Well, hello, long lost internet world!
Happy 2017! I was doing so well in keeping up with documenting my recovery, and then everything got pretty crazy annnnd now it’s January. I haven’t blogged in weeks, as you can easily tell, but here we are to get up to speed. We left off on the happiest note there could be – I returned to running 12 weeks after having bilateral hip arthroscopies for labral tears. Woo! Life really caught up with me in December, so blogging went way to the back burner. Let’s get acquainted again, shall we? I’ll go over my running progression (it might bore you, but I hope if someone is post-op, it gives them an idea of what I did if they’re looking) and then do a little more talk at the end. Feel free to skip to that.
To recap, we left off with…
November 14-20 (officially 12 weeks post-op on 11/18)
Two runs of: 1 min run, 2 min walk x 10.
2 miles at 14:35/mile, 2 miles at 14:28/mile
First run was solo and felt kind of weird, but AMAZING. Second run was with my team. I’ve missed them.
Two runs of: 1 min run, 2 min walk x 10.
2.2 miles at 13:26/mile, 2.1 miles at 14:00/mile
Thanksgiving was this week, and Eric and I drove to my aunt and uncle’s in western Pennsylvania. My parents met us there and it was a lovely holiday!
I think we added walking lunges to therapy this week. I’ve got killer lunge form.
November 28-December 4
Three runs total
First run was 1 min run, 2 min walk x 10
2.2 miles at 13:09/mile
Second and third runs, I increased the running time to 2 min run, 2 min walk x 8.
2.8 miles at 11:14/mile, 2.7 miles at 11:35/mile
Physical therapist added side planks (15-30 sec per side x 3) and lunge to knee drive (with hop. 3 x 10 each leg).
Two runs of 2 min run, 2 min walk x 8
2.8 miles at 11:12/mile, 2.8 miles at 11:15/mile
The increased for one run to 3 min run, 2 min walk x 7
3.2 miles at 10:47 pace
We moved apartments this week and I went back to work. It was a challenging week. I was really cautious with my hips – moving involves lots of heavy boxes (we paid people to move us, but packing isn’t exactly a day at the spa!), but it went well. Eric joked that I didn’t complain about my hips until it was time to move haha.
Going back to work went well! It was really good to see everyone – I was off for just about 15 weeks and was lucky to be paid for all but one week. (I never really call out sick, so I had six years of sick time!) Everyone said I looked good but seemed to walk a little slower than usual. Probably a fair statement since I usually power walk everywhere at work. The only parts that got interesting was when I would bend down to do something (empty a Foley, help a patient with their socks) and I’d have trouble going from a deep squat to standing – I’d hold onto something to pull back up. It was mostly because I stopped thinking about every little step I was taking, so that was nice.
Three runs of 3 min run, 2 min walk x 7, including back-to-back days
3.3 miles at 10:27/mile, 3.4 miles at 10:16/mile, 3.3 miles at 10:32/mile
Then increased the running to: 4 min run, 2 min walk x 6.
3.6 miles at 9:58/mile (first time under 10 min miles!)
On December 12th, I graduated from physical therapy! I was officially 15.5 weeks post-op. I possibly could have graduated sooner, but we felt that it was better for me to see how returning to work went before stopping PT. I agreed, and it worked out great! It was hard to think that I couldn’t move my own legs when I started, and I left feeling amazing.
One run of 4 min run, 2 min walk x 6.
3.6 miles at 9:51/mile
We headed to Florida for Christmas to see Eric’s family. Packed shorts for all the running! It was nice for running, but really weird to have the air conditioning on during Christmas.
December 26-January 1
Three runs: 5 min run, 2 min walk x 6.
4.3 miles at 9:41/mile, 4.4 miles at 9:21/mile, 4.3 miles at 9:37/mile
On New Years Day, I went bold and jumped to 1 mile run, 2 min walk x 4!
4.4 miles at 8:52/mile
Three runs, increased to: 0.5 mile run, 2 min walk. 1 mile run, 2 min walk x 4.
5.1 miles at 9:16/mile, 5 miles at 9:26/mile, 5.1 miles at 9:26/mile
One run: 0.5 mile run, 2 min walk. 1 mile run, 2 min walk x 4.
5 miles at 9:57/mile
We (Eric and I, plus two couple friends) headed to Aruba for some sunshine and relaxation before the semester started again. This was a toasty, sweaty run!
Increased running for one run: 1.5 mile run, 2 min walk x 3.
4.8 miles at 8:53/mile
One run of 1.5 mile run, 2 min walk x 2 (back to back with last run, way too tired.)
3.2 miles at 9:04/mile
Then back to 1.5 mile run, 2 min walk x 3.
4.8 miles at 8:47/mile
One spin class at FlyWheel!
And we’re all caught up! That wasn’t so bad, was it?
The Return to Running Plan
When I got the all clear to start running, one of the first things I asked my surgeon was what kind of plan he recommended. I like a plan. I like to know what I should (or shouldn’t) be doing. I wanted numbers. Basically, he just told me to “take it easy.” I have no idea what exactly that means other than don’t go crazy. I checked in with Elizabeth and went back through her blog and Grace’s blog to see what they did. They did two very different things – Elizabeth’s return was more run/walking, while Grace got back into it pretty quick. They both returned quite well, so who knows which one is right! I decided to stick with the “slow and steady” approach which served me well through the recovery. Better to take it slow and take longer to come back than to push too fast and hurt myself.
I looked at a couch to 5K plan to perhaps use that as a guide, but I wasn’t over the moon with it, so I decided to just make up my own plan. For the most part, I based the plan on these ideas:
- Don’t run two days in a row. (I played with this a couple times.)
- No massive increases in running time.
- Stay at the same running intervals for a week and then adjust if I’m feeling good.
- Pace does not matter. Don’t push it. (But is fun to see the numbers drop.)
I started with 1 min run, 2 min walk x 10. It was slow and not much running, but it was something. When I increased the running time, I didn’t want to go too crazy, so I moved to 2 min run, 2 min walk x 8. I moved from ten minutes of running to 16 minutes of running, but the interval increased. This is kind of how I made up how many repeats to do – I didn’t want to suddenly jump from 10 minutes to 20 minutes of running, so I’d do fewer repeats. The only did I really did a “big” jump was when I went from 5 min run, 2 min walk x 6 straight to mile repeats. I felt like I was ready and it was worth trying – and it felt pretty good! I stuck with that for a couple weeks before adding more mileage.
Moving forward, I’m going to add half a mile to the repeats until I get up to three miles, then I will hopefully ditch the run/walk! That will put me right around 24 weeks post-op and 12 weeks of running, which I think is pretty reasonable. I’m overall running 4.5 miles (plus the walking portion), and I’d like to say I’m really happy with how things have gone.
My hips don’t feel perfect, and they seem to trade off which one wants to be a little off each run. I don’t have the pain like I had before surgery, it just seems like my muscles are achy. I’ll admit that I fell off the physical therapy bandwagon starting in December. Between going back to work, moving, and the end of the semester just being plain madness, doing two hours of exercises every day didn’t happen. I could definitely tell a difference when I didn’t do the exercises or stretch. I would feel so much better when I did them! Live and learn. When I graduated from PT, I asked what I should do moving forward – she said to wean off doing the exercises every day and then I could go back to my usual routine. (I was doing Refine Method prior to surgery – looking to get back to that!) I hope to do 10-15 minutes of exercises every day just to keep up and stay strong.
I returned to the surgeon in early January for a post-op appointment. Everything felt great although I noticed in mid-December my hips starting cracking. They’d never done that before so I was a little alarmed – the physician assistant said it’s just from the hips needed some strengthening and changes throughout the exercises. I thought that was odd since I got all through physical therapy without any cracking, but it doesn’t hurt so they tell me it’s fine. I have noticed it less over the past couple weeks, so that’s a plus. I also got the all clear to do whatever I want without limitation, so that’s pretty exciting. I just need to ease back into anything, of course.
For the most part, I feel back to my old self. Sometimes I find myself having trouble with doing something, and I try to remember if it was hard before surgery or not. I don’t think my external rotation is where it was before – doing a butterfly stretch is challenging for me, as are sumo squats, and if I’m in yoga poses, things like the warrior series don’t feel quite right. Oddly enough putting my shoes on was an activity that seemed to take the longest to come back – the combo of externally rotating and pulling my leg up isn’t the greatest, but it’s fine. I also walk a little slower (Eric is a fast walker), but I can walk for hours and feel fine. Overall I really can’t complain. (Although one would think all those squats I did in PT would give me a nice butt, but it looks the same to me, ha.)
My scars are pretty small – each hip has three scars, and you can hardly see the two that were the small incisions. The other one which was the “big” incision (….still tiny) is pretty obvious, but I don’t think you’d see it if you didn’t know it was there. (Or were pretty close to me.) It’s just low enough to be seen when I wear a bathing suit…..but how often is that, anyway?
I’m hoping to run a half marathon this spring – trying to pick one after seeing how my school semester is going to go. (If you have a favorite spring half marathon in April-ish, let me know!) It’ll be for fun and not about the pace, but I think it’ll be a good goal to safely rebuild my mileage. Of course, I’ll see how the hips feel and back down if needed, but I hope to continue to feel great.
I hope to not go radio silent for another two months (we’ll see how the semester goes…), but I wanted to share my return to running because that’s the most exciting part about this entire surgery. It’s really nice to be back out in Central Park and feel a little bit like my old runner self again.