Sunday, February 1, 2009
I'm finally back on the bike. Well, on the trainer. It's a long story with many possible starting places but the best part is Thursday night while on the trainer I felt no pain in my sacroiliac joint. How long has the pain been growing deep near the base of my spine? A few years. I dealt with it by downshifting on climbs, walking them or avoiding them altogether. Sometimes, I could pull it off, but not with a payback later. I lost strength. And confidence. I got pretty frustrated. I didn't tell people.
I would hike sometimes, then realize that the weight of my camping backpack, even when I offloaded gear to Jon, caused serious pain. Hiking the five miles to get to Rabbit Lake I had to stop many times to rest the injury that I called my "bad hip." Then this fall on vacation I got sick. I also crashed hard on my mountain bike. The flight home triggered more suffering so that when I saw Dr Mike I told him I needed to talk about this hip.
When I pointed out where it hurt, he told me it wasn't my hip but the sacroiliac (SI). Stretches, contrast therapy, anti-inflammatories and physical therapy were prescribed. We started in November as Luci - my wonderful PT with a contagious laugh - taught me about my back. And taught me how to walk and even taped my back. I rode a bit, but mostly tried to avoid things that led to pain later. Then I had my finger surgery in December and had to stay off the bike.
Between the exercises I did at least once a day and often twice, thinking when I walked and staying off all my two-wheeled friends I got stronger. Then, with permission from my hand Dr and a little finger splint I climbed back on the trainer. Pain returned to the SI later in the day. How would this ever work? Why did it have to keep returning?
One more session with Luci and I learned to find those muscles I've been training all month and tell them to do their job on the bike. I upshifted like Luci told me and kept pedaling. My legs drew slower circles and kept stable as everything worked together just like it does in normal people. I'd just planned a short ride for this experimental stage of finding my stability on the bike, but I felt like I could have just kept riding, and the thought of doing a century ride seemed entirely possible. I haven't thought that in a long time.
It's strange how an injury, one we may take lightly at the time, can creep into everything we do. I didn't take very good care of it to begin with, then it morphed until I didn't even want to ride all of Resurrection Trail last summer.
I'm hoping my recovery continues. I'm hoping this is part of My Better Year. I'm hoping I have the dedication it will take to keep with it, to not overstep my limits, but to also push myself to ride farther than I did on any rides last year. Yes, this has to be a better year.