Hit and Run?

Is it still a hit and run if you don’t get hit, but crash your bike, and then run?  On Wednesday, I decided I would do a race day simulation brick.  I planned to do 10 miles out and back for a total of 20 miles on the bike and then run a 10k in the neighborhood.   Mother nature was a bit intimidating, the rain was off and on and the winds were pretty hard.  I decided to go for it anyway since it is very well possible it could rain on race day and you just have to deal with it.  I planned to ride on the greenway since there are fewer traffic interruptions except for intersections and planned to get a couple miles in at Markham Park.

I tried to make everything as much like race day as possible.  I wore my tri kit and made my hammer fuel before heading out the door.  I even had a transition area set up in the living room, ready with my run shoes, visor and race gels.  The only difference from race day was that I decided to wear my cycling rain jacket and I packed a small towel in my second water cage.  While I wouldn’t have those things on race day, I also wouldn’t be in the same environment either.  The race course will be closed to traffic and I would be able to have a continuous ride whereas on my own I would have to stop and wouldn’t have any assistance out there.  I headed out pretty excited.

I had some head wind on the way south, but figured it would be nice to have that as a tailwind on the way home.  I tried to maintain a pace that I thought was realistic for race day and had set my watch to auto pause whenever I was stopped so I could see how long the 20 miles took.  At mile 7 I was waiting to cross the street when I saw this older couple on bikes also waiting to cross.  They began into the intersection, which surprised me because we did not have the cross walk signal or right of way.  They just decided to cross when it seemed clear enough.  I was a little frustrated by that because I think a lot of drivers disregard cyclists because they think cyclists disregard the laws of the road, and some obviously do.

I finally got the crosswalk signal to head out.  I checked the turn lane to make sure it was empty or whomever was there could see me.  I had the all clear so I started across the intersection.  A driver in the straight lane decided she was going to turn right…..right into me!  She slammed her brakes just as I swerved to avoid hitting her front fender.  I cranked the pedal to get some momentum because I was wobbling, but unfortunately that sent me careening into the sidewalk on the other side of the intersection.  I’m not exactly sure what happened, but I think my front tire made it and the back tire didn’t.  I crashed down hard on my right side.  Most of me was on the sidewalk, which I was thankful for, but I had to be careful not to straighten out too much or my head would have been in traffic.  My right foot was kind of trapped in the pedal, so I pried it out and pushed the bike off of me.  I got up and picked up the bike to start assessing the damage.

The side of my seat was messed up, and I had some pretty big scrapes on my read derailleur.  Dang.   Then I started to feel the sting that told me that I had lost some skin in that one.  I had landed mostly on my right knee and hip, I thought.  I went to mount the bike and my hip gave a nice popping sound and a sharp pain made me want to cry out.  Then, I saw it and really wanted to cry!!!  My handlebars were totally bent out of shape!!!  I wanted to just call someone to pick me up and drive me home, but there really wasn’t anyone that I could call.  I also thought about the time D2 to fell on his bike.  I was terrified inside but since he was not hurt badly, I told him he had to get back on immediately and he did.  I gave it some thought and decided that if I headed home, it would be 7 miles.  Why not just finish the 10 and then head back?

I got going again trying to figure out if I could shift gears and steer ok, and headed to Markham Park.  I hit the halfway mark and stopped to fuel again. That is when I realized that I must have lost my hammer flask in my crash!  Nooooooo!!!!!  Now I had no fuel and I lost the flask I need on race day.  Dang again.  Nothing to do at this point but head back home.  I was a little bit off my game on the way back home.  I had issues with turns, definitely had issues at intersections and really had problems steering.  I started to realize it was not the smartest thing to have continued on.  My right hand started to hurt, but I thought it might be the weird position it was in due to the handlebars being out of whack.   At this point, I just wanted to get home.

That’s when the rain started.  I almost started to feel sorry for myself, and then I realized that the rain felt great.  It cooled me down, it slowed me down and it just felt nice.  I thought about how terrified I always am of crashing my bike.  I’ve always heard that it’s not “if” but “when.  Every cyclist goes through it at some point, or so I am told.  I started to feel good about it to a certain extent.  I survived my worst crash so far, and got back up and on the bike.  I was proud that I kept going.

I got home and had to decide if I was going to go for the run or not.  I wanted to at least transition and then I decided to get out and run a bit to see how I felt.  I got about a half mile and decided that one mile would be enough for the day.  It would get the blood moving like on race day, but I knew there was no way I was running 6 miles.  I could feel my stride change because of the hip pain and I knew that continuing too far could mean a worse injury so I headed back to the house for a shower.

I guess I was still experiencing some adrenaline from the ride, run and the crash because as soon as I got relaxed, everything started to hurt way worse than it had before.  I felt like I’d been hit by the car,  My entire right side was in pain.  The worst of it was my hand when I would move my fingers, and knee and back.  I decided it would be a good idea to go to the walk in center because my hand was swelling and really felt like the worst of the aches.  The doc checked me out and did some x-rays.  I have road rash and bruising on my right side, and a bad sprain or possible hairline fracture in my wrist.  I have a brace on my hand and was told not to use it for three days.  I decided to take Thursday and Friday off work and training and just rest up.  Can’t use my hand anyway and I knew the pain would be worse day 2.

Sure enough, I was right about the pain.  Now that a few days have gone by, I am healing up nicely and I don’t think I have a fracture, but it took about three days for the swelling to go down.  The bruising is now turning that lovely shade of purple and yellow, which is also a good sign.

The day hadn’t gone as planned, but the bike has been fixed and I am on the mend.  I even did a 5k Sunday and while I was in a little pain, made good time.  I have two weeks until the triathlon and I only got one swim in last week, which stinks, but I did learn a few things from this mishap.  I learned that I really need to buy another hammer flask so that if I lose one I have I don’t want to cry.  (Order placed!)  I knew, but feel like I re-learned that injuries hurt a lot more after the adrenaline wears off!   I learned that some bike parts are meant to bend so that they absorb impact.  I learned that my fear can be lessened a little by experiencing some of the things I am afraid of, though I wouldn’t recommend an incident like today for that purpose.   Most importantly  I crashed pretty hard, but I learned that I can get up and moved forward, even on race day……. At least until the adrenaline wears off!


What a difference a week makes!

This was the second week of my “zero to swim a mile” plan.  It went much better than last week.  I’m not going to lie and say I didn’t steal an extra breath here or there, but overall it went pretty close to the plan.  One of the main issues I had was turning my brain off.  I find that I over think things, especially when swimming.  I’m busy trying to find the perfect number of strokes between breaths, trying to make sure I only have one goggle out when taking breaths and trying to keep an eye on my watch to make sure I get the yardage right.  One of the biggest things on my mind this week was that next week, I have to do double the yardage before I get a break.

This week I was scheduled to do the 200 yards before taking 12 breaths.  Next week I will have to do 400 yards before taking the 12 breaths.  I struggle with telling myself I can do things if I haven’t already done them.  That’s part of what this whole journey is about.  Making myself believe in, well, myself.  I’m getting there, but it takes time.  After I finished one of my sets, I decided to do an additional 300 yards straight.  This would help convince my brain that if I can do 300 tired, I can do 400 fresh next week.  It worked out well.  I was exhausted, but I did it.  I felt like I’d be good going into next week.

The pool had signs posted that it would be configured into 50 yard lanes Friday and Saturday.  In the lap pool, they can either configure it long ways or the short way.  It’s almost always the short way as that yields more lanes for swimmers.  The last time it was set up for 50’s I hadn’t been swimming much and it was very intimidating.  I got in and I swear the pool extended itself before my very eyes.  I was curious to see how it would go this time.  It’s tricky to turn around at the wall.  I certainly can’t do those fancy flip turns that the swimmers do.  It’s getting smoother but still nowhere near graceful, so this time, I was actually looking forward to it being set up the long way and having fewer turns.

Friday I left work looking forward to getting over to the pool to swim the 50’s.  The one thing I had not given much thought to, was that the set up would cut the number of lanes in half.  When I got there it became clear that I was not going to swim that night.  The lanes had at least 5 people in each.  There were arms and legs flying all over the place and coaches shouting at their students.  Both sets of classes took up every bit of space and I sure as heck wasn’t squeezing myself in between the preteens.  Oh well.

Saturday we headed over to the beach for some more open water swim practice.  I always have a hard time with the beach.  I have these high hopes that something’s going to click and I’m just going to dive in and start swimming.  Maybe I’d see a sting ray and not freak out, then some dolphins would swim up and  offer me a ride to the finish line.  Ok, maybe not like that but I am always hopeful.  At the same time, I am dreading it, knowing that it probably won’t go like my vision of grandeur.  This time was no different.  I was hopeful but nervous.

It went just about as expected.  Nowhere near my hopes but not quite bad enough to crush my dreams.  I had watched some videos of the race start last year to try to get an idea of how far out I would need to swim before turning and swimming parallel to the shoreline.  I decided I would practice getting into the water and heading straight out.  It didn’t go very well.  I spent a lot of energy and really didn’t get anywhere.  At one point, I turned the wrong way to breathe and gobbled up a bunch of salt water.

I finally made it out to where I thought I was close to where the turn might be.  Again, I was hopeful that I would turn and just start swimming the shoreline.  I even assumed I could crank out a few hundred yards.  After all, I do that in the pool, so why not in the ocean?  I guess there are a million reasons why not, because it didn’t happen.  I just kept swimming straight out and straight back to the shore line.  I’m really good at the part of getting back to the shore line and I have plenty of skill in getting the wetsuit off for transition.  After a few rounds of this, I decided I had enough for the day and we headed home.

Sunday we headed back out to the beach.  When we got there, we realized that the A1A marathon was taking place and almost thought we weren’t going to be able to park.  A little part of me was kind of hoping that was the case, but we found a parking spot and I got suited up.  It’s always a little awkward to hit the beach in the wetsuit when surrounded by a bunch of beach goers in tiny swim suits.  I get all sorts of looks, but I am getting used to it.  The water was really beautiful and fairly calm.  My plan was to walk away from the family about 100 yards, swim straight out, across the hundred and back in to them.

I headed out and hoped to just turn, but I ended up pausing a moment.  I remembered hearing that counting strokes gets people’s minds off the distance and thought I would give that a try.  Yeah, that did not work so well for me.  It made me feel really tired to get to 100 strokes.  Then, my brain started doing the math.  If it takes me about twenty something to do 25 yards in the pool, then that would be about 100 yards.  It was not helping me get lost in thought, it was driving my brain crazy and telling my body I should be tired by now.  I changed strategies.

I began practicing swimming straight out and back again, trying to find what depth I was most comfortable with starting to go from standing to swimming so that on race day, I would know what to do.  I got pretty far out and just stopped.  I wanted to practice handling situations that could occur.  I hear horror stories of people whose goggles get kicked off and they just can’t get them back on.  Or the person that gets swum over and pushed under the water and has to come back up gasping for air.  I played with getting my goggles partially off and back on.  Figuring out if I was better off laying flat with  my back to the waves, or facing the waves, etc.  That went ok, and I now have a plan if any of those things goes wrong on race day.

At one point, when I was experimenting with these possible challenges, I just floated there.  I really took in how balanced I could be in the wet suit.  It was very challenging at first, to just “be” there.  I told myself that I would remain there until I was completely calm.  Being where I know I could not reach the bottom and being able to become calm was big for me.  I was really pleased and had a moment where I felt like I could actually achieve this.  I may take a lot longer than most, but I am feeling better about my chances.  I went out a little deeper and saw the beginnings of the reef area, close to the buoy that divides the swimmer space and the boater space.  I saw a jelly fish and kinda made my way the other direction.  I saw a sting ray, and I didn’t freak out.  I took a moment to be grateful and to take it all in.  The dolphins never showed up, so I had to swim back to shore on my own – go figure.