Monday, April 26, 2010

When in doubt...

"When in doubt, it's never a bad idea to train like a fighter."

I read that somewhere and thought it was cool, and it sort of leads into my post.

So, my knee feels basically back to normal now. That is, I don't have any pain / discomfort doing anything anymore. Of course, I know it's still not back to normal yet, so I'll have to continue to be careful with it for a while. At least I can start the process of ramping back up to a normal training level.

I rode Saturday and this morning (4:30am wake up time again! It's going reasonably well so far, but it is pretty darn early.) and felt good on the bike both times. I'm still riding in a very easy gear, and I'll probably stay there for the rest of this week, just to be sure. Hopefully I've learned all of the right lessons from this injury; clearly I missed at least one last year.

I did a bodyweight upper body and core session yesterday (I'm not going to do any leg strength work, except rehab-type exercises for a while). I finished it off with a few rounds of shadow boxing. I tried shadow boxing a few years ago and I guess I just didn't "get it". I didn't find it particularly interesting or effective at the time. After reading an article that Ross posted, I decided to try it again. This time, I did it in front of one of the doorwalls in my basement. Since it was dark outside, I could see my reflection in the mirror pretty clearly. That made it a lot more fun! Per the article, I also tried to really keep moving the whole time, which made it more effective. I was a little surprised at how tired it made my legs yesterday, but I guess I shouldn't have been, I've hardly been working them for a month or so.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


The knee wasn't as great as I'd hoped for yesterday, but still not too bad. I had a funny feeling before I went to bed though that I was on the verge of a breakthrough. I got up early this morning and rode on the trainer (more on that in a minute), and, sure enough, the knee felt really good. It has been great all morning too!

This injury has been strange for me. In the past, when I've had problems, my knees would hurt while riding (or doing other activity), but they would stop hurting when I stopped moving. With this one, it feels better to do activity, and it gets achey when I don't move for long enough. It's also taken me much longer to get to the no-pain stage this time; hopefully, I've made it now though.

I've decided that, for the time being, I probably need to get my workout in before work instead of after. Everybody else is going to bed earlier than me now, so I tend to wake them up when I'm getting ready for bed. Waking a sleepy mom and baby is definitely a bad move! It means a really early wakeup time (4:30am today) for me, but I think I can make it to the basement without waking anyone else up. Then I can go to bed (early) at about the same time as everyone else. After one day, it seems to be working fine, but the first day is always easy...

Also, since I'm sure people are dying to know, my saddle sore is also much better. That's good, because riding easy on a stationary trainer is pretty miserable with a saddle sore.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Give Me a Break!

Seriously, how do you get a saddle sore when you're riding as little as I am? Actually, I know the answer, but c'mon, give me a break! Hopefully it will clear up quickly.

The knee is feeling really good again today. I'm going to do another super-easy ride tonight and see how it goes. I think I'm getting closer...

Probably a little more sleep would go a long way to resolving my knee issue, but that's just not going to happen. The little one has actually been sleeping really well at night, but the older one has been getting up early. She was up at 5am today and ready to go! Dad wasn't quite as ready to go but I managed to get the job done.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mixed Results

I had some mixed progress with my knee over the weekend. At the end of last week, it had been feeling quite good, but still not perfect. On Saturday morning, I mowed the lawn for the first time this year. It was pretty cold on Saturday; cold enough that it was snowing a little while I mowed! Between that activity and the cold, it was enough to make my knee pretty sore for the rest of the day.

On Sunday, the knee was much better again. I rode the trainer briefly Sunday night at a super-easy pace. Once again, the knee felt fine on the bike.

Today, it actually feels really good; almost perfect, but not quite. If I can string together a few days like this, I'll think about riding a bit more. Otherwise, I just need to be patient. The only thing you get by rushing is a chance to start over again...

Thursday, April 15, 2010


The knee is definitely getting better. I still get some occasional soreness, but it's mostly all gone now. I'm back doing some super-easy rides on the bike. Generally, I feel better after I'm done riding than I did when I started, so that's a good sign. Still, it will probably be a while before I can get back to proper training.

I went back through my training log to try to figure out why I've had problems the past two years in the Spring. I think the answer is that I didn't ride enough over the Winter. Here are my average bike hours for January and February over the past several years:

2006 - 3.4 hrs/week
2007 - 2.8
2008 - 2.1
2009 - 1.2 (injured in March)
2010 - 1.5 (injured in March)

So, for next year, I'm going to try to average about 3 hours per week (riding) over the Winter. The change from 2008 to 2009 was basically that I added more cross-training at the expense of riding. I think this means that I'm relatively strong when I start riding more in March, but the cycling-specific muscle/tendon strength is not there which leaves me vulnerable to injury. I would still prefer not to ride any more than I have to in Jan-Feb though.

Last night, I spent some time working on cleaning up a tree that had fallen in my backyard. There's a huge vine in that area of the yard that knocked it down. So, as part of my cleanup, I'm also trying to kill and clear out this vine. I thought I had found the root over the Winter, but Sarah found a different (and much bigger) root. When I cut through it last night, a bunch of water started dripping, almost pouring, out. I found it very satisfying...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Not So Fast!

Well, it seems like I was a little too quick to pronounce my knee healed (or, I was too quick to get back to pushing on the pedals). It never really bothered me on the bike, but it does bother me off the bike, and it started getting a little worse again. So, for most of this week I haven't done much exercise, just lots of stretching and icing. That seems to have made things feel much better. This time, I'll wait until I get to zero pain before resuming training; otherwise, I probably just get to start over again.

It would have been tough to do much training this week anyway. Nathan has been pretty easy so far (knock on wood), but it's still been a tiring week taking care of two kids. I'm sort of looking forward to going back to work tomorrow to get back to a normal routine.

I took Cora to the Rhino Training Race at Waterford Hills yesterday; we watched the "B" race. Even though it was a cool, windy day, she had a good time. At one point I commented that the race was a little boring; she said, "This race is fine."

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Short Ride with Cora

So, I asked Cora if she wanted to go for a bike ride on Monday night. "Yeah! We can go fast! Go ride bikes!" Cool. I got ready and got Cora ready. I told Sarah that we'd ride for as long as Cora wanted, then come back. I figured it would be at least 15-20 minutes, like we'd done last week. Certainly not a great ride for me, but I thought it would be good to at least ride a little. Besides, it's fun to pull Cora around.

I had made it only to the end of the driveway when I heard, "Go back home!" I asked if she was sure, and did a couple laps in the driveway. Nothing doing. "Go home! Go home!" OK. Sarah was surprised to see us again so soon.

She told me to go ahead and ride for a little while anyway. So I rode about 40 minutes; still not great, but it was good to get out. I popped over to Waterford Oaks and got a little dirt under my tires.

Monday, April 05, 2010

New Addition

Well, after teasing us for a few days, my son Nathan decided to arrive on Saturday. Everything went pretty well. Sarah opted for a more natural birth this time around and really did great. Us bike racers like to talk about pain, but I think a bike race is nothing compared to labor.

So far, my son has been a great sleeper; even better than my daughter, who was also very good. But, it's only been a few days, so we'll see what happens.

A few pictures...

I'm home for the week; hopefully I can get in a little training. So far, I haven't done anything except stretch and sleep. Maybe I'll pull Cora around in the bike trailer a little bit this afternoon...