My apologies for being absent over the past couple weeks (and missing some great picture milestones), but I’ve been busy…running! At just about 8 weeks post-op (last week), I started doing some gradual running on the treadmill. We started with 3 minute intervals with two minutes of rest (about a mile of running total) and worked up to yesterday, where I did 4 minute intervals with a minute rest for 2 whole miles of running. Wahooooo!
The only pain I’m having is in the first running interval, where it feels like the worst calf cramp known to man. Last week, it happened much earlier. Yesterday, it was right at 4 minutes when it started. A simple stretch (dropping it off the edge of the treadmill) relieved it and by the end of the run, I dare say I felt warmed up! The loss of fitness piece is far more disheartening. I notice it less so with running, but was breathing hard on the elliptical.
Still working on focusing on strength. One of my goals as I begin to base-build again (I cannot believe I have to do this again, by the way) is to continue to focus on core and hip strength, as well as upper body strength to help with my arm swing (and therefore knee drive). It is very hard, as miles rise, to fit in strength and flexibility. However, I want to be one of the athletes who successfully returns from CECS surgery, not one who has to return to the OR.
By the end of the month, my PT team (whom I love) and I are hoping for 30 minutes non-stop of running. By our estimate, slow building will have me back to full fitness in about 4 months. All told, this is a 6 month break from competition. I’m framing it as an extended recovery period, where all the little niggles and aches of any long-distance runner have a chance to truly heal. In addition, this recovery period has forced me to slow down, to think about what running means to me. Running has always been a part of my fitness plan, but it hasn’t always been a positive force in my life. Being forced to stop helps me to see just how much running does for me in terms of mood and opportunity for self-reflection, nevermind a great butt in jeans.