Thursday, May 31, 2012

Gettin' My Swagger Back..

What? You weren't aware I walked with a swagger? I'm sorry. Either way, it's on the way back!

I am officially 1+ months out from surgery, and have had made huge gains. I'm out of the walking boot, and my walking has improved to match that of a marathoner one day post PR. The swelling has markedly improved, aided recently by the start of physical therapy.

In the workout department, I'm back to full strength, minus the running. While that's going to be shelved for a few more weeks, I'm back to healthy doses of swimming, biking, and ellipticalling (yes, I made up that word). In addition to the daily cardio sweatfests, I'm also doing lots of core work, and lifting 2-3 times a week. I was even a dancing fool at a wedding last weekend!  That makes for a happy, happy girl.

My sisters and I, pre-wedding! 

From an appearance perspective, the Frankenleg is no longer. I can now enter public places without being gawked at, and getting the sympathetic glances.

I am so incredibly happy that I had the surgery done, and I know that feeling will only grow once I'm able to pound the pavement again. I credit the speed of healing to both working out, and also staying in a positive state of mind. There were days where the "woe is me" mentality would have been so easy to take, but instead I tried to push through, and excel at what I COULD do on that day.

At this point, it appears as though my running comeback will begin around July 1st. The only thing I have committed to at this point is the Yankee Homecoming 10-Miler in Newburyport on July 31st.  I would like to get a couple other short races on the calendar in July, but it might have to be "day of" registration; I'm just not going have a good idea of how much run fitness I've lost until I get back out there.

I would also like to capitalize on the swimming and riding I've been doing, and I can't decide whether I would rather hold out for an entire triathlon, or finding an aqua/bike somewhere. I just can't imagine to be fully "able" to run, yet having to hand over my chip after the bike.

Now that I've started on a PT regimen of 2-3 times a week, I'm hoping to make major improvements which will culminate in my first run back since April 29th. Until then, I will continue to bookmark potential 5-10K's the beginning of July, and use Yankee Homecoming as a strong 10-miler. I hesitate to call it a race at this point, as it's foolish to think of an all out 10-mile effort 4 weeks post-comeback. We shall see.

I'm so happy this chapter of my life is coming to a close, and cannot wait to see what the back half of 2012 has in store.

Happy Training!

Friday, May 18, 2012


Todays post is brought to you by the letter P - for progress. I had my first follow-up appointment this morning, and I'm on the path to recovery.

Since I've removed the soft cast, I've been able to see and feel a lot of healing, which has been so encouraging. I still have a lot of swelling and bruising, and Dr Theodore explained to me why:

(1) because I was a jerk and ran a lot before surgery, there was an abundance of scar tissue in my muscle. He had to work a little harder to get to the fascia in order to release the compartments. 
(2) he tends to think a lot of the excess bruising, in addition to #1, is from the aspirin they used, in order to prevent blood clots. 
(3) I had all 4 compartments released which isn't "typical" (when I am ever typical, right?). This in and of itself is more of a trauma to the leg that having just 1 or 2 compartments released. 

The stitches came out today, which was a big milestone. Also, I was given a parting gift of an aircast/walking boot, which I must wear for 2-3 weeks. This will force my leg to start making more "normal" walking movements, without the blunt force of walking in shoes. Between the Frankenleg and now the walking boot, I am bringing sexy back in a HUGE way. 

I have been working out like crazy, and I feel surprisingly strong. Dr T thinks the boot will help me adapt to the elliptical soon, which will be a good break from the bike. Also, starting next week, I can being to swim and pool run. Although I'm not allowed to run until I see him again (~6 weeks), I definitely think the pool running will help me in the transition back to running (from a fitness perspective). 

This surgery has forced me to be creative with my workouts, appreciative that I CAN move and sweat, and also so damn excited to get back out there. I'm trying my hardest to maintain my fitness, and also been doing a lot of lifting and core work, which I have always shied away from. 

Progress, in pictures:

About 2 weeks into recovery
Frankenleg took a trip! 
Stitches are O-U-T!

My brand new accessory! 

Happy Training!! Can't wait to see you back out on the roads soon!! 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Pictures, Week One (warning: Frankenleg inside!!)

This was right after I took the soft cast off last night.

The good side:

And... drumroll please... Frankenleg!!!

Try not to be jealous of the gigantic calf OR the Flinstone foot.

I apologize to all who may have lost their dinner.

We'll see what kind of progress I can make from week one to week two!

Week One...

I've survived week one post fasciotomy, and like a lot of things, there have been highs and lows. Surprisingly, I'm so much more emotionally stable than I ever thought I would be; I guess thats what happens when even the mere thought of trying to run one step makes you cringe. I have had a couple meltdowns because everything just takes so damn long to do, but it's to be expected I 'spose. 

Last week was spent working from home, and I didn't attempt driving until Thursday. Up until that point, the swelling combined with the soft cast was really restricting my ankle flexibility. It forced me to really lay low and focus on healing which was good. I was also able to get a ton of work done, given the fact I couldn't get very far. Yesterday was my first day back in the office (I have a 50 mile commute each way - I know..), and so far so good. My leg whines a bit on the drive home, so I've been trying to get my workouts in before work. Yes, workouts. 

I WAS able to get a ride to the gym on Wednesday (as in only TWO days after surgery). I kept my expectations low, and was pleasantly surprised at what I was able to do. I could spin on the gym bike for about 15 minutes, at a very low intensity, while keeping about 90% of the weight on my left leg. I have since increased the time on the bike, and finally hit the 60 minute milestone. Granted, I'm at barely any resistance, but an hour on a bike this soon after surgery? I'll take it! I've also been doing a lot of upper body lifting and core work, which has been awesome. 

First Day back at the gym - happy girl!!

Yesterday I was allowed to take the soft boot off, and what was under that cast was not for the faint of heart. I have a pretty strong stomach, and I was surprised at the carnage. I will post the pictures in a separate post, so that I don't end up being responsible for pukey blog readers. The upside is that I can shower much more easily, there's a stronger effect of icing, and I have much more range of motion in my ankle/foot area. And while my Frankenleg is hideous to look at right now, it'll be pretty cool to document the progress of healing. 

The support of friends and family has been incredible; help with Caitlyn in the form of drop-offs and pick-ups, rides to the grocery store, and the constant flood of text messages and phone calls, just to see if I need anything. I look forward to re-paying the favor to everyone who has been so incredibly generous the past couple of weeks.. I feel so so so lucky. 

Of course, I'm also working on a race schedule, but that's an entirely different post. I'll give you a clue though - my big comeback race will be the furthest I've ever run. 

Picture post next - Happy Training!!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Life with a new fast leg (surgery recap)!

This friends, is a gorgeous, flattering picture of my new fast leg:
I know, try not to be jealous! 

I have no intention of boring you with the play-by-play of surgery, but it went very well. Dr Theodore IS the best in the business, and I am incredibly happy with my choice in doctor. He talked to me before the procedure, and confirmed that this IS the best thing I can do to save my running/endurance athlete career. 

We chatted a bit (well, he chatted, I just shook my head in an anesthesia-induced haze) after the surgery. He did the procedure arthroscopically with a fiber optic lends, and assured me the incisions are quite small.  He also mentioned that he made the decision once he got in there to release all four compartments, based on what he saw. 

I am stuck in this compression wrappish thing until Sunday night, which I cannot remove OR get wet (taking showers has been hilarious). My leg is going to look dead sexy when I take this thing off later this week. And no, I will NOT post pictures. You're welcome. I am also on crutches for a week or so, and was allowed to begin bearing some weight with crutches yesterday. 

He mentioned that I would be back to "regular volume" of running in 8-10 weeks, but he wasn't going to restrict my activity. He said verbatim "you'll know". I thought that was bizarre, but he's totally right. I tried to be a hero yesterday, and gimp around without crutches for about an hour. I was then confined to the couch for the next 3 hours because I was in a whole lot of pain. When I used my crutches (even bearing a little bit of weight) the rest of the day, I felt so much better by bedtime. Turns out he's right; with this type of surgery, I'm pretty sure I'll just "know" what's going to work and what's not. 

I am able to get a ride to the gym tonight, so I'm going to attempt some upper body lifting, and see what feels good. My last workout was a 15-mile run on Sunday, and after 2 days completely off, most of my body is ready to sweat. While there will be no cardio, and I will be VERY careful to not stress my leg at all, it'll feel good to do some upper body and core work. 

Thank you all for the messages, emails, and texts - I appreciate the support more than you'll ever know. I feel so lucky to have the best support system anyone could ask for, and please know I never take it for granted. 

I'm so happy to be on the other side of this surgery, and can't wait til I can take this off and see how fast my new fast leg really looks!!! 

Happy Training!!