Dealing with Injury – I am Lucky

Dealing with an injury can be quite frustrating. It’s not a question if you will get injured, it’s when will you get injured and how to deal with the injury mentally and physically. Similar to the mental challenges training and competing present, managing through an injury is quite the mental conundrum. Today I will share my progress dealing with a knee injury that has sidelined me.

A few weeks back I posted the blog, Manufacturing a Silver Lining, where I shared what transpired in developing my knee injury as well as four things to consider when facing adversity:

  1. Acknowledge there is an issue – don’t push something aside to where it becomes something big
  2. Consult with others – whether it’s an injury, challenge with someone or something else, it’s always a good idea to get input from others who have expertise and/or experience…and who you trust
  3. Get a plan – after gaining inputs, put a plan together to address with room for flexibility to change. We all know that will happen at some point.
  4. Manufacture a Silver Lining – learn from adversity. If that means you approach something differently, fantastic! It may mean you have to switch gears and focus on something else while you are dealing with the challenge or deal with it head on. Either way, make the best of it. Take ownership and move forward.

Since the blog, I raced six days later at the Dunedin Rotary Duathlon. Although the result was good, my body was a mess. The lack of training due to the knee injury impacted my overall fitness. The worst part however was the knee failed with constant pain throughout the 12 mile ride.

I called Dr. Gerard Bogin the next day and got in to see him three days later. I have seen Dr. Bogin for a few things over the years and he always gets me back on track. After a thorough assessment Dr. Bogin explained what he thought was happening and it seemed spot on with how it developed and other issues he uncovered. Above the knee through the hip flexors the muscles were extremely tight and bound in knots.

Dr. Bogin had me looking like a pretzel and I was literally lifting up off the table as he was hitting numerous sensitive, tight and sore spots up the leg. That may sound bad but to him it was a good sign. He explained that we could correct the muscle issues through therapy and the vast daily homework he ultimately sent me away with. That would result in getting my knee to rotate properly. The question we need an answer to is if I damaged the cartilage under the kneecap requiring an alternative solution. When asked what the alternative solution would be, he told me he would not tell and I didn’t want to know.

Bottom line, he did not want to focus on something we don’t have control over. That I completely understood so on to focus what I could control in the near term. That would be two things:

  1. Allow the swelling in the knee to go down
  2. Complete my daily homework of therapy he prescribed

Dr. Bogin gave me a range of 2-6 weeks to get the knee and leg ready to begin training again. He had to correct me when I summarized back to him what I thought I heard. In describing how this could potentially play out and impact my calendar for the remainder of the year I said, “so worse case I’m out 2-6 weeks, begin training again by July and I’ll be ready to roll at the USA Duathlon Long Course National Championships in November.” I would race before that but that is my next “want it really bad” race this year. He quickly responded to my misguided summary stating, “no, 2-6 weeks is the best case scenario…”

I gotta say it felt like he just let the air out of my balloon but he was simply being honest and realistic. I needed to hear it and his bedside manner is quite excellent. Looking back to the four steps, I now had the first three complete so on to step four, Manufacture a Silver Lining. Even before I went to see Dr. Bogin I had shut my cycling down on my own and running was limited so the last two months have been quite light on my training schedule coming off heavy training loads.

What was I going to do with all my extra time? Over this period I found it getting tougher as each day passed but I would say I have done a lot of things to use my time wisely and keep engaged. I really focused on what I could do to pivot my energy to other things. That has helped in so many ways. Here is what I have been up to:

  • Training
    • My daily homework to rehabilitate the knee and leg
    • Focusing on my swim stroke; I am in the pool often…
    • Coaching – this has provided so much life. I LOVE coaching, supporting and cheering on our team. Being at Best Damn Race Leftovers, the Mock Triathlon Saturday, and all of the other encounters have really lifted my spirits.
    • I am getting to know Training Peaks inside and out. Thank you Celia for the tutorials.
    • My training manuals are getting wear lines so that is a good thing…continuous learning to help coach the team.
  • Nutrition
    • I’ve been doing a lot of research and consulting with industry leaders on hydration and fueling the body…more to come here. I’m really excited to share this soon.
    • The last Healthy Giraffe Event brought 25 fabulous people into the Giraffe Den…a record…I am so humbled. We had a fantastic time! Next road trip, June 22, will be posted tomorrow.
  • Mind
    • Practice what I preach; I started reading a fabulous book so far about the challenges athletes deal with in their mind including dealing with injury. This book is a bit unique as it is a collaboration between a World Champion Triathlete, Leslie Paterson and Sports Psychologist, Dr. Simon Marshall. Separately they struggled to make things work and then together figured out some pretty effective techniques to work with our brains. Classic mix of making the science come to life in a real athlete. Here is a short hilarious promo of their book, The Brave Athlete: Calm the F*ck Down and Rise to the Occasion
    • Thank you Elia for your continuous show of support by sending me things to read on the effects of positive thinking on injuries. Seriously, Elia is sharing passages from books and his experiences almost daily. It’s really helping….the power of our mind is amazing!
    • I also went and saw my favorite dog, Gracie. You have to check out her Instagram page. The last two videos are absolutely hysterical. Thank you Bill for the visit!
    • Morgan is home for summer…enough said.
    • The constant check-ins from friends and family makes me feel so lucky. I literally was IMed as I was typing this sentence…thank you for checking in Jenn and Chris!

Saturday was my first run in 16 days and it was 10 minutes. The hope was to feel no pain and to have no swelling including the morning after. I passed the first test and got to repeat with another 10 minute run this morning (Monday). I think every muscle in my legs were sore and my hips doubly tender. It’s crazy how fast you can lose your fitness. If all goes well I will progress to back to back days, increase the duration to 20 minutes, and more.

The real test will be when Dr. Bogin clears me to do a test on the bike. I’m hoping that comes in about two weeks. I am in for the long game so I am taking this day to day by doing my homework and listening to what my body is telling me. That is easier said than done but I will continue to stick to the plan and keep engaged with other activities.

I know I will come back with great energy for my own training in hopes to be at 100% and give all I have in November at Nationals.

I leave you with a few things – consider the steps of facing adversity I shared earlier. Keep engaged with your circle of friends and family. It is so inspiring when others pick you up when you are down. I love my circle!

– Add Health to Your Life

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