A Come-Back to Running

The last 12 months have been a hiatus in my running adventures.  In 2015 I developed achilles tendonitis, which kept my training at a painfully low level.  Then in September, just as I was planning to ramp things up for the fall, I suffered a tear in my left gastrocnemius = end of fall running.  Also in 2015 I struggled increasingly with my left shoulder, which had been damaged and surgically repaired as a teenager.

Fast forward to December 2015, I finally went to an orthopedic surgeon, got my shoulder x-rayed, and was promptly diagnosed with severe arthritis.  The fix? A total shoulder replacement.  Eeeek.  I had never even heard of a total shoulder replacement, and the prospect of going through with it terrified me.  But go through with it I did, after pondering my options through the winter as we traveled around in the Bambi.

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At home after surgery.  Bruce made certain I was well cared for, and the pups kept a careful eye on me.

On April 7, Bruce drove me to Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston , where they replaced my shoulder.  Oh Joy.  And I faced a full year of therapy.  The first three months were painful and frustrating.  It wasn’t until I was in the fourth month post-op that I began to be able to get through the day without constant pain, and life got better.  As the doc suggested, I waited until eight-weeks post op before trying any sort of running at all.

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On June 10, nine weeks post-op, I was just beginning a little bit of run-walk stuff on the treadmill.  That’s my new shoulder in the fore-ground.

I took my first baby-running-steps on a treadmill on my eight-week anniversary.  It was a no-go.  Simply too  must stress on the shoulder joint, which proclaimed it was Not Ready.

 

In the subsequent weeks I played with baby-steps of walk-runs on the treadmill, generally one minute of easy running followed by four to five minutes of walking.  Between lack of cardio fitness, lack of leg strength, a few extra pounds, and the damaged shoulder, this was a very frustrating exercise.  Meanwhile, I continued with thrice-weekly therapy, and resumed gentle gym workouts with faithful, patient Paul at Bridge to Fitness.

Fast forward again: July 31, three months and three weeks post-op.  I hit a terrific milestone.  A complete 10K.  Not a race.  Not fast.  But a complete 10K.  I did it in the gym, on the treadmill, on a day when few people were there and the atmosphere was a blissfully cool, dry 64 degrees.  Awesome.  So I did it.  A milestone to celebrate.  Maybe this will happen.  It will take time and patience.  I’m still struggling with the achilles.  But this 10K it represents significant progress.

 

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