A quick post here with some exciting news – you’ll never guess what it is! 😉 😉
But first, week 12 of physical therapy continues to go well! Still really don’t have any pain, but my hips are totally back to normal yet. I can only sit cross legged for a few minutes before it gets uncomfortable, but still impressed that I actually sit that way at all! Some fun new things in physical therapy this week, which I feel like are big strides…
- Warm up on the elliptical instead of the bike! Yeah yeah.
- Jump squats. Three sets of 10. This actually feels like a real workout – plus with the impact of jumping, we’re kicking it up a notch.
- Forearm planks. 30 sec x 3. My PT told me to start with 15 sec and keep going up to 30 seconds if it felt good, and it did.
Going to physical therapy takes about two hours, and doing the exercises at home takes about an hour. I’ll admit that there a few days where I shorten them, but I still do about 40 minutes worth. (Admittedly I watch Gossip Girl while doing PT at home!)
Onto the fun stuff! If you’ve been following along closely, last Friday was the official 12 weeks post-op date. The run-to-running protocol varies very much from surgeon to surgeon and obviously from patient to patient. A lot of it depends on what you had done and how well you’re recovering. You need good strength in your hips to return to running or whatever your activity of choice is. My surgeon’s earliest date was 12 weeks. (“But you can wait 16 weeks if you don’t feel ready yet.”)
I left it up to my physical therapy to help guide me, but at 12 weeks, she thought I was ready. I’ve been progressing so well, have had very minimal pain (almost none, minus at the end of my range of motion), and my strength is quite good. She actually complimented the increased muscle mass in my quads – she massages them twice a week, so I guess she would know best!
So on Friday, I got ready. (Charged my Garmin on Thursday……just in case.) Put on capris and a long sleeve because it was a perfect fall day in New York City. I bought a bunch of Brooks Ravennas when they went on sale last year, so I got a brand new pair out of the closet. Put my shoes on as I always do – left on first, then right. Walked over to Central Park, nervous coughing on the way. I made it to the bridle path because I wanted to run on a soft surface and turned on my Garmin to get signal. Pace wasn’t important to me, but I plugged in my “workout” to automatically beep for me (first time using this feature in all my years of Garmin-ing!). 1 minute run, 2 minute walk x 10. Deep breath…cross your fingers…away we go.
My face broke into the silliest grin you’ve ever seen, then after about thirty second I almost started to cry. No no, not pain – I was so, so happy. I let that go for about ten seconds and told myself to pull it together.
A minute goes by pretty fast, especially when you’re keeping it super easy. My hips felt a like creaky – what is this motion? You want us to do what? But no pain. Walk two minutes. Run one minute. Walk two minutes. Feeling good. And it continued to feel good! Definitely a little…odd, but pretty solid. I wasn’t sure what it would feel like, and I definitely don’t feel normal yet, but it felt really, really good.
I wrapped up my workout and walked home while calling my mom. This is big news.
On Saturday, I got a little worried. The front of my hips felt tight, mostly on the right side. When walking around, I got a small twinge in the front of my hip, and it made me nervous. My plan for now is to run at most every other day, dependent on how this all feels. So no running on Saturday.
However, I happened to be at Bobst Library doing some studying, and I remembered that that is near Georgetown Cupcake. You may remember that my brother sent me a dozen cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcake right after I had surgery. When I said that I did my first successful run, my brother said, “The cupcakes worked!!” I decided my hips could use a little extra boost and headed to pick up some reinforcements.
My team, The Battalion, hosted a Welcome Back Susan run! I’ll admit that Sunday was not the best day for a run/walk – temperatures dropped and it was windy, but the team showed up (and Eric came too!), and we did a run/walk of the lower loop following my same plan. Everyone stuck with me, and it was such a good feeling to be out running with people again. I really appreciate everyone coming out to welcome my return – it means so much to me. And to be out in Central Park on a Sunday morning – oh man, those are the days.
Hips felt good – no pain, and I felt like my stride opened up a tiny bit more. And even better – my hips felt way better after/on Monday than after my first run, so maybe we’re just working out the kinks!
Tuesday (today!) was back to PT, and she was so excited to hear that running went well! My physical therapist has been great (minus my initial thoughts on the place), and I’m so happy to have done so well. The surgeon only does so much, then it’s off to PT to get you back. And she’s genuinely excited to hear that running went well!
After PT, I took it out to Central Park for another run. It was later (almost 6pm), so it’s dark – the bridle path was therefore not an option, and I ran on the lower loop. It’s chilly – 30 degrees? So that meant I fully bundled with tights, a long sleeve, and one of my heavier tops (Saucony Ridge Runner – which I love for super cold days!). I normally don’t dress too warm, but when you’re doing more walking than running, you gotta stay warm.
The run went so well! I have the pace turned on during the workout (mostly because I never bothered to figure out how to NOT see while the interval is counting down), and I’m mostly in the 9-10 minute range. So I make it about a mile on these runs! Pretty excited about that. I mostly power walked the “walk” portion because it was chilly. Otherwise, the run parts felt amazing! I felt a little bit like my old self, cruising the lower loop. Probably due to the power walking portion, I hit a new distance PR – 2.23 miles! Yesssss.
So far, hips feel good. It’s only been a few hours, so hopefully tomorrow I’ll feel great as well!
I’m not sure what my total return to running plan will be – it’s mostly guided by pain (which I have none, hooray!) and to build up slowly. I’ve been in so much work so far and have really seen the pay off, so I don’t want to ruin it now by pushing too hard too early. Slow and steady wins this race – so I can get back to being fast and steady.
In the meantime, let me know if you want to run/walk, I’m getting pretty good it!
Happy Thanksgiving to all – I bet you can guess what I’m thankful for this year.