I was planning to publish a post this weekend about how gorgeous (and challenging) cycling is in the Madison area. I even had photos to include and everything. I’ve also spent a lot of time thinking about what I’m eating to fuel my training when I’m not swimming/biking/running, and I had brainstormed some ideas for how to write about that topic too. And I wanted to talk about how excited I was to sign up for my first non-triathlon open water swim this Sunday (2.4 miles!) and my first 200k bike ride (126 miles!) in a few weeks.


Ok you get to see a cycling picture


This state smells like cow manure

Instead, I spent Sunday afternoon through Monday afternoon going from urgent care to the emergency department to the trauma unit at the hospital. Not as fun as blogging, let me tell you.

On Sunday I set out to ride about 65 miles, doing one loop of the Ironman course plus part of the stick to eventually add up to about four hours. About two and a half hours into the ride, I was going pretty fast down a hill when a big tractor appeared coming up the hill in the opposite direction. Because of the angle of the road and a tree, I didn’t see him early enough, so I slammed on my breaks and went over the handle bars, landing hard on my right shoulder and rolling a few times. Thankfully I always wear a helmet and I didn’t land on my head, so my head and spine were fine. A cyclist stopped and waited with me until my friend arrived to drive me to urgent care – the first of several wonderful strangers I’d come in contact with that day.

A few x-rays at urgent care revealed I cracked my clavicle (collarbone) and a rib, and I had a small puncture in my lung. Additionally, I have road rash pretty much everywhere.  My jersey ripped in a few placed (though not where I have scrapes?) and my shorts and sports bra have some holes too. The nurse and nurse practitioner at urgent care were amazing. Due to the lung situation, they had to send me to the hospital, which meant an ambulance ride. The guy who rode in the ambulance with me was great too, talking about how he works the Ironman every year and then giving me the heads up that going into the trauma room at the hospital would be overwhelming (it was). The nurse there was very sweet, though I was annoyed they took off all the bandages the urgent care nurse had painstakingly applied, but I guess they have to get a full evaluation. Eventually I was admitted to the hospital for observation, where I met yet another awesome nurse (and another when they changed shifts in the morning). Honestly, nurses are my favorite people in the whole world. Finally Eric and I headed home Monday afternoon, over 24 hours after the crash, with a sling, about a million pieces of gauze and medical tape, and a prescription for pain pills.


My jersey. Note that the only real hole is is the center-left. I have zero scratches there somehow.

A couple of observations:

  • When trauma unit nurses see how much road rash you have and say, “oh honey…” you know you’ve done an impressive thing.
  • The default settings for the heart rate monitor thing are not set up for athletes – I kept setting off the alarm in my sleep because my resting heart rate was below their threshold.
  • Related, I crushed the respiratory exercises and measures, even with a hole in my lung. Fitness FTW.
  • I got a tiny glimpse into how much being a resident sucks. The same resident who talked to me about my rib in the emergency department at about 6pm was doing rounds with the attending at 8am, so yeah, I’m guessing he didn’t sleep.

So where does this leave me and Ironman training? Honestly, I don’t know. Or I’m avoiding admitting that doing the race is out of the question. Supposedly the rib and clavicle will take 6 weeks to heal, and the race is 9 weeks away. The nurse practitioner at urgent care made it clear she didn’t think it was possible, and I haven’t talked to any other medical providers about it. The orthopedic resident said I could stationary bike as soon as I felt like it, but I didn’t broach the subject of Ironman. I’m taking this week completely off, and I guess I’ll reevaluate over the weekend. I go back for follow-up x-rays in two weeks, where I’ll learn how things are healing up. A cracked rib and clavicle is a painfully common cycling injury, and plenty of forums have posts from people saying they were back to (stationary) biking and elliptical-ing in 2 weeks and swimming in 6 weeks. Plus my fractures are tiny, whereas many people have surgery. So I am not ready to give up yet (plus I don’t think I could handle the next 9 weeks of wallowing). I need Ironman to motivate me to do my arm exercises and my breathing exercises (oh yes, I have a sweet incentive spirometer), and then to get back on a stationary bike next week so I don’t completely give up on exercising.


Get Well flowers from Eric’s parents

And that’s my sad update for the week. I doubt there will be much happening on the blog as I continue to rest and wait.

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