Yes, I may be giving up. I appreciate all the continued visits here as I’ve let the site languish over the last year. I started this in late 2014 while recovering from hip labrum repair and FAI surgery not realizing that recovering from one thing or another was going to be pretty much a constant state for me for the next several years.
I competed in my first weightlifting meet in 2013 and got my first injury driving me to see an orthopaedist on December 24th of that same year. That first one was a minor quad tear that resolved with some PT and rest in early 2014. I went on to compete in another several meets that year until I began to fall apart again after the hip labrum tear in September. The labrum tear was ultimately operated on in December of 2014. After about 6 months I managed to get my strength back and begin competing and making PRs again. Then in December of 2015 I again had a minor tear, this time rotator cuff. After ignoring it and training around it for a couple of months, again went to ortho and got prescribed PT and a cortisone shot into the joint. I managed to keep going into early 2016 with some shoulder improvement and was able to return to heavy lifting.
Then in April of 2016, after a period of hard training, I went down with a bad case of pneumonia in both lungs. I had a hell of a time recovering from this and went down repeatedly with further upper respiratory infections (strep, bronchitis twice, sinus) up until a final 30 day dose of antibiotics at the end of the year got me back to normal. So nearly 8 months of very sporadic training as I recovered.
In 2017, I finally managed to get back to regular training and competed in a meet in February to get back on the horse so to speak. The following Monday I began a new training program focusing on fixing my jerk (which has always been my worse lift). Early in my first session of this new program, I managed to drop a 10kg plate on my ankle causing me to cuss loudly in the nearly empty gym. It left a deep painful bruise but I ignored it and kept training (and made progress) for several more weeks. About 2 months later I realized my ankle still hurt and seemed to be getting worse, especially with any extended walking, driving or squatting. I went to a nearby ankle specialist and was diagnosed tentatively with an ankle stress fracture and given a boot and instructions to stay off of it as much as possible. Four weeks of the boot, some custom shoe inserts and some PT and things just seemed to be getting worse. Went back to my ortho for yet another MRI and found out the stress fracture diagnosis was wrong. Instead I had a partially torn posterior tibial tendon with a recommendation for surgery to repair (as I’d already not been helped by immobilization, rest and PT).
I am now nearly 3 weeks post surgery. My stitches came out last week so I got to see the 7 inch scar on my foot and up my calf. It was truly horrifying. I have pictures but I won’t inflict them on you. You really don’t want to see it. My surgeon said my tendon was in even worse shape than he thought with a long ragged longitudinal tear from the insertion point to around my medial malleolus (ie the knobby inside ankle bone that I dropped the plate on 7 months ago) in addition to tons of scar tissue. He scraped the tendon clean of scar tissue, stitched up the tears and transferred a tendon that normally helps one flex their toes over to support the PT tendon (and anchored it in bone). I have another 3 weeks of no weight bearing in a partial cast, so crutches or knee scooter to get around and no driving. After that I will have another few weeks in a boot and will be in PT once again. The far worse news is that the recovery from this surgery will go on for months more after I am able to walk freely again. I’m likely to be limping for 3-4 months and will not be able to go on any extended hikes until the 6 month mark. It’ll be 9-12 months before I will be able to support any heavy barbells on my shoulders or overhead again.
So in five years of weightlifting, I’ve had two surgeries to repair tears, two other minor tears that didn’t require surgery and a nearly 8 month period of my immune system letting me down and hitting me with repeated serious infections. Are all of these attributable to weightlifting? Probably, in one way or another that’s a yes. I can’t really deny that my body does not seem to handle the stress of training well. Hard training inevitably seems to lead me to injury and illness (I rarely got sick prior). Probably this is due to genetic factors (genotyping I’ve done seems to indicate susceptibility to inflammation and injury) in addition to 44 years of relative inactivity before I threw myself into weightlifting.
So am I giving up? Maybe. I know my wife and daughter would murder me if I went back to training next year and end up getting injured again. I’m hopeful there are some modifications to my training approach that can help prevent that. I believe that I will continue lifting, but really not sure that I will continue training seriously for Olympic weightlifting meets or even do another clean & jerk. I’d much rather spend a year uninjured and not sick at this point.
I suspect I will focus on losing fat and regaining function for much of the next year and not worry about making PRs. Losing fat because I gained weight (to go up a weight class) in 2015 have not been able to shed it again. This most likely did not help my ankle when it started going down hill. Maybe after I’m back and more healthy I will resume training snatches and clean & jerks but I really don’t know. If I do, it will likely just be one or two days a week and light.
I will periodically update this site as I progress through my latest recovery and I will keep up the twitter feed covering masters news but will kill the Fb page. I’m likely to continue to stay away from more interviews and general weightlifting posts for now. I honestly have a hard time posting on weightlifting when unable to do it – selfish I know but it feels a bit like torture to think about weightlifting when I am so far from being able to do it again (if ever).