Friday, June 21, 2013

The Aftermath

Loooooooooongtime readers may remember that I once tried to be a triathlete.  Remember this post?  It was a very short-lived career because I hated cycling with traffic and I hated open water swimming.  Running may break your bones but it probably won't kill you.

When I dismounted my bike at my first triathlon back in 2008 I had no clue that I wouldn't sit on it again until 2013.  Poor Ferdinand has been sitting in my bedroom the last five years collecting dust.  Literally.

I thought about selling him a time or two but decided he was a sunk cost and it might be nice to have a bike one day for casual bike path rides.  I had been flirting with the idea of buying a bike trainer on and off the last five months.  But every time I came close I'd think that I'd probably be running again in a week or two and I'd put it off.  As soon as I got official word that I had a stress fracture, I bought the injured runner's white flag:

My new best friend

The above turns my carbon road bike into a glorified spin machine.  I like to say I've been cycling the last few weeks but it would be far more accurate to say I have been spinning.  I have no plans to venture into the great outdoors with Ferdinand.  The last thing I need is to break a collarbone while recovering from my stress fracture.  I even replaced my fancy clipless pedals and bike shoes for regular pedals I can wear running shoes with while riding.

I was not really looking forward to spinning but I have to say it has been strangely satisfying.  I treat the rides the way I treat runs -- fartleks, intervals, easy days, long runs.  I work up a sweat and I get my heart rate pumping.  I deeply regret not getting one months ago.  There is a good chance I may continue with this even when I return to the roads.  I have a sad feeling I have spent almost as much time on Ferdinand the last few weeks as I did when he and I were actually training for events together.

I also bought this:

My personal trainer does a lot of TRX with me and I bought my own system.  I love working with her but it is a huge financial luxury to have a personal trainer and it is not one I can stomach indefinitely.  I can pay for a year's worth of yoga with the same amount of money that will pay for six weeks of working with her the way she would like to see me.  I can't do Bikram at home but I can do strength training at home.  I wanted to find a way to make this training change a permanent one.  I am going to try to phase in my home-TRX as I segue out of personal training the next month or so.

One thing I have learned through all of this is that I have a lot of muscle imbalances and weaknesses. I used to think my ganky running form was just the way I ran.  I now know that a lot of it stems from my body trying to compensate for my inability to hold itself together when I am running.  Strength training is the solution and it is another takeaway from the stress fracture that I intend to continue working on long term.

Overall I have to say my spirits are strangely high.  In the end the knowledge there was an end to this did far outweigh the bummer of not running for X more weeks.  A part of me is even a little happy I have some time to work on my muscle weaknesses before I dive back into running.  Before the stress fracture diagnosis I viewed all of my strength exercises as things that were just not working to fix my problem.  I did hundreds of single leg squats and clamshells and my damn leg still hurt.  Now I view the things I am doing as things that are going to make me stronger and better in the future.  This change in my viewpoint has drastically improved my attitude towards everything I am doing.

In the past few weeks I may have cornily told my husband more than once, "You know, once I ran so far and so fast I broke my pelvis."  And when he asks me what I am doing I like to respond, "Building bone."  We've found the humor in the situation.


Rabbits' Guy said...

Sounds like a good way to remain aerobic and not get hurt! I probably would have gone for a La-Z-Boy! Good for you.

Ann (bunnygirl) said...

I'm glad you're staying sane! There are a lot of good spin videos out there, if you haven't checked them out yet. I like Spinervals for the coaching and variety, and Bike-O-Vision for the pretty scenery to zone out to.

SF Road Warrior said...

Heh....I feel like we are becoming injury / recovery twinsies. I'm spending a good amount of time (well...some amount of time...) on the spin bike myself these day.

Re: all the form / strength / alignment stuff, I am reading a fantastic book right now called "Becoming a Supple Leopard" by Kelly Starrett that you might find interesting. Don't let the goofy name put you off -- I am learning sooo much about how to (theoretically) not get injured that I didn't know before.

Happy spinning!

Alisa said...

Spinning on the trainer can be really fun and a great way to get sweaty if you can't run. Look up spinnervals...they make awesome DVDs.

You have such a great attitude about the whole thing. I'm with you on half the battle is knowing what the heck is wrong and the situation gets better once you know and can deal with it.

Here's to healing and recovering strong and smart.

post more about TRX, I know NOTHING about it but am curious about your home setup.

Anonymous said...

p90x! =D

Kevin said...

Attended the Arnold Classic this year. Seen Arnold himself for the first time. He kinda looked old and was led by hand by one of the ushers. As always Muscle Tech was dominating the show floor. Although I really loved the display booth of Military Grade. Read a lot about these guys on the net but until now haven’t tried any of their products. Got a free dogtag from them, gave it to my son. He was really excited and bought myself a bottle of Super Army Mega Endurance Formula. Just want I need it. I take it on my off days. Allows to keep me in balance and in top-notch condition.