Elfi Ortenburger- Huntsman Hometown Hero

Post Berlin Marathon 2014 with Rick and Elfi Ortenburger.

There are a lot of people quietly going about their days doing good and serving others.  They don’t get the recognition they often deserve, but they don’t do it for the applause.  They serve out of compassion for others.  Elfi Ortenburger exemplifies this generosity of spirit.  She has dedicated her retirement to helping others research a cure for cancer, all the while helping so many achieve their dream of running a half or full marathon.  She’s touched countless lives.  700 words isn’t enough space to fully capture the essence of Elfi, but I gave it a shot.

Click on the link below to read the Deseret News article all about Elfi.  And if you feel so moved, please donate to the Huntsman Cancer Institute through the link provided on my homepage.


Crash Recovery Update

Crash recovery update
Shelly and I hiding our fear with smiles before our first ride back post-crash

Crash recovery update.

It has been almost three months since Shelly and I had our big crash and the results are still coming in.

The good news: we’re back on our bikes.  We had our first ride last Friday.  I was more nervous for this ride than I was before giving birth to my oldest daughter.  We chose a relatively safe route- Legacy Parkway.  No vehicular traffic.  But let’s get real.  We didn’t have our big crash with a giant SUV.  We had our crash with a piece of wood.  I was paranoid of everything, and it turns out, rightfully so.

Only two miles into our ride we encountered a dad and his daughter on a scooter.  Shelly and I slowed down to around 6 miles per hour, made eye contact with the dad, verbally let them know we were about to pass.  Dad pulled daughter over to the right side of the path.  Not trusting anyone, I continued to ride slow.  Just as I was about to pass them, the daughter pulled out on her scooter right toward me.  I swerved left to avoid her, yelling at her to get over.  Dad started yelling.  Shelly was yelling behind.  I’m certain I closed my eyes and accepted that I was about to even out my shoulder injury by falling on my left.

But I didn’t.  I stopped a little further ahead.  Dad was still yelling at his daughter.  Shelly and I rode on shaking in our bike shoes.  Not the best way to start our first ride post-crash.

We decided the goal that day wasn’t to ride hard and fast.  The goal was to ride and survive.  Conquer our fear, if you will.  I wouldn’t say we conquered our fear, but we faced it and that’s good enough.

crash recovery update
We survived our first ride.

Scary as it was, it was nice to be back, although I’m not sure I’ll ever feel totally comfortable again.  The idea of riding on major roads again terrifies me.  A little fear is good.  I have a lot to live for.

Shelly’s arm is healing nicely.  No more “Frankenshelly”.  She looks good and has an awesome scar to tell the story.

I’m about 75% better.  The shoulder burns bad when I run and effects my neck and back, too.  Surgery is definitely a possibility.  The cost is holding me back.  I have a consultation appointment with a surgeon next month, so we’ll see.  I could always sell my bike to offset the medical bills!  Kidding.  Maybe.

Post-Crash Rehash

It’s been almost two months since our bike crash adventure and Shelly and I are still on the mend.  Our injuries turned out to be far worse than originally thought.

Our first run post-crash. I don't have my cast yet and I refused to run with my sling. Result- I could hardly move my arm.
Our first run post-crash. I don’t have my cast yet and I refused to run with my sling. Result- I could hardly move my arm.

Shelly didn’t just rip a hole in her elbow; she sustained an 80% rupture in her tricep which required surgery to repair.  She was in a full cast, from knuckles to shoulder, for three weeks.  She has yet to be able to put pressure on her right arm or lift anything more than a pound.  She has a gnarly scar on her elbow that I’m a little jealous of.  Scars are cool, especially when they come with a good story.  She goes to her doctor next week and we’re hoping she gets the okay to start riding her bike again.

Just doing what we can. I'm wearing a cycle jersey because I can't lift my arm overhead to put on a normal tank top.
Just doing what we can. I’m wearing a cycle jersey because I can’t lift my arm overhead to put on a normal tank top.

My Grade 3 AC separation is still a source of pain, literally and figuratively.  Grade 3 separations live in a gray area.  Most don’t require surgery, but a few do.  Since I’m so active and it feels like someone’s lit a match under my shoulder every time I go for a run, it looks like surgery is, indeed, in my future.  When I hit my shoulder, I tore the ligaments that connect my shoulder to my collarbone.  That baseball bump on my collarbone isn’t from my collarbone popping up on impact.  My shoulder actually dropped.  When I stand up, you can see that my fingertips are a good 3-4 inches lower on my right side.  I’m not a vain person, so this doesn’t bother me.  What bothers me are the shoulder aches, the neck pain, the inability to do a push-up without popping and slipping in the joint.  Ick.

Not the best shot of my bump, but it will do. I like to rub it for good luck.
Not the best shot of my bump, but it will do. I like to rub it for good luck.

To make it even more interesting, turns out my right hand was sore because I broke the navicular bone.  Not a bad break, but enough to warrant a soft cast for four weeks.  It’s off now and I’ve been given the green light to lift weights, run, bike, whatever I want.

This cast is right where it belongs- in the trash. And yes, I drink Diet Sunkist and I am not ashamed.
This cast is right where it belongs- in the trash. And yes, I drink Diet Sunkist and I am not ashamed.

As far as surgery goes, I have three races scheduled for the fall.  Top of Utah Marathon, Goldilocks century ride, and the Amsterdam Marathon.  My doctor said I would be fine waiting until those were done to do the surgery.  A few cortisone shots to get me through and then we can put me back together like the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz.

Things could be worse, but they have been better.  My patience is wearing thin, but I am still grateful for what I can do.  Below is a link to my Deseret News article about never taking our health for granted.  Check it out.


Be Careful What You Wish For

Warning: this post may contain one graphic image. It’s also very long. Settle in.

The fact that this post exists is a miracle in and of itself. I’m figuring out how to navigate typing with my dominant arm in a sling. In fact, I’m figuring out how to do everything with my dominant arm in a sling. I’m realizing how important thumbs are to overall life function and just how tricky ponytails can be with almost no range of motion in one arm. I’ve also learned my husband stinks at ponytails, too.

But all that being said, I need to say I am fine. My friend Shelly is fine. But there were some moments this weekend when we weren’t sure we would be fine. After ten years of road cycling, we finally had our big crash.

Continue reading “Be Careful What You Wish For”