Posted by: lepages | August 28, 2011

Recovery journey… so far!

So it’s 5 weeks today since my head on collision with a car going the opposite direction that decided to turn right across my path as I cycled along a straight road.

So how’s it been going?

Well, okay, apart from the intermittent patches of every where seeming to ache, and the continuing limitations! (Physical damage incurred included a fractured right patella, a later diagnosed rotator cuff injury, plus some good cuts and bruises to elbows and knees – still showing 5 weeks on.)

In the first week following the accident, aside from pain, exhaustion was a feature. For someone who used to long to be able to sleep for 8 hours it became a surprisingly common occurrence! Add to that the mental exhaustion thinking about anything brought for the best part of a couple of weeks and motivation was lacking in many ways. Diary entries for a week of hobbling round on crutches, looking to others for transport when able to get out, resounded to continual reflection on how exhausting and draining everything was!

First mistake was a week after the accident, turning up at church ready to preach and thinking I’d give playing my accordion with the church music group a go…. I knew my shoulder was a problem but was shocked to discover the pain in my back as I sought to play. Gave up after trying 2 songs! With hindsight, as that cleared within a week I think it was a side affect of using the crutches.. but who knows?

That afternoon I was sharing in a community activity run by the Midland Road Resident’s Association – beautiful weather for a fantastic community event – but by 4pm I was absolutely shattered. A friend kindly insisted on giving me a lift home – and wonderfully they had a car where the front passenger seat went back a long way enabling me to get out and in better.

Orthopaedic consultant had said that once my surface wounds had healed over I would be okay to commence easy swimming. At 10 days on I reckoned that was probably the case. Up to Kempston pool for some easy swimming with a pull buoy – no kicking – didn’t want to risk any strain to my knee. Arms and shoulders ached when I started, but encouragingly improved a bit as I swam. Did 2x100m, then 4x200m before going for a lie in the sauna.

I’d had 10 days on crutches as suggested by the consultant, so also took the opportunity to have an easy walk – had opted to wear my most cushioned running shoes most of the time to try and prevent any impact on my knee. Seemed to be okay overall – was very conscious any little twist or turn in my knee was not good.

A little bit of exercise showed itself to be helpful. Felt much better for it. Then had a couple of days of largely desk based work with minimal movement – soon found legs, joints, shoulders, back aching strongly – resorted to antiinflammatories – unheard of for me unless under doctors orders!

A swim the following day, followed by a day watching the ITU London triathlon in Hyde Park got the freedom of movement back. Fantastic day watching Helen Jenkins dominating so superbly. Shattered by the time I got home, but blessed with a great day. Wandered around watching the Age group events – so wanted to be out there competing!!

After the weekend thought it was time 2 weeks on from the accident to pay a visit to the GP. Good examination, advice to take antiinflammatories regularly and start to get more movement in the joints (but without impact or undue pressure).

Couple of days later first swim session without constant use of pull buoy (15 days on from accident) but avoided any leg push off from the wall at end of each length of the pool. Did the following sets and finished with a timed 400m with the pull buoy:- 200m bilateral breathing/200m pull buoy/100m front crawl/(50bil/50fc)x4/50 breathing on 3/5/7/5/3 strokes x8/then 400m timed pull buoy – amazed to complete in 7:55 with several waits for slower swimmers.

Couple of days later, first visit to the gym. Did 20mins easy pedalling on the static bike – little bit of discomfort in knee at start, but eased after a while – strange thing was my knee seemed to click if there was any pressure at all – level 6, cadence 70ish heart rate circa 120. Then 15mins on Crosstrainer level 8 cadence 120ish HR 125 av. Few easy light upper body weights, but no use of Swiss ball.

Couple of days later back for swim session – 2.1k – 400m front crawl @7.55 without Pull buoy this time. Following day gym session – 20mins bike again – felt easier and higher cadence for same perceived effort. Same for Cross trainer.

Same day ordered my new bike – Cube Aerium Pro

GP was surprised at previous visit that I had not cycled yet, and had said that providing I didn’t push I should be okay to do so – needless to say, once I’d collected my bike, it wasn’t long before I got out for a ride!!

Easy bike, no pushing – Bromham-Stevington-Pavenham-Oakley-Clapham-Home. 14.5miles at an average speed of 17.5mph. Knee felt fine, and bike felt fast and responsive….. 🙂

No exercise for a few days and then my shoulder started to trouble me more (with hindsight now I think the increased problem was a result of less use resulting in tightening of muscles and so on). Made a return visit to GP and got sent for an x-ray – clear – praise God! And a referral for physio – appointment in 2 days time as I type. Will ask physio not only about my shoulder but also knee. Have noticed whilst straight walking/cycling is fine, any twist at all gives a bit of a twinge – just moving knee out to get water bottle out is enough, as is twisting to look to one side when standing.

Got to just over 4 weeks from accident and decided to try a gentle run on treadmill at gym. (Consultant had said I could start running after 4-6 weeks, but to ease back if I sensed any difficulty) Easy 9.5-10kph – but didn’t feel right. Stopped after 1km and thought I’d leave it another week. Will see what physio says before I try again. Went from treadmill to crosstrainer and did 15mins at level 10 – felt fine with slightly higher levels. 20mins on static bike, likewise sl higher levels 7&8, with a higher cadence of 80-90, which seemed fine.

Following day, a good swim session. Started giving gentle push off with both legs at turn 200m PB/200m FC then timed 400mFC – 7:42, well pleased, (50m PB/50m bilateral)x4, easy 200m FC

Next day, slightly longer bike ride with same perceived level of exertion. Out to Cardington and back with loop of BedsRoad 11.3 circuit. Time 1:04 Distance 19.13miles Av speed 17.9mph

Friday 26th swim again – 200mFC/200mPB/200mFC/50m drills x4 interspersed with 100mFC’s/400m timed FC 7:47 – pleasing considering busyness of pool/200mPB/200m easyFC

Decided to enter the 1500m Galeforce Mass start swim the next day – glad I did! Came 21st out of 43 – first time I’ve made the top 50% in a swim – even more delighted with my time 26:19 – was hoping to break 30mins, dreaming of getting down to 28ish. Didn’t do brilliantly in the rough and tumble of the first lap (120 going off together doing varied distances of 750, 1500 and 5k), but once got free of others and got my stroke going in second lap I knew I was going much faster – delighted to pick up on and pass 4 others who were a good distance ahead at start of second lap. Well chuffed.

So where now?
Well, perhaps I’ll go for a bike tomorrow as gym/pool closed. Then its off to physio early Tuesday. Have always preferred outdoor running to treadmill running – perhaps with his/her permission I’ll try a bit of easy outdoor running. Then I’d better see how things are going on the bike….. I may have entered a 10mile TT on 19th September – fortunately its in the afternoon – hopefully enough time to recover from the Men’s breakfast I’m speaking at in Northampton that morning!!



  1. nice bike! I just bought the aerium pro 2012…
    One question to your photo: shouldn´t the speed sensor point to the front? because of the clockwise turn from this viewangle…

  2. You are absolutely right Armin.
    Was fitted to my bike by the bike store I bought it from. When it went in for service they said it had been fitted wrongly and they had refitted it for me without charge. The guy who said this to me was then quite embarrassed to discover it had been fitted by someone else in the store!

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