Leap Day Sports - The Triathlife of Jesse Thomas

5 Weeks Post Operation

Helloooooo all you crazy for babies ass fans! Wait, that came out wrong. I know you’re not crazy about baby ass, but you get what I mean.

Honestly, it is amazing how much more popular babies are then triathlon stuff. I always knew Jude would be way more popular than me, but I didn’t realize how fast it would happen. His First Race Report (secret baby announcement) was easily the most popular blog in the history of LeapDaySports.com. Ironically, it took top position from Oops, I Broke My Foot. So what you all have told me is that you like it when I have a baby and when I hurt myself. Good to know, that’s sooo much easier than being a professional triathlete.

It’s laughing baby! I got your attention, now read my blog.

So anyway, while this post will likely get little to no response, I do owe you all an update on my recovery progress. So here’s what’s been going down.

Two Steps Forward and One Step Back is Still a Step Forward

Based on the progression I posted at my Two Week Update, I technically was allowed to walk in the boot (weight bearing) the morning after Jude was born (Tues, July 11), which would have been 3 weeks post operation. And of course, I took advantage of the nearly perfect timing by the little dude. It was awesome to hold him and gingerly walk for the first time in weeks while Lauren and I soaked in the experience in the hospital room.

But after I got home and started walking more, I felt some light grumbling in my foot. It wouldn’t call it “pain,” it was more like an awareness. Things were loading again for the first time in three weeks and I could feel some type of activity down there.

After thinking and debating for a while, I talked with Amol, my surgeon. He said unless I was swelling (which I wasn’t) or I didn’t feel any sharp pain (which I didn’t) that I was fine. I believe him and trust him 100%, but something in the back of my mind kept bugging me.

Body Knows Best

I’m a firm believer that no one’s know’s your body like you do. Even though the external signs said I was ok to go, I had a deep feeling that I needed a little more time. It was a feeling that 10 years ago (when I initially had this injury) I wouldn’t have listened to, I would have just started walking because that was the plan, it was more convenient, and I wouldn’t let myself slow down the process.

But newer, wiser Jesse, who now has two more degrees, is a professional athlete, owns a business, has a freaking kid and preaches in all his Triathlete Magazine articles and blog that you need to listen to yourself, adapt the plan, and be flexible – that Jesse WOULD NEVER make the same mistake, right? While it sounds easy, it was still a hard decision. But when I thought about the risk/benefit analysis of taking an extra couple of weeks vs. pushing through a little bit of doubt, it was an easy decision. Listen to yourself, make sure it’s healed, and then progress with confidence.

After talking with Matt and Jay at Rebound, we decided to delay weight bearing to 5 weeks. I was being cautious, but that’s the side I wanted to err on. Yes, it felt frustrating, like I was falling off track, but not everyone’s the same, and your body could care less whether it’s been 3 weeks or not. It’s ready when it’s ready.

Rollerfoot in supporting labor action. If you haven’t read Lauren’s Runner’s World article about her labor experience, click the pic. Funny and awesome.

Rollerfoot to the Rescue

So that’s how I rolled, literally. Luckily the decision just meant another two weeks on the Rollerfoot (not crutches), which I honestly can say has been a life saver. Having that thing has allowed me to basically operate in the same way I would have anyway. I can carry stuff, I go long distances without my pits, shoulders, and hands dying. It has kept my right glute, hip, hamstring and quad from atrophying. It’s given me TONS of random conversations about the skateboard strapped to my leg. Most importantly though, I’ve been able to basically be the same dad I would have been otherwise. I can carry him around (carefully), change his diapers, make Lauren dinner, etc. I only need Lauren’s help getting him up and down the stairs. Though I’m fairly sure I could do it, and I know he’s super tough, I don’t think he’s ready to roll down the stairs with Daddy yet.

Training Progression

Long story short, outside of deciding to stay non-weight bearing for two extra weeks, I’ve been progressing on the exact same schedule. I’m balancing any progress with extra caution, making sure I heal, and allowing for flexibility of the new demands on how to be a parent. Matt has given me an outline of what to accomplish, which at this point is 1) gain strength in my weak areas (shoulders & core), 2) progress PT with my foot, and 3) begin to build some light aerobic fitness.

I’m swimming and biking regularly with the boot on, and I’m doing a ton of PT work at Rebound. I’ve been super cautious on anything that could jeopardize my recovery. I tried aqua jogging, but felt like even with the splint there was too much stress/load, so I cut it out for now. I’ve kept my bike wattage basically 200W and below (easy, sub aerobic pace) for the first two weeks (though at my current fitness level it feels more like an aerobic pace anyway).

Training Log

Since I think some of you will be interested. Below is a live Google Spreadsheet of everything I’ve done since starting to come back, just a few days before Jude was born. I’ll continue to update it (for a while at least) so you can see what I’m doing on a day to day basis You can also find power files and other stuff from these workouts on my Strava account.

Training Video / Soundtrack to this Blog

I’ll leave you guys with a little video I put together of the last few weeks of training. I’ve been vibing on this Mackelmore song 10,000 hrs, just thinking about putting my time in on the comeback train. It has some video clips and images of all the random training stuff I’ve been doing – and a few cameos by Jude, just to keep it interesting. Please feel free to ask me questions via tweet, facebook, or the comments below about anything I’m up to. Hope everyone’s doing well, and thanks for reading!

19 comments to 5 Weeks Post Operation

  • Benny

    Hey Jesse,
    it’s always great fun reading your blog. Triathlon and real life experience mixed together!
    Stay as cool as you are.
    Get well soon!
    Cheers Benny

  • Ash

    The picture of you roller-footing Lauren, in labour, through the hospital, is probably the best thing ever!

  • Brett

    What got more laughs, to boot or that speedo?

  • Mike

    Keep coming back strong Jesse! I’ve always loved your blog. You and Lauren should co-teach Jude how to write and have him start blogging ASAP.

    Can’t wait to see what you pull off in the not so distant future!


    • Jesse Thomas

      Jude’s scouring the internet for the appropriate domain, then he’ll get one going I’m sure. He wants it to be witty, but he wants people to take him seriously, I mean, he is almost 17 days old.

  • I agree with Ash. That photo tells a story.

  • R Smith

    dude, you’re a hero.

  • Kristen

    Did you put a cleat on the bottom of the boot to clip in??

    • Jesse Thomas

      No cleat, but I did pu on a flat pedal and a zip tie around it (not in that workout because I was going back and forth a lot), but for my longer rides it seems to work pretty well.

  • Malia (TTR_Malia)

    Jesse- your dedication to listening to your body and keeping your spirits up in inspiring! Working through my own unplanned mid-tri-season “break” it’s amazing how one song can turn into the soundtrack for your experiences and emotions. Far from Macklemore (though what a great artist!), mine has been “Silver Lining” by little known Rilo Kiley (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVtSSCzASR0). My injury and own “comeback train” have been full of silver linings, once I started looking for them.
    High-fives to you, Lauren and especially Jude!

    • Jesse Thomas

      I’ve been listening to Rilo Kiley for a long time, they’re great, forget about them, thanks for the reminder. Love that song, perfect one for recovery too!

  • Good stuff Jesse, thanks for sharing. It’s very inspiring, encouraging, & relevant to my situation right now. I had a baby a week before you did & a foot surgery a week after the baby (wasn’t able to get it done before baby day). I don’t have my boot yet, still in the post-surgery wrap, but wasn’t expecting to be able to ride with the boot. Looks like it’s possible. Did you use a flat platform pedal on that side with the zip-tie, and a normal setup on the other foot? No imbalance issues with that setup? I’ll have to look into it. My tendons had to be detached/reattached to get my bone fragment out, but I am guessing comeback may be similar, just a bit longer perhaps. Keep up the good work.

  • MBK

    First off – Jude is really precious – looks just like you and wif – and just so flipping cute! 2nd – 10,000 hours is def on my velo playlist – good beat and better than JTimber at present.

    Keep up all you are doing Jesse – know you will – the power of positivity (which you have) is really king and it will bring you the happy health to come which is absolutely down the road soon – keep listening to your body – it will come – as you know – you are doing everything you can right now to make that happen and that alone is huge. We are thinking of you and know you are on the path to recovery every moment. MBK

  • 10,000 hours. Love that concept, noted in the book by Malcolm Gladwell “Outliers.” Worth a read. You fit the description. Let’s talk soon. Big fan.

  • Chuck Davidson

    Awesome and inspiring – Im on week one of this adventure myself – I have been swimming without the boot – did not know there were waterproof boots! Stay Motivated!

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