Friday, October 10, 2008

Charoleau Gap run recap and an injury update

Well, I am finally getting around to posting a report from the Charoleau Gap run, which was last Saturday, October 4th. First, an update on the aftermath of the accident:

While I'm certainly not feeling 100%, I am feeling a little bit better. I am still on pain medication - having screws in your bone is pretty painful - but I'm taking less and less as time goes on. I sleep an awful lot. The doctor won't release me to go back to work until my follow-up appointment, which is on Monday, October 20th, my 41st birthday. At that time, I'll get my stitches out and the doc will take a look at a new set of x-rays to see how the bone-knitting process is coming along. I'm anxious to get to that appt., because that will determine my activity level for the next 4-6 weeks. I'm already planning on getting a stationary bike, and hope that I can really get to town on training on that. At this point, I don't miss running very much, but I know that once my energy level returns, I'll be itching to get active again. I know it will still be at least the middle of November before I can run again, but feel confident that I can keep up some of my fitness level until then.

Typing takes about 10 times longer than usual, since my dominant hand is non-functional, but I hope to be able to respond to all of the e-mails I have received sometime this week. My mother (my mother!) told me I could turn the properties of my computer mouse around, which makes it much easier to type and post and edit pictures with my left hand only. Thanks, Mom!

The outpouring of love and offers to help have been overwhelming and have reminded me of how good I really have it. Kenny left for Silverton on Friday morning, and won't return until Monday, so I've already been taking people up on their offers. Kenny was in Santa Fe last Saturday when my accident happened; his plan was to head up to Silverton for a second load (mostly his work equipment) after the weekend. Of course, my accident changed his plans, and he quickly drove back late Saturday night and was there at the hospital Sunday morning in time for my surgery. However, he really needs to get back to work, since he has a bunch of local art shows coming up, and with no tools, he was dead in the water. We felt I was pretty stable, so he went ahead and went (I actually showered and washed my hair all by myself yesterday - one handed!) He has had the never-ending job of taking care of me all week, and has done a fabulous job.
Okay, onto the fun that precipitated the predicament I'm in now...

I joined the Tucson Trail Runners for a run last Saturday out at Charoleau Gap. I was planning on doing about 15-18 miles, depending on how I felt. About 8 of us left right at dawn (Joyce left a little earlier), with everyone doing varied distances. This is a 4-wheel drive road, so we were starting early to try and beat the traffic. It is an out and back, heading into the Catalina Mountains on a very rocky road, although some parts were nice and sandy, too.
I was behind Wayne for much of the first hour, but he turned around due to some pain he was having. I finally made it to the 'Gap' around 1.5 hours in, which is about 6.7 miles out. The last mile or so to this point was very rocky and tiring. This is a crossroads for other trails, which I'll have to save for another day. I decided to go further, which is downhill - a welcome break. I went another 2 miles and turned around. On the way back, I ran into Joyce, who was working on 19 miles, and we took turns swapping pictures. It was really pretty on the other side of the Gap. After passing the Gap on the way back to the trailhead, it was all downhill, although the rockiness slowed me down a lot (looked like ZG territory in some spots!)
There were tons of yellow wildflowers along the road:
So, I was just about at 14 miles when I had stopped for a moment to snap some pics. Right at that time, along comes Joel, one of the TTR runners. I snapped his picture, and chatted with him as we walked down a rocky, steep spot. I was walking slowly down this spot when my foot skidded on some sand/gravel, and I lost my footing and slipped from an upright position to the rock underneath me. Before I hit the ground, I unwittingly put my right hand behind me. As Joel passed me, I landed on the ground to the sound of "snap!" I matter-of-factly told Joel, "I broke my wrist'. I pulled my right arm around with my left and showed Joel, who instantly suggested I sit down. I was so bummed! The skin wasn't broken, but my hand was sitting at a weird 45 degree angle to my wrist, so there was no doubt in my mind that I had broken it. I was so glad Joel was there - I kept apologizing for ruining his run. We noticed a man and woman with a 4-wheeler parked about 100 yards ahead. Joel ran and asked the guy if he would take me back to the trailhead, which was about 3 miles out from where we were. I was very calm and so thankful that I didn't have to walk back! I was having some signs of mild shock, including some shallow breathing, but for the most part, I didn't freak out. My arm really hurt getting bumped around on the 4-wheeler on the way back, but I wasn't complaining! God was certainly taking care of me that day - what luck to have Joel show up at the moment that I needed him, and if it had been 2 minutes later, the people on the 4-wheeler would have been headed back and we would have not seen them. I had been running alone for most of the run until then. How strange.

Although this picture was taken on the way out when Wayne C. was in front, it shows the approximate spot that I had my accident: Joel called 911, so the ambulance was waiting to take me to the ER when we got to the trailhead. A lot of the TTR people were there and were so wonderful to me. I was having so much fun until it happened! See Joyce's account of the run, too.
I'm glad to know that in the face of adversity, pain, and calamity, that I'm able to stay calm. I would like to take a Wilderness Medicine course in the coming year; as much as I'm out in remote areas, I think that is a skill that would be good to have. It is one thing to injure myself, but I want to know what to do to help a fellow runner if they get injured, too. I was worried that the whole 'medicine' thing would gross me out, but I think I'll be able to stay calm enough to help someone out. We'll see! I have been thinking about it since my last accident, so I'll have to see where the courses are offered.
Thanks again to all of my friends and family who have loved me and prayed for me. I know I will heal quickly and be back out there in no time.


HappyTrails said...

Whew! I am so glad you are starting to feel better - it sounds so painful - I was getting queasy reading about it! Hopefully you will get good news from the doc (a birthday wish!). Keep your chin up and remeber lots of people are thinking of and praying for a speedy recovery! BTW, the pics are gorgeous as always!

RunningTroysLife said...

glad your feeling a bit better. :)

Joyce said...

I had no idea about the previous accident - ouch! Don't hesitate to call or email if I can do anything for you!

HappyTrails said...

I almost forgot - if you do get a stationary bike and if you would like to have a video to guide you through a workout, I would highly recommend getting the CTS "Mountain Bike" (Carmichal Training Systems) video or dvd. It is an hour long interval session and will keep you well conditioned for trail running. It is put out by Lance Armstrong's coach, Chris Carmichal. You can probably pick it up at a good local bike shop. We utilize a couple of their videos during the winter when it is too grim and cold to get outside!:-)