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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Steamboat 09 - The End of My Shoulder

Part of the offseason is going on vacation and enjoying time away from swim, bike, run. This was my goal in my trip with friends out to Colorado to snowboard in the mountains for a weekend, absolutely no swim, bike, run of any sorts, no conversations, no physical work, no reading articles, no nothing. That is exactly what came out of the weekend as well and it was a great break from everything. There was however, a minor hiccup in the vacation...

We set out late Tuesday night after work for our drive to Colorado. First, we had to get to Madison to get the "Red Baron" (the name we gave the minivan) and to pickup Dana. This normally takes about 90 minutes, but we were leaving in the middle of a huge snowstorm and it ended up taking us just a little over 3 hours. Throw in digging out the car twice just blocks away from our destination in Madison, and we did not leave the city until 6am. The venture took us until about 1am the following day to reach Denver. We drove through the entire blizzard that wrapped through the midwest passing countless cars and trucks stuck in ditches along the way, be we had no problems! The following day we set out to drive through the rockies on I-40 to reach Steamboat. The drive was absolutely amazing, and I felt very lucky to be sitting shotgun and not driving so that I could really soak in all that we were seeing. A late check in, a trip to the grocery store, and a quick purchase of helmets and we were all set for 3 days of fresh powder in the rocky mountains.

The first day of boarding for us brought us to start on the smallest hill so that we could "get back in the groove" since this was our first time all year out on the snow. A few trips down and we were set to take the gondola to the first mountain peak of the resort. A few rides down and we were really enjoying ourselves, the snow was not as great as we had expected and still a lot of ice presented itself but we thought nothing of it and kept enjoying the ride down the mountain, and then BAM! I caught a front edge on my board and went flying forward. After landing i got my bearings and thought that I had just got the wind knocked out of me. When I caught up with the gang I knew something was wrong but thought that I would wait until we got to the base to look things over.

When we got to the base and I took my coat off it was apparent that some damage had been done to my arm and shoulder. I quickly ran over to the Ski Patrol office to get checked out and they sent me to get X-Rays at the local hospital. Once I got the the hospital they looked at my shoulder and took some X-Rays. Four pictures later and my weekend was done with a dislocated shoulder and fractured arm. I tried snowboarding the following day and could only muster a couple of hours on the mountain. The rest of my weekend was followed by drinking heavily and enjoying the "nightlife" of Steamboat. We headed back a day early on Sunday as another huge storm was coming our way and we wanted to beat it out.

We got home Monday morning and my doctors apt was the following morning. More X-Rays and an MRI that I slept through and the fractured was shown again. The doctor estimated my return to normalcy with a window of 2-3 months! While I think that I will hopefully regain full mobility of my arm and shoulder by the end of Janurary, I now have to sit around and really not do too much until my body heels.

I guess there is something to learn here and take from this unfortunate experience. Patience is something that every athlete needs to have in an Ironman. You really need to be patient with your body and wait for that time to attack in the race. You hammer to early the bike and you'll blow up on the marathon, you wait to long on the run and you'll finish with something left in your tank. Patience I believe is one of those "secrets" to racing a great race. Now that I am sidelined for a month or three it is time for me to learn something about patience. I am hoping that me being patient with my body now and waiting for everything to heal correctly, that I can transfer that patience to the day of Ironman and being patient with when I want to push myself to my limits so that when I cross that line I leave nothing in the tank.

So for the next month while I am supposed to be in the weight room, working on my stroke, and getting a long run in once a week I will be writing my entire training program for Ironman, picking my race schedule, and mentally preparing for the upcoming season. You sometimes have to deviate from your race plan and improvise along the way and that time is now. I say bring on 2010!

Have a safe and happy holidays!


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