3.2.1 To Awaken From Dreams of Pedals, Prednisone and Pain

3.2.1 – To Awaken From Dreams Of Pedals, Prednisone and Pain

Read our 2013 Adventures
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dBurning pressure brought me out of a sound sleep on a Thursday morning. Thinking it seemed more painful than usual, I rolled onto my back, and waited for the pain to subside. The no-pain-no-gain mantra never appealed to me. Thirteen years of training taught me that training causes aches and pains. My 62 years taught me all pains are not the same.  I can work my way through some.  Others require that I stop.
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I had no inkling my life had changed.  I imagined I was about to move from Build 2 to Build 3, by adding more training weight to the bicycle, while recovering from several days of a mild illness.  Instead, I was about to step out into a Prednisone supported injury recovery.  I would experience changes to perception of physical effort, sleeping patterns, mood, and nervous energy.
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I endured a pain-filled weekend.  We canceled a training ride that would have proven we were ready to tour from Monterey to San Luis Obispo.  I iced my shoulder and popped Advil, waiting for the symptoms to abate.  The rotator cuff calmed down.  The shoulder blade continued to burn.  However much I told myself I was getting better, some sudden movement or stretch would throw that back in my face.
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aI finally acknowledged my predicament.  I called my Doctor.  He quickly diagnosed my ailment as a pinched nerve, not rotator cuff impingement.  He supported my wish for therapy.  He also prescribed Prednisone, a drug I was utterly unfamiliar with.  The tapered regime stepped down from 50 mg per day to 10 mg per day, over a 10 day period.  Because I was at no risk of tendon or ligament damage, he allowed me to workout and ride to the degree that I could endure the pain.
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So, for the next ten days, I used Prednisone as I completed Build Three.  I knew what changes to expect with the training routine.  I had no idea what Prednisone induced changes I would see.
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bAlmost immediately, I perceived physical effort differently.  Everything seemed harder.  Through training, I have tuned my mind to listen to my body and trust my eyes.  Now, my body consistently shouted out how hard everything was.  True , my heart rate was higher  But the short layoff, illness and increased weights could explain what I saw.  My caloric burn rate might have been slightly elevated, but there was nothing dramatic.
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Very soon, I began to sleep differently.  I went to bed later, slept poorly, and awoke sooner.  Once an eight hour a night guy, I slept now five or six hours, when I could.  Before, exercise helped me sleep like a rock.  That vanished.  Who knows how many hours I would have slept had I not exercised?  Maybe I would have slept the same because my body shrugged off the exercise.  Maybe the exercise helped me sleep, and I would have slept less without it.
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Then, my nervous energy climbed through the roof.  My body accumulation of serotonin changed.  Normally, with a heavy workout, I build up serotonin.  The happy cure for that is a nap.  But, for most of the 10 days, even the heaviest workouts left me wide awake.  My eyes, burning, screamed how tired I was.  My body and mind could not slow down.  Trying to put those hours to use, I wrote.  But my mind was sluggish, and the glib words and random thoughts I depend on, weren’t there.
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And, my mood shifted.  I became grim and automated, like a robot.  I was anxious, almost jangled.  My workouts were joyless and I felt driven and mechanical.  Elapsed time surprised me.  And my situation awareness dimmed.
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eI took my last Prednisone tablet today, I hope.  Now, I can continue the process of making my shoulder feel right, which it still lacks.  I will use therapy and posture to provide the long term fix.  I will be delighted to get back to the old-normal, to my original mental state, following familiar training techniques.  With good fortune, Marian and I will still ride, although we may miss Moab and Klamath Falls this year, and the Pacific Coast Highway seems like a real reach now.
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Of course, when I wake up tomorrow….
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Read about our 2013 Adventures
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2 Comments

Filed under Cycle Touring, Cycle Training, Travel

2 responses to “3.2.1 To Awaken From Dreams of Pedals, Prednisone and Pain

  1. Adventure is the way to go guys! Good luck with your recovery.

    • Thank you – My shoulder is coming back, and doesn’t bother me too much when I ride. It has all been very humbling, reminding me how fragile our dreams are, and that we need to walk through the door when it opens. Pat

Let us know what you thought, we'd love to know. Thanks - Pat and Marian

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