For the first time in a while, it’s a Saturday in Bremerton, it’s gray and chilly out and I’m not working in the yard. Or even putzing around the house doing projects. And it’s sort of a relief.

Instead, I have a heat pack wrapped around my right knee. The one that has a repaired ACL that is 17 years old. When it’s healthy, it’s strong and doesn’t give me any problems.

However, when it gets banged up a little, it tends to talk. This time, it’s talking loud.

I was riding my bike in Seattle Wednesday night. Upon riding the ramp to the Ballard Bridge, my front tire hit a deep groove and I went ass-over-tea-kettle onto the curb (thank god the curb and not the middle of the street).  Helmet, right shoulder, right knee and bike all hit and then skidded along the curb. YEEOUCH.

I haven’t had road rash this bad since I was 7, when my little leg slipped through one of the big holes in a sewer grate at Beechmont Mall. Both incidents have resulted in a nice sore 10″ long crimson streak on the right leg, plus I have a nice patch of scab on the right shoulder this time.

Bonus though: Aaron coached me back up on to my bike and said to ride it out while I still had the adrenaline (also meaning, “get your ass off the road before we get hit by a car”). Candace then patched me up in the middle of her housewarming party. Bike guys at the party complimented me on my bike shoes. A couple beers later, I was feeling pretty good. Just a little banged up. I’ll recover quick.

However, reality has been setting in the past few days, as I have my first 1/2 marathon race in two weeks. I took Thursday off to rest my wounds. But the knee started to swell. Iced it Thursday night and it looked better Friday morning. But then again, swelled by Friday afternoon and started to feel a lot like it did post-ACL surgery 17 years ago. Crap. I figured part of it was from sitting all day and, in hindsight, not icing/heating/gently moving as much as I probably should have.

It was feeling a little stiff, so I decided to ride it out in a spin class at the Y. I worked at about a 10 percent effort for 40 minutes, not even breaking a sweat. I just gently rode, stood up, sat down, kept it moving. That, too, probably wasn’t the best idea. Probably should have stopped at 20 minutes. Still felt stiff the rest of the night. While Arnica took the edge off the overall soreness, Tiger Balm didn’t do a damn thing.

So finally, today… a real ice pack wrap, then a real heat pack wrap and it feels so much better. A little massage here and there. I can bend it fine (I always have been able to bend it without a problem since Wednesday). Can even do a quad stretch without problems. Honestly, the worst part is just the teeny tiny little half-inch by half-inch area on my knee, where the scabbing is the worse and where it probably slammed the curb the hardest. More like a knot than anything. Sore as hell, but … it could be worse.

Oh and the scab on my shoulder, that hurts to touch but nothing more than that. For being my bad shoulder, it’s feeling pretty good overall.

So… running. What the hell do I do?

I had to skip my five mile run Thursday and will most likely skip tomorrow’s weekly long run (nine miles). I think I’m just going to stick with swimming (maybe even try that deep water training I’ve been hearing about – use run form, but no impact on the joints). I’ll hold off until Tues or Wed for a run and go from there.

Laying all this out in words is making me feel better too. I feel like I’ve been slacking a little on the training lately but I’ve followed every day of training that is on my schedule (until Thursday). Some runs have been great, some have been boring, some have been inspiring, some have been a little hard on the knees. But I think since I’ve been doing this routine since early July, two weekday runs and one weekend run, with a twice-a-week swim/hike/yoga/bike session thrown in, by this point, it all now just feels like a normal part of my schedule. So it’s felt pretty weird the past few days not getting in a run.

But, now I’ll get some of those Internet/computer chores done and make some Herb de Provence from the massive amounts of sage, oregano, thyme, lavender and rosemary that are spread out all over my tables and kitchen counters. Roast four pounds of tomatoes and make some tomatillo salsa. Finish that laundry. Research grants for OMR. And congratulate myself on my hard work of resting with a glass of wine this evening.

Sounds like a good training plan to me.

The irony? Wednesday night’s bike ride was my cross-training workout.