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The difference a month makes

December 20, 2013

Last month I posted about my plan to run/hike 50,000 vertical feet over the course of November.  It took me 20 days, 24 runs with no days off to hit the number, a pretty cool personal challenge during a time when I didn’t have any specific plans to race and was looking to get trail time before winter.

Contrasts are cool.  In November I got in a bit of strength training but it was all about trail time and getting vertical miles.  In December, since the achilles snap and subsequent surgery, I’ve run 0 times but it has been an interesting stretch.  In order to stay relatively mentally healthy and increase my chances of getting to and through the Western States 100, I’ve re-dedicated myself to gaining fitness, however I can get it.  That’s tricky when homebound, as I was for about a week, or unable to use my right ankle, which is still the case.

I came up with the do-everything-you-can-figure-out-to-do workout plan.  In the first 20 days of December, that’s included the following:

504 pull-ups

1560 push-ups

120 dips

110 minutes on stationary bike (just cleared to do so a couple days ago so slowly ramping volume, as advised)

200 minutes on stationary hand cycle

many hours of core exercises

3 hours of hip exercises per PT (90 minutes/day in 30 X 30 min blocks, everyday, just getting started)

perhaps a few miles of hopping on one foot, including up and down stairs – the most difficult physical activity I do

All in all, I feel like this has been a few weeks of quality total-athletic training.  All the more so when factoring in the actual surgery and recovery was in the same period.  The PT exercises are helping me with some long-time areas of weakness and I feel strong and lean.  I don’t know that this time off will make me a better runner, exactly, but I think I’m probably more all-around fit than I’ve been in quite some time.

My ankle is starting to regain flexibility, having improved by 10 degrees of movement (now able to go almost 90 degrees again!) in just two PT appointments.  Being able peddle on the stationary bike is a big step, one I didn’t think would happen for a number of weeks.  This allows me to get some leg-specific cardio exercise, better for run fitness and leg rehab than the hand bike (which I also like and will continue to use).

Sorry for the nuts-and-bolts post.  Not too witty or clever but I appreciate having so much support and this is a good way for me to let everyone know things are moving forward well!

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