March Recovery

Marching forward on the path to recovery.

March 2 – My physiotherapist has Covid and has to cancel tomorrow’s appointment. I am very disappointed because she was supposed to let me run on a treadmill while she analyzed my gait. Since I won’t be seeing her for a couple of weeks, I decided to test the legs on my own to see how they responded to a bit of a run. It was absolutely awful. My plan was a few 1:1 walk/run intervals but I sometimes I barely made it to 30 seconds during the run part. My legs are stiff and awkward and my feet are heavy. And my cardio fitness level is horrible. I am clearly not ready to start running yet.

March 4 = Cybex appointment. Minor pain in my leg which might be because of my attempted run yesterday. It is not really bad and Cybex didn’t make it worse.

March 11 – It is maple season in New Brunswick and I love everything about this season. I gathered sap and carried the heavy buckets to the maple camp. Ground is uneven but I was very cautious.

March 13 – My leg hurts so bad. Mostly it is the inner thigh but also the shin. It feels like a really bad sunburn and is tender to touch. The pressure of clothing on my skin is quite excruciating and is really impacting my walking gait.

March 15 – I finally got to see my regular physiotherapist today. She had Covid, and then my rescheduled appointment was rescheduled again because of double booking. I was so happy to see her. When I told her that the pain in my leg was back and described it to her, she told me it was my lower back that was the problem. I assured her that I have a strong back but she insisted that I was wrong. She was right. I was wrong. Apparently I have a compressed nerve in my L4-L5 vertebra. The pain that I am feeling is not from a leg injury, which is a relief. I really thought I had messed up my recovery. It is just the nerve endings going haywire, which is not to be taken lightly but it is nice to have a diagnosis and treatment. Physiotherapist worked some magic with her fingers and then showed me some exercises to do at home. The pain diminished almost instantly and it is a relief to know what is causing the pain, and to know what to do about it.

And then…. she surprised me by telling me to warm up on the recumbent bike and then get on the treadmill for a run. I wasn’t expecting that because of the pain in my leg. The run was only for a few minutes but it felt okay, though a bit awkward. She is happy with my push-off and told me to try running short intervals on my own at home. As it happens, tonight is run club night and a couple of members are also starting over so I decided to give it a go. We did 10 x 1:1 intervals and it wasn’t great but it wasn’t horrible. I am so out of shape. It was nice to connect with people again after two years of restrictions.

March 17 – I did a solo run today with 6 x 2 minute run intervals with 30 second recovery . Running is hard. My cardio fitness has suffered so much in the last 6 months. I feel stiff and awkward. I am not sure that I even like running.

March 18 – It is my birthday. A few weeks ago when I realized that I wasn’t going to be running by February, I set a goal to run on my birthday. Because of poor planning , that didn’t happen. My workday started at 4:00 am and I had Cybex immediatley afterwards and I didn’t dare tempt fate by running with a fatigued leg. I settled for a nice walk instead and my calf was quite tired and cranky by the end.

March 19 – I tried to run. It was awful. I started with a few 1:1 intervals and then a couple of 2:1 intervals and ended with a five minute continuous run. It was awful. I can’t remember why I enjoyed running before my injury.

March 21 – After a nice brisk walk to warm-up, I ran 10 minutes without stopping. I had planned to run 2 minute intervals but at the end of 2 minutes I couldn’t think of a good reason to stop. It was the longest 10 minutes of my life. I hate running.

March 22 – Group Run. We did 6 x 4:1 intervals. It wasn’t bad but I was looking forward to the one minute break every time.

March 24 – Hey, y’all, I have Covid. Chills, fever, fatigue, sore throat , headache…

March 27 – Covid kicked my ass for a couple of days but I am feeling much better now. It seems like a good day for a run so I did a nice brisk walking warm up and realized that I was looking forward to the run part. For the first time since my injury I really wanted to run. I was actually excited because I was going to run and I knew it was going to feel good. It didn’t feel good. It sucked big time and I coughed a lot when I finished. It appears that Covid is not done with me yet.

Summary : It has been over 7 months since I tore my Achilles tendon. and the recovery has been slow. The good news is that my patience has paid off and I am finally allowed to gradually return to running. The bad news is that running is not coming easily to me and I am not enjoying it at all. I am awkward and clumsy, my feet are heavy and I have no endurance. Covid knocked me out of the game for a few days and I think it is still impacting my lung capacity.

Despite the extra challenges this month I was still able to walk every day in the month of March. Here’s hoping that April will bring better running vibes.

Running 16.85

Walking 123.45

wtf February ?

Feb 2 – This is my second week back to work and my body hates me. I am too tired to be motivated to do my physio exercises but I am doing a half-assed attempt. By the end of the day my unilateral calf raises are ugly. My heel won’t budge from the floor at all but I can manage bilateral calf raises so I am being consistent with those. Every morning before work I crank out 10 quick single leg calf raises just to be sure I get them done while my leg is fresh. To clarify, my heel is still only lifting about an inch but I am calling it a calf raise.

Following the recovery protocols I am doing some simple plyometric exercises. No bouncing or jumping… just stepping up and down on a stair. And I am not walking up the stairs like a toddler anymore. Yay, me! I still walk down the stairs one foot at a time and I hold the handrail for security.

Feb 4 – I love /hate Cybex. It is so hard but I love that my leg feels powerful when it is crushing the workout.

February 7 – Early morning Cybex session and then a snowshoe trek. In hindsight the snowshoeing wasn’t a good idea. I need to respect that Cybex packs a powerful punch and I should rest afterwards. But 30cm of fresh powdered snow is hard to resist.

February 11 – The inner thigh of my injured leg is suddenly very painful to touch. It is really extremely tender and every movement hurts. Doctor ruled out blood clot, which was my first thought because of recent Moderna Booster. He said it was not vascular, but muscular or tendon related. Thankfully I have Cybex appointment this afternoon and maybe physiotherapist can help me.

I need to clarify that I am under the care of two physiotherapists. One is my regular one who is brilliant and is crucial to my successful recovery. I am currently seeing her twice a month. The other one is responsible for coordinating the Cybex strength sessions twice a week. It was the latter that I was seeing today. The pain has now spread to include the area of IT band / hamstring and we aren’t sure what is causing this issue, but think maybe shoveling snow or snow shoeing, or maybe heavy lifting at work. Or maybe all of the above. Either way we abandoned plans for Cybex today. Instead she performed ultrasound and taped me up and sent me home.

February 14 – Cybex . The pain in the leg has lessened considerably but now I am having pain in my shin/ calf. We went through the Cybex session anyway and it didn’t get worse.

Feb16 – Today I saw my regular physiotherapist. The pain in my leg has almost disappeared and we dismiss it as some weird quirk. I can add to my plyometrics routine.. just little hops and bounces on my step riser. At my next appointment physiotherapist will let me run on a treadmill while she analyzes my gait. It seems to good to be true.

February 18 – Cybex. The mysterious pain in my leg has disappeared completely.

February 23 – The pain in my leg has returned but it is not constant and it is less severe than before. It moves from my thigh to my knee to my shin and it is impacting my walking gait. When I first start moving I walk slightly sideways with a bit of a hop/limp. Mostly it is painful where the skin comes in contact with my pants. I am not convinced that it is not related to Cybex and I call physiotherapist to see if I should cancel tomorrow’s appointment. She assures me that the Cybex is not causing the mystery pain in my leg.

February 24 – I showed up to my Cybex appointment walking mostly straight. The mystery pain is in my shin and top of foot today. It is barely noticeable and doesn’t impact my normal gait. It is frustrating to not know what is causing the pain and I have cut back on most of my regular exercises.

Summary : We had some lovely snowfall in February and it seems rude not to embrace it. I was able to enjoy some snowshoe fun several times, which probably slowed my recovery time but I consider it a good trade-off.

I had expected to start running sometime in February but that didn’t happen. Returning to work after a 5 month absence took a huge physical toll on my body. Early this month all I could manage was to get through the workday, go home and rest, and then go for a walk and a light version of physio exercises. After developing undiagnosed pain in my leg the quantity and the quality of my exercises really suffered. It is so easy to get out of the habit of doing the daily balance/mobility exercises. I am feeling so lazy. February has been a total write off in terms of progressing with my recovery.

March has to be better, right?

January Rehab

January 1 – First strava activity of 2022 started at 00:14am. It would have been about 13 minutes earlier …but had a surprise meeting with my cousin just before midnight and we counted down the Old Year and spent the first several minutes of the New Year just chatting. It was a beautiful midnight hour and the Riverfront Trail was full of people celebrating under the town’s Christmas lights. My two sisters and I were there for our second annual New Year’s midnight walk.

Second Activity of 2022 was approximately 8 hours later. I have run on New Year’s Day with a friend for the past several years and this year we met up for a walk.

January 2 – Just for giggles I did a slightly hilly walk today. Achilles responded favorably.

January 3 – I put my gym membership on hold. It is just too Covidy out there. My son’s girlfriend is letting me borrow her elliptical. My son says that it holds 3 shirts and two sweaters.

January 4 – Cybex sessions at hospital have been cancelled for a couple of weeks. ` A few weeks ago physiotherapist asked me if my calf was fatigued by the end of the day and I told her “no.” Now that the Cybex has unlocked the gastrocnemius, my calf feels gently fatigued every day .. which is a good thing. Fatigue +Recovery = Muscle Growth

January 5 – Moderna Booster shot today. I did a good workout session and walk before my appointment. I can do 5 consecutive unilateral calf raises… with heel lifting about an inch off the floor. I am still doing full bilateral calf raises with good range of motion.

January 6 – It is no surprise that I am feeling a bit “off” today, most likely as a side effect of the booster. Arm is really sore and I feel woozy, similar to the feeling of low electrolytes. Injured calf is achy. Let’s call it a Rest Day. I’ve been walking every day for a couple of months and don’t want to miss a day… so I did my walk and then spent the rest of the day in pyjamas.

January 7 – Slow progress is still progress, right? I can do 10 unilateral heel lifts now… sort of. I am not getting full lift but it is getting better. . It was just beginning to snow when I started my walk but really escalated quickly. Gently falling snow is so peaceful and calming. I was glad to be home later when it developed into a blizzard.

January 10 – I walked 10km, my longest walk since my injury.

January 15 – It has been extremely cold for several days. Today is too cold to be out for any length of time, so did 4 x 2 miles. You can read about it here.

January 16 – I went snow shoeing, y’all!. It seems a shame to waste all this beautiful snow.

January 17 – I can do 10 unilateral calf raises… still not a full lift but it is progress.

January 18 – Doctor is removing all restrictions and sending me back to work. He’s not worried about the gastrocnemius and says it will continue to strengthen. He says to resume all activities but to follow physiotherapist advice regarding running. I didn’t ask about snow shoeing.

January 19 – 32 minutes on the elliptical.. it is my longest session in this machine. My elliptical requires more effort than the one at the gym. This is not a bad thing.

January 26 – After five and a half months I returned to work today. It is brutal. My feet hurt, my legs hurt. I want my mommy.

January 29 – I have realized that I can’t stand on my feet all day AND do my physio exercises. I just don’t have the strength.I am too lazy to do my exercises before work, except for a few token calf raises. To be fair, my workday starts at 4am. My daily walks have been very slow but therapeutic.

January 30 – It is my day off and to my surprise my legs feel refreshed and I had a great session doing my neglected physiotherapy exercises. Another 40 cm of snow overnight meant snowshoeing conditions were perfect and I coerced a couple of buddies to join me for an evening snowshoe. It was perfect.

January 31 – Cybex strength training has resumed. I always warm up 15 minutes on the recumbent bike, than the equivalent of 10 x 10 unilateral calf raises, with increasing resistance.

Summary: January was a banner month for snow but I was still able to get outdoors every day for at least a short walk, and I enjoyed frequent snowshoe excursions. Total mileage including walk, snowshoe, elliptical was 271km.

2 x 2 x 4 x -20c / A challenge

I’ve been thinking of doing a watered down version of David Goggins’ 4 x 4 x 48 challenge for some time now, but hadn’t really nailed down the specifics. If you are not familiar with the Goggins Challenge, it simply consists of running 4 miles every 4 hours for 48 hours. Sounds easy, right? Because of injury, I am obviously not running.. but I have been mulling over the idea of doing something similar but within my current capabilities.

Though I have been contemplating this for a few weeks, it was a spontaneous decision to do this challenge on Saturday, January 15 . A blizzard had swept through the town overnight and conditions were not ideal for walking. A strong northwest wind made it even more challenging and as I set out for my morning walk, I knew that it would be wise to keep it relatively short. Within a few minutes I realized that this would be an ideal opportunity to do a 2 x 2 Challenge… 2 miles every 2 hours. This would mean that I could still get some good mileage, but I would never be out there more than 45 minutes. Now I just had to decide how many times to repeat it.

Recovering from torn Achilles Tendon 5 months ago, I am walking every day but never more than 10k ( 6 miles) and usually less. In my opinion a challenge must be something that pushes you outside your comfort level, is achievable, but not easily attainable. I knew that 3 times was doable, but 4 times might be a stretch.. so I decided to try four repeats. A temperature check revealed that the temperature would well below freezing all day, with a generous windchill. Perfect! That’s even better.

Part 1 – 8:24am / -15c, feels like -26c / 2.13 miles / 47:08 minutes

The brunt of the storm has ended and cleanup has begun. My street hasn’t been plowed since early morning and has good build up of snow. Neighbouring streets have been recently cleared and snow is crunchy with good traction. With the exception of snow removal vehicles, there is no traffic. That wind is no joke!

Part 2 – 10:44 am. / -16c, feels like -27c / 2.01 miles / 43:09 minutes

Start time was a little later than I planned, but it is my challenge and I can change the rules if I want to. By now all the neighbourhood streets have been plowed, with residual snow on them. I had a two mile route in mind but aborted that quickly. Ahead of me, I could see people snow blowing their driveways. To avoid the huge plumes of snow blowing across the street, I changed direction several times. It is cold but I am not feeling uncomfortable. Footing is good. Snowplows have been out and roads have residual snow on them. A lady was walking her dog and asked me how far I was walking as she had seen me walk past her house earlier. I assured her that I had not been walking for 2 hours.

Part 3 – 12:28pm / -15c, feels like -26c / 2.01 miles / 40:03 minutes

I actually had a destination in mind for this one. I had planned on walking East to a drugstore about a mile away and then returning home. About 5 minutes into my walk, hubby called to say that he was on his way home and would pick up my items at the drugstore. This was a relief as I wasn’t looking forward to that headwind the whole way home. Sand trucks have been out, and increased traffic has churned up the snow and it is beginning to get messy. My foot is becoming cranky because the walking surface is so unstable. The site of my injury feels okay so I am not worried. By the end I am starting to feel cold. And for heaven’s sake, can we turn off that wind??

Part 4 – 2:46pm / -16c, feels like -27c / 2.02 miles / 44:40 minutes

This was the hardest. I think the wind has picked up and it is really cold. Because of the sand and increased vehicle traffic, the snow has become the texture of brown sugar. My foot hurts, my leg is tired, I am beginning to be cold, and I just want to be done. But I don’t have a good reason for quitting so I keep plodding.

In hindsight this was an absurd challenge but it seemed like a good idea at the time. I mean, who deliberately gets dressed four times and goes out to walk when it is that cold and windy? Physically it was at the upper limit of my capability at this time but my legs and feet felt okay the next day. And it was nice to have the chance to push my mental limits just a little bit, and to know that I haven’t become too soft.

2021, a summary

I got goals… they’re multiplying… and I’m loooooosing control……

I’ll bet you sang that in your head, didn’t you. Okay.. so about those goals… I had some great goals for 2021 but I totally lost control of most of them when I ruptured my Achilles tendon in August.

I totally missed the mark on all of my running goals…but .. hey.. such is life. Goals shouldn’t be easily attainable, and all of my goals hinged on the assumption that I would be relatively injury free. My goal race (Philadelphia Marathon) was deferred to 2022 due to Covid so I caught a bit of a break there.

Of course one of my goals was to run every day. Having ran every day for almost 7 years, I didn’t even have to acknowledge that it was a 2021 goal. It was just something that I took for granted. Though my run streak ended abruptly on Day 2441, it didn’t mean I could pout and sit on the couch all the time. Strava recorded 342 Active Days. I am not upset about that.

My big goal was to Run The Year. I knew I couldn’t run 2021 miles (3252 Km) so I planned to include intentional walking in the total. When I tore my Achilles tendon I knew that number was unachievable so I changed my goal to 2021 Km (1256 miles) When I crunched the numbers I knew that it was achievable but that I would have to make some effort to reach that target. Here is the breakdown.

  • Run 1120 Km
  • Crutch/hop 18 km
  • Aircast boot walking, no crutches 143 km
  • Walking with matching shoes 869 km
  • Total distance 2159 km (1341 miles)

Lifestyle goals were easier to achieve. Most of those goals were related to spreading positivity and kindness. For example : give at least 20 Strava kudos every day, and at least one daily message of encouragement on Social Media or in person. Those have become habits by now, so I will continue those in 2022. The world can not have too much kindness.

In hindsight 2021 was a year of big change for me. Being injured forced me to reevaluate my goals and dreams. And I have gained a new appreciation for mobility. Never take that for granted.

Rehabbing through December

December 1 – The month has started with snow on the ground but with rain in the forecast, I don’t think it will last long. Today I did 45 minutes on the recumbent bike, my longest to date. I am not loving the bike but am learning to make it more tolerable with short speed intervals. The gym wasn’t crowded so I had a good strength session. I am hit-or-miss with the strength…. it depends on how people-y it is at the gym.

December 3 – Physiotherapist is beginning to be concerned about my inability to do a unilateral calf raise so she introduced electrical stimulation to simulate muscle contractions. This process strengthens and repairs muscle tissue that has atrophied or weakened. Two electrodes are placed on my calf muscles and mild electrical pulses are transmitted to the muscle. The pulse lasts 8 seconds with 20 seconds recovery and it feels like a very strong tingly vibration which builds up to a solid muscle cramp. Physiotherapist thinks it will be beneficial to coordinate calf raises with e-stim pulses so she is lending me a portable machine.

December 14 – I can “almost” lift my heel off the ground when doing unilateral calf raise. I can feel the muscles trembling but the heel lift is barely a quiver.

I should be able to do a unilateral calf raise by now. I have been trying for over a month now and seeing very little improvement. Apparently my gastrocnemius in not engaging and therefore my soleus is picking up the slack. Sadly the soleus is not designed for such a heavy workload. We aren’t sure if the gastocnemius is not reading the messages from the brain, or if the achilles is too long to generate torque, or if there might be some residual damage that can only be diagnosed with an MRI. Physiotherapist recommended putting a lift in my shoe to keep my foot in slight plantarflexion in an effort to keep the achilles tendon short, and to avoid going barefoot. And my homework assignment this week to to e-stim the hell out of it.

December 16 – On the reccommendation of my regular physiotherapist I am now receiving physiotherapy at the hospital. Today I was introduced to Cybex. A CYBEX Isokinetic Test is used to measure the maximum strength of my injured leg through it’s available range of motion, and compare it to my uninjured side. .It involves lying on my belly, putting my foot in a foot pad and pushing down with my foot rapidly. My heel kept slipping out of the foot pad so the results were inconclusive. I was afraid to push hard but physiotherapist yelled encouragement so I pushed.. hard… harder than I have pushed in 16 weeks. To my surprise I can push hard with the injured leg and not hurt myself. We are going to try this again next week and physiotherapist will use the results to design a program for me.

December 18 – While doing my calf raises this morning I felt something different. I felt like my foot was pushing the floor. A quick check told me that I was using that lazy gastrocnemius to push my foot against the floor. Did the cybex unlock that elusive portal to the gastroc? Eureka!

December 23 – Second session of cybex.

DEcember 24 – It is a Christmas miracle. ! I can lift my heel one inch off the floor.

December 25 – It is so freaking cold! The wind makes outdoor walking a challenge. My leg is really tired after the cybex session. I am taking a couple of rest days to recover. Easy flat walking routes and lighter version of physio exercises.

December 31 – I went to the gym today and sat in the parking lot for a few minutes and then went home. Things are quite Covidy locally so I feel it is in my best interest to avoid indoor public places right now. For the last couple of weeks I have only been to the gym once or twice weekly. When I do go, I often leave after a short workout because it begins to get very people-y.

December weather has fluctuated from cold-and-windy to lovely-and-mild and I have been outdoors everyday to embrace it all. I am trying to vary my walking routes to keep it interesting. There are so many beautiful trail options locally, and many of them will be inaccessible to me soon because of winter conditions so I am trying to enjoy them all now. Most days I stick to easy flat routes, and take great care on the more challenging terrain.

Days walked in December – 31

December mileage – 146km

November Recovery- Plateaus and Doldrums

November 1 – We are having beautiful autumn weather and I am so thankful that I can get outdoors for a walk every day to enjoy it. I have been walking without crutches for almost a month, and without the boot for about a week. While I am glad to be rid of the boot, the top of my foot is very sore, often it is worse after my walk. I am beginning to build strength in the injured leg by performing single leg balance and calf raises.

November 4 – Single leg balance has improved quickly. From less than 5 seconds a few weeks ago to 94 seconds today. Physiotherapist performed myofascial release on my foot and it is less sore and much more flexible. Single calf raise eludes me but I will keep trying.

November 9 – When I do my 5 x 30 second single leg balance, I hold the final rep for as long as possible. Today I held it for 3 minutes. That escalated quickly.. a few weeks ago I couldn’t hold for 5 seconds. When I bragged to physiotherapist she rewarded me by adding balancing with eyes closed.

November 17 – In addition to balancing with my eyes closed, I can start moving my arms while balancing ( eyes open) It requires a lot of focus. My foot is beginning to settle down. While it is still tender, the swelling is no longer occurring and the pain is annoying but manageable. It feels like my shoes are laced too tight.

November 19 – I mentioned to physiotherapist that I can easily walk up and down stairs. She gave me “the look” and told me not to do that again. So I am back to doing stairs one at a time again.

November 22 – My doctor approved my return to work several weeks ago, with restrictions. I have been waiting for word from my company and they finally decided that they can’t “accommodate my level of function.” My next doctor appointment is January 18 and insurance company has reinstated my short term disability until January 26. My work involves standing on my feet and heavy lifting so I am not surprised at their decision.

November 26 – By leaning heavily on a countertop while doing single leg calf raise, my heel budges slightly off the floor.

November 30 – Beautiful powdery snow deserves a snowshoe trek. Using extreme caution I enjoyed a lovely outing in the woods. The snow is only a few inches deep and powdery so there isn’t much danger of it shifting under my feet and causing me to lose my balance. I will ask physiotherapist for permission when I see her in a couple of days.

Edit: When I asked physiotherapist about show shoeing she gave me “the look” and strongly advised against it. Thankfully snow is gone so the temptation has been removed

Before for the recent snowfall, Mother Nature was beginning to look weary. Spectacular autumn foliage had made way for muted browns and grays. Weather is beginning to turn cooler and some days I don’t enjoy my daily walks as much. Then I remind myself that the ability to walk is a gift and to embrace it. It has only been 5 weeks since I have been walking without aircast boot. Daily walks in November add up to 144km.

My recovery has hit a plateau and I am just plugging away, doing all the things despite not seeing the rapid gains of October. In addition to daily outdoor walks I am doing cardio and strength training at gym 3 or 4 times weekly. Bike and elliptical sessions are up to 40 minutes each and I have started to incorporate 30 and 60 second intervals. While not seeing huge improvements this month, I remind myself that slow growth is still growth.

How it all began ( a flashback )

My run streak recently ended due to injury and I have had lots of time to reminisce about how the Streak consumed my life. These words were written 6 years ago and describe my mindset in the first few months of the Streak . My goodness, I was young and foolish back then.

October 5, 2015

This whole Running Streak began innocently enough.  An online running group challenged the members to participate in a December Run Streak.  Never one to refuse a challenge, I accepted the challenge.  oh. and I had run on November 30 so that would actually be a 32 day challenge for me.

The first few days were not so bad.  After a week it began to feel like a chore, and then eventually it became a habit.  There were a lot of evenings when it required a lot of mental toughness to don my  winter running gear and hit the streets at 9 pm before tumbling into bed.   The family tolerated this silly quirk without question.

As New Year’s Day was approaching I was looking forward to the end of the Streak.  However a chance encounter with a coworker changed that.  He suggested a 365 day running streak in 2015.  After all, he said… anyone can run 31 days in a row. It would be a real challenge to run for a whole year. After a brief hesitation I signed up for the challenge.  And so it began…

Today is Day 311 of my Running Streak.  Most days are  manageable as I plan ahead.   Each evening I map out a rough outline of what Tomorrow will be like.. factoring in work schedule, family commitments, etc and mentally pencil in a time slot when I will run.  It gets more complicated when I am training for a specific race.   I respect the need for Rest Days and on those days I run a slow gentle  One Mile.

I have been blessedly injury free, though in the first few months I struggled with heal / shin pain.    Running slowly and post-run stretching has eliminated those little niggles.

There have been Close Calls when I have ‘almost’ not done my Daily Mile.  Sometimes plans go awry and I dash out for a mile at 10 pm.  The toughest two weeks were actually the two that I thought would be the easiest.   Both weeks I was going to be out of town for lawn bowling tournaments.  The schedule was not demanding and it looked like I would have lots of free time.  I even planned a couple of long runs through a cemetery that was beside the hotel.  But I didn’t factor in the heat and humidity or the social aspect of the game.   Every minute of every day was busy as we went directly from a game to dinner and then another game.   The closest Near Miss was Friday Aug 21.  With two games that day and planning an after game party, my day was busy right up until party time. No problem.. I expected to leave the party by 9 or 10. Lol.. at 11;15 the party was still going strong and I knew that I would not leave before midnight.  So I snuck out and went down the hall to the hotel fitness center.  Kicking off my shoes, I ran one mile barefoot on the treadmill before returning to the dance floor.   The other sweaty red faced dancers didn’t even notice that I disappeared for a few minutes.

Oh.. and that coworker who challenged me to the Streak.. he had to drop out a few months ago because of a recurring injury. He still supports and encourages me, though I suspect he is secretly envious.

And my family.. well .. they tolerate the streak.

Falling into a routine / October Rehab

October 1 – After so many weeks of immobility it feels weird to move so freely. I no longer use the crutches but the aircast boot is still a permanent accessory. I have been using my trekking poles for daily walks but have decided to downgrade to using only one. By now I am comfortably walking 45 minutes, usually covering a couple of miles in that time.

October 3 – my first 5k distance since my injury was in Centennial Park with my two sisters. It was a longer distance than I had planned on this day but they went at my pace and we covered the distance in 80 minutes. The autumn colours are spectacular and we stopped in several places just to feel the magic of Autumn.

October 6 – I am allowed to walk around without boot at home and for short errands. I need to keep it on at the gym, outdoor walking and while sleeping. It seems too good to be true. Though it is recommended to wear shoes at home, I walked across the hardwood floor in my bare feet a few times. I had forgotten how exquisite the smooth cold floor feels.

October 13 – Hallelujah, sweet mother of everything holy… I don’t have to wear this #%$@ boot to bed tonight. I only need to wear it for outdoor walking and on elliptical. I don’t need it for recumbent bike. Physiotherapist is adding balance drills to my daily routine. She wants me to balance for 30 seconds on injured leg. Current ability.. two seconds. Apparently I have some work to do.

October 14 – Worst sleep ever. I couldn’t get comfortable without the boot.

October 16 – Today is a big day. I walked outdoors with matching shoes. Okay, it was only 400 meters around my neighboorhood and I used the trekking poles… but I walked outdoors! And I can balance on that leg for 30 seconds. Later I put the boot on for an outdoor hike with my sisters.

October 20 – I am feeling confident in my walking abilities so I went for a 2km walk. It took 48 minutes and I relied heavily on the trekking poles.. but hey, y’all … I walked 2km. Strava tells me it was a hard effort. I don’t disagee.

October 21 I have a new assignment. Balance 5 x 30 seconds each leg. We are also introducing bosu balance and single leg calf raises. First we are working on the double leg calf raises and then will focus on single calf raises. When I can successfully do 30 single calf raises, we can start to talk about running. Current ability – Zero. I am now allowed to do elliptical with no boot, starting at 10 minutes and work up.

October 26 – Doctor says to throw the boot away. This scares me a little. He has also given permission to return to work half days, maximum 10 pounds lifting.

October 29 – While I am having no pain in injured area, my foot is very sore with some swelling. It is not bending because of the swelling, making it difficult to do the calf raises.

Summary – October has been a month of huge gains for me. I have learned that it is not a good idea to walk on single track trails with footwear that you will be wearing to bed later that night. Air cast boots are not designed for high mileage. I am glad to be able to retire this one.

The recovery is going well and I am pleased to be walking on two feet. I do have a slight limp but I am focusing on proper form and it is improving. I am really surprised that the muscles in my foot are so cranky now that I am asking them to start doing their jobs again. Hopefully that will resolve itself quickly. I have been tasked with doing single calf raises and so far been unsuccessful. The heel won’t even budge, though I can do double leg ones.

I have been given the green light to return to work, with restrictions and am waiting for confirmation from my company that they can accommodate this. At this time I am not sure that I can stand for 4 hours at a time.

New Brunswick in October is spectacular and I enjoyed some lovely long walks with my sisters appreciating the fall foliage. Current lockdown has us restricted to single household bubble but we have been meeting covertly and spending some outdoor time together. They are very patient about slowing down to my pace.

October has been a great month for my recovery and I am grateful to be improving so quickly. There is much to be thankful for. I am not where I want to be , but I am not where I used to be.

Though I can’t do a single calf raise yet, and the top of my foot is swollen and cranky, I am optimistic that I am on the right track.