Success: Two Marathons and Surgery

Why hello there! The last few months have certainly been interesting. I made it through two fall marathons and in early December had surgery on my left peroneal brevis tendon. And…..I am back running.

Let me do a quick catch up. Chicago, my beloved hometown. I really enjoyed just getting to do this race. I enjoyed staying at one of my favorite Chicago hotels. I had dinner with friends. The weather was perfect. And I finished with relatively little pain…in 4:34. Not too bad at all.

A few weeks later, I tackled Indy. It was a bit chilly which made it even more perfect weather than Chicago. Again, I ran smart, walked when I needed to, enjoyed the race, and finished with a 4:30 time. My foot was angry before I even started and I was thinking I might get a DNF in Indy. Nope, not in the cards. I was really emotional as I approached the finish line. I knew my surgery was coming and all the uncertainty around my running future really snuck up on me. It was such a mix of…”woo-hoo I am done”, “I made it!”, and “Dear God, let me get to do this again. I have so much more in me to discover.” 

And then just a few weeks later, I ran a two miler on a chilly December morning. So curious as to when I would run next. My foot ached that whole two miles, but yet I had to run, because I could. My surgery was later that afternoon. 

This was my last mile home before surgery. I shed a few years of frustration at this intersection. I was happy to be able to get out for a quick run. I was really unhappy that I could not have any fluids. Man, I really wanted a cup of coffee. The nursing staff totally understood and had brewed a pot for me while I was in recovery. When I got home, my hubby made me some bulletproof coffee while I settled in on the couch. The pain definitely led to some “what have I done to myself” moments. Sleeping was hard. Bathing was a circus. I hated not be able to take care of myself.

Recovery was hard. With other injuries, I could workout all through. With my stress fracture  I swam, cycled and worked with weights. This was “sit and do nothing” recovery for the first two weeks. I was weight-bearing in a boot and without crutches at two weeks. Whew that was slow going. But I was lucky. My tendon was not as bad off as the MRI indicated and I did not have to be in a cast. This meant mobility and bloodflow…and better healing.

Within a month I was cycling with my boot on. I also did a ton of squats, ab work, and upper body work. Even with the additional activity, I was losing muscle mass. I lost a half an inch off my left calf. And while I tried to keep my diet in check, weight began to slowly  creep on. Just in time, at 4 weeks post op, came the removal of my boot and the thumbs up for physical therapy. My doctor was very impressed with my recovery. 

During my third week of PT I got to “run” on the eliptical for 5 mins. I was sooooo happy. The therapist then said I would be on the treadmill the following week. I swear I have never looked forward to running on the treadmill. Never. But that whole next week it was all I could think about. The week could not go fast enough. When the time came to run, I walked for two minutes and hit the 6mph button and feel right into my gait. The body really does remember what it should feel like. My legs felt fine. My foot was quiet. My lungs where on fire and my heart was about to burst outta my chest. It was hard. I got released from PT that day with instructions to walk run no more than two miles 3x a week. I was estatic! 

Oh man. It was so hard. I couldn’t get my breathing down. My heart rate would hit over 200 during my run minutes. Those first two weeks were rough. Then it got a bit easier. My heart rate stayed under 180. I ran two 1 mile repeats on a gorgeous February afternoon. And, it has been easier with each run. My scar is a bit stingy still, but it is not too bad. It has a couple of thick spots I have to massage regularly.

Now, I am back on pace. Heart rate is back down to about 160-165 while running. I am rowing and cycling my days off running. I am trying to carve off the extra 7 pounds I picked up. I have actually had to use Myfitnesspal again and it is working. My mileage is increasing and that helps too. I hit 11 miles this week with two 3 milers and a 5 miler for my “long run”. I have restrained myself from signing up for a spring race so far, but am now targeting a local 12K the first week of May.

As for longer races, I am registered for Chicago and Indy Monumental in the fall. I am excited to be running again and with more speed than while injured. Come June, I’ll add in tempo runs, and eventually some speed work. For now, it is a slow build but I am so grateful to be back at it.

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