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  • Writer's pictureMark

Lost & Found - my mojo

Updated: Mar 9, 2019

It's the beginning of March and spring is officially here. The last few days have been a challenge and definitely not full of the joys of spring.

At the beginning of December I woke to find my right knee swollen. The inflammation meant I could not fully flex it, but there was no pain. I decided to go for my planned ride and if it hurt I'd return and rest. The ride went to plan.

Afterwards I iced it, took anti-inflammatory drugs and gently massaged the area. I booked an appointment with my physio, let my coach know and we re-planned activities for the next few days. My physio could not detect any ligament or cartilage damage and after acupuncture and ultrasound sent me on my way with instructions on getting the swelling down. A couple of further visits and two weeks later my knobbly knee was back!

My wife an I then went on holiday for four weeks. I managed a bit of swimming, a couple of bikes and some runs, but the knee was not happy. I saw a friend's physio in New Zealand and this assessment came to the same conclusion. So I decided to rest it for the rest of the holiday in the hope that it would be fine when we returned home.

I booked up to see my physio as soon as we returned, but the knee was feeling much better. I started swimming and cycling again, both easy endurance type activities to see how the knee reacted. We gradually introduced running and although sore, the knee settled after a few minutes. This continued through February with good progress being made. However the knee was still on my mind. It was 90% better but had stopped there. It was pain free to swim and cycle, running was almost pain free, but I could not fully flex my knee without pain.

So we decided to get an MRI and this brings us up to last Thursday. A private appointment meant only a week from enquiry to the scan and 24 hours after my physio had the results.

The scanned showed a tear in the medial meniscus and a flap. It's probably the flap that is causing the pain. When I heard the news it was upsetting. This was supposed to be my dream year wearing a GB tri-suit for the first time at both at the European and World Champs.

I'm now in the hands of the NHS and awaiting a call from my doctor. The next step is to see an orthopaedic surgeon to confirm the course of action required and what I can/should continue to do training wise. The Europeans in June are booked and I'm keeping my fingers crossed I can still get there and put up a good performance. The Worlds need paying for next week to secure entry and currently I have decided to withdraw. This is a hard decision and is based not only on the cost of entry and travel etc (that could be wasted), but also on the desire to get the knee sorted for the long term even if if means short term upset.

I've been keeping myself busy over the last few days, but the disappointment is huge. Friends, family and my coach have been really supportive. A running buddy had the injury years back and after a operation it's as good as new, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'll be back to normal for 2020.

Today's ride was an easy three hour, my coach said 'just do what you want and clear your head'. The knee felt fine. My brain did not. For the first 90mins I questioned everything, including how much I can sell my bikes for! Then the sun came out, the road was smooth and slightly down hill for a few kilometres and I realised I loved cycling and triathlon. This stupid knee is not going to stop me. I got rid of the final negative thoughts with a couple of hill efforts and arrived home positive.

Yes I still have the knee to sort, feeling sorry for myself is not going to help that. It's about making the most of what I can do at the moment, accepting this year's goals will change and start thinking about next year and beyond.

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