Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Run Forrest Run!

The three month anniversary of my op was the 10th May. A vital day in the recovery as it is officially the point at which one gets assessed by the physio to see if you can start running again.

As I approached the ACL club on Monday just gone, I was a little nervous. It was a similar feeling to doing my A levels. Actually that's not true. I did hardly any work for my A levels, they coincided with a really good World Cup and I let myself down. Lazy did not even cover it. Here though I had worked hard, I'd been to the gym almost every day, I'd backed that up with lots of stuff at home, every hour or so doing some little exercise. So I was ready but the feeling in my stomach was too close to A levels to let me feel comfortable.

The test consists of two elements, the first is to test control and flexiblity, the second  stability.

Part One - The Star Excursion Balance Test.
Imagine standing in the centre of an eight point star. From the centre, stretching out to each point is a ruler.

Standing on your good leg you have to stretch the other leg out as far along each ruler as possible. Then you stand on your injured leg and do the same.

As I did the first half of this I realised that my supposedly good leg is not very stable. I was stretching quite far but was very wobbly.

"Have you been drinking?" Minnie was chucklling.

"I never stand on this leg, it's my kicking foot."

"Hmmm." She noted the distances that I managed on each point of the star. "Ok now on the crippled leg."

"Are you allowed to call it that?"

"Yep, let's go."

Slowly, gingerly, I stretched out. Amazingly it was actually more solid than the right leg. "It's because you have been doing so much work in strengthening it." I was able to reach about 80% with the acl leg of what the good leg could do. She seemed pleased.

"Ok, now the hop test."

Part Two - Hop Test
Standing at the start of one of the rulers you have to hop, on your good leg, as far as possible, and land it solidly. Nail it, as they say in gymnastics. Repeat two more times and use the best as a measure. Then repeat with the bad leg.

With the good leg I managed a long hop but the landing was awful, I wobbled all over and had to do some mini hops to control it. "Do it again, maybe a bit shorter, it's not the Olympics." I went again and managed a metre with a good landing. Attempts two and three came and went and my longest was 1.3 metres.

Now the bad leg. I felt so nervous at first that I couldn't take off. I got the yips. I couldn't jump. Minnie assured me; "Don't worry, it's fine, don't try to match the good leg, just do a little one first." I pushed off with my crippled leg, flew through the air, landed and nailed it. Wow.

Minnie wrote down: 27 cms.

Ok, I thought, need to go a bit further. I ignored the ruler and just let myself go as far as felt safe, 70 cms. "Not bad." Said Minnie with a boosting smile. "Cheers." "One more."

I bent the leg and pushed off...95 cms. "It's hardly Jonathan Edwards but not bad."

"At least I jump on Sundays."

Minnie was writing stuff down and looking at charts. She then showed me the figures, I didn't really see them as I was just waiting for the yes or no.

"So can I start running?"

"Yes..." I'm sure she said something else but I didn't hear the rest of it. This is the first major hurdle on the recovery, and I had jumped it, literally.

Yesterday I did my first run, on the running machine - 1500 metres in 15 minutes. Not quick, in fact you could walk it at that speed, but I ran it, gently, steadily, slowly but I ran it.

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