I bet you have had this happen to you. You are running along and all of the sudden you realize your brain has shut off for the past 2-3 miles. You don’t know where it went but you are quite satisfied because for a few miles you weren’t thinking about what you had to get from the supermarket, or what had to be taken care of at work the next day, or how did your teen age children learned exactly what buttons to push, or that your feet, calves, back, knees, hips, shoulders have been hurting for the past 3 miles. I guess I will refer to this as the blissful amnesia of running.
Often I would revel in those lost mental miles, but for the most part I usually like to remember things even during the bad runs. Forgetting is not something for which I actively strive and yet often I find myself longing for a few precious moments of amnesia. Even though the forgetting I was seeking through running then and the forgetting I seek now are both forms of escapism, the former I felt like I was running away from things, while the later I feel I am running toward something.
So why am I babbling on about forgetting? Recently I was able to get out on my bike for the first time since surgery. I went to the loop at Stone Mountain and told myself I would take it very conservatively. That lasted until the first downhill. It was nice to be out on a 60 decree day chasing down other bikers and pounding it up the hills (old habits die hard). It was toward the end of the ride that I realized two things. The first was I did not realized how much power I had lost in my left leg due to the OA in my hip. Even though it was my fourth day of riding in a row and my legs felt kind of dead, I was able to keep up a pace on the rolling hills that I would have … (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)
It has been a while since I have last posted. I had my surgery on Jan 20 having a L THR. The recovery went well, much better than expected. The only issue was remaining non-weight bearing for 6 weeks. By the last week I already started bearing some weight on the leg even though I was still using the crutches. So when the ortho said it was ok to walk without the crutches, I put them down and have not touched them since. It took me about a week to make sure my gait wasn’t off and to get enough strength to walk around normally. It has been almost two weeks without crutches and I am already back at work and able to exercise 4 days a week. There are a lot of things I have been pleasantly surprised about. First was how quickly I was able to go up and down stairs. I thought this was going to be a big challenge but I have already been able to go both up and down alternating feet. Second was the realization of how much pain I was in before the surgery and how much the hip pain had come to control my life. The limit it was placing on me was starting to take a heavy emotional toll. Lastly I thought it would take a long time to gain my endurance back. Yesterday I participated in my 4th spin class since surgery and for the first time felt strong even at the end of the hour to tack on an extra 10 min. Looking back I think there are a few things that have helped me ease back into my exercise groove: getting into great shape before the surgery, religiously keeping to my physical therapy exercises during recovery, and starting back in the pool four weeks post op. All of these have helped with the recovery and now with gaining some endurance back.
One week out. That was my first marker. Let me get to one week post op and I will be able to look back with some perspective. Now it is here and I still do not know what to make of some of the events of my surgery to replace my left hip and the post op period. I will start with some big picture lessons and then run through the details briefly. First, I am still stubborn, but at least I have been able to rein it in a little, constantly reminding myself that my body needs to rest to heal. Who doesn’t need a nap once a day? Second, although I am stubbornly independent which has moved me to learn how to do a few tasks on my own, having family and friends around when I have needed help has made all the difference, even the kiddo’s have pitched in and helped out. Likewise learning how to do simple tasks like putting on socks in a different manner gives you a novel perspective on things we often take for granted. Third, simple solutions are often times the best. After the first day of moving around with the aid of crutches and a walker, not only was my upper body sore, but my hands were getting blistered and I wondered how I would be able to move around the next day. Then I realized I could just use my biking gloves and it has reduced the stress on my palms. Lastly, baby steps. No goal no matter how insignificant is important to not falling into the “pit of despair”. At first it was standing up without feeling like I would pass out, then it was moving around my room in the hospital, then it was into the hall, and then up the stairs. Finding something to strive for after achieving a goal helped keep me from sliding into the funk. My first goal was make it to the one week mark. Now the first goal of this week will be to walk (and when I say walk I mean … (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)
Post-op from a Left Total hip replacement. Doing my exercises in the hospital bed and keeping up with the incentive spirometry. Didn’t do well trying to stand with PT, but it is day one. More fun tomorrow learning how to get out and walk with a walker. Can’t wait for the stairs but maybe that is the pain meds talking. I will post updates as things improve.… (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)
Since I was not running any races this fall, I got it in my mind that I would train on my bike for a long ride. I wanted to have something that motivated me to train so that I would keep fit before my surgery in January. I was never able to sign up for one of the local group rides so I decided to make a solo trip from Atlanta to Athens, a distance of about 75 miles. Being that my PR distance on the bike was 50 mile, I was a little nervous about how I would feel the last few miles. The short of the story was I had an excellent ride on a gorgious day. The best part was what was waiting for me in Athens. A few months back the crew I use to run with got together and designed a shirt for me when they learned that I would need to have my hip replaced. They presented it to me as a gift after I completed my ride. I guess I need to get some cheesey sound effects to accompany me when I start running again.
There are many lessons I remember from my running days, but one I am holding onto fiercely. I guess a better explanation is that running awakened my mind and helped it out of the fog of middle age. It has distilled life down to simpler ideas. There is something to be said about how your mind gets tunnel vision during its oxygen/sugar depleted state as you try to complete the last miles of your scheduled run. It latches onto a thought, or a phrase and they becomes your partner for those last grueling miles. Although it is a lesson I learned long ago probably in childhood, it has re-awoken and brings back a little bit of myself which I had forgotten. The lesson is: do not fear the unknown. The unknown is a challenge, a place where you can test yourself. The unknown doesn’t always come with success, but it provided you with knowledge of yourself. It is very easy to look at the unknown and walk away overcome from fear of what might happen. Listening to others write about how they faced the unknown and did not finish their race, or bonked horribly reminded me that it is ok to fail, that the most important thing is to challenge the unknown, not hide from it. My first marathon was a dance with the unknown that ended with a 6 mile crampfest where my spirit never stopped, but my legs couldn’t run. Staring down the unknown has been the theme of my last two rides and what will be my biggest challenge.
First I want to write about a personal challenge, because if I post it here there is no backing out. Timing never worked out right this fall. Even though I picked out a few races, I was never able to participate in a road race on the bike. I have gotten up to 50 miles in training, but wanted to do a metric century. Being that I usually race to train I needed something to train for, something that would still challenge me to push myself. So I … (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)
So I’m the newbie. First, I want to say thank you and that I am grateful that I found this site. Your posts have helped picked me up out of my pre-surgery, non-running funk. As for introductions, I started running about 3 years ago when I got it in my mind that I wanted to do a triathlon. Up until that point basketball and spinning had been my endorphin fixes of choice. Triathlon led to ½ marathon which led to Marathon and then left with me with early onset osteoarthritis and torn labrum. It turns out I have a mild form of developmental hip dysplasia which has me needing a left total hip replacement. As of now I am scheduled for surgery January 2014. Obviously there is more to the story but for now I will leave you with the short version. I have been blogging for the past 2 years on the Runners World site called the loop under the pen name the Flying Tomato. It is a name I got from one of my 5 children when she asked me if I was going to wear my tomato red shirt for an upcoming race. Below is the website as well as links to my last two posts.
Being the type A person I have begun the process of making lists of things, things I need to do before surgery, things I will need after surgery, and a list of goals for after I have a new hip. The last is just a mental list but I hope to get something down on paper soon. I know that it is impossible to be prepared for everything following surgery and that part of things is keeping the mental fortitude to find a way to reach my goals, but I wanted to ask the group what things were important to put on the list of things you needed to have after your surgery as you recovered? Please share with me … (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)