Archive for January, 2011

Rehab Log

Posted in Random Thoughts on January 18, 2011 by moosetracksca

A little background: back on Thanksgiving day, while flying down the second run of the day under Chair 5, I caught my left inside ski edge and went sent into a wild crash. I felt something in my L knee pop, the skis did not release, I whacked my head back against the snow, and finally came to rest with pain in my knee. It was shaky from the moment I rose up, but I continued to ski anyway. I did ice it a few times (usually while downing a bloody mary with the other hand), and I slowed down considerably, but when I felt that my quads just weren’t working well I knew something was really wrong. Back at the TOF, I almost collapsed a few times while wrenching off my boots, my knee buckling with any pivot or shift or rotation. That night, I cried while in bed, and sleep did not come easily through the pain.

Fast forward a few months, holiday eating, insane work loads, and putting together the presentation for the Sierra Club. Read: no time at all for exercise and even my activities on the weekends were limited to cragging, ice climbing, and, well, driving. A few weeks ago, I could finally attempt to fully straighten my knee and get my quads to fire. Diagnosis: Grade 1+ or 2 MCL sprain and maybe a little medial meniscus tearing thrown in for spice. It’s still occasionally tender/sore, but now is the time to start the rehab. There are many more seasons of fun ahead!

So, my intent with this post (and with all the edits and additions) is to keep track of my workouts. I don’t measure increases in time, distance, or compare one workout to the next. It’s pretty strictly to keep myself honest and rebuild what I have lost through this injury. This accountability (to myself, and indirectly, to others) helped tremendously last year as I pushed towards my goals. I hope it does the same this year.

15-16 January 2011: Ski Touring above Mammoth and Rock Creek

Not sure of mileage or elevation gain on these days, but they were purposely easy to get used to the motion of touring again. I did a little with Sean back over New Year’s in NM, but these were my first times out on the new rig: Scarpa Maestrale boots, Dynafit Stoke skis and bindings. Lots of huffing and puffing, but realizing where I was, conditioning-wise (poor!) and it was time to get to work. No pain, although I was occasionally a bit scaredy on my turns.

17 January 2011: Track and body weight exercises.

Power walk to BHS (.75mi)

4 laps of running the straightaways, walking the curves.

3×10 step-ups on bleachers w/ light touch support

3×10 alternating heel raises and sit-squats (sit to bleacher seat, short pause, stand)

3×10 seated leg extensions

3×10 step-downs

3×10 straight leg raises

4 more laps as above

Power walk home (.75mi) for cool down

3×10 situps/pushups

NOTES: The smell of almond wood smoke permeated the air as I strode over to the high school, an almost full moon hovering in a pink sky over the Whites. Not a bad place for some exercise. The knee felt good while running in a straight line, and I purposely walked the curves to limit to lateral stresses on the knee. I kept everything in a straight plane, and did not try to rev up to full speed for the running. Control at this juncture is key for rehab. I had noticed two weekends ago how little strength I had to step up onto my left leg, so after the four laps I headed to the bleachers for step-ups and down, only a light touch for balance and not letting momentum carry me in either direction. The straight leg raises were quite telling: after only 5 reps I noticed an extension lag in my left knee, so I slowed each movement down to include pulling my foot back, rotating the leg out, setting my quad, then lifting the leg. I kept the workout fairly easy: no extra resistance or weight (esp since I know I’m carrying extra pounds on me already) in order to avoid being too sore tomorrow. The last few straightaways definitely alerted me to overall conditioning problems, as I really had to focus on keeping my vision and direction of travel straight ahead. Could have been because I was a hamster on a track, however. While I prefer those trails and being on the snow, there’s definitely a place for the “basic” workouts…

18 January 2011

XC Ski up the Sabrina Road from Aspendell, but by moonlight.

Notes: Not a great time on the bulletproof road, as I skittered and slid all over the place. It was too chopped up (from snowmobiles, presumably) to attempt any skating, and any time I tried to herringbone or even glide-step the ski would just slip out behind me. Down was an even bigger disaster, with almost no edge control. I felt like a complete retard, and finally took the skis off to walk back the last 1/4 mile or so. My friend Em was waiting back at the gate, so we hoofed it back up to Cardinal Pinnacle to check out the avy debris from a rather good size slide. Definitely would not have wanted to be in that debris pile, with chunks as big as the tires on my truck and super hard. Definitely would have broken a leg if it had hit someone. The full moon was in full effect (hence the late start) and was illuminating every detail of the mountains and the new suncrust/ice on the snow. A gorgeous night, and I’m sore, so this was a good stretcher.

19 January 2011: 3 hours turn training at Mammoth Mountain

NOTES: My patient in Mammoth ended up going to the ER, so I had an extra hour to burn this afternoon on the hill. Cloud wisps consolidated into masses that enveloped and then blew up and over the summit. Fog clung to the roots of the Minarets, Ritter, and Banner. But the air remained calm and cool over Mammoth, as I really pushed my edges on the light powder surface over a really hard and fast base. I still feel timid on my left inside edge, but was able to generate a bit more speed on both the steeper terrain. I stuck to the groomers, since all the tracked-out areas were solid and unpleasant places to catch edges. In between runs, I did as many leg extensions as I could while riding the chairs. Definitely helped ease out some of the soreness!

21 January 2011: Another full afternoon on Mammoth, turn training

NOTES: Met up with my friend Dave after seeing my patient in Mammoth. Knee joint was sore Thursday morning, so I kept it simple w/ quad sets and straight leg raises instead of the intended running. We cruised over a large bit of the mountain from Chair 5 to the backside, staying on the groomers since the snow on the ungroomed areas is just nasty crust and ice. I really concentrated on leaning in on the left inside edge as I was able, especially on the harder turns, focusing on using my butt and trunk to help mold the turn. The knee felt good throughout, no popping or instability.

22/23 January 2011: Gorge and Alabama Hills climbing

NOTES: James rapped at my door around midday Saturday, and we cruised under blue skies to the middle Gorge parking. He insisted on carrying the load down the trail, so all I had was a small pack with my shoes, helmet, and puffy (I wore my harness). James did the leading: I hadn’t been to the Gorge in a few years and all I could remember was how slick the basalt was compared to the granite I’m used to. I was a bit shaky on the first route, a nice 6 arete that steepened at the top, although the ledges were pretty damn huge. I finally got some nerve back (I haven’t climbed in over a month, at least on rock) and felt some of the flow. No probs with the knee thus far, although if I tried to shift too far out on it I could feel it almost quiver. The next 7 James played on had a steep start, and chalk marks indicated most parties headed left to traverse to the first bolt. Well, of course, since James went straight up, I had to try as well. PUMP OUT! Oh, man, my forearms were in for an awakening, since the ledges offered a flat place for fingers, but no crimping. I struggled and flailed but was determined to make it up the thing, which I did, and then spent 10 minutes rubbing my forearms to get the blood out. We headed south, running into my friends Deb and Chris, and found another fun 7 line with a funky start. Sometimes the key is not thinking: I nailed the start on the first try, surprising both James and myself! After one more route on the warmer side of the river, we headed back up the trail to the truck, and all of a sudden my knee woke up with a vengeance. Every time I lifted my left leg to place it on the next step I got a sharp pain right at the medial joint line. Weight bearing didn’t bother it, but the traction of a dangling leg did. My plans of a bigger snow day on Sunday evaporated.

Luckily, I had a backup plan, and James was all for it. My friends Stacy and Curtis were in town, and had just taken their first climbing lesson (on plastic). I had encouraged them to bring their gear, and the next morning, after gorging at the Petite Pantry, we headed for the Alabama Hills. Once there, we set up a few topropes and away everyone went. There was laughter, grunting, jokes, and instruction all around, and we all had a blast. My knee once again felt fine while climbing, although I got a little nervous when I had to downclimb and traverse a short section after getting off route on lead. It was a truly grand day of sunshine and warmth in the granite zone.

25 January 2011: Power walk and open-chain exercises

50 minute power walk, flat ground on dirt roads to Dixon Lane and back home

3×10 straight leg raises

3×10 bridges

3×10 bridges w/ leg extension

3×20 side leg raises

3×10 double leg lifts w/ arms extended

NOTES: The ice after I was done felt great and loosened up the knee at the end of the workout. Walking felt fine, I didn’t even break a sweat or breath heavily, but the knee stiffened up as soon as I got home. I think more kick and glide would help, and I have a patient in Mammoth Thursday (hint). The exercises are limited at the moment with the stiffness. While the step-ups felt ok last week, by Thursday the joint was aching. It was aching Monday, too, so I took the night off. Frustration ensues…