G and I met up in our matching outfits for Columbia Muddy Buddy Richmond.
We were ready to race and once we saw the rest of our age group, ready to win. As the race started, G jumped on the bike. Two minutes later, I set off on foot. We would swap at the first exchange point after climbing an 8 foot wall.
When I got to the obstacle, I had passed all but one or two of the other runners. I climbed the wall and thought, "This is insane. There is no way I am doing this again." Then, I hopped over to the other side, found our bike and took off.
100 meters later, I crashed.
Total user error.
I tried to slow down, but instead, I flipped the bike. All I could think was "duck and roll." So, that's what I did. I protected my head. And smashed my shoulder. Initially, I tried to get up and continue. Then I looked over at my shoulder. And it looked like this ...
|Total AC Separation|
I walked back to the first exchange, was carted off the course and rushed to the ER.
G, who had no clue this had happened, waited at the next exchange until another runner told her I wasn't coming.
It was horrible.
And I was in pain.
10 days later, I had my shoulder reconstructed. That would be the last day my shoulder held me back.
18 days after my surgery, I ran a 5K in a sling.
6 months later, I ran two marathons in one week.
11 months to the day after my crash, I finished my first Half Ironman.
And this morning, one year to the day, I cut my 70.3 Athlete Wristband off.
I wore it for an entire month. It signified how far I had come since last May and reminded me of how much further I want to go.
That crash changed me.
Am I over it? No
Do I ride without fear? No
Am I pain-free? No
Does any of that really matter? Not one bit.
It's just another thing to help define me as a person and an athlete ...