My knee (the "good" one) has started bothering me recently. It started getting achey a couple of weeks, but it wasn't really bad. Before one of my training rides I was concerned about it, so I tried to tape it the way my PT had shown me. I'm pretty sure I made it worse. So I started icing, elevating, and taking Ibuprofen.
And yet, despite all that TLC, it persists in being a problem. Now I'm getting shooting pains when cycling or clutching the car. Bad news. So, three days before the race, I show up on the doctor's doorstep in an urgent state, and say "I need a miracle!" Well, there are no miracles. I got a prescription, and some worried looks, and he tells me to come back if it continues to be a problem. I'm pretty sure he knows I'm going to be getting myself into trouble with this knee.
But I take it easy. I skip the Thursday training ride.
On Friday morning I take the Rx, which makes me jittery, messes with my stomach, and seems to contribute to a sleepless night Friday night. Just what I need, to be sleep-deprived, jittery, and unable to eat before my biggest ever endurance event. But it does seem to be helping with the swelling in the knee, so I'm giving it a serious shot.
But because of the side-effects, on Saturday I decide to skip the meds and just stick with icing and elevating. I also pick up the neoprene knee brace recommended by the doc. I take it easy in the morning; going down to the Farmer's Market, picking up coffee and a home-made danish at the local coffee shop, stopping in at the bike shop for some quick conversation. And then I get ready to head out for a nice easy spin on the road.
I slap on the knee brace, get geared up, and head out the door. Within 12 minutes of riding my HR monitor completely quits! Damn. I've been relying on that thing for training, so this kind of sucks. But I've got all my other data (mileage and time), and I need to finish my ride, so I keep going.
I'm still a little twitchy, now just from a sleep deficit rather than the meds. So when the little creeps in the station wagon lean out the window and yell (or rather, bark) in my face as they pass by I just about end up going off the road. Nasty little buggers.
About halfway through my ride the knee brace starts sliding down, and the "doughnut" starts pushing my kneecap down and out of position. That's the opposite of better!
And shortly after that I start getting cramps. Yeah, that's right. Looks like I'm going to be starting some unpleasantness tomorrow. Perfect timing.
Okay, this all sounds like a bad "start" to the race, and it certainly isn't the stress-releasing easy pre-race spin I was looking for. But I'm determined to do my best with this race ... so we're all about silver linings here:
- I replaced the battery in my chest strap which, if it hadn't died today, might have failed during the race tomorrow.
- I'm going to bed early, and without the side-effects of the Rx hoping to get some good my sleep tonight!!
- I know the brace is out of the question for the race, and better to find that out now than during the race.
- The cramps? Well I'm having a harder time spinning that, but with my normal weight fluctuations, this is my "lightest" point ... so I'm carrying a pound or two less up the hill. That's good news, right?
Now, I'm off to brush myself off and get busy looking forward to the task ahead of me. Time to start packing for tomorrow morning!