So, this post should have been about how I kicked some ass at the second century ride of the year, and then turned around and PR’d the shit out of Rookie Tri.
But we all know that’s not how the story goes. Let me now educate you on the Saga of the Knee TM.
The initial injury is shrouded in mystery. I had a fair bit to drink so the end of the fateful evening is in question, but I have no recollection of falling down. This isn’t my first cocktail party so I have some familiarity with drinking too much and falling down, frankly, it used to be a birthday tradition. However – a good smack to the knee/butt/whatever is usually enough to break through the booze haze into memory territory. So, I was very CONFUSED in the morning when I felt like someone had replaced my knee with a ball of white hot pain whenever I thought about it wrong and had no recollection of doing anything to damage it.
It hurt like hell initially, but I’m used to acute injuries hurting. It sucked, but every day it was getting a little better and I had hope that it was going to be magically better by the time I got home. Well, that didn’t happen, I was still definitely limpy and couldn’t straighten it. That plus being at the peak of a cold, I DNS’d my first race (Georgetown Red Poppy Ride) and hoped that smart decision would help me toe the start line of Rookie. I tried to back off on the activity, so I did total that week:
- One upper body weights session (45 mins)
- One easy spin (25 mins)
- Two handcycle workouts (40 mins)
- Snorkeling (2 hours)
- Lots of walking. Less than I could have healthy, but it’s just hard to get around that on vacation when you are unwilling to waste it sitting in the cabin.
So, basically nothing for me, but probably more than I *should* have done on a freshly injured appendage. I was attached to my icepack pretty much at all times so there’s that.
I had a chiro-cracker appointment already just for maintenace, so she looked at my knee and gave it a 50/50 chance it was just tweaked or I actually had a tear. She was particularly interested in a knot I had on the inside of my knee and thought I might have a knee mouse (a free floating piece of cartilage inside my knee). None of this sounded great, and she advised me to 100% do not race Rookie (even taking it easy) and said to come back if the doc couldn’t find anything really wrong and she could do some stuff to speed up the process. She said swimming and upper body weights ONLY. Not even the trainer.
Let me tell you, I was in a GREAT mood after that. Thinking about worst case scenario, I started googling masters swim classes and found some 10 mile swim and 5-day stage multi-mile goal races. If all I was going to be able to do this year was swim, then I was going to learn how to swim LONG and get FASTER. Having a plan made me feel better, on a scale of 1 -10 it was more like a 2 instead of a -5.
I had the appointment at 11:15. Well, I get there at 11:10 and realize that my insurance card is at home still in my vacation stuff, and they have a rule where you have to show your insurance card once a year or the doc won’t see you. The receptionist almost cancelled my appointment until I begged her to let me grab it. I raced home and got back in time (thank goodness the appointment was across the street from my house). They took my blood pressure and it was 140/80 and pulse was in the high 70s!!! (my norm is about 110/65 and my resting relaxed pulse is ~45)
The doc finally saw me and poked and prodded and stretched and played with my knee for about 15 minutes and told me it could not be a tear with what hurt and what didn’t, and there was no need for an orthro referral or MRI. I was just to stay off it for about 2 weeks, do contrast therapy at night (ice/heat/ice), and take lots of muscle relaxers and anti inflammatory stuff. She thinks it was just overuse from two days of rocky dive boats and a rocky ship (lots of stabilizing, sometimes with 60-80 more lbs on me than normal, and in different ways than triathlon which is pretty much a go forward and not side to side sport).
The good news: my season wasn’t over. I’ll be fine soon. The bad news: definitely, definitely no Rookie if I wanted it to heal properly. I emailed later that day about options (deferment, any refund), and the Jack and Adams folks were amazing and gave me a 50% refund even though the deadline had passed. I asked about volunteering and… um… they said they were full. Crazy! To get my TX Tri Series credit, I’m helping out this coming weekend at a 5k.
Later that week:
Went to the chiro again, she did ultrasound therapy on my knee and good news – it’s a GIRL! (hehe, that’s my new favorite joke) The ultrasound actually helps break up scar tissue and swelling. It felt so good after, I asked if I could just strap it to my knee for the next few days and then found out it can possibly melt bone if you leave it on too long, so I’ll let them administer it. If it were up to me, my knee would be a pile of goo.
I did one 30 minute swim and weights, and had planned to hit it hard in the pool every day, but then the knee felt tighter in the AM, so I rested. I did get another 30 minute open water swim in and another weight session, we took our new kayak out for 30 mins on the lake, and I played paparazzi to 3 different triathletes in 3 different waves Sunday, so that was definitely a workout as well.
I’m not going to do any sort of formal training plan until I am cleared to go wild, so expect another week like that of doing what I can, when I can. As much as the instinct is there to swim every moment of the day I can, I’m just trying to use this as mental rest as well so I can really hit it hard when I’m better.
Yesterday (I know it’s not technically week 17… but relevant):
Chiro again, she was very very please with how I was walking and healing, and that I almost had full range of motion back. She seemed a little skeptical last week of my primary doc’s diagnosis, but was now on board with it too – which made me feel way, way better.
I’m doing ultrasound twice a week for this week and maybe next, I am to keep up with the contrast therapy, and ice/heat/ice/heat/ice if possible (there goes my evening social life, oh wait, I don’t really have one, heheh), keep massaging and stretching it.
I asked the 64 thousand dollar question about getting back to running and biking and the answer is “not until Thursday, at least”. I got the “let’s make this a 2-3 week injury, not a 2-3 month injury” talk, and while I’m antsy, I’d rather roll into the next few races a little undertrained than either hurting or worse, more DNSs.
I am still cleared to swim as much as the leg tolerates, weights that are not stressful on the knee, and she asked me to do the trainer but there’s a catch – I have to set the seat up super high so I’m really reaching to push the pedals and that should help stretch things out. She expects I may be able to tolerate 15 minutes of that before I want to throw my bike out the window, so we’ll see how that goes.
Food and the Scale:
Once the injury hit on vacation, I knew I had two options. First, I could drown my sorrows in ice cream and vodka and pizza and french fries gain all that weight I lost back because I was pity partying. I really did want to do that, and on vacation, it wasn’t even a matter of purchasing them, just walking up to a counter and taking them. The second option was really dialing back my portions – when I can’t train, I can definitely go a little lower with the calories without consequence – and stuffing myself with every veggie I could find instead of said junk food.
I went with #2. I ate either breakfast or lunch most days after I got injured (and lunch was really a plate of veggies with a few other things to taste), I didn’t snack a lot, but I did eat whatever the hell I wanted for dinner with the only caveat being when I was really full, to stop shoving shit in my mouth. I still ate reprehensible things, but I didn’t eat a LOT of each reprehensible thing.
That paid off with a net LOSS in weight over two weeks of potential food orgies. Seriously, I looked at my last cruise notes and NO WONDER I gained so much weight, we ate like 5 times a day and not a small amount each time! This time, I ate typically twice a day, with a *small* snack in the middle of the day which typically was a bite of someone else’s stuff.
Now that we are back, I’ve ticked off another lb (low weight week 16 – 179.0 Low weight week 17 – 178.0), and I already have a new low weight this week in the 177s. I’ve also been sticking in the 1400-1500 range most days – and my appetite hasn’t really argued and I haven’t felt weak or tired, so I’m sticking with it until I’m off and running (literally) again.
Sadly, it seems that the quality of food has little to no bearing on my ability to lose weight. It has every influence on how I feel and perform in training, and I’m certainly happier eating fruit and veggies and whole grains because I can eat more volume, but I think I could probably just eat 4 snickers bars a day and lose weight, no problem. I’m finding it challenging to transition back to more vegetarian stuff, and it’s not really what my body is wanting while I’m not training hard, so I’m cutting myself some slack there.
Monday: 25 DQs, 1460 calories
Tuesday: 29 DQ, 1590 calories
Wednesday: 27 DQs, 1490 calories
Thursday: 23 DQ, 1419 calories
Friday: 19 DQ, 1342 calories
Saturday: 14 DQ, 1281 calories
Sunday: -2 DQ, 2121 calories
Average DQ: 19.2 (not great but not too bad considering less calories and horrible diet choices on cinqo de drinko)
Average Calories: 1529 (assume 2000 calories burned per day since I’m not really doing anything…so… about 500 cal deficit per day or 1 lb lost)
Weight: low, 178.0 – high 181.8 (TOM bloaty day)
Overall, I’m super pleased and just hope to continue with this. It seems to be working. I may not be hitting my super aggressive goals, but we live in a world now where I can envision racing Kerrville in the 160-somethings. And I like that world.
I thought race spectating would be kinda boring but it was SO MUCH FUN to play paparazzi. I even brought a book because I figured I’d have downtime, but it was all run here, run there to get people in and out of each transition. I’d definitely do it again if I wasn’t racing.
I was initially a little sad and kinda got bummed on Saturday when all the pre-race prep was going on but the day of it was cold and windy, and I was kinda happy not to have to strip down to my spandex and get in the freezing cold water. Also, that let me get some great pictures of Zliten and friends kicking ass that day. Not that I’ll be trading my timing chip for my camera too often, but I realized it wasn’t the most horrible thing in the world, especially that day, and especially if I wasn’t going to be able to race hard anyway. Just limping through it probably would have been worse for my psyche and certainly my knee, and I don’t think that it would have done anything for me training-wise, so I’m content with my decision to skip it.
My only regret is I will not have a full set of TX Tri series times to judge against last year, but I’ll still get credit for completing the series since I’m volunteering. So, as persnickety as I got about it, in hindsight, it was a great decision.
Question of the week: what’s the best decision you made last week?