Recovery from foot surgery went much more smoothly than I had expected it to be. My surgery had been on Monday, April 1st and by that Thursday I was back in the gym able to do sprints on the airdyne bike and some upper body weights. By that Saturday I actually felt so good that I made the decision to still compete in a CrossFit competition that I had signed up for prior to surgery. There was no running involved or max out lifts and box jumps could be substituted for step ups so I figured it would be ok. My foot held up great through all three events and I ended up taking 5th in my division!
After the first week, I actually got out on my bike for the first time in a while and had some really good rides through my favorite riding spot, Santiago Canyon. I also spent a lot of time in the gym doing some super random CF workouts. One day I would do a CF Football Wod with one of the other coaches, Kevin, another I would focus on my Olympic Lifting and other days I would do our gyms workout of the day. It was really fun to mix it up and all I really cared about was getting in a good workout. I actually kind of enjoyed the break from running somewhat and liked doing different workouts everyday, however was still anxious to get back into running knowing that Badwater is only a little over two months away now.
I had originally been told that I would have to take at least 28 days off of running, but last Wednesday (2.5 weeks post surgery), I went back to see my podiatrist for my second follow up and since I was experiencing no pain and had no swelling in my foot (only some slight bruising still), I was given the ok to run! Although people keep telling me that I heal fast because I’m young (which I know does play a role in recovery), I think an even bigger factor in my fast recovery was that I do my best to take super good care of my body. I am a huge believer that what you put into your mouth plays a huge role on recovery, etc.. and although I have a healthy diet on a normal basis (no bread, pasta, gluten, very limited dairy and sugar) I made sure to be even more strict pre and post surgery. I had no cheats (except for some red wine maybe twice) and made sure to take my Mila chia seeds 2x daily. During the first two weeks my doctor had not wanted me to take any sort of anti-inflammatory or even ice and just wanted my body to go through the healing process on its own and so I 100% believe that it healed so fast because I didn’t put any crap into my body which can increase inflammation.
So my first run was last Friday in Ohio (Mark and I were visiting his family for the weekend). We had spent all morning watching updates on CNN regarding the hunt for the Boston bomber and also waiting for the weather to warm up a bit, which it didn’t. Eventually we were left with about an hour and a half until we had to check out of our hotel, which left us only 40 minutes to run, which kind of sucked. Therefore I suggested that we do 4x800m repeats so we could get in somewhat of a good workout in in the short amount of time that we had. We ran on a bike path close to the hotel and it was so cold out and the huge gusts of wind did not help. Anyways, during my first mile warmup I felt pretty stickin good, like I had never taken any time off. Even my first 800 repeat wasn’t all that bad and I was able to stay under 7 min pace despite running into the wind. But after that it pretty much all went downhill. We would jog an 800 recovery in-between repeats and by the 3rd and 4th ones, my hard 800s were barely faster than my recovery 800s. It was pretty pathetic.
Mark and I ended up taking Saturday off of running since it was snowing outside and all he had brought to run in in Ohio were shorts and a singlet, but it turned out to be a good thing because my legs were so sore. I could not believe how sore they were actually from 4 800s. Never have I been that sore from a speed workout! It was like I did a million reps on the good girl/bad girl machines at the gym (the adductor/abductor machines). Im wondering if the freezing cold weather had something to do with it though. Like my muscles were tightening up or something when I was running. Has that happened to anyone before? Anyways, Sundays run turned out to be a bit better. We ran on the Tow Path trail by his moms house which was lovely and not as cold. I got in a whole whopping 10 miles.
So as you can see Im off to a great start for Badwater (said in the most sarcastic voice ever). Actually in reality, I’m not really THAT nervous about it even though Im probably no where close to where everyone else is mileage wise this close to the race. I feel REALLY strong right now and I know that my running legs will come back in no time. Also, I am lucky to have the guidance of Lisa Smith Batchen again to make sure I don’t do anything stupid in my training, like running a 50 miler this weekend that I had signed up for…
To finish up this blog post, would like to hear from any of you ultra runners who have come back off of a major injury. How did you feel once you started running again and whats the fastest you have ever ramped up to a race after taking a break from running? Also did your body feel more recovered in the “long run” after the rest and were you able to perform better?