Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Ironman Wisconsin 2019 Taper - Don't Do Anything Stupid

Once my taper started I met up with Coach Ken and talked about final race strategy, prep, and the taper.  Gotta keep things going so to not lose the fitness gained through a hard last month of training.  Be smart. Don't do anything stupid.

Would love to have ended that right there.  Nope.  Big Nope.  Monday I had an easy one hour bike on the schedule.  Get out and workout the legs from my weekend of semi-long, but challenging training.

Chose my normal hour-ish route.  It's rush hour time and this route mostly avoids that.  Went up over a hill and the small descent to a stop sign.  Was in the small chainring when I learned a little lesson that had never ever crossed my mind.  Let me explain through a photo:

My bike has a little different style shifters than most non-electric shifting Time Trial/Triathlon setup.  I actually really like them when they work well (which is about 5% of the time). 

If you are a cyclist familiar with Time Trial/Triathlon bikes, you'll know this setup.  Shifters are on the aero bars and the brakes are on the handlebars.

So going about 16-18mph I pulled my front brake instead of my front shifter allowing me to test the laws of physics.  I failed... miserably.

I ended up flying over my handlebars.  What happened next was a blur.  I don't remember.  I don't want to remember.  Based on what you will see after a few paragraphs (be prepared) I believe I landed on my right shoulder and then the right side of my face.  I ultimately rolled over on my back and skidded about for about 5 feet.

Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.  The next few minutes were clearer but not by much.  I got up and checked my faculties.  All checked out but something was hanging from the right side of my face.  I looked for my glasses (it was cloudy so I didn't put on my sunglasses).  A guy rolled up on his bike to check on me.  I found part of my glasses, he found a lens from my glasses.  Right shoulder was hurting.  I noticed the right temple bar was missing. I grabbed the thing hanging on my face and pulled a little... not budging.  Leave it. A lady pulled up in her car and asked if I was OK.  I was covering this thing on my face.  Asked for a rag or something and she gave me napkins and a wet wipe.  I called TKB to pick me up.  Guy on the bike went to the top of the hill to slow down any cars.  The lady in the car left. I  realized the thing on my face wasn't a stick or something but the temple bar of my glasses.  Just kept pressure on it with the napkins.

After a moment I realized I was back in control of myself.  I moved my bike so I was out of the road but in a business driveway.  Just sat on the top tube and watched TKB's GPS tracking to my location.  It probably took 20 minutes but went super fast.  I took a few photos of my face to see what my eyes looked like. I felt like my right eye vision was a little darker than my left.  That's ok, maybe bloodshot, but I could see.

TKB got there and we loaded up my bike and I had already decided an E.R. visit was required.  Urgent Care could be an option but with my temple bar well secured to my face, I wanted the ER.

TKB gave me an old towel we had in her car and kept pressure on my face.  Nothing truly hurt bad, just uncomfortable.  Adrenaline does good things.

We got the the E.R. and after a short time, they brought me back to a room.  Once they figured out TKB wasn't beating me, they brought her back.

Naturally this entire time I was trying to keep hope that my entire summer wasn't a freaking waste in the few seconds of mind drift.

In the E.R., they gave me about 800mg of Ibruprofen and a muscle relaxer and something to dull the pain/feeling around the temple bar.  I asked them to X-Ray my shoulder, which luckily come back clean.  Whew.  They gave me a tetanus booster, just in case.  Waiting for the meds to numb my face, I started sending out texts to Kevin, Kristen, and Vicki, as well as Coach Ken, about some potential bad news about IM Wisconsin. :/

After a while, the Nurse Practitioner (Amanda) started on my new temple bar appendage.  She cleaned out some of the debris from other parts of my glasses and then tried to remove the appendage.  She spent a little time finding a screwdriver that would remove the screw that attaches the temple bar to the body of the glasses, which I was concerned about losing in my face.  Turned out that wasn't what was keeping it attached.  She eventually removed the temple bar and started cleaning all the wounds on my face, ear, back, hands, elbows.  Unfortunately, she couldn't give me anything for my ego.

Next up were sutures.  This made me even happier that I didn't try to rip off the temple bar while standing on the street.  Who knows what would have happened had I done that. I ended up with 8 sutures above the eyebrow and down the side.

I talked with Amanda about the Ironman.  She actually was not concerned about participating in the Ironman.   She recommended leaving in the sutures for the race to make sure the wound didn't open up again.  It would require a bandage and some cleaning during T1.  Hmmm.

After about 2.5 hours in the E.R., they finally discharged me.  Prescription for muscle relaxers (which I have not taken) and some topical and pill form antibiotics and out the door.  I had taken off my bike jersey and shoes.  So I was standing at the exit with no shirt or shoes while waiting for TKB to bring the car around.  Hot stuff.

I took Tuesday off from work and then worked from home on Wednesday.  Didn't want to scare the coworkers on my floor. :)

48 hours later I've got about 80% range of motion in my shoulder. There is no way I could do the swim with my arm in its current shape. Well, I could but I would be swimming in a clockwise circle. I'm confident that I will have full range by the time the race takes place, 13 days after the accident.  Nevermind the fact that I would not be able to wear goggles with the sutures because it would rest on top of the last two sutures.

The question is the sutures.  I have my doctors appointment to discuss and potentially remove the sutures the Thursday before the race (10 days post accident).  If they recommend to leave the sutures in for the race, I think I'm going to bail because of the aforementioned problem with the goggles touching the sutures.  If they remove the sutures, will the goggles and tight swim cap cause the wound to open?  What if I get kicked in the face during the swim?  I can definitely avoid the kick to the face easy enough but the 75 minute pressure from the goggles and swim cap?  Hmm.

Wednesday I went for a bike ride on the trainer, which went well.  The bike seems OK except I couldn't shift the front shifter.  I called up Joe from Cycle City and he said he'd take a look at my bike to see if he can fix it in time for the race, so I dropped it off.  If it means I get the standard Time Trial/Triathlon bike shifters then fine.  I at least want to be able to get in a good ride to confirm it's ready to race, as well as my body.  Riding on the road and a trainer are very different experiences.

So what are my options?  There are two races coming up 3 and 4 weeks after IM Wisconsin.  That would be IM Chattanooga and IM Louisville, respectively.  That would give me plenty of time to heal and regain some lost fitness.  It would absolutely suck not racing with my buddies but if I completely bailed this year, it would mean I have wasted an entire summer of training.  That's time away from my wife, family, and friends.  That's time my coach spent on my training plan. That's a 3rd Ironman that I have put money towards and not competed.

The next week will be an interesting one.

Something else that's interesting... PHOTOS!!!!  I did warn you earlier, right?

Photos I took while waiting for TKB.  Wanted to see what happened to my ear.  Also trying to judge what's attached to my face.  

Again, a few minutes after the accident.
Hanging out in the E.R.  The techs had wrapped up my head so I didn't have to keep holding the nasty napkins against it, which you can see part of hanging from the temple bar (that's not skin).

What I feel was the inspiration to the medical tech who wrapped up my head.

Another view of my emoji face
Road rash.  That's going to leave a mark.

Starting to get gruesome. YOU'VE BEEN WARNED.

 The cotton was soaked in something to dull up my skin along with an injection.

No holding back now.  Right before they started to remove the temple bar.

8 sutures later.

After I got home Monday, Rieger was scared of me.  I could tell he knew who I was but just wasn't quite sure what was going on.  I'm sure I smelled of E.R. antiseptic too.  The next day he seemed to still question me.

Are you my 'real' daddy?
Sadly, one casualty of the wreck was my Beach2Battleship jersey.

Two days post wreck.  Really trying to look sad sack on these:

A tiny bit of positivity
My attempt at a bandage to use while working out. Tegaderm and gauze over the stitches.  

My glasses.... with the temple bar re-united.


  1. OWWWW! I'm so glad there were no broken bones. Good that you have a backup plan, but I hope you get to do Wisconsin.

  2. Man! My brother took a bad fall like this before. I was so thankful that he was okay. TKB was probably freaking out. Thankfully you are okay. That is the best news of all of this. Maybe you can even talk TKB into some pie after your Ironman is done. Play that sympathy card for at least a week or so.😁

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