Sunday, June 5, 2011

Do Things Happen for a Reason?

What do you do on a weekend that you were originally supposed to be racing but had to bail on because of injury? Usually I would have lamented and worried and fretted the entire weekend. But fortunately, THIS weekend was one that I should have originally stayed home for anyway. When I originally registered for the Mooseman 70.3, I was unaware of the awesome things I would miss if I left town this weekend. But thanks to a fractured rib, I was able to take part in them.

Friday night was Cleveland Metroparks Zoo's Dreamnight at the Zoo. Started in the Netherlands, it's an international event during which zoos are open in the evening to families of children with chronic illnesses and disabilities. It's an amazing evening to be a part of and I've always considered myself the luckiest person there because I get to photograph all of it. Trying to capture Dreamnight on camera is no easy task, but I find great reward in witnessing, up-close, the wonder and enjoyment that these children experience - as well as the thoughtfulness and caring Zoo staff that makes it all possible. By the end of this year's Dreamnight, I was almost in tears.

The second event that I would have missed had I been in New Hampshire this weekend was the annual fundraiser Bowling for Rhinos. Yes, it's another Zoo event, but this one is for the local chapter of the American Association of Zookeepers to raise money for rhino conservation. Unfortunately, I was unable to bowl (thanks to the rib thing), but it was just as fun to spend an evening eating junk food (pizza and cheese balls) and hanging with some of my very best friends from the Zoo.

But all great weekends come to and end and Sunday was when the reality of not racing Mooseman hit. Of course, I had to check the race results... only to find that my time from last year would have placed me first in my age group. And this year it looks like they had a much better day (no race-long downpour).

And for those interested in how my injury is progressing... The official diagnosis after an x-ray is "fractured third rib with minimal displacement." It could have been more than one rib. It could have been maximally displaced (as was the case with my previous broken rib in 2008). Is it coincidental that Ironman champ Chrissie Welllington also crashed her bike and broke a rib only two weeks prior? (Hmmm... I completely understand her statement "just don't make me laugh" as that's one of the most painful things along with coughing and sneezing.)

But the rib has slowed me down a bit, and the only thing I've been able to comfortably do is ride my bike on the trainer. Yesterday, I installed the Real Course Video for Ironman Lake Placid and rode most of it while watching all of Jurassic Park on TV. Strangely enough, three hours went by much faster than I thought it would.

This position might be more comfortable in the future,
thanks to my rib.
After my ride, I attempted to run for the first time in five days and found out exactly how bad it feels to run with a broken rib in heat and humidity after five days off after a three hour bike ride. I quit after a few miles and found myself completely discouraged and down. I'm very concerned about what it's going to take to get back in shape just to FINISH my next race. And I found myself wondering how I was able to complete an Ironman only four weeks ago. And it's difficult to stay focused on the real goal - Kona in October - when I previously had high hopes for summer races this year.

But in spite of my worries, I've been looking for the positives, and so far, I've found two good side effects of my broken rib. The first was that I was able to reconnect with my one of my favorite people, my orthopod, Dr. Sam Patterson. And the second is that the only really comfortable position I can get in on the bike is the aero position. That should count for something right?

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