Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Progress Report

Slowly but surely, my left leg is recovering from the trauma it has endured over the past month and a half. I am now walking without a limp and can even muster a couple of jog-like strides when crossing a street with oncoming traffic. I still wear my knee brace everywhere but in bed, but I'm not in any significant pain and only the most strenuous activities cause discomfort in my knee.

Yesterday I was able to pedal for ten pain-free minutes on one of the stationary trainers in the gym. A couple of days before I could only handle five. Every once in a while a pedal stroke will cause sharp pain in my kneecap, but for the most part I can spin at a reasonable pace (80-90 rpm) without wanting to stop immediately.

While the pain and discomfort (and the swelling) have subsided, the sorry state of my left leg has become more apparent. The injury, surgery and subsequent physical inactivity have significantly atrophied my once-impressive quads. What remains is a skinny, asymmetrical waste that barely passes as an adult limb. Compared to my other leg, the difference is striking:

Please disregard the fact that I naturally have chicken legs and focus instead on the difference that is obvious in the photo. My right quad is much larger than the left, and my left knee is still somewhat lumpy where the knee scopes and cartilage removal incision have left small scars.

So it's now been about seven weeks since my initial injury and almost four weeks since surgery. As is obvious, rebuilding my muscular strength is going to take time. Rebuilding my aerobic strength won't be as difficult, but it will take time as well. I highly doubt I'll reach competitive form before the racing season ends. I'll give it my best shot, though.

Tomorrow it's back on the trainer and hopefully next week I'll be in good enough shape to actually ride my bike outside for the first time since April 3rd. That would be awesome.