4 Weeks Down, 3 To Go

Nobody said being injured was easy. It has now been a month since my last ride, most of which was spent on the couch. Oddly enough, I’m close to the point when I was first injured that I started training again. That’s not happening now.

The first four weeks have been a challenge. For starters, this injury became a lot more painful than it ever had been. I think part of the reason was that I was off NSAIDs, which I had been chewing like candy when I thought the injury was hip flexor related. Anti-inflammatory drugs obstruct bone healing, so that was the first change I had to make. The pain became worse after the MRI, so I think that positioning set me back even further. On top of that, knowing this is a stress fracture and paying attention to my body counts for something. Before I didn’t listen to my body. I would just try to get it warm and train. Over this 4-week stretch, I’ve been listening to it, and it has hurt.

After the first few days, I grabbed some crutches and started using one to support weight on my right side. It was a Godsend. The hip was still in pain, but it was a lot easier. I’ve gotten around pretty well with the crutch, walking it in stride with my right foot to absorb most of the impact.

Fortunately, week after week, the pain has improved. The first couple weeks had me taking a lot of Tylenol and occasional pain pills. Now I barely need either. I still feel something down there that is bothersome and uncomfortable, but I would not describe it as painful most of the time. The crutches will probably be gone within a week or two. The doctor said I am best using them until I can walk without a limp. My walking is now better, but I’m not there yet.

I had decided to wait until the pain improved before doing any cardio. At first the plan was to start with light swimming next week. It is possible there would be no consequences, but since things are still not feeling settled, I’d rather not risk another setback. I’ll keep resting until my appointment on January 28th. After that will depend on how everything has healed, but I am hopeful that I can begin rehabbing and slowly getting fitness back.

The next three weeks will unquestionably be easier than the last four, and knowing that comfort and recovery are coming soon will keep me motivated. My eyes are still on the prize.

19 responses to “4 Weeks Down, 3 To Go

  • bgddyjim

    Have you tried calling the doctor to see about the swimming? We’re freaks and doctors generally get us.

  • bobissett

    Good job, bro!

  • thedarbster

    Injuries suck! And they happen to most people who exert themselves at some time or another. I’m not sure what conditions are like at this time of year where you live, but around here, it’s dark and cold, so better to rest up and heal now so that you’re ready for prime riding in the spring and summer. Hang in and take it easy!

    • aaronwest

      They do suck, but you’re right that all athletes have to deal with them some time or another. We are fortunate here to be able to ride year-round with layers, but I’m still not a fan of riding in cold weather, so no major complaints. A lot of people take the winter off and resume training in the spring.

      • thedarbster

        I just received my MRI results today… bone chip behind the patella causing one of the problems… still not sure about the lateral knee pain though. I’ve been referred to an orthopaedic surgeon. My physio is good too, so he might have some insight when he sees the MRI.
        btw… meant to ask you what gearing you use… I’m thinking of doing the Garrett County Gran Fondo in Maryland this summer if the timing works. I have a compact double I could install if needed. The biggest climbs I’ve ever done were in Ellitcottville NY, Cat 3 – 5s … lets just say i was feeling it with a standard crank! (although I was racing hard)
        Rest up dude!

      • aaronwest

        That’s not an injury I’m familiar, but sounds like a bummer. Hope you get some good results from the ortho surgeon. I’ve had some knee pain with cycling, and it was no fun at all.

        I use a compact with an 11-28 cassette. It is mostly enough for everything I want to do, but we have some steep hills. You might be able to get away with less. Since ill have some downtime, I may write a little more about gearing and climbing technique.

  • AdorkableGeek™ (@AdorkableGeek)

    Rest man rest…… you’ll be back b4 you know it. Hill repeats, intervals….it’ll all be there waiting for you but just get solid and heal.

  • Gerry

    Thanks for the update, Aaron. Does this late start mean you’re going to be the team’s super domestique this summer ;-)? Looking forward to trading training-program war stories with you soon.

  • richvelo

    If it helps, I had my own challenges before Haute Route 2011, the first one.

    On March 1st, 2011 I was on a snowboard heading back to our hotel due to the terrible icy conditions. Just before arriving, my son cut just in front of me and to avoid hitting him, I pulled back on my feet which sent me propelling forward head first on a block of ice. Result: broken collar bone along with two ribs.

    That wouldn’t have been so bad, except that after 6 weeks, the collar bone hadn’t healed naturally as it should, a series of doctors and finally an MRI showed that the two sides of the collar bone wouldn’t touch naturally (the 15 x-rays from the front they did over several weeks didn’t show this). So, end of May, surgery. It wasn’t until June 1st that I was on my bike on the road (a few days earlier than my doctor wanted).

    I had managed to do some home trainer in the garage during May by rigging a squat rack with some pillows to allow my chest to rest on something while putting no weight on my arms. This fitness combined with a solid two months during June and July got me to the start of Haute Route in great shape after all.

    So, believe me, you still have plenty of time to get ready for Haute Route this year.

    • aaronwest

      Rich, thanks for sharing your story. That is very encouraging, especially knowing how well you did on 2012 Haute Route. Even though I cannot train through this injury, it comes at the perfect time. I should be able to make up for any fitness loss when the weather warms up.

  • Thomas Clayton

    Aaron, having worked for 12 years as a Personal Trainer, be careful – there is a huge difference between a traumatic injury (crashing) and an overuse injury. Just remember “overuse” is very subjective. An extreme example asking a person that walks everyday, than to run even a mile. You will of course get better – but don’t go get better than your body can. Just knowing you, that’s all. I learn a long time ago a coach is not there to tell you to do more – but to hold back. It’s the fire in us sometimes it helps if it is held back.

    • aaronwest

      Tom, I can always rely on you for sage advice. And you know me all too well. I’ve been armchair riding with you guys since I’ve been injured, just itching to get out there. It’ll be tempting to throw myself at the next mountain I see, but I’ll have to take my time and inch back up.

      :Last year I didn’t have a coach. I’ve already found that he’s great at pushing me, but also making me take a rest. If left to my own devices, I’ll be going all the time.

      • Thomas Clayton

        Aaron, it has my e-mail. Good for you. One thing I might say, Bobby will know, sometimes he will tell you to do less. Steel even will get stronger when you bend it, but past a point it will fail. What I would say, don’t let motivation overtake your coach’s advise. I fact you are about back. You are doing the proper thing.
        We will ride soon!

      • aaronwest

        Hey Tom, you might want to check out my most recent post. I gave you a shout out. As always, thanks for the advice. You’re a good guy to have on my side. I look forward to riding again soon, but not too soon.

      • Thomas Clayton

        Thank you my friend. I’m just an opinion. I just will offer it to a friend because I want to ride with him again. I don’t know if I am wrong or right – BUT most doctors don’t either. When I was 22 years old, HAD to go (because the pain was so bad) to a Sports Med. Doctor. He asked me how much I rode a week, I said over 200 miles. He then proceeded to tell that would be a lot for an entire summer! His solution was to operate on my knee. Never happened, Guess he never got all the $ he wanted from me. I just think he didn’t know what a cyclist is.
        I would just say – in the beginning be smarter than strong – after that that let the strong go.


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