35 weeks! The panic/excitement is still growing quite a bit. I finally finished using all of my Honest Co. Belly Balm (I’m surprised it’s lasted so long- 5 months- considering the surface area it’s been covering), and decided to go for some Vitamin E oil for the home stretch. There are so many mixed reviews about whether or not this helps prevent stretch marks, but either way I will say it makes my skin feel so good.
In anticipation of labor and wondering about every weird twinge in my body lately, I stumbled across an article from Pregnant Chicken called “How Do I Know if I’m in Labor?” I love the humorous approach to these topics because it really helps my comprehension 🙂
Energy levels are still fairly low this week so getting up and motivated is harder and harder. Wednesday morning I overslept but still had time for a workout…but decided to read on the couch instead. Some days you just have to listen to your body, and mine wanted to chill out. I did go for a walk (after taking a nap) after work on Wednesday night on the Carriage Roads.
I saw this article go by and it was really encouraging, especially since I haven’t begun my post-baby running journey but have definitely been thinking about it (mainly how difficult it’s going to be). I know I’ll have to go back to basics and it’s going to be tough, but this is just proof that if you put in the time and work it will pay off.
And here are my workouts for the week:
Monday: Total Body Cardio Fix, Max Strength Hammer, 3 mile walk
Tuesday: PiYo Sculpt, Upper Fix, Aqua Aerobics
Wednesday: Focus T25 Total Body Circuit (modified), Active Maternity, 3 mile walk
Thursday: Lower Fix, Prenatal Pilates, Aqua Aerobics
Friday: Dirty 30, Shift Shop Strength, 3 mile walk
I realize I have only referenced my injury as “a downhill ski date gone wrong,” so today I’m going to give the details.
Locals have heard of Hermon Mountain, which is about 350′ in elevation, and a great place for some family skiing/tubing. In fact, my brother and I used to take lessons there when we were younger- I was probably 8 or 9 the last time I went downhill skiing there. In January/February 2016, I went on a skiing date to Hermon- I think it was a second date. I was pretty nervous, knowing how long it had been and how generally clumsy I am, but was all about “Adventure! This will be fun! Or at least a great story!” Little did I know…
So, I went in expecting to fall down and not have a very successful time of it, but still be relatively upright. The reality was WAY worse. The first run we ended up going down a trail simply because that’s what direction I started going in after gracelessly depositing myself off the lift, and couldn’t shift directions. None of my past ski lessons helped bail me out. I was cruising down the slope like a ballistic missile, with no control over my direction/speed. In order to stop, all I could do was crash, which I did several times. That first run down (the longest run there is still less than a mile) took 15-20 minutes at least. Battered and bruised and pretty embarrassed (my date was SO gracious about the whole thing), I felt bad since he had paid for us to do this and only doing 1 run is a pretty bad investment. So I agreed to a second run.
Pretty sure the guy was panicked though- no one wants to feel responsible for the girl who aggressively flops around downhill skiing at high speeds, careening downhill in a manner that even Crash Bandicoot would find alarming. The second run lasted 1 TERRIBLE crash where one of my skiis came off and I spun around a few times. So I did the noble thing and walked down the slope the rest of the way. (The rest of the date went fine- we stayed safely in the lodge, I nursed my wounds in private, and we went on more dates over the next month or two).
After the ski-cident my heavy training for the Boston Marathon came up. There was a lot of emotional stress going on at the time within my family, so I chalked up my training struggles to being a physical manifestation of those issues.
The truth was, my knee was really hurting. Not in the usual tight IT band way. The pain was coming from a different spot, and it would swell up at times. Determined to run the marathon, I eased up on the workouts, making long runs a priority and cutting down on speed work. I saw a PT regularly the month and a half leading up to Boston, was diligent about cross training and stretching, and only raced twice (the New Bedford Half Marathon and Flattop 5k- both of which I almost dropped down/out of because of the pain) before Boston.
The day before Boston my shakeout run did not go well. Shakeout runs are generally slow, but I felt like I was putting effort into going as slow as I was. That evening my knee was noticeably swollen, so I spent the night pre-marathon icing and elevating (and praying).
On marathon day, I had a pain free first mile. After that, the twinge came back. While I was able to finish in a decent time, the experience was pretty painful and humbling.
After the marathon, I took a month off of running to heal. That’s when I turned to other things like hiking and the Hammer and Chisel program to stay active. Once a month and a half had passed, I tried running again, and the knee pain picked up right where it had left off. Frustrated, I knew it was time to bite the bullet and go see the doctor.
At the end of June, I scheduled an MRI with the local hospital to see what, if anything, the damage was. None of the other treatments were helping, so in I went. They gave me some weird shorts for the x-rays (like scrubs material but were big enough to fit my 6’4″ brother), and I actually fell asleep during the MRI (they let you pick out what music you want to listen to and everything).
A few weeks later, I went back in to see the results. The MRI showed that my patellar tendon was torn, which seemed unusual since it was assumed this was a running-related injury. The patellar tendon is the one right below your kneecap, and when it gets injured it’s sometimes referred to as “Jumper’s Knee” (basketball players tend to have patellar tendon injuries, runners are more the meniscus). By this time, it was July, and things hadn’t gotten any better.
According to the doctor, I was at a point where the tendon was no longer able to self-heal due to lack of blood flow (bear with me if this sounds medically odd- I can’t remember the exact details thanks to the passage of time/pregnancy brain). While it wouldn’t heal, if I “took it easy” things wouldn’t get worse, and I’d probably still hurt during exercises.
My options were: do nothing, get knee surgery, or try something less invasive/with less recovery time called PRP.
PRP, or Platelet Rich Plasma, is a treatment used to help with joint issues and is offered to those who are suffering from osteoarthritis and sports related injuries. The platelet rich plasma comes from a sample of your own blood that is centrifuged and then injected into the site of the injury. The idea is that this will stimulate healing to begin in the area (for sports injuries) and reduce inflammation. The gamble is that you can’t control exactly what will occur once the injection occurs- they perform the injection as close to the injury site as possible, but there’s no one in there directing PRP traffic saying “Heal here, please!”
Plus, everyone’s body is different. As a young, fairly athletic person, I was a solid candidate. And after hearing about the process of knee surgery and recovery, I was willing to try something else first.
I had an appointment before the procedure to determine whether or not my injury was a good fit for the procedure- the doctor wanted to make sure it was something I could actually benefit from. After looking at my knee (I can’t remember what machine was used but it was an internal view), he agreed that PRP would be a reasonable treatment with a high likelihood of success. So, still feeling pretty nervous, I scheduled the appointment.
My procedure was done in October, after the BHBT Half Marathon. Cadillac Family Practice in Bar Harbor is the only place locally that offers PRP, in part because it is still considered experimental. The office is right across the street from where I work so it was all pretty convenient. The procedure took about one hour, the longest part being the blood draw. I can’t remember how much blood they took, but I have small veins (my mom and my grandfather both have the same issue when it comes to getting blood taken out) so it took 3 or 4 tries to get the sample.
Next was the injection. Taking pain killers/anti-inflammatory medication is counterproductive to the procedure, I got some local anesthetic. The injection was painful but not unbearable at all- after all, it IS a fairly large needle getting injected and right below my kneecap.
After, I left on crutches with an ice pack on my knee. I was not very good at crutches 🙂 My boyfriend drove me to the apartment and I was set up in bed to work/watch tv for the rest of the day (it was October 3rd, so Mean Girls was on…)
The following days were the toughest/most painful. I only really needed the crutches for the first day, but continued to use them for the recommended 3 days because I was willing to do everything in my power to make sure this was successful!
Although clearance for easy running came at the 3-4 week mark after the procedure, it felt like I’d been out of commission for a lot longer. I’d been doing some Beachbody on Demand workouts (doing low-impact modifications for some moves) and elliptical, but was counting down the days until I could run again.
That first run was very humbling. For the first mile I questioned everything– had I lost my fitness? Was I really ever going to run competitively again? Had I already hit my peak? Let me just say, there’s a reason why they say “Don’t trust the first mile.” Although the miles didn’t necessarily fly by after that, I was able to find my groove again.
Of course, a little over 2 months later things started to slow down again once I found out I was pregnant. After this year of iffy running, I will probably have to start up again with some sort of couch to 5k plan and it will probably be another humbling experience, but knowing all the benefits I’ve gained from running in the past, the hard work will be worth it 🙂
Have you ever had PRP treatment before? What was your experience like?
Any embarrassing date stories?