As some of you know I had not raced since Challenge Bahrain in December 2014, because of a knee injury. For ten years I was illness and almost injury free (except of one metatarsal stress fracture in 2009), but this injury I caused myself was the most serious so far. Now, I take it as a good experience, but I payed for this one a lot… I feel like I could help someone with sharing this story. So here it is.
It started like all injuries, just a little pain in my right knee. I thought I just needed to do more quad stretching and it would go away soon. If not, I was not really worried as I knew I had just two more races to go and then the off season, where I would have plenty of time to recover properly.
I raced Challenge Phuket, my favourite race as this one is usually the last of the season… My knee was hurting a bit more after flying to the race from Australia. It was a bit swollen, so I was icing it after run training. The knee was only hurting when running slow, so I knew, it would be good for the race :-)
Of course I raced and the knee felt good. I made sure to ice the knee and I had massages after the race to loosen up the tight quads. All signs showed that I would be able to race in Bahrain.
Then I was travelling to my last race, Challenge Bahrain. I couldn't wait to race this one as the whole triathlon world would be watching because of the large prize purse and the level of athletes that would be racing!
I arrived and after the long flight my knee was like a ball. I couldn't bend it, maximum maybe 30%…
I tried a physiotherapist and massage… The knee was so bad that I could feel it on the bike and also when swimming, which haddened happened since then…
Then somebody made a suggestion - the last option to try and quickly fix the knee in order to race - drain the fluid from the knee and a cortisone injection? Ok I thought, lets try it. I asked some other friends and athletes and all sounded pretty positive…
I went to the Bahrain military hospital. The doctor drained so much fluid from my knee, I started to feel sick, just watching it… Then he assured me, that cortisone injection can not do anything bad to the knee, so I felt pretty good about my decision.
After the injection and drainage, I felt good and decided to race. During the race I couldn't stop thinking about the knee and my performance was really bad. I decided to quit the race after the bike leg, as I decided not to risk destroying the knee.
This brought me into the off season. I had a complete rest, no running, no biking, no major work for a few days. The knee responded well, but then it started to get swell up again. I should have gotten an MRI scan straight away but I wasn't thinking straight. This brought me until February… The whole time I was not running, just swimming and riding (lightly). The scan showed I had my cartilage underneath the patella almost completely destroyed (apparently from the cortisone injection).
Immediately I booked my flight from Australia to Czech Republic and went for arthroscopy surgery. The procedure went well, but I struggled with the recovery and being patient. But I learned from my mistake and wouldn't let it happen again. Sticksy (Brad Kahlefeldt) and my family were very helpful and supportive at that time. I did a lot of swimming, then added in some biking with just easy gearing and then later proper riding. Then I prepared my muscles for running using elliptical in the gym. Now, I am almost two months back running and starting to feel strong again.
This was really a big experience and a long story so hopefully someone can learn from it. Listen to your body and don't try to push an injury without getting it looked at properly.
Sorry for the lack of images but as you can see from my facebook fan page: www.facebook.com/RadkaRacing and my instagram @radkavodickova1 and Twitter @radkavodickova I kept this info very private until I knew I was in the clear.
Thanks for reading and come back for more frequent posts now that I am racing again.