The one where I realised I could walk

Just over a month has passed since my last post and much has changed. I’m now back at a few days a week, and am having regular physiotherapy sessions.

I went down to Devon to visit my mum for a few days for some R&R. It was really nice to relax in the country fresh air and see the pooches. Some of the spring flowers were out too, which made for some bright, cheery photographs. 

My older brother came to visit for a few days and we did some baking and made a (Pi), he gave me his ultimate bread recipe and we took a trip to IKEA. IKEA wasn’t as fun as it can be, being wheeled around in a chair :/. The pathways throughout the shop were barely wide enough for walkers let alone a wheelchair!

On Thursday of last week I got my cast off. Needless to say my arm is weedy, weak and stiff, though after six weeks in a cast, what can you expect!

My knee has been super on-and-off over the last four weeks, some days the swelling reduced and other days it puffed up bigger than normal. Flexion is slowly improving and now the last five degrees of extension remain to be tackled! This afternoon I had a physio appointment, during which I put some weight through my right leg for the first time in 8 weeks! My foot felt really tingly, and it was as though I hadn’t ever put my foot to the floor or like I couldn’t remember how to put it down properly! It was a really surreal feeling. I did a few lengths of the physio room and am practicing using each crutch alongside the opposite leg. Luckily, the crutching around in the last eight weeks has really maintained, if not improved my core stability and I didn’t feel too off balance. I cannot WAIT to get rid of the crutches and walk and run and ride and RACE!

It was awesome watching Paris-Roubaix at the weekend, Cancellara really is a phenomenal athlete. Watching all the bike racing and also the triathlons on tv has really made me miss competing! This weekend I was supposed to be competing at the Cambridge Duathlon, one of the qualifying events for the 2013 Duathlon World Championships… I’m gutted to be missing out! Bring on next year though, where I’ll be bringing some stronger legs and mental mindset than ever before!

Tomorrow I’m on for some baking, methinks a banananananana bread with some left over Cadbury’s Flake Easter egg as a cheeky addition. Pics will follow!!

 

 

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Crutches work well for opening windows

Well, it’s been a few days with a focus on all things nutrition and cooking. On Saturday I made pancakes. Turns out I’m much better at making poppadoms than pancakes! James went to play golf and make the most of the not-so-bad weather. His leaving left me feeling all the more irritated and resentful that I wasn’t making the most of the day, on my bike and out with my Mizuno Wave Musha 3s on.

photo 2Pancake with banana, strawberry, greek yoghurt and honey

 

 

 

 

 

For dinner we used a recipe from The Feed Zone Cookbook. It was the stuffed peppers with orzo and veg recipe. Couldn’t find orzo ANYWHERE in the supermarket… is it hidden somewhere so that no one can find it and buy it?! Anyway, I substituted orzo with bulgur wheat, and added courgette, carrot, mozarella, onion and tuna. It’s a super simple recipe and you can pretty much choose the additional ingredients and flavour as you will! Did y’all know that bulgur wheat has not only less calories per cup than brown rice (bulgur: 151cals and brown rice: 216cals), but contains less fat (bulgur: 0.44gs and brown rice: 1.8gs) and more fibre (bulgur: 8.2gs and brown rice: 3.5gs. Plus it is pretty tasty too! For pud I made the peach crumble, but added apples to the peaches and added my favourite dessert addition, custard.

Sunday was a chilled day and I watched the prologue of Paris-Nice. It was a mere 2.9km time trial (TT), but really made me realise how much I wanted to race this season and how much I’m missing training. I’m glad to still have my TT bike (Giant Aeryn) in one piece though, as well as my ZIPP 808 wheels… serious bike candy. I tried to make myself feel a little more ‘normal’ (<what ever that means) too, by attempting to paint my nails… wow that was a bad idea. I’m pretty sure I painted each and every one of my fingertips EXCLUDING the nails.

On Tuesday I had a 30 minute physiotherapy appointment at 8am. It was really a preliminary appointment, so I’m back on Thursday (tomorrow) for a full one hour appointment. The day was seriously sunny, probably almost tropical (for our country), with temperatures reaching about 12 degrees would you believe it! I tried to open the patio door (extremely stiff at the best of times) with my one good arm whilst balancing on my one good leg. Needless to say, I didn’t get it open. This made me cry like a baby- the silliest things get me so tense and emotional at the moment.

The next stage of Paris-Nice featured an awful faceplant by the French national road race champion Nacer Bouhanni, who was at the time proudly wearing the maillot jaune. Poor chap!

I found some very interesting looking Nutrition MSc courses at UK universities. I’m definitely still feeling motivated to study sports nutrition… I just need to decide where to go and when to start!

Today (Wednesday) I found some journals re nutrition and cycling/running. If anyone would like copies of these, I’d be happy to share them. I’m trying to make the most of my time at home by doing some ‘proper’ reading. I wish I still had access to my Bath Uni Library account… oh how valuable it was. I wasn’t of this opinion during some of my time at Bath University. The evening saw a trip to The Guildhall to see Ben Goldacre discuss his book: Bad Pharma. It was an insightful talk, though only lasted one hour.

I’ve decided to go back to work on Monday. I figured that if I can shuffle around around at home I may as well be at work doing the same. It definitely feels strange to be going back to work on crutches though, even if I will be hidden behind a desk for a while!

21 Days On (plus a few minutes)

Well, this week has been pretty busy! Monday night I made meatballs, with butternut squash and carrots and pasta. I was pretty impressed with the final result, especially considering it was made with one hand, while balancing on one leg. Does anyone know when the circus is in town?

On Tuesday at 9am I had another hospital appointment to meet with a knee surgeon and specialist. My dad had come to Bath the night before, to accompany me to the appointment (James had lectures to teach). This appointment was a positive one! A combination of physical assessment and a review of the previous MRIs and X-Rays (as well as X-Rays taken on the day) should have allowed the doc to decide the condition of the PCL. However, the swelling around my knee is still present and restricting movement, thus making a full assessment of the knee difficult. The bone looked to be healing as well as we could have hoped, therefore not immediately requiring surgery to connect the bony fragment to the bulk of the tibia. My brace has been adjusted to allow full flexion (previously set at 30° flexion), where possible, though currently I cannot flex my leg more than ~35°! I will also be seeing a physiotherapist, as soon as the next appointment becomes available. The afternoon saw an all day vegetarian breakfast at Boston Tea Party with my dad. It was totally and completely delicious!

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Wednesday was pretty uneventful aside from meeting with a solicitor. The meeting was interesting and I’ve been left with a mass of paperwork (and gobbledegook) to read through! The daffodils came alive too and look beautiful.

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They really brighten up the room- thanks again to Rose and Lucy.

Thursdays ‘highlight’ was the arrival of some books I ordered online. They were, The Geek Manifesto: Why Science Matters by Mark Henderson and The Feed Zone Cookbook by Biju Thomas and Allen Lim. The athlete-focused cookbook is one I’ve had my eyes on for a while now and can’t wait to give some of the recipes a try!

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For lunch I made scrambled eggs with almond milk and spinach- delish! I’ve been experimenting with almond milk over regular cow’s milk lately… so far it works. The second ‘highlight’ of the day was a trip across the road (quite literally) to Tesco. Joyous. Dinner was chicken fajitas- one of my favourites.

Today (Friday) whilst browsing the web I found a talk by Ben Goldacre on Wednesday 6th March at Bath Guildhall. This is part of the Bath Literary Festival. Definitely something to look forward to! I also ordered some treats for a special someone from Nila Holden through Etsy. Can’t wait to see it/them! I also discovered the website of a Cox & Baloney in Bristol, why have I not been here yet?! They have vintage clothing, accessories, furniture and a tearoom too! My afternoon snack brought colour and crunch, couldn’t resist a pic…

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The evening brought American Psycho to my television screen. Christian Bale: genius, sadistic, magnificent. Who knows what tomorrow may bring!

Race Chatter

Well, today whilst organising files on my laptop, I came across a number of race pictures. Oh how they were good times. Most of them I cannot publish as they were not purchased from the official race photographer. The ones that follow were taken by my personal race photographer (ha ha) James Fern. This one below was from one of the USN Eton Dorney Duathlon race series in 2012 at Dorney Lake, near Windsor. This year’s series are sponsored by Gatorade.  Image

I have had quite a few successful races here, not only when I was a rower and a cox, but as a duathlete.

This one below was from another of my top three finishes, at one of the Votwo Silverstone Duathlons, which they run as a five race series. The run legs are laps around the Porsche Driving Experience circuit and the bike leg is laps around the Formula 1 Grand Prix circuit… pretty cool I have to say!

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This one was from the Bath Racecourse 10k in 2011. This was my first 10k ever and turned out to be a little more ‘bumpy’ than anticipated. During this race I learnt about pacing, specifically regarding starting WAY too hard! It was fun though and a great day for it… even if I didn’t win (it was a top three finish nonetheless).

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I have decided to start planning ahead and looking for races to enter at the end of the year, from about September onwards. We (my physiologist and boyfriend James) and I think this is a realistic goal for getting back to race ‘fitness’. Not necessarily as race fit as I was pre-crash… but maybe, just maybe, a fitness that will lead to a faster, stronger, more determined athlete. Fingers crossed eh?!

The Weekend With The Roasties

Well, this weekend included a visit to a friend’s house for dinner and a visit from friends who came with books, lunch and posh apfel saft. Dinner last night at Libby’s was a delish roast chicken dinner and apple spice cake and custard. We watched ‘Take Me Out’ on a television that only works when surrounded by people and when these people are sat absolutely still. Not normal. Any thoughts?!

Today some friends from home (Devon) visited and brought lunch and some other goodies. Note to self- goodies are not friends of my petit pork chop belly I’m developing!! The lunch and more importantly the company was lovely and another day distracted is another day with less discomfort and frustration. Our post lunch dessert (that’s right, dessert with lunch!) was banoffee pie! Probably the best dessert available, in my opinion anywho. Needless to say, Rose and I demolished most, as we always could! I forgot to mention they brought some daffodils too, can’t wait to see them open and add to the colours of the other flowers I have received in the last two weeks. Hopefully the protein shaker we’re keeping them in (the sportsperson’s vase) isn’t contaminated with supps, otherwise we may have some rogue daffs on our hands!!

The ‘gabba’ meds have been working a treat, am now getting at least five hours in a row of good sleep, followed by a few hours of intermittent sleeps with crazy, hallucination type dreams. Who’s complaining though, sleep is sleep right. Bit concerned about taking them in the day though, especially considering how quickly I’ve been falling asleep since taking them! Ibuprofen doesn’t quite rid me of the numbness plaguing my entire right leg.

My dad visits tomorrow, to take me to my appointment on Tuesday morning, as James will be at work. Hopefully tomorrow daytime brings more than sofa dwelling and book reading. A visit to Sainsbury’s for a ride in the electric wheelchair can be most welcoming. image

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Fourteen Days On

Well, it was exactly two weeks ago today it happened. Though the days have crawled by, the weeks have flown. I do not however feel any less frustrated, angry or uncomfortable. Image

On the day of the collision, I was supposed to be part of a photo shoot for that weekends Sunday Times. The shoot would have photographed me cycling, at speed, past a photographer. Instead, he came to my house (post ambulance, A&E and X-rays) and photographed me in cycling kit, with my cast and a crutch in hand. Oh and my crumpled bike. Needless to say my photo wasn’t used in the article. Though dissapointed at the time, I later found out (via @VeloViewer) that most of the contents were fictitious. I suppose this should be expected, even from the most highly regarded newspapers.

I forgot to mention that I do have an appointment (finally) with a knee surgeon, on the 26th of this month. Something to look ‘forward’ to I suppose. Maybe an operation, maybe not, but definitely some information and a time-frame for recovery. This should make the countdown for my first two-footed walk, run/bike session and race a lot more realistic. Bring it on!

The Day That Ran Smoothly

Well, the appointment wasn’t with a knee specialist but with the same orthopaedic consultant we’ve seen before. How frustrating. I did make it home with daylight hours to spare, with no more information than I left with. A wonderfully kind nurse did issue me with a ‘gutter’ crutch, enabling me to move about a little more comfortably, as well as making my whole appointment experience much less depressing! If only more doctors and nurses were as smiley, kind and helpful.

The rest of my day comprised of watching television, namely Mission Impossible, the new one, which was wholly unimpressive (not sure what I was expecting) and a waste of some of the numerous hours I have spare throughout the day. I did however catch day two of the track cycling from Minsk, go GB! Very much looking forward to more tomorrow.

The numbness in my right leg, probably originating from my L5/S1 bulge, has not decreased, causing much frustration and ever more discomfort. The doctor has given me some Gabapentin to ease this, any thoughts?

Hopefully a more interesting, thought provoking post to follow tomorrow. Though I have left you with some of my photographs from 2013. Just a few of my favourites. Enjoy!

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My poor smashed rideWell, I’ve got a lot of time on my hands at the moment so I figured I might as well document my movements (or lack of).

Twelve days ago I was cycling to work (my destination a mere five minute journey from home) when I was hit off my bike by a car. I am lucky to be alive, though ungrateful as it may sound, I don’t feel like I’ve been so lucky.

To provide some context here, I usually train twice a day, six days a week and work full time in a bike shop. My aim for 2013 was to qualify and race in the standard distance World Duathlon Championships in Canada. My training at this stage of the season had been going better than I could have anticipated, achieving regular PBs.

Since approximately 8.45am on the 8th February 2013 I have been uncomfortable, emotional and mostly immobile. I have not been able to weight bear on my right leg due to the avulsion fracture of my tibia. Attached to this piece of bone and also loose in my knee cavity is my posterior cruciate ligament (though fortunately not ruptured). I have a fractured scaphoid, a compression fracture on one of my vertebrae (L2) and I’ve also aggrevated a bulging disk (L5/S1) which hasn’t given me any problems for almost 18 months. I have been inundated with kind thoughts, flowers and chocolates and visits from friends and family. My boyfriend @jamesfern83has provided invaluable support, both physically and mentally, ensuring the days confined to the sofa and our flat pass as quickly as possible.

Tomorrow I have an appointment with a knee specialist at a hospital fracture clinic, hoping to learn how I’m to manage and repair my knee injury. **I’m apprehensive and nervous about this appointment, as last Thursday, at exactly the same time, I visited the fracture clinic for a check up of my scaphoid fracture and assessment of my additional injuries (at this time the vertebral and tibial fractures were unknown). I was unexpectedly admitted to hospital for further X-Rays of my neck, pelvis and ribs and MRIs of my back and knee. During the course of the evening I began to feel an ever-increasing severe pain in my chest and back alongside shortness of breath. Doctors checked and monitored my sats, temperature, blood pressure, heart rate (to name a few) and subsequently administered a dose of morphine, an oxygen tube through my nose, an IV drip and performed an X-Ray on my chest. All came back normal, therefore providing no explanation of my ‘attack’ to either myself or the medical staff. I was moved, to enable continual monitoring, from a private room to an orthopedic recovery ward alongside elderly and unwell individuals. Needless to say a noisy and stressful night followed, with little or no sleep. James stayed by my side, making the night more bearable and less lonely. I had to stay at the hospital until the following evening, when I finally left to go home.

Fingers crossed tomorrow goes much more smoothly and I exit the hospital with daylight hours to spare.