Part Two (Part One can be found here.)So I actually did manage to be patient and follow the physical therapist’s strengthening and stretching regimen pretty religiously for a few months. And slowly -- very, very slowly -- I got better. It was very much two steps forward, one step back, but at least it wasn’t the other way around.
By March, I was riding a little harder and longer, and by April, I had almost forgotten I’d been injured. I’d been promising myself for months that, once I got to May and the insanity of my final semester of a multi-year grad school program was done, I would reward myself by riding as much and as hard as I wanted. I was salivating for this. Seriously.
By early May, I had gotten confident, strong and very happy. I was riding a little more intensely each week. I was building up carefully. I got to the point where I was doing climbing repeats on the steepest hill in town, and loving them to death (when I wasn’t heaving pieces of my lungs onto the blacktop.) It was going to be a great spring, after all. I was going to be at the front of the pack. I was going to shine.
And then one day I did one extra repeat on that hill, and felt a little twinge in my knee.
What? Did you expect a happy ending? Come on.
Now, the number one very most annoying thing about a nagging injury is that it’s impossible to tell the difference between healthily pushing the limits, and dangerously aggravating it. Often, I’ve pushed a little beyond my safety zone, felt a little ache here and there, and found out the next day that I had done a good thing. Instead of more discomfort, I would actually feel stronger. Then the next week, I might push it exactly as hard (or so it seems), and that night feel the hot irritation that signals the beginnings of re-injury. Then I have to pull back, and maybe even lose weeks of progress.
It was just that way on the very day of my last class in graduate school. I felt great after repeat number two, and so went for number three for the first time. That’s when I re-injured myself, and pretty good, too. It’s now seven weeks later and I’m still in the throes of recovery, progressing, backsliding, angsting over Web research, calling my PT. Yay!
Next: Repeat After Me: "My Knees Are My Teacher"