Leap Day Sports - The Triathlife of Jesse Thomas

12 Week Post Op Update – Cautious Optimism!

Heyo Crazy Ass like you’re finally back to swimming, riding, and Elliptigoing outside in the beautiful Central Oregon sunshine Fans! It’s time for an update.

This punk ass won't let me drop her. @fleshmanflyer

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.

Look at all the pretty colors!

Look at all the pretty colors!

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.

I need a new lifting partner. #asleeponthejob

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!

Who do you think looks tougher in a @pearlizumiofficial kit, aviators, and diaper? Cc @LimaBeanBaby

29 comments to 12 Week Post Op Update – Cautious Optimism!

  • Allen

    Glad to hear things are going better. Hang in there and you will be back in no time. Crazy ass Texas fan out!

  • Brent

    Reading rhis post is worth it just for that picture. Awesome to hear you’re feeling better.

  • Lars

    Hey JT – good to hear that things are beginning to look better. It has been super real to follow you through this journey – and pretty unique in the sense that we never this side of the story. Thanks man! Btw – the team is loving the Picky Bars – we have already had a few folks sign up for personal subscriptions bc they want their own stash 🙂

    • Jesse Thomas

      So psyched the team is loving the Picky Bars. Thanks a lot for the support Lars! Hope your season is going well and looking forward to seeing you more next year!

  • Ah! The little guy is already becoming a “big guy”. I’m talkin’ about you Jesse! Nice diapers:)

  • JT

    Thank you for cutting off the diaper pic just above your junk. Very considerate of your readers… depending on your outlook.

  • That last picture even has a matching smirk. Love it.

    Glad to hear things are on the up and up. I was nodding along with all of this dealing with my knee earlier this year. Starting running again will suck hard, but also be wonderful if that makes any sense. 🙂 Go get it!

    • Jesse Thomas

      Ha, so true, just posted my newest blog and the return to running has been slow and tough. Good to hear it’s not just me. Thanks for the comment!

  • cynthia

    that last photo is so ridiculous!!! (in a good way) How in the world did you get Jude to make that face? Glad things are coming along so you can get back to racing and writing those race reports!

  • I’ve been sending your posts to a good friend and first year pro who had a large setback with injury as well and it’s really helped her work through it. Thanks for your honesty and leveling with everyone about how hard it is. Sugar coating sucks and no one really gets anything out of that! I’ll be excited you and the mini me grow strong next year and kick serious ass! Keep it up!

    • Jesse Thomas

      Really appreciate this comment Kim. It’s literally the reason I started writing this blog in the first place, good to see it’s hitting the mark, means a lot. Hope you’re doing well.

  • Glad you’re in better spirits and listening to your body. Also happy to see the pics of Jude. He’s growing so fast!

  • Kathy

    Glad to see you are making your way back up the slope of enlightenment! That picture is waay too cute, can’t believe those matching expressions!


  • AKern

    Great to see that things are turning around. Also nice to see that we all sort of go through the same things when we’re trying to recover from an injury/setback/illness. Building slow is easier said than done. We compare our current selves to our former selves and that’s not fair. Not good for the psyche either. The real trick is coming back around and seeing that progress is, in fact, being made. Reminds me that the training log is really useful that way.
    PS- Lauren looks super cute in bike kit! Bet she could drop you if she put her mind to it! ;0

    • Jesse Thomas

      Lauren could definitely drop me if she wanted to, she’s a beast on the bike! The log has been super helpful for me to see how I’ve progressed and keep tabs on not doing too much too fast. Highly recommend it. Thanks!

  • Karsten

    Hey Jesse,
    Thanks for making this blog. I had Navicular surgery with Amol on july 31st, and didn’t know I had a broken navicular (for 7 months) until July 26th. I was pretty bummed when i heard that i would need an operation, and in attempt of comfort, one of the nurses pointed to a magazine hanging on the wall and said “he had the same operation you’re going to have. and then went on to name all of your accomplishments” I googled your and found your blog, and just want to say its really helping my recovery process.
    Thanks man,
    and good luck!

    • Jesse Thomas

      Ha! So cool. I hope you’re recovering well. Just be patient. My experience is that everyone’s body is different and we’ll all take different amount of time to get back. This is my job and I’m still behind, so let it come and don’t force it. Good luck man!

  • Hey JT!
    Another Crazy Ass Fan here, just wanted to say thanks for sharing the good, the bad, the ugly and the hilarious! As a first year pro that also suffered a season ending injury in May, it is so refreshing to see you put it all out there. So many athletes want to bury the real life stuff that makes them appear to be human. I so get where you’re at…and your advice is so good for me, because I’m traveling the same road, but with a patellar tendon tear. I’m almost 11 weeks out from surgery, making good but slow progress! Onward and upward my friend!


    • Jesse Thomas

      Thanks Ali! Seriously appreciate the support and comment and glad to hear that it’s helping people in a similar situation. Good luck with your recovery!

  • Dude – thanks for your last two posts. Looking over some of these comments it sounds like we should start some sort of support group for injured endurance athletes…”hello, my name is jonathan and it’s been 5 weeks since my last run” (all – “hi jonathan”). My coach recently had to calm me down and tell me “you have the rest of your life to go fast and to race…don’t delay that by coming back too soon…your job now is to recover.” Like having to finish my vegetables so I can have dessert. I get it, but oh man do these vegetables suck;)

    • Jesse Thomas

      Thanks Schmitty. You’re totally right, we should start a support group. Your coach is correct, I love that, recovery is definitely the number one priority. The way I put it is that you can’t race fast if you can’t race. Get to the starting line first and then see what happens. Good luck!

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