Tag Archives: injury

When the going gets tough, the tough go bike shopping

When I originally got injured back in January, my doctor and physiotherapist thought I’d be back to training in six weeks.

Two months later, I am still trying not to limp, and to straighten my leg. Matt (the Physiotherapist) delivered the bad news a few weeks ago: “You’re going to have to re-evaluate your races this season. Maybe do some relays. Maybe a Gran Fondo, but not until Fall, depending on the MRI and surgical consult.”

So – yeah – it is probably a meniscus tear. I just have to accept it and work around it best I can.

I’ve been attending a lot of the Vancouver Island Race Series events, cheering on friends: Delani, Mandy, Damien, Brenda, Torunn and Bart (and others).

I’ve been swimming three times a week and I’ve really improved my form in the last two months. And now, I’m back on my bike. In fact, it’s easier to bike than to walk anywhere. During the time I could neither walk nor bike, I drove my car more than I had in the previous six months put together. I felt like an enemy of the environment every time I got in my car (twice a day sometimes!) .

Happy on the trainer at last

Happy on the trainer at last

As soon as I got clearance to try biking, I had my trainer set up. After three successful trainer sessions, I got clearance to ride outside. That was a week and a half ago. You can guess what happened next.

Yep. Saddle sore! But I don’t care, I’ll toughen up! I ride every day. Nothing more than 36 km so far, but it’s all coming back to me. Slowly.

Taking the sting out of it all: I bought myself a Brodie Once (that’s ON-say, as in the number 11 in Spanish). My triathlon season is limited to relays, and I can’t go whole-hog on road biking yet, so now’s not the year to get a full-carbon roadie with aerobars.

Now I have no excuse not to commute by bike for any trip less than 15 km one way. I’m incorporating exercise into my daily errands and trips to the pool.

The Brodie is an amazing ride; I don’t WANT to take a car when I could bike. It’s an 11-speed (you can turn it all the way up to 11!), which doesn’t make it faster necessarily, just makes it easier to climb hills. One bike guy I talked to said the extra gearing (over the Oche, or 8 speed I was considering) will give 20% extra gearing on the low end, for spinning uphill.

It goes all the way up to 11

It goes all the way up to 11

Internal gearing means less maintenance, as the drive train is protected from the wet and mud. It also allows for shifting while standing still. On my first ride I learned to stop at a light, click down three clicks, then start out in the right gear. Automagical! I don’t know why more commuters on the Wet Coast don’t have internal hubs. Also: hydraulic disc brakes. They work much better in the rain.

Because changing a flat on an internal gear hub is a royal PITA, and I never want to change a flat anyway, especially when I’m commuting and I have somewhere to be by a certain time, I changed out the tires to Gatorskins: durable, almost puncture-proof tires.

To offset the cost of this sweet Brodie ride I’m forced to sell my beloved Audrey. Any takers?

Bonus gift if you come up with a great name for my new Brodie.

 

UPDATE May 26: this post has been edited to remove some names.

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How being a multisport athlete means you never have to say you can’t work out

You know how I came to be a triathlete? I was a runner who had to start cycling and swimming because of injuries; it was a natural progression. These days, yet again, I am very glad I’m a multi-sport athlete.

A week and a half ago I was hiking Mount Finlayson with a friend. It was a foggy, wet day (although not raining). The trail was slippery in places, but otherwise OK. I had vibram-soled day hikers on; the same ones that have taken me up this hike, and others, many times.

We stopped at the top for some water and a photo, and started to make our way down. Not far from the summit, I stepped down. My foot twisted in, my leg twisted out, and in a heartbeat I was down on the ground writhing in pain.

My friend helped me hobble slowly down the mountain; but I fell two or three more times; my knee just gave way. At one point it made an audible, sickening crack sound, which was not (thank goodness) accompanied by pain. My doctor says it was probably my knee cap sub-luxating (or something like that). My physiotherapist says I kept falling because after that initial trauma my muscles were tensed up and not working properly.

The next day I hobbled to a walk-in clinic with my now-swollen knee and got an order for X-rays, tensor bandage, crutches, and ibuprofen.

It became apparent to me that my training plans are now put on hold. I spent last week trying to hold off a funky black cloud of misery, weight gain, longing for my bike, and longing to be out running trails, and being unable to even do household chores properly (pro tip gleaned from Twitter: hook a bag onto a crutch to carry things in. Pack food up like a picnic for taking it to the dining room to eat).

My friends were fantastic. Crystal came over to clean my place. Another friend took me out for dinner. I had offers of meals and help that I was so grateful for .. And my friend Yukari sent me a sweet note. All very welcomed and which brightened my spirits immeasurably. I drove up to the Cobble Hill 10k race to help out and cheer from my crutches on the sidelines. It was a gorgeous day and I was inspired to not lose hope.

First good news came a few days later when I saw my own doc. “Have I lost my triathlon season?” I asked her.

“No, no, not yet. I think you should heal. No broken bones, no ACL tear, possible meniscus tear, but we’ll know more after a month of physiotherapy.” So, I made an appointment with my sometime torturer – er – physiotherapist – Matt.

More good news after that first physio visit. Matt thinks it’s not torn, that it was a painful sprain/stretched ligament, and it’s on its way to recovery as long as I do a few things right. I can start spinning on the bike indoors for 10-15 minutes at NO tension. I can swim with light kicking (no paddle board, kick drills or frog kick). I have gentle stretching and strengthening exercises to do for the next 4 weeks.

The other interesting thing Matt said was to hold on to my crutches: either walk correctly (meaning slowly) or use them – but AVOID LIMPING at all costs. If I walk with a limp I’ll be teaching my body bad habits that I’ll just have to un-teach once things progress.

So – there it is. Hope reigns. Things are looking up. I might not get the times I hoped for, but it looks like I will be able to do all the events I signed up for on 2014:

  • April 27: TC 10K
  • May 25: Subaru Shawnigan Lake Triathlon (Sprint)
  • June 15: Subaru Victoria Triathlon (As the swim leg of TriStars Scrambled Legs Relay team-Olympic)
  • June 29: Tri of Compassion (Sprint)
  • July 13: Cowichan Challenge Triathlon (“Challenge” distance)
  • August 4: Self Transcendence Triathlon (Olympic)
  • Later in August: Maybe Tour de Victoria 140K, but entry fee $$$ is spendy!
  • October (if all goes well) – Victoria Half Marathon

UPDATE May 25: I have edited this post to take out the name and photograph of the person with whom I was hiking, because reasons.

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Injury status: back on the bench

I have plantar fasciitis and have been off training ever since May this year. I missed running the Vancouver marathon, moved back to Victoria, finally got my act together and budgeted for the recovery help I need to get over this most persistent and vexing injury for runners, nurses or anyone who spends a lot of time on their feet.Blue bench

I have been at the registered massage therapist’s each week for a couple of months now. Luckily Rob the Sadist – er – my RMT – specializes in injuries like mine, but I realize why I was so hesitant to get into serious treatment: the sessions are painful and exhausting – and Rob just smiles and talks all through it. (I can’t believe I pay him to hurt me like that, and why does he seem to be enjoying it? A*hole.). I’m scheduled to get fitted for new orthotics today. I’m stretching my calf muscles and my foot flexors every day – on some days I have to stretch them before I get out of bed so I can walk without a limp, which kind of sucks because I usually have a big huge mug of tea before bedtime. (0_0)

I’ve started biking and swimming to keep up my fitness, planting dreams of triathlons in my head. I recently started back (tentatively) running again on treadmill and trail.

However, it seems like it’s two feet forward, one painful step back with this injury. After last weekend’s 5k trail run I benched myself from running and biking for a couple of weeks and I’m doubling down on the swimming and stretching. Maybe I’ll add some yoga and strength training too – lord knows I need it.

I’m trying not to get discouraged, because I did have this same injury (on the other foot) about ten years ago and was off completely for 6-7 months, and returned stronger than ever. I channeled my energies into becoming a volunteer spin instructor. Now though, I’m ten years older and I’m not as far along as I hoped I’d be after 6 months of no training.

I was planning on the UBC triathlon in March 2013 – the Olympic distance. However recovery has been so stop-and-go that I’m aiming for the sprint distance instead, and I’m waiting until the last moment to register. Just in case.

As with all things – it’s important to let the healing process happen and not try to rush it.

Of course by March I’ll be out of money for weekend trips to the mainland anyway. I’ll have contributed my spare cash to Rob’s cute little daughter’s college fund.

But if it gets me back on my running legs pain-free again, it will be worth it.

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