Injury-Prone My Story
This post was written for Witsup.com and appeared there in March.
Note from Stef at Witsup that appeared at the start of my piece: “No one has said “whoopsidaisies” for fifty years and even then it was only little girls with blonde ringlets,” (Notting Hill – 1999), UNTIL, a multiple Ironman champion admitted to having a propensity for being a klutz.
Said multiple Ironman champion, Mary Beth Ellis, is one of the, if not THE toughest cookies on the triathlon circuit. She started the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii last year with a broken collarbone! They don’t get much more Tonka-Tuff than Ellis! However, while she is tough, she is also accident prone. Here she shares a few injuries and incidents that are a little left field, but we’re sure a few of you have encountered as well…
I have a dirty secret. Here goes. I am a klutz. I have had more than my fair share of injuries from the legit breaks and strains (which I won’t discuss in this article as I’ll leave that to the true medical professionals) to the bizarre triathlon battle scars. In this article, I’ll touch on the minor, trivial, and often absurd so that you can hopefully learn something or at worst just laugh at my travails.
- When lane lines attack – My run-ins with the vicious lane line span from a minor dust-up to a near death collision that left me beached like a whale on its rotund body. I tried retaliating by takin down the lane line with my paddles, but I still lost. I ended up doggie paddling away a torn up mess. Next time I’ll show up to the pool with a knife and threaten to cut it – surely that is enough to intimidate any recalcitrant lane line and keep it in its place.
- When fellow H20 users attack – I’ve been on the receiving end of a severe bashing from a fellow swimmer in a shared lane and in the open water. To avoid this, pick the lane without the crazy tall windmill swimmer whose arms span seven feet if possible. If not, then practice your open water swim skills in the lane and pull your arms in tight every time you pass your lane mate/foe. In open water training or in a race, there is an easy fix. Just swim away from the aggressive bashing swimmers. In a long race, it pays off to even stop and swim to the other side of the course just to get away and not spend four kilometres getting hit every stroke.
- When UFOs attack (unidentified floating object) – The “funniest” swimming incident for me was being hit in the open water by a sailboat. Yes, a rogue sailboat! It cut through our swim pack and made a beeline for me. The centerboard left a nasty hematoma on my leg, but I was otherwise unharmed. Although now, I am wary of all the menacing wind powered boats in the sea. How to avoid this? Swim open water at your own risk and not where the lifeguards are underpaid bored teenagers!
- When potholes attack – Damn those pavement and road irregularities. I have been left with an irrational fear of all road damage especially potholes and cracks. A pothole inadvertently broke my own collarbone, and a deep crack in pavement did the same for a take.
- When saddle sores attack – Nothing worse than an ill-timed and ill-placed wound to make running unbearable. The cause most often is that you are either riding way too much or you’re on the wrong saddle. The easy fix is to find a saddle that works for your anatomy. There are as many butts as there are people and finding the right saddle is like getting that pair of jeans that fit like the perfect glove – damn you denim! Don’t settle on just any bike seat, make sure you find one that fits you. Once you have a saddle sore, lancing or changing bike position or staying off the bike entirely is the only way to relieve pressure from that spot.
- When randoms attack – Collisions or attacks from a car, dog, other biker or pedestrian are always a concern. The craziest bike injury occurred for me when a rabid dog (unvaccinated) attacked me while I was biking down a back road. I was riding in the country smelling the flowers and enjoying a very easy recovery ride when a pit-bull charged directly at me from the front and latched onto my leg. There isn’t much you can do to avoid a run-in with a third party except to ride in a group in bright clothing. As for the dog risk, make sure there is always someone slower than you.
- When blisters attack – A common minor affliction is the dreaded blister. Blisters are a bane to any runner but just as easy to fix. The right shoes and socks will fix this but if you already have a blister, lance it if you can. Then if you’re going to run on it use lots of lube (Vaseline or body glide or whatever you prefer) then take a plastic bag and wrap it up and put on your sock. The downside is that your foot will sweat like a pig but on the plus side you won’t irritate your blister any more.
- When chafing attacks – Summer means time for chafing – chub rub – as running shorts get sweaty and salty causing this common malady. The only way I have found to fix that is with good pair of longer compression shorts and again, lubing up with you preferred body glide ensures that whatever shorts you wear, you’ll be chafe-free.
- When terrain attacks – Terrain can trip you up anytime on the run. The silliest running injury I have had is falling on my face on a flat obstacle-free sidewalk while running. I just happened to fall in such a way as to dislocate my finger. Unfortunately, this led to hand surgery as my tendon and nerve moved into the joint space making it impossible to push the finger back into place. So forget rocks and ruts, I only need a flat sidewalk to fall on my face. This is just confirmation that I am a complete and total klutz.
Hopefully, you are training safely and with no injuries whether serious and common or minor and farcical. Witsup and I would love to hear about your funniest injury or run in with a rouge lane line, pavement crack, or UFO.
Happy injury-free training and see you at the races!