June 1, 2009

New Knee Update (5 months)

As I write this on the last day of May, it’s been just about 5 months now since I had my total knee replacement and I’m very happy to say that things are going really well! I’m running about 40 miles per week and my pace is starting to pick up along with the distance I’ve been able to go at one time. I remember when I first tried to run back in March, I couldn’t go 100 meters without having to stop and walk because my quad would start to get so fatigued! Slowly but surely I was able to go longer and longer but the pace was extremely slow, some days I think I could have walked faster then I ran! I never got discouraged though and just kept working hard at rehabbing the knee and gaining strength back in my right quad.

As of today I’ve run as far as 7 miles and most days I now go at least 5. The pace has slowly come along as the knee and quad have become stronger. Each week I feel like I’m making at least a small gain and that is very encouraging! Most runs now are at less than 9 minute per mile pace and I’ve even got down to a 7:46 for one of the miles. If you would have asked me years ago if I’d be happy with being able to run a 9 minute mile I would have thought you were crazy, today I’m tickled pink and am so blessed to be back and feeling like a runner again! I’m sure if my orthopedic surgeon reads this he would like to strangle me!

Should I be running on my new knee? Not according to all the doctors, but do they really know what will happen? They are pretty sure the knee will wear out quicker than if I didn’t run. Most TKR’s will last 15-20 years under normal wear and then you may need another one.

Here is my feeling, (I’m sure some of you think, this guy is nuts!) I get such enjoyment out of running! I love everything about it! I’m only 53 years old so if I’m blessed to live into my 70’s and 80’s or beyond, either way I’m going to need a new knee eventually according to the doctors. Let’s say I need a new one in 10-12 years, my thought is by then the technology will be so much better than even today that who knows what we will be able to do with a new knee at that point! I may be eating crow at the end of all this and if I do, I will be the first one to admit I made a mistake. But in the mean time I’m going to enjoy every run like never before.

I promise you I will continue to give you all a honest update on how things are going with each update I write. I figure someone needs to be the “guinea pig” why not me! Perhaps it will help others who have to go through the same thing! Have a great day friends! :-)


Surfsister said...

I've been following your blog since I found it while doing research for my then impending knee replacement. Well, I've had mine now. I'm only six weeks out and chomping at the bit to get back to my athletic life. But you in particular have given me a lot of hope. I have no intention of running on mine. I'm a surfer who also swims and used to race road bikes. I figure if your knee can withstand all of the running you're doing on it, then I can certainly look forward to getting back in the water.

I've told others, through the internet, about you and your running on the prosthetic knee. I completely understand your attitude about it. As my doctor said when we first met, you can't tell active people to stop being active.

I'm blogging about my experiences too. Actually, I've had my blog for years. Then, the knee replacement came up and I decided to blog about that too, if only to give younger, athletic joint replacement patients a peak into the entire process.

Thanks for blogging, Dick! You're my hero!

Greta Jones said...

Dear Dick: I understand completely your take on the situation. I broke my hip in January and had 3 pins put in. Nobody,except my grandson, thinks it is a good idea to run again. But my grandson feels like I do that if the pins fall out I can get a hip replacement. If that wears out I can get another one! Running is too important to me to just quit. I know of someone who has had 3 hip replacements, but this was back in the day when they only lasted 5 years or so.

So yes, the doctors think we are nuts, but you have to do what your heart tells you, right?


Anonymous said...

Hi, Dick!
I am glad to finally hear that it is you not the doctor who is going for the continued running. I am in for partial knee replacement and plan to continue running. Perhaps not marathons, but at least distance. You have inspired me. Who knows what will be available once we wear out the present replacements?
Bruce M.

Mark Connell said...

Dick -- Great to hear that you are progressing with rehab. As with any tale by Dick Beardsley, it's not a surprise that day by day you improve your performance. It's the tenacity to improve by small steps, never getting discouraged, that's the uplifting theme from your life.

Hearing that you're now running sub-9 minute pace brings a November morning in Central Park back to my mind. It was the day of the New York Marathon two years ago. I was in town to watch the race and had gotten out early for a 16 mile run of my own. My plan was to run part of the marathon course followed by two loops of Central Park before the race even started.

It was a chilly day with few people about. I was on my last loop, running counter clockwise up the switchback at the northern end of the park, above the Harlem Meer.

I was slogging up the hill, (at about a 9 minute pace), when I heard tup, tup, tup behind me. As we crested the hill, I got passed like I was standing still. The other runner was you.

After a surprised exchange of greetings you said, 'Sorry, tempo run. Got to keep moving'. And powered off south through the park.

Good luck with continued improvement. I look forward to the day when you pass me again like I'm standing still!

TriMoot said...

So good to hear about your progress and I have to 100% agree with your theory. Although technology increases a little slower in the medical field than electronics, no doubt it will be more advanced than it is now. And, you'll be in better health and shape than you would be in 11 or 12 years if you didn't run. So a replacement then might be questionable seeing you'll be at such an advanced age.(Heehee, we're the same age so I can say that!)
Anyway, it's good news and I will certainly pass it along to a few folks that I know who have had the same operation.
Thanks for keeping us informed and best of luck to you and your continued progress!

Paul Mooter

david carruthers said...

Dear Dick,

You are an inspiration, we are the same age and I think, in many ways have a similar attitude to life. I am here in the US under unusual circumstance, but this situation did lead me to start running 18 month ago at age 50, after 16 weeks I ran my first marathon Go St Louis in 4:05! Having caught the bug I continued running, entered Lewis and Clark Marathon where I saw you ran in 2006! The race was stopped because of hurricane Ike at miles 10, so continued training and ran The St Jude Memphis Marathon in December last year, where I cam 2nd in the Grand Masters category in a time of 3:07. Having read Duel in the Sun and visited your website, my wish was to find a race you were planning on running and be able to say I ran with Dick Beardsley! Then the knee problem! I understand how you need to run ever day, without running I don’t think I could have survived the past 3 years. I say good luck to you and keep pushing the envelope….when you get into marathon shape please let me know where and when, I would still love to run with you.

My little story can be seen in full at www.davidcarruthers.com

Happy running

David Carruthers

janet said...

20 years ago I had a massive infection of my left foot,achilles and after 13 surgeries was told I should never run again. Dick,I sure do understand, this was like a death sentence to me. Because i had such a bad injury it took me 5 years to regain my stride. With the support of sympathic physical therapist, massage therapist, and family I am enjoying each run and race more than in my sub 3 hr marathon days. We only go through this life on earth once so we have to do what we love! Way to go Dick...

Anonymous said...

I really WANT to running with partial knee replacement. I try running little bit. My doctor said no. I am so young - 44 years old. I do gymnastic, basketball, tennis. If it broke then I will let they cut my half leg off. Get false leg so I can running full one.