Arlington International Distance Triathlon 2015
Yep, another ambulance, but only after crossing the finish line this time.
After a nice long break following a busy 2014 season, I started this year with the Arlington Int’l triathlon again. Race morning was wet with light rain, but that wasn’t too bad as it kept the temperature down and felt refreshing. In prophetic fashion, Monette says to me “just don’t do anything stupid. The roads are really slick”. Who me? Nah, I’ll be fine.
The water was 67 degrees, but I absolutely hate wearing a wetsuit and decided against it. Definitely a good idea, for me, as the water felt fine. I haven’t been able to swim much at all this year, but felt decent in the water. The water was pretty rough and there must have been a heavy current against us on the way out as it took forever to get to the first turn buoy that was supposed to be only 500m away. But, I led most of the swim with one person that kept hitting my heals the whole way. At the end of the swim, the person passed me getting to the beach and I see that it is a female, Kyra Wiens, and that we have a pretty good lead on the rest of the field. The swim was significantly long, which probably helped me out some. I was excited to see how the bike would feel as I’ve only ridden on the roads once since November (a lot of Computrainer riding!).
I pass Kyra out of T1 and get into my cycling rhythm in the rain. There are a few turns early on and I take them very gingerly, but my legs feel fresh. I decide to hold a solid pace, but hold back a little bit and try to negative split the two lap bike course. Things are going well, until a sharp right hand turn roughly about ten miles into the ride. I’m feeling good, so take the turn a little harder than the previous ones. I make sure to stay away from the yellow lines, but in the glare from the rain didn’t notice the dotted white lines marking the side of the straight road across the turn until I’m leaning into it. In my head, I’m thinking that I manage to go between the lines when my wheel hits one and my wheels suddenly aren’t underneath me anymore! I hit hard on my side and slid for what felt like forever rotating as I go. The lead motorcycle that was behind me asked if I was okay, and I insisted that I’d manage to go on. My upper back hurt a lot, but I pushed that out of my mind and check on my bike. I had to fix the chain by hand, but the brakes and wheels seemed to be working okay, with just a lot of superficial damage. Jumping back on the bike, I spun easily as I get going to make sure everything is functioning and trying to find a position where my back and forearm wouldn’t be too painful. It’s during this that I get passed by the first guy. I sucked it up and try to keep him in sight, which I manage to do for a little while, but I couldn’t use my right arm for handling because of my back and lost him bit by bit on the turns. Pulling out at the halfway point briefly crossed my mind, but I quickly shoved that out of my head.
***Note on 4/14 – it turns out I had fractured my scapula again. That makes sense of why I couldn’t handle my bike and it took my breath away to swing my arm running!
As I come into T2, I see Monette and say that I had a ‘minor’ accident. I rack my bike, put on my shoes, and start to head out to notice that my groin is painful and every time my right arm goes back it takes my breath away. Oh well, I’ve dealt with worse! It was a horrendously slow run as I just couldn’t push it, but I had a big enough lead on third place that I was never forced to have to get to that point.
While not the way I had envisioned finishing, it was awesome to still cross in second given all of that. After I pass the finish line I’m told to head straight over to the ambulance.
Getting into the ambulance, the medics say, “We saw you coming off of the bike and knew we’d be seeing you!”. It wasn’t until this point that I realized that I road rash all over the place. The pictures don’t really do it justice, but you get the idea.
My right side was a mess, but I even had scratches on both sides of my back and even on my chest. I had a nice chunk taken out of one of my toes, too. The worst part was my back, though. They clean and dress the wounds and check my back. The diagnosis was, “if you have a broken rib, it’s not cracked to the point where I can feel it sticking out” and he laughs and says that I’ll be in a lot of pain for at least a week or so, though. Okay, so that’s good, I guess. Then, when I go to get up, I can’t move my right leg. My groin was in excruciating pain! UGH!! It’s amazing that adrenaline can get you through a race and you don’t feel it that badly until you stop. My groin loosens up a bit if I keep it moving so that could be worse. On the bright side, our team uniforms haven’t come in yet, so the one that I destroyed was last year’s!
I stick around for the awards, which was nice, and it was good to see fellow TMS-IOS team member Tom Lehr get second Open Masters.
Then, the worst part of the entire ordeal; we go back to the hotel and I take a bath to clean myself up. Wow, that was not pleasant at all. Luckily, Monette was great through the entire thing and was willing to make the drive home.
It looks like a little recovery time is in my near future, but I’ll be back out there soon. Hopefully sooner rather than later. And, I’ll try to stay injury-free for a little while with luck!