When I was one month pregnant with my third child, I injured my knee playing volleyball. At an exam with the orthopedic surgeon within a few days after my injury, I was told I had likely torn my ACL and meniscus. It was painful, and I was extremely disappointed to know that I would have to suffer the pain for the next eight months during my pregnancy. I walked with a limp, or on crutches for the longest time, and I continued to tear the meniscus each time I knelt on the floor (and came to a stand). It was a long period of time when I felt frustrated and overwhelmed, but I knew that for the safety of my baby, surgery wasn’t an option until after he was born.
Two weeks after delivery, an MRI confirmed my injury. Four weeks after the birth of my child, I had knee surgery. The surgery went well, but within a few days I started having complications. Whenever I tried to flex my calf, I had a sharp pain. I quickly found out that the pain might be the result of a blood clot. I returned to my surgeon and an ultrasound confirmed that I had a blood clot in my calf. I knew going into the appointment that a blood clot was there, but it was really difficult to receive that confirmation. I had a hard time falling asleep at night, not knowing if I would wake up. I was scared to leave my husband with three children to raise on his own. I was afraid to leave a newborn baby that depended on his mother for milk and sustenance. It was a scary time, but thankfully this complication was just a speed bump in my recovery and ended up only being a minor setback (it is easy for me to say this now, in hindsight, but in reality having a blood clot was one of the scariest things I have experienced in my existence so far).
I had physical therapy three times a week for many weeks. I went through a lot of grueling pain just to get full mobility back into my leg. Since I walked with a limp for so long, I had other complications such as pinched nerves, etc…One time I thought my blood clot was moving and I was going to die, but it turned out that I was experiencing symptoms of a pinched nerve in my thoracic unit. Doing some muscle gliding and having a few adjustments with my chiropractor and I started to feel like a new woman.
Fast forward three months after my surgery when I became brave enough to take my road bike out for a spin for the first time. I had purchased my new Cannondale road bike while I was eight months pregnant. I was counting down the days when I would be able to get on it and ride. I wanted to ride for my recovery from surgery, both physically and emotionally. I had been on a difficult journey, and I knew the solitude of riding would bring me a lot of happiness.
That first ride, I think I went about nine miles. For some reason, I chose a pretty difficult route that involved three little climbs. Don’t ask me why I didn’t go for a short ride that was mainly flat. I think I had something to prove. I don’t know. All I know is that I accomplished that ride and it felt so good, and I couldn’t wait to get on my bike and put more miles behind me.
Over the following six months, I put 750 miles on my road bike. I also set a goal to accomplish a century (a 100 mile road ride). I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it my first year of riding, but I made the goal.
The good news is that I am about to accomplish my goal of riding in a century. I have registered for the Little Red Riding Hood century, and I ride it in less than two weeks! I picked up riding again this March, and I have rolled over 400 miles already in anticipation and training for my first century. I am so excited! I feel like I have accomplished so much within the last 18 months. I have gone from a very dark and low place in my life, to a place where I feel like I am strong and able to accomplish anything!
And while I am pedaling my bike during my 8+ hour ride, I will remember with each stroke all that I am truly grateful for: my life, my health, my family, my strength, my faith, and my hope.
(Note: If any of my readers or past clients would like to sponsor me on my journey of my first road bike century, I welcome any donations for this cause. You can use the little tip jar in the bottom left-hand corner of this page. If a donation is made, I will pedal some miles with you in my thoughts! Any and all encouragement is welcomed!)