Warning: This is a very, very long post. You might want to make sure you are sitting down and have a beverage nearby…
As sad as I am to say, my training has officially stopped after Redman. I crashed on the bike 5 miles in and then my race was over. There’s the short story. Read on if you want to read the full race day recap….
We arrived in OKC around 5p and immediately went to the race site to pick up our packets and check in our bikes. Other than getting completely lost trying the find the hotel afterwards, it was pretty uneventful.
I ate my usual banana, eggs and Larabar and we headed off to the race site. Nothing eventful to note other than that it was FREEZING. 54 Degrees to be exact. I was more than happy to put my wetsuit on (although I have no idea what expression I was making)!
The Swim: 41:03
I got a little panicky at the beginning of the swim (seems to be a new theme this year), but then I settled in and got comfortable. It was weird to actually swim as last year the water level was so low that we started pretty far out and even then there were many places you could touch the bottom while swimming. Soon I was nearing the shore and running to the wet suit strippers. As I crossed the timing mat, I was really surprised to see that I swam a whole minute and a half faster than last year, since I swam a bit more last year than this year, so I was proud of that tiny 1:30 improvement (ha).
Pretty uneventful, I put my socks and bike shoes on, debated wearing gloves and decided to not, put my helmet and sunglasses on and was off. Two minutes faster than my T1 last year! I was off to a great start between my swim and transition!
Then I was off on the bike! Right away something felt weird with my bike…I was putting a lot of effort into pedaling and only going 10mph. EVERYONE was passing me within the first mile. It was frustrating and confusing. Did I not eat enough for breakfast? Was I not hydrated? What was going on? Finally after another 5 minutes of huffing and puffing and getting nowhere fast, I hopped off my bike to check and see if my brakes were rubbing. Rubbing they were! I quickly adjusted the front brakes, hopped on my bike, and whooo! Off I went! 18, 19 mph felt great and easy. I was hoping that would be the only drama I would have on the bike for the day.
Thinking back to my concern of not having eaten enough before the race, around mile 4 I decided to eat part of a honeystinger waffle. After eating half, I took a swig of water, proceeded to go through an intersection when suddenly the guy in front of me randomly crashed to the left and sent a cone rolling to the right. I tried to assess my best option, but since I was still going pretty fast (22mph according to my Garmin), I tried to just quickly avoid him and the cone by going in between them. Sadly I am not a bike handling rockstar and still managed to clip part of the cone and went flying. Or tumbling. Or rolling. I honestly have no idea what happened, but I opened by eyes and my bike was on top of me and I was laying on my right side. I laid there for a minute and could hear a lady and man asking if I was still clipped into my pedals and trying to move my bike. Then I started to get up, I felt ok, mostly just really shaken and then for some reason touched my left shoulder and knew something was wrong. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but when I touched my left shoulder it just didn’t feel right. Was the bone missing? No way, it hurt but not how I would think if something was broken, so I figured it was just out of socket. I yelped “I need an ambulance!” and the officers at the intersection radioed an ambulance.
The man who had crashed in front of me seemed to be in ok shape and helped me walk over to the side of the road to get out of the way of the cyclists racing by. He also moved Lola over to the grass to be safe from getting hit as well. It turned out that his prescription sunglasses had cracked when he crashed so he was pulling out of the race also. As I stood there thoughts were flying through my head. I couldn’t believe that this was happening. I actually crashed…and of course it was the first race my parents were watching me race. They drove 7 hours so I could crash 5 miles into the bike. I was beside myself. Eventually a SAG guy came by and offered to take my bike back to transition. At first I readily agreed and was happy knowing my bike would be safe…but then another part of me was thinking…what if the EMT could just pop my arm back into the socket and I could continue? Is that a possibility? I eventually agreed and he took my bike and by the time EMT had arrived my shoulder was REALLY hurting. I couldn’t seem to find a position that didn’t hurt so I just let it dangle and I held it with my right arm. I guess even if they could put it back into the socket, I didn’t want to continue, I was in a lot of pain at that point.
The EMT techs put me up on a stretcher and hoisted me into the back of the ambulance. Once again I just kept thinking….was this really happening? I closed my eyes a couple of times hoping it was just a really bad dream. The tech riding in the back with me immediately started an IV port and gave me pain meds which helped, at least it wasn’t hurting as much. Off to the hospital we went (no sirens and we waited at stop lights? Really? I guess perhaps if I was gushing blood it would have been a different story) and when I arrived they took my vitals and took off my soaking wet bike shoes and socks. I was uncontrollably shivering at this point because my race kit was still wet from the swim and hadn’t dried yet. Combine anxiety and being cold and I was one uncontrollably shivering mess.
Next the x-ray tech came to get me to take images of my shoulder. As I stood there while he was taking the images I heard him mumble, ‘Hmm…that looks like a broken clavicle’ and upon hearing that, I felt the blood drain from my face and thought I was going to throw up. Broken Clavicle. No no no. Dislocated shoulder sounded like easy fixable, quick recovery….broken bones, not so much. Was IMAZ in jeopardy?! I started crying as he helped me hobble back to my room. Shortly after, the ER Dr came into my room and said he had reviewed my x-rays. It was definitely a broken clavicle and I would possibly need surgery because it was so close to my shoulder. I immediately burst into tears. Several of the staff had been asking me questions to help pass the time when I first got there and IMAZ had come up, so they knew why I took the news so badly, however the Dr didn’t really say much else other than I was going to be in a lot of pain for the next week or so. Thanks.
It finally occurred to me that at least an hour had passed since the crash my parents and JMR still hadn’t arrived. I thought that surely the race would have contacted them when they called in my bib # as DNF and had transported my bike back. Isn’t that the point of an Emergency Contact? Fortunately one of the nurses let me use their phone and I called my dad’s cell phone. He answered and asked why I was calling him? I tried to calmly tell him what happened and where I was without bursting into tears, and he said they would be on their way. Soon they arrived, JMR coming into the room first with tears in his eyes and my mom and dad following also with teary eyes. They all gave me hugs and then we waited for me to be discharged.
After getting discharged, we went back to the hotel so I could change into dry clothes (well shorts, there was no way I was getting my tri top and sport bra off…I would worry about that later) and then ended up going back to the race to get my bike and gear and also cheer on the rest of my tri club friends. I even managed to go to dinner with them afterwards. I’m not going to lie, without the strong percocet they gave me at the hospital, I probably never would have left my hotel room to begin with. 🙂
However the next day was a different story, when I woke up my entire body hurt and even though I had pain medicine the ER Dr sent me home with, it was not as effective as what they gave me in the hospital. This was going to be a fun drive home (JMR was driving, thank goodness). However, I knew I was lucky and the crash could have been MUCH MUCH worse than it was.
Standby for Part II….