11 Weeks To Go: Post Broken Collar-bone

The week is a blur of sleepiness, quite a bit of pain around my broken collar-bone, working in my living room, eating junk food and marking little victories on the road to recovery.

As I recover from my second broken collar-bone, and write this blog I’ve discovered my life without training could be very different. For one my routine is gone and not training makes me lethargic. I’m an hour into procrastinating about going for a run. It’s not the injury that’s stopping me. It’s lack of routine, and a bit of tiredness. But I’m making plans and from next week will kick-off with an adapted training plant that will be mind-numbingly boring* and based at the gym.

Pain Threshold Almost Reached

The week started painfully! I couldn’t remember the pain being so intense last time I broke my collar-bone. But if I got in the wrong position it was taking my breath away.  I was on nil by mouth, on stand-by, ready to hot-foot to the hospital for the operation to fix the break. The call came around 845am and I was told the op would be on Tuesday. I was delighted. I hadn’t expected it to be so quick. And I was able to enjoy my morning tea!

The rest of Monday morning was spent drinking coffee in the garden with Chris and trying to get myself into a position where I could type and reply to emails. Ironically, it was easier when I broke my right collar-bone. I only really managed a few emails and wrote the story up for this blog.

 

Ready for the op – clad in green compression to match my top!

After the op – coffee and chocolate before leaving the hospital!

On Tuesday Chris dropped me at the hospital for 730am. I was very glad that I didn’t have to wait another night for the plate. It was all straightforward, and as I posted on Facebook, after the morphine and general anaesthetic, my manic post op babbling in the Recovery Room was all about triathlon. In between laughing a lot I felt 100 per cent sure I was in transition and had the marathon to run, and told the staff what was happening! The woman attending to me found it very funny.

Once I was ‘back in the room’ I drank lots of tea, water, ate half a sandwich and enjoyed the biccies and a Costa Coffee choc-thing on the way out. I tried to concentrate to work, when I got home but was mainly out of it.

Slowly does it!

Wednesday started slowly. I managed a couple of work emails, but the morphine had worn off so I pumped myself full of codeine. Feeling stir-crazy, I had to get out of the house by lunchtime, so decided to go for a walk (with sling). A mile into the walk and I suddenly remembered I had a Tesco shop arriving, so ended up running and even measured the last half a mile for Strava! (11 min mile pace!). A blurry sort of working afternoon followed once I’d put the shopping away.

Energy Levels Up (& Down)

On Thursday I woke up early and managed to get a good four hours work done, then got ready to go to London for a meeting. It seemed energy levels were restored. I managed London and the tube (thankfully off-peak) on the hottest day of the year with my sling and spaced out on codeine/paracetamol and nurofen, and had a great meeting.

In the evening, family came to visit and we had pizza and even a beer and went to bed around 1230am! I decided not to run/walk or do anything as I had walked a fair bit around London.-Friday was a planned day off from work with my cousin Eamonn, his wife Mary and their son Kaiden visiting. Coach Marianne and I met to discuss plans and rehab exercises I’m going to do. I ruled out the next 100-mile TT Race on August 12th! I also had to pull out of a standard and sprint event.

Knowing if I was not self-employed I would have been given a sick-note I enjoyed mooching around the kids splash park, and the amusements – even having a go on the fruit machine – my alter ego, living on the edge in a different way!

Pikey me! What life might be like if I didn’t do triathlon

By Friday night I hit a zombie-like exhaustion. I’d had a whole day of just nurofen and the pain was much better, I had also realised that it helped to ice my sore neck (muscles aching either from the fall or from being in the tuck position on the TT bike!). I had thought I might run in the evening, but not a chance!

Procrastinating before running

So here I am today. Without my usual significant two to three-hour block of training to do, after dropping the kids to work (oh, yes another landmark, driving), I was able to crack on with work and managed to do four hours before picking up my son. And now, after procrastinating on social media, and then choosing to write this to stop procrastinating, I’m putting on my sling and heading out for a run. There really is no excuse and part of my recovery is getting back in the groove.

Mind over matter

Just back from my first proper ‘sling’ run. This is all psychological. I was feeling heavy, lethargic etc. And I was a bit cautious – and that’s how I ran, plodding along at 10.15 pace. But could I have done more today? I The general anaesthetic was on Tuesday and I haven’t had a painkiller today, so I think there’s no accident-related reason for lethargy. I was cautious as I didn’t want to lose my balance (wearing a sling to stop vibrations around the still repairing collar-bone) and fall again, but then I reasoned that I only broke my collar-bone because I flew off my bike, out of my cleats at around 20 mph, I was jogging along today at over 10-minute mile pace. The mind plays a big part in training – but overall I was really pleased to get out today.

Time on my hands!

And so, here I am having finished my weekly update, early. I have found 10 hours this week that would normally be spent training. But the plan tomorrow is to train as normal, starting with a run and I hope to get to the gym for some turbo, too. As I’ve written before I think it’s a good idea to stick to the routine and keep hours to dedicated training when injured, but just do something a little different.

*Boring is good for training the mind in Ironman and I said to Marianne I see turbo training as an opportunity to get some bike strength.

 

 

 

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Adapting Training After A Cycling Accident: Heal, Recover, Regain Fitness

I’ve had a first this week, my first cycling accident.  Monday is the start of my training week and this week it was Xmas Day. I’d started well with a 10-mile run before lunch and was feeling determined and positive about the next 12-week training block.  I was raring to go as in the previous six weeks I’d had a bit of a lull with flu and a big party meaning training had ticked over and not progressed.

Winter Sun

After two good run sets, on Thursday I joined a gang of Brighton Tri Club members, many of whom had committed to the #RaphaFestive500, to complete an unofficial, social 100K ride. The sun was shining and as we cycled along the seafront I took a moment to take in the scene, a clear, crisp, winter’s day. I’m one of the slower cyclists in the group but was constantly helped along by a club-mate, allowing me to sit on their wheel to draft, or just chat and encourage.

Although it was cold, it didn’t seem too icy. But as we headed down a hill in a small village I saw club-mate Gill tumble to the ground, just as I was saying ‘Is Gill okay?’ I was down and as anyone who has been in an accident knows, it all happened very quickly, as it seemed we’d found that one patch of black ice.

Picking up the Pieces

I knew instantly my collar-bone hurt and could feel a broken off piece of tooth in my mouth. Blood was dripping down my face. A lovely woman living in a house nearby came out and started her car for us to sit in – stopping had made us all feel the effect of the elements (freezing). Amazingly, one of our crew, Scott, had packed a foil blanket, which was genius – and something I’ll pack for future rides.

I’m not the most experienced rider, but this was one of those freak things that just happened. When we went out the sun was shining, and the weather the day before mild. So how did I fare? Quick actions from club-mates meant I didn’t have to do anything. They sorted out the ambulance, got us to a safe place to keep warm and Gemma knew that I had to keep my arm raised. Gill was concussed, bruised and shaken. I have broken a collar-bone, and bashed in my face, with half my front tooth going through my lip, resulting in stitches above the lip, and a nice cut above my eye with more stitches there.

Time for Meditation

So… What now? I lay awake last night (propped up by pillows – ow!) thinking and trying to work out the best way to approach this new-found temporary glitch. For years I’ve  talked about doing mediation but realise this could be my opportunity to do it. I live in Brighton so won’t have a problem finding a meditation course/class to sign up to. One website describes it as the ‘mind settling effortlessly into silence, is the most powerful key to unlock your inner potential for self-healing’ That will do for me!

And I’ll use my training energy and hours well. When I was editor of Running Free Magazine, I was lucky enough to interview Jo Pavey, an athlete who’s experienced a number of injuries. And something I never forgot was when she told me how she kept her training routine and replaced her normal sessions with rehab training when injured. My routine has been a little erratic of late, but I had a rough plan to devote 10 hours a week to training from January.

Training to Heal

So, it’s simple, for 10 of the 168 hours in the week, I’ll plan to meditate, do strength work for my legs (single leg squats, calf raises, squats and lunges), aqua jogging/walking, spinning when I can, and leg raises for the core – and I might even add nutrition and reading into the mix, using my training energy for things I’ve been talking about doing but not doing. It’s new year, so a good time to feel resolve. The first six weeks is about healing, the second six about regaining lost fitness. The last week of the first block is skiing, and the last week of the second six-week block is a trip to Mallorca for a club Got To Tri Training Camp.

‘Training’ for healing will kick off once I know if I need surgery to fix the broken, or as one medic said, shattered bones. Either way I’ve been told that now I’ve broken my collar-bone, I’m a true cyclist (but, ssh, I haven’t had a puncture yet)!

I’m always interested to hear about your recovery stories – any tips or advice, share in the box below.