Tag Archives: bike

Can’t catch a break

Actually, that’s exactly my problem. I did catch a break. In my radius and ulna, that is.

I had my first cycling incident this weekend. I was out with a couple of ladies in Apex, ridingstephanie hughes splint broken arm radius ulna bones stolen colon crohns ostomy blog through some of the back roads. We were having a lovely time, it wasn’t too cold and it was the first long bike ride I had done in a while.

We were on our way back and had ridden about 8.5 miles when we had to climb up a small hill. Nothing too big, but as I made my way up I needed to downshift. But when I shifted, my chain locked up. I thought it had actually come off at the time, but either way, I had to stop. Unfortunately, right at that moment I had a truck driving pass me, so I couldn’t step off to my left. I had to step off towards the shoulder, but there wasn’t any shoulder… only a ditch.

It was a slow fall. I didn’t fall hard, but it was a bit of a ways to go. Instinctively, I put my hand out to catch myself, but it was farther of a fall than I anticipated, so I think I braced myself for something shorter. As soon as I went to get up I realized something was wrong. My hand was already swelling and I didn’t even dare to try to rotate it.

The ladies came to help me up and even made me a splint out of a portable bike pump. I could still wriggle my fingers, so at least I knew I still had circulation. I called Jarrod to come pick me up to go to the emergency room. It was awful that we were so far away, but he got there pretty quickly and got me to the doctor.

After lots of X-rays and examinations, it was determined that I have a small fracture at the end of both my radius and ulna in my right arm. Thankfully, none of the small bones in my wrist were broken and it appears that everything is still where it is supposed to be. Therefore, a few weeks in a cast should get me right back on track. I am currently in a splint, but will be going to an orthopedic later this week and they will likely put me in a real cast.

It has been tough the past couple of days. It hurts a lot. They gave me pain meds, which help, but don’t get rid of the pain. Also, I am very right-handed, and trying to do things with my left hand (such as typing this blog post) are difficult. Not to mention just how bulky this splint is and that it gets hot and itchy.

I am upset that I won’t be able to ride or swim or run for a while. However, I am very thankful that things aren’t worse. My Vegas race is over; I don’t have any others on the immediate horizon. Of all times for this to happen, this is actually a pretty good time. But I doubt I will be able to finish up my Christmas decorating and wrapping of presents. I’m definitely going to be working on my patience in the coming weeks.

So does this mean I’m “officially” an athlete?

01:05:01

That is the time that it took me to swim 250 yards, bike 9 miles and run 2 miles… in the pouring rain. And I am so excited about it!

Of the women who completed the race, I ranked #53. The sad part is that only 116 women were able to complete the race. (The event was sold out with 900 racers.) Another 28 made it through the swimming and bike ride and still another 5 only made it through the swimming. So all in all, only 149 were able to start at all. I definitely consider myself blessed to have been one of them. The Ramblin’ Rose Triathlon is an all-women race and allows racers age 10 and up and includes many first time triathletes. So many women had been working hard for their first triathlon and were unable to even start. And it’s so late in the season, there aren’t many option other than waiting until next year.

Let me tell you a little about race day. I woke up about 5:20 a.m. and triple checked my gear, pumped up my bike tires and made a protein smoothie. We arrived in Chapel Hill and already the parking lots were filling up. I was a little nervous because I had wanted to make sure I could get a good spot to set up my bike and have everything done in plenty of time so I could relax.

Even though there were already a ton of people there, checking in was quick and easy. (The race coordinators and volunteers did a great job!) And I was the first one on my row to set up my bike, so I got the prime spot on the end! Plus, it was right in front of the bike start/end, so it made it easy to get where I needed to be for transitions. It was overcast, but the weatherman had apparently said only a 17% chance of rain.

If there was any part of the race I am a little disappointed in, it was my swim. Out of 149 swimmers, I ranked 103. This is frustrating because of all the sports, I’ve felt as if swimming is my strongest. For the swim, they start you in order of swim speed. You rank yourself on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the fastest and able to swim 250 yards in under 4 minutes. I ranked myself a 9 because just the day before I had swum that in 4:18. In this scenario, it’s a pool swim and you zig-zag through the lanes from one side to the other. Twice in the swim, I was behind a slower person and had to pass them, which is difficult and takes a lot of energy. Then I had someone come up behind me and want to pass. That was confusing, too, because there were too many people around for her to easily pass, so I had to all but stop to let her get by. I ended up finishing in 05:19. Granted, the timing chip starts before you get in the pool and stops after, so it’s not from pool wall to wall.

Stephanie Hughes bicycle transition Ramblin rose triathlon stolen colon ostomy blogI ran over to the bike transition. I realized they are much more complicated when you are wet, cold and nervous. But I still managed to make it pretty quick. I hopped on my bike and took off. The ride started off good, I had a few pass me and I passed some, too. About 5 minutes into the ride, I started feeling the sprinkles. By 10 minutes in, it was pouring. I really have very little experience riding in the rain, much less at this speed. I was only thinking two things the whole time: God, please don’t let me wipe out; and, I just want to finish this ride and get off! I kept going, despite being soaked to the bone and hardly being able to see the road at times, I ended up finishing in 36:17, which is great for me! I ranked #44 out of 145, so it ended up being my best sport.

Also, I came around the corner into transition and saw my wonderful cheering squad there! On this horrible, rainy day, I had 13 amazing cheerleaders standing there rooting for me. I can’t tell you how amazing that made me feel and how much harder I wanted to go at that point.

Getting off the bike, however, and moving onto the run was crazy. My legs felt like jello and would hardly move. My shoes were squishy and it was freezing. But I kept going the best I could. I actually ran/jogged the whole 2 miles, which I can’t usually do because my knees have been hurting. There were many times during this leg of the race I was thinking “I just want to stop,” but I knew I’d lose momentum, so I pushed through it. There were many encouragements along the way! Women cheering each other on and helping push me forward a little bit. I ended up running it in 20:49, which is really good for me. I knew running was my weakest sport, but I ended up #86 out of 116, which in my mind is not too shabby.

I wasn’t under the false impression that I would be a major competitor in this race, soStephanie Hughes Ramblin rose triathlon race finish stolen colon ostomy blog my personal goal for myself was to finish in the top half. And although we’ll never know how that would’ve played out with 900 racers, in this scenario, I accomplished that goal. I was also assuming it’d take me about 01:13:00 to finish and I cut that down by 8 minutes.

After I finished, most people were already packing things up and heading out. All I could think about at this point was getting warm, which was hard considering all of my clothes to change into were pretty wet as well. But it didn’t matter. I had done it. We got home and I took a long, hot shower and my husband made me coffee and blueberry waffles. I felt like a champion, indeed.Stephanie Hughes Ramblin rose triathlon race time score stolen colon ostomy blog

5 months, 3 sports, 1 dream realized

Today I became a triathlete. Today was the culmination of 10 weeks of training to be competitive as a swimmer, cyclist and runner. Today I felt that amazing sense of accomplishment as I crossed the finish line and heard them call out my name and saw 13 members of my family cheering me on. Not only was that feeling from finishing this race, but also because today marks exactly 5 months since I had surgery to remove my colon and replace it with a permanent ileostomy.

May 7 and October 7 will always be aligned in my mind. Both days I woke up before the crack of dawn and spent the morning running around, making sure I had everything I needed. Both mornings I rode with my husband Jarrod to Chapel Hill and talked about how nervous I was for the day ahead. Both days I was surrounded by the amazing support of my family and friends. Both days, there were moments where I wanted to say “Stop! I don’t want to do this anymore.” But both days, I followed through and I came out stronger on the other side.

Stephanie Hughes Ramblin' Rose triathlon race swim bike run stolen colon ostomy blog surgery ileostomyRunning this race today meant so much more than just getting in shape. To me, it was about showing the world, and mostly myself, that just five months after a major surgery, I am stronger than I was the five years preceding. I made a life altering decision in May, and it has led me down an amazing path. I see now, more than ever, how much it has changed my life. I also know that the support of my family and friends has continued to push me along.

The race was an adventure in and of itself, as most of it took place in the pouring rain. I will definitely share more on how the race actually played out in another entry.

For now, I will revel in the fact that my dream of living a normal extraordinary life has already begun.