Last week was two weeks after my operation and I was officially allowed to start exercising again. Taking an enforced two weeks off was harder than I thought it would be, I actually missed going for a run or a ride, something that if you’d told my unfitter self at the beginning of this crusade I would have scoffed at you!
The first week of recovery was pretty much spent taking it really easy and either sleeping or doing things that didn’t require much energy. That meant that I read a lot, got quite a bit further through Fallout 4 and caught up on a lot of sleep. During the second week however, as I started to feel better and was able to get around easier without feeling like I had already run 5k with each set of stairs, I started to get the urge to “just go for a quick ride or run.” I did resist the urge to go, I was under doctors orders and having been through this surgery before I knew that the appearance of feeling better was a bit of an illusion for the first couple of weeks.
Finally the day came when I was able to get back on my bike again, but those two weeks off had changed the experience somewhat. For a start it was dark, and I don’t mean the sun will be up soon, its starting to get light dark. I mean holy moly, I can’t see my hand in front of my face dark. Luckily I had picked up a cheap generic CREE bicycle front light, which makes it like riding with car headlights, plenty of lumens to see and be seen by.
The other change was the drop off in fitness. It wasn’t a huge drop but it was noticeable, legs ached a bit more than they had, and times were a bit slower. I’m not really too worried about that, the first ride was intentionally slow and I kept my heart rate about 10 beats lower than I usually do my aerobic training at to ensure that everything is still working as intended. Riding in the dark was slightly surreal, there are even fewer cars on the road than there have been in the past, but the blinking lights of a cyclist about half a kilometer almost ruined my resolve to have a slow recovery ride as I repeatedly had to kill the urge to catch up. Luckily the slight reduction in fitness made that choice ultimately easy to make as I would have never been able to maintain the pace necessary to catch the unknown cyclist up.
Of course now that I had the green light to start exercising again I decided to ease back into it, so a ride on Wednesday followed by a gentle 6k on Thursday morning. Running in the dark was really cool, although I tended to stick to the flatter sections of the road and keep off the rough stuff in the light of my headlamp. I’ve been looking for a high visibility running vest, but the local offerings are a bit thin on the ground so I’ve ordered one off the internet. I do struggle with running and cycling kit that isn’t highly visible, especially the winter stuff. Even in the best weather its better to be able to be seen, and with modern coatings I shouldn’t have to look like I’m straight out of the 80’s in flouro. (now there’s an image – me in headband, arm bands and leg warmers and lycra all in flouro… the best thing is that you can’t unsee that image now muhahahaha)
The run was hard, I really struggled to keep going and it wasn’t until I looked bck at my training log that I realised that it was a month since I had last run. I had forgotten that I had stopped running to give my Achilles some time to heal. The good news is that I had no Achilles pain at all, the exercises and rest had done their job, unfortunately every running muscle was calling out in pain for the next couple of days.
Friday I went for another ride, another relatively slow one to just turn my legs over and work some of the ache out of them. The ride was pretty uneventful except for the rain that started the minute I left the house and stopped about 2k from home. Signs of the months ahead and an indicator in what clothing I’m going to need to get to ensure that I can continue to train through the upcoming winter months.
- Wednesday – Ride 17k
- Thursday – Run 6k
- Friday – Ride 17k