Monday, March 30, 2009

Monument Ave 10K

Since I couldn't run the 10K this year (or more accurately, run into the Kids race and cross the finish line with the youngsters - see last year's report for more details), I opted to volunteer. It's a big race with a ton of opportunities to help out, but I think I may have picked one of the cooler options.

I worked the finish line.

Back in my cross-country/track coaching days, I tried to avoid the finish line due to the high probability that someone would throw up at the end (happens all the time in the mile and the cross country races - those kids fly!)

There was some vomit - but luckily the guy missed Debbie Jo (barely). Debbie Jo, of course, handled the situation with humor (as always - love her).

A couple of volunteering highlights:

1. Handing out the medals to the little guys & gals at the end of kids mile race. They were all so proud of themselves. Nothing like seeing a 7 year proudly wearing her medal. It really, really made my day.

2. Being in charge (along with several other volunteers) of the elite finishers. I was "in charge" of the second place male. He spoke a little English (he's from Ethiopia) and could flat out run (hello 4:30 miles). I made sure he had water, a towel and food. I also had to make sure he made it to the awards ceremony on time (which was somewhat tricky due to the language barrier).

3. Seeing so many familiar faces at the finish: Sandy L, Fave, Shelley, Anna, Debbie Jo, Patti, Heidi, Kelly, Sharona, Kate O & Maddie - I'm sorry I didn't see all of you - great racing!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Coming along

When I mention to random people that I have a physical therapy appointment, they cringe and say things like, "I bet it's awful" or "Do they just torture you?" It's actually just the opposite.
PT is actually a reaffirming experience for me. I leave PT (at times with very tired legs) knowing that I am healing...that I am making progress.
For the past month, Jim has only seen me every other week since many of the exercises I can do on my own. I spent time building more strength (which will be ongoing for quite awhile).
As of yesterday, however, we have moved into a new phase of rehab. I still do all the leg strength work (and I've gained a respectable amount of strength in a month), but now we've added some "dynamic" work.
"Dynamic?" you ask.
Yes, that's what I wrote.
Jim has a nifty pilates machine that I met yesterday.
It's the first step towards putting some more force (i.e. running) on the knee. I push off from the bottom and it propels me upwards - and then I have to concentrate on landing lightly. Occasionally, I can do it right.
Jim chuckles at me in much the same way that ProKaren cracks up when we try to do the butterfly. Evil geniuses, I call those two.
Here's the new plan:
1. I return to PT for 2x/week sessions to work on the dynamic exercises.
2. We are going to adjust my peddles to try to help my knees and feet stay in better alignment.
3. I can start to ride outdoors again - but I have to start with short, slow rides at first.
4. I can return to doing the core & arm exercises at strength workouts. However, my days of (trying to) spring up on the steps are over for good. Jim said that is a big no-no for my knees.
5. Let pain be my guide when it comes to swimming and indoor cycling. I can try to stand on my peddles today - but I still need to lay off (my feeble excuse for) flip turns.
And finally, Jim warned me that, while my knees should be well-healed in a month or two, it really takes a year to heal completely from knee surgery.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Latest news

I had three highlights this week (my spring break peaceful).

1. A return to Thursday night master's swimming @ the Y. How lucky for me to find myself in a pure lane of joy, which included: Shawn, Molly, Mary & Debbie Jo. I was able to do most of the workout without the pull buoy. I kicked - but very lightly. I also can't push off with my right leg right now. For now, the breast stroke and flip turns (if you can call what I do a flip turn) are going to have to wait.

On a sad note, I left my snazzy pink & gray pull buoy in the locker room. When I went back to get it, it was gone. I couldn't find it by the lap pool, locker room or the two lost and found locations. So, if you see a pull buoy matching that description @ the Y, it's probably mine!

2.I rode on the trainer for 2 hours today. I still can't do the standing work (it puts way too much pressure on my knee) but that will come eventually.

3. My new niece, Emma, was born on Tuesday. From the pictures, she looks cute as can be.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

That's pretty cool

I know that some of you are probably tired of my blogging about my knee. Sorry. But, I know that when I was researching the lateral release procedure, I found very little information that documented the real experience. Basically, I read either scientific journal articles (confusing) or people ranting about how it didn't work for them (scary & depressing).

I also knew that it was highly likely that my other knee would eventually need some kind of surgery (confirmed) - and I thought this would be a reasonable way to document my experience (the good, the bad and the ugly).
Much to my surprise, I've had two lateral release patients find my blog - that's pretty darn cool!
So...7.5 weeks post-surgery, this is where I am:

a) I rode on the trainer for 90 minutes on Saturday. I haven't been on my bike that long since December. And - after my 90 minute ride in December, my knee blew up like a balloon and I could barely walk the next day (darn cartilage piece). Yesterday, my surgically repaired knee felt really good. I did try to stand up for a moment - OUCH - not quite ready for that yet. I'm doing endless one-legged drills and can clip in and out of my pedals fearlessly again. I'm not riding outside yet. I think I need to build up some more strength in ye olde quads - and where the actual release was performed is still a bit tender (would not want to wipe out on it).

b) I'm swimming with the pull buoy still. After Wednesday, I'm supposed to transition from the pull buoy to light kicking. Pain will be the guide on that one. I'm still not very comfortable pushing off the wall with the right leg - it doesn't feel quite right.

c) I had a little miscalculation. I should expect to be almost 100% by mid-May (not mid-April) - four months post-surgery.

d) Walking upstairs is beginning to feel better. It used to kill me, so I'm happy to feel the improvements.

e) Running - I really can't think about that right now because I will cry. (I've lost track now of how many times I've cried because I can't run). I need to focus on what I can do comfortably - biking and swimming.

So there you go...steady progress - love that!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Good news/bad news

First, the bad news:
1. SanDee J (aka broken knee #2) tore her ACL a few weeks ago. She is undergoing reconstructive surgery next week.

2. My left knee needs surgery,too. Dr H. confirmed what I suspected today during my appointment. We're going to hold off on that for awhile. It may happen next November. (My left knee makes very nauseating sounds when I walk upstairs - and on bad days, it clicks during every pedal stroke).

And now for the good news:
1. It's going to be a gorgeous weekend.

2. My right knee is healing beautifully. Hooray! The good doctor predicts I'll be "normal" (I use that term loosely) by mid-April - four months post-surgery. He said it can take anywhere from 4-12 months to recover. He mentioned something about "type A, tough" people tend to heal a little faster. I shared this comment with my mother, and her only comment was "He's got your number." I'm not really that comment on my occasional type A tendencies. Triathletes and Type A personalities go together like Peeps and Easter. But, I think some of my training partners make me look like Little Miss Laidback (you know who you are - smile)

3. My spring break begins tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. Six years of grad school are paying off...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


I am not kicking...yet in the pool. But the other guppies are kicking and kicking and kicking and kicking and kicking and kicking. You get the picture.
I think they all may have been a little jealous of me and my oh-so-pretty pull buoy this morning. Don't worry, Gups - you'll have the last laugh when I begin to kick again (in about 10 days or so). My hip flexors are crying already.
Meanwhile, I'm thinking (because I am deranged) that I might just step up and do the Chesapeakeman Aquavelo (or as we regular people call it - the aquabike) in late September. What can I say? I'm addicted to training with my peeps. And I just know that Deanna, Fave and Lynn want to do the Sea Gull Century with me in October...any other takers?