Monday, July 31, 2017

5 months!

Each time I sit down to write about the previous month, it hits me every time- 5 months already? I'm going to assume... that's because my recovery was over summer. And of course, all summers go by super fast! 😄

There are still odd pulls and tugs every once and I while but overall, my knee feels back to normal! I do though feel as if I'm in a plateau in my recovery... and that's ok. These are the late stages/months where you do what you can to build back muscle and then... wait for em to grow! Sideways movements are easy peasy now and I don't think twice about sharp turns anymore.

Hike up Rollins Pass

Hey something is missing from my pack...! Was fun to see friends ski in July! 

As far as starting back to running, I'm still working on it! It seems to be taking a bit longer than I expected, couldn't just jump right back into it as I had hoped. I haven't ran more than 3 miles for 6+ months now! How killer is that for an ultra runner? 😅

Nah it's actually not too bad, as I have definitely found other activities... yep, mountain biking! The last time I was on a mountain bike was in 2012 before this year. And to be honest I had no plans to touch a mountain bike anytime soon, if ever. I am finding though that 1.) as I've been told, it's great for rehabbing your knee! and 2.) Im loving the mental state of grinding away and working hard pedaling uphill on a bike. This might be a thing I keep around!

All mountain biking pictures from my friend Eddie- I would love to ride at his level someday!

The mental battle with injuries certainly don't end once you are healthy enough to get back outside. Riding at Moab the other weekend, we stopped back by the Xterra to refill with water about half way through our ride before continuing on. Although I felt tired, I knew I could head back out and push through the tired feeling, as I've done many a time before. But little did I know the feeling of being tired would get to me mentally, because I know (and experienced) alot injuries/crashes come from being tired and becoming careless in your form and focus. It was crazy how I lost almost all confidence in my bike that I had just trusted for miles before the break! The knee still has the final call in my activities and probably will for a good while... but if it'll let me bike for 20+miles and hike 14ers for the time being... I'm not complaining!

(not me :P)

It's building though... ski season is certianly getting closer :) In case you wanted to know:
😄 😋

Sunday, July 16, 2017

4 months

This month has been.... exponentially better than the previous few! I was limited with what I could do previously, as I had to be careful how much I used my left quad and leg. Otherwise, any over use (whether intentional or not), and the area where they took my tendon would flare up, swell, and overall the knee would just ache.

But it's as if my quad tendon somehow magically grew back right at the very end of 3/beginning of 4 months post op. I asked my surgeon how long it takes for the tendon to grow back afterwards, and he said he honestly wasn't sure, and it's different for everyone. I can certainly say it took a full 3 months for me. No more hollow feeling right above my knee cap, woo hoo! 😀

Looking somewhat normal!

I had another check in with my surgeon, and was cleared for hiking/running/14ers. So of course, I immediately go outside and play! It is great to be back out even if it takes a little more work than normal- and that's 100% ok with me! I do over analyze every single step, foot placement, and feeling in my knee while I'm out n about playing in the mountains. It was and still is 2x as hard mentally on all of my hikes/outings as opposed to before, given that extra focus and thought that goes into each and every step- it only takes one misstep! I've done some sketchy hikes for 4 months post op I'll admit, but that also required 2-3x more work(focus) than normal.

Careful pole placement before every step is critical!

'Don't push it!' I've heard countless times, and I listen every time. That's part of the reason why I wear my brace while I'm out and about. As a reminder. A brace will not stop an a full ACL tear- if that much pressure/twisting is on your leg, a brace is useless in stopping it. If there is a brace that is 100% guaranteed to prevent ACL tears... let me know! Im convinced though it does help keep my knee straight and encourages forward motion as opposed to sideways. It reminds me mentally to dial it back... what I need some (most) of the time..!

In the last month, all within 90-120 days post op:
- Skinned uphill at Arapahoe Basin, and hiked back to the area I hit the rock
- Hiked Torreys/Grays via Kelso Ridge
- Hiked/slept on Mt. Bierstadt
- Mountain biked at Green Mountain, near Winter Park, Buffalo Creek, Hartman Rocks, and Hidden Mesa
- Hiked Mt. Antero/ Cronin
- Hiked 13er Whale Peak
- Jumped in numerous alpine lakes
- Hiked up and around Rollins Pass
- Numerous short 2-3 mile runs on pavement

Always careful, but always enjoying every minute out
I thought for sure I had pushed it a little hard a few times and expected to wake up to a swollen knee requiring a few weeks of rest. But no none, not once. I can't explain it... It's like wait... I just had knee surgery! Nothing is really playing out how I thought it was going to go (in a good way..!). It did ache while camping at 14,000ft. There are odd pulls and pops. And it still hurts to wear jeans/tight pants, so I know it is still healing.

Where I'm assuming I clipped the rock! 

I could not go downhill without my poles... #1 post ACL op hiking necessity!

My knee cap definitely feels a little odd, given the bump you can see here!

Next up: work on slowly adding miles to my runs! I cannot wait to be able to go out on a 10-13 mile run... feel that runners high again! In the meantime... it's mountain biking and hiking!