weeks, I have lost 5.6 pounds. Wonderful, right?!? Well….not so much when it is muscle. I would like to be positive and think that some of it could be fat, but my shorts are telling me otherwise. I can do the math. I have been eating whatever, whenever, and not really caring much. As my shorts get tighter and tighter around my waist, I start to pay more and more attention to what I a shoveling into my mouth. 

Last week, I started logging my food into My FitnessPal again just to see where I was. While I was training, my diet consisted of almost 50% carbohydrates. I had carbs for every meal and snacks to fuel my workouts and recoveries. Now that I’m not training, I cannot eat like that without gaining undesirable weight. As I logged my meals, I realized I was still eating as if I were training. I have been doing very, very little exercising and eating 1800-2000 calories. Bad combination. This is how I KNOW the 5.6 pounds is not from fat loss. So what now??

I needed to get a grip on my nutrition and fitness. It isn’t all about the amount of calories consumed, it is really about the quality of those calories. Being frustrated and sad about my injury led to the consumption of cookies and pastas and countless other unhealthy foods.

   I can’t expect my body to heal rapidly and effectively if I am not treating it properly. Here is when I starting talking to friends and researching the 21 day fix eating plan. 

With the 21 day fix plan, I need to eat around 1,300 calories. It is all portioned out throughout the day and allows clean foods, nothing processed. I immediately freaked out, but this is what NEEDED to be done. I need to learn how to eat according to my activity level. This program takes planning, meal prepping, and exercise…everything I need to keep my mind off the injury. 

But….exercising!?! Don’t jump down my throat just yet. I am not trying to run laps or do jumping jacks. I purchased TRX straps and a residence band. I have been doing core work 1-2 times a week. Nothing extreme, but enough to get me moving and feel somewhat “normal”. Knowing that I’ve lost a ton of muscle mass makes me sad and frustrated, but it is something that I can control. I can’t build the muscles in my injured leg (yet) but I can work on keeping the rest of my body healthy and strong. 

So today is the first of 21. I even did some upper body work with my resistance band!! 

   I’ve got this. I want to feel healthy. I want to heal quickly. I want to be able to bounce back. I can only do those things if I take control NOW. 

Not the most interesting blog, but this is where I am right now. If any of you are doing or have done the 21 day fix, I’d love to share recipes. If you are struggling with your food intake, look into this program. The little containers are $11-15 on Amazon and Pinterest and Google can give you all the information!! 

Wish me luck!!

The journey has changed…but the dream is still big. 

  Just as I was starting the 2016 triathlon season, my life took an abrupt turn. In an instant, my dream of racing my first 70.3 triathlon was significantly postponed. In an instant, my journey would change. In an instant my life would travel down a road I NEVER expected to travel. In an instant, I was faced with devastation, frustration, sadness and doubt.
I traveled to Kauai for a vacation that we had planned and saved for for 2 years. We had left the kids at home and joined close to 30 of our friends on a trip to the “Garden Island”. On just day 2 of the vacation, we set out on the adventure that I had chosen. We kayaked up Wailua river, put the kayaks on a bank and began hiking to the Secret waterfall. The hike was about a mile and a half to the falls. We got about a mile in when we stopped at a swing made from vines to take a group picture. Our group was made up of myself, Gabe, 4 of our friends, and an awesome guide. I climbed up on the top of the vine swing and when I threw my second leg over, I lost my balance. I went to jump outwards to prevent falling on my face. Unfortunately, as I landed, my left foot landed on an exposed tree root and folded. Instantly, my race at Vineman flashed before my eyes as I fell to the ground and experienced the worst pain in my leg.  

After a few minutes, I calmed down and tried to compose myself. The pain subsided and I began to think I MIGHT be okay to continue on. I convinced the group to help me up and I would try to put pressure on my left leg. I slowly placed it on the ground, shifted my weight, and…..everything went black and the pain came back but more intense. There was no way I was walking anywhere.
Gabe piggybacked me out of the forest. It was not fun. It was not ideal. But it was what needed to be done to get me out of there and to the hospital. There was no cell reception and no way we could get a helicopter to retrieve me. We stopped a few times to let both of us rest, his back and legs and my focus to deal with the pain until we got out of there.
I don’t know how long it took us to hike out of there. But that was just the first half. We still had to kayak out. I sat in the front of the boat, leg elevated, freezing, and fighting through the pain. 
 
We finally reached the dock, the guide pulled up the van and drove us to the hospital. I spent the next few hours being evaluated at Wilcox Memorial Hospital. It was then that the news was given: broken tibia. 
 

I still had a glimmer of hope that I could still race in July. I still held on to the hope that my dreams for 2016 could live on….until…..

The orthopedic surgeon came and broke the news that I needed surgery. I had broken the tibia all the way through and it would require pins and possibly a plate to correct. Not only that, but he was concerned with the break as it went into the ankle joint. He kindly told me that my dreams of racing in July were not resonable. I would be in a boot style cast for about 3 months and even then the flexibility, muscle, and bone density would need time to be built back up.
Surgery was performed the next day. 6 pins were placed to stabilize the tibia. The recovery process began. 3 months. 3 long months. No training. No swimming. No biking. No running. My life turned upside down.

Waves of emotions flooded me the next couple of days. I was mad at myself for being wreckless and climbing the vine. I was devastated that I couldn’t race my big race. I was sad that I ruined our vacation. Finding positives in this situation was HARD, but I knew I needed to find them to prevent dipping into depression.
So what now?? Where do I go from here? All I can do right now is take it day by day. Some moments I am okay and feeling positive. Other times, tears are streaming down my face and frustration takes over.
My blog has changed from my journey to Vineman 2016, to my journey back to the triathlon scene. I will document the roller coaster of emotion. I will be open and honest about this injury. I know recovery isn’t going to be easy, but I get back to swimming, biking, and running.  

Positivity….it’s contagious!

When you wake up each morning, where do your thoughts go? Are you excited for a new day and all the things it will bring? Or are you dreading all the things you have to do at work, home, school, life? Are your immediate morning thoughts positive? Or have you instantly set your day up on a negative note?

I am as guilty as the next person for letting my thoughts drift off down a negative path. Sometimes it is right when I wake up. Other times it is after the kids are up and the day is dealing me a tough hand. One negative thought can lead to another and then another and so on until we are so frustrated and full of negativity. Then, we carry that negativity around all day and it starts to wear off on those around us. Now our coworkers, friends, or family members are feeling negative. Good luck shaking that once the snowball effect has started.

What if, when we woke each morning, we focused on a something positive? How would that change the events of the day? Well, that is my new goal. I want to live a life full of positive energy. Don’t we all?!?  I am taking control of my mind, my attitude, the demons that live inside my mind. I can only start with myself. I can’t force you, my kids, or those around me to want to do the same. However, good luck trying to get mad at me when I am walking around trying to find the positive in each situation. Stub your toe? Be thankful you didn’t break your foot! Drop your coffee? Thank goodness it didn’t spill all over your outfit. Kids are driving you up the wall? Put yourself in time out for a minute and count to 100 and then SMILE.

I am trying my best to find a way to carry this positive mindset to all avenues in my life. My relationship, my kids, my job, my friends, and my training. Somehow, it has become easier to be upset and frustrated with life. Why is that? Why is it so hard to be happy? Why is it so hard to love ourselves? And that is where it all begins… with ourselves. We are completely in control of our behaviors. Our thoughts will wander where they wander, but it is up to us to guide them, redirect them when they start to turn negative. We have to shut those demons down, one by one. Prove them wrong. Believe in ourselves. And carry our heads held high.

We have all been through tough times. We have all been dealt cards that we aren’t fond of. However, without trials and tribulations, we wouldn’t be who we are. So, why not take responsibility, find something positive, and try to encourage others to do the same? Sometimes, taking a minute out of your day to compliment someone on their efforts, will change that person’s entire day. Be kind, be happy, be positive. That is my goal. I challenge you to try and do the same. This world is so full of hate and destruction. Although I am just one person, I am one person that is determined to love herself and love those around me..friends, family, coworkers, strangers. A smile can speak a million words.

I hope you all can look in the mirror and see that you are worth it. You are beautiful. You are enough. Shut those demons up one by one!

Goodbye 2015…Hello 2016

 

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It is that time of year again where many of us sit down and make a New Year’s Resolution. I am no different. The real question is not “What will your resolution be?” but instead, “What will you do to ensure you reach your 2016 goals?” The motivation to make a change or start the year fresh is strong in January. But how strong will your motivation be in March, or July, or December?  I am as guilty as the next for setting a goal and losing momentum as time goes on. This year, however, I plan to keep moving forward, keep the momentum strong and this is how I plan to do it.

My 2016 resolution can be summed up in one word….”Growth”. I know…I get it…I know what you are saying….”Gee Courtney, that’s vague!” Sure, it sounds vague, but let me break it down a bit. We all have room to grow in all aspects of our life. We spend the majority of our lives in a state that is comfortable, known territory. Taking chances, getting uncomfortable, and expanding out of your everyday routine is a bit scary. I am ready for the challenge. I want to spend less time being “comfortable” and more time exploring what I am truly capable of…as a mother, companion, friend, and  triathlete. PersonalGrowth_words

My goals as a mother, companion, and friend will be the most challenging. Why? Well, because it is the everyday routine that will be the hardest to step away from and push forward in order to grow. In order to make a change, I have to understand and recognize where I am lacking and where I can improve. I will spend much of my time in the next few days sorting this one out. It is a huge challenge and will require daily, weekly, monthly evaluation.

My goals as a triathlete are a bit easier for me to see and set a plan for, and really, have already started. I already set the goal of completing my first 1/2 Ironman race and I will continue to work towards that goal. I need to focus on pushing myself and being okay with the uncomfortable state during my training sessions. This will help me come race day, when I hope to push myself for 6+ hours to my full capability. But this is not the only area in my triathlon life that I want to expand. I have some pretty exciting news that I have been holding onto…waiting to share with the social media world. But I will save that for the end. (Hahahhaa! I have more nonsense for you to read before I share the good stuff!!)

So, setting the resolution is easy, we get that. Anyone can set a goal. But what are YOU going to do to ensure you stick with the goal? What steps are you going to take to make the goal a priority? How important is this goal to you? Well, I can’t answer any of those questions for you. What I can do, is share with you the steps I take to stay focused.

I tend to set a really big goal, one that will take work and focus to achieve. I know that this goal will take time, a lot of time and this is why I set smaller goals that help me stay focused on the bigger goal. Sometimes I set a weekly goal..something I will have to work towards, but capable of being accomplished in a shorter amount of time.  We all like to feel like we are successful. These smaller goals help keep me focused, less discouraged by the far off goal. Often times, looking at the whole picture can be overwhelming. I am notorious for freaking out and losing focus when I feel like I am not making progress. So set smaller goals to keep the focus and motivation strong.

Another key step I take is to write the goal down. Physically putting it on paper and mapping it out makes it official in my world. Although the path to the ultimate goal will take several unexpected twists and turns, as long as it is written down and you revisit it from time to time, you will see how far you have come and maybe readjust your path to gain forward momentum again. So that is all fine and dandy, but in order to make a change, a real change, your goal HAS to be important to you. It has to be worth your time and effort. Don’t set a goal for someone else…do it for YOURSELF. If it is worth it to you, you will find a way to make it happen.

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Okay, hopefully you get the point of this post. I got a little carried away, but I want 2016 to be a great year…for you, for me, for the stranger who will become a friend. What is the news that I have been holding onto?? Well, it has to do with my growth in 2016.

My resolution really started a few months ago. I reached out to several product companies that support athletes. I was accepted as an ambassador for Honey Stinger and Nuun, both are nutrition companies that supply products that I use in my training and triathlon races. But, even bigger than that, I have acquired my first sponsorship as a triathlete. Yes, I was so excited that I may have peed myself when I found out. TriEverything LLC is a  company that originally started at local triathlons in 2014 and offered items to athletes that they may have forgotten come race day. Forgot your goggles, they had them. Need a visor or sunglasses? No worries. Basically, everything you needed for race day was there if you needed it. They have since expanded to an online store. It is a one stop shop for all things triathlon at a competitive price.  Before TriEverything LLC, I shopped at SEVERAL online stores to get my favorite triathlon needs. Now, it is all in one place. One site, one shipping fee, happy triathlete!! I will share more about the website and discounts as they become available in the new year. Stay tuned!!!!!

I wish you all a very happy new year. Please be safe and ring in 2016 with a smile on your face and a positive outlook for the next 365 days. I can’t wait to share my struggles and triumphs with you as my journey continues.

Goodbye 2015…it’s been great, but 2016 is going to be even better!

Public service announcement…

Around this time every year, I post on Facebook, call family, and remind friends to be a little more cautious.  

 You see, almost 4 years ago, our home gotten broken into a mere 3 days after Christmas. The day before, we had returned from my Mom’s house and I unloaded bags and bags of Christmas presents. Some were still in the decorative holiday bags and others in regular back pack, suitcase type bags. After 2-3 trips back and forth, the car was emptied and the presents were gathered in our living room. I had to sort and organize my, then 4 year old, daughter’s toys and clothes before putting them away in her room. The next day, I left for work around 3pm and wouldn’t be home for several hours. 

As we pulled up to the house that night around 11pm, I knew something wasn’t right. We had left when it was daylight out and now that it was dark, I could see that my bedroom light was on. I hadn’t left it on because I hadn’t turned it on before I left for work. Chills crept through my body. I pulled into our carport and I saw our cat sitting in our OPEN back doorway. I didn’t know whether to puke, cry, scream….I couldn’t move. With my daughter asleep in the backseat, I got out of the car, locked her in, and proceeded into the house. The back door had been pryed open with a crow bar and then kicked in. My house was FLIPPED UPSIDE DOWN. I called Gabe, who was in Fresno (I was living in Modesto at the time) and he yelled at me to get out of the house and call the police. I returned to my car, moved it to the front of the house and called Modesto Police Department. 

The rest isn’t really important. They never caught who did it. We never got the stolen items back. My daughters Christmas was taken from her. 99% of her presents were taken. My world was a complete mess for weeks afterwards. I didn’t feel safe in my own home. It was determined that the person, or people, who had done this, knew my schedule. I left and returned around the same time 5-6 days a week. They had most likely watched me unload the car the day before. They most certainly lived nearby. 

This is where I remind you to be cautious and aware of your surroundings. Back your car into the garage before unloading bags of presents, or groceries. Keep your car and home doors locked. Remove packages from your porch as soon as possible. Keep your garage door shut. Hide bags while out and about in the car. Keep your blinds shut while you are not home. Watch for unknown people/vehicles in your neighborhood. Do everything you can to eliminate the possibility of being broken into. I know it can happen to anyone, at anytime, but you can take steps to make the possibility a little less possible. Protect yourself!! 

Happy Holidays from our house to your!!