As the end of my six week recovery was fast approaching, I was becoming alarmed that my leg still hurt. The worrier that I sometimes am, I started to think maybe I had torn something, or maybe the poor fit of my leg brace was slowing my healing somehow. I took advice from a few knowledgeable folks, and sought a referral to sports medicine, assuming I wouldn't be able to get in until well after my six weeks were over.
Surprisingly, I got an appointment for a this past Monday, after receiving a referral last week to the doctor Julia recommended (her "knee person"). I went in, got new X-Rays, and learned that my bone is healing just fine, and I will be able to go brace-free starting at the six week mark! The doctor confirmed that I didn't tear anything, and I should be able to start weight bearing exercise fairly soon!
Despite my initial excitement, the discussion I had with the doctor about activity was a bit sobering. I have to wait until I'm pain free (and not just for a day) before doing strenuous exercise (like running). I can start on the stationary bike, with 5 minutes at a time, rest a day to see if it hurts after the fact, then incrementally add time. I can go for long walks. I can do yoga, but not anything requiring deep knee bending until I've worked back into it for a while.
When I'm pain free, I can run, but I have to start very slowly. Like run for a minute, walk a minute, and don't progress in mileage too quickly. I'll be lucky if I'm running a mile by the end of the year! The doctor said that I should be fine to tun the San Francisco Marathon in June, and I get the feeling that anything much sooner than that is really out of the question.
I had considered a March marathon, and perhaps the Davis Stampede half in early February as my first race back. I thought February would give me a good amount of time to get my speed back, but now I'm not so sure.
Time will tell how fast I am able to get back into running. I don't want to be too conservative and waste time, but I also don't want to get an overuse injury (ITB, etc.) from trying to come back too fast. I'm already a bit frustrated, but I'll just have to deal.
The good news is, I should be able to get back into climbing almost immediately. I'll wear the brace at first to prevent knee banging, but adjusted so I can bend my leg. Hopefully I can get back on some 11a's by the end of the month, and get back on track to try my hand at lead climbing soon!