Injury update (March 2017) – I’m back

Blimey, this has been a much longer saga than I ever could have imagined.

First run in over a year!

Way (way) back in December 2015 I was doing sprints with the lovely folk from Project Awesome and on one of the turns (nothing special) something clicked. Of course I just carried on because that’s what I always do. Later that day in a meeting at work my leg collapsed under me and I couldn’t walk at all.

I went to a physio and eventually my doctor who in turn referred me to a joint specialist. I was (officially) diagnosed with a meniscus tear (a bit of cartilage inside the knee). The consultant even delighted in saying that I had ‘fat knees’ which was tough to take from a basically pretty corpulent man.

For over a year I have been (mostly) doing my physio (a LOT of squats), switching my exercise to cycling and generally being ultra careful not to twist my knee. The pattern then followed that I would feel a bit better, push things on the exercise front and re-injure myself. At the beginning a re-injury would have me limping for a week but over time the recovery time reduced and the gaps between injury increased.

I’ll be honest, there were times when I thought that I was going to have a permanent (albeit minor) disability and never run again. I love running which meant this thought was pretty depressing. As much as I know how minor this is and how lucky I’ve been physically in my life it has gotten me down.

Since the turn of the year though, things have improved a lot. I’ve not had a relapse and whilst I can definitely still ‘feel’ the knee throb a bit after exercise it seems more or less ok. The big news was last weekend when i did an actual bonafide real proper run. It was very slow (by my old standards) but a solid 4.5km round the park.

I felt quite emotional afterwards. Doing a proper run again felt HUGE. Oh yes, i’m back baby! [cough]

Project awesome 'happiness day'

Photo by www.annarachelphotography.com/

 

Injury update (Feb 16)

So I busted my knee on December 7th (a date that will live in infamy) doing something as innocuous as turning round. As an aside I always think of some injuries being ‘noble’ if you were doing something especially cool or adventurous. Busting my knee base jumping from the top of The Shard or climbing the north face of the Eiger are the type of thing i’d rather say what did it.

Anyway, after a month or so of carrying a limp and another month of modest levels of discomfort I finally got an appointment with a knee specialist at the Hospital. He was not able to be very specific, it still seems to be a toss-up between a meniscal tear and a anterior ligament injury. The following week I had an MRI (that i fell asleep in) but i’ll have to wait till my next appointment in mid-March to find out the results. It goes without saying that this is quite frustrating!

On the plus side, I walk almost entirely without pain now and only get the odd twinge. Over the last few weeks i’ve been introducing the lightest of mini-runs into my fitness sessions. I’m not quite sure how much to push things and i’ll be honest, i’m terrified of having a relapse. Despite this i’m starting to feel that light is at the end of the tunnel and all this will be over at some point.

Being surrounded, as I am often these days, by fantastically adventurous souls doing amazing things, it does get me down a bit not being able to join in.

Looking to get properly stuck in soon!

Injury Strikes!

When I phoned the physio to book an appointment, they told me that my last visit was in 2009. This at least means that my injury ends a pretty decent run of bodily health. I could add ‘for someone my age’ but I won’t. I’m nearly 43.

On my monday project awesome session I was throwing myself into some sprints with my usual 100% effort. On one turn, something snagged in my right knee as I turned. I thought nothing of it and carried on (of course). It was only later that day after standing up after a meeting that my leg actually collapsed beneath me and I could hardly walk at all. In denial, knowing that ‘running it off’ usually works I soldiered on like an idiot.

I carried on, completely in denial (not a river in Egypt apparently), for the rest of the week just hoping things would suddenly improve. This is despite walking with a heavy limp and being in decently large amounts of pain.

Eventually reality broke in and I made an appointment with the physio and tried to actually rest things a bit. The prognosis was not good.

Apparently I have a meniscus tear (knee cartilage) that heals slowly as it doesn’t get much blood supply. Sounds like months rather than weeks and sometimes requires surgery. Running and other impact activities are out (no bmf) which also means no Tough Guy. A lot of the plans I have revolve around running so this is quite a bad blow. I feel that regular exercise has been keeping me in good mental as well as physical shape, so not doing stuff is troubling.

How to turn a negative into a positive?
Now that running is out of the question (and I presume hill walking too?) I’m determined not to let my fitness go. In fact this is an opportunity to explore hitherto less trodden paths.

First up is the famously non-impact activity of swimming. I like swimming and would love to get good at it, the only issue being that the one stroke I use a lot, breast stroke, is the one i’m supposed to avoid. I had all but given up ever mastering the front crawl or even sustaining it for more than 50m but that was when breast stroke was an option. Now i’m more-or-less forced to do it! I guess i’ll also throw in some back-stroke, but I’ve not done that for years and years.

Second up is cycling. Apparently this is ok as long as I don’t do too much standing on the pedals, which might not encourage off-road too much. At the very least I’ve been thinking of commuting to work a bit more which is a 24km round trip plus a few hills. I used to do this in the past but never more than a few times a week. I like the idea of doing some longer cycle trips, praps with a bit of bivvying thrown in too?

My only worry is that by not doing running/impact type things, i’ll be cutting myself off from the Project Awesome/BMF folk that it is great to see and talk to. This shouldn’t be forever though and i feel that my recovery is a challenge in itself. Here goes.