Friday, May 27, 2011

Rehab V: Pedestrian and Cycling Musings

Back to on-topic matters.

You know how when a good thing happens you think that it will happen again and again and become the norm.  With my rehab I have a good day and think the next day would be just as good, maybe better.  Alas, not necessarily.  A good day often means: "Oooh, the foot feels good, let's try more and new things on it."  Inevitably, this results in overdoing and more pain the next day than the day before.  Though the day after is better still.  The foot is improving, but it's not straight-line improvement, more of a jagged line with a general upward trend.  Sort of like Dow Jones average in a bullish market.

I tried wind trainer twice over the weekend, then did not get on the bike for the next three days because things have been busy at work.  Yesterday, I finally managed to go to VeloSF for a class, my first class in eight weeks and two days.

People there are like a family; you don't get that in other gyms.  We know each others' names and we bond because we suffer together.  So, Dave and Jeff and Danielle and others were glad to see me and asked how the ankle was.  It was a tough 90-minute class with some Zone 4 and 5 riding.  I was not going to ride in Zones 4 and 5.  I was firmly entrenched in Zone 1 and I stayed there for 45 minutes.  After a 15-minute warm-up, every five minutes, I unclipped my right foot and rode one-footed for a minute to build up my weak side.  After four or five of those the foot started hurting, so I stopped.  Rode for another 10 minutes, then decided 45 minutes was enough for a first time in two months and two days.  I climbed off happy that I managed 45 minutes and that the 45 minutes felt pretty good.

Walking is funny.  When healthy, I am a very fast walker.  I daresay, I am the fastest walker on the sidewalk.  Seriously.  I am competitive when I walk the streets.  By no means am I as fast as race walkers, the best of whom can do 6:30 miles for 30 miles, but among people walking to work and around town, I am the fastest.  But not now.  It hurts to walk fast.  It used to hurt on the outside, under the ankle bone -- stabs and jolts.  Thanks to my PT-ist Wayne, that pain is gone.  Now I have duller, but still significant pain across the top of the ankle, where it flexes, in the place where the shin become the foot.  If I try to walk fast, the foot flexes often and it hurts more often.  As the doctor in the well-known joke says, "don't do that."  So, I don't do that, at least not often, and, as a result, I walk slowly.  I am the slowest walker on the sidewalk.  Pedestrians zoom past me walking at a pedestrian pace.  I am a sub-pedestrian.  Instead of trying to scurry across the intersection as the light timer counts down the seconds before it will change to "DON'T WALK STUPID!" I look at the time, calculating how long it would take me to reach the street and slow down instead of speeding up.  Slowing down has an additional benefit of allowing me to focus on my technique -- rolling the foot from heel to toe rather than dragging it along in balletic First Position, which I do when I am in a rush.  (First Position walking minimizes flex and pain, but is a bad habit.)  I stand there, waiting with patience of a philosopher, for the light to change with no cars in sight, while everyone else jaywalks.  Then the light changes and I start across, hoping to make it to the other side before the light goes back to red, treading the thin line between speed and pain.

I reach my car, get inside and suddenly feel completely whole -- I am moving painlessly -- forgetting about my injury.  Then I park and realize that I will have to stand up and walk and remember...



Gunnar Berg said...

Now you understand why we old duffers walk so slow.

Bike Ride Stories said...

Yes. Because everything hurts. As a result of my uncoordinated walking, my back and glutes are hurting too. When the foot finally improves I'll have to start working on the parts of the body I'll have injured by trying to rehab the foot.