I've had a great season of road cycling this season. Against the backdrop of how many kilometres I've logged (I'm still aiming for 2000k, I'm almost there) my injuries are rare and minor, even though they may be setting me back and frustrate me most of the time right now. But I've gotten what I've wanted to get out of cycling this year.
So hopefully you'll be able to position yourself the same if you're sitting here with me, injured.
I'm currently sustaining the folllowing after a fast-paced road crash:
- sprained, gashed left index finger
- battered, road-rashed right shoulder (limiting movement in my right arm)
- road-rashed right knee
- road-rashed section below my hip
- scraped right eye
- BUT MIRACULOUSLY, NOTHING BROKEN *thumbs up*
--and right before my crash, I was recovering from a disc injury and irritated joint in my back, which took me off the saddle for a week (and two weeks of slow, easy riding, thus tanking my fitness).
How demoralizing is that shit? That the minute I'm recovered from a disc injury, I eat it hard right after?
Not gonna mince it: I'm frustrated and upset by the bogusness of these circumstances. Forgive me, let me take this one second to whine about it and pity myself: WHY FUCKING ME.
AUUUUUUUUUUUUGH *ANGRY, ANGRY EMOJI X 1,000,000,000*
...*now a bunch of sad emojis*
...*now a bunch of straight-faced emojis*
I'm typing this out, meaning I'm still alive. You're reading this, meaning you're still alive. I hope we can draw as much comfort from this as we can, especially me since my figure suggests that a mild crosswind is enough to annihilate me (I stand at a little over 5'6" with the tiniest frame that you ever did see). So we've beaten the death odds. I don't know what injuries you're holding down (like mine? ¿Más o menos?). But hopefully you'll be able to fully recover. I know I'm gonna!
Some tips/thoughts during the healing process...
- Funking out/drowning in the thoughts in your head. This is the #1 thing I grapple with the most. I really can't help feeling plagued by the idea of never riding again. I've broken down crying more than a few times (and pathetic, assuming-fetal-position type of crying no less). I'm so emotionally attached to cycling and I don't know what else could fill the void if it was taken away from me. But not being able to cycle anymore is so unlikely if you're not paralyzed and you have all your limbs still. So if I can help it, I try not to let my head go to such irrational thoughts, by--
- Thinking of other injuries that have been overcome. If this is your first injury, you near need this. If you become injured again in the future, you can look back on your last one and say, "It's not like I haven't gone through this before and wasn't able to come out the other side. I've got this." Your past stories of survival will carry you through your current ones.
- Seriously take the time to heal. I raced after barely overcoming my back injury and the race took place just a mere three weeks after my diagnosis. It wasn't the wisest decision (it was my first race! I was keen!) and I made sure to stay off the bike again proper after just to recover and monitor my body. But seriously, take the full time to recover. You don't want to further aggravate anything just 'cause you slightly feel okay again. You otherwise set yourself back to zero and then you feel mentally fucked-up all over again (and again, mental pain is the worst, THAT you can't Polysporin, stitch, or heatpad/icepack away).
- The passing of time of forever: all of a sudden, all you have is time. This one's a hard one, I just don't know what to do with so much time off the road and it makes me mental. But know that it's passing, which means you're further away from your onset of injuries and closer to full recovery.
- Vitamin C: Here is a medical piece on Vitamin C aiding in wound healing. I've been choking down four chewables a day since my back injury. I'm hoping it's doing something. Anything to mentally carry you through, right?
- Tanked fitness: It's a bummer to see yourself gas out after riding 10 kilometres when you used to cover 80 kilometres and feel slightly tired. Again, think back on the time you may have taken a long break from cycling or working out and you were able to bounce back. It happens and you will get back up there again with hard work and determination cliché cliché cliché (BUT FACT).
- Skittishness: so getting back on the saddle triggers something and it mentally throws you back to when you became injured. It's so easy to focus on the one bad incident versus all the other thousand times you rode from Point A to Point B safely and successfully. Unless you're doing bicycles wrong and you find yourself being constantly injured, becoming injured is rare. You're okay! Do what you were doing, it was working before and has always worked.
Also: I have one cyclist friend who flew through a motorist's rear window at 40km/hr and has degenerative disc disease. They're now back to racing. If they can get back on the saddle against those odds, so can you!
Here's to a speedy recovery!