Monday, June 29, 2009

Sunday Sunday Sunday!!

5 weeks and 3 days after surgery, I can proudly say that I am yet again...

....a triathlete!!

And not just a triathlete who can bike, swim, and walk a run. I was a triathlete who swam, biked, and even managed to do 1 min walk/1 min run intervals! Oh yes, this stiff knee was RUNNING!!! Holy cow, I am still shocked and slap happy just at the memory of it. No, it wasn't easy. No, at the time, running wasn't fun. But I SO did it. Boo-yah!

The race was actually a rehearsal put on by my team up in Boulder. It was incredibly well done, and for all intents and purposes, it was a race....just minus the timing mats. I switched at the last minute to wave 3, which was the 5430 Sprint Course. 800 meter swim, 17.3 mile bike, 3.1 mile run. I figured that since I have only swam once in 5 weeks, biked twice (17 miles total for both rides combined), and hadn't run in 12 weeks, that perhaps the Olympic distance wasn't the smartest move on the planet.

So, I started out in the swim and was shocked when two girls went zooming past me. What happened to my beautiful speed? Well, it's gone. But I hung in there and I'm pretty sure that only 1 other person got past me....I came out of the water with two women in front of me, and maybe one off in the distance. (Maybe 50 in the wave?) I walked to my bike, still scared to run, and wanting to conserve as much as possible. I was devastated when I got out of the water and looked down at my watch and saw 19 minutes. 19 minutes!!! I am not that slow, even on a bad day, so either I swam circles around the buoys, or the course was long.....that swim should have had me in the middle of the pack. Not 4th.

Anyway, since it wasn't a race, I answered questions about my knee in transition. Some of my ex-poolmates were wondering how I was doing...very cute. And then a guy from work yelled over from the fence and I was shocked...he was pre-riding the Boulder Peak course and somehow recognized me as I was trying to get out of my wetsuit! Anyway, he was like, "how's the knee?" Ugh!! We'll see.....

Off I went on the bike. I was out of breath and tired. Shocker! But I picked off the girls within reach and then closed the gap on the rest of them. It was a false flat to the highway, and I was struggling to go 14 mph. It was so frustrating! Every time I put the bike into a harder gear, I'd feel pressure behind the kneecap, get scared, and then shift down. I stopped at every stoplight like a good citizen. I played tag with a few women who weren't good citizens. And then when I got on the highway, I managed to pull away from the rest of them. The road back to the Reservoir was a gorgeous, quiet country road that was all downhill. It was absolute heaven and my biker was just too bad I was too weak to have a good first part of the course. I think I averaged 21 mph for the last 10 miles of the course. Not a person in sight. I loved it!

I came into transition with not a bike in sight. Well, there were 2 over in the Olympic duathlon side, but I was the first in my Sprint section. Woohoo! I grabbed my stuff and ran out, smiling because I was *running.* Don't get me wrong, I was practically moving, but it technically counted as running.

I quickly learned that running for longer than a minute created a little pressure and discomfort in back of my leg, so I forced myself to stick to the 1 min/1 min interval. It worked well for me, as I didn't get stiff until 10 seconds until the end of my run interval! I will admit, I ran about 3 minutes at the end to get to the finish line. I didn't Sprint it in. I just kept it slow and steady and smiled as Coach announced my name with her loudspeaker and congratulated me. I was ALL smiles.

I am not a cripple!!!

I WILL one day be able to run again. Better than I ran yesterday.

I LOVE being back in action. Love it. Adore it. Just thinking about it was invigorating. Yes, I was slower than you-know-what (even with that stellar second half course, I was still a good 10 minutes off a decent time for that bike course). YES, I was racing against women who'd never raced before, so it wasn't a fair comparison. But I was just happy to be there. I *love* this sport. I *love* my bike. I *love* being able to feel that runner's high again. Heck, even 4am wasn't so bad.

I'm back!

(And I am pleased to report that the knee is the only body part today that doesn't hurt......)

I'm now trying to decide when my next "real" race should be. I'm thinking September might be enough time to regain my run strength....gotta find some obscure race so I'll feel better about myself......

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Bike to Work Day

I did it!! Woohoo!

A week ago today, I was thinking that perhaps I wouldn't be able to participate. Wasn't sure how things would work out. But today, I got up at 6am, met my friend at 6:30, and off we went on an easy 7 mile ride to the office. I was *so* excited to be out there.

Now, the ride home was a little more challenging thanks to some residual knee swelling, but I still logged 14 miles for the day....the most I have done in over 5 weeks.

Coloradoans hate cyclists, it's the craziest thing. In SoCal, when we rode Santiago, I never once saw any road rage and the drivers were always courteous. Out here, it's like I had devil horns on my helmet. I just don't understand why drivers get so cranky?! OK, maybe I do....I've seen those jerkoff cyclists who blow through intersections without stopping and ride two and three abreast with no shoulder....but my friend and I were signalling, stopping, law-abiding mommas (minus the 1/4 mile we had to ride the sidewalk because the road was too busy and scary for us). Most cars were kind, but a few made some dangerous moves and it really made me mad. My friend is 2 years out from a major accident she had with a bike that went around her and then hit her on a turn. So to see people do similar things to what hurt her was really disturbing.

Come on, Colorado. Share the road. Everybody behave. This road rage is beyond ridiculous!!!

So now, I'm off my soap box. Next step is Sunday, when I do a mock triathlon in Boulder. 1.2 mile swim, 17 mile bike.....and then I'll test out my run! (it's pathetic -- I drag the leg around while going 12 min/mile, judging by my test run out to my car in the hail yesterday)

Progress. It's a good thing.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Back in Action

Woohoo!! Almost 4 weeks to the day, I am back. In the water, that is. I got off my lazy butt today and drove to the gravel pond, where 3 billion Colorado triathletes converged for an afternoon of "open water swimming." If you can call it that. It's basically swimming in a freezing cool pool devoid of life. No sense of adventure at all.

The hardest part of my swim was the walk from the parking lot in my flip flops, but I managed. Coach didn't seem too shocked to see me. Nor did she look like she missed me much. Downfall of having a coach who works with 500 women... Asst. coach said she could see I was "stiff." Damn!

Anyway, got into my wetsuit pretty quickly and then I hopped in and went for it. No use was colder than you-know-what out there! I thought I had warmed up by the time I had finished, but that was totally not the case. My ears burned for a half hour after I got out. ??!!! Burrrr..... I always used to think that nothing could top the mighty Pacific near Santa Barbara, but I think the icy cold Colorado water MIGHT just have it beat. Either that, or I've lost my nerve.

I think I did the 1000 meter loop. I swear it was longer, but I didn't wear a watch and didn't bother listening when they described the lengths. Maybe longer. Honestly, I was just glad I showed up. I tried kicking a few times, but who am I kidding? I don't kick in a wetsuit! But the little flutters I did manage to put out didn't hurt. Score!

There's another practice out at the gravel pond on Saturday. And then on Sunday, maybe I will see if the hubs wants to take a little stroll on the mountain bikes?? I am not totally comfortable on the bike yet, but he did say I could do it in 4 weeks. 4 weeks is tomorrow. Why not?

On a totally different note, I'm agonizing over DH's bad luck with Xpress Jet. He received a call back in April from a collections agency telling him he owed $600 for a uniform he supposedly received. DH laughed it off and told them they were nuts, as he was never even employed with Xpress Jet. I mean, when he failed his last check ride, they took everything from him right then and there. His training binders and access badge. He never received a uniform! But then a week or so later, we got the official letter from collections in the mail. We lodged a formal complaint to them and to Xpress Jet, explaining why these charges are false and asking them to provide some sort of validation of debt. According to consumer protection laws, they have 30 days to provide this. If they fail to furnish it, then you are pretty much in the clear. But then I hear that this company is contacting people outside of those 30 days and sending brand new invoices to people with different dollar amounts! It's so sketchy. And I am so angry that if I even get one iota of contact from them, I 'm going to pay $600 for the meanest SOB lawyer I can find to fight them. And if they touch his credit report, I'll lose my mind.

Anyway, they received our letter on the 8th of May. It's now June 16. I rush to the mailbox every single day, freaking out. In my heart of hearts, I just know it's going to come back and bite us in the butt. Of course, we've got a committment letter for financing from the bank on our new home, but what happens when we come to close?! I'm just petrified. Angry. Really, really devastated that you can do everything right in life and STILL be slandered by companies like this.

I mean, Xpress Jet already destroyed DH's dreams of flying for a career. Must they destroy his credit as well? It's really, really low.....and they are totally in the wrong here. I'm itching to stick a lawyer on them if this goes downhill.

Ugh!! Anyway, that's my stress. Less concerned with the knee now that it mostly bends....and now I worry about the house. And financing. And credit reports. Man, it sucks to be an adult!

Monday, June 15, 2009

You can't tell I'm a cripple!

Oh yes. Momentous day indeed. Today, I did not limp. In fact, everyone at work had to do a double take. AND I was wearing heels for the first time in 3 months.

Take that, knee! I'm coming back.....

Saturday, June 13, 2009


I am. I really am.

While I have been cleared to swim since Monday, something is keeping me from the pool and the Lake. I can't quite describe it, but I think it's something to do with fear. Fear that when I do my pathetic little flutter kick, that pain I had originally will come back and then the past 3 weeks will have been all for naught. Those pesky rejected insurance claims for stupid reasons might not even be for a surgery I needed. It's a terrible feeling.

This morning, I had planned to do my first open water swim of the season. I had good intentions yesterday morning, but as the day moved on and my leg got more swelled, I just gave up on the idea. My incisions are healing, but they did hurt for the first time in a few days yesterday. A sign? Don't swim!

So this weekend is another weekend of inactivity. I shall sit on the trainer for 10 minutes or so and get the knee moving, but other than that, all I will be doing is walking around. What a life.

On a happier (or is it, freaked out) note, we are under contract officially for our house! Permit application has been submitted, so with luck the foundation will get staked in a few weeks and then we'll be talking dirt start. Woohoo!

We hit the design center on Thursday, and that was an eye-opener. What a shocker that our sales agent at the property undershot our upgrade costs by 50%!!! My poor husband is in shell shock after seeing how much it will cost him to get the home the way he wants it. We are definitely going to be scrimping, and my triathlon-ing will definitely be targeted!

Here's the outside elevation of our new digs. About 2050 square feet, 3 bed, 2 1/2 bath, with study and unfinished basement. I'm more in love with the location than the house....but then again, I can live with any house. I'm a developer --- location, location, location!

Monday, June 8, 2009

130 degrees


I had physical therapy tonight, after a weekend on my feet. The limp is considerably less noticeable, although the pain under the kneecap from the swelling slows me down a little bit. I'm finally able to sleep the way I want to at night, without the knee propped up on 2 pillows. And I can shave! Woohoo!

Anyway, back to PT. First time on the spin bike, I got one full revolution....and then I kept going! I did 40 rpms for 5 minutes. No, it was not pleasurable, but I was mighty pleased with myself. Then we headed over to the wall and did a bunch of leg raises to the side with both legs.....and then the weight machine, for leg extensions....and then more resistance training....and then I did the calf raises....


I kid you not, before the surgery I was unable to complete 1/2 of these exercises because the evil creature in back of my knee would not permit it. I was literally whimpering in my last session before the surgery.

Today? I didn't even think about it. Felt great. And I did it all, much to my therapist's amazement. He says I am progressing by leaps and bounds....and when we did the flexion test, I graduated from the table and had to move over to the floor. 130 degrees hurt, but I DID IT!

So, there is hope......renewed faith in medicine..... Perhaps I did the right thing by electing to do this surgery? It's been quite a trip, that's for sure. I am going to hit the gravel pond on Wednesday for my 1st open water swim of the season (aside from Lake Las Vegas in the race), so we'll see how that goes. (No worries, Amelia, I will be nearly 3 weeks post open fact, the scabs are falling off! TMI, I know)

With that, I shall return to my kitty. He's been very demanding and he hates it when I blog. So hard to resist the cuteness.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Slowly coming around

For the first time in 2 weeks, I'm starting to feel like I won't have to live the rest of my life crippled.

I am recovering!

Yesterday, I was having a bad morning. Really swelled. Trouble walking. Pain in my quad. I was sitting at my desk, and I just could not pull my leg to 90 degrees. Pain and suffering.

THEN, I went to PT. Since Colorado is a no-referral state, I was able to pay out of pocket and go on my own, against my egotistical orthopedic surgeon's orders. Thank goodness for this.

We started out on the spin bike, where I could make it 1/2 a revolution one direction, and then 1/2 a revolution back. It was pathetic! So off to the weight machine, where we just extended my legs in the seated position. THEN, he had me latch my ankles on top of the bar and start going down..... He was asking me about LIBOR, since I told him I was more familiar with that than single family mortgage rates. Halfway through my diatribe, I looked down and saw I was at 90 degrees and said, "You don't want to talk about interest rates -- you are trying to distract me!" He just laughed. Tricky, tricky.

After the machine, I went back on the spin bike, where after 3 tries, I made 1 whole revolution and then continued spin for 10 minutes! Holy cow! It was like a vice around my quad had released. Even though it felt uncomfortable every single time, I was 100% better than before. In fact, I could see my knee again...the swelling sitting above my knee in my quad just sort of dispersed. It was....magic.

So we went over to the bench and we worked a little farther on getting the knee bent, gently moving it forward and backwards. I measured 117 degrees of flexion, only 3 degrees from where I am supposed to be on Monday! A small miracle.

Therapist didn't want me to walk with a limp anymore. He said even if I have to walk slower than a turtle, it's better than walking with a limp. So I've been grandma-walking for two days now, but I'm seeing improvement!

Anyway, it's all very exciting. And to think my prick of a surgeon didn't think I needed PT?! I'm a pansy....I need to be pushed....but I also needed someone who has experience with regaining range of motion. I'm so angry it's taken me THIS long. I should have been in there last week. Seriously, I've had it up to here with my surgeon's massive ego. I really think he didn't want me doing PT because he thinks he has made my knee perfect and he doesn't want me attributing any of the surgery's success to somebody else. Insanity.

On the home front, we are apparently still under contract. I haven't seen the signed version of this contract, but they have my check. So if all goes well, we should be moving at the end of September/sometime in October!

Time to get versed on interior upgrades and hit up Home Depot for some estimates on things we may want to do on our own.....

Monday, June 1, 2009

Slowly Losing My Mind

Day 10.

Stitches came out today. I asked him if it was going to hurt, and he said, "yes." Like I was stupid or something. I was expecting some sort of topical anesthetic or something, but he just yanked and snipped. As the medical assistant left the room, I sobbed. Holy SHIT this whole knee thing really sucks.

Surgeon came in. "Any calf cramps or pains?" No. "Get that sock off. You look like an old woman." Gee, thanks. "Your meniscus was intact. I removed your plica. About 40% of the population have plica, and 2% have problems with it, symptomatic of torn cartilage. I removed it, and your knee looks great." Yes, thanks....I googled it after the surgery. So, when do I start physical therapy? "You don't need it. Do your leg raises. You can start running and biking in 3 weeks. Swimming in one week. I'll see you in six." But what about my knee flexion? How far should I be able to get it now? "Show me." (I show him 75 degrees of flexion, which is pretty damn good for me right now) "That sucks. Get it to 120 by next week. If you can't, call me."

That was it. A-Hole anti-PT left the room, and I was so shook up I left my Blackberry there. I hobbled out of the room and all I could think was, "how in the hell am I supposed to be able to run in 3 weeks? I can't even walk without a terrible limp!" It's true. I walk like a freaking Grandma, with my hand on my hip, my butt sticking out, walking a 60-minute mile. Insanity.

I'm just so exasperated. I have e-mailed my physical therapist, who I am not in love with, but how bad can he hurt me? I don't need a referral for him since he's out of network. But $40 for a 1/2 hour really adds up. I'll see him this week and see if he can help me get my range of motion back. I just really, desperately need the help. And I am absolutely floored that this surgeon refuses to send me to PT! I know he is old school, but he practically wrote the book on arthroscopic knee surgery. He does good work. But how his patients ever recover is beyong me.

His parting words were, "you're a strong girl. You'll manage."

Eff you, buddy! I'm beyond cranky....

And to top it all off, I am sans Blackberry and feel positively naked without it! DH is going to have to go retrieve it before work for me tomorrow. And of course, that's the phone that the home builder has....and we are expecting word on our long-lost contract and the Design Center.

And if all of that wasn't enough, I'm as big as a freaking house and too afraid to weigh myself. I need a WW intervention BADLY.

But until then, I shall continue to suffer through the day. This strong girl just wants to sit on the couch with her leg elevated and have a good cry. 3 weeks to running? If only!!!