I know that I am not the first person to break a collarbone.
In fact, on the day I went into surgery, the doctor had 3 other collarbone surgeries that morning. Two others caused by biking accidents, one caused by a motorcycling accident.
But I’m a baby. And I am scared.
To backtrack: I had just gone out riding with my wife for a recovery ride the day after finishing the Caesar Creek Triathlon. It was a slow, easy ride, just moving on a hot day.
I wish I had a great story for how it happened. I don’t. We had just finished talking aero bars, and whether or not we thought we would like them. I was moving down from the upper position of my handlebars into the lower position, and I think subconsciously I dropped my elbows in a way that replicated the way aero bars would feel. At least I kind of remember that in my mind. Next thing I know, I was swerving and wobbling, terrified that if I fell left, I would take out Marie. So I may have purposely fell right. But I’m not sure. It happened in a fraction of a second.
Next thing I know I’m on the ground. I’m guessing I was going 17mph, and hit the ground with both my shoulder and my head. I vaguely remember yelling “Shit balls” but Marie swears I didn’t actually say anything. I remember looking up through the trees and thinking: at least I’m in the shade.
Somehow I rolled/crawled/walked to the side of the road. I don’t remember getting there. I just remember lying at the side of the road instead of in the middle, and my wife telling me to “Suck it up, Alayna!” My daughter has a flair for the dramatic, and I know Marie was joking, trying to distract me. But I hurt. I actually don’t remember hurting this much ever in my life.
She decided that I need to go the emergency room. I hate hospitals and avoid doctors whenever humanly possible. I don’t argue with her. I cannot move my right arm. At all. And I have cracked my helmet.
Then the real conundrum: what do we do? We’re six miles from the car. One of my shoulders is clearly lower than the other. I’m lying in pain on the side of the road; my head is just inches from the white line. I can’t stand up. Hell, I can’t sit up. I have to pee. She doesn’t want to leave me to ride back to get the car. I can’t possibly get up and trek 6 miles on foot hauling a bike.
Marie has thought to pack her phone, thankfully, because I never do. We call her mom. Luckily she answers. Logic tells me it is at least a 20 minute drive to where we are. I swear she was there in 5.
The rest goes as expected: ER visit. X-rays. A collarbone shattered into 10 pieces. An orthopedic specialist tells me surgery is my only option. A lucky opening in the OR the next day. A silly journey to Oxford for surgical clearance from my family doctor (by the same, kind mother-in-law)… And BOOM!
I’m down for the count. I cannot do anything. No running or biking for at least 8 weeks. No exercise. No using my right arm. I can sleep in an inclined position, on my back, propped up by an army of pillows, resting.
Forget the rest of the races I’ve signed up for this season. Or the entire first floor renovation of our house we’re in the midst of. I must sit on my butt and rest, while my body grows a new clavicle. Awesome.
But mostly I am just scared about my weight. This is certainly not the way to maintain a weight loss. I know it sounds pathetic, but at this point in my journey, I am still afraid every day of losing my motivation, and more importantly afraid of getting fat.
When I started running, I didn’t take a day off for the first 6 months. I was afraid that if I didn’t do it, I might never come back to it. Granted, I’d trimmed it to a more reasonable 4 times a week. But now I’m terrified that I will put on my running shoes in six weeks, trying to run off the 20 pounds I will inevitably gain, and will have absolutely no motivation. I’m not sure my ego can sustain having to start over again.
For the past two and a half years I have never, ever gone more than 2 days without exercising. I’m now on day 17. It is killing me.