What happened a week ago today was not something I want to remember, but probably won't forget. Rose crashed hard on her shoulder, dislocating it, and spent a considerable amount of time in extreme pain before the physicians at YRMC Emergency in Prescott partially sedated her to put it back in place. As someone who doesn't even like to hear joints crack, I was surprised by how awesome it was to hear her shoulder go back into place. Part of it was the immediate relief it brought to Rose.
I'm writing about this because I asked Rose on the drive back from the ER if she considered whether or not she was going to mention her injury right away on social, and her response was unequivocal. That it's all a part of the journey, the good and the bad, and there's no point in hiding any part of it.
But when things in my training world go awry, my tendency is to not say much. I overthink the situation: I don't want people to think I'm making excuses, I don't want to worry sponsors (oh, it may be nothing!), or I'm worried that people will just assume I'm being careless or simply ill-prepared. At some point, it's easiest not to say anything.
This year started out with a solid endurance build in December. I got lucky and picked a few sunny days to train in Northern California while visiting my Grandparents.
Setback #1: 🤕
Then I crashed on my right knee in mid-January, right before a training camp Rose and I had planned in Cave Creek, AZ. I contused a bone, and pedaling was the thing that seemed to aggravate it the most. So I had close to a month off the bike, and five weeks before I was able to consistently train again. We still had our training camp; Rose trained outside for the first time post-ACL surgery and I spent most days at Endurance Rehab, working on corrective exercises to address existing muscle imbalances, and an old shoulder injury while waiting for my knee to get better. The joke was that my injury resulted from a sympathy crash for Rose--totally intentioned to build Rose's confidence in her own knee. Ha! Well it totally worked since Rose went on to slay the Cactus Cup in early March. 😀
My knee fully recovered and March was a great month. Prescott was beautiful, I got to play around on my new race bikes, practice jumps, train hard, explore some new gravel routes, and even got in some of my first interval workouts of the year. Through it all, I kept up the gym work at the Prescott YMCA, incorporated some chiropractic treatment, and started to feel like a stronger, more resilient athlete.
March ended with a rest week and a trip to Paipa, Colombia for the Pan American Championships. During my rest week, I struggled a bit with the quality of my sleep and I showed up in Colombia a little under-rested to race at my best. All in all, my 9th place finish wasn't a bad race but it was still a bit of a disappointment. I like to race in shape; not race into shape.
Setback #2: 💩
Then I got hit with a stomach bug on my red-eye flight home. It was pretty bad. It kept me awake and the final leg of my trip home (the shuttle from PHX to Prescott) was one of the most miserable trips I can remember. Stomach cramps, nausea, and a fear that I'd have to make the whole shuttle stop for an emergency bathroom stop, but an even greater fear of moving an inch. The next day I ran a fever and couldn't hold anything in four about 48 hours. With Bonelli the next weekend, I had to make a decision. At best, I could have hoped for a mediocre race weekend, or, some quality training and rest at home. I went with the second option and skipped the Bonelli HC weekend.
The weekend at home paid off, as I felt fully recovered from my stomach bug and got in some solid training rides. I was sleeping well, eating well, and feeling upbeat about Sea Otter and the Whiskey Off-Road. I started coughing, but that usually comes and goes through allergy season (or can be triggered by racing at altitude, or a particularly hard interval set...which summed up the race in Paipa, Colombia). So I'm quite adept at minimizing the significance of my coughing...it's from stressing out my lungs in the dry, pollen-filled air.
Setback #3: 🤒
I actually started to feel pretty good on a couple of rides last week. Finally my fitness was coming around, we had some good friends in town, our new Castelli kits made me feel fit and fast, and our team photoshoot was all wrapped up. And I found out that Rose, despite the trauma of her dislocated shoulder, was most likely going to be able to race the Whiskey Off-Road. Then my cough got so bad it kept me up last Thursday night, after a hard training ride. The next day, a rest day, I tried to catch up on sleep but my cough just worsened. Then Saturday morning I couldn't get out of bed and suddenly it's Tuesday. For the past four days I've been in bed or on the couch with a low-grade fever, a pounding headache, no appetite, a burning cough, congestion, aches, and moodiness (TJ can attest to that!).
So those are some of the setbacks I've faced before I can even say I've kicked off the season. Honestly, they aren't even that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things and I've dealt with greater challenges in the past. So I'm not counting myself out of Sea Otter weekend, or Whiskey, or any other upcoming races. All I want to do is race, I just need to be healthy enough first and foremost. [4/19/17 UPDATE: we are counting ourselves out of Sea Otter and staying home to fully recover 😢 ]
Bringing you all a bit more into the picture is a bit of a relief. And I think I'm finally starting to get better since I woke up this morning with coffee on my mind and a little motivation to write. So TJ and I are planning on hitting the road tomorrow.