Thursday, August 28, 2008
Pigman, The Sequel
So where was I.....ah yes, the bike.
I headed out of transition feeling pretty good. I had just conquered the scariest part, in my opinion, of the race. The swim was over and I was on my bike.
Now truth be told, I enjoy the bike, I even enjoy training on my bike, but had fallen a wee bit short of training expectations this summer. I was confident I could finish this bike leg feeling good, but lets face it, it wasn't going to mind blowingly fast. Instead I knew my ideal power zones, my goal MPH, my nutrition plan, and ballpark how long it would take me and I was set.
So again, I'm on my bike. I'm chugging along, holdin my own. As the morning and ride go on it's starting to heat up. This is Iowa here folks, they don't grow trees, they grow corn. And corn provides very little shade. I had slathered on the the sunscreen in the morning for that reason. The other assurance I was made about Iowa is that there is no such thing as hills there. Well that wasn't entirely true, but the hills weren't quite like we grow them at home.
Due to road construction or cow crossings or something that had rerouted the course this year, and according to many athletes made it a much more challenging ride. Hmm. Just what I needed, another challenge. But so far all I had encountered was some rolling hills, nothing suicidal.
Every 21 or so miles there was a water station, which was lovely. My goal by every water station was to have put a bottle of fluid away to stay hydrated in the heat. Between that and my assorted gels, blocks and caplets I was feeling well fed and watered.
On a side note, I have yet to find a saddle in my years of riding that is comfortable. Be it the saddle or the position, I don't know, but its not do good come mile 40 something. And the newest saddle I'd been riding for a weeks was no different.
Around the time I was starting to get a wee sore on the saddle and ready to be off and running I saw that Noah and Bryn had ventured out to the course to cheer me on. I love all the friendly volunteers and the support they give, but there is nothing better than a familiar face.
There were a few hills and windy roads that sort of made me want to cry near the end of the ride, but before I knew it I was turning back into the park that the race was out of. I told myself I could kick it up a notch and still make my time goal. Here was cruising as best as I could down into the park. I see the mile 1 water aid station, which means I have a mile left on the bike.
Around this same time there was friendly automobile coming into the park that couldn't bother to wait for the bikes. Zoom zoom, around me it went. But oh wait, there was another bike just a wee bit up the road....and an ambulance coming out of the park. And the cars brakes go on. Seeing as the car had just cut me off, my options were to ride straight into the rear of the car or slam on my brakes as well. So slam on the brakes I did. And over the handle bars I went.
I remember this wicked flipping Superman-esque flying motion, and then the pavement. As soon as I hit the ground, my cat like reflexes kicked in and I was up grabbing the bike and getting out of the way. Said car that caused this acrobatic routine of mine kept right on driving, but the ambulance was nice enough to stop and check on me. It must have been quite the maneuver because many of the nearby volunteers and spectators where on foot and headed my way to see if I was ok.
I had no idea how or what I just did. My hip hurt, my shoulder hurt, my elbow hurt, and my ribs hurt. I wasn't sure if I had just had the wind knocked out of me or what, but breathing was very very difficult. Did I hit my head? I have no idea. I sat on the side of the road for 10 or so minutes trying to breath and regain my composure. After this little break, tears still rolling down my face, I decide at the very least I'm going to finish the bike. I coast most of the last mile, dismount the bike and walk through transition to rack my bike.
I see Ryan waiting by the fence, completely clueless as to my wipe out, waiting to see how I feel and cheer me on. I rack my bike and stand there for a bit trying to determine what to do. I struggle out of my bike shoes, at this point pissed as hell that all this had just taken place. I'm trying to calm down, assess the damages, and decide if I can keep going. Fueled by frustration and adrenaline I have this great idea that I can do the run.
I decided that if I started moving the pain and stiffness would pass and I could muscle through it. Around mile 1 I started to second guess this decision. Noah met me at about this point to see how I was doing and to cheer me on. This is where the realization started to set in that this was not going to be my day. But I was going to go as far as I could.
Mile 2....still in pain, still struggling, still can't breath. It's hot out at this point, and again I remind you that this is Iowa and there is no such thing as shade.
I called it at mile 3. As I waited for the car to pick me up I contemplated starting to run again. I thought I would reassess the situation at mile 4. But I thought about the pace I had been making the past 3 miles, the heat and the pain and decided I was doing the right thing.
I was delivered to the race doctor who decided I wasn't going to die but that I was going to hurt for some time. Duh. One of the friendly and attractive med students was kind enough to pick all of the gravel out of my various abrasions and ice me down. As long as I didn't breath or move I was doing ok.
The trip home was uncomfortable to say the least. Perhaps even stiff and painful. Once home there was a trip to the hospital and pain meds to be had. Busted up ribs, mangled hip and multiple bruises were my battle wounds.
Given a day or so for the wounds to percolate they weren't feeling any better, but boy were they looking pretty delicious.
It was one of the hardest decisions I've had to make in a long time. To have trained so hard all summer and have it end this way? This was certainly not my fairy tale ending.