Full Circle. Almost. Again.

In the last installment of Black Dog shenanigans here, we left you on the edge of your seats, (just work with me here people), waiting to see how the latest attempt at post-surgical recovery/rehab shenanigans was moving along.  My angel-winged running neighbor had recommended this GUY, who, as it turns out, has proven to be the man.  As in THE Man.  As in, after more than two years since all of this #brokeknee crap started, has actually been able to, ya know – FIX MY SHIT – and get me running kind of like a normal running person does.

elmo dance.gif

I’ll make this short as I know your attention span isn’t any better than mine.

Wait.

What?

Was I saying you something?

Oh yeah.  Running rehab shenanigans.

Anywho, this GUY, not only shoved a finger in that lovely area known as the piriformis, which was immediately followed by a string of cursing the like has never emitted from my goody two shoes yap –

incredulous-owls

Lady, you’re not fooling anyone.  Stop embarrassing yourself.

– but within about 10 seconds had figured out what was actually broken THIS TIME.  Say it along with me kids…

“Since you’ve got a completely shut down broke ass on your right side, your left side has stepped up to the plate, tried to do the work for both sides, and has now decided it’s had enough of this malarky.  It’s sending you the message, with all due respect, to go eff yourself, it’s tapping out.”

Well now.  That’s pretty…..specific.

What’s a frustrated runner idiot girl to do?  Get to work of course.  On BOTH sides of dear ol’ broke ass.

get back to work.jpg

The next few weeks consisted of such insanity as hip and glute strength building, cursing at my new BFF Torture Tony, Elastigirl-like stretching sessions, more cursing, zapping, icing, resistance band exercises I have to determine the validity of or if Torture Tony was just effing with me, more cursing, and oh yes….running.  Remember running?  That bastard of a sport that started all this nonsense in the first place?  That activity over which us runner idiots types have no power to ignore, like a mythological siren’s song?   Yeah, that one.

Jackass.

crying runner.png

After sweating and swearing through four weeks of visits to the GUY and Torture Tony, I was as ready as I could be.  I tried to ignore the knots in my gut that kept telling me…

Too bad you didn’t find these guys a year ago.”

You haven’t run further than 9.5 miles before your leg implodes, you know.”

“You’re an idiot.”

“There’s a big, fat Ghiradelli sea salt dark chocolate bar in the freezer.”

“Could you possibly be any more undertrained for this if you tried?”

“You’re an idiot.”

“You’re going to have so much kinesio tape on your leg you may get mistaken for a mummy.”

“Have I mentioned you’re an idiot?”

Next up, the final chapter.  Thrilled this painful journey is almost over aren’t ya?  It’s okay.  I understand.

resting-bitch-face-dog-3

Seriously. Killing me.

Enjoy the ride.

How long have you given a new type of therapy before giving up on it?  Have you ever had to apologize for swearing at your doctor?  Did you find the therapy got a bit more “intense” after unleashing on him/her?  Do you have cute pet names for him/her?

Reset.

Sometimes that’s the only thing you can do.

resetbutton

Blogging around these parts for the past year has been sporadic at best, in case you hadn’t noticed.  Between school, my job from hell, and, oh yes, that little ditty called LIFE, my brain was being pulled in so many different directions, it felt like I was coming apart at the seams.  Every damn day was becoming a battle, so much so that the brain had nothing left to vomit.  In fact, I’m pretty sure it just suffered a major meltdown.

stressed

I hope I’m not jinxing myself,  but it seems like things have FINALLY somewhat calmed down, at least to a more respectable level of chaos.  I had to make some hard decisions to try and reduce the stress level, and they seem to be working for the moment.  I was over the whole going to the gym thing – not for any particular reason, just over it.  Without really putting much thought into it, the hubs and I started using that Amazon Prime membership to the extreme and began collecting random sets of free weights.  Then Pilates balls.  Then a weight rack for all those randomly selected weights.  Now a weight bench.  Lo and behold, before we even really noticed, we’ve now got ourselves a sweet little convenient garage gym, complete with live entertainment.

Wonder Mutt gym dog.jpg

“Let’s go lady, I ain’t got all day.”

In all honesty, it’s pretty damn awesome to just walk out the hall door and get a good sweat on, even if it is a million degrees and you’re sweating just breathing.  But when you look down and see this fuzzy face looking at you like you’re insane, it makes it all worth it.

Even if she does occasionally find it necessary to add a little more unnecessary resistance.

As I start really buckling down for November’s Wine and Dine Half, the cross-training aspect is going to play a major part of the training process this time around.  This will be my last Wine and Dine Half, at least for a while, (yes, I AM that whiny one who’s still pissed about all the changes to what was the best race EVER), and I need to be smart about finding the balance between what I hope to accomplish – a 2:00-2:15 half – and nursing the knees along for the first race post #brokeknee surgery x2 (recaps here, here, and here).  Every run so far has been somewhat of a mystery as I get used to a new reality of what strange crap I’m going to feel each time out.  I’ve been assured by my PT, chiro, and two orthos that I’m not doing any more damage to my knees, so I can do whatever I need to do at whatever pain level I can handle, if any.  As opposed to before the surgeries, the pain is now pretty constant, but at such a low level that I barely notice it anymore, unless I move funny and tweak something.  I take this as a win when before, the pain would peak and stay there, making any kind of speed next to impossible.

Pain tolerable was what I was shooting for post surgery, and pain tolerable is what I’ve got. #ftw!

pain tolerable

And it’s all good.

The balance will come into play big time this training cycle around with cross-training.  I need to build up the strength in the muscles surrounding my knees, slowly build up the mileage, and really just listen to what the good ol’ bod is saying.  Feeling too beat up today?  No problem!  Yoga it is.  Feeling that LSD run from a couple of days ago?  Off to the pool we go.  Need some extra muscle cuddle time?  Well, looky what we’ve got here!

Let's go lady

“Move it woman.  These weights ain’t gonna lift themselves.”

She’s a bit of a taskmaster.

The training runs so far have been slow and an exercise in patience, but now I look forward to each one – as opposed to before when I was dreading what would happen around Mile 6.  I’ve made some adjustments to my equipment, (hello compression knee sleeves!), and no longer have to wear the dreaded Monster Brace From Hell.

So the name of the game this time around will be “let’see what’s going on today.”  Not exactly the model of half marathon training plans, but hey, it works for me.  I look forward to every run now, I’m loving life in the land of garage workouts, and I have a new chiro who doesn’t waste her breath telling me I shouldn’t run.  Hopefully, the tropic steaminess will start to back off a little, caution and patience will pay off, the knees will cooperate, and the encouragement I’m getting from the hubby and running friends alike will continue.  I’ll check in along the way and hopefully have more than a few humorous training escapades to report. Until then my running buddies, may your runs be pain-free, the swampass minimal, and the run-ins with Zika skeeters non-existent.

skeeters

Bastards.

 

Enjoy the ride.

Are you currently training for a fall race?  Does your training plan include cross-training?  Are you angry with the changes to the Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend?

 

 

 

What A Difference A (Few) Days Make

Remember how I was trying not to get too freaked out about this?  Well, a few days of rest, and a few days at the gym, and I think I’m back to where I should be.

Yes! Yesyesyesyesyesyesyes!!!!!

Yes! Yesyesyesyesyesyesyes!!!!!

I’m still giving it another week before I run again, but in the meantime, I’ve been hitting the weights.  HARD.  Like post leg day penguin waddle hard.

leg day waddle

Yep. That’s me.

I even busted out my dinosaur of an indoor bike trainer and cranked out a few miles in my sauna of a garage, while watching the final stage of the Tour de France.  I like to be inspired by all the muscley legs and overpriced fancy wheels.  Unlike this bargain basement beast.

She may be ugly, but I love her.

She may be ugly, but I love her.

I’ve even busted out that byatch of a foam roller at PT Pam’s advice, and as always, ice is my constant companion.  Isn’t it amazing how much better a mindset you can have with just a little bit of reduction in pain?  Even if you’re scaring your mutt with words coming out of your yap that would make a sailor blush in the process?

Excuse me, WHAT did you just say???

Excuse me. WHAT did you just say???

The plan for the next few weeks is to keep working the beejesus out of my legs, get back on the road again, and start building up that mileage.  S-L-O-W-L-Y.  I’ve got 102 days until Wine and Dine so I can’t go TOO slowly, but I’m not going to risk injuring #brokeknee part II before I can get it fixed, hopefully a few days after Wine and Dine.  Maybe by then, I’ll have actually paid off #brokeknee part I.  A girl CAN dream after all….

debt

If I haven’t already bored you to tears with the snail’s pace of my post-surgery shenanigans, hang in there.  I promise to litter my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds with all kinds of silly, feather-brained, muddle-headed miles.  (I have no idea what muddle-headed even means, but it sounded good.)  And who knows?  Somewhere along the way, I may even find that running doesn’t have to hurt quite so much as it has in the past.  Not really sure what to make of that.  Hmmmm….

hmm

Enjoy the ride.

Have you ever found that a little rest and NOT running actually HELPED your running?  How long before you felt truly comfortable back on the road again?  Have you ever cursed so much you made your critters blush?

Setbacks: A Study in Patience

Of which I have none.

impatient

So here’s the dealio.  Just as I’m about to break up with PT Pam, #brokeknee decides to act up.  BIG time.  I’d been pushing my speed for short bursts during my last few runs.  If for no other reason than I haven’t been able to do any speed work for years.  Yes, you read that right.  YEARS.  Soooo, last Monday at my PT session, PT Pam puts me on the treadmill.  Where, once again, I say to myself, “Self?  Let’s see what you can do on this horrible thing, shall we?”  Now, knowing the speed on the dreadmill is WAY off in comparison to the pretty little numbers I’ve been seeing on my trusty GPS, I kept hitting the speed plus button.  And hitting it.  And hitting it again.  All the way to that lovely point I lovingly call the death pace.  You know the one.  The speed where lead legs kick in, stitches stick in your side, and breathing is a long-lost, fond memory.

C'mon Bridge, we got this.

C’mon Bridge, we got this.”

I had that blasted machine going faster than what it was telling me, and I started to suspect I hadn’t moved my dupa that fast since I was about 12.  But, I managed to keep it going at breakneck speed for a couple of minutes.  As I kicked it back for a cooldown, I started feeling a bit of discomfort in the spot.  You know. The SPOT.  The one started all this aggravation many, many, many moons ago.

Later that night and into the next day, that old familiar ache was back.  And I was PISSED.  When I went back to PT Pam a couple of days later – for what was SUPPOSED to be our big breakup – I was still pissed.  She figured I’d aggravated my….wait for it…..IT BAND.  (Cue dramatic music here).  You know what I’m talking about.  The same no-good IT band I thought was the source of all this crap for the past few years.  Yeah….THAT one.  I swear sometimes I’m cursed.

Angry bird's got nothing on me.

Angry bird’s got nothing on me.

All that bitchin’ aside, I’m happy to report the ache has subsided quite a bit, but my first run back beachside wasn’t nearly as pleasant as I would have liked.  Thank goodness the hubby ran with me.  (I don’t think he realizes how much he pushes me just by being next to me.  And that is a very good thing.  Just don’t tell him, I wouldn’t want it to go to his head.:)

I’m trying to take all of this in stride – no pun intended – and stop all the crazy thoughts of here we go friggin’ again – from racing around in my already overloaded, game-show-dollar-machine brain.  I’m yelling “plot twist!” and changing up the game for a couple of weeks.  I’m headed to the Keys in a few weeks and there’s no way I’m NOT running in that tropical paradise.  In order to get me there, the game plan will be all about biking, swimming, and walking.  I’m still going to breakup with PT Pam tomorrow, but I feel good about it.  Especially since I can do all the exercises on my own, and have pulled out and dusted off my trusty little muscle stim machine and foam roller.  Oh, and did I mention hitting the leg weights?  HARD?  If there’s one thing this runner chick has learned, it’s to embrace the sweat, pain, and tears of the cross-train.

leg day toilet

Any words of encouragement would come in pretty handy right now, so feel free to share any interesting, inspiring, little ditties of wisdom.  Or you can just yell at me to quit my whining and get my ass back in gear.  You wouldn’t be the first.  If you happened to be peeking in my bedroom window yesterday you would’ve seen me doing the same thing in the mirror.  BEFORE I called the cops about some creep peeking in my window.  But thanks for the good intentions.  Creep.

Enjoy the ride.

What inspiring words of wisdom do you have for a friend in need?  Are you the arm-around-the-shoulders type of or more the Jillian-Michaels-scream-your-head-off type?  What do you respond to more?  Are you a fountain of patience or ready to ram your head through the door after a minor setback in training?

Getting It Done – Wherever You May Be

Who ever said you can’t get as good a workout at home as you can at the gym must have been overdosed on endorphins.

funny-puppy-gym-weights

Due to my schedule lately, it’s just been easier to work out at home.  Legs of course, are a bit of a challenge because – OH YEAH – I can’t BEND my knees.  (Ever notice how much of your day is spent with bent knees when you’re NOT supposed to?)  But I muddle through with the therapy exercises The Man gave me, and the hubby even went and picked me up a set of dumbbells.  Combined with this great little tiki bar I know, I’ve got all the makings of a great at-home gym.  Heck, I even have a little local college inspiration!

Don't you have ducks and dog dishes at your gym too?

Don’t you have ducks and dog dishes at your gym too?

2015 is my year of NO EXCUSES and I think I’m off to a pretty good start with this lovely, little, sweat-inducing brain child.  Have I mentioned the other gym members are pretty good at providing any required assistance at any given moment?  Or at least when not terrorizing the neighborhood feather gang or chasing tennis balls.

I got ya Mom.  I got ya.

I got ya Mom. I got ya.

Of course, as helpful as Wonder Mutt may be, it often leads to extended workout time as her idea of fitness is plopping all 53 pounds of her on top of me – as added ab resistance, I’m sure – and using as much force as possible to shove that cold, wet nose under my arms as I’m trying to plank.  I do have to give her credit though, as maintaining balance while being Labrattacked can become quite an adventure.  If I don’t come out of this in a few months with washboard abs and superior balancing ability, it certainly won’t be because of the Wonder Mutt Workout.

Let's go lady!  Squeeze those abs!

Let’s go lady! Squeeze those abs!

So if you’re having a bit of a hard time getting to the sweat store, and feel those pants starting to tighten up a bit, let me make a recommendation.  Grab yourself a mat, a couple sets of dumbbells and resistance bands, dust off that pain-in-the-ass (literally) foam roller, and just start MOVING.  If it takes a little bit longer than you’d like due to (ahem) furry interference (ahem), then just accept the kind offer and move on.  You have my permission to fib a little to your significant other that the additional doggy drool on your face actually IS sweat.  I won’t tell anyone.  Promise.

Not Wonder Mutt, but I'm sure it's just a matter of time....

Not Wonder Mutt, but I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before this ends up on my face….

 

Enjoy the ride.

Do you work out at home or a gym?  Do you feel like you get a better workout at one versus the other?  Does your mutt like to actively participate in your exercise regimen?  Do you think perhaps doggy drool may acutally be good for your complexion?

New Year’s Resolutions? Who Me?

Yeah…..not so much.

2015-logo

How many of you get sucked into the annual whirling vortex of all things New Year’s promises, just to find yourself back on the couch stuffing your yap with leftover Christmas cookies and Moose Tracks? You?  You?  You too?  You there, the one with the hideous Christmas sweater?  No, the one next to you.  Yup.  I feel ya.  Why do we insist on this annual rite of passage just to find ourselves back at square one a few months later?

fat cat

It’s just a little holiday weight.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for starting over and hopefully getting things right.  Unlike retail stores who make their profits starting on Black Friday, I think fitness centers absolutely LOVE January as their sales go up exponentially.  And each month after that, the numbers slowly but surely start to decrease, but the money has already been deposited.  Kudos to strategically timed membership sales.

I’m no different.  From November until now, my visits to gymworld have been, well, less than stellar – noticeable in both my pants and the scale.  Hello Black Dog Blob, how you doin’?

blob-cartoon

Every year I tell myself I will resolve to NOT make any resolutions, and I usually do a pretty good job at sticking at it. HA! Who am I kidding?  I may not necessarily SAY I’m making any resolutions, but you can damn well bet your dupa I still do, at least in my own game-show-dollar-machine-whirling brain.  Resolutions that usually include me swearing I’m going to end the year looking something like this.

Oh Abby, how do you do it?

Hey, a girl can dream, can’t she?

Inevitably though, reality eventually sets in, (somewhere around the 4th gallon of Moose Tracks), the F5 tornado of my brain calms down, and I get back into normal operating mode: eat as healthy as I can, (Moose Tracks and cheese aside of course), chase the elusive sleep elf most nights, hit up the gym, (but only to the point where I don’t feel the need to choke the ever-living crap out of someone), and pray that the running gods look favorably on my knees.  And swear that THIS will be the year I bust out of Introvertland and PR in SOMETHING.  Even if it is in new-found patience.

patience-3

I invite you to come along with me on my journey to Challenge and Acceptance Land.  It should be a roller coaster ride of epic proportions, with momentary pit stops for occasional food and wine indulgences, backed up with chocolate and margarita side trips.  Sound good to you?  Well then, let’s not waste another moment of valuable time.  Please secure all personal items below your seat.  Make sure your mutt’s seat belt is securely fastened, and hang on the hell on.  Because I’m sure the ride is going to get very bumpy at times.  But the adrenaline rush will make it OH SO WORTH IT.

Whooooohooooooo!!!!

Whooooohooooooo!!!!

 

Enjoy the ride.

Do you fall into the New Year’s resolution pit every year?  Ever stick with them?  Is wine or ice cream an integral part of them?

Progress. I Think.

Ten months in the gym and I haven’t smacked anyone yet.  Now that’s what I call progress!Gym Bitch

Okay well, there IS that.  But other than annoying non-weight rackers, the weird-distracting-arm-circles-while-on-the-bike-guy, stinky chic, and the insufferable WHY CAN’T YOU JUST WIPE OFF THE FREAKIN’ MACHINE WHEN YOU’RE DONE SWEATING ALL OVER KINGDOM COME people, my return to gymdom has actually been pretty enjoyable.  Now that’s not to say I haven’t had some downer moments, especially lately, but I’m doing my best to keep a good attitude.  After all, at least I still CAN work out.  Just like this guy.

funny-puppy-gym-weights

Yes, fuzzy butt. I do.

Ever notice how much time you spend bending your knees, especially when you can’t?  Per doctor’s orders, no bending the patellas more than 90 degrees, and especially, no more than 30 degrees when doing leg extensions.  Talk about actually having to pay attention to what you’re doing.  And if you know me at all, then you know my attention span doesn’t exactly fall in the spectacular department.  But as long as I can still work up a sweat and feel like I’m accomplishing SOMETHING, then I’m happy with that.  Accomplish that something without actually dropping a weight on an irritating, self-absorbed gym rat? Now that’s what I call a WIN.

Victory-is-mine-294x300

And really.  Who can be irritated when after more than FOUR YEARS, the hubby has been able to consistently run WITHOUT FOOT PAIN?  Yes, that’s right, NO FOOT PAIN.  Let me say it again in case you didn’t get it the first ten times – NO FOOT PAIN!  Seriously peoples, you have no idea how big a marvelous, stupendous, spectacular deal that is.  Even the achy legs he has after running outside yesterday is worth every bit of lactic acid buildup.  (Between you and me, I think it may have had something to do with the fancy new shoes he got on sale at Shoebuy for $75.)

Ed's Brooks

Ooooooooh, pretty.

Did I mention I spent half an hour on the phone the other day with The Man’s nurse?  Let me tell ya, that woman is a plethora of all things knee knowledge.  She spent all that time explaining to me why we’re traversing the road of conservatism with my knees.  In a nutshell, I need to alleviate the inflammation.  Then – and stick with me here a minute – I need to actually INFLAME them all over again, but at a more “manageable” level.  Remember I told you the back of my patellas were all chewed up and ripping up the cartilage behind them?  Well, I actually need to let them do that.  Why in the name of all that is ibuprofen, do you need to DO that Black Dog, you may ask?  Because.  If I let my body “plane out” the cartilage/patella naturally – instead of surgically – then it will do that to the specific angles that it needs, whereas a surgeon might not be able to do so.  Basically, surgery would be a best guess scenario versus Mother Nature knows what she’s doing kind of deal.

Yeah I got this.  And this lynx too.

Yeah I got this. And this lynx too.

Patience is called for in this scenario.  E-GADS.  I’m more of an immediate gratification kind of gal.  (That’s why I can almost get on board with Amazon Prime’s two-day shipping.  Almost.)  I need these knees to be fixed YESTERDAY.  Hear that, Mama of All Things Wise and Furry?  YES-TER-DAY.  I promise not to over-water the plants, under-water the flowers, or stomp out any bugs.  Except the roaches.  All bets are off with those nasty, nuclear-holocaust-surviving-creepers-of-ick.  Just get these suckers better.  Fast.  And feel free to take out a few of these ick monsters along the way.

Not a chance scumhead.

Not a chance scumhead.

So if patience is what I need to have, then patient I will be.  I almost sound like I mean that, don’t I?  In the meantime, please feel free to keep me distracted/entertained/pinned down and beaten until the parts have decided to forgive me for years of punishment.  After all, what does one do once one has healed but start the beat-down all over again?  Hmmm, sounds curiously like the definition of runner…

 

Enjoy the ride.

Ever find being patient more difficult than long runs or speed work?  Are you a killer of all things green?  When is the last time you felt the urge to throw a dumb bell at someone?