Sunday, April 27, 2008

Two words: Five weeks?

PT Visit on Friday went very well. At this time I am in the final phase of my program, and my homework for the next five weeks is:

- Increase running to 3-4 days per week, adding more distance by the 4th week
- Jumping rope with a target of 4 days per week, 5-10 minute sessions (good for sparring endurance)
- Continue strengthening exercises 3 times per week with emphasis on the hamstrings
- One leg bridges (Lie on my back, bend knees about 50-60 degrees and lift the hips up with one leg raised)
- Reverse Planks (Like bridges, except propped up on my elbows)
- Box jumps by the 4th week
- Moderate effort karate (lots of deep stance transitions and slow kicks)

My PT is betting that when I see Dr. K at the end of May, he might allow me an early return if I bust my butt a little bit between now and then! My goal is to set up a calendar with daily routines (including a rest day) so I don't have to think too hard at that time of day.

I can get up early in the morning just fine, it's always deciding what to do that breaks my routine!!!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

If I could save time in a bottle...

Hey, everyone. Send a special welcome to Chad.

While I'd never wish the pain and suffering of ACL injury, reconstruction, and recovery on anyone, I do sincerely welcome him to this growing circle of Martial Artists blogging about their experiences. While Chad found my blog first, I still have to tip my hat to BobSpar for being the blogger I first found!

My usual posting time at work has been consumed with, well, lots of actual work lately! I never did post the milestone at PT back on April 9th: I am cleared for exercise with no restrictions.

Does this mean I'm back at Karate? Not at all. But it does mean I can go beyond linear motion and really dig in to my final phase of rehab.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am now slow-count kicking on both legs, and it feels great! It's amazing how what once was a dreaded class drill in strength, balance, and muscle memory is now something I embrace with gusto. I feel a lot of pride in being able to stick a leg out there and hold it rock steady again.

I've pushed my running to a strong 2 miles, typically 7-10 minute bursts with a minute or two of walking to give the knee a break. I mix up the walking segment with backwards walking, and do some drills running in all sorts of ways.

Working myself around in a circle:
- Running forward for a 10-count (1-2-3-4, 2-2-3-4, etc.)
- Grapevine sideways, left (good) leg leading for a 10-count
- Running backwards for a 10-count
- Grapevine sideways, right (operative) knee leading for a 10-count
- Back to regular running

If you're a regular runner, give this sequence a shot to break up your routine. Just one of these gave me the muscle burn of an extra 1/4 mile sprint!

I tried skipping rope for about 2 minutes before I had to give up. The one I bought is plastic, which is rather stiff in the cold morning air. Not only does it tend to trip me up just as I'm getting into a rhythm, it also whistles really loud, and I don't wanna wake the neighbors!

I plan to buy a spool of cotton clothesline that's heavy enough to be effective. My hope is to work up to about 5 minute jumping sessions, mixing up alternating feet with one-foot hops. I really want to be light on my feet when I return to sparring, and this is the best exercise I can think up.

Coming soon: visits to the local park for some more interesting drills such as running figure-8's, walk/run uphill backwards (there's a variety of slopes available at the park), and the occasional break for forms / kata.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Happy Half-Way Day!

And so Wednesday, April the 2nd arrives, and along with it the end of week 13. The official halfway point of my 26-week rehab program.

Assuming they're on similar programs, I want to send a belated "Happy Half-Way Day" to Black Belt Mama and Michelle. Jed is on his third (owie!) reconstruction, and given his aggressive-sounding program, I've no idea where he is in his current rehab!

To celebrate, I'm bringing treats tomorrow to G-Shaft's sparring class. It's well attended (typically 17 or more kids), and I've received so many positive comments from the parents and some of the kids that I just had to say 'thanks' in one of my special ways--my infamous "bribe" cookies. Two of these have bought me into many events at no charge in the past...

Here's a few photos I took on my running path a few days after snow melt last week.

Whose woods these are, I think I know,
His house is in the village, though.



He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow



While beautiful, this is also a somewhat treacherous time of year. I had to keep switching sides of the trail to find good traction. See, the snow melted the day before, but re-froze overnight with a hard, slick glaze on top!

Here's a tribute to the boys of summer, may they bring it soon:



This is a baseball field at my turnaround point, lying in wait for the grass and baseball players to return. It's very quiet and peaceful at this time of morning!

This one I call Dawn of Health:




That's the shell of the new L.A. Fitness going up, just steps from the running trail. If membership is as reasonable as I've heard, and they have a pool, I'm all over it!