February 8, 2016: Rest and Recovery


Rest and recovery can sometimes be harder for me than full-on training. I just don’t do it very well. For that matter, I don’t do sit around and relax very well either. There is usually some excuse I can come up with to go out and do something physically challenging. I separated my left shoulder in a high-speed encounter with an oak tree trying to stay on the leader’s wheel in a cyclocross race in December when my front wheel washed out on a pile of acorns. I separated my right shoulder in an ill-advised meathead move on a “cool down” lap through a sand pit in Kingsport, Tennessee 3 days before my race in at Nationals in Asheville. Entirely avoidable, totally unnecessary – I just wanted to see how far I could get through the pit at full speed. Since Nationals was the focus of my entire year of training, that race was going to happen for me no matter what; in spite of whatever pain I was experiencing.

Here it is February. I finally went to see my doctor several weeks ago and he confirmed the extent of both shoulder injuries. Give yourself 3 or 4 weeks of gentle recovery and you’ll be fine, he said. It’s hard for me to keep a positive attitude when everything I do hurts – especially sleeping on either side or walking a few miles or reaching for a glass. Strangely, riding a bike doesn’t hurt too badly but I know it can’t be helping me. I’m trying to rest and recover without losing all of my fitness. There’s always a good argument to minimize down time but this is a huge challenge for me. Friends are calling or stopping by to go riding. I was even thinking of scheduling my long overdue third hernia operation now so that I would be absolutely forced to rest and recover in time for the spring cycling season.

It’s depressing to see fitness draining away out of your body knowing how much work will have to be done to get it back. I’ve been through this many other times – usually after one type of injury or illness or other life event – but recovery times seem to get longer with each passing year. Injuries from a year or two ago are still nagging me. I had one doctor a few years ago advise me to stop training and racing; just ride for fun. “You’re getting kind of old for this sort of thing,” he counseled. I had another doctor suggest that I amputate a toe that was chronically painful due to some torn ligaments.

Here’s an idea – how about we throw away our notions of aging and continue to live and train and race as long as it’s fun? When I get to the point where the costs far outweigh the benefits, I’ll consider taking up golf or darts or maybe even tournament Parcheesi. Just think of the bizarre injuries you could get doing that!


4 thoughts on “February 8, 2016: Rest and Recovery

  1. Hang in there Dave. I broke my Collarbone, Scapula, fractured 8 ribs and punctured my lung at Fitchburg this year and was gearing up for Nationals and my season ended that day. Still 2 weeks away from getting back to the gym. Finally got on a road ride last week, and my trainer has been used several days a week. Still can’t sleep at night, due to pain in my shoulder. Not sure if I have other issues, but hoping it will eventually go away.


  2. David, please, please, please rest and recover. I know that you have heard this from more people than you want to count. BUT, as one who has been in your same situation, I can tell you that it is possible to come back from an injury like yours, and even multiple injuries like yours, if you give yourself some time to heal. I crashed a few years ago in a cross race and suffered numerous injuries that landed me in the hospital for several days. Luckily, none of my injuries required surgery, but I was out of commission for a few months. Out of commission meaning, no driving for a couple for weeks, no physical exertion for weeks, and 8 weeks of PT after the initial 3 weeks of recovery. Similar to your situation, I was recovering during the winter months. I was literally off the bike for more than 3 months. I joined a gym, continued my PT exercises, I swam (which is so hard for me to do), I ran / jogged indoors (which I hated) and forced myself to do all sorts of gym-like things indoors and without a bike. By Springtime I actually ran a 5K race. I was able to get back on the bike and my fitness came back quickly, my upper body and shoulder exercise helped my cross technique, and, I was healed. I had no pain or restrictions left over from my injuries. That is important. So I can tell you from experience you can come back, fitter than before. It may not feel like it today. You say you can feel the fitness draining away. I know you want to get going, train, work, push yourself. Don’t push yourself too early. You can and will gain your fitness back. You’ve done it already, by winning races when Drs have said you are “kind of old for this sort of thing”. Ha. Prove them wrong again.

    Liked by 1 person

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