Sunday, June 27, 2010

Congrats, Amanda!

Woo-hoo!! My sister, Amanda did her first half marathon today (and one of her first ever running races).

She was bit by the running bug a few years back but we never expected her to sign up for running RACES! (put it this way, growing up I was the one in the summer swim and ringette camps while Amanda was in the creative writing and piano classes...)

She started training with a coach and a group about a month ago and decided to race today instead of her long run. She rocked it, finishing within the top-50 women (out of 2100) and well ahead of her estimated time. AND, I think she had a lot left in the tank when she finished. I believe her words were, "my legs weren't tired until the end!" We need to lose the ipod, cut back on the pre-race dancing (see below) and get her hurting just a little! Just kidding, you were awesome, Amanda!

Friday, June 25, 2010

In a rut

I have to admit that I am almost over being injured. I don't exactly mean this in an "I'm almost healthy" kind of way, but more that I am just tired of being injured in general. When asked what I like the most about sport, my answer is always "competing." The day-in and day-out routine of training in relatively enjoyable and hard work, but it's not what I LOVE to do. I love race, to see how good I can get, and the challenge of finding new ways to improve. I guess what I'm getting at is that I am in a training/injury rut right now - big time.

I used to look forward to "OYO" sessions like an easy jog or flush spin on the bike because it would give me a chance to clear my head and set my own pace. But, now that every aspect of my training and rehab is OYO, I am craving some social interaction... and competition (hence egging Adam into a race up the mountain last week). My training consists of trainer workouts in the basement, elliptical workouts and strength work at the gym, hiking, and now pool running and kick sets. Lonely stuff! Thankfully I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and in just two weeks time I will be on a plane to join my new coach and squad in the Swiss mountains.

I've also recently had a few bouts of paranoia regarding my new piece of hardware. "Adam, I think a screw is loose!!" His response, "Umm, I'm no doctor but you have a piece of steel and 7 screws in your bone. If a screw was actually loose you wouldn't think it, you would know it." Probably true... I've definitely been more nervous and tentative with the fracture this time around, but I guess that's to be expected after the 6-month non-union ordeal. I almost wish I had doctors orders to wear a sling and sit my butt on the couch for two months because I know that would guarantee a good union. But, because I don't want a frozen shoulder I have to work on range of motion and trust that my body is healing with the help of the plate.

I'm now three and a half weeks post-surgery and I have to say that I am very happy the burning nerve pain is disappearing. The stinging sensation over the first few weeks, centered around the incision was very intense. I can only describe it as feeling as though the steel plate was one million degrees hot and sizzling my skin. And no, I am not being dramatic here! I couldn't have ANYTHING touch the incision once the bandage was off. It was cold and rainy out, but I was wearing scoop neck shirts and tank tops 24/7, or walking with one hand pulling the jacket away from my shoulder. Windows had to be closed in the car and even a drop of sweat would sting like crazy. Thankfully that has settled (and the weather has warmed so scoop-necks are in-season). The swim suit strap is a whole other matter though and if I had more guts, I'd be sporting a strapless suit to the pool.

I also have to mention that I take back any "sissy" thoughts I had towards the elliptical machine in the gym. I used to think of it as a "princess" running (floating) machine where you pretend to work out while reading gossip mags and socializing. Ok, that's a little harsh, but I definitely never thought of it as hard work. I am eating my words now. Two sessions on there this week and my heart rate was WAY up there, my legs were burning, and sweat was flying everywhere. Honestly, it was gross how much sweat came out of me and I had to apologize for some of it hitting the gossip magazine on the elliptical next to me. I guess like any activity out there, if you want to, you can always find a way to make it hurt!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Date Night at Grouse

I picked Adam up after work and we hit up the Grouse Grind. It was probably the nicest evening of the year so we were definitely not alone in our quest for the lung burning, "I HATE this, but also LOVE it" pain.

I did the Grind earlier this week as my 2 week post-surgery celebration. Apart from some trainer rides, it was my first real effort in a very long time.... and it sure felt like it! I did not go fast but it didn't upset me. I was simply excited to be outside, healthy and working hard again.

Coach Darren gave me the opportunity to hit it again tonight and with Adam in tow, I had a feeling I might move a little quicker. Well, I was at least hoping I would because if my time got any slower I might eventually have a little cry. Of course this "date hike" quickly became a race, but we couldn't agree on the start time differential. Based off my time a few days ago (and based on Adam's current crazy strong fitness level), I wanted a 6-7 minute head start. He bargained it down to 5 as he's racing a trail marathon on Sunday and didn't "want to go very hard." Fine. I took off and my legs felt like sand bags from the start. But, I did a time check at the 1/4 way mark and saw I was ahead of my previous time. This gave me a little extra encouragement and I settled into a rhythm. Just past the 3/4 mark I heard some breathing and quick moving feet coming from behind.....Adam. Shoot! My race was over as he passed me like a mountain goat. I felt more like a sloth at this point, but I could see the light through the trees up the hill so I knew I was almost done. I ended up taking 4 minutes off Tuesday's time, so despite losing our "race," I was one very happy hiker!

Adam turned out to be flying tonight and hit it hard to the top. Either he knew he was on pace for a good one.....or he didn't want to lose to his wife!! I think it might be the latter ;-)

On a side note, I've been thinking that my brightly coloured run clothes are not helping with the "out of sight, out of mind" concept of racing the Grind. I'm a pretty easy target to spot up the hill so may look into other options. Can't really go wrong with camouflage.....

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Star Cake

A relatively recent Groves family tradition is to bake a star cake when someone does something "star" worthy. Why? Because of course there is no better reward than a sweet, delicious baked good.

I whipped up a star cake yesterday when Adam called with some news. I have permission to spill the beans now.... he was offered (and accepted) articling at his current law firm. Woo-hoo!

Despite the carrot cake with lemon cream cheese frosting being very tasty, I will not be posting the recipe. It used ingredients I never have stocked in my pantry so apart from the carrots and a handful of walnuts, there is nothing that could be considered "healthy" by any stretch. But, sometimes that's the perfect reward!

Congrats, Adam!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Thank you, Dr. Nelson

Cheezy self-portrait I know, but I'm far too excited to care! I was able to remove the final layer of steri-strip bandages this morning and for the first time since the surgery, able to have a look at the wound. Without going overboard using words like "amazed" or "thrilled," let's just say I am quite pleased with how it looks.

Dr. Nelson truly is a fantastic surgeon and was meticulous in every way possible. I had expected the surgery to be 60 to 90 minutes depending upon the need for the hip bone graft. So without going to the hip, I thought it would be on the shorter side. However, I was under general anesthesia for nearly three and a half hours, and now I know why. Thank you, Charles, for not only taking the extra time to ensure a strong fixation, but also for thinking about how it will look years down the road.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A few great things this weekend

Kitsilano Farmers Market

With the sun comes strawberries - finally!

Antique window shopping: somehow I resisted the temptation.

Foxgloves: one perk of this looooong spring.

Emma's inspirational comeback!!

And last but definitely not least, Paula's 4th place finish!! Well-earned.. and thrilling!
(sorry, Paula, I couldn't find a better photo, but I will update it when more are available :)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Never a Dull Day

The raccoon saga continued yesterday. Actually, I suppose you could say it never ended as we have been spotting the mama, Roberta multiple times each day since Monday's "eviction." Sometimes we would see her just cruising through our backyard, or simply hanging out on the fence checking out what's happening around our house. She has even been spotted and heard poking about on our roof. Seeing a raccoon tail dangle in front of our kitchen window is no longer startling. "Oh, Roberta is back again..." My dad, however, is quick to react when he hears her up there and is always prepared for a battle, armed with tennis balls, the hose, and his ladder; he would do anything to prevent her from returning to our house. Two nights ago he heard her pulling apart the roof... at 3 in the morning. Adam and I slept blissfully through the battle that soon ensured. She wasn't backing down and seemed frantic to get inside our attic.

A call went in to Dan, our coon catcher yesterday. He found it very odd that she would return so many times and asked if we had heard any other babies in the house. No, not even so much as a peep. Last night though, Adam and I were returning for walking the dog and heard a faint cry. It sounded distant and muffled, but we knew we had heard that sound before. Once inside the house, the cry was more distinct, and coming from the attic. Oh my gosh, there was a baby stuck up there - 3 days AFTER the eviction. We knew we had to move fast as it was getting dark and we needed to get this little one back to its mom as soon as possible. Armed with a bucket and gloves, Adam and my dad hit the attic. They found the little guy hidden amongst some soft insulation. He was terrified and squealed louder than anything I had ever heard. Adam picked him up by the scruff of the neck and dropped him in the pail. This wasn't exactly the time for a photo opp, but we snuck one before taking him outside.

We placed him (now named, Bobbi) at the back of our yard, near where we had seen Roberta strolling through. Adam had to pick him up a couple of times for him to squeal as we needed mom to hear this. It broke my heart to put this little guy through more trauma, but we had to get him back to his mom. We all sat back on the porch to watch. I don't even know how long it took, but we quietly waited, listening for any kind of movement. Eventually we did see Roberta, hustling through the yard, but she seemed confused as to where the noise was coming from. She circled the perimeter and as she did, we heard a similar cry a few houses over - TOMTOM! He was calling to his brother and Bobbi responded. Mom eventually did find the bucket but before she tipped it over to see her baby, she spoke to it with soft purring noises. It responded with a strong chirp. They spoke like this a few times before mom knocked over the pail and promply picked Bobbi up in her mouth. Without hesitation, she was off, in the direction of TomTom's cries.

I was heartbroken after this ordeal as I now understood Roberta's angst and determination to return to our attic. Her maternal instincts were powerful. She's a good mom and we are so happy the family is together again. Even animal rescuer, Adam has a soft spot for that family (we've now got a photo of little TomTom on our fridge :) We look forward to this summer as the kits grow up and we can watch the trio strolling through the neighbourhood.

Raccoon Hunter

Adam is my animal rescue hero. This pic was taken this evening at the Grouse Grind and at the time, we had no idea what excitement was in store for us tonight. Fast forward two hours later, and Adam was up in our attic rescuing a baby raccoon left behind from the rescue mission earlier this week. Story to follow tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


If I can't have the actual fluffy and graceful creature of beauty, this form of buttery, sweet deliciousness is the next best thing.

Thank you, Saucey Groff!

I knew Adam would enjoy poodles.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Roberta & TomTom

For some reason animals are drawn to my parents house. Over the years we've had our abundance of family pets (dogs, birds, hampsters, guinea pigs, ant farms, hermit crabs, fish, turtles, and anything "cute" found in the neighbourhood), and wild critters have always seemed to jump on this ship, taking up residence here too.

We don't know why they choose our house because it's not exactly a tranquil environment with our yappy dogs, but it's no secret that the Groves always have visiting creatures. Just the other day our neighbour came over to say, "do you have rats again? We found a dead one in our yard." So, yes it has come to the point where the sighting of any rodent in the neighbourhood is associated with an infestation in our house.

A few weeks back my dad heard some all too familiar scurrying in the ceiling. Crap, the rats are back. He calls the exterminator and after many failed attempts at catching even one rat, it's determined that this isn't the issue. The scurrying continues and is now accompanied with squealing. These footsteps sound heavier than usual, so the next call goes out to Wildlife Control.

It was quickly determined that we have a new type of resident, raccoons! What we didn't realize at the time was that over the next few weeks we'd be seeing an awful lot of Dan, our 'coon catcher,' as he scoured our attic and the soffits (eves) for our furry friend. He was fairly certain we were dealing with a mom and her babies ('kits') as not only was it that time of the year, but she was relentless at breaking back into the house if locked out. It's amazing what those creatures can bust through, chew through, and how they outsmart all of us. It didn't matter if there was a wire screen over the hole or a 1-inch wood board, she would get in. This was driving my dad CRAZY, so as I love to do, I did my best to find humour in the situation. I named the mom, Roberta and the babies were TomTom, Bobbi, and Bob Jr (my dad's name is Robert Thomas). You can bet that he was thrilled to hear the clan was now his namesake! The names stuck and before long, even Adam was asking if anyone had heard from Roberta lately.

The den was eventually located in the ceiling above our living room. Roberta had chosen the quietest and warmest spot in the house - I knew she was a smart one! Dan returned today, armed with his ladder, headlamp, hockey stick, net, mirror, buckets, and even scratches from his previous capture. He was able to access the raccoon den through the soffits, sparing the ceiling drywall inside the house. Roberta took off right away, leaving the kits alone. Dan was able to reach in and grab one squealing baby. It turned out that this was a one-kit litter, somewhat uncommon, but none of us were complaining. The next step was getting Mama our of the house so Dan climbed onto the roof holding a squealing TomTom by the scruff on the neck. Mom did eventually come to claim her baby, picked him up and and they were off. Once the hole was officially sealed up, we watched her attempt to return, baby in mouth. I found this part really sad to watch, but again, was thankful she only had to worry about one baby and would surely find a new den for the two of them.

Of course this created quite the scene on our street today: Animal Control parked outside, squealing animals, nets, traps, gasps, and finally cheers. Just another day at the Groves house.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Flashback: Visiting Victoria, 1986

I wish I still had that much excitement for the ferry!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Cranky Pants

It was the most beautiful day in the world and I was one crabby girl today! I hate taking any kind of medication, let alone prescription pain meds with awful side effects. Since the surgery I have tried to wean myself off them and have gotten by with very few recently. Despite feeling a little achy this morning, I thought today might be the first day without them. Adam and I were out for a stroll through Kerrisdale when things started to get a wee bit sore. No problem, let's just stop at the pharmacy and get some Tylenol. A couple caplets later it became apparent that I might as well have eaten jelly beans.... I needed to get my cranky pants back home asap!

I guess I will have to suck it up for a few more days of unpleasant side effects. Ugh. I suppose the fact that I thought I could go without them is at least a good sign.

Thanks to the hubby for having extreme patience!!!

Catching him when he's 'trapped' in NormaTec...the BEST time to cuddle :)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Seriously, where is summer?! I know I shouldn't complain because I'm not on my bike everyday or swimming in the lakes, and could actually avoid the "elements" altogether if I wanted to right now, but this is just getting silly! It's JUNE and I'm still wearing rain boots, long pants and wool hoodies.

Feeling a little stir crazy and adventurous this morning, I set out in search of some sign that my calendar is not a month or two off. With my rain boots on and little pudgy doggy in tow, I set out through the neighbourhood sniffing out the spring blooms. As we were walking I realized that Chloe is in the same recovery boat as me. Let's just say she hasn't exactly been the picture of health in a very long time, a condition we had all attributed to a combination of being fairly lazy and sneaking far too many treats. But a recent diagnosis of Cushings disease AND a thyroid problem have explained a lot, and also given her future a brighter outlook. She has to take medication daily, and for the rest of her life, but it has already made a world of difference over the past month. So, I have set a goal for the two of us over the next two months to get back our health, and maybe a little fitness along the way. I hope my program progresses beyond daily walks (and soon!), and I am also thinking that my curve to health might be a tad steeper than hers, but the two of us will make a good team. I am just glad that I don't have to subject myself to the weekly weigh-ins that she has to... sorry, Chloe, you are alone on those!

Thursday, June 3, 2010


I'm all settled in Vancouver with my hubby, my family and my recovery companion, Chloe!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

All fixed up

Typing with both hands and my pudgy, swollen fingers is a bit of a challenge, but here goes.

As you can see by the photos below, the surgery was done yesterday. Not only did it go well, but we were reassured that this was in fact the right decision. When Dr. Nelson opened me up he found that "pseudoarthrosis" had occurred in my fracture site. In other words, my body had turned the gap between the bones into a "joint." It was obviously a joint without tendons and ligaments, but was filled with fluid so that the bones would glide nicely. I guess this explains why I had minimal pain but still a lot of fracture motion. Anyway, when pseudoarthrosis occurs, the fracture will never heal itself with new bone.

I also was able to escape the bone graft from my hip. This was a huge relief as I have heard that this would be more painful than the clavicle and would ache for quite some time. Dr. Nelson was able to create enough of a graft from the fracture fragments and the cleaned up bone ends to fill in the gaps.

I found this whole process fascinating. I loved the fact that I got to watch them set up the operating room when I got settled on the table. I had about 6 hours in the waiting room to get over my nerves, so at this point so I actually enjoyed seeing the tools placed out, watching the OR nurses rushing about to prep the room, watching Dr. Nelson pull my x-rays on to the tv monitors. I don't remember much beyond hearing the anesthesiologist say, "I'm going to give you some medicine now," and I am probably thankful for that!

Thank you to everyone for your kind, healing wishes! And, thank you to my hubby, Adam for being by my side yesterday. From what I could tell, spectating surgery was just as exhausting as spectating an ironman. I think he crashed before I did last night! And, thank you to my wonderful mother-in-law, Wendy for going above and beyond with pre and post-surgery hospitality!

Today was day 1 of the road to recovery and I can't say I felt like doing much more than a walk around the neighbourhood, followed by multiple naps, but I'm ok with that. I have to admit that my shoulder does feel foreign to me. It aches, but that's no big surprise. What's most bizarre is this sense of artificial sturdiness and rigid support. I don't think I could have poor posture and slump even if I wanted to! But, I suppose this is to be expected for having a plate of metal in there.

Celebrating with Tiff. Wine for her, prune juice for me.

*I apologize if this is a grammatical mess. I feel as rotten as I look in the photo above!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010