Friday, February 23, 2018

16 weeks post THR: Call me Steve.

I've run outdoors a number of times now, with a max distance of 4.5 miles!  Yes, puny by old standards but liberating now 8)

Over the Presidents weekend I had a chance to do a 3.5 mile hike in Yosemite 2500' up to view of upper Yosemite falls. A really good workout doing lots of rock 'stair stepping' up and down.. 

So, gradually, with lots of effort, the right leg is getting stronger. Today's run (3.2 miles) had a ground-contact-balance very close to 50-50 (see the green, which is good..)

I'm still pretty inefficient running. If I run at what I consider a 'decent' pace of 10:30 m/m my HR climbs up to 135+ which is not appropriate for what should be an 'easy pace'.  I have to slow down or do some walking to bring it down. (My max HR is about 160 bpm)

But, it's already noticeably better than just a few weeks ago. There's a reason why they call you a 'patient': you need to be patient. 

Physical Therapy

Once  a week, Sonja Kranzfelder has been my therapist and she has done a great job, 
She has pushed me to improve my range of motion as well as my strength in the 
operative leg with a farrago of exercises. 

I may have the potential to be ergonomically better than I was before the THR. 

Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to make the world's first bionic man. Paul will be that man. Better than he was before. Better...stronger...faster." 

Do you remember this show? Ok so I put my name in there instead of Steve Austin 8) It was the "SIx Million Dollar Man". My THR was billed out at $143,000. (!) so I guess I'm a lot cheaper ;)

Sonja has pushed me to reduce the foot turnout,  something I would have never thought 
possible. It's difficult: I have a lifetime of soft tissue adaptation to the turnout, but 
perhaps (especially when running) I can learn to keep it in line.

Previously things were pretty funky: even with a lift in my left leg (almost 1/4") to try to match 
the right leg, the right leg was not doing as much...I'm not using any lift right
now. Dr Graw evened this out pretty well I think. 

When running, various people have offered up comments like "You look like you are about 
to sprain an ankle"  or "wow that's what I call pronation", etc.  (they meant duck-foot)
And we won't even talk about the taunting I got as a kid.

The turnout was pretty severe..check out  this posting if you haven't seen it already. 

Perhaps, just perhaps, I might get a bit of an edge from improving this and having my leg length matched better.. It's a fun thought. We shall see.

My goal: run a solid marathon (sub 5hr even pace) sometime on or around a year from my operation (Nov 1).

I'm not sure if that's actually practical but given my current rate of improvement it seems possible.  

Once I get back to being lean and mean running machine, I plan to put more non-impact bike and elliptical training back in the mix to reduce wear. But first I need to get fit again and running is by far and away the best way to do that.

NB: I ran a 4:42 marathon at Napa Valley, Mar. 3, 2018

Saturday, February 10, 2018

First run OUTDOORS!

Ready to run!

My last decent run (about 10 miles) was back in mid-August. After that,  the hip pain had a final flare-up and the running had to stop.  Post-THR with 12 weeks of recovery behind me,  I was cleared to run. My doc asked that I stick to soft surfaces as much as possible.

After that, I ran the treadmill 2 or 3 times per week for 3 weeks (as well as doing bike and elliptical)....and eventually it seem fairly good: I was itchy to get outside again...I decided I was strong enough.

My PT once a week has been super useful, with lots of special exercises to bring back the weak leg.

Saturday -> to my favorite Baylands!

It was a perfect blue sky day! Temps around 55F..also great. 

My pace was slowwww 11:xx m/m and my HR was way high for my pace. But man, it sure felt good.

I got a little teary eyed, having missed running, and running outdoors in my favorite places so, so much! 

I do not take it for granted.

I set a goal of 4 miles. This was about right the end I was getting pretty tired.

Even with some elliptical and stationary biking my legs are weaker and my cardio is way down from days of yore. But it will come back!

I run with the Garmin running dynamics pod, and it shows me what I already know: my right leg is weaker than my left:

Ideally if both legs are working equally, this should be a line right on the 50/50 scale mark and be all green...instead the red an orange dots show I have more ground contact (about 52% ) on the right leg. This is not surprising as it's weaker.

It's also varying all over the place. My right leg is still relearning all the new muscle firing patterns to suit the new pivot location. It will be interesting to track how this evolves...more on this to come. 

When I got back to the car I was feeling pretty tired in my right leg..but very happy. I have a long way to go to get back to as close as possible to where I was before. Runners that have been through this say: about 1 year....that's  about 9-10 months.  

You can bet I will be avidly doing my PT exercises! If you are a runner they're good idea even if you don't have a hip replacement