Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Some days I feel despondent about injury, and some days I feel defiant. It is hard to wedge myself somewhere in the middle. But the only way to figure out how much is too much is to start somewhere near the bottom, which often feels worse than doing nothing.

I had an unsuccessful weekend of resting (although it was only resting in the physical sense. I haven't been through a whirlwind of activity like that in a while). My new plan is to slither back into cycling. And in order to not tempt myself into two-hour jaunts, I decided I was going to do that slithering at the gym. On their creaky, old, rubber-straps-for-toe-clips stationary bike. I hate that thing. Which is the perfect mindset to have when you're trying to avoid the temptation of overuse. I pedaled 20 minutes at low resistance. Mindless spinning, and in the meantime I read "Over the Hills" by David Lamb, a book written by a middle-age reporter for the Los Angeles Times who smokes and drinks and decides one day in the 90s to cross the country on a bicycle. I was reading the part where he was making his way across Arkansas and writing about all of the delicious pies he was eating. I wanted to find out more about those pies and the quirky small-town folks he met, so after my prescribed 20 minutes were up, I sauntered over to the elliptical trainer.

That's how it goes down. 45 minutes passed there. After that, enough time had passed that I had to go straight to work from the gym anyway, so I killed 20 more minutes lifting ... including the crackle-inducing leg extensions (because I read somewhere that once that crackling starts to subside, I'm good to go, so I wanted to see if it was still there. It was.) But the real drawback of all that is, when I'm popping Advil and hobbling in the evening, I have no idea whether I can blame the 20 minutes of pedaling or not.

Today my plan is to pedal my prescribed 25 minutes and nothing more, and leave my book at home so I get good and bored in that time. It really doesn't even seem worth the effort of putting on gym shorts and my knee brace, but with two months of failure and a nonsurgical diagnosis, all I have left is baby steps.

The goal is that I'll understand when it's no longer appropriate to hold back. Moderation in all things. Even moderation. (Good quote, by the way, Dave.)


  1. Que belas fotos, voce mora no Alaska ? Infelismente eu não falo inglês...
    Moro no Brasil, e aqui faz muito calor...não sei se conseguiria morar num lugar que tem neve...


  2. Thanks!

    baby steps... Have you seen What about bob?

    if you haven't I think it would brighten your day =)

  3. How did you add the make a donation button linked to paypal?

  4. Hello!
    Very good posting.
    Thank you - Have a good day!!!

  5. Jill,

    Because you have a Baker Cyst you can be sure that your injury was due to your fall IT WAS NOT DUE TO YOUR BIKE OR CYCLING

    Only impact or pressure on the knee causes a Baker Cyst.

    The usual method of cure is rest and CYCLING and swimming.

    It is not a long term injury.


  6. Thanks for your insight. Sometimes when I'm cycling I feel more free than ever with the wind in my face. Great post. God bless.

  7. NO MORE LEG EXTENSIONS! That's the number one worst exercise for your knees. Seriously.

    The crackling never goes away. Sorry.

    After my knee surgery (cartilage fragment removal), my surgeon said the best thing I could do for rehab was ride my bike. So yes, you're on the right track with boring baby steps, baby spinning.

    Rest and patience sometimes gets you farther down the road than always pushing the jagged edge. That's one of the lessons every endurance athlete learns sooner or later...

  8. I have never been to Alaska, but reading your comments makes me want to get on the next plane headed in that direction!

  9. I really enjoy your writing, and I want you to recover and be back out there. So... please stop being so bull-headed.

    Work hard at recovering. Spend the time you want to be riding being completely disciplined about icing your knee, stretching (remember the IT band stuff your PT person talked about awhile back?), and resisting the urge to dive in the deep end of exercise.

    Speaking of the deep end, get a swim cap so your hair doesn't turn to straw and go swim if you need an endorphin fix. I agree that it's not as fun as riding, but it is an alternate. If you need challenge, go to a masters swimming workout and start getting tips on technique. Swimming is one thing, swimming fast is a whole 'nother thing.

    You are young and maybe this is your first real injury. Don't screw up the rest of your life because you can't let go of your plans for a few months. It's OK to question your doctors and be an involved party in your own recovery, but you have to start listening to your body. The pain of an injury is different from the pain of exhaustion. Pushing through it is absolutely not the way to do any good for yourself.

    I know way too much of this from my own experience. Please benefit from that experience and quit doing the same counter-productive things again and again. Shift from working out hard to working hard at getting better.

  10. I tried to post once already... my computer is crazy... hopefully you don't get repeats...

    If you get really bored with the stationary bike, try 'running' in the deep end of a pool. Basically treading water, but with a running/cycling motion for the legs. Just make sure your feet can't touch the bottom of the pool.

    Great workout, very low impact. :)

  11. I should have offered an alternative for the leg extensions. While recovering from my knee injury, my coach had me roll a basketball around on the floor with my foot whenever I was sitting around. Back and forth, side to side, whatever. After a short while we switched to a medicine ball. It might not sound like much, but give it a try...

  12. Curious, very curious... you picture shows a barren land covered in snow and blessed with great scenary... yet you have gym there?

  13. Dave
    I enjoyed your writing and your pictures.
    You SHOULD rent "What about Bob"
    it is a very funny movie, very insightful though. :)
    Keep hanging in there with the cycling.
    i am a runner, and right now am dealing with some major muscle aches in my glutes and hamstrings.
    hard to believe I will one day take on the marathon monster.
    I would LOVE to run a marathon in Alaska one day.
    Have a great day!

  14. I have to say, my physio has me do leg extensions for my knees - but I have to turn my foot out to the side in order to target the VMO muscle (which needs to be built up in order to stabilise my knee). Is that what your doctor / physio / specialist recommended, or is it an exercise you just normally do?


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