Heading into the off season, I was primed, I was pumped to get a little R & R, and begin pushing hard for the next cycling season in hopes of returning to some of my favorite rides and shoot for some PR’s. After deciding to move my daily strength training program into a new gear, I was instantly sidelined with a strained muscle group in my back. This little setback even cost me a couple days off work when I couldn’t be productive. Two weeks later, after being very inactive to heal, I managed to cycle up Black Mountain, the highest point in Kentucky and then I relaunched my off season activities in full force.
Near the end of the year, I found my riding time very limited due to weather, work, and family travel, but still managed to keep the indoor movement continued and got a few decent rides in over the holidays with some nice hills and miles. However, it’s been nearly shut down mode since then as far as the road cycling and running goes. The wonderful winter weather has played havoc on my work schedule as well, causing multiple consecutive weeks with hours in the sixties plus. Thankfully, nothing has halted my morning workout ritual, and I know soon enough, the weather has to break and I’ll be chomping at the bit to make up for lost time.
The second problematic issue this off season was a nagging shoulder strain, but this time, more likely caused by too much wear and tear at work, rather than another self inflicted injury from training. I fought through it for nearly a week, until I could tell it needed some attention, as it was not going to go away on it’s own. Off to the chiropractor I went, and after one treatment with an adjustment, E-stim and ultrasound therapy, I was on my way to healing recovery. Oh, along with the same advice my lovely nurse wife had given me several days prior: “take some ibuprofen and ice it off and on.”
Well, I’m not one to take medicine much, so I chose not to take my wife’s advice until I heard it from the chiropractor also. Little did I know, that I was about to embark on a lengthy relationship with the anti-inflammatory med, but nearly as soon as I regained full motion and strength in my shoulder, I woke up with a nagging leg/ankle/foot pain. “Wow, what’s my problem?” I’m asking myself. “This is the most healthy and fit I’ve been in nearly 6 years, and it seems now as if every other week is bringing on a new injury,” were just some of my thoughts …
This time, I immediately went to the ice/ibuprofen/icy-hot muscle rub treatment in hopes to nip it in the bud quick. All the while, I’m suffering both mentally and physically because now I can’t run or ride, inside or out. Wow?! And what makes it even worse is getting on my strava account and being witness to all my friends putting in serious work, and knowing how much catch up work I’ve got ahead of me now, just to get back to even and just to regain the fitness I’m losing. Well, a week later, taking the advice of my wife this time, I decided to go see the doc and figure out how to make this ailment disappear so I can get back on track. This time, I headed to an urgent treatment clinic after work, just to get in and out without missing any work.
Upon arrival and checking in at the UTC, I was pleased to see the number on the scales still around 200, even with multiple layers still on from work, then it got interesting in the exam room. The nurse checking my vitals, looked at both of my legs and noticed the problem area to be somewhat reddish in color and swollen. Then she took my pulse multiple times with the finger device and had a puzzling look on her face. She tried it on her finger just to make sure it was working properly, then took it on me again. “Is something wrong?” I ask. “Something’s not right,” she said, then after leaving the room to speak to the doctor, she returned and told me that I needed to go to the ER to get checked for a possible blood clot due to the redness, swelling, and a pulse in the 40s,and they don’t have the equipment there to do the scan. She also offered to call an ambulance for me, and I laughed and declined. So off to the hospital I went, and this time I was accompanied by my wife (who was a little bit in panic mode) and my youngest son. I assured her, I’ve never had any circulation problems, and that I’m too healthy to get sidelined by a serious medical problem all of a sudden.
Still calm as I always am, I checked into the ER and within minutes was called back where a very nice RN again checked my legs and vitals, but this time with a non-puzzling look on her face. “I played volleyball in college and my resting pulse was always in the 40s-50s. Most athletes have a lower than normal pulse when resting,” she said with a smile on her face. Shortly after her visit, Doctor Harrison came in and knew exactly what to check for to let me know I am now suffering from shin-splints. Ouch! He had them before and knew the exact foot position that caused the most severe pain, and made a few recommendations to get me back on my training plan, along with a steroid script for five days.
What’s next? At this rate, it would probably be safe to assume, the next injury is lingering just around the corner, waiting to bite me. I have learned through this process, how important it is to me to be active, but at the same time, that my body sometimes requires rest for healing. Now, three days into the steroid use for my shin-splints, I’m feeling much better, and excited to get back on the road soon. I will try to push myself to get going asap, but will not push so hard that I don’t get fully healed. I’ve got too big of plans for this cycling season to risk it all by really messing up my fitness. And as far as what injury is next goes, I’m not one to look for bad news, not gonna dwell on negatives. I’m fully confident that I’ll be back in full force at 100% again very soon, and if another injury happens, I’ll deal with it when it does, but I’m not planning for it.
So, to all my friends that are out there putting in solid work on your off season fitness while I’m on the sideline somewhat, I commend you for continuing to push yourself to be better. I promise this though, I will be back on your heels soon enough, and looking for the perfect moment to sling shot out of your momentum and again be the pace-setter. You guys know who you are, and you know I’ll be back soon enough!
Keeping It Moving Forward …