Part 1: Fighting to Lose Weight and Get Back in Shape
I know exactly the time and date that I was last in great shape. On August 19th 2011 at 12:00pm I was standing at the starting line of the Leadville 10k. This race is billed as "The Highest 10K Race in America". The starting line was at 10,152 feet of elevation.
Unfortunately, the start was botched. The Starter was supposed to go "1-2-3 Bang". Instead, she went "1-2-3-4 Bang"! Expecting the gun after the count of three, the pack surged ahead. When the racers realized the gun had not gone off, they stopped. I put on the brakes to keep from clobbering the person in front of me. As I slammed my right foot forward to stop, I suffered a grade III muscle strain in my right calf. I had severely tore and ruptured the calf muscle.
It felt like someone took a knife and sliced through my calf muscle. The pain was intense. But I thought I just had a cramp. I ran about a 1/2 mile and managed to get to the side of the road. I stretched the calf and kept running.
I stopped a lot during the race and turned in a terrible 72:12 minute time. My wife was wondering where I was. She knew I could run 10k in at little over 50 minutes even at high altitude. She snapped the above shot as I attempted to sprint toward the finish.
I was on crutches for a long time. I have never raced since. While recuperating I gained 10 pounds. Before the Leadville 10K disaster I had lost over 85 pounds and was pretty fast.
This also marks the time that I started looking for lower impact exercise. I started doing more biking than running. Prior to Leadville I was primarily a runner. I biked for fun and cross-training. After Leadville I became primarily a mountain biker. I ran to get in better shape for biking.
Part 2: Becoming a Roadie - Big Mistake
My torn calf took a long time to heal. There is sill a visible gash in my right calf muscle. In May 2012 I bought a superb full-suspension mountain bike I call "Ultra-Stumpy".
Ultra-Stumpy is a Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Carbon Expert model. This bike is made of carbon-fiber and titanium. Ultra-Stumpy is scary fast.
I live in the mountains of Colorado so good mountain biking terrain is at the end of my driveway. However, I work in downtown Denver, which is road bike country. I decided to buy a road bike. At first, I wisely had decided on a dual-purpose cross bike. But when I test rode a sport/racing road bike I changed my mind.
I bought a Specialized Allez. This bike is smooth and handles well. Compared to my mountain bikes, the Allez is wicked easy to pedal. My Allez is a pure road bike that can only be used on hard surfaces. Once the tires heat up, this bike rails through the sharpest corners. With modest pedaling effort, the Allez cruises at 30 mph on a level road.
I even bought a roadie outfit, including roadie shoes, roadie shorts and roadie jersey. I looked like a bona fide roadie. I was even temped to act like a bona fide roadie and sneer at lesser bikes, such as fat-tired cruisers, silly hybrids and, of course, those contemptible mountain bikes.
Then came May 22, 2013. At 6:05pm a woman in a Toyota Forerunner made a turn in front of me as I rode down Cherry Creek bike path. I had the green signal. I had the right-of-way. She saw me coming. She was talking on her cell phone. She had a chance to stop and let me by. She pulled directly in front of me when I was 12 feet away. I had less than 9/10ths of a seconds to react before impact. No human being on earth could have avoided the collision.
Right before the impact. I closed my eyes and relaxed. The noise and pain were amazing.
Besides many cuts and bruises, I suffered torn ligaments and tendons in my right foot, torn ligaments and a torn labrum in my right shoulder rotator cuff, a severe concussion, and compressed discs in my neck.
I thought I was okay. I did not have my cell phone. I really needed an ambulance. But because of the blow to my head, I was not thinking straight. I was in shock.
These injuries eventually put a stop to my exercise routines. My ankle has been rebuilt but my shoulder and neck still cause me some difficulties. I elected not to have neck surgery. I have another round of intensive neck rehab coming. I have put off shoulder surgery. I don't want to go through the 6 months of healing and rehab until the winter.
This is a photo of my ankle a few weeks after surgery. I snapped this shot while getting fitted for a new cast.
This is a shot of my first cast. My leg has lost most of this definition during the healing phase.
Part 3: Weight Gain and Strength Loss
Since the Leadville 10K in August of 2011, I have gained 30 pounds. What is worse than gaining weight is my loss of strength and cardio-vascular conditioning. It is hard to get motivated when normal activity hurts. I am struggling to ride my bikes just half the distance I used to. Running is also challenging.
I have difficulty controlling my appetite if I am not active.
Part 4: My Plan - Rehab, Run, Ride, Lift and Track
I got to get back on track. I have been putting off more rehab on my neck because it really hurts. I got a good recommendation for a rehab specialist from a coworker that had the same neck injury. I work in health care and the coworker is a neural therapist and certified fitness trainer.
I got to bite the bullet and workout frequently. Right now, I can muster about one or two bike rides a week. I have to start running, not just riding.
I need to get more strength. I can start out with light weights. I have also been hit-and-miss on nutrition. I have been drinking too much beer because it makes the pain more bearable.
I guess I am lucky I have only put on 30 pounds.
Thanks for reading my blog.