The kids are back at school, med students are back with us, summer is certainly over but the weather has been sunny and dry. It’s a funny time of year. I’m not sure I can face going through the mill again for another academic year, but I’m enjoying early autumn and looking forward to the rest of it. This is a fantastic time of year to be riding and running, and riding and running again I am.
I started cycling soon after breaking my collarbone; at first on the turbo indoors and in the garden, and then back out on the roads. I’m not fit but cycling is feeling pretty good again. Running has been slower to develop and my tendons have taken some weeks to begin to strengthen again, but I can now run on back to back days without hobbling afterwards, and the early morning shuffle is getting longer and maybe easier.
I’m now back in the pool swimming with both arms too, and although that was unpleasant to start with, within a week and just 3 sessions the movements of freestyle started to feel a little more familiar. The amount of pace I’ve lost almost entirely due to loss of strength and aerobic fitness is astonishing. It’s nice to be splashing up and down the lanes again. Short fins for parts of the sessions help a lot. My right deltoid muscle has shrunk, and is much smaller than my left.
I’m not training, so much as just running, riding and swimming a bit. I have a bit of structure to my weeks and I’m carefully adding load, but in each session I’m doing what I feel like and stopping to smell the flowers that are left. Strava have a 700km odd challenge coming up, but it’s not a particularly inspiring one so I’ll leave it alone, and stick to slowly increasing my run and swim volume through to Christmas. I’m cycling every day but to no great distance. I’ve had my training frame powder coated, have fitted new forks and a headset myself and rebuilt it for the winter. It needs some decals next to give it a bit of colour, a new saddle (I bent the saddle in the crash – how did I manage that?) and new wheels, and then maybe it’ll be with me for many more years. It looks almost new with the fresh powder coat.
The days are getting shorter. The 12 hours of light day will be here soon. I’d better get my lights out of storage.
The shoulder seems to be fixing itself pretty well. The bone is doing its own thing as bones do and Gareth at Swansea Health Solutions has been stretching & working on the muscles in my necks and shoulder to get some mobility back after a couple of weeks of immobilisation. It’s amazing how much your muscles shorten, not just to deal with the broken clavicle, but with the fixed position in the sling. A lot of the pain and discomfort has been in other parts of the shoulder than the bone and Gareth has really helped with that. After about 4 weeks or so I started to get some good nights of sleep again.
I started running again 3 weeks post-fracture, cycling at 4 weeks, and got back in the pool at 5 weeks. I’m not swimming as such, as I’m not allowed to raise my arm above my shoulder yet, but I’m doing some kicking drills and have been sticking some short fins on for single arm and sculling drills. After watching the Paralympic swimming I realised that I didn’t have any excuse for not getting back in the pool, and it feels pretty nice to be back in the water. Each of those sports started off a little sore but without pain in the bone, and after a few sessions each one got better & helped get some strength and tone back into the shoulder muscles.
It’s slow going getting back into running again, and I did as much walking as I could but my muscles are short, tight and the tendons are unhappy again. With 2 weeks of daily stretching I still can’t touch my toes! There’s no hurry but it would be nice to be able to start building the mileage soon without too much Achilles tendon soreness. Cycling has been a lot easier & I’ve restricted myself to my fixie, partly because I’m repairing my training bike and using this opportunity to get the frame resprayed and freshen up some parts, and partly because it’s still tricky moving quickly from the tops of the bars to the brakes. With the fixed wheel I can control my speed with my legs, which is easier and safer, and good for keeping my pedalling technique smooth. It’s a good excuse to explore the cycle paths too.
I’m due back in the fracture clinic next week, and I’m hoping to get the ok to start swimming freestyle again. That will probably feel nasty at first but it will be important in getting the strength and fitness back into my right side. Winter is coming; the season to spend lots of hours in the pool.