First off, I hugely appreciate everyone’s comments and support after posting my Debbie Downer 9 Week Post Op Update. Like I said, I had hit the bottom of my recovery process, and your support turned my frown upside down! Thank you!
Lucky for me and lucky for you because you don’t have to listen to my bitching, things are looking up. Even within a few days of writing my last blog, I felt a little shift in the soreness of my ankle, and a shift in my mindset – honestly a lot of it as a result of your comments. No, the pain didn’t go away, but I began to think about it in a different way, take a bigger picture perspective, chill out, refocus, and eventually, build mentally and physically into some training. Without going through all of it, I’ve posted a ridiculously awesome infographic from my Google Docs Training Log.
Hindsight is 20/20, right? It’s fairly easy to see what I did if you look at this graph. After two weeks off post surgery, I started training way too much, developed tendonitis my ankle, and even though my bone was healed, got super frustrated because I couldn’t do much around the time I was supposed to start doing more. Finally after some rest and a lot of PT, I’ve now been able to build back into some decent swimming and biking, which means I’m outside, happy, and enjoying life!
I’ve learned lots of lessons in the past 12 weeks – and because you’re all my little crazy ass fans, I’m going to put some knowledge in your brain.
1 – I’m an idiot. Even though I tell all of you and myself constantly to ease back into training after an injury, I didn’t do that. Well, actually, I did kind of, because this is actually about half of what I wanted to do, but it was still way too much. I need to remember that surgeries and injuries like this are the real deal, and you can’t be too patient in trying to come back.
2 – There is such a thing as “good pain.” As at least two of you know from my other articles, I don’t believe in “training through” pain. If something hurts, then you should stop. If something’s sore, than that’s ok. But what’s been frustrating for me to realize in this process is that there is some pain – not just soreness – associated with coming back from a big injury or surgery that is actually good to push through. Initially, I got a little freaked out in PT when my ankle & foot hurt while doing exercises and/or activity, and kind of stopped doing them because of my natural response to avoid pain. But I’ve learned that some of this pain is the necessary pain of remobilizing all the joints that just spent 8 weeks locked in a boot. And it turns out, if you do push through that pain, it eventually gets better, not worse. It’s been a tough line to walk for sure, something I definitely don’t enjoy because it goes against my natural instincts, but something I’ve learned nonetheless.
3 – PT is like the most important thing you should do for real. I don’t understand what the mental block is against physical therapy. It’s aerobically much easier than exercising, usually takes less time, and it helps you get back to activity faster. Why do we all skip it then? Yes, it isn’t as fun or glamorous as crushing an awesome trail, but it’s what allows you to do that. Sure enough, as soon as I started really doing all the foot and ankle exercises I was supposed to be doing, my stuff got better. Huge thanks to Jay at Rebound Physical Therapy and John Ball at Maximum Mobility. Both of these guys got me off my ass doing the stuff I need to do.
Jude knows how important it is to hit the gym.
4 – Sometimes you have to think in weeks, not days. One of the main things that changed my mindset was realizing that even though my ankle still hurt and it didn’t seem to be getting obviously better, if I thought about a week ago, as opposed to yesterday or the day before, it was noticeably improved. It’s tough to think that way…especially in “today’s instant gratification society” as my grandpa would say. But he’s right. It’s like watching yourself grow as a kid. You can only see it happen if you make a mark on the wall and then measure yourself months later. Anyway, days turn to weeks when recovering from a big injury, booyah!
Back to It – But Still a Ways to Go.
So I’m basically back at it, mostly. I’ll continue to build fitness in the pool, on the bike, and Elliptigo, and I’m hoping to start running on an anti-gravity treadmill in the next week or so. I’ll continue to post everything I can on Strava and/or my Google Docs Training Log so you can follow along. I’ll have to be careful not to make the same mistakes I made 6 weeks ago, and build into it more gradually. Matt and I have already pulled back after having my first two solid weeks. But that’s the plan. I’ll leave you with a pic of me and the man repping our matching Pearl Izumi kits, aviators, and diapers. Peace out!