Wednesday, July 30, 2008


This week has gone by fast. On Sabbath, the 26th, we went to church as usual. Church members are getting used to me in a wheelchair. My nieces (Lillian, 4, and Rinnah, almost 6) go to church there, too, and are quick to tell the story for me. After church, we went to have lunch with Jean, Daniel's sister, and Lawren (her husband) at Lawren's dad's house. Whew! Of course, my little nieces were there, too. We had a nice time.

Sunday, Daniel and I met up with Angie and David for dinner. I hadn't seen either of them since the accident and I was so happy to be around them.

Angie encouraged me to keep Tanna in shape on the off-chance that I'll be able to ride the National Championship in October. So this Sunday, Daniel will bring our round pen home from the neighbors and we'll figure out the best way to run Tanna a couple times a week. Stay tuned for more info on that! ;-)

I've been doing lower body floorwork three times a week to keep my right leg strong and keep my left thigh and glute strong and capable. I enjoy the workouts. I still can't do upper body work because of my thumb, so I stick to lower body work.

When I'm just sitting around watching tv, I take my leg out of the boot and slowly work on my ankle range of motion. It's slow and painful going, but I'm seeing some progress.

Since getting the boot, I've been able to take baths because I am able to put my entire leg in the tub. It's been very nice!! Before, I took showers sitting on a tub seat with my leg stuck out of the shower curtain! We cover my left arm split with a livestock arm-length glove.

Yesterday, I was able to crawl down the front porch steps and feed the horses some carrots while sitting on the lower step. That was great fun. :-)

Most of the time, I'm sitting in front of my computer or sleeping or resting. Allowing my body to recover and repair itself.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Back to the clinic

Today I returned to the clinic. My cast was bothering me. Every time my cast moved a smidge, it felt like the pins in my thumb were being tugged on. Not a nice feeling. So we went to the clinic and the experienced tech removed my cast and put a splint back on.

New splint

Since the hard splint is only on the thumb side of my hand, it is not disturbed when I move my arm around or hobble on my walker. Much better. When the pins are removed, a cast will be put on.

When I got home, I hung out on the porch and was able to feed the horses sugar cubes. :)

Tanna waiting for a treat

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Doctor Visit

Today was my first follow-up visit with Dr. Scott McCall of Middle Tennessee Bone and Joint Clinic. The other times I went, I just saw the cast techs.

When we got there, one of the techs removed my splints. I felt a little anxious without my protective gear on.

Waiting for x-rays

Then they took me in for x-rays.

Prepping for ankle x-ray

This is my ankle.

L Ankle X-Ray Top View - Day 17

And my thumb.

L Thumb X-Ray Top View - Day 17

The next task was to remove the 5 stitches and 25 staples from my leg. The stitches were hard to dig out. The tech had to get a more experienced tech to remove the last stitch. That was a bit painful.

No more staples!

No more stitches

The pins were left in my thumb for another 2 weeks.

Pins sticking out of my thumb

Finally, I was fixed up with a new cast (not just a splint) for my thumb and a removable boot for my ankle.

New cast and new boot

My next appointment is in two weeks. In the meantime, I'm to remove the boot and work on my range of motion for my ankle. That will be interesting, I'm sure. I'm still completely non-weight-bearing. In two weeks, the pins will be removed from my thumb and the cast replaced for another 2 weeks. I will be non-weight-bearing on my ankle for another 4 - 6 weeks.

I have a nice set on Flickr of pictures of my recovery.http://www.flickr.com/photos/endurancerider/sets/72157606332118452/

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Pasture Play

After Tony left, Daniel closed the gate and let Serts and Tanna out in the front pasture. As is their custom, the horses took several laps around the front pasture before settling down. Daniel captured the following pictures during their play.

Tanna in front; Serts behind.

Originally uploaded by jdj150.


Originally uploaded by jdj150.

Serts in front; Tanna behind

Originally uploaded by jdj150.

Serts in front; Tanna behind

Originally uploaded by jdj150.


Originally uploaded by jdj150.

Farrier visit

This morning my farrier, Tony, came out and reshod Tanna. I also had him put front shoes on Serts as he seemed to be a little footsore barefoot. I'm hoping Serts'll be happier and a bit more energetic now.

Tanna taking his turn.




Sunday, July 20, 2008


Originally uploaded by endurancerider.

Today Daniel and I went to Wal-mart to get a few things for the week. I got to use one of the electric carts. It was pretty fun. The cart handled really well with just one hand. We put my pillow under my foot just to give a bit of cushioning.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Visiting with Tanna

I got to go out and visit with Tanna today. I was able to move around him and look closer at his left rear leg. He does very well with the walker. Almost like it's not even there.

Tanna and Me

Catching up


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Progress Report

My leg splint is doing just fine. It bothers me some still, but it's bearable. I'm looking forward to getting x-rays next week and hopefully a removable brace for my leg.

The pain is much better these days. I have reduced my pain pills to one every 8 hours instead of every 6 hours.

Today I got to go outside and hang out with Tanna for a little bit while Daniel cleaned one of his leg cuts which started to grow proud flesh. I took some sugar cubes and bribed him to come to me. :) He didn't spook at the walker. I made sure to not do anything too hurried or crazy around him, but still, he did just fine. I was so happy to be outside to see him up close.

Out for a visit


Sugar Treat

Leg after the cleaning
Leg after cleaning

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Day 9

Another trip to the doctor. My leg splint was bothering me. My foot kept slipping further into it which put pressure on the top of my foot. So today, I got all new splint sections and new wraps. Feels much better now.

This is the incision after 9 days. There is another smaller incision on the inside of my ankle.

Surgery incision - Day 9

After the doctor, we swung by work and did some paperwork for a medical absence as well as talk to some of my work buddies and my boss.

Finally, we got home and I was able to pet the horses from the truck. We had some carrots to bribe them to stay close. It was the first interaction with Tanna (or Serts) since the accident. I was so happy to be close to them. Tanna looks really good for what he went through. Praise God!!

Serts & Tanna

Here's what I'll be doing for the next weeks to come: Hanging out with my buddy, Miner.

Me Being Lazy

Friday, July 11, 2008


I went to the bone clinic today and they re-wrapped my splints. My leg looks pretty gross. I got really faint when I saw one side of my ankle. The nurse told me not to look at the other then!

Daniel went and got Tanna from Angie's house. I'm so happy to have him home. Aside from a smidge of stiffness, he looks really good. Serts was also glad to get his buddy back.

X-Ray pre-surgery

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Broken Bones

Over the long weekend, I managed to have a horse accident. I was night riding (prepping for a 100) and my horse tripped over a cable meant to keep cars off the wide trail. I missed a turn and we didn't see the cable. He fell right over it. Fortunately, I was thrown clear, but broke bones. He had some trouble getting back up, but managed to get by with scrapes and cut. I broke my left thumb and my left ankle. I'm definitely not going to be running, walking, riding or anything like that for weeks and weeks. I have a pin in my thumb and no telling how many in my ankle (along with a plate).

I'm hobbling around the house with the help of a walker that has a platform for my left forearm to take the weight since my hand/thumb can't. I have a wheelchair for when I finally can leave the house. Working on getting the pain stabilized. I'm sleeping a lot, which is probably a good thing.

God is good, though. It could have been a lot worse, but time and following dr's orders will take care of this. Just will have to miss out on some fun along the way.

Tanna is ok. He had some swelling and lots of abrasions, but he's healing a lot faster than I am. He's at a friend's house until Daniel (who is sick) feels well enough to go get him. It'll have to be soon as my friend is off on vacation next week. I'm anxious to get him home.

This definitely going to put a damper on my riding plans for the fall. Just how much remains to be seen.

Friday, July 04, 2008

My First 10K Run

July 4th Music City 5k/10k, Nashville, Tennessee

I arrived early, around 7:20 AM and found a parking spot not too far away from the Country Music Hall of Fame. Free parallel parking. Not too bad. I made my way to the check-in to pick up my number, t-shirt and bag of promotional materials. I went back to the truck and swapped the bag for my mp3 player and HRM, then made my way back to the activity. While stretching and generally keeping my muscles ready for action, I listened to the announcements and 5 minutes before 8, we were pointed at the starting line. As I walked with my fellow competitors to the start line, I noticed many of them had timing chips. Hmmm. I did not have one. I returned to the check-in where they pointed me to the race chip tent. They found mine quickly and I made it back to the start line in time to do some more warm-up moves and start my mp3 player to randomize my music, my Cardio Coach mp3s and some Bible chapters.

My HR was ludicrous. The adrenaline was keeping my HR high (around 130) even though we hadn't started yet. I'll have to figure out how Tanna can keep his close to resting even before the start! (Tanna's HR does spike when the race begins, however!)

I walked with the crowd under the banner and over the mats that would read our timing chips to mark our start times. When we were past that, I broke into a slow jog, a pace I would not exceed (often) for the next 6+ miles.

It was thrilling to be in the race. All the 10k and 5k runners started together. The 10k would simply do the 5k lap again. It was awesome to watch the line of runners snaking their way through the streets of Nashville.

I had my Garmin Forerunner 405 and my Garmin Forerunner 305 with me. The former was my main unit and I had that on my left wrist. The 305 was along for the ride as a back-up data collector on my right wrist. (I didn't want to risk missing any data from my first 10k!).

At first I tried using the Auto Scroll on the 405 to shift between screens, but that wasn't working so well, even though that is my preferred set-up when riding my horses and sometimes in my own running training. I settled the 405 on one screen that showed me current speed (based on data from my foot pod on my left shoe), average speed (based on time out and distance traveled according to the GPS) and the all-important heart rate. I did not want to know how far I had gone or how long I'd been out. I didn't want to dwell on that. Again, different from the set-up I have for the horses.

I had a few simple goals for this 10k. The first was just FINISH! Before this competition, the longest I'd been jogging (walking when needed) for a single activity was 5.4 miles. My second goal was to finish in under 90 minutes. Slow, yes, but speed was not a goal here, other than just to get done in 90 minutes. My 3rd goal was to keep my HR over my aerobic base (152), but under my anaerobic threshold (169).

A little ways after crossing a bridge was the first water stop. I took a small cup of water, drank it slowly while walking and then tossed it in a trash can and picked up my jog again. At every intersection, there was a cop stopping traffic and everywhere we were supposed to turn, there was a smiling volunteer with an orange flag pointing the way.

At the second water booth, there was no trash can convenient a little ways up from the booth for me to ditch my paper cup. So I crushed it in my hand and held it while I jogged. Surprisingly, I liked having the cup to worry in my hand. I switched hands periodically and it kept my hands and arms loose and the blood flowing nicely.

While I power-walked up a hill, a cop car came slowly driving up beside me and passed me. Through his speaker he announced "10k runner on your right, 10k on your right." Startled I thought I had done the course wrong. At this point a runner came racing past me, passing me like I was standing still. I was being lapped by the front-runners! Ah, ok. I settled back into my jog at the top of the hill and headed down the other side. Another front-runner came zooming past with an encouraging word for those he passed.

A few more of the 10k runners lapped me as I approached the start/finish line. A girl with a megaphone was directing traffic. 5k finish to the far left. 10k finish in the middle and 10k continue on to the far right. I stayed to the right, happy to see other runners doing the same.

As I came even with the finish line, a helpful onlooker stepped almost in my path and said, no, you should be over there, pointing to the 5k finish lane. I smiled and said thank you, but I have another lap to do.

I took a cup of water from the volunteers on my right and continued on to do the course again. I kept that cup to worry in my hands and kept one through the rest of the run, changing out which cup I had when I got water.

While going through the finish line, I did manage to get a look at the official time. The clock read 39 minutes. Since I started near the back, it took me a couple minutes before my chip time started. So I was at 37 minutes and change for the first half. I beat my last (and first) 5k time by 5 minutes!

I was doing great and needed to just keep on steady. Everything felt great. Nothing was hurting or rubbing and my HR was stabilized right around my anaerobic threshold. My breathing was controlled and I felt perfectly fine to keep going. Stopping never entered my head.

This time there were far fewer runners than the last time I'd seen this part of the course! I was happy to see other runners though. When I'm back of the pack at an endurance ride, it's not unusual to do loops without seeing another competitor until getting back to base camp or the vet check.

The loop went by without much incident. With about 1.5 miles to go, I caught my shoulders starting to droop a bit. I shook my arms out and regained my form. I took stock of my body. HR was good, breathing was good, legs felt great. My feet hurt a very small bit through the ball of my foot. But not too bad and nothing to get excited over.

As I neared the finish, I managed to pass a couple of runners. Big deal when I'm so far back in the pack, but it's a nice ego boost. ;-) I ditched my last worry cup and prepared for the finish.

I did this at my 5k and I do this on almost every endurance ride. At the end of race, the speed picks up and it's time to find out what's left in the tank.

As I rounded the last corner and the finish line came in sight again, I picked up my speed as the handful of people at the finish began to cheer me on (as they did for all the back of the pack runners). The megaphone girl said something about finishing strong. I ran even harder and crossed the finish line in an all-out sprint. My Forerunner says it was 14.5 mph at the end there. Hehe. What a rush!

I stuck around for awhile, stretching, walking around, letting my HR drop. I found an apple and munched on it while waiting for the awards. I was curious about the front runners that had lapped me. :) Sure enough, the first guy that had lapped me was second place. I don't remember ever seeing the first place guy. First play guy did the 10k in 24 minutes and change. The first place woman did the 10k in 39 minutes and change. At least she didn't lap me! ;-)

I did enjoy myself and was able to complete (goal 1!) in 1:17 minutes (goal 2!). My HR goal might need a little work. I spent a total of 28 minutes above my anaerobic threshold. Not all at once, but probably more than I would have liked to see.

I am looking forward to doing another 10k in about 8 weeks over Labor Day weekend.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Joy of Riding

Last week, I had a visitor. Alecia has been a friend of mine since high school. Back then, we were inseparable and spent most of our time riding horses bareback. She would ride her horse, Serts, and I would ride whichever horse I was able to beg, borrow or steal.

Well, since high school, things have changed. We've grown up. I moved to Nashville and she moved to Alaska and got married. Serts came to live with me and my horse Tanna (and my husband and my dog and my cats!).

Whenever Alecia makes it back to the Lower 48, she tries to come visit Serts and me. (Really Serts ;-)). Last week was one such visit. I bridled Serts and off she and her son David went on a short bareback ride around the pasture. Andrew, her oldest son, wasn't interested in riding.

After David had his fill, I hesitantly hopped on Tanna bareback and we went for a walk down the street for a little ways. We talked over things past and present as good friends are wont to do. When we returned to the house, we simply sat on the horses and chatted some more as Daniel brought us water bottles. We used to do that for hours way back when. Just sit on the horses and talk. I mentioned I don't do that so much anymore. Almost every ride has a purpose, a plan, a training or conditioning goal. "No more fun?" she asked. "No," I answered, "simply a different kind of fun."

Well, today I decided to reclaim some of the old-time fun. I didn't have my best human friend to go riding with, but I had her horse and my horse. So I grabbed Serts' bridle and my helmet (I didn't have a helmet back then, but I'm not that anxious to repeat days gone by!).

I hopped on Serts and headed around the tree line to find Tanna who joyously ran to greet us when he spotted us. We raced around at a canter, making figure eights and going wherever the wind took us. I stayed in our small pasture, not wanting to curb Tanna's exploits by haltering him and not wanting to leave him behind. After a few laps around the front pasture, we raced up to the back acres and up the wooded hill. I went rather slowly up the hill, until Tanna raced past to show the way. Serts and I shot after him, me dunking branches with every step. At the top, we stopped and companionably sat for awhile, letting breath and heart rate slow.

Finally, I headed Serts back down the hill and Tanna took off at a run, leading the way down the hill. Serts and I followed as fast as we could without a branch knocking me off! When we reached the open grass, we raced around and then back up the hill. Faster this time as I knew the way a bit more. Again at the top we stopped. This time, Tanna edged closer and I stroked his head while sitting far back on Serts' hindquarters, my knees drawn up and my feet resting on his back in front of me. What a great feeling and what two great horses!

As we walked back down the hill to end our joyous ride and let Serts go to eat grass, I thought, "Alecia, this one's for you."