Saturday, September 21, 2013

Horse is Fine, Rider is Not Quite

Saturday September 21 2013

I asked my surgeon the most important question ever: "So, how soon afterward the surgery can I RIDE?"

"Two weeks," he said. "Don't do anything strenuous before that."

So I started riding again, 2 weeks and 1 day afterwards. Short rides - 6-8 miles a day. The first day back was a little sketchy… I felt a little faint at times (although I blamed that on the heat, which is usually totally legit), and I had to take a long nap afterwards. I rode a little bit every day for a week; and then we came to City of Rocks to start setting up for the AERC National Championship 50 and 100 mile rides - setting up camp, marking trail on foot and horseback. Nothing longer than a 12 mile ride, or 10 mile hike (downhill), but it all felt good. I wasn't up for running a marathon, but I was ready to ride more.

And then I rode the AERCNC 50 miler on Bodie.

Or, well, part of it.

The first 17 miles to the first vet check was great. It was a cool morning, and Bodie and I had a great time, trotting over the Boise-Kelton Stage route and Salt Lake Cut-Off through Emigrant Canyon, and over the California Trail through the valley of City of Rocks National Reserve, and on to the vet check at Elephant Rock.

And then I sat down while Bruce and Nance crewed my horse. 

And then it hit me. I was tired.

The longer I sat, the more tired I got. "How far is it to the next vet check?" 23 miles? 23 slower miles, a lot of climbing? 

And then I was exhausted.

A heart doctor/runner/endurance rider did a study where he found that riding a 50 mile endurance ride is the equivalent stress on your heart as running a marathon. I wasn't up for a marathon.

I'm an endurance rider. I've been tired, sore, scared and hurting while riding, but I've never quit an endurance ride, unless it was for the horse. I quit this one. Gave myself a metabolic pull. I had overestimated my super hero powers - I wasn't up to doing a marathon yet. (Besides, if I'd fallen off my horse out on that 23 mile loop, I wouldn't have been doing him any favors.)

I felt bad about wimping out, but when I revealed to Dr Mike the vet about my recent surgery, and said "But the surgeon cleared me to ride after 2 weeks!", he said "But did you tell him what kind of riding you do?"

Dr Matt the vet said, "This isn't your average trail riding…"

Oh, yea. If you ride endurance you don't really think about it, but 50 miles is a whole 'nother ball game compared to short trail rides.

That made the quitting a little easier to stomach, although it's disappointing to discover I'm not as immortal as I thought I was. (I mean - a little surgery - come on!)

Well, anyway, it was a nice training ride for both of us. The horse is fine. The trail kicked the rider's butt. I just need a little more time before I'm up to doing a marathon.


  1. You were smart not to push it. It wasn't wimping out it was good old fashioned common sense. Take it slower until you feel better, please.

  2. Merri, Honey, patience! You need to baby yourself a bit after any kind of surgery. Half an hour on a horse is fine, but my lord, woman! Uh, you should have known better!

  3. Uhm, wait a minute. Did I miss the surgery post? What's up?

    Anyhow, I was pretty good about following doctor's orders after my surgery, but even then, it was a bit challenging to start riding again. And "tired" is pretty common, from what I understand. Anesthesia takes more out of you than you realize.

    Glad you had the good sense to stop before something happened to you.

  4. Yes, the main thing is, both you and the horse are fine. I'll bet your doc had no idea he was clearing you for 50 mile rides!

  5. O.M.G.......where was Adam??????? Where was Little Joe for my 100 mile ride???????????????? We suck. You suck. I suck. I may have a little cry for you while I still cry. I was shocked I couldn't do it, even if my mare could (but really she was pulled). I felt like a big baby. You are as crazy as I am, but maybe a little more crazy........I didn't know you were going to ride.......

  6. Oh and only really don't suck..............but where were our boys?????????????????????????????????? They would have said "NO"!!! And we'd crew instead........

  7. Hahahahaha two weeks and one day hahahahah I love it. RO pulls are good for the soul, or that's what I keep telling myself this year...

  8. love that first shot. like you said, being cleared for running after surgery is not like being cleared to do a marathon soon after. eek!

  9. So... What surgery? An inquiring mind wants to know? But LOVE that you at least gave it a shot!