Ironman Florida (Partial) Race Recap - Tom Glynn
I flew out to Florida to compete in the Ironman Florida.
It’s been a crazy year and I can’t believe the race actually took place. I spent the first half the year doing fun things with my fitness after realizing Ironman Texas wasn’t going to happen. I ran 100 days in a row, taking part in the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee. I took part in the Endurance Nation Inscyd Build Your Best Bike camp and had a lot of fun. In August, I made the decision to start serious training for IM FL even though I was fairly certain it would not happen.
My training went really well and I was ready for a great race when early November finally rolled around.
I have to say that the Ironman organization did a fabulous job planning and organizing the race in the midst of this COVID-19 epidemic. Safety first, everything social distanced, they cancelled all in person events like the athlete dinner and athlete meetings. We wore masks everywhere. Race day masks were mandatory right until you entered the water when you tossed the masks into a bucket then plunged into the ocean. It’s a great model for future races.
The city of Panama Beach was a different story. Hardly anyone wearing masks. Crowded restaurants and bars. Neither staff nor customers were wearing masks unless it was a national chain of some sort. I ordered takeout and spent much of my days in the hotel.
My hotel was about a mile from the start. Race week prep including race day morning were smooth and relaxed. This was my 20th Ironman, so it’s not quite routine, but I felt pretty good! Water conditions and weather were perfect for race day.
Heading to the water I felt good and was confident that I was prepared for the day ahead. I felt confident that I had a shot at a Kona slot so long as a couple super fast guys didn't show up.
Unfortunately, my day did not end so well :).
I fell off my bike about halfway through the course. The crash happened in a few seconds. Head down in aero at 23mph, looked up, and realized I was really close to the far right of the shoulder. I attempted a quick adjustment just as the wheel dropped off. I tried to get control of the bike and a few seconds later I’m laying on back staring at the sky. I laid there for a minute or two thinking to myself that I can’t believe this happened. A few people came over to offer help. It’s obvious that my shoulder took the brunt of it but I must have slid on my right side for a bit with the hip taking a lot of the force. Lots of road rash on my ankle, knee, thigh, hips, and hand. I managed to get myself back on the bike after 5 minutes or so and I was hoping I could work through it but I got worse as I went along. I did manage the remaining 55 miles of the bike course 😂. Felt like I broke a collar bone but the doctors in the medical tent thought the trauma was lower, top of the bicep area. I couldn't move the shoulder much and could only walk a few steps. The morning after the wounds were still leaking a bit. Felt sorry for the hotel and it’s white bedspread and white pillows - I left a very large tip! The next morning everything was still pretty tight but better than race day. Now I could feel all the road rash and other minor cuts and bruises!
I arrived back home on Monday and we headed over to the doctor to get everything checked out as my shoulder was still sore and it was still hard to walk more than a few steps. We ordered hip and shoulder x-rays and set up an appointment with an orthopedic specialist. X-rays came back and for the shoulder I have a 1.5 cm AC separation. https://www.thesteadmanclinic.com/patient-education/shoulder/ac-separation. For the hip, nothing broken but I’m still hobbling two weeks post race. I saw an orthopedic specialist for my shoulder and we did an MRI to get a better assessment of the damage. The separation is graded from 1-5. 1 and 2 are minor and will heal on their own. 4 and 5 almost always require surgery to put the bone back in place and sow up muscles and tendons. I’m a grade 3, so the plan is no surgery to start, but let everything heal up for 3-4 weeks then start PT. If it doesn’t get better in a few months we circle back and talk about surgery.
I haven’t been able to see the hip specialist yet. That happens next week. The x-rays showed I didn’t break anything and the hip fracture and all the pins they put in me 10 years ago from my last crash were not damaged. It still hurts to walk. I’ve spent time on Google doing a self assessment while I wait, and I’m guessing it’s either a stress fracture, minor muscle or tendon tears or possibly highly strained soft tissue. Of course, the doctor will confirm all this. I’ll start PT when the hip stuff is fully vetted.
Looks like 2 to 3 months of recovery ahead. I do have Ironman Texas in late April and I plan to do well there. I mentioned this to my wife and doctor and was met with deafening silence - we shall see 😂
Updates to follow!
Upwards and onwards :)