Monday, July 27, 2020

Hydrating on the Go with SiS

Disclaimer: I received a Science in Sport GO Hydro Tablets sample pack to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!
Summer in SC is seriously hot and sweaty!

For runners, or any athletes for that matter, making sure that you are properly hydrated is one of the cardinal rules of proper performance. The harder you work, the more you sweat. The more you sweat, the more water and electrolytes you lose, particularly sodium. Losing too much and it can lead to dehydration which can cause all kinds of bad things to happen internally - reduced performance, increase in body temp, higher heart rate, dizziness, and so on. Dehydration can happen anytime of the year, but it typically is an even greater concern in the summer months with higher temperatures and humidity make us even sweatier. So as you can see, it is super important to stay hydrated and replenish  electrolytes. 

So yeah, I know all this. And as someone who lives in SC, or approximately 10 feet from the Sun in the summer, I know I should be using some kind of electrolyte supplement before, during and/or after outdoor activity. But just cause we know something is good for us, doesn't mean we want to do it, otherwise I'd eat spinach for every meal. See I've never been able to find a supplement that I really liked and therefore didn't have to force myself to take.

Ever the optimist, when I was given the opportunity to try Sport in Science Go Hydro tablets, I thought, maybe this will be the one that will get me excited about hydrating on the regular. I had used SiS gels in the past and been extremely pleased with their performance and taste, so I was hopeful. 

I received 4 tubes of 3 different SiS Go Hydro tabs, 2 Pineapple and Mango, 1 Lemon, and 1 Cola. I gotta admit, when I first saw the tube of Cola, I thought to myself, meh, I probably won't like this. But as a girl who never said no to caffeine, I'm willing to try anything once. (Full disclosure - I drink black coffee simply for the caffeine, caffeine is life). But you know what, Cola was amazing. It tastes just like those gummy cola candies from Haribo. The other two flavors I received are pretty great too. The Lemon is light and refreshing and the Pineapple and Mango is yummy and sweet. I like that one particular after evening exercise as it is kind of like a dessert treat. 

As for the performance, I have no complaints. I am currently unable to run due to my knee surgery but I have been going on more and more walks, many of which in the hottest part of the day and have been quite thankful to refuel lost electrolytes post-walk. I definitely feel perked up a bit after drinking it. Long story short I definitely recommend SiS Go Hydro tabs. They are great for hydrating before, during and after any strenuous activity and they taste really great. 

They are affordable too, just $11 per pack of 20 tablets. And for a limited time, you can try them with the BibRave discount code: BIBRAVE 20 for 20% off your Go Hydro Tablet order on SiS website here: There are several other flavors other than the 3 I received as well including Pink Grapefruit and Berry. 
Mmmmm... Cola

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Woooooooooah, I'm Halfway There (I Hope)

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I am firmly in what I consider Phase 2, the actual recovery phase of my Knee Surgery Recovery, and let me tell you, it is amazing. Okay, to be fully and 100% honest, I still have some bad days, but they are not as bad and it is more like bad moments than whole bad days. It's funny how quickly my brain can flip back and forth from "I am kicking lots of ass, recovering like a champion" to "This is taking forever, what if I'm never right again." Trying to look at the big picture though. 

But I digress. Originally, my othro doctor said that he anticipated that it would be 12 weeks before I could run again. Well, today is officially 6 weeks from my surgery, which means I SHOULD be halfway there. And I've not gotten any indication of the timeline changing so, fingers crossed that I am actually Halfway There! 

So where do I stand at the Halfway Point? I'm getting there. I started PT on July 13th and have had 3 sessions with my 4th scheduled today. I am going to IVY Rehab in Rock Hill, SC and really like the place. The 2 doctors that I have seen are both really nice and funny which makes for fun sessions. They operate in a big room and bounce back and forth between a handful of patients and during sessions we all get kinda talking about stuff (Covid disclaimer, all staff and patients are wearing masks and everything touched is sanitized constantly). Inevitably the group conversation at some point turns to ice cream. I've been 3 times so far, and all 3 times we've had extended ice cream talks during my hour and a half long sessions. 

Here's the basic run down of what I do during PT. 

My first session, I was still using a single crutch. After filling out all of the obligatory paperwork, Dr. Bob did a complete evaluation of my knee and mobility. I had lost a TON of range of motion. I was missing about 5 degrees on my straight extension and I could only bend to 85 degrees. I had also lost a lot of muscle composition in my quad and calf muscles due to being locked in the brace and non-weight bearing. We talked about my goals for that week -Getting off crutches and regaining full straight extension, and he gave me several exercises that I would do at home on my own, and took me through each one. 7 in total. 3 were range of motion based (front, side and rear), 1 was quad focused, 1 hamstring, 1 calf, and one extension focused. That last one is my favorite. Seriously, you just lay there with your legs dangling off the table. Or as I call it, the nap time exercise. 


The first session finished up with Dr. Bob stretching my leg for me in a variety of painful ways. Then he busted out the HyperVolt. Y'all that thing HURTS but in a good way (eventually). See for that first visit, honestly my calf was hurting more than my knee since I had just started walking again 3 days previous and it was NOT used to being used. I managed to make it through the HyperVolt extension without crying on the outside, but it was close. I swear every time I flinched, he'd do it harder there. I think he was actually trying to make me cry, but I did not give him the satisfaction.

So a cool thing that they have at IVY is that use an app to assign your at-home PT work. It is really cool actually. It is called MediBridge Go and when you are set up, your exercises are on it and you can follow along with videos for reference and timing cues. 

The next session, was 2 days later. I was still on a single crutch, but I left it in the car and hobbled into the session. They started me out on a stationary bike. I was told that I probably wouldn't be able to peddle all the way around but to go until I couldn't any longer and then go the opposite direction until I couldn't and repeat. And sure enough, I couldn't do a full rotation, Whenever I got close to the limit of my rotation, it was really kinda scary as I feared that I'd get to a point where I couldn't stop and I'd go all the way around anyway. The doctor said that is how most people do their first full rotation. I was pretty conservative because of that. The rest of the session was similar to the first with me doing the exercises same as last time, but he added in a few more - calf raises and squats. They also pulled out the TENS Unit to electrocute my quad for 10 minutes, another hurts so good portion of PT. 

My last walk with the crutch, and I even
just carried it some!
The HyperVolt session was less painful due to the fact that my muscles were already starting to strengthen due to use and also going on several walks. I was basically given free reign to walk as much as I wanted, so I have been. My first week of mobility I put in 8.5 walking miles. I plan to increase this every week. I'm not graceful by any stretch of the imagination, and I am slow, and also it HURTS like mad, but I am still getting out there an putting in the miles. I know it will help me get to a place where I can start running again quicker if I keep it up. And I did talk to the doctor about the knowing the difference between pain that just sucks and that I can just push through and pain that is doing actual damage to my recovery. Basically he said also long as I am not trying to run (😢) or jump, or if I don't suffer a fall, I won't cause any damage to my "new" knee. My biggest fear is that I will go through all of this and not be any better in the end. Dr. Bob, however feels that when all is said and done, my knee will feel so good that I'll want to get the other one done too. I am not convinced of this. By session's end, I had picked up some degrees in my straight extension (still not fully straight) and could bend to 90 degrees. Progress. After my session, I left my crutch in the car, and I've never used it again! 

Week 2 PT started on Tuesday where basically, it was more of the same. BUT, this time, I could do a full rotation on the stationary bike!! Much like walking, not graceful, fast or pain-free, but I still did it! I had more stretching added to my session and a few more exercises, mainly focusing on regaining quad strength to help patella tracking (this was a pre-surgery issue for me even). A few more exercises were added to my at-home assignments (mostly standing exercises). No TENS session, but more HyperVolt that was even less painful again. And for the big news - I had picked up another 20 HUGE Degrees of range. I could bend to 110 Degrees! Yay!! My goal had been to pick up 10 degrees this week and I blew that WAY out of the water!

I go for #4 later today. My insurance will pay for 15 sessions (Hard Max) and so far I think I am making pretty decent progress. Really hoping that I will get to try out the elliptical soon. So here's hoping that I am actually Halfway There, because I've got me some big goals to crush this Fall!

Just gonna just keep on walking until I can run!

Friday, July 10, 2020

Phase 2: Starting the Actual Recovery

I had my 4 week post-knee surgery evaluation this morning and I’m cleared to start working my way back to full range of motion and full weight bearing. The crutches will still be a part of my life for a few more days (I’m a bit shaky) but I’m ready to get this party restarted!!

Right now my range of motion is around 90°. I’ve still got some swelling, but the doctor said that he expected that. He started me taking a Glucosamine with Chondroitin supplement to further promote cartilage growth, but he said the joint is moving very fluidly which is a great sign.

I celebrated by taking a walk around my neighborhood shortly after I got home. It wasn't fast, and it wasn't far, but it was pretty awesome to be mobile again. By the time I got back to the house, I was pretty sore. My leg is not used to being used and it is going to take me a bit to get back into the swing of mobility. 

After icing my knee for awhile, I spent a good chunk of the middle part of the day doing chores around the house that I had not been able to do. It was super nice to be able to get up and do things instead of asking someone else. I'm sure this renewed excitement in being able to do chores will not last long, but I hope I can get some things done around the house that haven't happened in the past month before it does. The clutter is strong here with 3 family members never leaving the house! 

Later in the afternoon, I got the call from the PT place that I chose, one located about a half a mile from my house (so close that if I could walk better, I could walk there). I asked for their first available appointment. They had an opening on Monday at 4:30 pm! I cannot wait. Remind me I said that after the first day and I am in tears!

Overall, I am starting to form a renewed sense of optimism. I am finally feeling like I am getting over the hump of all of this. Most of all, I am ready to leave behind the "waiting to heal" phase and move into the actual recovery. And the knee brace, VERY EXCITED to leave the knee brace behind. In fact, I left it in the car, not even allowing it back into the house. It's fate has yet to be decided, but I'm thinking bonfire... 


Thursday, July 9, 2020

Throwback Thursday: Global 24 Hour Relay Recap

I received entry into the Global 24 Hour Relay as a part of being a BibRave Pro. Check out to read and write race reviews. 

So just over a month ago (back when I was still one of those runners who ran, we celebrated Global Running Day on June 3rd. This year I celebrated a bit differently, instead of meeting up with a group of friends to run together, I participated in the Global 24 Hour Relay. Runners from all over the world came together to participate in a relay that started at midnight and finished at 11:59 pm. The relay was broken into 30 minute increments and runners virtually passed the baton from runner to runner. (For more detailed info about the breakdown of how the even was organized, see my previous blog post here:

I was assigned to Team Philly, where I actually had several friends, a few other BibRave Pros and a couple non-Pro friends, on my team. Even better, I knew both the runner before me and the runner after me! 
I was assigned for the 9:30 am time slot. Meredith, a fellow BibRave Pro was my hand off. We had texted the evening before to coordinate so I knew she and her son were going to text me as soon as they finished their 9:00 to 9:30 am run time. I was outside at 9:29, ready to go. Right at 9:30 on the dot, I got a text, started my watch and took off. 

I have been running pretty much exclusively in my own neighborhood for the few months prior, so I had a pretty good 5K route mapped out that I decided to follow. I figured that once I finished that, I would just finish out whatever time I had left. I keep a close eye on my watch, closer than usual, because I wanted make sure that I handed off to Bill, the 10 am runner, right on time. 30 minutes and 3.25 miles later, I was done! I texted Bill and wished him luck.

Overall, it was a pretty fun event, especially at a time when pretty much all events are virtual. By being put on a team and passing a baton from person to person it felt much more social, more interactive than a "typical" virtual event. 

And did I mention that the swag was pretty cool? Soon after the event, the organizers sent each registered participant a beautiful medal and shirt to commemorate the event. Seriously, the colors are really beautiful. The shirt was 100% cotton unisex. 

Overall, I really liked this event. I heard that some of the teams were not quite full, but since the legs were based on time of day, then runners were not tied to waiting on a specific person. Another great thing about the legs being time, rather than distance, it was an event that felt inclusive to all runners, regardless of pace. It was a great way to connect and celebrate running in a very atypical year.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Current Status: Broken but not Beaten, the Post Knee Surgery Update

I've been putting off making this post for awhile and I am not even sure why. Maybe I've been wallowing a bit in self pity, or maybe I'm just trying to pretend that it didn't happen. Or maybe it's that everything just seems so much harder these days and motivation has pretty much totally abandoned me. Whatever the reason, it has been almost 4 weeks since I had knee surgery and I've yet to make a blog post about it.

Over the course of this blog, I have several times mentioned that I have crap knees. They have been getting worse and worse the last six months. It had actually gotten to the point where it was in pain and limping a bit most times, running or not. And when I did run, inevitably, my knee would sort of collapse at some point, kind of like blowing a tire. I'd have to stop and limp it off a bit before I could start running again. I ran a Half Marathon in March and while I was able to pull a slight PR (30 seconds) I really struggled at a few places with my knee, slowing down around mile 7 after setting a pretty aggressive early pace with it giving flat out around mile 10.5 where I had to stop a moment and stretch it out before making the final push to the finish. Even with my knees taped and wearing a Body Helix knee compression sleeve. After that race, I decided it was time to get it checked out.

My donked up knees
A few orthopedic doctor visits later and after an X-Ray and MRI, it was determined that I needed surgery. Or rather 5. I was slated to have a Meniscus Repair, Lateral Release, Removal of 3 Bone Cysts, Plica Removal and Microfracture Drilling to repair/replace damaged cartilage. The Microfracture procedure was the most extensive and the one that would take the longest to recover from. Basically, it's where holes are drilled in the bone and bone marrow drained into the joint to combine with cartilage that has been roughed up a bit. This is to encourage the bone marrow to grow into new cartilage. But, in order for that to happen, it requires 4 weeks of not weight bearing and to wear a locking brace. The doctor said that he anticipates that I will have to take a total of 12 weeks off from running and Burn.

To say the least, I was completely gutted. But, trying to look a bit on the bright side, at least it was happening during a time where races and group runs were basically non-existent. If I had to do it, this was probably the best time to. 

The surgery was on June 11th. Due to the Covid-19 situation, I had to go alone which was a bit scary, but the nurses were super kind and comforting. The surgery was out-patient and I was there for about 3 and a half hours total. I was given a sedative and wheeled into the operating room. My bed clicking into place was the last thing I remembered until I woke up to a very nice nurse trying to give me something to drink, my leg already bandaged and braced. 

It seemed pretty in and out and they were wheeling me out the door before my meds had really worn off, leaving me a bit confused. I know I talked to the doctor briefly after, but don't remember much of what was said, just got a prescription for pain meds, was told to remove the bandages on Monday (surgery was on a Thursday) and to go in for a follow up appointment in 10 days. 

My entire leg was wrapped up from ankle to upper thigh with a mass of bandages and already locked in my stylish brace (which is also ankle to upper thigh). That first day I could get around pretty well on my crutches though my cats steered pretty clear of me. Mostly right now I was just super tired, in and out of sleep on the couch most of the first day The drugs they gave me to put me to sleep were no joke and took a while to clear from my system. Felt like a mild hangover that won’t go completely away.

As far as pain, honestly I didn't feel too much. It was and sore, but not nearly as painful as I expected. Having the whole leg locked in place not super comfortable, but overall, not really much more pain than I’ve been feeling in my knee for the couple weeks prior to surgery. I never ended up taking any of the pain meds they prescribed, but did have an anti-inflammation med for the first 5 days and I've taken an aspirin each day since.

On the Monday morning after surgery, I finally called into the doctor because I was honestly a bit scared to change my bandages and still didn't know much about how the procedure actually went. I didn't want to wait 10 days to find out. Here's what I found out on that call - 
Bit of good news, bit of bad news. The good, the meniscus wasn't as damaged as originally suspected. In fact, he ended up not needing to repair it as it is anticipated that the having my leg immobilized for recovery from the other procedures will heal it on it's own. So yay!

Unfortunately, some of the other issues were found to be a bit worse once he got inside my knee. The lateral release and removal of the bone cysts were done no problem. The plica issues were much worse and he ended up removing 3 instead of just 1. The cartilage damage was also more extensive. He had to remove a section on the side of the patella and ended up doing the microfracture drilling in 3 separate places (including one place on the top of my femur) instead of just 1. Because of that, I will be unable to bear any weight on the leg for 4 weeks. So, less yay.
So much dang cotton!!
After the call, I went to work removing the bandages. Holy butts there was a ton of cotton under that bandage! No wonder I was so freaking hot. My left knee was HUGE with swelling compared to my right. I had 3 holes, two larger with stitches on top and 1 smaller on the left side. The two on top will leave scars. I was able to shower for the first time after, which was awesome, but still had to keep the brace locked at 0 degrees and use crutches to walk, bearing no weight. Sleeping in the brace was super uncomfortable and to be honest, I've not had a great night sleep since my surgery.

On June 22, I went back to the doctor for evaluation. Had the stitches removed and the doctor evaluated it, moving it around and so on. Knee was looking pretty good, in fact he expected it to be swollen much worse still. Still was not allowed to walk on it but I was given the go ahead to bend it to 70° when I sit. If that gets easy, I can go to 90° but no more than that. I wasn't given to go ahead for PT as I had been hoping since I was still unable to walk, but he gave me a few exercises I can do on my own. They have been a bit tough for me but I have mostly gotten so I can do them without much of a struggle. I haven't gotten to 90 degrees yet either, though I may try this week some. I go back in on Friday, July 10, which will be 4 weeks and 1 day post-surgery. Really hoping to be given the go ahead to walk again. I am a bit nervous, but ready to get actual recovery going. 

As far as my mental state, I am going to be totally honest now, it's not been great. Going from running 30 miles a week to not being able to even walk. I had bad days. Really bad days in fact. Like laying in bed crying days. I also had less bad days, but ones that still were hard to get through. This has only been made worse with the feelings of isolation and hopelessness from Covid-19 Pandemic  and other turmoil in the World and also being furloughed from my job for 3 weeks during this time as well. I know that everyone is going through troubles and uncertainties during this time, but the added loss of my mobility has been really rough on me. I've not had much to look forward to for awhile as my recovery is dragging on and races and events continue to be cancelled as the Pandemic in the US continues to drag on. I've been trying to be more positive in July, but it's been hard.

I've tried to make it outside a bit and have been enjoying spending mornings on my back patio having my coffee in the morning, which my 10 year old has been graciously making and carrying out there for me. It's been the best part of my day. I so miss being outside. 

Best part of my day

I've tried to go for a few short "crutches" - walks around the neighborhood on my crutches, with limited success. The first two times I went out, I got extremely light-headed and almost passed out. One of which was after only a quarter of a mile. I think it has to do with the brace cutting off circulation being so heavy and tight. I had talked to the PT specialist who fitted brace and she said that it was fitted properly, that I just needed to stay off it more. Boo. 

I've also had trouble trying to eat healthy during this time. It pretty hard to prepare fresh fresh fruits/veg. They don’t keep long and I can’t really go to the store. Any kind of prep work washing, peeling, chopping... crazy hard to do on crutches. I hate eating prepared foods but they’re so easy. 
I know that I have put on some weight with the lack of movement combined with not eating well, further dragging me down. I am going to seriously have to buckle down once I can walk again. 

So there it is. My long sad tale of my knee surgery. I go back on Friday for another reevaluation of my knee, and I am hoping this time I am given the go ahead to be able to walk and start PT. I am hoping that my next update will be a far happier one and I will be able to begin actively working at getting better both physically and mentally. I cannot wait to begin the road to recovery. I know it is going to be tough, but I am ready to start tacking goals again. I need that. 

Now that I have this initial massive post of the the way, I will hopefully be able to start posting more regularly again. Having some actual recovery to (hopefully) talk about will help to. Since I won't have much running to post about for awhile still, hopefully recovery posts and meeting some recovery goals will be forth coming.