Sunday, July 1, 2012

Something happened and... broke

Two weeks without blogging, something must have happened to provide a good excuse for such an interruption... Indeed, for those not following me on Facebook, I'm writing this post with one hand and not even the good one: I broke my right shoulder two weeks ago and it is so slow and painful to type that I saved all the keystrokes for work-related emails and chats...

What happened? I was 200 yards from the end of a wonderful 39-mile training run on the Tahoe Rim Trail from Tahoe Meadows to Tahoe City when I hit a rock and felt flat in the dust of the single track. I was tired from a busy week and a couple of very short nights. Furthermore, and despite carrying 140 oz. of water at the start, I lack water in the last 5 miles. More than the heat, it seemed like both the elevation (7,000-10,300 ft) and the slow pace (12:45 min/mile) made me drink more than usual for this 8-hour run. Anyway, it happened so quick that I had already the head in the dust when I realized I had tripped. Too late to react, I let it go and felt it actually went smoothly overall. I was carrying the trail map in my left hand and the map had more scratches than a couple I got on my fingers. Just one scratch on my left hamstring and a few drops of blood, that was it for the legs, no shock, no pain, phew! There was one problem though: when I stood up, my right arm stayed along my body; it wasn't so painful I couldn't move it, yikes...! I walked the last 200 yards down to the trail head in Tahoe City, then the road to the next gas station where I bought one bottle of Coke and one ice cream. I then walked to the bus station to catch the bus to Incline Village where I was staying. A few hours later, albeit with pain, I was able to move my arm in a few directions except raising it laterally. The next day, I drove back to Cupertino (with Greg handling the gearshift...) and stopped by the Emergency Care where an x-ray showed a double fracture of the outside part of the head of the humerus.
No wonder why I had so much pain and difficulty raising my arm, this is the part a bunch of ligaments are using as a short lever to exercise tens of pounds of traction...
Before this incident, I actually took more than 100 pictures from this aerial section above Incline Village, Nevada. I also took a few movies and shots from an helicopter ride above the TRT section which we will run on August 13, at the start of our group attempt at the speed record for the whole TRT (165 miles under 38.5 hours). See in my Picasa album.

29,700 miles in my running log without any major injury, that was quite an achievement which I was quite proud of to show that running could be intense yet sustainable. All these 15 years, I worked at avoiding issues in my lower body and didn't think my running could be interrupted by a shoulder injury... But, two weeks after the accident, the pain is so bad that even a slow walk is painful. This is when you realize how complex and sophisticated our body is, and that all joints participate to our body movements. I'm glad though that the surgeon opted for a shoulder immobilization instead of surgery as this allowed me to fly to France to celebrate my Dad's 90th last weekend then to Greece for our annual family vacation in the Peloponnese. Visiting this country was a childhood dream for me and I'm astonished by the kindness of the Greeks who welcomed us in Delphi, Olympia, Naupli and Athens.

Here I am, faking running on the original Olympic stadium in Olympia:
And in Delphi:
And Epidaurus:
Greece is definitely the origin of the Track and Field that we still enjoy so much 26 centuries later...

Before driving to Tahoe, I was able to attend Scott Jurek's book signing for his newly released Eat & Run.

Talk to you next week from the Alps, with better news of my shoulder hopefully... And congrats to all the finishers of this year's unusually cool Western States, in particular Vespa leader Tim Olson who set a new course record of 14:46!


Scott Dunlap said...

Yikes! Hope you are healing fast. TRT claims another!

Anonymous said...

Excellente narration de ton "aventure" !

Unknown said...

That's just nasty. Hope it's healed at this point. I guess this is a good case of why we shouldn't take the seemingly slightest injuries in stride because the damage can run deep, and, in fact, will.

Kristal @ Colorado Orthopedic Consultants