Sunday, September 30, 2012

September Training Notes

This month my totals look like this

Swim12,750 yards3:50 hours
Bike145 miles8 hours
Run30 miles4:45 hours

Everything is down, this is not a surprise given the asphalt induced 3 week break.I didn't do any workout at all for 18 days, so those numbers reflect only 10 days. This month actually started out really strong, a quick look at August's numbers and you can see that I was on track to almost double those numbers this month.

Swim19,200 yards5:45 hours
Bike276 miles14:30 hours
Run34 miles5 hours

Accident Update
Instead of doing the standard 'how's the swim/bike/run going' update I'll just touch on the last three workouts which came in the last two days.

Saturday AM - Went for a short 3 miler, just to take it easy. For about two straight weeks I walked with a limp due to pain in my right knee. I waited till I had several days of pain free walking before trying to run. That knee felt fine, the other knee not so hot. I took it easy, overall pace 10:30 - quite a bit off par.

Saturday PM - Went for an easy bike, a quite ride I know very well. I had a couple of goals, first to make sure the bike was in decent shape. It's alright, it's possible the rear derailleur is a little out of whack, it sounds louder than I remember. Some other things needed small adjustment, not serious. The bike rides fine. My body felt fine, my mind was a little less "in the game" when I started. I noticed myself taking it easy over bumps and around corners, worrying a little more about cars driving past or coming up at an intersection. That faded after a while. Overall the ride went well, similar pace to other "easy" rides before the break. That's good.

Sunday AM - Went for another easy run, did the same route as Saturday except backwards. Both knees felt fine, overall pace 8:50 - more in line with my easy runs, not quite back to where I want to be, but I'll take it. I meant to try to get in an afternoon bike, but just ran out of daylight.

I'm going to give my elbow a few more days to heal before heading back to the pool, it's still secreting a small amount of stuff ever day, and bleeds easily if bumped. It looks like it's healing quite quickly though. I'm hoping to be back in the pool on Thursday as I'm expecting it will develop a normal scab here in a couple of days. We'll see, nobody wants Jeremy "bloody trail" in the water with them.

This month's resolution was to not eat out. My wife committed to helping meet this goal (and that was optional, but likely very helpful.) We/I did very well. I slipped up twice that I can remember. Once I went to happy our that happened to be over dinner. And today we scheduled a full day of activities and I figured, 28.67 days is pretty stinking good.

Next month is no pop, yikes I may have not been thinking clearly on this one. If I could write a poem about Mt. Dew or Monster I would. It's already reserved for occasionally. Oh well, I suppose if these were all easy that would defeat the purpose.

Monday, September 24, 2012

On The Mend

Another week down - things have improved markedly. Last week seems like an eternity ago, two weeks ago seems like the beginning of summer.

Saturday or Sunday was probably the hardest times mentally as I really badly want to be getting out there and getting ready to race a race. I've decided though that unless I'm going to further an injury I'll be in Rev3 at the end of October. So that helps.

The week highlights go something like this.

I did get a better chair at work, and got another chair to prop my leg up. Walking doesn't make the leg better, actually worse.

My leg is feeling better, I'm able to walk around without so much limp. Near the end of the day I notice though that perhaps I've been taking a little too many liberties with my leg. The lower half feels mostly asleep. I head out to happy hour with some out of town co-workers. It's a late night, the walk back to my car feels much longer than the walk in.

The bottom half of my leg feels perma asleep. If I put it up it feels like it's waking up, but never fully gets there. I skip the 2nd scheduled happy hour as I am not too sure this new development is great. At home my wife says my leg is swollen, she calls the nurse line. Their verdict: go into Urgent Care. Apparently you can't tell the triage lady your leg is feeling numb, that gets you into ER. Oops. The doctor comes in, says the leg wound looks good, so it's not infection causing a problem, but it might be a clot has formed. Get an ultrasound, they give me the all clear. Home without incident. The doctor does recommend taking the tagaderm off to let the wound breath. It has been on for 7 days and shows no sign of coming off on it's own. The packaging says max of 7 days.

Work goes as planned, leg falls asleep again, it doesn't seem to matter what I do. The only time it doesn't feel like that is when I'm laying down. I try to take some of the tagaderm off from places that look healed up. Super painful. I head out to the drug store in search of a safe adhesive remover, a few hours later and no luck I return to try the manual method again. Eventually my wife comes in and helps me, much to my surprise is hurts much less if she does it. She heads to sleep after being exposed to gross open wounds, I let them air out for a while and then re-apply tagaderm in two places. Everything else is basically done.

Skip renaissance festival to rest leg. Then I come down with the 24-hourish bug that's been going through our house. During the day I notice the wound on my elbow is draining a lot of fluid, it's leaking out from the tagaderm. Super nasty. Also it hurts to have your sensitive elbow stuck to the sheets due to dried body goo.

Spend most of the morning in bed again mainly due to flu-y symptoms, 2 weeks of gimpy dad is starting to show signs on wear on my wife. She is such a trooper, apparently she had been sick during the week and didn't say anything, plus two sicks kids during the week. I start to move around the house, I can walk without limping, there is mild discomfort on the outside of my bum knee. We elect to take the tagaderm off my elbow, it's leaking all the time, we put some gauss on it to handle the flow of goo.

Take gauss off elbow wound in the shower, finish shower without it. Reapply band-aid, it's still leaking plenty. Leg feels very good, I feel like I can walk without a limp. Work goes well, the leg doesn't really bother me till work is almost done.

A quick evaluation of self:

  • Leg - Hurts a little, at this rate I could see myself perhaps jogging mid-to-late next week. The noticeable wound has gone from clean with a bit of yellow in the middle (apparently normal) to what appears to be scabbing over slightly. If you're a runner it feels almost like IT-band pain.
  • Elbow - A large deep opening still there, maybe as large as a quarter and probably deep enough to hold two. It's hard to imagine that healed up in the next couple of days. It's also sensitive to touch. The leaking tagaderm really irritated my skin, so there's a small amount of what I would describe as rash from that mess.
  • Arm - Mostly healed up, the scabs are being held in place by arm hairs, so they just sort of flake off throughout the day. There is a noticeable scrape though that looks raised, likely a small scar (2 or 3 inches long.) It's a little sensitive to touch. My muscles are feeling much better, no more soreness or stiffness.
  • Forehead - The scab fell off this morning after the shower, you can see where the wound was, probably over time it will fade to nothing. It feels fine.
  • Thumb - Looking pretty good, sensitive to touch, but getting easier to use it. I change the band-aid daily. Who knows how long it will take for the nail to grow back.

Where the head hole used to be

Regular sized band-aid on my thumb. Also in view a small scab.

Extra large band-aid on my arm

Leg wound, under tagaderm. You can also see some mostly healed road-rash

Back of my arm, everything but the line in the middle will eventually just flake off. Maybe by tomorrow or the next day

The rest is gone. In some ways it feels like I've come a long way in two weeks. In some ways this two weeks seemed to drag on forever. In some ways five weeks seems right around the corner.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Injury Update

It's been a full week. At this point last week I was on the ride that would eventually lead me to the hospital. Here's how the week has unfolded.

Spent all day in bed taking pain medicine, not really moving around much. I figured I might head back to work on Wednesday, the pain was pretty tolerable. Took a shower later in the day (no soap, just in the water long enough to get the bandages off - this pain wasn't tolerable.) Redressed the wounds since they were a little weepy. My wife washed my hair in the kitchen sink. Still planning on heading to work.

Woke up after 12 hours of no medication, OUCH. Did not got in to work, slept most of the day again.

Went to work. Many people told me to take it easy, perhaps go back home. Made it through the day with two pills spaced carefully around driving the car. Came home and passed out on the couch.

Headed over and met the bike group after their ride. Mainly just to say I'm ok, but it was also good to see them and talk a little about what happened. The guy who was in front of me Monday confirmed he hit the breaks pretty hard and that there was a little contact between our bikes, he said something about someone in front of him, but I didn't quite follow the story.

Woke up and took the bandages off in the shower replaced them with Tagaderm, the weeping seems to be done. My wife passed out once, perhaps as many as three times helping with that. Again the shower to remove the bandages was not tolerable. Came home, went to sleep again.

Ended up sleeping 13 hours overnight, mostly not taking any pain medication anymore, maybe one a day. My arm and leg are still very sore and stiff. Got the stitches out, the doc says its looking fine. Get the stitches out didn't tickle, came home and took some medicine to stop the throbbing.

Slept in a little, a normal night of sleeping. Took first real shower with soap and shampoo. Tagaderm protected me. It felt great to be clean again. Most of the rash pain is gone, now it's muscle soreness. I can use my right arm again. In order of worst to least pain (knee, thumb, shoulder.)

I took the bike out of the garage and looked at it. It doesn't appear to have any significant damage. The rear derailer has a large scrape, and the aerobar on the same side has a scrape on it. I checked to see if my SILs helmut will fit me. I am currently planning on doing Rev 3 at the end of October even if a PR is not within reach.

Another shower, took the band-aid off my old stitches site, it looks pretty minor up there now. All day in training at work. My arm is starting to itch under the Tagederm, but at least it's not pain. My leg gets pretty stiff during marathon sitting sessions. By the end of the day my leg basically doesn't bend, I might have to get a better chair tomorrow, or spend some time standing to keep it loose. The shoulder is feeling much better, the thumb doesn't throb, the head wound band-aid is off, and now the leg is the primary source of discomfort.

I've told the story a bunch over the last week. People are generous with their concern, I appreciate it.

For some reason I had thought I might be in a little better shape by today, maybe able to jog or take the bike out for a light (around the block) ride. Not today, probably not in the next few days. Do not worry, I won't push it, I had just sort of figured things would be on a little faster path. All in all, I'm on the mend, things are slowly moving back to normal.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The big bike accident

If I remember correctly, since I've owned my bike I've been in three accidents. Once I ran into a guy head on who jumped out of line as two lines of bikes were passing each other on a trail. Once I ran into a car who passed me and then turned in front of me, and then on Monday. Monday's was by far the worst.

The Setup
So I ride with the local bike group on Monday's and Thursday's, it's a good group to ride with. I like the people I ride with, and there's plenty of experience and talent to go around so I feel like the group is good at pushing me.

We headed out on a pretty normal ride, nothing too long. I imagine maybe we'd have gone 20 miles or so by the end. It was a route I was familiar with and a group I knew fairly well.

The Wreck
We were coming to the home stretch of the ride. Riding on a large shoulder of a pretty nice stretch of road. We were clipping along pretty well, we had a stiff breeze at our backs and the group was lined up basically single file, we were probably doing 25ish mph.

Then...the guy in front of me slowed down suddenly. I remember thinking, what the heck! I bumped his back wheel, slowed and moved a little to side to get off his wheel, then the guy behind me ran into me. I remember him saying something to the effect of "oh no" and ... that's all she wrote.

I'm pretty sure I didn't pass out. Though I am fuzzy about exactly what happened after that till my wife showed up. Here's what I can piece together.
  • I got up and walked out of the road into the grass, at this point i noticed a large amount of blood coming from my head
  • I remember wondering why my head hurt so much, I thought "what is the point in wearing a helmut if it's not going to protect my head" then I hoped I didn't have a huge crack in my skull.
  • Someone gave me a sock to hold on my head to stop the bleeding
  • Someone else tried a sock to my arm
  • I showed someone how to call my wife
  • I showed someone how to take my picture
On a trail after the crash. A guy said "you'll want a picture of this if you survive" I was very thankful to have been with the group at this point. They handled everything, and I do appreciate humor at times like this
  • I heard the group talking to the other guy who went down. Apparently his shoulder looked pretty messed up. He elected to ride back. I'll note that I'm pretty sure nobody figured I'd be riding back. I don't think anyone hesitated to call for a ride for me.
Also, a woman driving by stopped and offered help. I cannot stress enough how important and good I think it is that people stop when they see something wrong. This time we didn't need help, but the next time we might. I made a point to look straight at her and tell her thank you.

My wife showed up sometime later, they loaded the bike on the back of the van and I hobbled over and got in. At this point the guy who ran into the back of me came over, he looked pretty upset. I said something to the effect of "don't worry about it, this type of thing happens, and we're all going to be ok"

The Hospital
Not surprisingly when you show up looking like this
There's not a lot of waiting around. Also, I was having trouble not shaking. Here's the quick visual overview my wife got while waiting to get to the doctors
Damage to the jersey. Thats my right shoulder

Small scrapes on the heel of my right hand

Right arm

The major source of blood, that new hole in my head. Everything else on there washed off.
So they took me to the ER, a guy came in and put some numbing stuff on all my wounds, the doctor came in and said they'd give me a shot of morphine and then do some extra stuff around the thing on my head and my left thumb
It's hard to see here, but basically what happened is  that entire bloody part is where my thumb got ground down to nothing during the fall. This is by far the most painful injury I got.
The morphine was to help with the pain. The pain is hard to describe, it's basically like a constant burning/buzzing sensation and the pain would ripple through from the left to right in waves. It was to help that, but also to help numb me for the cleaning.

The Cleaning
An EMT came in soon after the morphine shot, she said something like "it's going to hurt no matter what, so I'm just going to get started." She was sort of no nonsense but also had a good sense of humor, so while I LISTENED to her scrub my wounds we had a little bit of laughs. Before she went to clean my thumb the doctor came back in and numbed it with more local pain killer and my forehead in preparation for stitches.

Right leg, just below my knee

Right arm just below my shoulder

Right elbow

Right side - there's quite a bit on the back too

After the extra blood was cleaned up, apparently this started bleeding again. By this point I can feel hardly anything
During the various cleaning stages people would ask me if we were riding in gravel. They'd say something like "I can't tell if this is dried blood or rocks" and my wife would say "I think those are rocks" and they were.

The Treatment
My right leg, elbow, arm and thumb just got bandaged. Anything that wasn't "open" didn't get anything. The hole in my head got 11 stitches. At some point my wife asked if we'd be getting prescribed pain killers when we left, the guy literally laughed and said "you'll get getting the good stuff."

By the point the doctor got to the stitches, I was pretty far gone. I probably would have fallen asleep if he wasn't using my face as a storage location for tools.

The Aftermath
So it's been two days, the pain killers are very effective. The first day I basically just zombied around, slept a ton. Toward the end of the day I figured I could stop taking the pain medication, the lesson there is if you think your painkillers aren't working, stop taking them. Yikes, I was in a world of hurt this morning. We've changed from the original dressings, we got some tagaderm using advice from my wife's uncles.

The good news is that apparently the road rash will heal quickly, and while I'll still have some muscle soreness for a while I'm very thankful that the worst thing to happen was some stitches.

I heard from the other guy who went down, he's got some sort of separation with his clavicle, but he's going to be alright too.

The stitches come out Saturday

Bandaged elbow and arm

Thumb wrapped

Leg wrapped
When I think back to what caused this accident I'm pretty sure there was an abrupt speed change ahead of me. When I think about my style of riding, I don't really like to follow too close, because people sort of weave and there's a natural pace change when you hit hills or grab for water or whatever. I don't feel like I was distracted or trying to push harder than the group was going. I did survive the bump with the guy in front of me, the guy behind me says he had been distracted a little, but honestly had we just been able to hold pace I think everything would have been fine. I've ridden with that guy a lot and I trust his riding style.

So my takeaway will be to try to be a little more vigilant about holding my line and pace. I did pop out of line a little bit when I hit the guy in front of me to avoid going down, who knows if that caused the second part of the crash.

The group of guys I was riding with handled every single thing for me. All I did was get myself out of the road, they fixed my bike, called my wife, found my stuff, fixed my sunglasses, came to my house and closed the garage door, stopped by the next day, sent emails, called. All in all, it was great. It's a great group to ride with, and to my knowledge this is the only crash they've had in the three years I've been riding with them. I will go back out with them (assuming it's not my riding that sucks and the don't want me back.)

Also to my wife who has let me be basically a sleeping zombie the last two days. It's not easy taking care of three little kids on your own and a gimpy husband. She sat for five hours in the hospital with me, she went and got me medicine, new bandages, changed my bandages, even washed my hair. I'm super lucky. She's fantastic!