Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Measurable Progress

Ok - I have measurable progress!  The chart on the left shows each of my runs (1 dot = 1 run, size of the dot = length of the run).  It's Heartrate/speed on the Y axis, and date on the X axis.  Lower is better - i.e. your heartrate is lower for a given speed, or you can run faster for a given heartrate.

The blue rectangle on the left is pre-surgery, post marathon, when I was fit.  At my fittest I was running high 17's for HR/speed.  The purple box in the middle is when I decided to get a little back into shape pre surgery.  You can see how quickly progress is made.

The red circle shows my first tentative post-surgery runs; they were all 1-2 miles and pretty slow (9ish pace).

The last 5 runs I have started to stretch things out a little. I'm up to 4 miles and running around 8 minute pace.  The data shows a nice little cluster right around 20.

Looking back over my training log I can see that I can get from >20 to under 18 pretty easily in about 3 months, so I'll just follow a similar plan to that time.

Spoke to my doctor today, and he is encouraged by the progress and lack of pain at the injury site.  He was also happy (and a little surprised I think) that I have kept it slow and only gradually increased miles.  I have some tightness in the inner thigh muscles, but he wasn't worried about that.  He wants another 3 weeks of running first.  Although it's only 5 weeks since surgery he was fairly confident that I should make a 100% recovery.  I see him again on December 17th.

Plus, had my first rainy run today - it was good to get out in the rain and mud again.  It was also my first time running two days in a row since early August.  So fingers crossed, it's all looking good.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Still Going

Things continue to progress, albeit fairly slowly.  I'm running every 2-3 days and am now up to 3.5 miles!  Still pretty slow stuff, although I did manage to dip under 8 minute pace the other day for a mile or so - and nothing burst out of my abdomen like something from Alien.  Surgery seems to be healing well, fitness is still noticeably absent, but I don't expect that to really change while only running 5-10 easy miles per week.

I'm going to try 4-5 runs this week, which will mean some two-days-in-a-row runs.  We'll see how that goes, but if there are no issues I'll try for 5-6 days next week, and then 6-7 the week after.  I am tentatively planning to try some strides (100 metre runs at a "fast" pace) on the 10th, which will be 7 weeks after surgery. 

Then I revisit the doc on the 17th, when he will hopefully declare me "cured" and I can start working on the next injury.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Slow, Steady Progress

This whole, common sense and patience thing is really no fun.  I've now run 4 times, or every other day since last Friday.  I hit a long of 2.3 miles yesterday, at a blistering 8:42 pace.  It's weird to get ready to run, go out and then be back home within 15-20 minutes.  I'm used to going out for 2+ hours.

But things seem to be progressing well.  No pain from running, which is really all I'm asking at this point.  I'll keep the every other day schedule for a while and keep slowly building up the mileage. If I'm up to 5 miles most days by the first week of December I'll be happy.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The road back...

I saw Dr. Brown today for my post surgery followup.  He went through the surgery pictures with me and showed me what he did.  It turns out that I'd only ripped the first two layers of muscle on each side, not all three.

Overall he was happy with the recovery although the bruising was worse than normal.  The good news is that he OK'd me to start some easy running. Nothing fast, and nothing far.  Just an easy 8-10 minute mile.  He said that if it hurts I should stop.  If I need to sit on the couch and recover for an hour afterwards I need to take a day off.  If it's OK then I can slowly increase the distance and see how it goes.  I need to let common sense be my guide, which may be a problem.....

So I went out and ran late this afternoon.  Just an easy mile and a bit round the neighborhood.  I didn't have any pain in the surgery area and it felt far more comfortable than my last pre-surgery run.  So it looks like it has been successful.

Fitness is a completely different matter.  I am pretty out of shape.  One of the key metrics I use is to look at my average heartrate for a run, divided by my average speed (miles per hour).  As fitness increases this decreases.  Obviously longer runs, and hilly runs can skew the data but I find it a reasonable measure of fitness when trended over time.  Here's a chart that shows how it has been since early August (when I was in the best shape of my life).

To explain the numbers consider a 10k race (6.2 miles).  If I run one of these I can pretty much expect my average heartrate to be about 170-172.  If my fitness (HR/speed) is at it's pre-surgery peak of 18 my speed would be 9.55 mph, which is 6:17 mins/mile, so 39:03 for a 10k. That's the kind of shape I was in (although I never actually ran a 10k that fast...).  At my post surgery fitness level of 21 that same 10k would be at 8.2 mph, which is 7:20 mins/mile, or 45:34 for the 10k.  So I have my work cut out to get back up to speed!

The plan is to run 3 days and then add 1/2 mile to the distance.  All slow miles in the 8-10 min/mile range.  That will be the routine for the next 4 weeks.  If that goes well I will be up to 5 miles by my birthday (November 29th), which will be about 6 weeks post surgery.

If that goes well, I can start thinking about adding in some faster and longer stuff. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

2 Weeks Done

It's been 2 weeks since the surgery, so 1 more week of walking before I can start "jogging and gentle running in straight lines".  I'm still not sure exactly what that it 100 yards at 12 min pace or is that 10 miles at 8 min pace?  I am seeing my Doctor on Firday for a post-surgery checkup so will get his input.

Swelling has pretty much subsided, bruising is still there but beginning to change from black to red/yellow.  I guess another couple weeks before that is fully gone.  No ibuprofen for the last 5 days so I'm officially through the painful phase.  Walking is pain free (depending on what I'm wearing) and sleeping is no longer uncomfortable.

So overall it's been good progress this last week.