One year ago tonight I was newly installed in the Geneva, NY hospital bed where I’d spend the next six days. I was fresh out of a neck brace – thankfully I had no spinal injuries – and still refusing pain medication beyond ibuprofen. That ended about 2am when I swore that both an elephant and the sun had taken up residence in my midsection. The two pelvic fractures, one to my right pubic bone and the other to my right acetabulum, took a few months to heal, and then began the long process of teaching all of my muscles and tendons to remember one another…and then to learn to like one another.
The accident and the ensuing few weeks were undoubtedly painful. I’d never felt pain so excruciating, and I’m pretty sure the hospital staff thought of me as “that chick who screams when you try to move her.” The recovery process has also involved its share of pain…but it’s also shown me in undeniable, tangible terms both that healing wants to happen and that I can help it along. In different terms, forgiveness is offered over and over – life wants to rise out of death – and all I have to do is accept it.
So out of that pain has come an awakening for which I can’t give enough thanks. And Saturday, racing the A Tri in the Buff sprint, was the party. 🙂 My mom and dad came to visit for the holiday weekend, and luckily Dad took some photos with his cool (really complicated looking) new camera.
My first goal was to get to the starting line healthy. My nutrition plan – highly influenced by the folks at The Core Diet – worked fantastically, and I hit the start line with good energy and a settled gut. After a whole week of working through pain in my Achilles and arches, they were finally feeling good enough to go. A few niggles, but nothing bad as long as I paid attention to them during the race.
The second and third goals, respectively, were to finish healthy and to push myself. Done and done. Crossed the finish line completely spent, uninjured, and in a good place with nutrition. Yeah! My final goal was to beat my times & paces from Keuka last year, and I did with the overall time, the swim time, and the bike time (but not pace).
Swim – 18:06 – 7/13 AG
The swim was the part I was most nervous about, but I found a good rhythm and was happy to be able to stay with a group of swimmers. Stayed on another person’s feet for the first time during a swim, but I have no idea if this helped. I’m not going to lie; the swim was exhausting! But I got there without stopping and with pretty good form, I think. This was awesome motivation to keep working on my swim…which is good because I have a challenging one in the pool tomorrow morning. 🙂
T1 – 3:02 – 10/13 AG
I’m slow in transition. I need to work on this! Had my (cool fluorescent Train This colored aero) helmet adjusted too tight and had to take a couple of tries to get it on. And I persist with wearing socks because…I’ve never tried going without. And I haven’t practiced this much. So there is free speed waiting here.
Bike! – 41:44 – 4/13 AG
I like my bike. This was just FUN. Found a rhythm, made it hurt, kept going. Held my heart rate at a good place, managed to take my gel and sports drink as planned, and generally felt strong. Averaged 18.3 mph, which is good for me right now. I averaged 1 mph faster at Keuka last year, but my Keuka bike time was longer…so the course there must be longer?
T2– 1:41 – 11/13 AG
Sheesh. Slow again. I still have normal laces on my shoes…and I probably mentioned that I haven’t practiced my transitions much. Again, more free speed to be had.
Wow. This hurt. I rode hard, and having only done 2 T runs (runs after biking) since my accident, I’m not really used to them. But kept the frame strong, paid attention to how my feet landed, and kept picking them up. Achilles and arches didn’t complain, or at least they were quieter than my quads, hamstrings, core, and cardiovascular system. Pace was a little bit slower than at Keuka and at my 5K a month ago…but I am happy with the run. I was completely spent at the finish and totally happy to have laid it out there.
Total time 1:33:56 – 6/13 AG. Faster than Keuka by about 2.5 minutes, for whatever that’s worth, given differing courses and conditions.
This past year has been an amazing, difficult, inspiring journey for me. It won’t stop just because 365 days have passed, but I just want to say at this point, THANK YOU to my parents, family, friends new and old too numerous to list, my physical therapist Geoff Grell, and my coach Mary Eggers for helping me through the valleys and enjoying the view with me from the peaks. I am truly fortunate and can’t wait to see what NEXT July looks like.