Sunday, February 20, 2011

Stretching as Endurance Activity

At times, it felt like my hospital stay went on forever, but my bones really did heal in a very short period of time. In six weeks, I was basically repaired, actually. Muscles and soft tissue, on the other hand, take a bit longer to get back to normal. In fact, the protracted healing process itself calls into question what will become the "new normal." Recovering from shoulder surgery is one thing (that requires 3-5 sets of stretches each day), but the stiffness in my left hip joint and the tightness in both sets of hip flexor muscles has me feeling a bit too much like a creaky geriatric for my own taste. I've been walking, stretching and lifting every other day at the gym, but I need to redouble my efforts and stretch at least daily, which is tricky because it's so important to warm muscles up before stretching and that in itself can be quite time consuming. Slow as it goes, I am feeling improvement.

Finding time to adequately attend to all of my healing needs is a serious challenge. Ideally, I should be spending over 2 hours every day on exercises and stretching. This IN ADDITION to the thrice weekly visits to the physical therapy office. Needles to say, despite my best intentions, something needs to give. As a result, I've not been able to get any significant aerobic activity in for some time and I feel like I'm really letting my base aerobic fitness slip away.

Luckily, I have the week off from school and will be able to catch up with sleep, physical therapy, stretching, sorting out hospital bills and RIDING. This week, I hope to ride at least 6-8 hours on my trainer. I'll jump on for an hour this afternoon and I've put out a call for a 3-hour session with a few of my local riding buddies later this week. This is the week where my aerobic training will really get serious. My first brevet is not too far off. While I still haven't been given permission to ride a free-standing bike on the open roads, I hope to register soon for the Princeton 200K held this year on April 23. It's a route I love that attracts a group of randonneurs I'm eager to ride with again. Onward!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

"Just Say No Thank-You"

This week I finally listened to Nancy Reagan and just said NO to drugs. I haven't written much about pain management since my accident, but I've been on one form of medicinal pain relief or another over the past five months. With 25 broken bones, the hospital staff even brought in the palliative care team to design a "cocktail" that would make movement and merely staying in one place bearable. After they got things squared away, I was not in much pain, although I did nod off in the middle of a few conversations. Once I entered intensive physical therapy at Helen Hayes, the importance of pain medication took on another dimension. One can't work through the intense demands of physical therapy without some degree of pain reduction to pave the way. Since returning home, I have been in the process of steady reduction. I was nearly off the medication all together in December when I had my shoulder operated on and that sent me right back up in my dosage for a spell.

Last week, though, I hit another milestone. On Friday morning, I took my final pain pill and I'm pleased to report that three days later, (while I may feel a bit more stiff) I did not suffer any negative side effects. Of course, I will probably end up like these guys now that I no longer dope, but maybe Nancy Reagan was right. Maybe some times we need to stand up and just say no, or as my friend Jamie used to say, "just say no thank-you."

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Father and Son Tradition Continues

Registration opened on Tuesday morning at 10:00 am for Bike New York's annual 42-mile Five Boro Bike Tour and within three days, the entire 32,000 slots were SOLD OUT. Luckily, we had a snow day on Tuesday, so I could multi-task through the 1hr. 45 min. process to reserve two slots for my son and me to enjoy our annual 42-mile tradition. So while I can't even ride a bike on a road at this point, I've registered for my first event of 2011! I also hope to ride in the Princeton 200K in April, but if things don't progress as planned with my recovery and training, I know that I'll at least be pedaling through the streets of NYC on May 1 with my son and 32,000 of our closest friends.This will be our third year riding in the event together and his joy at the prospect of repeating this tradition with his old man was palpable and warmed my heart to no end.