Blood, Sweat & Tears

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That title seemed appropriate for my most recent trip to Georgia. It all started off with a track meet, Champions Meet. It was the first track meet of the season, I was coming off of a strong week of training and was really looking forward to the meet. Things did not go quite as I had hoped, my times were off and I had hoped to fare better. But, I've got other track meets to get some good times at. Challenging meets always help to keep you in check and to remember that you still have work to do. I was happy with my 200m time, it was 32.55. My 400m felt good, but my time was 1:03.88, I had hoped for closer to a minute. So after a semi-frustrating day at the track, we had a day off before the Atlanta 1/2 Marathon.

Many of you may have heard about the tornadoes that struck downtown Atlanta. It was so weird to see the wreckage and the destruction as a result of the storms. Hotels were missing windows, broken glass all over the streets. Funny story is that there were 9 flat tires BEFORE the race even started. I'm curious about the total number of flats at the completion of the race, if I had to guess it was somewhere between 23-25 flats.

So the race started, it was cold and wet and a rough course given the glass, potholes etc. For me, around mile 7 disaster struck. After climbing a long hill up Freedom Parkway followed by a long windy downhill, with a tight right turn at the bottom... (see where this is going?) Yep, I didn't make the turn. It wasn't a house this time I hit, it was the median. Haha. I think if there was an award for most random things to crash into, I should win it. Anyway, hit the median, flatted my front tire, flew out of my chair and got some good road rash (and lost a fingernail!) I landed pretty hard on my left hip/knee/leg and so I got a nice ambulance trip out of the deal to Atlanta Medical Center to get that checked out.

Now, let me just paint this picture for you. My racing chair was left at the scene of the crash, I was taken via stretcher to the hospital with no racing chair, no everyday chair, no cell phone. I just had me, my helmet, my gloves, my bloody uniform and my sunglasses. So on the way I'm thinking to myself, gee how am I going to let my coaches know where I am etc.? The EMTs radioed different people to try and get the word out, but that literally meant one guy going around a crowd of thousands of people looking for a guy in a wheelchair named Adam or someone named Wendy. Not very effective.

So, once I arrived at the hospital a nice nurse let me use her cell phone. However, how many of you actually know people's phone numbers these days?? I could remember my parent's house phone number, my parent's cell numbers (only because they are one digit off of mine) and my best friends' parents' phone number. My family, for those of you who don't know, is notorious for not answering the phone even if they are there. So I was pretty sure this was going to be interesting.

I called, left a message, not really sure how they could get back in touch with me and I figured I'd call again. On about the 3rd try I finally got a hold of my mother. I then had to have her hack into my email account to retrieve a phone number of our US Coach Wendy so I could let them know where I was and what I needed etc. So I finally get the number, and am sitting on the hospital bed and have no pen. Jeez! After all that, right? I thought at first I could memorize the number, but that plan wasn't working out so well. Then, thankfully, the registration lady walked in with more forms for me to sign and she had a pen!

The good news: I didn't break anything. The bad news was that I was headed to Warm Springs, GA in a few hours for a training camp. I was feeling frustrated because of the bad timing of the crash, not that any time is a good time, but it was in a race that wasn't worth the crash in. I headed out to Warm Springs later that day and luckily was able to resume workouts the following afternoon in the gym. With help from the coaches we created a protector shield for my finger and attached it to my glove so I could resume pushing in my racing chair on Tuesday. And, luckily, my injuries did not inhibit my ability to train or perform. It was a great training camp. I got a lot out of the experience. Athletes were there from all over, the US, Canada, Denmark, Sweden, Ghana.... It's so much fun to get to train with a big group of people.

My wounds are almost all healed up, minus the nail which will take a bit longer. I am gearing up for my next race the end of April in Arizona. I'm also headed to Massachusetts this week to get my braces off! And in other news, I am officially a doctoral candidate in the Human Resource Education program, so I'll be here in IL for at least 3 more years. I also am excited to be an invited guest to the June 7th Boston Red Sox Game for Paralympic Awareness Day at Fenway! So, even though there have been some challenges along the way, there has also been a lot of other exciting things happening as well. Okay, now it's time for me to go start playing catch up on all this missed work!

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