|Yes, you can!|
At my first appointment with my orthopedic surgeon, I asked "Can I run?" It was 5 weeks before Superior 50K, my first ultra, and I was not going to miss it, by golly. She assured me that I could run as soon as it was in a cast, a week after surgery. Before, that, low/no impact exercise was fine.
|That curvy piece off to the left is supposed to be attached to something.|
With my arm in a giant splint and a doctor's blessing, I was at the YWCA bright and early the very next morning. I hit the elliptical [I believe that may be a first for me! I didn't even die of boredom], then cranked the treadmill up to 15% grade and walked, briskly, for 30 minutes up a big imaginary hill. Hey, it beat another half-hour of elliptical.
As an aside, you want some funny looks and great conversations, go do a really sweaty workout at your local Y or running trails with a full arm splint or cast on. Had a great talk with a guy who broke BOTH wrists and several fingers two years ago in a bike accident, recovered, and decided to bike across the country. He concluded his story, "So you WILL get better! Hang in there!" Oh yes I will.
My awesome orthopod fixed me up four days post injury with a ginormous plate and six screws.
|Talk about race hardware!|
On post op day 10, 4 days after getting my cast, I did the last big training run before Superior -- 25 miles at Afton State Park. I wore my Hoka Stinsons, my go-to trail shoe at that point. I carried a Velcro luggage strap in case I needed a field sling. (I didn't). Reasoning that I tie up my only functional hand with a handheld, I exchanged my usual Ultimate Direction bottle for a new-out-of-the-package Nathan Intensity hydration pack. (Luckily, it worked magnificently the whole day). I filled it with Nuun, stuffed 900 kcal of snacks into the front pockets (Shot Bloks, Gu and Roctane, Picky Bars), and I was off, in 39 degrees and crisp air, at 5:30 am. A 30-minute out-and-back while waiting for others to get there, then the 15.5 mile race loop, then a very slow and gimpy solo 7 miles back around Africa Loop/Back 40.
It went pretty well, considering my entire dominant arm was in a massive fiberglass cast. A little IT band problem on the opposite hip in the first 3 miles or so went away fairly quickly. It came back in the last 5 miles with a vengeance, and I mostly walked the last 3 miles or so, occasionally jogging a segment or two. I've never had IT band problems to speak of before or since. I theorize they related to decreased arm swing on the right because of the added weight of the cast. I had a pretty serious bonk at the end of the full loop, around mile 18, but got a second wind after eating an entire Picky Bar. It was very difficult to get back up and head back out for the last 7 miles, but I did it.
I was in the cast for 3 weeks and ran over 75 miles in it. It was funky, and awkward, but it worked okay. I always felt like I would feel worse if I didn't run, so I just kept going for runs in it. When I got it off and graduated to the articulated arm brace, it was a relief, but also a triumph. Nothing was going to stop me from doing my 50K.
|Graduated to a brace. I added the Superior bling myself.|