Thursday, June 14, 2012

Surgery recovery and running again

This week officially marks the first week of my marathon training. I ran on Monday despite it being scheduled as a rest day, because I had had a few days off in a row. Last week Thursday I had an operation, a relatively minor operation, an endometrial ablation. I wasn't specifically planning on writing about it, but I did think it was interesting (at least to me) how it has affected, and will continue to affect, my running.

I decided to get the ablation because of not only a personal history, but a family history, of menorrhagia. Nothing I tried was helping, so it was time to break out the big guns, so to speak. My main concern in getting the operation was the timing of it. I wanted it done as soon as I could after making the decision to do it, but I was concerned because I am now in the midst of training for, and running, races. Obviously my running is a hobby, so it isn't the end of the world to take time off if I need to, but I really didn't want to.

It was quite tricky to find information online about how running is affected during the recovery period for an endometrial ablation, or even what that recovery period could look like. I had read online everything from post-surgery being an easy few days and then being right back to running normally to it taking a few weeks of relatively brutal recovery. I decided to trust my doctor and take a bit of a gamble and do the surgery just a bit over two weeks out from the Seattle Rock-n-Roll half marathon. There was a possibility I wouldn't even be recovered in time to run.

I scheduled three days off from running post-surgery and and wanted to attempt to resume running on the fourth day, Monday. As far as my initial phase of recovery it would seem I was one of the luckier ones, for which I am grateful to the gods of surgery, or running, or maybe uteruses (uteri?) in general. I had little pain during my few days post-op. In fact, I never had to take any of the hydrocodone they sent me home with, and trust me when I say I am a huge wuss when it comes to pain or discomfort. I am quick to take medicine to rid myself of even the slightest ailment. What I did have plenty of was exhaustion. I was very tired and just overall achy most days. I am not sure if that was due to the procedure or working through the anesthesia or what. The worst I felt was after hiking four miles on Saturday, which in hindsight I probably shouldn't have done.

When I ran on Monday I planned to go slow and turn around early if I needed to. It turned out I actually felt great and set a pretty nice pace on a three mile run. On Tuesday I had my intervals class. I again intended to take it slow and again felt pretty great. I ended setting a PR for my timed mile that night! Wednesday was my third run in a row, and this one I was pretty tired for since I did it early in the morning.

All signs seem to point to me being just fine for the half marathon. In fact, the four days of rest I had from running probably did a world of good for my sore hamstring and tired legs! Of course, my hamstring is ticked off at me again now that I've resumed running. Today I tried acupuncture to help alleviate my hamstring pain. Crossing my fingers that it works! I will need to go back for at least one more treatment to know for sure if it is helping. The acupuncturist needled a few points while I laid on my back, then flipped me over to do a few points around my hamstring. He also put some concoction of oil, beeswax and a bunch of herbs on my leg, which he referred to as "marinating" my hamstring, which made me laugh. Then he told me not to run today, which made me secretly give him the finger.

Hopefully I will continue to heal well from my surgery, the surgery works as it should, and my leg responds to all of my efforts to make it happy, and I can go on running and running and running all the way to my finish line on October 7th!

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