Thursday, October 25, 2012

Changing Course.....

Saturday's workout was a long, tough workout with a simple plan. 65-70 miles on bike, including 90 minutes at Zone 3 race simulation and 60-90 minutes of upper Zone 2 riding after that. Finally, the  workout would conclude with a 6 mile run, the first 3 miles in low Zone 3 before running the last 3 miles at a Zone 2 pace. As tough as this  workout sounds, I'd been looking forward to it. I've been feeling as strong as I ever have recently--and that really means something with my 47th birthday looming several weeks out, since I really mean I am feeling as strong as ever! This workout was going to be the cherry on top of this race cycle, one in which I was confident I would post a sub-5:30 half iron time in two more weeks. That race would be the crowning achievement on a race season whose success has taken my own breath away.

For the first two hours and twenty-seven minutes, I covered around 48-ish miles. I was either on-plan or exceeding my race plan in every way--and this was before my race taper. Then, in the span of an instant I can't remember, it all unraveled.  One moment I was passing a neighborhood park and preparing for a turn, the next thing I remember is being talked to from above and being strapped to a backboard for ambulance transport.......

The rest of that day was a whirlwind, and I can't recall every detail. Here is the very short version..... I had 5 broken ribs, a broken clavicle (4 breaks) that is now held together with a rod, and multiple scapula breaks. I also had a bruised lung and was originally being watched as a possible punctured lung. I was also suffering from a lot of road rash--bad abrasions from skin rubbing against the ground during the crash. This was worst on the shoulder, but also affected the side of my chest, thigh, knee, foot and hand. All of my injuries are on the right side of my body.  After the emergency room was done with me, I spent the next 4 days in the Intermediate Care Unit, which is a step down from the Intensive Care Unit. The biggest medical worry was the lung. Fortunately, it was not punctured and the bruise began to heal without blossoming into something worse. By Thursday I was able to be sent home so I could get going with my recovery.

The video below was taken right after being admitted so I could document my wounds.

video


At this point I am only going to consider my health recovery as my goal and it will dictate its own timeline. I have a long road ahead but have a good base of health as a solid foundation and starting point. While I was in the hospital, I heard a lot of "you"re so young", "you're so healthy", "anyone else would have taken a couple weeks to recover like you have in a few days" and similar comments. It makes me feel like I'm already winning and can make it back. Ironman Texas is 7 months away, but it is still a possible goal for me to do it next year.

As to the equipment damage, the bike took less apparent damage than I. The wheels still spin true and a cursory check did not show frame damage. The main damage was oddly located on the brakes and shifters--basically the part located most forward on the top side is scratched up bad, with the right brake control taking the worst of it. The helmet has two major impact marks on the outside. It also has several cracks that go completely through the padding, starting from near an ear and moving towards near center. I think it clearly shows my injuries could have been worse. Just looking at the helmet damage breaks me up. However, I am going to go forward from this point and regain what I have lost, and then go forward from there.  

2 comments:

K said...

Going forward is a great plan! I know that the road ahead will provide you with challenges that in the end will make you an even stronger athlete than you presently are!
Remember the words of St. Francis...
Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.

Amanda said...

Richard - I am so shocked to see this. I know I'm so far behind on things and I wish I would have been around to provide more support. You are so strong and have such a great attitude!