First, I made an appointment with a pulmonologist. I was diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma as a young teenager, when I began turning purple during hard sets in the pool. I haven’t had any major problems since then, save for an acute attack during an outdoor swim clinic on a smog-filled day in Southern California when I was sixteen. If pressed, though, I would have to admit that most of the time my chest feels tighter than it probably should. I haven’t been back to a specialist in more than a decade – long before I entered into this crazy world of endurance sports – and after Saturday’s episode, I figured it was probably time for a consultation. So, I have an appointment in two weeks with someone who comes highly recommended, and in the meantime I’m on a higher dosage of my daily inhaler.
Next, I dropped my bike off for a little bit of TLC. Garrison’s Cyclery
, which Brent and Chris swear by, was a little bit backed up when I made the drive down to Wilmington, Delaware on Tuesday afternoon, but I should probably have the Brucemobile back, rehabbed (or new) fork and all, within a couple weeks.
Which is about the same amount of time that the doctor ordered me off my bike.
A little while back, Ali and Brent and I went out riding at Belmont Plateau, a small circuit of trails in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park that offers less in the way of elevation than Wissahickon but far more in terms of man-made obstacles and twisting single-track. I had never been there before, and probably took the trails a bit more aggressively than I normally would. The result – a number of hard falls, one which had my arm and shoulder in a tree and the rest of me on the ground, and another that saw me get wrapped in a mess of branches, pulling my body one way and my bike the other.
A few minutes after that last fall, I noticed a sharp pain in my rear. I continued to ride, but quickly realized that the discomfort was mounting, so I decided to turn around and head home. I rode the rest of the way out of my seat.
I didn’t bike much more between our Belmont adventure and last weekend’s races, and though the pain was still there, I figured it would get better on its own. I felt it while we were riding up Sugarloaf Mountain on Saturday, and I felt it more when I was bombing down the other side with my suspension-less frame. I noticed it during our nine-mile paddle, and again the next day when we took to the trails at Hibernia. But I generally didn’t think much of it, assuming I could just ride it out (pun intended).
Then today, I went to the doctor.
I’ve been feeling generally crummy for over a week now, trying to treat myself homeopathically with little success. Finally, I made an appointment with my primary care physician, and when I went to see her and described my symptoms, she diagnosed me with a systemic infection, and promptly prescribed antibiotics. I probably should have gone when I first started feeling sick; I likely would have been fine by the start of Saturday’s race, and wouldn’t have prolonged it for an additional week.
Five days of Cipro, and I should be good as new.
As she was wrapping up, she asked if there was anything else, and I mentioned the mountain biking fall. She listened to my account, gave me a quick once-over, and announced her suspicion: a cracked tailbone. “I can give you an x-ray,” she said, “if you want to see it. But given the fall, and the persistence and acuteness of the pain, I’d be willing to bet it’s a fracture.”
She said it might take a few months to really heal, but that it should start to feel better in a couple weeks – if I stop putting it through bumpy rides up and down mountains for a little while. So, no riding for me until the middle of May.
Hmm… So an infection, a broken butt, and a case of neglected asthma. I know Saturday’s race revealed several areas that still need work, but this may help to explain my performance a bit, too…