Strains, Sprains, and Fractures!

It looks like the trend of sporadic blog updates continues but this time, there’s a legitimate reason.  Typing is a challenge when your hands look like this:

Photo on 5-28-14 at 7.01 PM

First, let me break the suspense by announcing that I did complete IRONMAN Coeur d’Alene on June 29, 2014! Stay tuned for a race report.

Now, let me review the incidents that had me on the verge of withdrawing from the race.

More baby cow drama

Shortly after returning to outdoor running, my calf started whining again. My coach suggested trying Hokas to reduce impact of running with my full body weight. Thanks to free overnight shipping from Zappos, these hideous clown shoes arrived at my door the next day. Much to my delight, they kept my calf happy and it hasn’t bothered me since.  Crisis #1 averted!

IMG_3139

What goes up, must come down

The day after my first run in my Hokas, hope soon turned to horror as our group rolled out for a Saturday ride up Mt. Hamilton. Within seconds of pushing off, my front wheel got caught in some train tracks and I crashed.   My left side felt a little sore, but I decided to keep riding and see if it got any better. Within a few minutes, my left knee and hip calmed down and didn’t bother me any more but my right thumb started to hurt like hell. Gripping the handlebars was excruciating so I started climbing with my right hand elevated, determined to make it to the summit and then hitch a ride in my coach’s truck for the descent. The pain became unbearable and it seemed dangerous to continue as I couldn’t brake with my right hand so I bailed after only 12 miles.

A few days later, I decided to have my thumb checked by a doctor.  Urgent care took some x-rays, concluded there was a tiny fracture, and referred me to a hand specialist in orthopedics. The hand specialist reviewed my x-rays and told me my thumb wasn’t broken but he was very concerned that I may have torn my ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) which would require surgery.  The exam involves many crazy manipulations of the thumb that were very painful at the time so the doctor recommended that we wait a week and try again.

When you’re two months out from an Ironman, a week is a long time to wait to find out if you need surgery.  I cried many times because I assumed I wouldn’t make it to the starting line at Coeur d’Alene.  I kept trying to remind myself that there are much greater tragedies in life than dropping out of a race but the pity party raged on.

The next week, I headed to the doctor’s office expecting the worst.  The exam was much less painful on the second try and the doctor was very pleased with the progress my thumb made.  My UCL was sprained, but didn’t need surgery.  I had to wear a splint full time for six weeks but I was cleared resume training.

Another day, another hand injury

A month after spraining my thumb, I broke my finger on the pool wall during Masters. W.T.F.

Feeling like a stalker, I went back to the hand specialist (my last thumb appointment was only three days before).  Fortunately, it was a minor fracture and I was back in the pool the next day with my finger splinted and taped.

All of these obstacles seemed huge catastrophes at the time, but in hindsight they now feel like minor inconveniences.  Well, except for the medical bills.  Clumsiness is an expensive habit!

Stay safe and happy training!

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6 thoughts on “Strains, Sprains, and Fractures!

  1. What a journey you’ve been on with all the injuries! I’m so proud of you for becoming an Ironman! Congrats! I hope we can hang out sometime soon!

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