I’ve done it! I’ve done it!
Guess what I’ve done?
Invented a light that plugs into the sun!
Those lines from a Shel Silverstein poem pop into my head every single time I think the phrase “I’ve done it.” This time, what I’ve done is finally migrate from Blogger to WordPress, and, on the flip side, I’m channeling Stan and Ollie: now I’ve really done it. I’ve injured my knee and subsequently, my back mere weeks before the Mid-South (formerly Land Run) gravel century race in Stillwater, OK.
I made no New Years resolutions for 2020. I did make a commitment: finish races. I committed to myself that I wouldn’t sign up for rides and races I wasn’t prepared to finish. I pledged to start training small and slow in January and that is what I DID. I started slow and steady and then found out why I kept feeling short of breath: bronchitis. Okay, step back, reset. I still had time. The first race of my gravel season: CIRREM, wasn’t until Leap Day, and not 100 miles, just 100K of hilly gravel starting in Cumming, IA.
Yes, that Leap Day — yesterday. I spent Leap Day on the sofa unable to straighten or bear weight on my left leg. And I spent Leap Evening crying in pain and frustration. I needed my sister and my daughter to help me transition from where I’d lain flat on the floor, trying to ease massive muscle spasms in my back, to sitting up and ultimately getting to bed.
I tell ya, the more insight I gain into my future as an old person living with pain, the more I understand pointed comments from my grandparents that once seemed dramatically fatalistic.
What happened, I think, is that the more I favored the bum knee, the more I strained my back. Limping is terrible for posture, see? And I have insufficient abdominal muscles that might have otherwise provided some structural help.
Friday, before my back came into play, I’d thought, “Okay, fine. One knee out of commission. Tomorrow, I start weight training, all arms. Tomorrow, I prop one foot on a chair and spin one-legged on the stationary bike. Tomorrow, I go dry until after Mid-South and focus on as healthy a diet as I can. Well, one outta four ain’t bad. I went dry, but, your Honor, there were pizza rolls. . . .
I’m heartsick and mad and frustrated and, if I’m honest, also scared. I can figure out how a bad knee led to back spasms, but why did my knee suddenly give out again, a year and a half after the crash that injured it? I wasn’t anywhere close to overtraining — I was two months into the year and only up to 10-mile rides with minimal hills. My weight is a big factor, I know. It’s not completely in my control because my thyroid is still WACK, but I can do better – I must.
I’m scared regardless, that the more moles I whack, bigger and uglier moles keep popping up. I’m scared that no matter what, no matter how many steps I take forward, I slide further and further back. I’m trying to keep my head up but scared there’s no point to trying at all. But I guess I’m too dumb to give up.
I’ll see an ortho tomorrow. Before last night, I held out hope that I might be able to brace it and keep training. I dropped out of the Land Run 100 at the 50-mile marker last year; this was to be my redemption. But I have to face reality. It would take a miracle to be able to ride 100 miles of good red Oklahoma dirt in two weeks. But maybe I’m due.