Greetings from Europe!
It's been a challenging and complicated past few weeks for Mike and me. A time that we have had our mental fortitude tested in a less familiar way. The problems started for us abruptly with a training crash at the World Cup at Mont-Sainte-Anne in Quebec, Canada. After getting the x-ray confirmation that I actually broke my ankle (a lateral malleolus fracture) Mike and I have had some serious refiguring to do. Dang!
To have our momentum abruptly stopped and not be able to compete at the World Cups that we had so carefully been planning our energy and time around was more than disappointing. Although making our first trip to the emergency room in our 13 years of competing at this technically demanding venue is not the worst odds - it really did little to make things brighter as we made the long drive home from Canada.
Alongside the emotional roller coaster of being injured, laid up and prevented from doing what I love to do, Mike and I had some serious re-figuring and restructuring of the season to consider. With the season planned out, races pre-registered for, airline tickets bought, RV rental arranged, ferry tickets booked, focused training for months in full effect, what were we going to do?
I have a tendency to quickly look to the positive and because there is so much that requires attention in our profession and our lives that is outside the racing, this was a great opportunity to motivate in these ways.
I feel pretty lucky that the injury was not worse - no surgery, cast or even crutches. The doctor gave me the best case scenario of six weeks until complete healing along with a liberal protocol of being able to ride and work out immediately as long as I respected the pain tolerance and of course wear a specific brace that is designed to immobilize and prevent further injury.
At this point there has been an incredible amount of improvement making me realize just how difficult the first two weeks have been. In addition to the break, the strain of the ligaments and tendons made things pretty painful, stiff, swollen and purple. I was really limited in what I could do without pain and/or detering the healing process. I did my best to respect what I was feeling and the pain was telling me to STAY OFF my ankle and elevate it. It throbbed, it ached, it needed to be iced, heated, rubbed with oils and balms. Wrapped, supported, moved and stretched. It was amazing how much energy my new part time job of caring for my injury took!
Just a few days after, I found that I was able to get back to some semblance of my workout routine. I focussed on training everything that avoided my injury - my core routine and many of the less committed yoga moves. I was on the stationary trainer for more hours in those weeks than I have been in the last year, careful not to overdo things by making sure to focus on how my body reacted to the workouts. Riding up to pain tolerance is always difficult to gauge for those in our business that are in effect used to suffering and pushing through discomfort on a daily basis. I have been carefully listening to the pain, no longer masking it with ibuprofen and taking care to do all I can to rest to accelerate my healing process.
My next progressions seem to be coming more quickly, I am now back to riding the road a good bit using both dual suspension mountain bike and flat pedals to limit the jarring and prevent needing to make the sideways motion of "clicking in and out " that still causes discomfort. This has been very liberating and although I am still unable to walk normally, the bike feels really natural and I am happy to be able to get out on an ever increasing number of miles and almost normal intensity just three weeks post-injury.
This is a great time to be at home but since home for us is really just wherever we are together, Mike and I have decided to go ahead with our seasonal plans of returning to Europe. We made the journey just a week ago and are now happily tucked into the RV once again. The convenience of having everything like kitchen, bathroom, office, closet, and the like, all accessible from a single seat has never been more appreciated! Along side the convenience, it has been great to have a change of scenery where quiet bike paths and the beautiful countryside of southern Germany and Austria are the perfect medicine for us right now. Getting out for some extended rides with Mike last week felt like a milestone! And being able to push the pedals a little felt good! Feeling the small increments of improvement each day and the simple act of just spinning my bike outside makes me so happy - it is like I am free again!
I have set my sights to make the return to competition with the world championships in Norway - which is in reality just five weeks out from the injury. So I'm clearly pushing the envelope with my optimism and I realize that even in the best case scenario, it will be a huge challenge!
With how things are going, I have hope, but the reality of my situation is to be revealed one day at a time. My main goal is to be smart about my recovery and get back to being healthy and strong for the long run. Mike and I have some incredible racing and travel planned for the fall, winter and already the next season, so it is my top priority to work my way back to 100% for all that is to come!
The next stop for us will be Eurobike where we are looking forward to catching up with many of our great partners and friends and getting a preview of what exciting things the bike industry will be turning out for 2015 and beyond.
Hope you are all managing to keep a positive outlook too - despite the many challenges life brings!
Wir wünschen euch einen wunderbaren tag! (Wishing you a wonderful day!)
Mary and Mike
Team Kenda-Stan's NoTubes