Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Hi All. Day 5 - Post Op and things are going fine. The bandages came off to show a 6 inch nasty looking frankenstein scar (pic). Pain is minimal as the area is still numb from the surgery. I've hardly taken any pain meds, with the exception of ibuprofen and an infrequent dose of a prescription pain med before bed. This darn fractured rib hurts though! I had a minor sneezing fit and thought I broke more ribs! That, and my 2.5 yr old giving me little bear hugs around my neck and ribs probably set me back a little. :)

I'm pushing my limits with regard to activity, trying to do 1.5 hrs. of 'exercise' each day. I've been going for walks (sounds funny for me to say when I usually run!) of 40-60 minutes, in addition to starting to do 30-45 min spins on the trainer. I guess I'll need to pop in one of those darn Spinervals DVDs soon too. :) My hope is to regain enough form to participate in IMAZ in late Nov. for 'fun'. Really , it's to keep me focused and motivated to continue regaining form for the 2011 season. My expectations would be pretty low, with the main goal to experiment some with nutrition and get an Ironman under my belt. If I can get a solid 5-6 weeks of 'real' training in, it might be a possibility!

Thursday morning I leave for the Life Time Fitness Chicago Triathlon. This race has over 8000 participants and some of the top pros in the world! If you've never done the Chicago Tri, it's one to put on your bucket list. Stop by the Life Time Fitness or Spinervals booth to say hello!

Thanks again to everyone who has offered their support and well wishes during my recovery from the mtb. accident at Leadville!

Train smart,
- Coach Troy

Monday, August 23, 2010

Day 3 Post OP Report

Morning! Just a quick update. Today is day 3 after collarbone repair surgery and things seem to be going well. I have minimal pain, managed with just ibuprofen during the day and a prescription pain med. before bed.

Yesterday (day 2 post-op) I got out in the hot Tucson sun and walked for an hour and then spun easy on the lifecycle at the club for 20 minutes. It felt good to break a sweat and to get the motor running again. The crappy thing is that I can feel my hard earned fitness from training in 100+ deg. heat, tempo runs, hill repeats, hard interval swim workouts, etc., slipping away. Ugh. I know it'll eventually all come back however... with the right amount of hard work once I'm 100%.

The worse part for me right now, in terms of discomfort, is my rib! My left side was so traumatized by the impact, it still hurts to breath deeply, sit up and do anything else that engages my core.

I feel so badly for my friend and colleague from Life Time Fitness, Gary Werning. Gary crashed hard descending Power Line at Leadville and was Life-flighted to a shock trauma unit. He's recovering due to his personal strength and support from his family and friends, but it won't be easy as his head injury could have long term implications. My prayers go out to Gary and his family.

Injuries are part of sports participation. When we challenge ourselves and push our bodies to our limits, we sometimes go a little too far. Everyday that we are healthy and can use our bodies the way we want to without restrictions or limitations, is a good day... and a blessing! Go take advantage of your health and have a good swim, bike or run.

Train smart,
- Coach Troy

Friday, August 20, 2010

Just getting back from clavicle surgery and loopy on anesthesia and pain meds. According to the doc, it went well, although it was a little more severe than anticipated with chunks of bone in there in addition to the dislocation. I am waiting for the pain meds to wear off so that can feel the full brunt of the operation, NOT!

I'm out of commission for a few days (docs orders), but can hopefully start light running again in 3 wks and sit on the trainer for light work in a day or two. Too much vibration won't allow the bones to set with the plates/screws. I might be pushing it to think I can do IMAZ in 12 wks, but we'll see!

My ex-wife, Brook, and kids will be helping me recover over the next few days and my parents come in over the weekend for even more support. I'm extremely fortunate to have such a great support network during my time of need. Thanks family!

Also, again - thank you everyone for your well wishes. My friends, colleagues, customers and athletes are my 'extended' cyber family, and I really appreciate your positive notes and goodwill. The endurance sports community is full of classy, caring and wonderful people!

Train smart and don't go over your handlebars :)

Coach Troy

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Injury Status Update

A quick update on my injury status. First of all, I'd like to thank everyone who emailed me their well wishes and hopes for a quick recovery. Your positive energy and encouragement is awesome!

This is pre-Leadville 100 race day pic of me and my friend/colleague and teammate from Life Time Fitness, Jeff Rosga. If you're ever in the Minneapolis area, be sure to attend one of Jeff's group fitness classes at the Chanhassen club...if you can get in! His classes fill up like none other.

The swelling on my left side from the impact of the crash is slowly starting to go away. I still have a huge hematoma on my left oblique/hip, and the whole shoulder region is still swollen, stiff and sore... but there's progress. Getting out of bed and taking a deep breath is still a chore due to the fractured rib on the left side. The collarbone area swelling is down too... so now you can see the edge of the bone pressing against the skin wanting to pop through. NICE visual, eh! :) If you think it sounds gnarly, you should feel it! :)

Surgery to fix it is scheduled for Friday at noon. Apparently it's a pretty simple procedure where they take a plate and pins to set the bones together. It's outpatient and takes 45-60 minutes. I'll be in la la land on pain meds Friday afternoon, so don't expect to get any quick email responses from me. :)

I've been trying to do some light activity the past few days to maintain my sanity, and my fitness. The past two days I've walked briskly on the treadmill at a 10% grade for 30-45 min. Today, I actually got on the road bike and spun around a little bit. I know... you're going to tell me not to do that and ride the trainer instead, right? My mother already gave me an ear full when I mentioned it to her...sheesh.:) I will stay on the trainer, once the break is mended. I figured falling off the bike pre-surgery can't break it any worse, right? It actually felt great... and my shoulder felt better on the bike than when in that damn sling.

Thanks again for your support and for sharing your own bike crash and recovery stories. I'm still bummed this happened before my 'A' race when the season was going so well... but I'll get over it and am already looking forward to racing again next year.

Train smart,
Coach Troy

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Leadville 100: Crash and Burn!

Well, trying to type with a displaced clavicle fracture, a cracked rib, mild abrasions and a large hematoma on my side is not easy task, let me tell you! Since I have a few minutes before boarding my flight from Denver back to Tucson after my Leadville Trail 100 Mtb. experience, I thought I'd share some of it with you.

In a nutshell, it was a great experience for me but with a less than great outcome. I crashed hard at mile 33 down a steep hill (see pic... Bryan, a guy on the course who was supporting riders, came to my aid and sent this pic to me late yesterday of the top of the descent where I crashed near the bottom, thanks again are a life saver!). My injuries sustained include a broken collarbone, cracked rib and other minor discomforts. The net result is that I had to dnf and my season is over, including my bid for a 2011 Ironman Kona spot at IMWI in Sept., my 'A' race. Bummer.

I have one word for the Leadville Trail 100 Race... WOW!! What a cool event. This year Life Time Fitness bought the Leadville event series, including the Mtn. bike race and the 100 Ultra distance Marathon, among others. If you're an endurance sports junkie, I think Leadville is quickly becoming (or has been) the 'mecca' of ultra event racing.

I have always respected mountain bikers and their skills on the bike, but my level of respect has now gone to the next level. I was awed by the fearlessness of guys and girls on tough downhill sections (like Powerline) as they flew by me on rutted, rocky trail as if it was paved. Incredible! It takes lots of miles in the trails to build those skill levels.

The race started with a cool chill in the air at 6:30 am. I felt good heading out on the ‘controlled’ start to the trail, not going hard with the goal only to finish in one piece (whoops, failed that goal!). Once we hit the first climb on the trail, the altitude (10,000 plus ft.) started kicking my butt as my HR climbed to AT almost immediately with almost no effort! Breathing was a chore… even at night when sleeping. I can see why so many athletes who do well in Leadville either live in the general area at altitude or go there 2-3 weeks in advance to acclimate.

Not a great descender I tried to take it easy on the downhills but still maintain my composure. I felt OK, but the legs and lungs were getting taxed due to the altitude and the effort. I was definitely racing within myself and trying not to burn too many matches.

After the infamous power line descent, which I made it through only falling off the bike once, I was pretty excited that things were going well. Then, as we hit a single track across a ridge, there was an incredibly steep and fast downhill that caught me by surprise. I was with a couple other guys and followed their line, going around 25-30 mph. It seems like a 30% grade! Near the bottom, my front wheel hit a rut and I went over the bars, slamming into the dirt. I struggled to breath as I laid there for a minute. I knew I was in some trouble before even sitting up and ‘taking inventory’ of the body parts. The first thing I noticed was the difficulty in breathing and expanding my ribcage. Then, I suspected the next injury so common in this type of crash, a broken collarbone. Ugh, I could feel the bones grinding against each other then as I still do right now. My whole left side was tweaked from the blunt force trauma of slamming into the dirt at high speed.

After about 45 minutes, a volunteer drove me out of the woods to an ambulance waiting to take me to the emergency room in town. It was a small two room emergency room with a great staff of nurses and docs. My ‘room mate’ was another guy who went over the bars and was suspected to have a broken collarbone too. We shared war stories.

My pain level was starting to rise as the shock wore off - I felt like I ran into a truck... and they got me some painkiller. X-rays confirmed my collarbone break in which the doc said was fairly severe and will require surgery, as well as the cracked rib on the left side.

I was released about 2 hours later and walked back to my rental house near the finish line in my dirty cycling kit with the arm in a sling and with a bag full of my belongings. Spectators asked me what happened and wished me luck, asking if I needed help. What great people! A few showed me their scars from their collarbone surgeries… it would seem that a collar bone break is a ‘badge of honor’ for the hardcore mountain biker. ☺

Now, I’m hoping to schedule surgery this week asap so I can begin the healing process. I’m very uncomfortable with the rib (sitting up is hard as is taking a deep breath) and the collarbone (can’t move left arm and the bones are rubbing... nice). Sleeping last night, my first night with the injury, was next to impossible. I’m guessing I’m up for several sleepless nights coming up…ugh.

I’m very disappointed about not being able to complete my triathlon season now. I had good form and was excited about racing IMWI for a good result. Oh well, sh_t happens and you deal with it….that’s what endurance sports teach you. I’m already looking forward to resuming training again in October for 2011 racing.

Overall, it was a great experience. Sure, the crash sucked and so do the consequences, but I learned a boat load, met some great people and ‘stretched my limits’ a little more…. testing myself. I enjoyed hanging out too with my friends/fellow athletes and colleagues at Life Time Fitness… a real team atmosphere. I want to congratulate everyone who finished, or had the guts to start the race, including the athletes from Team Life Time Fitness and the chief rider/CEO, Bahram Akradi. If you want the ultimate endurance sports related challenge in cycling or running... go to Leadville!

Keep the rubber on the road and train smart.
-Coach Troy

Monday, August 2, 2010

Ironman training is hard work...DUH!

Training for Ironman is a lot of work!... As if you guys didn't know that already, right?! :) I have to say now that I'm in the 'high volume' weeks of my training for IMWI in September, I have an even greater appreciation for everyone of you who has the guts and determination to toe the Ironman line. Don't get me wrong, I've done 15 IM's in the past and have coached hundreds of athletes to the finish line, but until you're "in the trenches" again and banging out the miles day after day, it's hard to truly realize and understand the dedication, patience and focus it requires. Kudos to all of you fellow IM athletes! (Pic of riders from our Louisville IM Camp last weekend.)

So, this past week was a big one for me with lots of time focused on running at an aerobic endurance pace. Those run miles are hard on the body, and the more I rack them up, the closer I feel like I am to getting hurt. For example, this past week I logged close to 50 miles of running with a good deal of riding too... and my two hour scheduled run on Sunday had to be cut a little short due to some hip and knee pain as the wheels started to fall off. Fortunately, with age comes wisdom and I didn't 'push through' the pain as I may have done 12 years today all is well again. There's a big lesson there... that is, listen to your body and save your "all or nothing" attitude for the race course!

This weekend we have our first annual Ironman Wisconsin Tri camp. Last weekend was our 4th annual Louisville Tri Camp. It's always fun to meet the campers from different parts throughout the country (And Canada) and train on these challenging IM bike and run courses.

Next week, I travel to Leadville CO for the Life Time Fitness Leadville 100 Mtn. bike race. As a coach, you ask? Well, yes... but also as a participant in my first ever Mountain bike race! I'll be looking to survive the tough conditions at 9000-12000 ft above sea level where temps can range from 30-90 deg. over the 100 mile off-road course. Other participants rumored to be there include Lance Armstrong, David Weins, Levi Leipheimer and former 2-time IM triathlon winner, Tim Deboom. I'd like to break 12 hours and get the bronze belt buckle! Should I run after the ride for IM training.... nah!!!! :)

After Leadville, which I hope to finish in one piece (fingers crossed), I'll do the Life Time Fitness Chicago Tri as a final tune up for Ironman.

I have really enjoyed getting back into race mode this year. I like having those race goals to help stay focused and competitive... it raises the bar in other areas of life too. Not to mention, it's personally rewarding and 'fun' to participate and also gives one a sense of gratitude for being able to swim , bike and run each day. Gotta love the multisport lifestyle!

Train smart,
Coach Troy