This Saturday, Nov. 19, marks the three-month mark since I had surgery on my left ankle. It’s not exactly a magical date, but it does represent a milestone in which, theoretically, most of the healing has occurred.
As a prelude to this date, I had on Nov. 10 what is likely my last visit to the office of Dr. Anthony Lo, the podiatrist who did my surgery. At this visit, he surprised me a bit. He looked over my ankle, pronounced it on track, and said, “It’s ready to go. Time to start pounding on it again. Time to start stress-testing it.”
I didn’t ask for definitions of “pounding” and “stress-testing.” I probably should have. But I took it to mean being active again, walking distances, and even … yes … running. (Dr. Lo has heard me talking a ton about running with his office assistant, Christine Pickart, who just did her first half-marathon; he knows how much I miss it.)
Truth is, I do feel the ankle getting stronger each day. I started walking on the treadmill in October, and did a half-mile and mile on consecutive weeks. Then on Sunday, Nov. 13, a few days after this doctor’s visit, I walked four miles outside, my first significant walk since before the surgery. It felt great (even though my legs have been sore!), and I could have done a couple more miles, but it became too dark. I’m very happy to be able to be walking again, though I still have issues going down steep hills (like my driveway each day to get the newspaper).
But, well, what about running? Boy, I don’t feel ready for that yet. But soon, maybe.
My physical therapist, Rebecca White, argues that I should have asked Dr. Lo what he meant by “pounding” and “stress-testing.” She urges caution. She would like me to be walking for several weeks before I attempt to run. She need not worry. That’s my plan.
But, in the next week or so, I may see how it feels to just run a few steps on the Pro Club’s softest treadmill. I know this: I am going to be scared to take those first few steps. But a softer landing via the treadmill may make it possible to do up to a tenth of a mile.
Meanwhile, I have toyed with the idea of walking some races in December and January. I had to come to grips with this some time ago: For the first time since 2001, I will not be doing either the Seattle Marathon or Half-Marathon. It had become a Thanksgiving tradition, and it was my 20th marathon last year. It did the full five times and the half four.
However, there are other races, including the 12Ks of Christmas in Kirkland Dec. 18 (it has a 5K run/walk as the 12K run/walk), and the Resolution Run 5K on Jan. 1. Could I run a mile or so of the Resolution Run (and walk the rest)? Maybe. Running and walking parts of races is likely the best I can expect to do going forward, and the 5K will likely be my distance of choice (marathons probably never again).
So why I am talking about walking and running and not bicycling? Only because I am just getting over a cold I caught while bicycling in the rain. Bicycling, I’ve found, isn’t so cold weather-friendly. In the winter months, I probably will bike less (not counting time on the stationary bike indoors) and walk more.
However, I do have rides I want to do in January and February. So I need walking and maybe running to help keep me active until then.
Till next time.