Returning to training after a long lay-off is an interesting one. Part of you is chomping at the bit to get back and the other part of you is dreading it, as you know all your numbers are going to be p@nts!
Fortunately for me, the part of me desperate to get back is definitely winning over any dwelling on poor numbers. Iím back and Iím totally loving it.
Iíve got a slightly altered attitude to training in that the odd time it feels a bit like a chore I give myself a slap! Then I focus on being grateful to be able to get the feel-good hormones Iím addicted to; and actually, that feeling is the same whatever your wattage or pace.
A while back, I watched an interview with Jess Ennis-Hill and her coach about her returning to training and racing after having a baby. Their strategy was to have post-baby PBs (personal bests) and not to compare to her pre-baby PBs. In a similar way, Iíve made a conscious effort to do different training sessions and ride and run new routes. Even when I felt my running was at a stage that it was worth doing some 5ks I deliberately chose a parkrun Iíd never done before. Limiting opportunities for comparisons has definitely worked as Iíve loved this block of training.
Also, there is a positive of being a bit p@nts: each session you get a little less p@nts! Gains are a bit easier than when you're flying.
And to the person who has been Hitchings Strava QOM huntiní during my hiatusÖIím back hon! 😉
So, I havenít blogged in a while. Mainly because I wanted to blog when I was feeling a bit more upbeat and also because rehabbing my collarbone (complicated by a frozen shoulder) doesnít leave much free-time.
Iím now 14 weeks post-op (20 weeks since the break). Pre-op, all I wanted was to be back riding my bike. Post-op, I had to quickly re-calibrate my hierarchy of needs.
Pain and Sleep: I was totally unprepared for the level of pain. Unfortunately for me, I had really bad side-effects from all the strong painkillers I tried. So, I had to settle for ibuprofen and paracetamol. I was also totally unprepared for the lack of sleep. Anyone that knows me well, knows how much I love my sleep! 9-10 hours please! Post-op, a typical night for me has been bed at 10, then awake midnight, 3 and 5 to take painkillers, mobilise my shoulder and heat up my beddy-teddy for comfort. Then, up at 7 to face the day, bleary-eyed and spaced out. My body reacted with constant cold sores and mouth ulcers. Not the best!
Hot tub and Love Island: Getting a hot tub has been great as I can do a daily hydrotherapy session in the privacy of my own garden (I look a total dork at the swimming pool). Hydrotherapy is physiotherapy in a pool and involves doing various weird-looking exercises. I would say this has definitely fast-tracked my rehab. Rehab exercises get very dull without distraction so, Love Island has been my guilty pleasure. Donít knock it until youíve watched it!
Bike riding: I got back on the turbo at 4 weeks. Initially, riding in a (very sweaty) sling and then slowly but surely my arm had enough mobility to reach the handlebars! Yey! 10 weeks post-op, I started running (with a slightly weird asymmetrical arm swing).
Racing: I plan to race a 2020 World Champs qualifier at the end of September - a road sprint duathlon. Iím not quite sure what form Iíll be in but Iíll have to race with what Iíve got. Bike-wise, Iím pushing nice wattageÖactually really nice wattage. Running-wise, itís all still quite ploddyÖbut I'm enjoying getting endorphins in the Kent countryside.
Another operation: I need another operation to remove the hook plate, so I will be sliding quite spectacularly back to the bottom of the mountain I'm slowly climbing ☹.
The consultant reckons 18 months post-the next op to get strength and mobility back to close to normal. I can well believe it as even with all this rehab my mobility is depressingly poor and Iím currently using 2 kg weights and thatís an effort. The hazy days of bench pressing my own body weight of 50 kg are well in the past!
So, the goalposts have changed a bit since the original diagnosis from the consultant who said 4-6 weeks full-recovery; all very straight forward!! ???
Anyhow, for the moment Iím enjoying taking little steps with big smiles. Onwards and upwards.
I think it's fair to say this year has been a DIS-A-STER. Rehabbing from plica syndrome in my knee since November, broken ribs and now a broken collarbone.
Iím now at week 8 post-accident. At week 5 it was clear the collarbone wouldnít heal on its own, so I had an operation and a plate put in. I was fairly upbeat as the consultant said 4-6 weeks to full-recovery; all very straight forward.
Europeans in RomaniaÖgame on!
Then, just before the op, the surgeon came in to talk me through things. The mood took a downward turn when he started talking 4 months' rehab and then another operation to remove the plate. 4 months! 4 freaking months!! I know I can be pedantic but thatís a tad different from 4-6 weeks.
Europeans in RomaniaÖno longer game on!
So, the highs and lows of breaking a collarbone. Well, let's face it, the highs are non-existent, so, letís crack on with the lows.
1. Since the op, my collarbone hurts. It really hurts. It makes all other experiences, including two drugs-free childbirths, a walk in the park. Iím amazed this is categorised as day surgery. I was bed-ridden for 4 days. 17 days on I am still really struggling.
2. Sleep. Oh, to be able to curl up in the foetal position. Oh, to not wake every 3 hours in pain. It turns out my traditional herbal medicinal restful nightís sleep product is utter tosh!
3. Strong painkillers send me loopy, give me heart palpitations and make me panicky.
4. I'm finding a lot of people really annoying!
Iíd say the two best things that can be offered to an injured athlete are: empathy and practical help. Certainly, that's what I'm finding useful.
P.S. Two things Iíve found really helpful on this ďjourneyĒ: