Posts Tagged ‘exercise’

Y’all probably feel like you’ve gotten a fairly complete accounting of my knee surgery recovery.  I’ve talked (at length, you could say) about how things have improved and then not, how things have been going great and how it’s been annoying the ever-loving crap out of me.  There is, however, one thing I haven’t mentioned at all, because, well, I would prefer to pretend that it doesn’t exist.

The post-surgery weight gain.

Yup.  As the swelling in my knee went down, the size of my ass went up.  Since I end up wearing yoga pants to school more often than not, I hadn’t really noticed it all that much.  But the jeans don’t lie, and the jeans are two sizes bigger than they were a few months ago.  I’m going to be honest: it’s depressing.  It is not, however, entirely surprising.  When you go from running 25+ miles a week to cycling and swimming and doing yoga to spending all of your time sitting on the couch because that’s all you can manage?  Well, yeah, you’re probably going to put on a few pounds.  Especially when you’re craving baked goods and sweets and let yourself have all of them because, hey, your knee hurts and you just had surgery so you certainly deserve a little ice cream.  Every day.  At least.

Still, it’s hard.  Clothes that used to fit are now too small, and things that used to be almost too-big-to-wear either fit or are a bit on the tight side.  Instead of shopping in the back of my closet for smaller sizes, I’m digging through the Goodwill pile for bigger ones.  I have yet to spin this in a way in which I can feel good about it.  (The only bright side is that, thanks to my excellent procrastination skills, that Goodwill pile is still on my bedroom floor instead of actually at Goodwill.  Not having to go out and spend money on bigger pants has certainly saved a big chunk of my sanity, for sure.)

As much as it gets me down from time to time, I’m trying not to get too worried about it.  I know that as my activity level goes back up, my butt should shrink back down.  I also know that I can help move that along by cutting out the junk and filling my meals with fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains.  I also know that the better I eat, the better I feel and the more energy I have.  (Which makes it seem like a total no-brainer, but the call of the brownie is hard to resist.)

The thing I’m really trying to resist is giving myself a deadline for dropping the weight, because I don’t think that’s going to help me in the long run.  Instead, I’m just going to focus on eating better, moving more (without overdoing it) and letting my body work things out for itself.  And, in the interim, rejoice in the fact that I can wear comfy pants to class instead of squeezing my butt into no-longer-comfy jeans.


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As much as I hate to admit it, the gimpy foot is, well… still kind of gimpy.  I can run a couple of miles here and there, but if I try to do so with any sort of regularity, the gimpiness returns.  Happily, I’ve found enough other activities to do that this no longer gives me an excuse to sit on the couch and devour entire pints of ice cream for a couple of weeks.  However, in exploring these alternate activities, I’ve learned a few things about myself:

  • I don’t like swimming without some sort of specific workout to do. Every now and then I’ll enjoy relaxing, continuous swimming… but after about 20 minutes I’ve had enough.  However, if I have a specific series of sets and intervals to do?  I’ll stay in the pool for an hour or two or however long it takes.
  • I am not a swimmer. One of the first things I tried was a local masters program, figuring I could stay in shape, improve my freestyle and perhaps even develop the other strokes that I hadn’t done since high school.  You know what?  I hated it.  I have a decently strong freestyle from all of the triathlon training, but that’s it.  Anytime we did any other stroke (which was usually at least half of the workout), I was always straggling way behind everyone else in my lane (which was the slow, remedial one) and, if it was backstroke, meandering all over the damn place (which is a problem when you’re circle swimming).  After two weeks of getting up early to feel slow and pathetic, I decided it was not for me.
  • I am not a cyclist, either.  Once the weather started getting nicer here, the urge to get outside and do things bit hard.  However, I couldn’t run as much as I wanted to without pissing off The Foot, so I busted out the bike.  It started off great, I was enjoying it and I felt like I was getting back in shape a little bit.  However, a few months later?  I’ve sort of had enough.  Enough of the big-ass hills around here, enough of dealing with traffic and hairpin turns at the bottom of said big-ass hills, and enough of the fact that I feel like I need to go out for at least an hour, if not more, to feel like I’ve gotten any sort of decent workout in.  I’ll keep biking through the next couple of months since I signed up for a couple of big events (a century at the end of this month and a double-century a few weeks after that), but I certainly enjoy cycling a lot more when I can go for a ride when I feel like it and do something else when I don’t.
  • I do, however, love me some yoga.  Yoga was one of the first things I picked up after I gave up on the swimming and it was just awesome.  I’ve been doing power Vinyasa yoga, which is all about total-body strength and flexibility.  I come out of class feeling totally noodley (both relaxed and tired), I’m starting to develop something that could be considered upper body strength, and after a few months of regular yoga I’d toned up the abs enough to at least look like I’d lost weight.  It’s one of those things where I can go in, I can work as hard (or take it as easy) as I want to, and I can spend 75 minutes not thinking too hard about anything at all.  It’s awesome.
  • Sadly, yoga, while an awesome workout, does nothing to maintain or improve your aerobic fitness. It really doesn’t.  It’s better than doing nothing, but I still feel incredibly out of shape for running.
  • Actually, nothing will keep you in shape for running…. except for running.  It’s totally unfair, but it’s true.  Swimming will probably do the best job, but everything else?  Not so much.  You’ll think you’re still in pretty good shape, but then you’ll try and go out for a 3.5 mile run instead of your usual 2 and you’ll be sucking wind by the 2.5 mile mark.  Or so I’ve heard.
  • I really do need to do those exercises that the physical therapist gave me.  Back when I first hurt The Foot, I saw a PT who fit me for orthotics and then gave me some exercises to strengthen my ankles, which make Jell-O look sturdy.  It’s recently become very clear to me that I can rest the foot all I want, but unless I do something to fix those ankles I’m just going to keep aggravating that same tendon every time I try and run.  Which means if I actually want to get back into running, I need to do the exercises and fix the ankles.  This is kind of a bummer, because I was really hoping that several months of rest would just magically reset everything.  Sadly, not so much.

And last, but certainly not least: I really, really, really miss running.  While this foot injury thing has shown me that I was, biomechanically speaking, just not meant to be a runner, I can’t seem to give it up.  I threw myself into cycling and yoga this spring hoping that I could call those my New Sports, but it’s just not the same.  I miss being able to wake up and toss some shoes on and head outside.  I miss being able to churn out 5 miles without a problem.  I miss the fun and excitment of race days of all kinds, from local 5Ks to big massive marathons.

I tried to take the hint and give it up, I really did, but it just didn’t take.  Which I need to remember every day when it’s time to do those damn ankle exercises, because the more I do those, the more I’ll be able to run.

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