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  1. #1
    Peaknik some_guy282's Avatar
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    Looking for advice on the road to recovery and towards my first Century...

    This post is probably going to be long but I'll try to be as brief as possible. Thanks in advance to everyone who contributes to this thread, and tries to help me get over a nagging injury so I can successfully complete my first century.

    Three years ago I got a bike and started commuting to school. Between my commute and misc riding I was doing about 50 miles a week. A year later I got a weekend job with a 30 mile round trip commuting, bringing my total weekly average to 80 miles. Although I've always wanted to do more leisurely organized rides, I've never quite been able to find the time as I work on the weekends. However, it was on just such a ride that I injured myself almost two years ago.

    It was the NYC Century ride in September 2005. I still had to work that day, but my shift didn't start until 4PM that day. The 55 mile route was the one I was doing. I figured with the time the ride started (7AM) and me keeping an average speed of 15mph (which I do on my commutes) that I would have plenty of time to do the ride, go home and shower, and then go to work. How wrong I was. There are a lot of details that I'd rather not bore you all with but would be happy to provide if requested. Long story short there were delays in the ride, I got tired long before I thought I would and pushed myself hard to try and finish quickly and get to work on time. I was an hour late, and apparently injured my groin muscle in the process. A nagging seeming to come from my right testicle bugged me from November to early December. I layed off the bike until early February. By then it had completely gone away. Half way into my first commute to work, the pain came back worse than it had the first time. Some of the worst pain I've felt in my life.

    This whole thing has been complicated by the fact that I was (and still am) uninsured. With the help of a doctor who is gracious enough to volunteer his time at my school however, we eventually determined that it was a simple muscle problem (things like a hernia or testicle problem were initially suspected). From February - late May I was off the bike completely waiting for the pain to go away. It went down a bit but never completely went away. The doctor then suggested I ease back into riding slowly. After a week of riding to school and taking it easy the pain in my upper thigh went away, but I was still feeling some pain in my lower abdomen that was separate and distinct. He suggested I start doing abdominal exercises, which I did. Using a borrowed Ab Slide (as seen on TV!) the abdominal pain also completely went away. I started doing my riding again regularly (80 miles a week) and continued since, even through the winter. I forgot about it.

    Then, in late February of this year the pain magically came back. When I was sitting down at work doing nothing no less... I had been holding a bowel movement for a bit, which is the only precipitating thing I can think of that caused it. Although not nearly as bad as last year, it's nagging at me and hasn't gone away. There are once again two separate and distinct areas of pain: my lower abdomen and my upper right thigh (specifically the crease where the thigh meets my right butt cheek). The ab pain has been with me all the time, but the leg pain would only start halfway into my school commute. I've tried the same things I did last year: staying off the bike for a week, ab exercises. It hasn't helped. I went back to the same doctor at school. He recommend staying off the bike for a longer period of time (I'm going on three weeks now), and ab exercises as last time, but also that I should incorporate stretching into my bike routine from now on to prevent injury. He also thinks I would really benefit from physical therapy, but as I'm still uninsured that's not really an option. However, I will be working come this September and I'll be fully insured. Before this whole mess started again I was hoping to do the entire 100 miles at the Century this year. I asked him if that would be possible and he said he thinks it certainly will be...


    So that's pretty much where I stand now. I'm going on week three off the bike. Mostly I don't feel the pain in my leg, but if I sit down Indian style, bring my right knee close to my chest or anything similar, I'll feel the pain in my leg. The ab pain is basically with me all the time, despite my working out at increasing amounts daily with the Ab Slide (which fixed it last year). I feel like I'm at the point of diminishing returns with the Ab Slide because it takes forever before my ab muscles start to get the least bit sore, and long before then my arms are hurting me.

    I'd like to do the NYC Century ride this September - the full hundred miles. Between now and then I need to get through this injury and train enough to be in the right shape to do the ride and not get injured. So far I've been looking at the excellent site How to Stretch, and I've also purchased the Yoga for Cyclists DVD. I plan to make stretching part of my post cycling routine, and a necessary step at the first rest stop on longer rides. The doctor warned me against stretching cold muscles.

    There's another complication though. From mid June through early August my days will be totally occupied from 8AM - 6:30PM with job training and grad school. That's a lot of time I wont be able to train. I didn't mention that to the Doc when I saw him last because I didn't known then what my schedule would be like. I will when I see him again soon though. Now, on to the questions....


    Given my nagging injury and the limited time I'll have to train during the week for much of the Summer, is it realistic for me to aim for the 100 mile route? Or should I be more cautious and go for the 75, or even just the 55?

    Given the limited time I'll have during the week until early August, what kind of routine should I be doing to prepare myself? I

    Are there any other ab exercise machines any of you could recommend for me to use at home?

    For that matter, WTF is the name of the ab muscle that is used when biking?

    Any and all comments/help really appreciated.

  2. #2
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    I think you should go find another doctor to do an examination and figure out what is wrong. A pulled muscle doesn't last a year and a half. Maybe you have a hernia after all.

  3. #3
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Wow. I'm agreeing with supcom. Although in college I pulled a groin something or other, more in the hip flexor area, that took two years to heal. It may not have helped that my XC ski coach told me to just run through the pain. The leg thing sounds like it might be something like that - a pulled tendon or some such, but the stomach thing is definitely not normal.

    I'd say - don't think about training goals until you get this sorted out. You may be only making it worse.

    The most important thing you can do is to lobby your senator and congresscritter to pass single payer national health insurance.

  4. #4
    Peaknik some_guy282's Avatar
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    Well, he's examined me quite a bit for a hernia (as well as someone else at the school) and he can't find any hernia at all. And after following his advice a year ago it really did go away completely. I don't think I'd be feeling it in my abdomen as high up as it is if was a hernia either: it's practically under my rib.

    I definitely will be seeing another doctor about this when I finally have health insurance, but that wont be until September...

  5. #5
    Peaknik some_guy282's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
    Wow. I'm agreeing with supcom. Although in college I pulled a groin something or other, more in the hip flexor area, that took two years to heal. It may not have helped that my XC ski coach told me to just run through the pain.

    Yeah, I pretty much did that to myself when I continued riding after the initial injury in September 05.

  6. #6
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Where exactly is the pain?

    You've mentioned groin (upper thigh in the front), upper right thigh (specifically the crease where the thigh meets my right butt cheek) ... so I'm guessing that's the back of the thigh, lower abdomen, and upper abdomen (practically under the rib).

    I may be missing it, but you also don't mention which side, and the side these pains are on could be very significant.


    Also, have you had an ultrasound? If not, why not?

  7. #7
    Peaknik some_guy282's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    Where exactly is the pain?

    You've mentioned groin (upper thigh in the front), upper right thigh (specifically the crease where the thigh meets my right butt cheek) ... so I'm guessing that's the back of the thigh, lower abdomen, and upper abdomen (practically under the rib).

    I may be missing it, but you also don't mention which side, and the side these pains are on could be very significant.


    Also, have you had an ultrasound? If not, why not?
    That's one of the weird things about the whole thing: the pain is all over the place. Last year especially it was moving all over, which made it difficult to pinpoint what it was. Initially I was certain it was one of my testicles but in the end that was way off.

    Ok, I'll try to be as specific as possible here.

    Right now I can feel the pain in two separate areas and that are totally distinct from each other. Both are on the right side of my body (as it always has been since last year, I should have mentioned that in the original post).

    The pain in my leg is located in the crease of my thigh, right where my thigh meets the rest of my body. I said butt cheek before but really I guess it is the whole area where my thigh is attached. Not the outer thigh. The inner right thigh at the very top. If I sit down Indian style, pull my right leg up so my knee is close to my chest, or sit down and balance my right foot on my left knee (thus twisting my right leg) then I will begin feeling the pain in my leg. Even after I put my leg back I will continue to feel the pain for some time. In this way I feel the leg pain for most of the day. Also, (not so) extended periods of walking will initiate the pain in my leg as well. For instance, when I stopped biking and started taking the train to school, the ten minute walk from the subway to my school building would leave my leg feeling sore as well. That was in the days immediately after I stopped biking though. That walk alone is no longer enough to leave my leg feeling sore, but by the time I get home later in the day it's feeling sore from all the walking I've done throughout the day. Oh yeah, and the pain radiates outward. So I can feel it around the entire upper thigh area, but I can distinctly tell it's originating in the crease.

    The abdominal pain is located just under my lower most right rib. By contrast, it I can feel it 24/7 which is just as it was last year, only last year it hurt more and went away completely only a few short days after I started doing ab exercises. It varies in intensity very slightly, and the only thing I can do to make it feel any worse is slouching when I'm sitting down. Neither the leg pain or ab pain gets higher than a 3 on a scale of 1 - 10. Usually only a one and a half or a two.

    And no, I haven't had an ultrasound done. I'm uninsured and have been throughout this whole thing which has really complicated things. I'm a college student who only works part time. In September I'll start working (teaching) and I'll be fully insured. Even if I'm fully recovered by then I completely intend to go see another doctor about this and have tests done to see if there is anything still wrong.

    Rereading this post it looks like I'm straying dangerously close to the seeking medical advice on an internet forum territory. That wasn't my intention with this thread. Although I don't know exactly what is going on here, I'm confident that it's muscular in nature, and that it will be resolved (hopefully permanently this time) the same way it was last year: by taking time off the bike and easing back into riding (with ab exercises for the ab pain).

    Last year I had to spend a considerable amount of time off the bike, but it's not as bad now so I'm working under the assumption it wont take as long this time. If I do have spend another two or even three months off the bike from now, then I guess I'm screwed and there's no way I could prepare for the century.

    I know the following is an over simplification but I tend to be so long winded and I'd like to just get to the point. Assuming perfect health and my riding history (80 miles a week), what is the bare minimum amount of time and miles per week I would need to make sure I complete the century in September? Time isn't an issue on completing it. I don't care if it takes me 12 hours, just so long as I finish.

    Yes, I know perfect health isn't something we should be assuming because I'm not in it. I'd just like to try and get an idea of what would be necessary now so I don't get my hopes up on being able to do it only to have them dashed later. Right now I'm assuming that I'll be on the bike again and fully in the swing of things by the end of June at the latest. The real complication for me in all this is the fact that so many hours out of my day will be eaten up by school and job training during the summer.

    And it goes without saying, but I should say it anyway. If at any point in either my training or the century itself I feel the pain coming back in the least, I will stop immediately and take another month off from riding at least to be sure.

  8. #8
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Get the ultrasound (even little things like ultrasounds aren't free in the US?? )

    I'm not thinking pulled muscle or hernia ... I'm thinking appendix, gall bladder, liver, bowel ... things like that. And yes, I happen to know from experience that a person can experience appendix pain can last for a year or more. It's called chronic appendicitis. But it needs an ultrasound, and if they can't see anything with that, then you need to go for a laperoscopy. You can also have gall bladder attacks for a long time ... they usually come and go depending on what you eat.

    You're a college student ... didn't you get health insurance through your college when you paid your tuition? I'm a student too, and I'm covered for a whole pile of things all for the $125 insurance fee.

  9. #9
    Peaknik some_guy282's Avatar
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    Healthcare in the US sucks I'm afraid.

    Health insurance is offered through my school, at "low cost" and it's anything but. I looked into it a year ago. No student who is either unemployed or working part time (as I am) could afford it. And if a student were working full time with obligations (like rent, food, etc) they couldn't afford it either. Even the people at the health center of my school say it's terrible. I make too much to qualify for Medicaid (federal health care program available only to the dirt poor). There is a state run insurance program for the poor, and I make too much even for that at my part time job.

    So my only options are to quit my job so I could qualify for free insurance, continue to work part time and spend virtually every penny I make on the "low cost" insurance, or go to the doctor with no insurance at all and leave up to my eyeballs in debt.



    *sigh*

    Maybe I really should just quit my job. The program I'm in for teacher training gives me a non taxable stipend for the summer that's almost as much as what I make working...

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