It's hard to believe that 3 months have flown by since the surgery. I've done several "walk 3 miles/run 1 mile" routines since my last entry and the knee seems to be holding together. It does complain a little bit if I get after business at a swimming lesson but so far all systems are a go. Next week, I'll start doing 2 mile runs. These are done on flat rail-trail and at an easy 9 minute/mile pace. My lower body weight routine is picking up to the point where I am nearing the weights I was doing prior to the surgery on some of my exercises. Rob has me doing plyometrics galore now as we make our way into the advanced training phase of the MOON protocol. In fact, Rob told me the end of our time together is in sight and he'll turn it all over to me. Beth has me working on increasing my endurance in the pool, by occasionally switching to a 5:1 freestyle stroke, and I am now starting to work on open turns. It seems crazy that only a couple of months ago, Beth had to enter the kid's pool with me to teach me how to put my head underwater! Finally, Jack Andrish has clearly spelled out a logical running program leading to a release date of December 9th that will culminate in my being "race-ready" by next spring. Of course, there are many variables that play into this.
Over the holiday, I had the opportunity to head down to southern Virginia to "slackpack" Mike and Dave Frazier, as they continue their Appalachian Trail thru-hike, from the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area on into the town of Damascus. If you've never had the experience of seeing southern Virginia, particularly in the fall, then you are really missing out. Several times I've been asked what was my favorite part of the Appalachian Trail when I thru-hiked it several years ago. Undoubtedly, I would say southern Virginia, particularly the Grayson Highlands. It is gorgeous ...
The boys and I had a great day. The sun was out, the temperature was in the low 70s, people were out biking the Virginia Creeper Trail. Mint, I tell 'ya. I tooled up and down the J. E. B. Stuart Highway (can you tell you're in the South?!) tracking their progress as best as I could and got some easy hiking in on some of the more benign portions of the Appalachian Trail. The boys gave me the honor of running the last mile into Damascus with them. After arriving into town, we got situated at a hostel whereupon the kind proprietor offered to do the boys' laundry and let them wear some old hospital scrubs in the interim. So we wandered down to a semi-famous outdoor gear shop to do some window shopping before dinner. It was a great way to round out the day. Mike, clad in a set of hospital scrubs, watching Dave and I having an air jam session to Iron Maiden blaring in Mount Rogers Outfitters.
About 480 miles to go, boys. Steady on!