As you know, I had my open heart surgery at the Golisano Children's Hospital at the end of April, I've actually had all of my surgeries there. This hospital holds a special place in my heart (literally) because they've done so much for me and my family. Every year I fundraise for the Children's Hospital and the Stroll for Strong Kids. The funds raised over the past several years have gone to the construction of the brand new Children's Hospital which is set to open next month! I had a tour of the new facilities a few weeks ago, and to say it is beautiful is an understatement! I will fill you in on that in another post though.
I woke up Saturday May 30th, and it was a beautiful day! We've been very fortunate the past few years that the weather for the stroll has been phenomenal! Nita met my mom and me at my house, and I drove because the Stroll is held in a park close to my home. We headed up to the Stroll around 7:45 AM so we could hit up the Sandy Store before the 5K and stock up on Sandy apparel before it got picked over. Every year I spend hundreds of dollars at the Sandy Store, and this year was no exception. I purchased 5 Sandy Under Armour shirts, and a Sandy key ring! Nita and I ventured back to my car to take care of our purchases, and once we got back to the park it was almost time for the 5K to start.
Nita and I met my mom near the back of the pack, and we also saw some familiar faces from back home. Mom and I both set our watches, that way if we got separated we would have our own times, etc.
(Before the Stroll 5K!)
The race started, and mom and I stuck together for about a mile and a half before I started to pull away from her. I had my timer set for a 1 minute run to 1 minute walk interval. I was feeling pretty good, and I kept trucking along the course. There were some areas of the course that had no shade, and no breeze, and that was hard, there were also a few times where I would run 1 minute and walk 2 minutes. Before I knew it, I was turning the corner to the last 1/10th of the race. I jogged along the course and made my way towards finish. I saw Nita cheering near the finish line, and she snapped a picture of me!
(Rocking recovering and running towards the finish - 5 weeks post-op!)
I crossed the finish line and stopped my watch. I had finished in just over 39 minutes, I'll take it!! Yes, I have some work to do, but considering I had just finished my 2nd post-op 5K, I was really happy (and I wasn't last)!! Mom wasn't too far behind me, so after she finished we walked back over to the center of the park to enjoy the festivities.
The Stroll itself started at 10:30 am, so we watched the start of the stroll. There were so many teams there to celebrate different Strong Kids. Families there to celebrate their child being healthy, to celebrate their children's life, and even to celebrate having such an amazing Children's Hospital right in our back yard. So many smiles and tears. After the stroll started we walked over to the Abbott's truck to get some ice cream (yes, dessert first). We ate our ice cream, then got temporary Sandy tattoos and a Sandy sticker. After that, the food tent had opened and we grabbed a bite to eat before all the strollers finished.
After we finished eating, we walked over to watch the stroll participants finish. Luckily, we saw our friend, Mel, so of course we had to get a picture of the 3 of us together!
(Yay for friends!)
After we saw Mel, we decided to make our way back to the car to head out. On our way out, Nita and I noticed there were some children coloring on the side of a Lexus in the center of the park. We stopped to watch for a minute, and a woman monitoring the car asked us if we wanted to color. Of course!! Nita and I go way back with coloring, so we grabbed a handful of crayons, and the woman pointed us to some open flowers on the front of the car.
(Oh, you know, just coloring a Lexus, no big deal)
(Our work of art!)
We asked about the Lexus, and how it ended up at the Stroll. We were told that Lexus donated the car to the cause for the kids to color. There were certain areas of the Lexus that were able to be colored, as it had a film covering the car. We were also told that the car would be making its way around the area, then it would eventually be covered with a coating so that the color would not come off. Finally, it sounds like the car will be auctioned off at the Children's Hospital Gala this coming fall! Very cool! After we finished coloring we made our way to get a few goofy pictures at the photo booth and then made our way back to the car to head out.
It was another successful year for the Stroll, and no matter what happens I always have a blast at this event. This year was even more special to me because I was actually able to participate despite the fact that I was recovering from my open heart surgery (and I was feeling great)! I owe many thanks to the amazing surgeons, physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, patient care techs, and any and all staff involved in my care while I was in the hospital recovering. There's still time to donate to the Children's Hospital, if you're interested you can go to my fundraising page and donate now!
Post-Op Recovery Update:
I'm now 7 and a half weeks post-op, and things are still going well. I still have aches and pains that come and go. Currently I'm dealing with quite a bit of mid-sternal pain which I'm sure is due to the activity from this past weekend. I went to my friends for dinner Friday evening and was lifting her nearly 2 year old son. My muscles are not used to doing any type of lifting over the past 8 weeks, so I'm definitely paying for that. Saturday morning, I met my co-worker Linda to bike to canal path. We ended up biking close to 10 miles, and that felt great, but I have a feeling I'm paying for that as well.
I'm also going back to work this coming Monday (June 22nd)! It's hard to believe, but yes my 8 weeks of recovering at home are coming to an end. It went fast, especially these last few weeks that I've been back at my home. I'm nervous to return, and feel like I need to study to go back! Everyone assures me that it comes right back, I'm hoping they're right.
QOTD: Do you have a special event that you look forward to every year? (Running or not running)