Monday, June 2, 2014

Tales of a Reckless Moron

There's a reason why most of the women in my family have a constant ache of worry for my health and personal safety.  I do stupid things sometimes.

When I was in early grade school I had a lot of energy.  There were times when my mother would tell me to "go run around the house."  Apparently I thought this was a great idea.  I would leap out the front door and go sprinting around the outside of our house until I was fatigued enough to reenter civilized society.  One time we were visiting friends of my parents.  I got hyper and my mother, probably slightly embarrassed at how crazy I could get, proposed my normal cure.  I leaped out the front door.  Unfortunately I somehow assumed that this house would have the same relative proportions of our house.  Looking back I probably should have done a lap to scout our the lay of the land.  But I just started running as fast as I could.  One detail that could have been helpful for me to know was that they had a dog house in their back yard.  It was positioned in such a way that when sprinting around the house you couldn't really see it until you had turned the corner - and there it was.  Luckily, all I got was just got a pretty good gash on my cheek (the scar is still there). 

Not long after that I decided it was a good idea to go across the monkey bars at recess when they were wet from a morning rain.  I got a fractured wrist for that one.  Or the time that I dove a little too close to a patch of gravel trying to catch a baseball and ended up with stiches.  Or the time in college I ran out on a pier in Lake Michigan during a winter storm and got swept into the water by a big wave.

The most romantic of these mishaps was probably the time I rented a motor scooter in the Amalfi coast of Italy.  First, let me just say that it is probably the most beautiful place I've ever visited.  After a few hours of riding around the narrow roads overlooking the Mediterranean I started to fantasize that I was Italian.  I had witnessed how nimbly they ride their scooters in the cities of Rome and Florence.  I thought I could do the same thing.  After taking the picture below of Positano - I hurried back to Sorrento where I had rented the scooter.  I didn't want to be late - so I went a little faster than I should have.  Luckily I didn't fall off the cliff into the ocean - but I did take a round-about a little fast and ended up falling and sliding across the pavement - scratching up myself and the scooter in the process.  I hurt my knee and couldn't run for almost a month after that one.

More recently there was the marathon I ran in Drake Well, Pennsylvania.  I actually ran it to prepare for the 2010 Chicago marathon.  (Yes, I know that sounds crazy - just stay with me).  I ended up running faster than planned - because I found myself in 2nd place half way through the race and I got a little competitive.  I won the race (there were only about 200 people in it) and then drove six hours back to Virginia right afterwards.  A week later I couldn't run - I somehow pulled my hamstring and caused some major inflammation.  Not only did it mean I couldn't train properly for Chicago - but I had pain from that injury that lasted for over a year.

There are several other stories that I could go on with - but I think you get the point.  One of my behavior traits seems to be recklessness on a moronic scale - and sometimes I actually have to pay consequences for my ill advised actions.  I guess it's just good I haven't hurt anyone else.

Yesterday I added to the list.  I had a three hour ride planned - I knew there were some thunderstorms coming - but it seemed like they would hold off long enough for me to get my ride in.  Well, it came about 30 minutes too early.  I saw the wall of blackness coming behind me as I rode east.  I think I actually thought I could outride it at some point (which makes absolutely no sense).  Finally, when I was getting pelted with debris (apparently the winds got up to 60 mph) I found sanctuary in a Jimmy Johns.

I called my wife and said "I might need to you to pick me up - but let's wait 20 minutes and see if it lets up."  About 10 minutes later I looked out the window and observed a) there was no lightning or thunder b) the wind and rain didn't seem all that bad anymore.  So, I rode home.  When I was about half way home it got worse.  I was drenched and tired from fighting the wind.  I was crossing a street about a mile from our house - I glanced back to see if there was any traffic - which led me to not see the seam in the road in front of me.  My front wheel caught it - and with the road and my tires being wet I went down hard.  There were two cars behind me - which thankfully stopped in time.  I did the "I think I'm ok" hand wave sign as I gathered my water bottles from the road.

At first it didn't seem too bad.  I landed on my left side - so I got a nice road rash on my left hip, left elbow, and even a bit on my ankle.  I'm most worried about my shoulder though.  The most common injury in cycling is breaking your collar bone.  It doesn't feel like anything is "out of place" - but it's pretty sore.  I can put my arm above my head - but it doesn't feel great.  That's not exactly what you want when you have a half Ironman in less than a week.

(Sigh) When will I learn?.


outsiderunner said...

Get well soon, Ben. I wish you all the best in the ironman. Your courage is admirable. Keep us posted.

Ben said...

Thanks! It's not looking good for racing on Sunday - but I'm going to wait until Friday to make a decision.