Sunday, November 23, 2008

Clearwater Race Report!

FINALLY right? Here's the thing though... I'm NOT dragging this one out over 12 days! Maybe 10... but NOT 12. There's just TOO much good stuff to gloss-over... mostly before the race even begins. The unfortunate thing is that this whole story is best told with me standing in front of you animating the entire thing! But... you'll just have to settle on the written form.


Erich and I piled into the car at 3:00 am on Wednesday the 5th to head up to Portland. The flights were cheaper and more direct from there! Normally this is about an hour and a half drive... but for some reason... it took us a full 2 hours! As a result... we didn't pull into the economy lot until 5:00 am! With a flight leaving at 6 am... we were a bit... uh... pressed for time! Of course, we had the slowest shuttle driver on EARTH! We got to the counter just fine and got all checked in... by an extremely efficient agent I might add. SO... we were on our way!

I had to make a quick pit-stop before heading security. I set my boarding pass up on the little shelf, glanced down, and... WAIT! This isn't MY boarding pass!!!! This isn't MY destination!!! You can't even fathom what ran through my head at that moment. Luckily, I remembered to zip up and took off at a dead sprint to the ticket counter. Trying to remain as calm as possible, I shove my way to the counter and the "efficient" agent. Listen to this little exchange:

Me: "You gave me the wrong boarding pass... my bag AND bike are going to ATLANTA."
Agent: "Why didn't you check it while you were here at the counter?"
Me: (pregnant pause) Are you FREAKIN KIDDING ME!??? You need to get your fanny over there, get my bags, and get me on the right flight NOW!"

Luckily, she only blinked once and then sprang into action. She was able to stop my bike from heading to the wrong plane but my gear bag was nowhere in sight.

Me: (very quietly... close to her ear)... Find. My. Bag. Get. It. To. Tampa.
Agent: Ok... but you need to go catch your plane. I'll take care of it.

BAM! I'm gone! I am sprinting at full speed through the airport, heading toward security... wearing Crocs on my feet. Uh huh. Crocs. My shoulder bag, (yes, man-purse), is slung over my left shoulder and I notice that it's unzipped... my wallet, keys, iPod etc. are all in there so I twist my torso to the left and reach across my body to zip it up. As I'm doing this I take a sharp right turn... and my feet fly out from under me. I go down HARD... the entire weight of my body landing on my right shoulder... completely dislocating it. Yeah. You read right. White hot pain. Blinding light. Sweat immediately pouring down my face. I'm 15 feet away from security, on my knees, unable to stand. About a half-dozen TSA personel rush over, I can hear them calling for paramedics, one agent leans down and rubs my back, telling me everything is going to be ok.

Me: "Stop talking. Don't. Touch. Me"

All of a sudden, another voice, like an angel, "My husband is an orthopedic surgeon. He's right here. Can he help you?" Hell yes! The doctor asks me how he can help.

Me:"Reduce this. NOW!I'mracingintheIronmanWorldChampionship70.3onSaturdayandIhavetocatchmyplane."

He knows what he's doing but despite his best efforts, he can't get it back into the socket. I stand to give him a better angle and he gently guides it back into place. INSTANT relief!

Doctor: "You're not going to race on Saturday."
Me: "Uh. Yes I am."

I'm so jacked on adrenaline I don't feel a freakin thing. I thank the doctor, ask him for his card and grab the nearest TSA agent.

Me: "Get me through security NOW! My plane leaves in 10 minutes and I'm not missing it."

This nice lady, the same one I told to stop talking and not to touch me... helped me with my bag, my belt, my shoes and got me through security. I took off at another full sprint toward my gate. I threw my boarding pass at the ticket dude and continued my sprint down the ramp afraid of loosing momentum. Finding my seat, I see Erich, comfortably sitting in his seat, looking at me like a hog staring at a wristwatch. I'm cradling my right arm with my left, I'm deathly pale, and I'm soaked in sweat.


I shuffle to the rear of the aircraft and ask the flight attendants for ice and ibuprofen. We had to connect through Salt Lake City so for the next hour and a half I iced and drugged as best I could. I kept testing my shoulder's mobility... and was becoming increasingly dejected. Man. How could this happen? Can I race? If I do, will I injure myself further? How will this impact my next season? TOTAL flood of emotion. Barely holding it in check throughout the entire flight. In a word... it sucked ASS.

Once we landed I sent Liz a text, "I dislocated my shoulder but made my flight." and Bigun, "Bring a sling and some ice. I dislocated my shoulder". Then called my wife. Her reaction?"Huh? Wha? You did WHAT?" LOL! Classic. Called another friend who COMPLETELY said the exact right things and calmed me considerably. VERY thankful for that. Hm. I was able to grab some zip-lock bags from the security guys for ice and buy more iduprofen before jumping on the flight to Tampa. Believe it or not, I was relatively comfortable during the 4 hour flight. I kept ice on my shoulder 30 minutes out of every hour the entire way and worked my liver overtime with 1000 mg of ibuprofen. I was encouraged to find that about 2 hours into the flight I could raise my arm above my head without an excruciating amount of pain.

Finally landed in Tampa and Bigun met us at the gate... grabbing my bag, giving me a sling, and generally being a mother-hen. Sent another series of texts... the first to Liz, "Its ON! Bring the disk!". I was very optimistic at this point. I could move my arm, my bag AND my bike had arrived unscathed, and Bigun brought me pain medication. Things were lookin up!

Whew... that's all I got for the day. So much for not dragging this out. More tomorrow. In the meantime...



kt said...

Dude! Seriously? Geez.

Al said...

OMFG!!! It's epic already and you just got there. I guess crocs aren't the best running shoes for traction.

IronJenny said...

All that could never happen in real life. You totally made all that up. No WAY could that happen to one person that fast. NO WAY!!!

And if it DID happen, you gotta start calling Mark "St. Bigun".


you are one lucky guy! How's the shoulder?