It's been just over four months since my ACL surgery, and things are starting to click more and more. I have been doing a little bit of running here and there, but, I think I'm nearly to the point where I can say I'm back to training full-time. My knee is healing up well, and I'm slowly getting better at my physical therapy exercises as well as some lifting and plyometrics.
The running has been a long and slow process for me. Sometimes almost so infuriating I wanted to just call it quits. I had a few points where I felt like my knee was never going to get better after having done some really light jogging on it. A few days after, I felt like I was back at week six all over again. I was mentally drained from dealing with slight pains all the time, every time I wanted to take a jogging step.
But since that point, my knee has been getting stronger and stronger. And with the amount of biking I've been putting in, my cardio and heart strength is still high. My running muscles are another story, especially in my ankles and hip flexors, but those will come.
Over the past two weeks I have been slowly building up my time and distance. I started off really short, just going out for a little over a mile of walk jogging. From there, I did the mile straight through without stopping or feeling any pain right then and none the next day either. A few days later I was able to get up to two miles. Then a few days later again, I bumped it up to a 5k, no problems.
I think part of the reason some of this running has been coming back nicely is that the first mile of most of my runs is all uphill. A slow, easy grade, but still all uphill. This takes a lot of the pounding out of landing. Added to that is the fact that I've been solely running in my Newton's. Again, taking pressure off my knee and getting my footstrike where I want it to be.
I have also been able to get associated with a gym just a couple miles from where my wife and I are living. They have some top notch equipment and some great treadmills. For some of my longer efforts, I have been going there to take all the banging I get on the pavement out of the picture and just focusing on form and getting in some quality run time. I was able to put in an hour straight this week. I honestly don't think I could have done that out on the roads. With the forgiveness of the treadmill, I'm able to go much longer and at a slightly quicker pace. Nothing too fast, but it just feels good an natural.
I'm hoping to be able to get into a race in the next few weeks. However, I haven't decided on the Sprint or Olympic distance yet. I've ridden the course, and either way, I know I have to crush the bike to have any sort of chance. Some pretty nasty hills, but very fun.
I'll for sure have a post to recap when I do race. And I may be doing a TT this weekend should the weather hold. A couple of Category 4 climbs ought to really test my strength out!