Getting back to running

The last year has been pretty hard on my running career. In July while sparring a youngster in Tae Kwon Do I turned in to sweep (light to no contact) and he turned in and hit the side of my knee pretty dang hard. Well so hard that the sound of my ACL letting go was like a gun shot. I don’t blame the young black belt though to this day I don’t think he’s said he was sorry. He likely feels that if old guys want to do things like Tae Kwon Do they’d better get used to the pain. I’m not doing Tae Kwon Do for the next two years. Oh, I’m not afraid of it and I did return within almost 10 weeks of having the knee repaired (more on that in a bit). No I’ve moved to Washington DC and I had to choose the activities I’d continue. Since I want to do a Triathlon I’ve got to start running. Since I want to do an Ironman distance Triathlon that means I’ve got to get my butt in gear and really get some miles under me. I figure an Ironman event will be just about perfect training for running the Badwater Marathon. So I run. It is kind of funny that in July 2009 I wrote about why I got off the couch and started running. A year later I was crippled and couldn’t run and now almost a year after that I’m telling you about my return. Masochism is what you make of it.

Running is wonderful. It hurts, it makes you uncomfortable, but it is worth it. I’m not pretty, I’m not fast, if the great marathon runners were classified as cars they’d be Ferrari’s and Corvettes while I’m more of a rusty old jeep in need of a wash. Just don’t wash me to hard something might fall off.

So yes I injured my knee and I’ve talked about that elsewhere. I had to have surgery to fix the knee and that was very expensive and very painful. Of the many reasons I left Purdue one of them is days after I had surgery they messed with my class schedule and dropped an entire set of new preparations on me. The funny thing is my doctor was still talking about putting me on long term disability for the semester. All new preps a few weeks before classes starts is a bucket load of work. I was chained to a machine that six hours a day moved my leg constantly (constant passive motion machine = CPM Machine) that precluded using a computer or reading or doing about anything but laying there. I couldn’t take any pain medications because I needed my brain to do the preps when I wasn’t being “moved”. The other issues with Purdue Calumet are for another post another time.

So it hurt. So what? Well actually who cares? I don’t. The knee was damaged so I did everything that the doctors said to do and got my butt into therapy. I did everything they said to do and more. I contacted orthopedic surgeons involved in sport. Can you imagine getting a call from some professor in the midwest that started out “Hi, I’m Sam. I’m old, fat, ugly, bald, slow and pretty out of shape, but I’m training for an Ironman and I’d like to ask you a few questions about recovery from a blown ACL.” To the credit and honor of the orthopedic surgeon community nobody hung up on me, everybody was patient with me, and they all provided significant secondary and tertiary sources for me to go look at.

You have to understand this is what my knee looks like now:

Not pretty is it? There is “stuff” in there.

What you see are the affixation points for the donor ligament they installed in my knee. Recovery is going to take about two years from the day of surgery. Now, you’ve all heard about the young men and women who return to sport (RTS) in a few weeks right? Well then they blow the ligament again and maybe take out the side ligaments for good order. I got the all new enhanced super athlete work up because as the doctor said “your muscle tone is better than many of the professional athletes I’ve seen.” Why thanks doctor. I got to return, but if I want this to be a “one shot” wonder I’ve got to do rehab right.

So I’m fighting this knee. In the scheme of life as I look around me I see young men and women doing Ironman distances with no legs, mostly paralyzed, and double my age. I think I can get around the course on a gimpy leg. I’m taking good care of it. I over trained in the early winter a bit on it, but figured that out and took a month off anything repetitive. I still walked but kept the pounding to a minimum. Zip. Up 15 pounds. Running has great benefits in what it allows me to eat too.

So, now I’m working on getting my mileage up again. You can check out the links here on the website to see seem my MovesCount data. There is a lot of data there and you can see when I let up and what kind of mileage I’m doing. I’m doing stairstep mileage increases right now. Instead of 10 percent per week or similar I do three weeks constant and then jump by 30 percent. I did that last time and it worked wonders for me. So I’m no professional and I’m not hampered by cancer or life threatening injuries. I’m a pretty lucky guy who is trying to be a little healthier guy. I like life, I like my job, I love my family, and all in all I’m living it up large.

The issues of a knee and how it affects my running is a lot less than many deal with. I can’t imagine anything better than I get to run. I don’t have to run. I’m not addicted. I just look at my forlorn running shoes (when I wear shoes) and I think, “Well fiddlesticks, I get to run, imagine that.”

One last thing: For those who are pissed this isn’t about cyber warfare or information technology. This is my blog, my website, I pay for it, and I share. It is a lifestyle work and cyber is part of the lifestyle but not the only part of it. If you didn’t already go “to long didn’t read” and pass by maybe you got to see a little bit of me. Sorry if you feel you wasted your time. I didn’t waste my time writing it.

1 comment for “Getting back to running

  1. Dan
    June 4, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    Good stuff. Keep running. Are you still wearing Vibrams when you run?

Leave a Reply