Bikes and Beer Torn Meniscus:

Today I was supposed to be participating in the Tour de Dane, a bike ride to three different Great Dane locations. I was really looking forward to it, mostly because of the vaguely scavenger hunt aspect to the event. Granted, the routes between the three pubs are determined in advance, and there’s not really any question of where to go, but at each location you could pick up a raffle ticket and a coupon for a free beer (for after).

But, instead, I’m sitting on the couch with ice on my knee. See, in that last post I was going on and on about all the fears that are a part of triathlon for me (and how awesome triathlon is as an outlet to work through and overcome my fears). It turns out that what I really should have been afraid of was injuring myself.

It was a normal Monday when it happened. I rushed from work to the gym to make it to one of my favorite activities, a 5:25 PM kick-boxing class. I have been kick-boxing since college, for probably about 12 years. I know what I’m doing and I have (generally) quite good form. But I was running late, the class was starting, I didn’t stretch as much as I should have, and I got all excited and into the music and the energy, and threw a roundhouse kick with poor form and tight muscles. And as my triumphant kick flew through the air, I felt my knee pop and rip, and I knew I had royally screwed up.

However, I am an idiot, so I finished the class. I took a few days off and it felt slightly better, so I went on a bike ride, and because I was feeling great, went for a run as well, marveling at how great it felt to brick in the off-season. That flared everything up again, so I took more days off, and then decided, “You know what? Swimming is low-impact, let’s give that a try.” Despite using a pull buoy (so I wasn’t, in theory, using my legs at all) and despite pushing off from the wall with only my right leg, and even though I was killing some 200s, that was the final straw. That evening it was obvious something was really wrong with my knee, and a doctor’s appointment the next day confirmed that I had torn the meniscus.

In the grand scheme of things, this is not the worst thing that could happen (or so I keep telling myself). The initial treatment is conservative. I’m ordered, in no uncertain terms, to do absolutely no exercise for two weeks. I’m allowed to walk (no crutches needed) to get around, but nothing else. Ice and Advil daily, plus some low-key rehab exercises complete the picture. After two weeks, I’ll need to be re-assessed, and if it’s not healing well, then I will likely need an MRI to see the extent of the damage and determine a game plan.

One further wrinkle is that I’m starting a new job tomorrow, which means different health insurance, which means I need to change doctors by the end of the month. It would be so much simpler if we all just had single payer healthcare! One of the (fake) laments I’ve heard from the GOP about the Affordable Care Act is that somehow we’re all going to have to leave our doctors. (a) That makes no sense if you actually pay attention to what the act is, and (b) I’m going to have to leave my doctor anyway, because healthcare in our country is bafflingly tied to employment.

Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled to have good healthcare, both from my previous job and my new one. I cherish that fact. More than I can put into words, really. But I also was pretty happy to have a doctor who understood how important my triathlon training is to me, who was actually interested in it, and who worked with me to be in the best shape I could for it.

I also keep telling myself that if I have to get injured, this is a good time of year for it. I would be devastated if something like this happened right in the middle of the summer and triathlon’s peak moments. So I am working hard at staying positive and embracing that if nothing else, I picked a good time to suddenly forget how to do a roundhouse kick.

And although I’m not on my bike today picking up raffle tickets and beer coupons, I do not mind at all that I already paid the registration fee for the event. The whole point of the ride was not to try to win t-shirts and have a Crop Circle Wheat at the end, but was to benefit Dream Bikes, a non-profit bike shop in Madison that gives teenagers a safe and professional place to work and helps those who may not otherwise have the means obtain a quality bike. A bicycle can provide reliable and safe transportation, enjoyment, and an opportunity for fitness, and Dream Bikes is a terrific organization doing some great work. So I’m glad to have made a donation to them, even though I’m not out riding in the event.

Next weekend, Josh will be running in a race we were supposed to be doing together, and I’ll be practicing my cheering skills. I’ll need them to be in full force by next summer when he does his first marathon! Stay tuned next week for his recap from a unique racing/beer expo combination event.

Icing my knee with a feline overseer.

Icing my knee with a feline overseer.

  1. Your Dad who is not worrying said:

    Cat therapy! Even better than ice.

  2. Gloria said:

    So sad for your MIchelle. I have had a meniscus removed-1977. I feel your pain. I mean I acutally feel it…presently–today.
    Back then the orthos said because I was a girl they had to shortent he tendon–ug. They are much wiser today. Best of luck. My friend Ilene has had two operated on while playing college soccer. She is perfect today and is having a baby this month and has remained athletic since. I send good thoughts,. I like your feline nurse.

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