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Rehab, Run, Ride, Lift and Track - Sounds Easy

Saturday, June 14, 2014

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.
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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.
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TEDDYBABE2 6/22/2014 12:01AM

  Well old friend. Sounds like I joined Spark People just in time. You have more tenacity than most. Maybe smaller goals to start. You can do it!! Speedybabe emoticon

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BA5454 6/16/2014 6:40PM

    Oh gosh, I'm familiar with that race as I lived in CO for a number of years (but never ran it). So sorry to hear about your injuries, it seems like you have a good plan for tracking and rehab, though. Hope you keep your chin up (I kind of get the idea that being inactive may bother you) and good luck!

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KENDRACARROLL 6/16/2014 3:06PM

    Man, Bruce, that really sucks. Getting banged up and having to live in pain is just awful. Glad you're determined. Do what you can.
Better nutrition is a good place to start.
Wishing you well.

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BILL60 6/15/2014 8:45AM

    So sorry to hear your bad luck. The important thing to all of this is not to stop exercising. As long as it's safe, do it. I remember coming back from Viet Nam and having some serious lower extremity wounds. Luckily, I wanted to return to full duty ASAP and had to work through the pain and exercise. Good luck to you and keep the faith.

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NATPLUMMER 6/14/2014 11:04PM

    emoticon

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LINDAKAY228 6/14/2014 10:38PM

    I was in pretty much my best shape when I had the stroke too. And I've put on about 25 pounds since then. I lost a few of them but then went to see a friend for a few weeks and have put those back on I think although I don't have a scale at her place. Tuesday I fly back to TX and I've got to get serious too about really getting in shape and getting my nutrition under control. My balance is so messed up since the stroke that I'm hoping if I start working more on core training it will help. Sounds like we both have some serious work to do! But I know that both of us can do it whatever our methods may be. I know I can't use my health for an excuse. I used ot run some but not as much as you did. Now I can't run due to balance but I'm hoping that gets better with time. I can walk and hike though, although it is more painful and takes longer than it used to. But there is no holding us down!

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LMB-ESQ 6/14/2014 5:23PM

    You've just had one thing after another haven't you? I'm in the same place but I can't claim accidents as a reason. I just got lazy. 20 lbs up over a year and a half. I need to get back on track too and get my shape and strength back. We should hold each other accountable.

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THINFITFEMINIST 6/14/2014 3:22PM

    Wow, this is one of the most explanatory blogs about your total situation I've had the pleasure to read. I've got a fuller picture of what has happen and what you have endured. I know you like to be active and involved. I understand the feeling one gets when "they've made it" in weight loss/fitness. I also have gone through the downhill slide afterwards for my own serious reasons. And, like you I am on the slow path of recovery and making certain I do what is right for me to do for a total health picture.

If anything has Sparked me to get my butt in gear and do my lap at the mall tomorrow and every day next week and continue, it has been this blog.

Thank you my friend. Looking forward to your recovery and weight reduction.

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HARRINGTON5 6/14/2014 1:34PM

    OMG! You have been through so much! I know how strong and determined you are and I have faith that you will bounce back from these injuries. I stopped running for over two years because I have worn the cartilage down so much in my left knee that it is always swollen and used to hurt all the time. The surgeon told me surgery wouldn't help and I am not interested in a knee replacement, so I started walking and then jogging a little. I found a really good knee brace and with that I can jog enough to enter races again. I am not fast any more, but I am still in the game and at 66, I feel good about that. Take care of yourself and don't push too hard. I also put on about 30 pounds and I have been working this whole year to get it back off. I am almost there. My prayers are with you and I hope you recover quickly. You have a good frame of mind and that will help get you through. Hugs, Cynthia

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MJRVIC2000 6/14/2014 1:22PM

    You can do it! But it's going to take planning and commitment, along with lifestyle changes. God Bless YOU! Vic..

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