One Year Anniversary and Progress

May 28th, 2009

Wow!  I have finally reached the one year mark since my ATR surgery.  My recovery has been miraculous, to say the least.  I had my last appointment with the ortho last week and everything is fine.  He was a little perplexed at the (small) size of the calf on the ATR leg.  It does look kinda funny. 


Ever since I was on the crutches, in the boot, and subsequently in two shoes, I have worked out like a madman.  The ATR was the best thing that has ever happened to me.  It allowed me to refocus on my fitness and overall health.  Since the rupture, I have:


·         Reduced my body fat to 15.2%

       My ultimate goal is to get my body fat % to less than 10%

·         Reduced my weight from 220 lbs. to 185 lbs.

·         Lowered my LDL substantially

·         Increased my HDL substantially

·         Improved my triglycerides

·         Lowered my blood pressure to 110 over 80

I don’t want to sound melodramatic, but the ATR may have saved my life; or at least lengthened it substantially.  

I originally ruptured my AT playing tennis and said that I would never play again.  However, a lady in my subdivision asked me to play with her and I acquiesced.  She, by the way, ruptured her Achilles tendon four years ago playing tennis (her ATR calf is still one inch smaller than the non-ATR calf). The Achilles held up very well and I truly enjoyed myself. 

I was training for a sprint triathlon; however, the swimming portion was problematic for me.  Now that the pool in my subdivision is open, I can train more diligently and would like to participate in a sprint triathlon sometime between July 4 and Labor Day.

I lift weights daily (sometimes two and three times a day) at 5:00 am and can truly say that I am in the best shape of my life.  Working out has improved not only my fitness, but also my self esteem and stress level.  I work for a large Bank and the current economic environment has caused considerable stress in everyone’s lives.  The feeling I get from working out significantly reduces my stress level.

The AT gets tight sometimes, particularly after I run and perform squats or weighted toe raises.  I can finally do some one legged toe raises and squeeze at the top of the toe raise.  All in all, I have finished the ATR marathon in the best shape of my life. 

I wish a speedy recovery to new ATR victims.  Make sure you keep moving and do not become sedentary for very long.  I have found that getting mobile as soon as possible helped me.

I am so psyched that I can enjoy my summer this year. 

The End

Beaver Creek, CO is Awesome

March 2nd, 2009 Tagged , ,

This week marks a major milestone in my recovery. I am now in Beaver Creek, Colorado on the last day of a four night, ski trip. I arrived in Beaver Creek on Thursday and was able to get in over two hours of skiing. I took it really slowly for obvious reasons, making a few runs on some easy green slopes.

The next day, there were nearly blizzard conditions all over the mountain making visibility nearly impossible. It snowed about five inches of powder during the day with constant wind gusts approaching 30 mph at the top of the Cinch lift. Needless to say, I stayed on green slopes.

On Saturday, however, the conditions were nearly perfect. The five inches of freshly groomed powder with brilliant sunshine were awesome. Before we left for the slopes, I had decided to stay on the green runs because I did not want to chance hurting the tendon. However, my friends tricked me into going down a blue run (Lockspur) unbeknownst to me. I made it down the run in one piece with no apparent damage to the Achilles. That began a full day of blue runs. Because I have been training for the ING Half Marathon and a sprint triathlon, I was not very tired at the end of the day. The weather was so beautiful, with the temperatures in the afternoon hovering around 45 degrees. Thank GOD for sunscreen.

Sunday was a carbon copy of Saturday. I continued my “assault” on the blue runs. My “friends” cajoled me into trying a single black diamond run (Ripsaw). I had a little trouble getting down the hill, as my right foot/Achilles is weaker than the left so carving with my right foot (turning left) was difficult, particularly at steeper grades/pitches. I made it down Ripsaw after making very wide turns. Luckily, it was not very crowded on the black diamond runs. Thankfully, I made it through the day. The moral of this part of the story is ‘don’t let your “friends” convince you to do things for which you are not ready.’ After the fact, however, I glad I am able to say I completed my first black diamond run post ATR surgery (almost ten months post surgery). The Achilles feels fine, with only some apparent “tightness.”

Today is Monday at 6:37 am MST and my flight to Atlanta, GA leaves at 4:25 pm MST. We have planned to ski a half day this morning before heading to Denver for the flight. I am trying to decide if I truly should ski this morning. I have made it through the trip in one piece and have had a great four days of skiing. If I decide to ski this morning, I pray I make it through unscathed.

I must say that folks on the blog must only do what they are capable of doing during their recovery. For some reason, I have been able to participate in some activities fairly early during my recovery. Listen to your body, and most importantly, listen to your doctor. I hope all is well with everyone out there, and happy recoveries to you all.

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10 Mile Training Run

January 20th, 2009

I recently began training for the ING Half Marathon in Atlanta, GA which is scheduled for March 29, 2009.  My goal yesterday was to run an 8 miler so that I could exceed my longest run since the ATR (I ran the CVS Strong Legs 10k run in October 2008 and several 6 mile training runs since the race).  As I was running yesterday, after the seventh mile I was feeling really good; I was tracking my mileage with the Nike + digital wireless pedometer system (which is really cool).  Since I was feeling so good, I decided to run the equivalent of a half marathon.  The course is very hilly, which somewhat mimics the course of the ING (in that it is very hilly).


At the 9.5 mile mark, I decided to only run 10 miles since I was back in my subdivision, I was losing too much weight (and didnt want to burn more calories), and I also wanted to get in a chest workout.   I ran the 10 mile route in 1:57:13, or 11.42 minutes per mile which is a little slow.  However, this is the first 10 miler I’ve run since the ATR.  My goal is to run the ING in less than 10 minutes per mile.  I think I am well on my way to achieving that goal.


I am really excited about my progress.  I hope all of you can say the same.  I guess I am one of the lucky ones as I have had no hiccups since the ATR.  As you may remember, I am also training for a sprint triathlon during the Memorial Day weekend, which will mark the one year anniversary of my ATR surgery.  The sprint triathlon in which I am participating is one with a 400 meter swim, 10 mile bike ride, and a 3.75 mile run.  I am so excited about it.


I hope the folks that suffered this atrocity around the same time as me get to enjoy the upcoming warm weather; we did not get that opportunity last summer.  For recent ATRs, you should be exercising around the beginning of the summer.


I must take back the statement about this injury being an atrocity.  It is the best thing that has ever happened to me.  Because I didn’t want this to happen to me again, after the second week post-op, I made the commitment to get in the best shape of my life.  I am the fittest I have been in years and have less body fat than when I was in college.  And you can’t imagine what the changes have done to my self esteem.  I am ecstatic!!!

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First 10k Post - Op

November 8th, 2008



I ran my first 10k post ATR (23 weeks, 5 days) and post – op (23 weeks, 2 days) today.  The run was the CVS Strong Legs Run beginning and ending at Turner Field in Atlanta, GA.  I finished the race in 1:03:29, which I thought was pretty good given that the course was very hilly; it seemed as though the course was all uphill.  The course route was through the streets of downtown Atlanta, winding through Georgia State University and the Auburn Avenue historic district, passing the MLK, Jr. childhood home, and continuing through the downtown business and financial district.  The race was kind of odd in that the police would stop the racers to allow for cross traffic to proceed.  I was lucky in that I never had to stop for traffic; timing is everything.  I would have been a little upset if I had to stop and run in place.


My AT is fine post race, although my calf did not cooperate.  My calf ached throughout the entire run, with very little pain in the AT.  I had considered running the Atlanta Half Marathon on Thanksgiving Day; however, I do not believe my calf is ready for that.  That sounds strange; my AT is ready, but my calf is not.


Anyway, I am happy with my progress.  I have my six month appointment with my ortho next Friday and I expect him to completely release me, with a one year scheduled appointment in the offing. 


By the way, I weighed 218 pounds at the ATR date.  Based on my Wii Fit, I now weigh 181.4 pounds.  As such, I have lost over 36 pounds since the ATR.  Man, I am psyched.  Thanks folks for reading my post, and Godspeed on your recovery.

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Triathletes - Help!

July 16th, 2008

I am beginning to train for my first (mini) triathlon and would like to garner some advice from the pros.  I plan on competing in an event some time in 2009.  I am now working on my swim stroke given that this will be my weakest portion of the event and this is the only area for which I can train right now.  What advice can you give a 47 year old beginning tri-athlete?

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My Fourth of July Experience

July 5th, 2008

Funny thing. On (US) Independence Day, I was watching some fireworks in my neighborhood - the type you would expect see at Washington Mall or Boston Harbor (it’s amazing the type of fireworks, or should I say ammunition, you can buy across the Georgia border in Alabama).  You know “rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air.”  One of the fireworks - munitions - went straight up in the air and came down right above me and my kids without exploding.  I thought the “rocket” was going to explode right above our heads.  My kids and I RAN to escape the danger, which was the first time I ran since my ATR.  After the sprint and escape, I was really concerned because the area around my ATR hurt really badly.  The ATR was screaming at me, “WHAT IN THE HELL/HECK ARE YOU DOING.”  I iced it down and immediately went to sleep.  I woke up the next morning, went for my daily one hour walk at dawn, and my limp was much better.  Go figure.  Today I am almost completely without a limp.


I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday (those of you that celebrate the U.S. Independence Day) and let’s continue to help each other get through this malady that is ATR!

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July 1st, 2008


I went to my second post op doctor’s appointment yesterday and my doctor gave me the go ahead to dump the boot.  I am particularly pleased given that I am five weeks post op.  He mentioned my pre ATR fitness and the less severe nature of my injury as the reasons why my recovery is progressing so quickly.  He did not have to “go searching” for the two ends to reconnect during surgery.  I assumed that the further the two ends retracted from each other, the more severe the injury and the longer the recovery period.  Does this make sense?

Doc gave me the following instructions:

1.       FWB right foot with shoes and heel lifts in both shoes.  He wants me to walk regularly and try as best I can not to limp.  I walked around the neighborhood yesterday evening and the heel lifts caused me to limp more than the ATR.

2.       Theraband Workouts.

3.       Shower without anything.  I did not understand this one given that he already allowed me to shower.

4.       If the wound continued to heel, I may begin walking and toes raises in the pool.  He also stated that I have no limitations relative to swim strokes.

5.       I may do leg extensions on the leg extension machine at the gym.

6.       I can drive.

I have another appointment in two weeks.  Oh, by the way, a small portion of my incision began to leak last week and I requested an antibiotic.  I have been taking the antibiotic for about five days.  Once Doc checks on the wound in two weeks, and if everything is fine, he will allow my to begin cycling and PT.  The potential infection was probably the result of getting into the pool before I was authorized to do so.  As such, please don’t follow in that footstep.

I am psyched today!

Yours in the Bond,







The End

Is Working Out Good for Us?

June 30th, 2008

I have read several folks’ blogs about how they are working out early in the recovery phase of our injury.  I have felt guilty about doing so many things that the doctor has not discussed with me or released me to do.  Just like eriedutchgirl mentioned in her 4 – 5 week post, I, too, have been working out like a madman since my ATR five weeks ago.  Working out has kept me sane throughout my recovery period.  Up until about the fourth week post op, I had been using my crutches as my cardio workout (unlike many of us, I love those crutches).  Although I have been in a boot for about three weeks, I continue to use the crutches occasionally when I engage in walking around my neighborhood.  I begin with the crutches and end up just walking after a warm-up. I am so angry that I cannot get a real cardio workout with sweat and a significantly raised heart rate included. 


Although I was not released to do so, I also exercise in the pool in my subdivision.  I thought I could breast stroke without involving the afflicted leg (right); however, I could feel some pulling in the tendon and decided to halt all true swimming activity.  Now I just stand on the good foot, use the arm movements of the breast stroke, and propel myself forward.  Although I do not increase the heart rate as much as if I was doing the breast stroke, after about thirty passes in pool, I feel some fatigue.  I CANNOT WAIT FOR PT!!!


I have also completely revamped my diet and have lost between 15 and 20 pounds since my injury.    I have also lost almost 3 inches in my waistline.  I continue to lose weight although I am where I want to be (as it relates to size and weight) at this point.  Hopefully, the weight loss will stabilize.


Although not released to do so, I am driving with my boot on; I have gotten very good at it, too.  I know, I know - I shouldn’t do that.  However, it’s just to the gym and around my community.


I have a doc’s appointment today at 3:00 pm and am just biding my time here at work.  I am hoping that he will allow me to ditch the boot and go with 2 shoes.  I have two sets of shoes with me (three including the dress shoes I wore to work with my suit) awaiting the end of the appointment when I hope to walk out of there with 2 shoes.  I also hope he releases me to drive.


 The question I pose to you is “Am I doing too much too soon?”


That’s it for now.  I hope your recovery is progressing as quickly as mine (knock on wood).  Here’s to a speedy recovery.  

The End

Life Changing Experience

June 21st, 2008



My ATR injury has inspired me to reflect on many areas of my life.  Just as ednorman stated, I have taken so many things for granted over the past few years:  my health (nutrition, fitness, build), family, job, etc.


When I suffered the injury, I made a commitment that while my lower body recuperated, I was going to get my upper body in tip top shape.  It has been about four weeks since the ATR, and my upper body is shaping up.  It has been said that muscle has memory.  Well, I am beginning to see striations I have not seen in a few years (all this without any cardio [except for the crutches]).  The anaerobic weight lifting along with a strict diet has reduced my waist size by 3 inches and my arms and chest sizes are increasing.  I am not sure how much weight I’ve lost, but it has been substantial.


Remember, we all have suffered a catastrophic injury.  Do not make it worse by gaining substantial weight during the recovery process.  This injury can be a (positive) life changing experience.


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Here’s to a Speedy Recovery II

June 17th, 2008
I would like to chronicle my ATR and my experiences over the last three weeks.  On Monday, May 26, 2008, my wife and I decided to play a little tennis in our subdivision’s amenities area.  Because I thought we were just going to “hit a few” I wore some older tennis shoes.  Moreover, I did not stretch before we began to hit.  We began just by volleying and my game seemed to be “ON.”  Mind you, my wife plays USTA and ALTA (Atlanta Lawn Tennis Association) year ‘round and talks about how good she is.  She asked if I wanted to play a set; of course I said OK.

To make a long story short, I moved ahead 4 games to 0.  At that point, I let up a little as I took a brief rest and she brought the game count to 4 – 2.  I can remember as clear as day saying to myself “let me pick it up now and bring home the trophy.”  As soon as I said that, my wife tried a drop shot.  I pushed off to retrieve the shot and heard to pop and felt that infamous kick in the back of my RIGHT foot.  It also felt somewhat like an electrical shock.  Has anyone else felt that sensation?

I made an immediate diagnosis – ATR.  My wife took me to the emergency room at Piedmont Hospital (in the ATL) where they examined me.  I went to Piedmont because both my primary care doc and the ortho that had recently treated me for Achilles tendonitis had offices in the hospital complex and worked out of the hospital.  Could the Achilles tendonitis have contributed to the ATR?  Although the emergency room doc did not make an exact diagnosis, she suggested a possible ATR.  They gave me a boot, a prescription for vicoden, and a suggestion that I visit an ortho ASAP. 

The next morning, I called my ortho, who is involved in sports medicine for several sports teams (Hawks [formerly] , pro soccer, women’s basketball, high school sports) and he squeezed me in that day.  It was odd that although I had the boot and crutches, I did not use them because there was so little pain and I was able to walk.  I began to question the diagnosis, thinking that I may be “good as new” in a couple of weeks.  However, when doc gave me the Thompson Test, it was clear to him that there was an ATR.  Of course he gave me the option of surgery or allowing it to heal itself.  Of course I chose the surgery because of the shorter recovery time and less propensity to re – rup.  He asked if I wanted the surgery on Thursday, May 29, 2008 or the following Thursday, June 5, 2008.  I told him, “Let’s get it done.”

I will not bore you folks on the surgery.  However, I will say that make sure the person that is with during surgery ask the right question as you will not be able to talk to the doctor after surgery to find out how bad was the rupture.  My wife did not asks the questions I would have asked (bless her heart).  As such, there were so many things I would have liked to have known from the time of the surgery to the first post op appointment. Up until the time they wheeled me out of the pre op, I still questioned the diagnosis because I still had little pain and could almost walk without a limp.  I guess I just wasn’t ready for the surgery.

I must say that the first two weeks after surgery, I was not the model patient.  I went to work the following Monday after surgery (June 2, 2008), despite the doctor requesting I take a week off. My wife called the doctor’s office (to tell on me) and they immediately faxed over a note to me and said I must rest (Rest and Elevate) at least until June 9, 2008.  I showed the request to my boss and he said no, I need you here.  Needless to say, I went to his boss who immediately sent me home.  Given that I can access some servers from home, I was able to work from home that week. I work for a major bank in commercial real estate risk management and you know how the market is right now.  Given as much, I can somewhat understand my boss’ thoughts – not really.  That day at work, my foot was sooo swollen and blue.  I propped my foot up on a trash can so that I could alleviate the pain, discoloration, and swelling. 

I also did not stay in the bed.  I loved the way the crutches made my triceps feels and wanted to get the exercise.  We live in a two level home with a basement and I was up and down the steps all day.  I began to lift weights – upper body – after the first week.  I recently bought a new multi station leverage workout system (Powertec Workbench Multi Station) which is sweeeet and I am now awaiting its delivery.  I said that once I am fully recovered from the ATR, my upper body will be in stellar shape.  The system also has a squat section with toes raises which should help in the rehab process.  My doc stated that I could begin squatting and using my elliptical trainer at the three month post op mark.  Is there anything I can do now to get my heart rate up?

Fast forward to the first post op.  Because I had read some folks’ painful experience regarding the removal of stitches and staples, I was a little anxious.  There was no pain in the stitch removal.  Maybe taking one of my 800 mg Ibuprofen before the appointment helped.  The incision was healing nicely.  The doctor had told my wife to make sure we brought the boot with us just in case.  The doc examined my foot, ROM, and resistance/strength while pushing down against his hands.  He seemed quite pleased with all three tests.  On goes the boot – YEAH!  He stated that we will try the shoe at the next post op and that I may begin swimming and begin PT.

Also, my doc stated that the rupture was close to the where the Achilles attaches to the bone.  He stated that it was difficult for him to stitch the tendon on the side that was closest to the bone as he had little room to work.  He also stated that the rupture was complete.

Thanks to everyone for the comments relative to my last post.  I wanted to return the comments, but I have not figured out how to do that yet.  Any help in doing so would be very much appreciated.  Start…Focus…Finish.






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