Tales of the Amazing Human Body

Hi there! I’ve missed you… I’ve missed blogging…. so many things (bad, good, and great!) over the last several weeks. 

(Bad – I have only got 1 more muscle up. Great – I got accepted to a professional development program by my employer)

 

I’m not entirely sure where the entire month of June went… other than lots of work, pool time, and puppy snuggles.

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Tonight, I am feeling sentimental … so I wanted to write about it. Of course, it’s about a workout..

The prescribed WOD was a two-parter.  The first part was CrossFit Endurance.  1 Mile for Time.  All day I stressed about this workout. Running has never been my forte – especially since my knee surgery.  I wanted to cherry-pick the WOD (aka: skip!) but I didn’t. I figured it was time to face my fear.

I will just jump right to it, because as it turns out, I set a 1 mile PR tonight!  I ran it in 8:30.

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Prior 1 mile would be 9 mins + some change.  

I know I’ve never been a fast runner.  And 8:30 is not “impressively fast” and it is far from the “gold standard” of 7-min mile set by my CF Coaches.  But it was a spectacular feeling for me tonight.

Realizing that 1-year ago, I literally cried in Physical Therapy as I did toe raises (i.e.: stand flat footed – raise to toes – and lower). My stitches had only been out for 3 days and I was still taking pain meds every six hours. 

 

Flashback Photo:

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What felt like torture at the time … and felt like I would never be “me” again…. time passed. Eventually (about 6 months ago), I got a full medical release.  I put in a lot of hard work. And I can’t wait to see where the next year takes me!

 

 

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3 new PRs

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This has been quite an exciting week on all fronts. 
 
So let’s see, on the professional front…. it was my busy week. But through it all I stayed focused and level headed. I made a diligent effort to rise early in the morning so that I would have time to leave (workout) and log back on in the evenings. 
 
I got my yearly review and raise. Nice to know that my hard work over 2013 was appreciated and I’m being compensated fairly.
 
On the personal front… I’ve been quite productive.  Last Saturday I sold my 2006 Scion tC. That was a somewhat bitter sweet day. I bought that car, brand new, in February of 2006. She was a good car. But between the Jeep, Escape, Scion, and G’s work Trailblazer… we just had too many vehicles.
 
Another personal/home front, I filed our taxes this weekend. This is the first year in a few years that we will finally not owe (and Owe a LOT). The past couple years were some freak anomalies…and this year we have a nice small(ish) return coming to us. 
 
Okay, and the fitness front… holy hell this has been a very exciting week!!
 
One of my good friends at CrossFit finally got her first Muscle Up!  She has been working on it for many months. She’s seen many other people get their firsts’ in the gym.  She nursed a sore shoulder. But through it all, she continued to try.  Finally… it clicked for her. And I couldn’t be more excited for her!
 
 
 
I’ve got THREE new 1 Rep Max PR’s
 – 156 lbs BackSquat 
 – 105 lbs Strict Press
 – 265 lbs Deadlift  
 
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The back squat was on Sunday. My left knee/quad is still slowly making gains from the ACL surgery nearly 9 months ago.  I feel like my back squat should be more…but I know I need to be patient, it will come.
 
The strict press was completed on Tuesday. I know that I could do a 4 reps a 85lbs… so I wasn’t quite sure what to look for in my 1RM. Turns out, 105lbs was it! I had to take two runs at it… funny how 100lbs went up “easy” but adding 5 lbs made it feel so heavy. I didn’t breath right or tighten my core and barely lifted it above my nose.  Taking a breather and re-approaching the bar with all the right form… I got 105 lbs up!
 
Then on Thursday, I found another PR. This was probably the most shocking. I’ve never really found my 1RM Deadlift. Before the injury i had lifted 170lbs; but during the Open WOD 14.3 I ended up lifting 185 lbs for 19 reps. So, I knew I had to be at least 200-something. Most of the girls I workout with have ~225lb so that’s what I was shooting for…. it went up rather easy. Building up slowly (because I didn’t know where to aim) I kept going. I was ready to stop, so that we could get on with the WOD but my coach decided to have me do it one more time.  He loaded up the bar (I didn’t do the math) and he told me to lift it.  And I did!  265 lbs.  And while it was hard… I do not think it was my MAX effort.  BOOM. 
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Having these milestone markers will really help me gauge where I am (where I’ve been) and where I am going in the strength department.
 
And then … there’s the CrossFit Open.  For many people it seems to be getting harder, but for me It’s been getting easier. Considering it started with Double Unders, that’s really the only directly it could go for me.  
 
Since we only have one more week of the Open remaining, I’ll just wait to post a recap when complete.
 
Hell of a week, my friends.  I look forward to another great one!
 
Oh – and Happy Spring! (This is first day of spring 2012, downtown STL)
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Four Months Recovery

I’m about 4 months and 5 days post-surgery. ACL reconstruction and Meniscus repair are serious business! Much more than I originally gave it credit for….the road has been long… and I’m about 2/3 of the way to the “all clear” mark. At least in terms of general timeframe. I have no idea how long it will take me to get there physically.

I signed up for a local gym at my employers office… I will be hitting up those ellipticals and treadmills next week!

But, tonight I headed to my CF Box to work on a little PT action. I’ve definitely been slacking in that department and I need to get it into gear if I plan to truly be “released” for the new year! 

I designed a WOD that focused on all the muscles that I need to be working on. It smoked me. I was in pain, sweating, and winded. It was a great one!

  • For Time:
    • 500m Row
    • 40 lunges
    • 30 good mornings
    • 20 squats
    • 10 step ups (ended up doing 20 small ones)
    • 1 min plank
    • 10 step ups (again, did 20)
    • 20 squats
    • 30 good mornings
    • 40 lunges
    • 500m row
    • 1 min plank

The whole thing took me 23 minutes. Body weight squats are getting better (aka: deeper) and the lunges are getting slightly easier (aka: rely less on my broomstick handle for balance).

My left quad feels like it’s on fire. And my right quad (probably still favored the left and carried more weight) was locking up on me during my final plank.

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Left leg lacks the definition of the right (more visible in the shimmer of light — see how that line is shaped differently)

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A much more “obvious” view of the size difference between my two quads. Rough measurements indicate that my right thigh is a full 1 inch (or more) larger than the left.

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My pants left some impression (due to swelling) but you can tell that scars are healing nicely and minimal swelling.

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This is my view whenever I try to lay on the floor….. two happy, drooling, panting puppies!! xoxo


Post-Surgery: Three Months

Editors Note: I typed this blog post on Sunday, Aug 22. Evidently I forgot to publish.

 

I am half-way there!!

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I feel like I am about 70% recovered (physically) but only 50% of the way through the recovery period. I’m entering dangerous territory. Most ACL re-injuries occur during the fourth month (or so) when the patient feels 100% but the graft has not fully fused.

The appointment with Dr. Wright, orthopedic surgeon, on Tuesday went very well. He congratulated me on my progress. He admitted that he was a little worried during my last check up but I’ve come a long way. Virtually no swelling and full Rang of Motion has been recovered.

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Knee rehab is a lot like riding a roller coaster. There are some pretty big ups and some scary downs. You can’t let the ‘downs’ get into your head.

 

So, what does 70% look and feel like?

  • Well, I’m able to row at CrossFit with both feet. No more skate board! I don’t have the explosive power that I need, but that will come. I’ve also made it to the box four times this week!
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  • Full straightening (weight bearing or not) is still a struggle and at times pretty painful. If I ease my way into it, it’s alright. But if I just go to lock it out… no bueno.
  • I’ve worn wedges (shoes) once. It left me rather sore the next day.
  • I still hold on to the railing on the stairs, but sometimes I think that’s more out of habit at this point.
  • I’m no longer going to physical therapy… and I don’t go see the doc until mid-December. Between now and then, I’m supposed to start jogging and doing other cardiovascular activities. (This instills quite a bit of fear in me. It is time I start to trust my knee, and that is much easier said than done.)
  • Working on the scar tissue… scar massage as well. Trying to bust up the build up on the side. Due to some oddities in the nerve regeneration, I can touch in one spot and feel it halfway down my leg on the other side. I hear from others this is sorta normal.
  • Quad strength is slowly coming back. Seeing some slight definition in my left thigh… but it is still much smaller than my right.
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Following the M.O.O.N. ACL Rehab Guidelines, I am in Phase 3. I am a little behind the curve on the timing, but considering I had the meniscus repair in addition to the ACL reconstruction, I am not concerned. 
 
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Today, I went for my first long walk. I covered 1.5miles in 36 minutes. That is not very quick at all. But I kept a nice steady pace… paying special attention to my form. Make sure my heel strikes first, straighten all the way, and push off the toes. Steady gait, no limping or favoring.

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It was a beautiful day in the park, and the rest of my body wanted to stay out longer. I listened to my knee and decided not to push it. I still had to go to Target and do housework. No need setting myself back.

I’m going to set a goal to try to get 5,000 steps every day this week. My FitBit will help me keep track! Once I can cover those steps without pain I will start to introduce jogging. I’m so scared to start jogging…but I must fight through it.

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Post Surgery: Ten Weeks

It has been just over 10 weeks since my reconstruction ACL and meniscus repair surgery. It’s been a while since I’ve done a status check of my knee….

Over the past several weeks I will have really good days. Some days I even feel like I’m >75% recovered. But then, I usually over-exert myself on those days and I pay for it the next (feeling < 50% recovered).

Skipping two one week of PT (so it was two weeks between visits), I felt like my progression slowed. I wasn’t good about doing my homework while in Denver and I walked a lot. At one point in Denver my knee was uber painful and a bruise started forming on the back of my knee. I got a little nervous that I’d done some damage.

Once I went back to PT and my therapist were talking about how I felt… she reminded me that at four months I’d feel good but I needed to be very careful. I reminded her that I was only at 10 weeks (several weeks shy of that mark). She said that I’m progressing much faster and she needed to remember I wasn’t at the 16-ish week mark. 

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At my 10week PT appointment I also achieved FULL range of motion (141*) while working on my heel slides down the wall.

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So, how does the knee feel?

  • The outside incision still has quite a bit of scar tissue underneath it. 
    • Pain is usually located around incision areas so I’m trying to bust up the scar tissue. The outside incision is most common achy spot. Under front of knee cap is second biggest offender.
  • The whole knee aches nearly all the time, sometimes it’s a “thickness” feeling others it’s a much sharper pain. I get tired of telling people I hurt, so I often don’t mention it or want to talk about it. I just tell them “I’m good”.
    • Sometimes I will get stabbing pains in the inside of the leg/knee. It feels a bit like I imagine electrocution would feel. Quick, intense, and then gone.
  • Going up stairs and hills is slightly more challenging than normal; but going down stairs and hills can be extremely difficult. If I don’t have a handrail, I will often take one step at a time just because I don’t feel stable.
  • Building up my quad muscle has helped reduced some of the “popping” I was feeling. 
  • Moving around (from push ups to sit ups, skin the cat upside down hangs, rolling over in bed) still feels odd. Not always painful, but just not normal. It reminds me of the “looseness” I felt when the ACL was torn. And of course that freaks me out.
  • Sometimes I feel wobbly on it. And I almost alway worry that I’ve re-injured myself. But I try to calm myself by realizing it’s likely the muscle strength and coordination that I still need to work on.
  • My PT graduated my homework to lunges and mini-squats. I do that in addition to quad sets and prone hangs.
  • There are times I wake up in the night, in pain, when I straighten/stretch my legs. 
  • Sitting/Standing too long I get stiff and tight.
  • Getting full extension when walking is tough. I really have to slow down to feel it and walk right. I hate walking so slowly… so I haven’t been doing it. But I worry that will harm me in the long run.

Most of these bullets sound like I’m not doing good. But I truly believe I am. I think this just goes to show how far I’ve come…but how much more work I will have to do! I think it also shows that when I visit the ortho surgeon in a week that I am not ready to be ‘on my own’. I want to continue some PT visits…even if it’s less frequent…but I feel I need (a) that reminder that I’m not healed and (b) someone to help keep me in check and a little less worried as I get back to it.

Two WODs this week

This week was a super busy work week (already logged about 50 hours), I had a strenuous PT session, and I still found time to hit up the box two times this week!

Both wods were long-ish (by Crossfit standards) and I’m feeling pretty good. My energy/endurance is slowly coming back.

Monday WOD two-10minute workouts.
2,000m row 10:28.5
–Rest–
5 rounds ~10 mins
10 seated wall balls @10#
10 push-ups
5 rope pulls

Thursday WOD took just under 20 minutes.
5 rounds:
8 HSPU (feet on box)
400m row sprint
2 min rest

Post-Surgery: Seven Weeks

It’s nearly been seven weeks since my ACL reconstruction and meniscus repair. Hitting the six week mark felt like a major milestone. I’m able to do so much more than I used to…but I still am not quite 100%.

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I’ve been hitting up the gym a couple times a week in addition to visiting ProRehab once a week. Staying diligent on my “homework” has been tough, but I know I need to stay focused.

In terms of recovery, here’s what seven weeks looks like for me:

  • Most of the swelling has subsided with a little “thickness” still right around the knee area
  • Thigh muscles are starting to make an appearance during leg lifts & (mini) squats
  • Popping occurs on a regular basis. Which can be scary since at time of injury there was a HUGE pop. But the ortho assures me that this is just inflammation and a fat sack that will eventually calm down
  • Sometimes the knee feels “out of place” until it pops
  • Pain on the front of the knee cap when trying to work on my bending
  • Hamstring strength is pretty weak. Using gravity I have great range of motion, using my muscles “eh, not so much”

During open gym today I worked on rowing. Set a new record for myself – Row 2,000m (single legged) in 10:36. I also focused on some skill work (skin the cat) and PT time. To top it off, while waiting for Gregg to wrap up, I did 5 mins of core work.

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Having Fun on the Rings (Skin the Cat Skill Work)

Last week was Gregg’s birthday… we didn’t do much to celebrate because he has been studying non-stop for an exam at work. If there is a spare moment in our evening we read flash cards…. Over dinner, over brunch, while showering, … it never ends. He is so very dedicated and I am always inspired by is persistence. All that being said, I look forward to the day after the exam when we can both relax a little.

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Post-Surgery: Five Weeks

Welp, it’s been five weeks (plus a few days) since my ACL reconstruction, meniscus repair.  I go back to the doctor at the six week mark… so we’ll see what he says at that time. I hope it’s a better visit than the one I had at two weeks post-op.

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Swelling is significantly reduced (no more bruises)

According to my therapist, I’m doing well and progressing right on track. We’ve been adding new exercises each week. I’m actually a little sad that my PT visits now drop down to once a week… just as we started adding exercises that I can’t do at home.

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Almost flat!

Last week we added some treadmill work, in order to work on my gait. Plus some other exercises like standing toe raises and single leg stands.

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Scar is healing up!

This week we really kicked it up a notch by adding weighted leg press, ab/aducter (standing), step ups, and wobble board.

Tuesday night’s PT session was almost two hours long. Immediately following I had a little endorphin rush. An hour later I was exhausted. And the next day… so, so, so very swollen!

On Sunday, I went to CrossFit Open Gym. I played around on the rower. Did a few pull ups, push ups, sit ups, ring dips. And capped it off with my PT work while Gregg finished his workout. It feels so good to have more energy in my day. I tried to get PT approval prior to rowing… she didn’t quite understand so we took this quick video. Pretty clever if you ask me!

I also went to the pool on Sunday! Did some water walking. It was strangely chilly (for late July) but I didn’t care. The sun felt so good.

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Going to the grocery store this week was another big accomplishment for me. So my fridge is full of delicious fruit, veggies, and what not. Time to turn my eating back around! Clean it up!

By the way, I have this cool app on my phone “Timehop”. It shows me posts from all social media outlets posted “on this day” 1 year, 2 year, 3 years, etc…. Five Years ago, Bella joined out pack. My how time flies! Here she is, the day we brought her home, this past weekend, and a hike last fall.

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Post-Surgery: Day 18 and a Picture Recap

This is a very picture heavy post…. Recap day by day (almost)

Getting over the post-surgery two week hump, things have definitely started to improve!

Day 16 at PT, this time I remembered to take my pain meds on schedule, and I was able to achieve great things. For the warm up on the bike, I was able to immediately go into full rotation! So I biked, slowly, for 10 mins and covered 1.1miles. The month of pre-hab, between injury and surgery, I could easily do 2.5-3 miles in this 10 minutes….with no pain. I also got ‘cleared’ to start walking without my crutch as my body felt able… but I was cautioned to keep the crutch with me when going outside of the house. Additionally, my range of motion, bending improved significantly!

Day 1 – ROM 50something

Day 9 – ROM 98*

Day 14 – ROM 109*

Day 18 – ROM 115*

(Pre-Surgery – ROM 141*)

Most of my days have been spent working (from home) and not a lot of social interaction. So this morning, day 18, I decided to go with Gregg to our CrossFit box. Of course, I did not work out… I didn’t even sit on the rower. But being out of the house and socializing with people I have missed helped my spirits!

I plan to return to the office on Monday. I am very nervous about this and hope I don’t push myself too far.

Over all the bruising is going down, and so is the swelling. 

Surgery – Day 0 – No Pics.  My mom took a few of me in recovery, but I don’t think I will share those…

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Day 1: Worried Pups and some bleeding (told to leave wrapped until therapy on day 2)

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Day 2: Unwrapped and a little bruise on the back of knee (also first day of PT)

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Day 3: A little more swelling – (2nd day of PT. miserable)

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Day 4: swelling continues and stitches looking angry – pain in the front of knee cap

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Day 5: Bruising down to ankle (appears yellow)

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Day 6: Less yellow. Still very swollen. (mom goes home)

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Day 8: Not much difference, except bruise on back of kneeand thigh are getting darker

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Day 9 (4th of July): my knee looks like a walrus and bruising continues to grow

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Day 10: Time to get the stitches out

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Day 11: Working on reducing swelling

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Day 12: Swelling significantly reduced and bruising no longer “growing”

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Day 15: Swelling under control


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Day 16: Bruising almost gone on thigh

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Day 17: Looking good