I should probably call this post “Challenge ANNIHILATED.” Because that’s what I did last night. I annihilated my goal.
Seven weeks or so ago, I created what I call my “Challenge Route.” Basically, it’s a two-mile loop (actually, it’s 2.03 mi) over gravel and dirt and up and down hills that I try to walk as fast as possible. The challenge is to shave time off of the total every week. It doesn’t have to be a big difference, just less than the time it took the last time I walked the loop.
I started off the first time rather tentative. I’d not walked much at all since the big surgery because it hurt to do so in the early months, and it was never part of any PT plan. I’ve also never been a big walker/jogger/runner, so it wasn’t really something on my radar that I wanted to work toward. But then, one day in late April, I met a friend for a walk on the Monon. We talked and moseyed until we realized we’d gone over two miles. We had to get back to our cars, so we ended up walking over four miles that day. That was, by far, the longest walk I’d taken. It was a leisurely pace, but it was enough to convince me that perhaps I should walk more. So I did.
Since I’m supposed to be “saving my knee for the important things,” I didn’t go crazy. Surprising, I know. I always go crazy when I decide to do something. Not this time. At least not at first.
I made the first loop on the Challenge Route in a little over 40 minutes. I was picking my way through the various paths in the woods, so it took some time that first day just to map the route. The second time I completed the route in 36:17. At that point, I made it my goal to complete the route in less than 30 minutes–roughly an average of 15 minutes/mile. I figured that should be totally doable.
I’ve been doing the route once a week for the last seven weeks, and I’ve shaved off a minute or so each time I’ve done it. I’ve been cheating lately. I’ve been JOGGING (slowly!) to shave off more time. No, jogging has not been approved by any healthcare professional, but what they don’t know won’t hurt them. I don’t jog for long distances or for much time, but it’s let me shave off more time. The repercussions are similar to a long bike ride–I have to ice all night with my cryo cuff and take it easy the next day.
Last night, I went for it. I was bored with the slow progress, so I wanted to make my goal. I completed the route in 28:53. Woo woo! That’s an average of 14:13 min/mi, if I did my math right. I realize that’s not super swift (heck, I had to do 9-minute miles in ninth grade gym class, so my inner freshman is a little embarrassed to be celebrating), but it’s tangible progress. I need a new challenge now. Probably one that doesn’t involve jogging.
I haven’t been neglecting my PT program while working toward my walking goal. In fact, I’ve been figuring out new ways to do some of the exercises. For example, I’ve had nothing but pain and trouble when I try to do leg extensions on the machine at the gym, so I’m improvising at home. All you need to do the same is one 15-lb cat. Place said cat across your legs and start lifting. It’s highly entertaining. Not sure how effective it is. Though it’s worth noting that I can do the cat-assisted leg extensions without pain. Winning!