The New Challenge

So, due to a fresh diagnosis of tendonitis in my left knee and the excruciating pain suffered by all after my last run and ride, I have made the tear-wrenching decision to not participate in my big tri of the season–the Olympic distance–in a few weeks. Spare me the “well, you can bear the pain, you’re just being a wimp” comments, please; I hear enough of that in my head. I essentially have two choices: work through the pain and do the tri, which would be painful and then require longer to heal and possibly put me at risk of a worse injury, or skip this tri, do some trainer-supervised rehab (or kneehab, as I like to call it), and do something else fun on September 12 to take my mind off the race.

My trainer is the best because she’s so supportive–her last email to me ended with this line: “Stay motivated! A minor speed bump in a lifetime of triathlons :)”

Of course, her definition of “rest” involves swimming five days a week, weight training without knee strain, and some yoga. I can handle that. Now, to get off my ass!

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in which I confess 5 medicine-cabinet items I could not exercise without

Doing the tri this weekend has really made me contemplate what I take with me to such events and what I love to return home to afterward. I was thinking about this more specifically because, as soon as I got to the tri, I stepped out of my car and into a fire ant mansion. I ended up with eight bites and the recurring shivers.

Obviously, when I got home, I thought about bringing bug repellent with me next time. Great idea, but it would wash right off once I got on the water and be no good to me in transition. I thought about Benedryl, but that would certainly be no good for its drowsy effect before a triathlon. On Saturday, I stuck it out, trying to ignore the burning and itching and stinging and shivers. This brings me to my first must-have item: hydrocortisone.

Item number two is also a topical skin cream, of sorts: it’s bacitracin. That’s the best for rub burns, chafing, cuts, and other unpleasant little skin issues.

Item number three is actually the most important item: ibuprofen. It’s an anti-inflammatory, so it soothes aching joints and relaxes the muscles that might be resting on nerves.

Number four is Flex-all, a minty-smelling cream that I rub on my knees. My doctor warned me it would make me smell like an old lady, but that’s okay; it works!

Last is vaseline. I never knew how useful vaseline could be until I used it before and after a long cycling adventure. It may not replace fancy body glide or chamois butter, but it’s certainly useful to have on hand.