“How Much Biking is Too Much Biking?”

If you’ve been out of the loop, you probably don’t know that I had calf surgery 14 days ago to remove the plantaris muscle from my left calf. The official diagnosis was “Popliteal Artery Entrapment Syndrome.”  The muscle that got yanked out sits behind the knee, and whenever I flexed it would completely block blood flow to the lower leg. I have a picture of the muscle (fascinating and disgusting all at the same time) and it’s a hunk that’s about 3 cm by 3 cm in a teardrop shape, but not very thick.

My incision is healing well, the bruising is slowly dissipating, AND I’m still beaming over the fact that the doc said that my plantaris is the largest he’s removed. Yeehah! I’m proud of my massive legs, whereas I used to despise them when I was younger and they were only about half this size. Oh, if I only knew how big my legs could get …

Make your own race, make your own podium.

Pre-surgery I had been moping about, most likely due to a combination of seasonal affective disorder and a severe lack of endorphins due to no cycling. When that happens, I also tend to go off the deep end with calorie consumption as I find it soothing. Weight is up, fitness is down, I have a hole in my leg that’s healing, and I’m working through post-surgery swelling, stiffness, and pain.

All in all today the doctor was happy with how my leg looked and what I was describing for my recovery. He had to temporarily move a nerve to chop out the plantaris, so I will have weird nerve symptoms in my lower leg for a while as it recovers. I’m not new to nerve issues after having spinal fusion last year, but dammit I forgot how painful it can be — it really caught me off guard on Wednesday and the pain was so high I left work early.

I have some stupid, bad idea, super fun ultracycling rides peppered throughout the summer calendar and I’m very nervous about my ability to complete them. Heck, today I broke my post-surgery ride duration record by riding just over an hour. AN HOUR. This summer, I want to do at least two 24 hour rides — I’ve got a LONG way to go.

At the end of our appointment I tentatively asked the surgeon “How much biking is too much biking?” during this recovery period. He looked me straight in the eye and said “There is no such thing.” Music to my ears, so it’s time to get my shit in gear and start training. I have GOALS.

When I’m training for something “stupid”, the roles as depicted by this meme are reversed. 😉

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