Thursday, December 17, 2009

A string of threes

I'm not going to throw my arms up and ask aloud 'why me?' Things - good and bad - happen for a reason. Sometimes I wonder why now, why this month, why so close together, and why not something else.

I was involved in an accident while biking home from work on December 3rd. It was my fault and I wrote about it in my previous post. It made me think twice about zooming to catch that yellow light, but I still weave through traffic a bit to get in front of the cars waiting at the red light. And if it's all clear I'll cross and continue on my way. I am also fortunate to own 4 bikes - 2 road bikes, 1 triathlon specific bike, and the 'injured' single speed. So it was fairly easy to grab another bike off the rack and get to where I needed to go the next day.

The following week I had another 'blip' on the WTF radar when I had another incident with my bike. It was minor and everything was fine, but it got me to start thinking about #3 - when and where.

I didn't have to wait more than 4 days. I went along with my normal routine of work and then biking along I Street toward my PT appointment in the evening. I locked my bike up per usual - weaving the combination cable lock between the spokes, frame, around the bike rack - and took my lights as I headed inside for my hour long appointment.

An hour later my bike was gone. #3 on the WTF radar. I think I called this the 'are you effing kidding me' radar.

I should've known something was going happen. No, I DID know. Another accident? Sure, that's what I expected. I guess I'll take a stolen bike over a worse accident. Renters insurance will cover the bike, lights, and lock, and I'd rather spend a few days without a bike than days/weeks/months in the hospital.

So back to the rack for the second road bike. This is one is known as The Lemon as I've had numerous problems with it (mechanical) since I bought it back in 2002. It hasn't been ridden in years and I need to spend some time tweaking with the set up, but at least I'm able to continue biking to work without missing a day. I will, however, be taking the metro to my next PT appointment and not risk losing another bike.

The bike that was stolen was the first road bike I ever bought. I knew nothing about bikes, about sizing, about brands or components, but bought it because it was cheap and said it would fit someone 5'6" and 5'10". Worked for me. I put clip-on aerobars on it and got a shorter stem to turn it into a triathlon bike in 2002. After getting The Lemon it turned into my 'beater bike' since it wasn't as pretty as The Lemon (that's how much I knew about bikes) and I rode it all over the place. It hung silently as I got more involved in triathlons and kept its mouth shut when I moved on to marathons and later ultra marathons. Even with the SS joined the group he hung patiently on the rack knowing I'd come around. The Beater was right. And even if it was just for a brief reprieve, it was a good bike. There's obviously a lot of sentimental value attached to the bike, but it's replaceable.

On the flip side, I've had a bit of good luck happening. I had jury duty on Tuesday and was not selected, and I finally got the results from the biopsy I had over a month ago. I was told it was a 'moderate dysplastic mole' - it's not melanoma nor is it cancerous. It does, however, have a higher chance of turning into melanoma since the cells are still changing. I was told this is nothing to lose sleep over, and I won't, but I need to go back in a month or so for a second biopsy.

I would love to have my #3 on the good luck side of things be that my bike is recovered, but I don't envision that happening. Time to move on. I'm not going to stand around waiting for something good to happen, but instead I'll hop on The Lemon and enjoy the ride.

Friday, December 04, 2009

It's not a matter of "if", but "when"

Rain or shine, I bike to work. I bike to the boathouse for Crossfit, I bike a mile across town to physical therapy. I bike the 3 miles home. I don my cold gear, my rain gear, my helmet, my red and white lights. Good to go.

My route doesn't change. Creature of habit. I know the lights at rush hour and cross on red if I have an opening. Keep to the right and very rarely weave in and out of cars; around stopped buses and taxis, yes. Signalling my move with a point of a hand and a polite little wave of acknowledgement.

Smooth sailing. A 10 minute jaunt to and from work if I catch my green lights. Not if I do, but WHEN.

Occasionally I'll push my luck. I'll weave a little more than I should, or feel comfortable doing, but I want to get to the front of the line of cars. If I miss a light, my timing is off the rest of the way home. It's a slight irritation. My goal is to catch all my lights without having to stop.

I was in my cold gear, protective, single speed commuting glory yesterday when the "when" happened.

Car, meet bike.. bike, meet car. Now that you've met, pull over and assess the damage.

Doing so was a bit difficult as the driver (who I fully admit did have the green as I was 1/4 through my yellow/red, but didn't bother to slow down and realize.. 'hey, there is someone in front of me.. I should maybe slow or stop and let them pass, or maybe even honk my horn') barely spoke English. I'm sure her English is better than my Spanish, but she called her daughter to translate.

My rear wheel is tacoed - bent and unrideable. My bike is visually okay, but after a little closer inspection last night, there looks to be some small dents in the chain stay and seat stay. Her car is visually fine. She said it's making a noise and doing something funny when she turns the wheel, but I never heard her car running before rear wheel met front right bumper, so I couldn't tell you. I passed on my name, number, and email and will deal with it if anything is wrong.

It could've been worse for both parties. I was fortunate to stay upright on the bike and not have to test out my helmets noggin protection capabilities. She's fortunate to have a van fully intact. We're both fortunate to have insurance.. (I'm assuming she does).

Lesson learned. Slow the eff down. It's not a 10 minute commute home if I'm sprawled out on the hood of a car, in the middle of the road, or under a bus.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Offseason on Injured Reserves

Results from the x-ray were not very promising. Arthritis and degenerative joints were the verdict. Basically my L1-L5 are mad at me. Knowing there might be more wrong with me, I took advantage of a 'free injury screening' offered to the peeps in my tri club by a physical therapy place in town and schedule an appointment. I was able to get in this Monday and went through a series of walking, standing, bending, balancing, and 'does it hurt when I do this?' assessments. The doctor was baffled even when watching me struggle to turn onto my side from my back, and then back again. When she laid on my bent leg, knee to my chest, I about punched her through the ceiling.

Found it!

She asked where exactly it hurt and I couldn't remember. I blocked out the pain as quickly as it hit. Wanting to be specific, I had her lay on the leg again.. and then one more time before coming to the location conclusion of "everywhere".

Her diagnosis, on top of upset L1-L5, is an angry labrum. Not sure if it's torn, but that's for an MRI to find out, which I'm going to hold off on for a bit. I'm going to do PT for the rest of the month 2x a week as well as some homework (contracting my transverse abdominis as much as possible) and then we'll see how things are progressing. I don't have much patience so I might see if I can get one sooner rather than later.

On a related note, I entered the lottery this week for the MMT 100. If the labrum is torn I want to have the surgery done ASAP to start the recovery and start running again in hopes of making it to the start line in May. In the meantime I'll be getting in some workouts on the bike, erg, and possibly in the pool. We'll see how long I can do deep water running before boredom sets in. All weight training will be restricted to the upper body; no hip flex/extension is allowed. Bye bye squats, deadlifts, KB swings, snatches, push press, and push jerks. (I might try to sneak in a few light workouts, so stay close by.)

I'm keeping an opening mind and staying positive. I'm glad it happened now and not April 2010. Injuries can be a good thing; my body is telling me to slow down. I've been doing something wrong for awhile and need to correct it from the bottom up, inside out.

May 15h is circled. Sure, there are other races planned leading up to MMT, but this is the one I have my mind set on and will be gunning for.