At the time of my last post in this series I had just passed 6 months from surgery to repair a fracture of my right hip. I had just had a checkup with my surgeon, during which he spoke the golden words I had been hoping to hear: It was ok to resume activities (“use your judgment”). I could start preparing for a half marathon (“but not in 2 weeks, you need time to prepare”). And it was ok to skate (“be careful”). Clearly the encouragement and implied cautions applied equally to hikes.
Five more months have passed since that post, and I have indeed carefully and gradually ramped up my activities. My hikes have become more frequent and strenuous, and I’ve also built up my training walks to be well-prepared to walk a half marathon.
In fact, I’ve walked two half marathon events. The first was in early August: the one I hinted at in my last post. The second was this past weekend: my fifth consecutive walking of the San Jose Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon. For whatever reason, I always pay close attention to my times and try to improve with every event. In this regard I’ve been fortunate: in the prior four SJ RnR events, my times improved every year. I prepared well for the August half marathon, finishing under 3 hours – not my fastest time, but I was happy with it and especially for how good I felt at the finish. In the two months since then, I continued to “up” my training, gradually extending my longest training walk to 20 miles. I was not training for a marathon yet, just seeing how I did at longer distances.
I learned, perhaps not surprisingly, that after my rehab it has been a lot of work to rebuild and get close to my previous level of fitness/conditioning. Endurance-wise I’m still not fully back. I have wondered – partly because last year’s SJ RnR time was so fast – whether I would literally be capable of improving on it with hardware in my hip.
Once again I felt great throughout the event. As much as I study and analyze my times, finishing strong and maybe tired but not sore (i.e., the good kind of tired) is most important. And once again, I improved on my previous year’s time! The difference was only 18 seconds, but it still counts as a new PR (personal record), and because of my injury it may be the sweetest.
Leading up to the half marathon, I was prompted by a post from an ultra-cyclist I’ve been following on Facebook to try to figure out how far I’ve walked during my rehab and recovery (including hikes as well as rehab/training walks). The cyclist had logged 9000 miles in 2012, and I was curious to see how close I was to 10% of that figure. Yes, I had everything in a spreadsheet week-by-week but I hadn’t looked at any totals. And my spreadsheet started just 10 days after my surgery, so the initial entries were quite modest. So I was astonished to learn that my total miles had just passed 1000. And as of this weekend’s half marathon, I have logged 1000 miles in 2012.
All in all, I’m very happy to feel the way I do in terms of recovery. I’m not quite the same as before the fracture: my range of motion is slightly limited and I still have to pay attention in order to avoid aggravating one muscle. In a recovery process that’s expected to last for several months, typically there isn’t a defining moment when you can say the recovery is complete, unless you count a sudden realization that some nagging thing hasn’t happened in awhile. In this case I view my SJ RnR half marathon experience as a defining moment. I think I can truly say I’m all better now – and how wonderful is that??