Guest Contributor Katie Isermann wrote this article about her struggles with mid-season injury.
I was super psyched for cyclocross season to start this year! I was coming off my best road season yet and couldn’t wait to see what I could do in cross. The season started off well, placing 9th in a tough field of almost 30 at Jackson Park. I then headed up to WI to race the USGP races and on Sunday I finished 2nd in the mud and pouring rain! I got to share the podium with fellow Chicagoans Becky Welbes and Ellie Blick, 1st and 3rd places, respectively. Then up next was Hopkins Park which is always a tough race for me since it’s my birthday weekend; being hung-over, I had an alright race. I had also raced in WI the day before and finished 2nd in a cat 3 field of 15 women! The following weekend I went to WI for yet another cat 3 race and finished out the podium in 3rd. I had raced Saturday and Sunday 3 weekends in a row and was about to race 3 days in a row the next weekend. I thought this would be good practice for Jingle Cross — a 3 day race series in Iowa — one of my favorite race weekends of the whole season.
On the following Wednesday, I was headed to cross practice and had a silly accident that should have been avoided, but that’s why they are called accidents, right? I was almost to practice in Humboldt Park and I was going around some little kids that were running all over the side walk. Tires pumped up for riding on the road, I was going fast since I was a few minutes late to practice that now started at 5:30 due to the lack of sunlight. As I went to get back on the side walk I just hit the lip of it at the wrong angle and at such a fast pace I had no chance to try and keep my bike up right. I went down hard. I laid there for a few minutes thinking I would get up and still be able to go to practice. Eventually I realized I should just go home, I had a big weekend ahead of me. I called Becky since she lived a few blocks away. She had been working late and said she would be right there. She showed up with her boss (who had a car). When I couldn’t put weight on my foot without severe pain in my hip, they helped me decide that it might be best if I go to the ER. Sitting there I was more upset about not being able to race my bike than I was about being in pain. The doctor at the ER told me it wasn’t broken, I just needed time to rest. I missed work the next two days and spent the weekend not moving much, besides from the bed to the couch. For anyone that knows me, they know how hard this was for me. I am a very active person and this was killing me inside.
When I returned to work on Monday (on crutches), it was the first day my hip felt a tiny bit better. Although, I still thought it best to see a Sports Medicine Doctor so I could get better as quickly as possible. There was still a lot of racing left; I knew my season wasn’t over yet. I saw the doctor the following Friday in hopes of hearing good news — hoping to get off crutches. My doctor was surprised at how tender it was still, and thought it might be a bone bruise or a small fracture that didn’t show up on the x-ray. She suggested I get an MRI if it was still significantly painful on the following Monday. It did start feeling a little better, but I thought it would be better find out what this is so I’d know how long it would be until I cold get back to life as usual.
The next week, I had the MRI on Tuesday but had to wait until Friday to get the results from the doctor. Patience is not one of my strong suits, but if I learned anything from this accident it was patience. I came home with good news this time! Just a deep tissue contusion. And the doctor just said to take it easy and I could swim/bike/run as long as there wasn’t much pain. It was up to me how much I could workout. The moment I was told this I knew I would be back racing before the season was over! My main goal is to be back by Jingle Cross, if not before. Jingle Cross is just over 6 weeks from the day of the crash.
The next weekend I finally made it out to a cross race, just to watch. It was Halloween weekend so most people were in costume. Sad to be missing the race, I decided to dress as a black cat to feel a little better. It’s not as much fun as racing, but I had a great time cheering and heckling. The following week I got in the pool twice and on my bike 3 times before heading out (in my mind) to possibly race at Woodstock. I had just got my cross bike back on Saturday but it felt so good to be back on it. Sunday when I got to the race I decided I pre-ride a lap or 2 and then decide if I was going to race. When the hip started hurting before the first lap was over, I decided it wasn’t a good idea to race since my 45 min race would most likely be at least 6 laps. It was a tough decision, but I think it was the right decision. I did a few more laps in between races and my hip felt a little sore but okay. I also was on my bike cheering in the W123 and W4 races. It was much more fun cheering then it was the previous week, since I could move about the course to cheer. I was still sad to not be racing. Since I have been able to get on the bike and it’s been 4 weeks since the crash, I am planning on racing at least one day at Indian Lakes, and possibly 2 if the hip feels okay. I know I won’t be fast but I will just be happy to be back out there!