By Amy Ebedes
I am a clumsy individual. I am notorious for tripping over nothing and have mastered the art of breaking my fall. Despite the fact that I’m covered in scars and always have a bruise somewhere, I haven’t so much as torn a ligament or fractured a bone. I’ve always thought that I was shatterproof.
On Sunday, Thamar and I went for a trail run together. Thamar ran Comrades a week ago, and was at gym 2 days later. Insert competitive eye gleam here (read more about this here). Sunday was Thamar’s first trail run in over a year – the last time she was on a trail, she broke her wrist and had to undergo surgery. Understandably, she was a bit sceptical on the run.
During the run, we discussed injuries. I told her about my extreme clumsiness (which is particularly applicable when trail running). I told her how I’ve come to peace with the fact that I’m destined to break something on a trail run, since I trip and/or fall a minimum of three times per run (this increases proportionately with the distance of the run).
Thamar was rather cautious on the single track – and I joked how at least with her fear of breaking something on a trail, the playing fields were at least levelled for one of the Big 5 events.
After a great 90 minute run, we parted ways and I went home to bond with Bike (one of my training tactics). I decided to give it a bit of attention and pottered off to purchase some nifty accessories. A front and rear light, side handlebars, toe clips and chain cleaner. After pimping her out, she just looked too darn cute and despite my earlier trail run, decided to take her out for a spin.
We galavanted over Table Mountain jeep track and romped across a tricky(ish) single track. We were joyous and energetic. We were one.
En route back home, I found myself at the foot of possibly the steepest hill in Cape Town. Joining Kloof Street and Kloof Nek, this bastard reeks of burnt clutches and is a tow-truck hunting ground over the busy festive season. Staring up at this nemesis, I dared Bike and myself to tackle the monster. I told myself if I could get to the top, my Big 5 fitness would be on track. We (Bike and I) dropped a few gears and off I raced. Burning quads, straining bike chain later and a few minutes later, I saw the top of the hill. I silently high-fived Bike.
Suddenly, I realised I was faced with a dilemma. I could either take the gentler Kloof Nek home, but brave the cars – or head down the steep, but quieter, nemesis. For whatever reason, I chose the latter.
Taking it as slowly as my rear brakes would let me, I headed down the incline. I still can’t work out what happened next . For whatever reason, I ever so slightly tapped my front brakes. Steep hill, reasonable speed plus front brakes is a detrimental combination.The experts don’t lie when they say don’t do this.
My next memory is lying perpendicular to the direction in which I was travelling, with Bike resting gently on top of me. And I was hurting.
Now, I’m not sure what exactly this looked like, but I envision that I did a rather elegant swan dive as Bike flung me over her handle bars. I broke my fall with my hands, and tumbled, ever one with Bike, using my torso to break her fall.
The scooter behind me stopped – I waved him on. A lady ran across the road. I reassured her I was OK. She helped me gather the pieces of Bike’s new gear. The light, shattered and still flashing (yes, I was testing it) lying on the tar. Her new handlebars, torn from the fall. I managed to pick up as much of my pride that was remaining, too.
Forlornly, I pushed bike home with my left hand, reciting some mantra and deep breathing to maintain some sort of composure. Arriving home, I relieved myself of my tears and inspected myself for any injuries. No gravel burn, no protruding bones. All seemed OK – bar my immobile right arm.
Convinced it was only badly sprained, I decided to delay a trip to casualty. After a fitful nights sleep and a moderate amount of pain, I headed to the hospital on Monday morning. X-rays revealed an undisplaced crack fracture to the radial head. My arm is now sling-bound, Bike has been relegated to the corner of the lounge. No riding for the next few weeks.
Disappointed I am unable to partake in the Big 5, I am still going to attempt to continue cross-training and running, and will hopefully, come July, will be able to run the Featherbed Run and Half Marathon. I’m raring to do all 5 events and The Big 5 is a definite non-negotiable on my 2012 calendar.
I’ll continue blogging about one-armed training – although I still haven’t figured out how I’ll take off a sports bra. Watch this space!
(FYI: despite disapproving of Amy’s attempt to do the Big 5, Mike Finch (RW editor) also cracked his elbow cycling…)