November 22, 2015 - 5 Kilometer Turkey Trot!

November 22, 2015

So at six months and a few days post-surgery, my wife and I thought it would be fun to attempt the annual Vienna, Virginia (our town) Turkey Trot.  We have done it in years past.  I am a runner - if you go way back to the beginning of the blog you can note that last year, in 2014, I did a half marathon in the Spring and a Ten Miler in the Fall and then my tendinitis got the best of me, eventually resulting in rupture and surgery.

So my main long term goal with this injury has been getting my ability to get out on the road back. Knowing that this Thanksgiving season would be at the six month point, we picked our friendly little Turkey Trot for my triumphant return. The advantage is that it is a 5K and a 10K, so I could "walk" the 5K (3.1 mile) course and finish with the 10K runners.  In fact, my old regular pre-injury 10K time was around an hour, so my current walking time is about half that pace.

So my wife Delia and I got up early. Chilly but clear morning in the low 40’s (F), and made it down to the start line at our local volunteer fire department.  Only a few hundred runners, so even crossing the start mat at the back of the pack we were only a minute after the starting gun. We walked the first 12 minutes together and then Delia broke in to a jog and disappeared.

I wore my Hoka One "Tor Ultra Hi" trail running boots with green Superfeet insoles replacing the sockliners, along with a pair of fleece "SpongeBob" pajama bottoms and a fleece jacket and knit Washington Nationals cap - quite an ensemble. I walked up on the one mile timing marker at 18 minutes, so I knew that my 60 minute target goal was well within reach. At 24 minutes the first of the 10K runners, on their second "lap" of the 3 mile course, passed me. There were not many fast walkers at my pace, so I walked by myself most of the way.

Ironically, at six months post-op I have no limp whatsoever. I came upon another 5K person, a woman, who was limping pretty badly and I told her I was sorry about her limp and I empathized because I was a recovering Achilles Tendon "Ruptee". I asked her how she hurt her tendon and she claimed that there was nothing wrong with her and asked me why I asked. I told her that I was recovering from a rupture and her limp looked Achilles related. She insisted that she wasn’t limping, but her leg was sore because she had strained it "last night". I went on, but later discovered that she had not finished the race. I hope it is not an AT tear - but it looked like it.

In the last mile there were a couple of hills.  I passed an older woman, a couple of pretty obese walkers, and for the last quarter mile or so I really felt like running but I held out, and walked across the finish line at a blistering 54 minutes and 20 seconds - hooray!

I met Delia at the finish line, I think she must have finished at least 10 minutes before I did. The end result, though, was a successful brisk walk on a beautiful morning, no limping, no swelling, and I didn’t even come in last! I plan to continue with my daily workouts, work on the last bit of eccentric strengthening in my repaired leg and once I can get up on that right toe and support my entire weight I will start jogging again. I really want to do the Army Ten Miler in Washington, DC, about 11 months from now - I think it is well within reach!

Best of luck to you all with your recovery journeys, and an early Happy Thanksgiving to you!

Bob and Delia Vienna Turkey Trot 2015

Vienna Turkey Trot 2015

November 18, 2015 - 26 Weeks Post-Op (Six Months!)

November 18, 2015

Not a lot to report except for a major milestone - six months post-op today!

Everything is going well and I pretty much have forgotten about the injury.  I wear regular shoes with Superfeet insoles and I walk without a limp. I am in the gym 6-7 days a week. The only thing I still can’t do is run, ie, have both feet off the ground at the same time.  I can walk fast (1 hour 5 kilometer pace) at a high incline.  Truth be told, I am pretty sure I could jog right now, but I am holding off until I build up more strength.

I am doing calf raises, resisted duck-walking using Therabands, eccentric strengthening on the leg press machine, one-legged balance exercises, and a few other  exercises every other day.  My daily cardio is a 40-60 minute fast walk on the treadmill or a 30 minute bike ride or elliptical machine workout.

The last resisted exercise I cannot do is a one-legged calf raise on the bad leg.  I am working towards it, but just don’t quite have the strength. I have gained full symmetry back in both calves, but I notice that on the repaired leg, the development in my calf muscle is "shorter" than in my uninjured leg - I think as I continue to exercise it, more of the calf muscles will regain strength and tone.

My scar looks good. A couple of nights a week I apply a silicone patch to lighten it up a bit, and when I don’t have the silicone on I rub some Bio-Oil into it.

So that’s it, I am pleased with the progress. Also very happy that I went surgical and got into an early weight-bearing protocol and in to PT early.