Thursday, August 23, 2012

Warning... Sudden Stop Ahead!! Please Check Perspective.

While I was waiting for pictures to be posted from the race last weekend, there was something else developing in my life.  An injury.

On Monday, I felt awesome, feisty, full of energy.  I was such a pain during the phone interview that I think DW wished he could put a chain over my nose (a control method for difficult horses). I probably would have benefited from a chain over the nose.  He gave me the option of extending my easy recovery ride to 2 hours from 30-45 mins if I was feeling good.  During that ride I noticed a tendency to be pushing to big of a gear and letting my cadence hover in the 80's (from the 90-105 that I normally ride).  Other than that, the ride was a non-event.

The next morning, while I was on the couch doing some work on the computer, I noticed a strong ache in my right knee.  Now, I have been nursing a troubled IT band since the bike crash and the reduction in swim workouts due to the shoulder injury (same bike crash) has put a lot of running and cycling on the calendar.  I didn't really think anything of it as I absent-mindedly rubbed it.  It was really quite sore and so I decided to walk around to keep from stiffening up.

That was when it hit.  As I tried to move my knee through a basic range of motion, the pain went haywire!  I couldn't move it and nearly checked out.  I have a pretty solid pain tolerance but this caught me completely off guard.  It was totally debilitating and after I caught my breath, I made two phone calls, one to DW and the other to Dr. Mike (aka Mr Miyagi).  I did not reach DW but was able to schedule an appointment with Dr. Mike for that afternoon.

Remember him?  He's THAT good!
The long and short of it?  I had displaced the meniscus and it had gotten pinched.  The protocol for this injury is basically to manually push the meniscus back into the joint (while ignoring yowls of pain from the patient that would do a Spanish Inquisitor proud).  He explained that the meniscus was unstable, compromised, and very prone to tearing that this stage.  If it tears, the solution is surgery.

DW and I connected and I got another stern lecture.  He was going to be tied up in clinics for a few days and I was going to have to make decisions about my training on my own.  If I had any doubt, I should be more conservative than I think I need to be.  He saw this going one of two ways... a short hiccup in the training then a return to the program 100%... or a meniscal tear followed by surgery and months of setback.  I was to protect that knee at all costs, even if it meant minimal amounts of active recovery interspersed with complete rest.

A VERY stern lecture...

My heavy build week going into Tri Rock Austin?  Out of the question.  Tri Rock Austin??  That's a big unknown right now.


At present, I have employed everything at my disposal.  Rest, wraps, ice, elevation, three visits in three days to Dr. Mike.  I am avoiding NSAIDS though, since pain is my guide right now.  I work in an environment where I am moving around large animals in deep bedding, going up and down a ladder that is off balance a hundred times an hour, and responding to their movements without thinking.  If the pain is masked, nothing will alert my brain to the fact that I cannot take that next step.  I have been down that road before and know for a fact that the outcome is never good.  It is why my shoulder has suffered so many setbacks.
me for real!

I did a light ride on the trainer last night and woke up today a little more sore, so tonight became a day off.  I feel, quite frankly, like a water balloon!  Bloated, bloated, bloated!!!  But at present, I believe I am a water balloon that does not need surgery.

The meniscus is now back inside the joint where it belongs and while it is "touch it and I'll punch you" tender, it is working.  The only real concern is the sharp pain that I get if I go up or down hill, or during twisting motions.  I am hopeful that that is just irritated tissue and not a tear in the cartilage.

Seriously, who takes these pictures?

I spent some time today researching possible races for the first half of 2013.  Why?  Because right now I need to think about the future, the bigger picture.  It is no big deal if I miss my next race, or the one following.  It is a big deal if I end up so injured that it takes 6 or 12 months to return to this point.  So you see, I am back in the position of making bargains with myself.  Accept feeling icky right now, put your desire to train on hold, and think about the future.  If you do, you can have the contents of this list!!

I predict a triumphant return!
(photo by wonderferret)

I'll keep you posted.

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