Apr 14, 2011

Sidelined!


Injuries suck! There is really no way to sugarcoat that statement (not that I’m a fan of such things anyway). Injuries plain and simple suck. They derail training and make uncertain everything planned out for the season. When I first felt that tingle in my left Achilles tendon on Mulholland Double, I figured it was something I’d just sleep off and it would go away. Apparently, riding 40 miles on a “tingling” tendon is not the best way to get it to quickly recover. Lesson learned, but frankly, I would not have done that ride any differently than I did.

Another thing I learned about being injured is that coming to terms with an injury is much like dealing with grief. First there is denial: Nah, it’s not that bad, I can go on an easy Headlands Raid. Followed by, “oh, it feels fine, why don’t I try to push it up this hill and see if it holds up.” Then, when I could barely walk to work that morning, I realized it probably wasn’t a great idea to do that and moved on to stage two – guilt.

“Oh why was I so stupid as to go that hard up that hill? This is my rest week after all, so I could have easily taken a couple more days off to see if everything will work itself out. But nooooo, I had to push the envelope and now probably made it even worse than it was after Mulholland.” I really didn’t spend much time in this phase as I’m more of a “what do we do now?” type of person, as opposed to a “why the hell did I do that?” type of person. Dwelling on the past is pretty useless; so I moved on to stage number three – anger.

All of a sudden, I got really angry with my stupid Achilles tendon for acting up and not healing (oh, I was so tempted to spell that with a double “e”) quickly. I don’t enjoy being sick, injured or in any way, shape or form disabled, so this is really bugging me. I’m also seldom sick, injured or disabled, so it’s a lot to get used to. I think people who deal with sickness a lot don’t really enjoy it either, and it probably bothers them just as much as it bothers me, but I feel that mentally they can deal with it better because it happens so often. I, on the other hand, am completely mentally unprepared to deal with this Achilles fiasco. So part of me is stuck in this anger state, while another part of me has moved on to step four – depression.

But not really the kind of depression where you can’t eat, sleep, drink, function or do anything. That’s the clinical kind, I just have a quotidian kind we often interchange for the word “sad.” I’m sad that I might have to stay off the bike for longer than I would like, and that my training will be disrupted, and that I’ll lose fitness and have to claw my way back mid-season. So all of these annoying things are circulating in my mind, while I quietly hope that tomorrow morning I’ll wake up with a healthy tendon. And while part of me is still angry and another part is sad, the part of my brain responsible or reason is taking me to the last stage (that’s right, I skipped two because I’m so awesome) – acceptance.

Something needs to be done to promote recovery and I’m doing all I can. I’m doing stretches and massaging my foot, even if my co-workers do find it odd that I take off my shoe and sock and rub my foot in the middle of the office. I’m also doing my best to stay off my feet and have even resorted to taking a seat (when available) on Muni – something I usually never do because invariably someone gets on the bus/train who I think needs it more than I do. Yesterday, walking more than three blocks was uncomfortable, not painful, but uncomfortable. Hoping for a better feeling tendon today.

With this rest week coming to a fast close and the next training week around the corner, I’m really anxious for this thing to heal, but if it doesn’t, I guess I’ll have to come up with plan B of how I’m going to maintain fitness and not aggravate my ankle any further. I’m hoping it won’t have to involve copious amounts of ibuprofen. 

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, this is definitely an accurate description of the stages of injury. I always ignore injury until I'm basically crippled.

    Loss of fitness is the most depressing thing; taking time of for injury is the worst. I've found that it works out best if you can turn your injury down-time into some kind of positive. e.g. use it to reboot, take a weekend vacation, or use the rest as a taper of sorts to lead into a race (even if you hadn't originally targeted that race).

    Do lots of core stuff. Swim or run in the water. Row? You'll come out the other side just fine.

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