On July 23, 2016 at 2:30 pm, four weeks out from Ironman CdA, I was hit by a car.
I’ve had a hard time writing this post. Why? I’m not really sure. It has taken me almost three weeks to write it, doing a little bit here and there. It seems as though even though I have a lot I could say on the matter I am not sure that I even want to. Its been three weeks of people continually asking me how I am doing? What happened? How are you feeling? When are you going to be back? Are you angry?
Three weeks of being reminded over and over how incredibly lucky I am in regards to the accident. Three weeks of feeling as though my frustrations, slight anger, fatigue, and sometimes complaining attitude is unwarranted because well, I was really blessed.
Don’t get me wrong I am very aware and beyond thankful, grateful, happy, or whatever tag you want to put on that emotion for how I came out of the accident. I was blindsided by a car and the only injury I suffered was a hairline fracture, a SEVERE sprain, a nasty wound on my leg, and a few other minor bumps and bruises. A guardian angle was by my side on the day of the accident and I will be the first one to tell you how blessed I am for that.
Despite the extreme gratitude (there are not words to describe my blessings) the last two weeks have been a bit dark for me. After months and months of hard work, hours and hours of training, rehabbing my hip after surgery, the money, and the sacrifice put into this training for Ironman CdA it was taken away from me in an instant all because someone was not paying attention.
Some people have asked me to describe the accident so that they could learn… it kind of makes me sad that immediately the first thought was that myself, as the biker, was at fault. Whether that means they immediately thought I was riding in the dark, riding to far into the road, swerving, or thinking as many do that despite the fact that bikers are supposed to follow the same flow of traffic as a car they are not meant to actually be on the road.
As I strongly believe in always learning from things this is something that there is nothing to learn from, it was a complete accident. The lady simply was not paying attention to the road and did not see me.
I dislike riding in traffic. So most of my rides are down out in the less populated areas and out in the wheat field roads of Spokane so as to stay away from traffic. However, in order to get to those areas I have to spend about 5-10 minutes riding on a busy street. This is an area that I ride about 4 times a week, and have been riding for 2-4 times a week for the past two years. Its a busy intersection where there are two lanes going west and two lanes going east with not much shoulder, however the lanes are big and its not so busy that if you are in one lane you are stuck in it (lets face it North Spokane is just not that busy). I was at the very end of my 50 ish mile ride and mentally preparing myself to head of for a 5 mile run.
I remember this motorcycle passing me in the left hand lane, it had an American flag waving on the back of it. Next thing I knew I had been hit. You know that sound of a car being crushed, or maybe you’ve been in a fender bender and that sound of a car hitting another car? That’s the same sound I heard as I was ripped off my bike.
Next thing I knew I was on the ground panicking that I was just about to fully run over by another oncoming car. I told myself had to get out of the road, because in my head all I could see was my body being crushed under another car.
I was taken to the emergency room after the accident for x-rays on my ankle and to confirm that nothing else was injured.
Three to four hours after the accident I was crutching my way out of the emergency room.
Three weeks later:
Three weeks later I am finally able to start walking and moving away from being on crutches.
The trauma of the accident caused my nervous system to go haywire and I spent the first two weeks in pretty considerable discomfort.
However, the most difficult part has been balancing that anger that I mentioned with the knowledge of how grateful I was. Balancing the blessed feeling of walking away from the accident but also the anger of having something I’ve worked so hard for to be taken away from me.
Going from 120 % to 0-10% has been tough. I went from training 20-30 hours a week on top of working 40-45 hours a week to only working (though this past week I have been able to start getting more into a work out routine again). It has been hard for me to deal with and honestly it has taken almost two full weeks for me to get a hold of the emotions and back into a positive emotional space rather than a negative one.
Being more mobile the last couple days has helped a lot with my mental state. The mobility and decrease in pain has reminded me that I’m not out; I may be down for a few but I’m not out.
As I mentioned I am back in the gym now and yesterday had what I would call my first actual workout, in which my heart rate was up and I felt like I was lifting to build not just make the movements. With the swelling down, being able to walk, and range of motion improving I am looking forward to the progress that will be made in the next couple of weeks. Due to the fracture there will be no running until 6 weeks after the accident, no matter how good it feels (unless given the all clear by the doctor).
Currently, I am shooting to race in November at Ironman Arizona, as I signed up for that in order to hopefully get a race in before the end of the year since Ironman CdA was taken from me. However, this will depend on the next month. If rehab goes well it is in my grasp however I will not risk my long term abilities just for a race so it will depend on that.
Lastly, I want to thank everyone who has supported me through this. Everyone who reached out and provided their thoughts, prayers, and well wishes. Thank you to my husband for dealing with me as I’ve figured out how to cope with the injury, for getting up early to help me get to PT, for always bringing me a pillow, for letting me be frustrated and angry, and for always being a shoulder to lean on. To my parents who remind me every day how loved I am. To my in-laws who have been there with love, support, and understanding. There are so many thanks and gratitudes that I have that I could spend hours providing them to everyone. I am beyond grateful (again there aren’t enough words to describe) for the love and support everyone has given. It has helped me to crawl out of my negativity and keep me moving even when I was frustrated.
Thank you everyone for helping to keep me strong.