Monday, October 31, 2011

Monday Mario -- Halloween Edition

Happy Halloween!
Mario wanted to dress up as Optimus Prime, but the helmet wouldn't fit on his head.  So we went with a fireman instead.

He is still not 100% back to normal but getting there.  I'd say his personality is pretty much all back and it is just his appetite and poop patterns that need to catch up a little.  Every day seems a little better, though.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

There's No Place Like Home

Look who is back!

After three nights in the hospital and plenty of tears on my end, I was finally able to pick up Mario this evening from the vet's!  His blood work came back normal.  Yay, kidneys!  He's been eating a bit on his own and pooping up a storm (they are a little messier than usual which will require some maintentance on my end).

The vet tech spent a lot of time showing me how to do all of this:

Which involves all of this:

Yes, I need to hook my bunny up via needle to that bag once a day for a week.

I thought he might be a bit lethargic and sad, but he is quite perky.  I put him in his pen and the first thing he did was run over to his food bowl and pick out a treat to eat.  Then for a few minutes he scampered all around his pen picking at pellets, eating hay, and exploring everything.  He is settling down a bit now and has even done some good bunny flops.  The main thing that seems a bit off is that he might have lost some muscle tone -- he is sliding around a bit more than usual.  

Thank you, everyone, again for all of your support through this.  Mario is a lucky bunny to have so many people in his corner.

I think I can manage that.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Over the River and Through the Woods

Thank you to everyone who has emailed, tweeted, commented and texted about Mario.  We really appreciate all of your concern and good thoughts.

Today has been a bit of a roller coaster of a day.  I called the vet's this morning and spoke to the vet tech.  She told me that they had force fed Mario last night but that this morning he refused to have anything to do with any of that.  He had not pooped or eaten on his own.  He peed once and his temperature was still good.  Basically, she said he was the same and that the vet would give me a call once she evaluated him.

The vet called shortly after and said that his stomach was still very engorged.  Also, she had gotten his lab results back and Mario was in renal failure.  She said she thought it was acute vs. chronic because he was not anemic which I should take as a good thing.  She said it was not uncommon for bunnies to go into acute renal failure when they are as severely dehydrated as Mario was due to his inability to eat/drink.

Because of his lack of progress on bloat treatment, she suspected that he may possibly have a blockage somewhere.  She said there was no way to know for sure and that surgery at this point would be exploratory.  We could possibly do barium x-rays to try to image a blockage but she felt that with his engorged stomach this wasn't the best course of action, plus it would waste a day's worth of time.  She said if there was a blockage, today was the day to do the surgery or else his digestive tract could go necrotic and then there would be little hope.  Without the surgery, he would surely die.  "If this were my bunny, I'd do the surgery," she said.

The vet said she wanted to consult with another veterinarian in the practice who had handled a similar case and had done some research on the matter.  She said she would be in touch in a few hours and we could go from there.

The idea of poor Mario going through surgery with no guarantee that it would address the problem was too much for me.  I was a wreck and I called Boyfriend.  We decided if the second vet agreed, then we would pursue the surgery.  I asked Boyfriend to come home from work so he could come in with me to visit with Mario before he went under.  There was no way I'd be able to handle that on my own.

I had some time to kill and a run on the schedule so headed out to do that.  I had to fight back tears through my warm-up and almost gave up on the tempo portion.  I felt like my heart-rate was elevated from the anxiety and it was throwing everything off.  The tempo effort eventually helped to get my mind off things a little and I ended up with a pretty good run.  I arrived home and promptly burst into tears.

The veterinarian gave me a call and said she had good news.  Mario had started to feel better and had nibbled on some hay. She also felt that his stomach was dramatically reduced in size from her examination of him this morning.  She didn't feel that surgery was the way to go anymore.  I was so relieved.  She wanted to start him on an IV in order to try to get his kidneys back to normal.  She felt that as long as he continued to improve, she would redo his blood work in a day or two and if his kidneys were better he would be ready to come home.

Mario with his fancy new earring :(
We went in to visit with him.  He looked pretty out of it, and I'm hoping that was from the meds he was on.  He tooth purred a little as I rubbed his cheeks.  When the vet tech brought him into the room I saw he had three nice poops stuck to his butt :) I was SO happy!  I had brought some of his hay and pellets from home and he even ate a pellet I gave to him.  He perked up for a minute or so while he ate the pellet and actually lifted himself to standing for a while.  But right after that he went back into his foggy state.  The staff wasn't even aware that he was pooping yet and they seemed excited when I told them.  So he's making progress.  Eating a little, pooping a little, and getting rehydrated.

The vet said he is no way out of the woods yet, but she is much more encouraged than she was when she spoke to me this morning.  I'm really hoping he continues in this direction and can come home soon. I probably won't get to see him again until either Thursday evening if he comes home or Friday.  The staff seems to be really enjoying him so I hope they are giving him lots of love.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday Mario Part II

Since most of my bunny blogger friends are not on Twitter, I thought I would post an update today.  I'm just back from the veterinarian sans Mario :(  The vet wanted to keep him overnight to monitor and treat him.

Mario and I are just x-ray magnets this year.
That big round thing on the left is his stomach, and the vet thinks it is full of gas. The black stuff on the right are his intestines, also gassy.  She doesn't think there is a physical blockage, but just that the gas in the intestines have slowed motility and everything is backing up a bit.  They are putting him on pain meds, anti-gas meds, anti-gas-producing-bacteria meds, and fluids.  Depending on when his stomach comes down a bit, they will start feeding him some food, too.  His temperature is normal which the vet says is a good sign.

The vet didn't really start throwing me carrots of hope until I broke down crying so I'm really hoping he'll pull through.  It was really hard to leave him there :(

These are different Monday Mario shots, for sure.

Monday Mario & Peak Week

I've been doing lots of running since Half Moon Bay as I try to get some fitness back for the Two Cities Marathon in a couple of weeks.  Here is last week's recap:

Sunday:  12 miles (2 miles @ 9:14 pace, 10 miles pacing KM at the end of the Nike Women's Marathon); I have never had any desire to do this race and after seeing the last 10 miles of the course, I am can say with all certainty that I will never run this marathon.  KM battled through a sprained ankle and some tummy issues to collect her Tiffany's pendant.

Tuesday:  10 miles, including 7 miles @ 8:27 pace; My best 7 mile tempo was at an 8:22 pace shortly before my hip blew up.  Considering the short period of time I've been back to normal running, I was pretty thrilled to have completed this run as close to that tempo PR as I did.  Also, I felt amazingly good this run.  The pace didn't seem hard and I could have kept it up a few more miles.

Wednesday:  10 miles @ 9:44 pace; My legs felt suprisingly fresh after the hard run the day before.

Friday:  22 miles @ 9:28 pace, consisting of 4 easy, 2 MP (9:00), 2 easy, 2 MP (8:55), 2 easy, 2 MP (8:57), 2 easy, 2 MP (8:54), 3 easy, 1 MP (8:57); I tried to shoot for a 9:00ish pace for the marathon pace (MP) miles.  I've done some MP work in 16 milers before but have never tried it in a 20+ mile run.  I suppose we'll see how it worked out in a few weeks.

I also managed to make it to Bikram yoga 4 times this week.

I had the above photo pre-loaded for today's post.  I decided to catch some of the more mundane Mario moments.  He looks like a crotchety old man chewing on his hay.

Last night I gave Mario his veggies and pellets before bedtime.  In very un-typical Mario fashion he totally ignored them :(  He refused all the food and even higher-value treats.  He is definitely not himself and I am worried sick.  I've been giving him simethicone and fluids and we have a vet appointment later today.  Fingers and paws crossed for him.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Half Moon Bay International Marathon

Wow.  I don't think it has ever taken me so long to get to a race report.  Did I ever mention I hate writing race reports?  This will be short and sweet because if I don't get this up ASAP I'll never blog again since I've been putting off other posts until I get this done.

The Mario Recap, Marathon #29:

4:22:12.  Negative split.  Felt awesome.

The Full Recap, Marathon #29:

The important thing first...  I had ZERO leg pain during the race.  Woot!  I didn't have any hard and fast time goals for the race, but I was secretly hoping to run about a 4:22.  I figured if I just kept trucking at an easy pace, that should translate into a 4:22 finish.  I didn't want to take extended walk breaks or stop and smell the roses at this race.  The last two marathons I've done involved a lot of walking and I wanted to prove to myself that I could still play the mental game of running a marathon, if even at an easy running pace.  However, I was not about to beat myself up over having to go slower and would have been content with anything between 4:30-4:40.  I suppose the goals were 1) no leg pain 2) sub 4:40 3) 4:22.

The course was partly trail and partly road.  I am not a trail runner so I was a little nervous about the trail aspect of the race.  I was told by the race director it was not terribly technical and that it accounted for about 8 miles of the race.  The course consisted of two out-and-backs (really there were three out-and-backs and the shortest one we ran twice) but it was billed as being coastal and very scenic.

Above is the elevation chart from my Garmin.  You can see most of the inclines were in the first 10 miles.  I might say that those first 10 miles were pretty challenging.  I recall being thankful that my PR and hard-effort attempts at Half Moon Bay had been derailed because it was not an easy course.  Even the paved sections had short, steep, inclines.

We ran through the start area after mile 10 and started the second, long out-and-back section.  The first part of this section was on a paved bike trail and I was able to pick up a little bit of speed with the firm footing.  I was feeling pretty good.  The lead half marathoners were coming back at us and I had fun cheering them on and telling the women what place they were.  Then we hit another long, trail section.  It wasn't rocky but was uneven and required a lot of attention.  Also, the out-and-back nature of the course meant that there was 2-way traffic needs to be alert about.  I'm sure the ocean views were great, but I was so preoccupied watching my feet I didn't get to enjoy them often.

The last turnaround was just beyond the Ritz-Carlton.  Boyfriend and I had a wonderful getaway at the Half Moon Bay Ritz last year (never did get around to posting about that, either).  I'll delve into my mini-vacation photos for this.  Cue flashback/dream sequence music...

This was the view from our hotel room.  And yes, the weather race day was pretty much the same.  The race actually wound along that path you see below.

We actually went on a walk along part of the marathon course so I knew all about the short-steep climbs.

As I ran by, I stared longingly at the hotel-stayers who were sitting in these chairs.  I had an awesome time sipping hot chocolate and looking at the ocean from them.  Can't say they were really cheering for the runners, though.  They were sort of looking at us like we were either crazy or they didn't understand what was going on.  

The Ritz has a bagpipe player who plays every evening and he was out playing for the runners. He happened to play my favorite bagpipe song ("Scotland the Brave") as I was approaching the hotel and that gave me a good pick-up.

Just another photo from our stay for memory sake :)  Yummers.

The hotel had DVD's you could rent for free as well as board games you could borrow.  We played Operation three times and I beat Boyfriend every single time :)

Since I never got around to posting about our stay at the Ritz, I'm hijacking this race report to include this video (which I actually uploaded over a year ago to share with all of you):

We had access to a hot chocolate machine which made the most awesome hot chocolate.  I believe I drank 21 cups in 24 hours.  No joke.

That was a nice trip down memory lane.  Back to the race...

Finally hit the turnaround and started making my way home towards the finish.  Back through the steep little Ritz walkways and back through the dirt trail section.  When I hit the bike path again I felt good and  found myself picking up the pace.  I was holding a low 9:00 pace and it didn't feel too hard.  I still had over four miles to go and wasn't sure I could keep up that pace the rest of the race.  A few days earlier I had done my first "tempo" workout in months and had knocked out only two hard-fought 9:00ish miles (and honestly couldn't have done another without combusting).

But I decided to go with it.  I thought I'd try to bring my overall pace down below 10:00.  I think at that point I was averaging about a 10:20 overall pace.  The marathon was pretty small (115 marathoners total) but I had found a little groove with a small set of runners.  As I picked up speed I slowly left all my running buddies behind and found myself running alone for the first time in the race.  Overall the course was well-marked, but I arrived at a four-way intersection and came to a complete stop because I wasn't sure which way to go.  There were no tell-tale marathon signs to help me out. I debated just picking a path and going (obviously continuing straight was the most likely option, but I had Mile 24 Brain here).  A biker eventually came towards me and I asked her which way the race was.  She pointed me in the right direction.  I probably only lost 15 seconds or so here, but grrr.

I kept on trucking and marveled at how good I felt.  My low-9:00 pace felt easy.  Maybe a sub-4 hour marathon one day could really happen.  I had obviously not pushed very hard the first 22 miles, but I wasn't really feeling as tired or down as I usually might be the last few miles of a marathon.  I didn't have that mental game of, "Oh my god where's the freakin' mile marker!"  I kept up a 9:05 pace the last 4 miles and kicked in the last 0.48 (bleh) miles in an 8:15 pace.

On my garmin I got my overall pace down to a 9:59 but with the extra 0.28 mile I ran, my official pace was a 10:00.  Boo to the unmarked course!  But I pretty much hit my A-goal right on the nose and felt very pleased with how strong I ran.  I didn't take any walk breaks that didn't involve an aid station or gel-eating.  I got to tap into that part of your mind that has to keep your legs turning at the end of a long race.  I needed a marathon like this mentally after my injuries and after Big Sur and the ET 51K.

The entire race I was thinking about this:

Photo courtesy of Dennis
The main sponsor of the race was Sam's Chowder House. Boyfriend and I had eaten lunch there a few weeks before the race and I saw the seafood paella on the menu and promised myself I'd eat that after the race.  Shock of all shocks the paella is not normally on their lunch menu but Boyfriend asked and got them to make it for us. Yummers.

The shirt. Nothing special. 
Not a fan of word clouds on race shirts. And some of the words are kind of strange. "Moony?"

I did pick up a coveted Headsweats hat!!  Woot!
A lot of other friends were either out running or spectating and it was a really fun day. Boyfriend even ran the half (on in my opinion, sketchy training) and came within 30ish seconds of PR'ing!

I'd recommend the course if you're a fan of running on trails and roads.  It wasn't terribly technical but all the roadies agreed it slowed them down.  Also, I was told by the race director it pretty much never rains in September but it did misty drizzle at the end of the race.  And if there was a big rain pre-race the course would be a sloppy mess.  The organization was great and you can tell the race directors are runners themselves.  I'll probably never do it again because of the trails but I'd recommend it if you know and love what you're getting into.  I do think the race is outrageously overpriced for what it was.  I believe I paid $125 and this thing didn't feel like a $125 race (no running on major roads, just back roads, bike paths, and trails).  There was a limit of 500 runners total across a 5K, 10K, half marathon, and full marathon. With the out-and-backs and tight trails I doubt they'll be able to grow this race more if at all without running into serious traffic jams.

I will say, I have a problem with the race's catch phrase:  26.2 Miles of Running Heaven.  Uh, your race consists of THREE out and backs (one of which you run TWICE).  I'm thinking that means it should be more like, 12.35 miles of Running Heaven.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Monday Mario

These are again older photos, but they are from the first day I increased the difficulty level on Mario's enrichment toy.  At this level, the treat is under the blue plug and he has to topple it over to get to the good stuff.

I thought this would be easier than having to push around the big blue disc on the first level, but Mario actually needed a lot of encouragement to find all the treats.  And I used a very high value, aromatic treat -- banana!!