Just What I Kneeded

What happens after a life-altering knee injury?


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Motivation is hard to find sometimes

I am no closer to not resembling a couch potato than I was when I last posted after a 5k in March. I did do the 5k I’d signed up for on April 2. Despite the BLOWING SNOW through the whole race, I actually made my best time yet, but it was also my first road race (read there were no real hills). Regardless, my current strategy of running exactly once a month–at a race–is clearly working.

Not really.

But sort of.

Seriously, who does this? Not smart people, that’s for sure. A friend of mine was incredulous after I told her about the last race, “How do you even do that? Just go out and run  5k?” I think it may simply be my stubborn streak.

I decided after the last race (yes, if you’ve been reading, it’s like the fifth time I decided) that I need a plan. For a variety of reasons, I’ve stopped doing pretty much anything active for the last four months (aforementioned one race a month doesn’t count), and I know I need to get back to it. I feel the need to get back to my PT exercises now more than ever because the knee is aching on days when I do nothing. I think the down time was good for the knee for a while, but even it has had its fill.

I made it my goal this year to do one race per month–12 total. I’ve managed to do the first four by the skin of my teeth. Now, I’m going to plan a bit better. I have the next two races planned–a 5k in May and a quarter marathon trail run in June. I’ve done both distances already this year, so I’m not worried about finishing. I am, however, worried about finishing with an intact knee. I can’t blow it now after all the blood, sweat and tears that I’ve expended rehabbing it over the course of five years.

So… I spent time this past weekend putting together a plan to get back to doing my PT exercises. I also ordered a Bosu ball and helped a friend make me a slant board so that I can do some of my most important exercises at home. Not completely sure why, but actually getting to the gym feels like such a burden right now. But it doesn’t (read shouldn’t) matter because I can do nearly everything from home. I also found a good online yoga practice, so I can start doing yoga at home, too. I’ve done it twice already, and, um… I’ll be easing back in to that. I’ve lost an awful lot of strength while sitting on my butt.

I also ordered a new pair of running shoes. I tried them on in the local running store, and they felt like I was seriously walking on clouds. I couldn’t stop smiling while I was wearing them around the store. But the price was a bit steep for me, especially for a pair of shoes that might not get all that much mileage. I had to leave them in the store. But then I found them online for nearly $50 less. I ordered them immediately, but I have yet to receive them, so we’ll see if that deal was too good to be true…

I hope I’m headed in the right direction. I certainly feel more motivated than I have in a long time. Maybe it’s because spring feels like it might actually arrive this week, and that has me feeling pretty happy.


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Conspicuously absent

I don’t know where the time goes. I don’t know where this year has gone. I don’t know how it’s already March. MARCH. That means one-sixth of 2015 is already in the books. Yikes.

Good news is that my right knee continues to have incremental improvements. I’ve been focused on the patellar tendon exercises for… um… a long time now. Since December 9 when I last met my PT. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been doing fewer and fewer PT exercises as I add in more diverse strength training. The knee doesn’t seem to mind. I’m pretty happy with the improvements that have happened over the last three months, and I’m excited to see how much more I can get from the knee as I move forward.

One test will be a trip to Florida next week. I have not been on a plane since the surgery in September 2012. I have had trouble even riding in a car for more than an hour, so the thought of trying to sit in a crowded plane for any length of time has been less than appealing (read terrifying). But that’s going to be put to the test in less than a week. My need to see the beach and feel the sand between my toes overrides any lingering fear of pain. I’m sure there will be some, but riding in a car has improved significantly, so I’m not too worried.

For the last six weeks or so, I’ve been working out with a gym buddy who has pushed me more than any personal trainer I’ve had in the past. I feel as if I tell you that he’s ex-Army, that should explain a lot. I meet him at least three days a week right after work, spend an hour on strength training, and then do laps in the pool. This week, we’ve kicked it up to five days. My arms and abs hurt so much at the moment, the knee doesn’t bother me at all.

It’s mostly because of this added workout that I’ve been absent from this blog for a while. I’m too exhausted to type by the time I crawl through my front door in the evening. I’ve also joined a book club (my first book club; I’m so excited!), so my required reading takes up time, too. There is just not enough time in the day to do all the things I want/love to do AND work to support all the things I want/love to do.

I think I need to work on two things in what’s left of 2015. One is better time management. And sleep. So make that three things because the other is weight loss. I gained weight after the initial injury that I never lost. I’ve now spent literally years strengthening my leg and the last six weeks strengthening the rest of me. But I’ve continued to eat like someone who doesn’t need to count cupcakes. That has led me to some internal “discussions” about how I’m putting in all this work and should see the results in the weight loss department–that hasn’t happened because I still justify all the fro yo with various reasons from a good day at work to a bad day at work to a good workout to… you get the point.

I said I don’t make resolutions, but I’m making two now (yes, it’s March). Figure out how to fit in all the STUFF while still getting enough sleep. Then figure out how to gain/enjoy all the benefits of working out in the gym every day. I feel like there are SO many people out there who have the same exact intentions that I figure Google will help me figure this out (I’m sure there are about 1 million web pages devoted to these topics).


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What will you do for an iPad?

Now reread that title to the tune of “What would you do for a Klondike bar?” It’s instantly better, right?

I’ve long been jealous of the persons around me who tap, tap, tap away on their iPads (and now various other handheld tablets). But I’ve never really felt that I could personally justify shelling out the money to buy one of those sleek little technological marvels. I have my computer and my smart phone (which, let’s face it, is pretty much just a small tablet), and I don’t really have the need for more. But that hasn’t stopped me from wanting one. From coveting my neighbor’s possessions.

Now I have a chance to win one. My employer is sponsoring an employee weight loss challenge, and the person who loses the largest percentage of weight will win an iPad. There’s also a random drawing from everyone signed up for a second iPad. I could stand to lose some weight, but more importantly, I can win something that I’ve wanted for years… basically, my whole life.

But how to do this? I have to admit that I have a tough time keeping a healthy diet. I really don’t like to cook, so my very existence is dependent on the convenient food prepared for me and sold in convenient packages in the grocery’s freezer aisle or at the drive-through window at one of several nearby restaurants. As I’m plotting my winning strategy that will lead to an iPad, it occurs to me that I might need to rethink my diet.

Exhibit A. Check out this healthy dessert. It includes strawberries and at least three blueberries, so that’s healthy. Plus, just look at the presentation; nothing that pretty can be bad for you. (I should note that I did not make this. Someone way more talented than me created this masterpiece. I just devoured it.)

Dessert

I’ve tried to do better in recent years, and there are times that I’ll grill chicken on my George Foreman. There have even been times that I’ve steamed fresh broccoli. Fresh. Seriously. I didn’t even know what to do with it the first time I bought fresh broccoli. I did try really hard after surgery to maintain a good diet to make sure my body had all the right nutrients to heal, but I’ve slowly slipped back into the routine of convenience. I’ve been learning more about healthy eating habits because the people around me are much healthier eaters than me, and they luckily don’t mind all my questions about their food. What are you eating? Is it any good? (That’s often said with an upturned nose.) Why are you eating that? Is it good for you? Does it take a long time to make? Do you have to boil water or use more than one kitchen appliance?

The weight loss challenge started this past Monday and runs through June 30. That’s only three months to clean up my act and lose enough weight to win an iPad. I don’t know if it can be done, but I like a good challenge.