The Long Road Home

It could be far worse. That’s the take-out from yesterday’s physio meeting: there’s still a ton of damage in my elbow joint, and until that heals, I’m mostly off anything overly physical. I’ll be writing this and walking to the Gym again today to go and organise a Rehab plan with my PT: I can still cycle, and do core exercises, so that will be the plan going forward. I suspect resistance work will come into play too, and there’s a good chance if I can keep myself healing fast by sensible eating and lots of sleep, it could well be less than a month before mobility returns.

The last thing I want to do is be moping about, feeling sorry for myself.

esportsdancing

It’s also time to stop making this blog material. Assume I’m getting better, working hard and not dwelling on my own stupidity, and as of Friday, I’ll start writing about stuff that is far more self-centred, because that’s also what this needs.

The time for navel contemplation has passed.

Better Days

Today is Physio Day. I’ll need to make this reasonably quick as a result as it’s still taking a while to get dressed. However, last night in bed, there was some movement in places where it has not existed since last week. Hair can now be put up (but its still painful) so in that regard, it is definite progress. However, I doubt I’ll be lifting anything for at least another week, possibly more. That means watching my diet like a hawk, doing extra cycling to keep the calories in check, and not getting depressed.

My biggest concern is that my arm still won’t fully straighten: it’s definitely more mobile, but until I can lock my elbow without pain, a lot of exercises simply aren’t doable. My wrist is also being problematic so I might have to fork out for a full hour today to get everything looked at. I should probably get in a bit earlier regardless to see if I can locate my PT, and see if she’d like a coffee tomorrow so we can start planning some kind of rehab programme.

See you in a bit.

Run for Home

The last couple of days have shown that even if I’m not able to lift heavy shit for a while, my legs still work fine, and I can continue to train on the bike without (too many) issues. Therefore, this morning I entered my first group event on Zwift.

sportif

The first item of note here is that this is not a race against anybody but yourself. I can tell you for a fact that a bunch of people did make it a race, at speeds that frankly I’d be lucky to maintain for a minute, let alone ninety. There’s an important fact to be registered too, whilst we’re here: cheating a cycling simulator by lying about your weight and power in order to increase speed, or using other means to drive your trainer to give the impression Bradley Wiggins is a slowpoke… who are you fooling, exactly? Cheating a virtual game’s a waste of time in exactly the same way cheating is wank everywhere else. You don’t get to go and cry in front of the cameras as catharsis either. Seriously, nobody cares.

For me, this is the longest I’ve ever cycled virtually, and it has taught a lot about how physical strength has improved in the last three months.

310318

The killer was there’s a hill (actually a volcano because FIERY DOOM IS BEST DOOM) in this route, twice: brain and legs did it once and then decided between them that the second time would be easier, albeit about thirty seconds slower. I used gears effectively, rested between the hard bits, and as there was enough in the tank left to sprint for the line there’s the understanding that pacing rides is beginning to become a habit. Once it became obvious that I’d be doing the whole thing alone, too, I stopped stressing about other people.

Mr Alt was a star and stayed with me for the first climb, before pushing up to finish a very impressive 75th (the field ended up as 180 people) He’s taught me a huge amount around gearing and planning hills, all of which was massively useful this morning. I could find myself wanting to do that route as enjoyment, once I’m able to hang onto both handlebars and stop worrying about weight on my left arm. Before, that gradient of hill would be a concern. Now, I’m wondering how much time I could take off the climb. There’s a change from three months ago.

I have two benchmarks to hit in terms of recovery that matter far more than being able to lift again. I want to be able to stick left index finger in my mouth, and put up my own hair. Once those two things are possible, I’m honestly not fussed how long it takes to get everything else up to scratch. I’d also like the pain in my right thumb to bugger off too, and then we can never be that fucking stupid and trip over our own feet again.

I blame BST for all this stupidity. LOOKING AT YOU GREENWICH.

Bang Bang :: Day 1

I slept. It wasn’t great, but with arm on a pillow, it was doable. I was up at 6.30 and everybody made it out, and after that, there were two hours extra kip. I’m taking paracetamol, nothing stronger. There’s a bag of frozen onions doing sterling work as an icepack in 30-minute bursts, and the swelling is going down. The biggest problem right now is wrists and thumbs.

So much of life is around digit and wrist mobility: opening and closing stuff, gathering up my hair, putting on clothes. This next week will be an education and is gonna end up in a fiction at some point, because all of this is good practical research. Now all I need is actual movement back, and we’re golden. Even without the painkillers, it’s less stressful than yesterday.

Let’s hope everything keeps improving.

Bang Bang

header79

This morning, getting in from the School Run, I needed an iPad cable. Finding one, I then attempted to exit the front room, tripped over my feet and fell. This happens all the time, and normally all that is affected is my dignity and a shin/knee. This time I fell really hard taking all the impact on my left elbow and wrist. I knew summat was up when the lower half of my arm refused to operate, and then it was a case of deciding what happened next. A&E is 10 minutes walk away, but I was pretty confident nothing was broken. So, I called my Physio, and within an hour someone had established the extent of my injuries is bruising as of right now.

After that, I have a treatment plan, list of exercises to do, and instructions on how I reduce the swelling. It will be at least 72 hours before I can drive, which is a bit of an issue with acting as daughter’s taxi service. Today my son was a hero and took me to get her by bus, and I’ve arranged the last two days of pickups without issue. The only problem for her is a bit of an early start tomorrow and Thursday, but as Friday is Easter? We can sort this. The biggest hurt for me is that I’ll not be lifting for at least two weeks, possibly longer. It will depend on what damage emerges once the swelling’s gone, and that will be at least a week :/

Yes, there have been a lot of tears today. But as I can still type, albeit with care and both hands? I’ll cope.

Not Enough

250318

However good you think you are, it’s a lie. Look at Lewis Hamilton’s race this morning in Australia as conclusive proof that anything can happen, and does, and the only way to deal with that is to be as prepared as possible. I’m not dumb enough to compare my training to the world of F1, don’t worry. However, I’m well aware of what complacency can do for your mental state. This is one of the reasons why I’m on this sixteen-week training course, being summarily schooled in what my legs can and cannot do. Yesterday I began what the Guide refers to as Neuromuscular Power training.

neuromuscular

I have only briefly trained like this before, and the hour session completed yesterday made it apparent that I’m severely lacking. After a brief warmup, body was asked to do 15 sets of 3.30 ‘intervals’: 3 minutes at my comfortable cycling pace and 10 seconds right up in ‘owowow’ Zone 7. In fairness, I did manage ten of these before my legs started complaining, and the last fifteen minutes was the most uncomfortable I’ve been since any kind of training began. BUT IT WAS FINISHED. Today’s workout is Anaerobic Capacity and I’m already pretty nervous for that, too. However, we’ll do it.

At least I hope that’s the case.

Understanding the science of what is going on in my body has been incredibly helpful in order to grasp why all these numbers and zones have a relevance. Understanding how muscles tear and strengthen, what exercises benefit which parts of your body, why rest and stretching matter so much… all of this contributes to enlightenment and understanding, which in turn makes me a better athlete. It also gives me a chance to plan and organise everything else with a level of certainty. Even if I don’t make the Ride London Ballot, this is body strength that will set me in good stead for the years to come.

Eventually, my legs might even stop hating me and begin to enjoy the journey.

Wednesday Week

header115
When I look back on this point from the future, there will be the understanding that 2018 was where everything changed: not just exercise, or mental outlook, or even the ability to discern truth from deception. This was the year when, driving to pick up my daughter, Brain successfully informed Body that we’d done enough and it was time to stop. I turned off Social media, came home and spent a couple of hours looking after myself. There was no cycling (I have two days worth of tests to run starting today) and no exercise (which will happen after I’ve written this) but what there was included writing novel and organising next week.

Then, I slept for nine hours. The elimination of caffeine after 6pm and removal of electronic devices which can be read from the bedroom has begun, finally, to bear fruit. It also helps that I’ve been physically exhausted by my new training plan, which is now pushing body in new and interesting ways. I had time to prepare breakfast the night before, and make a list of the things needed to continue to improve my food intake. Once I’m done here it is good enough weather to walk to and from the Gym for a weights session, and if it’s not too busy afterwards, I might even have lunch there.

header95

This is where I’d like to make my home, for a while. However, yesterday I was prompted by an e-mail that I might like to consider the Ballot for the Ride London 47: a shorter version of the main ride, without the killer hills, which would allow me to gain a sponsor and make some money for the time spent. I won’t know if I’ve managed to get in until late April, but it shows willing and is an acknowledgement that there’s a desire to try a ‘proper’ event, rather than the more casually-based Eroica. It will also take place the day before we go on holiday, so I’ll have plenty of time to recover.

Entering myself, however, is a huge deal. I don’t like races, get nervous and itchy at the competition. The psychology of it all will be a bigger undertaking too because I’ll be doing it alone (husband will be on the full ride) and I’ve never had the confidence to do something this complex without support. That’s the biggest leap forwards of all. I am good enough. I can do this. There’s anxiety just thinking about it, typing the words, but beneath all of that remains the confidence in myself, that never existed before. Just as I’m about to finish a novel that’s taken two decades to grasp, I could ride alone and succeed.

All things are now possible, if I just believe enough in myself.