Category Archives: Sport-Fitness

Week 11: do your homework

This past year has been nothing if not a lesson in perseverance.

April 9 will mark one year to the day after my knee reconstruction surgery. I had no idea the pain would be that bad, or the recovery would be so difficult.

Spoiler alert: I’ve gotten through it.

Last year at this time, I had naively booked the first meeting with a client to start a contract a week after my planned surgery. I limped around the campus at Simon Fraser University on crutches, bandages still around my swollen knee.

My left leg has come to be known as “Frankenleg” as it is still slightly bigger than my other one.

Weekly physiotherapy also started a week after surgery. (No extended health benefits, that’s why I needed that contract!) I managed to move the leg back and forth on the pedal of a stationary bike for 5 whole minutes. A couple of weeks later, I ditched the crutches for a cane so I could get around easier. The first time I drove Ken’s car (manual transmission) to campus was painful but probably good for recovery.

Each slow step in recovery has been a huge victory for me. From the beginning, I knew I wanted to run again, to hike again. Maybe no more marathons, but perhaps regular 10Ks – I want that triathlon season back – the one I signed up for just before injuring my knee, and had to do as relays instead.

A few weeks ago, I realized this anniversary was looming, and said to Jonathan (my Physiotherapist) – “can I run 5K on April 9 and what do I need to do to get there?”

Complying with that homework has been extremely challenging, what with my schedule of hopping back and forth over the straight between Vancouver and Nanaimo for my current gig. Nevertheless, even with my uneven compliance, on Sunday Ken and I walked/jogged nearly 5 km around False Creek. It is slow, it is not continuous, but every day gets better and better.

I’m well on my way to reaching my goal.

 

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Physiotherapist taping up someone's knee

Week 2: I’ve been here before

In less than three months it will be one year since the knee reconstruction surgery.

Some say writing down a goal and making it public will help achieve it. Other research says talking about a thing becomes (in one’s mind) a substitute for actually doing it, thus undermining motivation. But I’m determined —

On Saturday April 9, I’m going to run at least 5 kilometres.

My physiotherapist says absolutely I will be able to run 5K by April 9th, and then, possibly, pull off a sprint triathlon in the summer. He gave me my first two weeks of workouts, written on a piece of paper which I promptly left in the treatment room. But no matter, I have them committed to memory. It’s pretty simple: at least 2 track workouts per week jogging the straights and walking the curves, ramp up length/intensity as long as I’m relatively pain-free. Do my strength routine on off days (as well as swim and ride bike and get on the elliptical trainer).

I’ve come back from debilitating injury before; I KNOW how much work this is going to be. It’s going to involve change, and dragging myself to workouts I “don’t wanna!” do in order to be consistent. It involves elliptical machine, and the track, neither of which are my favourite places to work out, but if it gets me to my goal, I’m there. I’ve been there before. I can do this.

I’m not completely pain-free. When I overdo it, my knee hurts like a bugger – but the good news is I’m giving myself a chance to overdo it (with the oversight of my physiotherapist, and a clean bill of health from my surgeon, I hasten to add). I’m not sitting around working myself to death anymore – not since the Christmas holidays when I deliberately started increase my physical activity because I knew I had to get my stress levels in check. When I do overdo it, I back off, ice it, and hit the pool instead the next day. Working on a campus built on a hill helps. Stairs make me stronger, according to my physio guy.

I’m going to start by dragging that box full of running gear from the storage room. Wish me luck and cheer me on.

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Ride report: first post-ACL reconstruction ride

Today was one of the toughest bike rides of my life, and I only went about 8 blocks – my first post-surgery ride on a real bike. I’m not sure my surgeon or physiotherapist would approve, but I just couldn’t resist, especially after watching today’s Giro d’Italia highlights.

  

I took Violet because she has an upright, step-through frame. I thought that would make it easier. First obstacle: I couldn’t climb out of the parking garage, perhaps because she’s a single speed? Perhaps feeling the weight I’ve gained? I was wondering if I should have taken my 11-speed Brodie instead. (My road bike – Jon Snow – is completely out of the question for another several weeks – not sure I could even clip in/out properly…). 

Once on the road I felt fantastic. However even a small incline got me huffing and puffing, so I don’t think smaller gears would have helped. 

I felt like that was a big win for me. I needed that. I needed to feel like I’m making progress. I was so overjoyed, even with my eight-block ride, I was teary-eyed when we got back. 

This time next year I’ll be prepping for another metric century ride, no doubt about it!

Photo by Ken Jeffery. Taking photos while riding is a skill I have yet to master…

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