Well a lot can happen in a month, last time I rambled on at you I was telling you how great my wife is ( have to say that as I’m contractually obliged ) and how crap my knee is. Well the upshot of the past month is that Em is still great and that my knee is now improving…..I’m not going to get carried away but I can see the glow just out of reach, the end of the tunnel, where as a couple of months ago I couldn’t see the end of my nose in the dark.
Last Thursday I had my usual physio apointment with the amazing James, the man who is slowly putting this old crock back together with his magic hands and passion for pilates and stretching. I have followed his instructions to the letter, doing exercises mostly named after animals – cat stretches, clam shells, panda pose….actually I made that last one up. They have strengthend my core, my hip flexors and by adding in squats, lunges and one legged balance tests on a bosu my quads and hamstrings are supporting my knee much better. I have not had any knee pain now for weeks. Under instruction I’ve added back in swimming and cycling, again no pain, not even when climbing out of the saddle ( a toothache type experience in June ).
We’d talked previously about how good my progress had been, in less than 3 weeks from being on crutches I was swimming 2km, riding 20 miles and walking 4 miles at speed. We’d reached an impass, James wanted to give me harder exercises to do as part of my rehab. When I started I couldn’t balance on my bad leg at all, my homework had been to get to 30 seconds. Now I could do it for upto 5 minutes whilst juggling 3 balls in the air, and NO there is no photo/video of this 🙂 It was time to seriously see how far I’d come.
“Come outside, walk down to the tree and run back” James said, I could have hugged him. My face lit up, I ran for 30 seconds with James looking at my feet, the flex in my knee and all sorts of other things. “That looks fine. We need to properly test it to see if it breaks. This week I want you to run twice, 5km, nice and steady concentrating on engaing your core and really thinking about the muscles around your knee. Any knee pain and you stop immediately. If it breaks, don’t get disheartened we tried and we take a step back to move foreward again. If it works then we work harder on the rehab exercise. There is still a long way to go here.” He was grinning as much as me as he knew how excited I was at the prospect of running again.
I couldn’t actually wait until the next day, I drove to COLT swimming early and headed out for a flat and steady run. I warmed up well, a combination of fast paced walking and stretching and then with a combination of nerves and trepidation I started my Garmin and settled into a steady plod. I was expecting after almost 6 months to feel knackered but instead I felt so comfortable. The time is irrelevant, but I did the 5km in 27.33, I had been aiming for around 30 mins so I was pleasantly surprised.
I knew that I had to give it 36-48hrs to see if any pain developed, thankfully it didn’t. I can’t tell you how happy I was. It felt amazing to be running again….BUT I wasn’t going to get carried away, one run doesn’t a triathlete make…or something like that. I ran again on Tuesday night and was a minute quicker, my knee was fine but as I finished I had cramp in both calves. The left is still grumbling tonight ( Wednesday ) but I think it’s probably just DOMS or rust. I’ll have a WD40 bath and see how it feels. I see James again on Friday and if he says ok we don’t run again now for a few weeks whilst we build up, then I’ll go with that.
This isn’t a race, it’s a journey, one that will hopefully see me lose my ‘Glassman’ moniker and return to being made of Iron.