This update summarizes my progress in late December through mid-January as I continued to increase my walking range. I achieved a landmark when I was able to complete a 5k distance in my planned daily walking time on New Year’s Eve. What a great way to begin the New Year! This accomplishment gave me the impetus to research local organized events, and I was excited to find a 5k + 10k + half marathon event in mid-February. After thinking about it for several days I decided to sign up for the 10k, figuring that if I have any kind of snag in my recovery I can simply do the 5k distance instead. I do enjoy having this kind of a goal to work toward – in this case the goal will be to complete the distance, rather than to achieve any particular time.
Another landmark was going for my first (short) trail hike. It felt great to be back on a dirt trail, hiking poles in hand. No matter that the hike was in the easiest category in a guide-book of easy day hikes and only took an hour.
A couple of days later I had my next PT appointment, now at 11 weeks with my basic healing “mature” (per my physical therapist’s comment from my previous session). As we reviewed my exercises, I was amused that she asked a couple of times “would you like to make this harder?” – and then she proceeded to do exactly that. I think that a couple of the exercises would have challenged me even before my injury, so I have some good ideas to carry forward into my general conditioning. If all continues to go well, this was my last in-person PT session.
To celebrate, I went on another hike, my first Bay Area Ridge Trail segment since my injury. Again, this was a relatively short hike, by my previous standards. It was actually two shorter out-and-back hikes from the same parking area, so I had an easy option to shorten the distance if I got tired.
And then I got an e-mail announcing a group hike in the Lake Tahoe area for Martin Luther King weekend. Unfortunately there was no snow on the ground – an incredible situation for mid-January – but the hiking group took advantage of that situation by planning a hike. The total length was too ambitious for me, so I did a shorter route. And I took my time, stopping frequently to enjoy incredible views of Lake Tahoe. Still, at just over 6 miles (i.e., 10k) and with some 900 feet of climbing, it was a big accomplishment which I celebrated by taking a rest day the following day: only my second rest day since my surgery.
I began to think that my next progression should be to start varying my distances, with longer and shorter walks, and having a couple of rest days per week – kind of like being in training again, rather than a more similar day-to-day routine of PT. How wonderful to be hiking again, (almost) training again, and beginning to think about longer-distance hikes and walking events – yes, even daring to think about preparing for a half marathon!
I look forward to additional progressions, while listening carefully to my body. My journey surely isn’t done yet, but I’m well on my way and continually grateful for how well I feel.