On Labor Day weekend, Coby and Cooper traveled with me on an invitation to Minnesota’s lake country — and a run through the woods before diving into the water. Cooper, who pranced and galloped effortlessly through a 4-miler, showed a gift for running.
And while the boys were attentive at the start of the drive home, it didn’t take long for them to show their exhaustion.
As Coby took a seat in the back, Cooper decided to make the center console his private resting area.
It was a good outing just ahead of Cooper’s surgery.
A few days after Cooper’s surgery, I found myself lying on the operating table, the needle pressed into my vein. Within moments, my arm grew cold but I wondered whether air flowing through the mask covering my mouth and nose was working.
It had been 6 hours since we left home — departing at 1:30 in the morning for the drive to the Twin Cities and arriving just ahead of my 5:30 hospital check-in.
A nurse detailed the plans for the morning and soon more medical personnel stopped by to introduce themselves and explain their roles.
Even well before the explanations, or finding myself on the table, my fears had been cast aside. At this point, there really 2 choices — constant abdominal pain and planning around the very basic functions of living, or go through with laparoscopic sports hernia surgery that my doctor deemed medically necessary for a normal life.
The anesthesia finally worked, and it seemed it was only moments later when the nurses where calling to get my attention. Momentarily startled, it only took a few seconds to recall I was in the hospital, now in a room bustling with activity.
The surgery took an hour and 15 minutes later, a little longer than they expected, but all went according to script.
My only question heading into the surgery was how much pain would I feel afterward. The answer came quickly — I felt like I had every step during the final 12 miles of Grandma’s Marathon in June. And I quietly wondered how I ran that far feeling like that.
And I was thirsty, and I couldn’t seem to get enough ice water. Some of the meds kicked in and the pain subsided. All I wanted to do was get off the table and get in the car so my brother could drive me home.
By the time that happened, there was a noticeable and dramatic improvement — the pain in my hip and right leg was gone. During the previous 2 weeks, it had felt like those muscles would snap. Now they felt more loose than I ever recalled.
So while I take some time to reset, my heart and imagination is filled with future running adventures with friends, marathons and 2 golden retrievers galloping along my side.
In the 6 days since surgery, moving around has been slow and sore — the sutures tying the mesh to my core muscles make any stretching movement tight and difficult. Dramatic improvements are likely as the days pass.
There is no easy button.
And no set time table for my return to running, which will probably be 6 to 8 weeks.
Rather than put an artificial time table for running, I’m looking at this fall as an opportunity to reset and rebuild. Already, I’ve begun mapping a routine of core muscle building, cross training and a revamped running program to come back stronger than before.
The experience — starting nearly 15 months ago and through the surgery — has given me a wealth of knowledge to share with other runners. Sharing that knowledge has already paid dividends: an open and frank conversation a few weeks ago with a couple of runners helped me realize that perhaps my experience can help them.