Thursday, May 21, 2009

Other options...

Now that knee surgery is behind me (and I hope to avoid it from this point on - fingers crossed), my thoughts turn to...what next?

I will admit that I sometimes ponder what it would be like to do one more Ironman race. Obviously, my training plan would have to be seriously altered to focus primarily on swimming & biking followed by a lovely 26.2 mile stroll. Someone please slap me. And for Pete's sake, do not share these musings with my parents. They are not big fans of Ironman racing (something about their daughter spending excessive amounts of time in the medical tent will freak out a parent - I guess).

Anyway...enough of that madness.

I've also been investigating the whole century riding thing. Who knew there were crazy long and very cool rides all over the place? Actually, many people already knew this, but whatever.

I'm already planning on the Heart of Virginia Century and the Seagull Century this fall. Perhaps I'll do some long rides with the IMFL girls, too.

I also found this one in New England:

It’s time to get out of the city and get back to farm country. Check out the photos on this web site -- all taken on The Farm Ride route.

Whether you are a beginner or an expert, we have an incredible ride ready for you. We’re going to pedal along the river, on no-car bike paths and on quiet, back-country roads shaded with trees. You’ll ride past farms, dairy cows, rivers, tobacco sheds... Overhead is the Holyoke Range mountains. (No, we are NOT pedaling UP the mountains! We’ll pedal in the valley, ALONGSIDE the mountains!)

We’re going through towns that were founded in the 1700s. There are no car alarms here. There are no booming radios. Instead you’ll enjoy a clear sky full of stars, friendly townspeople, great riding companions, fresh local food, and lush scenery.

Sounds like heaven to me...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Is this a need or a want?

I found this super-awesome cycle jersey online today. It is cut for women...and sports to of my favorite things on it: dogs + beer. I think it's a definite "need."

Thursday, May 7, 2009


I headed to PT for my second session since surgery #2. It turns out that two reasons my left knee is healing so well are a) Dr H mainly performed a lateral release whereas my right knee had a lateral release AND chondroplasty and b) I only have two incisions this time (last time I had three - and one was somewhat biggish).

Anyway, PT was fine & dandy. It's always great to shoot the breeze with Jim as he helps me rehab my knees. I happened to mention that I was spending Saturday watching my friends compete at the Kinetic Half. Jim told me that it would be a very, very bad idea to go.


He (patiently) pointed out that I'm only 8 days out from surgery. Standing/walking around all day was not a wise move at this time. So, I may try to catch the end of the run - or I may just have to wait for you all to fill me in on the day.

Meanwhile, I was able to spin on the stationary bike for a little while. I am weeks ahead of my recovery from my first surgery.

And that is almost as nice as the sun (finally) shining...

Monday, May 4, 2009

Good news

Sometimes, it pays to have two knee surgeries within a four month period. I have very clear memories of my recovery from the first one - and my goal remains to heal(within reason) just as well - if not perhaps a little faster - this time.

First, I had a lot of swelling during the first two weeks last time. I'm fairly certain that I a) did not use my ice machine enough and b) did not elevate my leg enough.

Solution: I spent the first 48 hours icing and elevating (and sleeping).
Result: Left knee is swollen, but it looks so much better than the right knee did 5 days post-surgery.

Second, I was really wary of putting any weight on my knee last time. It looked so...gross. I just couldn't believe it could hold me. And so, I didn't move around enough in the first 5 days - which also led to increased swelling since my blood had nowhere to go but to my feet.

Solution: Hobble around more (in between icing and elevating) - and see how much weight I can bear.

Result: My knee is still attached to my body - and thus, it really can carry my weight still. And - moving around is keeping my left quad from wasting away in front of my eyes.

Believe it or not, but I can even drive already. How awesome it that? I'm sure it looks a little strange to see me get out of my car with my brace & crutches.
Don't worry, folks - my right leg does all the work when I drive.

Anyway, my first PT session was today. Jim gave me double-thumbs up. He was quite pleased with the minimal swelling and solid range of motion in the knee.

I'm already dreaming of biking and swimming again. I'm sending positive thoughts from my mind to my knee. I think it's working.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Recovering (again)

And so, I'm back in the major recovery mode again.

This time around, there were a few minor changes during the day of surgery. Lynn picked me up and toted me to the surgical suite. Miraculously, Dr. H was running a little ahead of schedule and before I knew it, I was being wheeled in for surgery. Of course, due to all the meds, I have no recollection of any of that. The next thing I remember was waking up in recovery. Since my surgery was fairly late in the day (3:00 p.m.), I was so hungry & thirsty (I hadn't ingested anything since the night before). The super-awesome recovery nurse was right there with gingerale and graham crackers. Happiness is the post-surgery snack. Yum. Apparently, I react quite joyfully to all the medication. I was talking non-stop to the nurses, Lynn and Rick. Everyone was more than patient with loopy me. At one point, I asked Rick if I was amusing or annoying. His response, "A little of both." He did eventually admit that he sort of likes it when I'm on percocet.

This time, I also have a much better attitude towards surgery. Back in January, I was seriously heartbroken about having to drop out of Lake Placid. Now, I'm much more accepting about the condition of (sadly) both of my knees. Dr H. explained that the damage to both knees is in nearly identical places. While I do have a lot of healthy cartilage, I also have a spot on each knee that has grade 4 damage. What does that mean?

With grade 4 damage, the cartilage tear exposes the underlying (subchronal) bone. Yes, I have two spots with no cartilage - which explains the ongoing pain and swelling I have during certain activities (deep squats, stair climbing, running). Dr H., via the lateral release, was able to pop my patella back in its groove. As such, the pressure is more equally distributed over all the cartilage.

Basically, my running future is in question. While that makes me sad at times, I'm looking ahead to other things. I find that swim workouts with Coach K are a tremendous workout. My flip turns are improving (and they are fun) and I can finally do no-breathers. Biking, of course, is a perfect activity for those of us with knee issues. I plan to do a lot of that - and can't wait to join the RABA folks on some of their fun rides (like the Sat morning ride to Ashland). I also plan to be rehabbed and ready for the SeaGull Century in October - and hopefully, the Heart of Va ride in September.