Sarah Kingdom ACL Rehab Blog – Weeks 14, 15 & 16

Being my Birthday week, there was an inevitable amount of indulgence and neglect of the gym. I felt it was totally justified to take 8 cakes to work (odd tradition that the Birthday girl/boy supplies the cakes ??!!) I also treated myself to a massage from my trainer I couldn’t justify that I was working my back hard in the gym – I simply wasn’t, but booked in for a bit of relaxation and a gossip all the same. 

I could feel myself burning out a little and falling off the exercise wagon if I didn’t strike a balance. The problem is that the balance then favours relaxation and it’s even harder to get back into the swing of things. So a few boozy nights out with work mates, and a few more made it even harder to motivate myself to get to the gym, or not have a ‘power nap’ in my lunch break. But break the cycle I needed to, and break it, I did.

For a fortnight solid, my shifts allowed me to go to the gym every day, and having taken a bit of a break, I felt stronger and suddenly aware that I wasn’t instinctively protecting my knee anymore. Nothing felt hindered. I could fully stretch out my quads with my heel firmly pressing into my bum. There was no resistance in the bend. It felt normal. I was increasing my reps and durations for a good work out, but quite happy to ease off when my knee was getting sore. I’d discussed with Tom where to draw the line between pushing my effort levels, and working through discomfort. It’s a hard line to call, but the last thing I want is to create a new problem by over straining the other areas of my knee; kind of 2 steps forward and one back, but better than ruining all the progress I’ve made by being too eager.

When the season kicks off and I’ll be riding again, I’ll have very little time to do ‘normal things’ like go to see Alice in Wonderland at the IMAX in 3D on a quite weekday! It was amazing, I’m a huge Tim Burton fan, but this was one of his best. The Imax has pretty steep steps and again, I realised that when I tripped on a step and saved myself, there was no panic there, no sudden focus on protecting my knee, and that there hadn’t been for some time. Tom’s not just a physio, he’s a psychologist too! A lot of the exercises he’s given me are to strengthen my instinctive reactions, to get my body out of ‘protect’ mode, and react automatically. – I’m realising that I’m going to have to keep having these little ‘tests’ to reassure my subconscious that there is not weakness in need of protecting any more.

Tom’s the master of temporary comfort zones! All my feelings of good progress are always tested again whenever I see him. Although on track for nearly 4 months post op, Tom gave me more exercises to try to really get my quad burning, “we’re no longer in protect, but rebuild” however he thought that I needed to work my quad to the point of pure acid coursing through all the time as quads are insufficient. The physio terrorist nickname sprang back to mind as he counted slowly, then very slowly as I held squats and lowered them gently, to illustrate the sensation he was expecting me to repeat in the gym!

My late start shift meant that I could go to Nikki’s spin class before work. I was aware that I’d been working my quads a little more than usual lately, so nervous of getting tired, I gave myself the best possible energy maintenance with a bottle of Maximuscle Viper hydration drink. Whether I was getting fitter anyway, or the drink really helped, I found it so much easier than on previous visits. I was really managing to ‘zone out’ and pushing my limits. By closing my eyes and concentrating on pushing my heels deep into the pedal, I wasn’t even aware of the acid thighs, but I was aware of the crazy disco lights !

Monday 10 May 2010 | Permalink

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