At last, the day that felt like it would never come. 4 weeks and a day since my accident and I am allowed to start light cardio exercise again. Not allowed to touch a weight bar or even do a single pull or pushup for at leat another 2 weeks, but at least I can get back out and run.
I still have pain down the right side of my chest, but it is nowhere near how it was even a week ago. For the frst three weeks it did not seem to be getting better at all: it was horrificallly painful to move, lie down, sleep, do anything, let alone sneeze. cough or laugh. In order to be semi capable of functioning I was so zonked out on codeine all day every day, the functioning i could manage amount to a zombie like catatonia. Then all of a sudden, 3 weeks to the day, it suddenly got a lot better. I understand form the Dr that all the time the bone is trying to bridge the gap to the broken part, it is still 'floating' and this is what makes it so painful. Then one day the 'bridge' is strong enough to support the rib and, hurrah, the pain stops. Or considerably reduces.
So, how much has 4 weeks of barely moving at all and taking only shallow breaths affected my performance?
Quite a lot, as it turns out. I chose a millpond flat route for my first outing, and just went for a gentle 5k to start off with. It was horrible. Legs were fine, heart was fine, lungs felt like I was climbing Everest without oxygen carrying a yak after smoking a carton of filterless Marlboro reds. My ribs didn't trouble me at all really, it's just that I have become so used to shallow breathingI really had to struggle to get air in, even running a full minute/km slower than by usual 'easy' pace.
Once I was warmed up, I did 6 sets of 5 minute intervals (2 minute very slow jog, 2 minute race tempo, 1 minute flat out). I was still running considerably slower than I would normally, but wanted to push my breathing as much as possible to open my lungs up. I covered another 7k but by the end passersby were giving me rather nervous looks. i suspect my head must have looked like a beetroot about to explode. I collapsed into my car and it took me nearly three minutes to get the top off my water bottle. But it felt great to be back. And 12k in 1' 11" is a better starting point than I had hoped for tbh.
3 hours later now, and I feel actually pretty good. My legs are a little stiff, obviously, but my chest and breathing feels way better than whe I woke up this morning. In my injury layoff I had been getting quite despondent - I only have 8 weeks till the biggest OCR I have yet attempted (25+ km, 35+ obstacles) and only 11 weeks till my marathon, and I basically have to start my training from now. It is still not clear how long before I can do any upper body strebgth training so I have no idea how that will play out with the OCR. But it feels so good to actually be able to run again. it was hellish but that will get better. All my training plans have gone out of the window, but what the hell? No plan ever survives contact with the enemy anyway. All that matters is that I can run again. Sing Hallelujah and pass the foam roller!