Tag Archives: recovery

Appreciate your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone

This morning I managed to go all the way around the pedal on exercise bike with my two-plus weeks post-surgery knee (yes, they managed to complete an ACL reconstruction, and fix the meniscus with enough tissue left so that an almost-full recovery is possible). Progress! Every day there is progress, I just have to keep doing the work.

Until my taxes are filed, I’ll leave you with this:

Trust me on the sunscreen.

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Tori Tour De Victoria Finish

Are injuries inevitable?

Here we are again, back on the elliptical trainer. Possible meniscus tear; I’ve been “rehabbing” for weeks now. This is a new injury; I don’t usually have problems with my knees, but there it is.

It started in August. My triathlon season was over prematurely when my stepfather died suddenly and I flew to be with my mother, right before my last scheduled race of the season: the Self-Transcendance.

Not wanting my season to be over, and needing to burn off stress, I ran while I was in Saskatchewan: country roads, small town streets, and the amazing Devonian Pathway system in Regina, my old stomping grounds. I thought I could salvage my race season by signing up for the Goodlife Fitness Victoria Half Marathon in October.

Devonian Pathway in Wascana park.

Wascana Park near University of Regina

I was 12k into a gorgeous 15k run around Wascana Park when my knee suddenly started to hurt so much I hobbled 3k back to my car. I stayed off running for a couple of weeks, then tried unsuccessfuly to ease back in. I’ve been struggling with it ever since. That’s three months now!

I did an internet search of “Are triathlon injuries inevitable?” and got 13,800,000 hits. Make that running injuries and it’s 8,720,00 hits.

I take it the answer is yes.

For most people, injury is at some point inevitable. We go out too hard too fast, we pile on mileage instead of building up slowly, we ignore warning signs, we don’t cross-train and build up some core strength, we don’t stretch enough. I’m guilty on all counts.

Tori Tour De Victoria Finish

Finishing the Tour de Victoria 100k ride. The only time the sun came out that day.

In the midst of all this I hurt my back too. Anyone familiar with body mechanics could see these two were probably related. I was still trying to get in some running miles with a sore knee, and it was altering the way I ran, and my lower back paid for it. I managed to bike up Hurricane Ridge near Port Angeles, Washington with some friends in late August/early September; a gorgeous day, but I was in agony by the time I made it to the top. I completed the 100K event of the Ryder Hesjedal Tour de Victoria in September, in the pouring rain and wind, relatively pain-free under the care of my physiotherapist.

Since then I’ve been hard at work strengthening around my knee and core, and waiting to heal. However, I tried going hard swimming (because I couldn’t bike or run) and quickly added on mileage in the pool – then I strained my shoulder.

Injuries are only inevitable when you keep making the same mistakes over and over again.

Matt, my physiotherapist, shook his head at me when I reported the shoulder injury. This is what made me really buckle down and start listening to him:

“You masters athletes and weekend warriors,” he said. “You think you can go hard all year round, and this is what happens. You know elite athletes take a few weeks completely off – do *nothing* – after their season ends, don’t you?”

Since then I’ve been a good girl, doing as I’m told, backing off completely. I’ve been granted some sanity-saving bike rides as I recover. I’ve learned some lessons:

Tori jumping on the Kinsol Trestle GIF

Jumping for joy because Life!

Yes, injuries are inevitable, when you try to be a superhero or keep up with the fitter, younger people on your team, or have something to prove. When you really tune in to your own body and only gradually push your limits, reaching only just beyond your grasp at any one time, they don’t have to be inevitable. Training, especially for endurance sports, is a cumulative, long-term enterprise. You can’t cram for it, you have to put in consistent effort.

And with that, I’m off to the pool to do my exercises and swim a modest 800 metres or so. Soon I’ll be back to my old, joyous self.

Photo credits:

Wascana Park by Tori Klassen available for sharing under CC-BY-SA license.

Tour de Victoria and “jumping” gif by Patrick Fisher, used with permission.

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How not to recover from a marathon

I’m not running. Yes, it sucks, but I hope it’s only for a couple of weeks.

Lesson learned: do not try to get back into running too soon after a marathon. My first post-marathon run was a slow, easy half hour (about 4 k) while I was on Salt Spring Island six days after the marathon. Chris “tsk tsk’d” as I went out the door of our hotel room.

“I’ll be fine, I’ll take it really easy,” I said.

Chris and Tori on Mt Doug summit

Mount Doug summit!

Then a few days later, after we were back in Victoria, we went trail running at Mount Doug. I even got off course and we had to bushwhack a little bit to get up onto the trail again. It was fun, but my foot hurt after that.

A few days after that, we did the 10k loop around Elk Lake.

After Chris went back to Sackville, I really wanted to get onto the trails so I did Mount Finlayson – twice – and went for a 10k with the Frontrunners gang. I may have gone a bit fast …

All within a month of running a marathon.

I know some people can get back on a schedule like that within weeks. I am clearly not one of those people.

My big toe joint became inflamed again, I have an extremely tight sacroiliac joint, and a hip flexor that nags me every time I wake up. My physiotherapist told me to hold off on running for a while and just stick to biking to keep up my fitness.

Trail below Mt Finlayson in Goldstream Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Trail below Mt Finlayson

That was before the second Mount Finlayson run. I’m stubborn, aren’t I? After that run (which was really pretty, I love Goldstream Park!) I found I could not even sit for very long without my back hurting.

It’s a hard lesson to learn. It’s finally getting really gorgeous and sunny outside and I am stuck inside on the elliptical, the spin bikes, the yoga studio. How frustrating! Oh well, at least I have a balcony on which I can sit and relax with a G&T after my workout.

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