Sunday, July 12, 2009

50 mile bike ride!

I was signed up for a bike race yesterday - my first. I had done quite a few running races prior to my surgery. I love the adrenaline and the drive to finish with a personal best time. Since running is out of the question I hope cycling can replace those feelings.

I got to the race and found out the 20-mile group only had two other people and it seems like this event was more of a ride than a race. There were also groups for 200K (metric double century), 100-mile, and 50-mile. After some discussion with the race/ride director I decided to connect with another group and just go until I felt I needed to turn around.

Well, I ended up doing a 50 mile ride! The hip did very well. I never had any hip pain at all during the ride. My quads were a different story. They really burned on the hills! I was afraid I would be very sore and stiff after finishing, but other than some general soreness in my both legs there was no problem at all.

This was the first time I've ridden with other people and it is so much better and easier than riding by yourself. The drafting technique really works. I even took my turns pulling the group. Averaged 18 mph for the entire ride, so I was really pleased with that as well.

The morning after I'm not very sore but do have some soreness in the glute around my incision. It's just soreness so I'm not concerned. I'm honestly shocked how well the hip is doing. Prior to the surgery I couldn't even run 40 minutes without my leg being so sore I would have to use my hands to help lift it. What a difference this is now!

I still have to listen to my body as I continue training, but I'm extremely pleased how well it has reacted.

Friday, July 10, 2009

12 weeks post-op

Finally made it to 12-weeks post-op. This is the de facto time period that most surgeons, including mine, allow hippys to perform most all activities (with a few exceptions) and begin to regain the mythical lost flexibility.

I can now officially do things like play golf, ride my bike on the road (oops, already been doing that) and flex beyond 90 degrees (been doing that, too). I have been doing most things I have wanted to the past few weeks, even though some things I wasn't really cleared to do. I have never felt like I pushed my body too hard, so I haven't been concerned about overdoing it too much. I had a bad hip for so long I know the signs to look for.

I don't have much of a limp anymore and most days I really have no limp at all. Some days I am a little sore and it comes back but by and large I'm walking better than I have in ages.

The biggest things for me are fitness and flexibility. I graduated from riding the bike on the trainer to riding on the roads a few weeks ago. I haven't ridden a bike for any period of time since I was a kid, and I never really rode a road bike, so this is all new to me (not to mention I have a new joint).

I don't consider myself a health nut but I am probably a fitness nut or even an aerobic nut. I love the feeling after a hard aerobic workout. I was totally hooked on running before my surgery. Now I'm getting totally hooked on cycling. I've always had strong legs and I now have the best aerobic capacity I've ever had. Seems like a perfect mix for cycling. Of course I'm still doing a lot of learning, but I'm looking so forward to becoming a better rider.

The other big thing for me is flexibility. I've had over 23 years of limited flexibility. With this new hip I'm working on getting that flexibility back. I've been slowly working on it the past few weeks and get gradually better each day.

I can easily put on socks and tie my shoes now. Doesn't sound like a big deal unless you can't do it. In the months prior to my surgery after virtually any run I couldn't lift my right leg without using my arms to assist. You should have seen me try to get into a vehicle. Already I have no problems lifting my leg after a hard bike ride.

I can almost do a full hamstring stretch but not quite there yet. I want to be able to pull my knee up to my chest but can't do that yet either. I need to find a therapist who can help with this, because I'm not sure I can do this myself. I have to keep on top of this or I'll never get the full flexibility back.

I still have some soreness and really expect it for many months, even up to a year. This was a major surgery and even though I've made what I feel is tremendous progress, it will take time to get back to normal.

I probably push myself a little too hard at times but I feel it's better for me to stress the joint a little to stimulate improvement.

I have my first ever bike race tomorrow. I'm only doing the 20 mile option. I could do more but being my first I thought it best to be conservative. I'm nervous but excited. Hope it all goes well.

Guess I need to go dust off the clubs now.