sat patiently in the doctor's office and
waited for the verdict as the doctor put
my chest x-rays up on the lighted board.
"Chad you have a hairline
fracture on one rib and a major contusion
over this area," the doctor informed me as
she motioned to the area in question on the
"Can I train and race?" I
"There's nothing short of
getting punched in the ribs that will worsen
the injury or prevent it from healing. You'll
need to rotate ice and heat and it will be
uncomfortable for quite awhile but you are
free to resume normal activity."
The 2009 Heatwave race
report really needs to start a week prior to
the race. My nephew was having
his bachelor party at a condo on the
Pensacola, Florida coast. I saw
this a prime opportunity to get some scenic
training in on the beach as well as do my
part to support the single moms in the
Pensacola area at the gentlemen's clubs.
The sandpiper birds, more
specifically of the type Catoptrophorus
semipalmatus had other things in mind...
I opted out of the first night of partying
because I had a 5AM wakeup call with a brick
workout that "THE PLAN" was calling for.
A 3 hour bike followed by a 15 minute run.
I had even planned on deviating from "THE
PLAN" and running for an hour to take
advantage of my time on the beach.
The day started out beautifully as I made my
way back from Fort Pickens to Pensacola
Beach. Watching the sunrise over
the Gulf of Mexico put my mind at ease.
True Zen moments like this are what I love
about my lifestyle. The traffic
was non-existent short of the few other
early risers walking dogs, jogging or biking
along the scenic dunes. I made
my way through Pensacola Beach and on to
Navarre Beach which I had assumed would put
me darn close to exactly 3 hours.
I was around an hour and a half into my ride
when I first heard the caawing of the little
devils with wings.
don't know what caused the little bastards
to attack me but I would assume it was
something to do with them thinking I was
invading their nests and trying to mess with
their eggs. The few short moments of
the evil beasts divebombing me all it took
for me to take my eyes off the road.
That split second caused me to drift
the short 6" to the side of the road.
The deep sand on the shoulder doesn't fare
well with tiny little tri bike tires.
I must say it was a spectacular crash.
It's too bad someone didn't catch it on
video. I was going around 22mph
and my front wheel hit the sand and stopped.
The bike, with me clipped in rotated the
full 180 degrees around the front wheel,
slamming me into the sand. I
screamed as I was rotating over the front of
the bike but those sounds were quickly
muffled as big gulps of sand entered my
mouth. My left side impacted a
driftwood log that seemed to be
strategically placed in the sand bank.
Keys, money, tire tools, id, credit cards,
tire tubes and anything else that wasn't
screwed to the bike flew in all directions
in a 20 foot area around the crash. My face,
along with the rest of my body went into the
sand. I struggled to catch
my breath but each time my lungs expanded I
felt blinding pain in my ribs. I
first thought the driftwood had impaled me.
I was struggling to catch my breath, any
breath as the pain on my left side was so
intense I wanted to cry. I looked down and
saw there was no impalement but I knew I was
hurt. I've never broken anything but my
collarbone and that was in kindergarten so I
don't really remember the feeling. This
numb, intense, warming pain in my ribcage
was growing progressively worse as I tried
to clear my ear of the impacted sand and
remove the sand from my mouth.
Now get this... The evil little bastard
birds had done their deed. They crashed me!
But do you think they let up?
Nooooooooooooooo! They continued to screw
with me, divebombing within inches of my
face causing me to flinch and cringe with
every pass, which in turn sent intense sharp
pains to my ribs. I had to close my
eyes and go to my happy place and hope they
would just go away. They didn't.
Their evil "CAAW, CAAAAAW, CAAAAAAAAW!"
still rings clear in my head.
Makes me wanna go back to Florida, find
their nests, make an omlett with their eggs
and eat it in front of them.
I finally got some assistance from a few
local cyclists who stopped after seeing my
garage sale of gear scattered about. They
helped me call for assistance and my
brother-in-law ended up driving out to get
me. The rest of the weekend involved sitting
on a couch with ice putting up with the
'ribbing' from the other guys at the
watch out, I see a bird flying above!
It's gonna get you!" they laughed.
No strippers and no partying for me.
I went to the doctor on Monday and she
confirmed what I already knew.
Thankfully she cleared me to go back to full
activity as long as I could tolerate the
pain. There wasn't anything I
could do to worsen the injury or prevent it
from healing so I still planned on training
and racing Heatwave. Doing a race with
a broke rib would be awesome or pretty damn
stupid... or both!
So on to the actual race...
entered the chilly water on Saturday
morning, minutes before my wave was set to
start, I was most anxious about what the
swim had to offer. In my
training sessions earlier in the week I had
to stop multiple times because I could feel
my ribs 'popping'. It was a
painful sensation that I was hoping to not
reproduce this morning. I
planned to stay as far left as possible to
avoid other swimmers and any stray kicks to
The horn sounded, I
pressed the button on my watch to start my
timer, and off I went. The first
few hundred yards I grabbed myself in a bear
hug each time I felt someone on me.
I was doing everything I could, and probably
being a little overcautious, to avoid any
kicks. It slowed me down
considerably but a kick to the ribs would
have ended the day. The
swim sure seemed longer than a half mile but
it was uneventful for the most part. I
took a 'brush' to the ribs around the second
buoy. It was equal to a strong
sneeze as far as the pain went but
thankfully it came and went quickly.
Surprisingly the adrenaline coursing through
my veins allowed me to numb the pain from
the ribs and do freestyle the entire time.
I wasn't able to do that earlier in the week
and was reduced to breaststroke because that
was the swim technique that hurt the least.
Surprisingly, I reached the boat ramp WITH
my wave and shuffled into transition.
I quickly donned my bike gear and rushed to
the mount line. After fumbling
with my pedals, I finally got clipped in and
started off on the 25 mile bike course which
skirted the Ross Barnett Resevoir on the
and all I had my best bike ever in a race to
date. I was flying!
My bike split ended up being 22.3 mph and
would have been higher had I not had to stop
for 2 minutes to unstick my chain.
The same exact thing happened at Wildflower. I thought it was fixed but the crash in
Florida may have whacked things outta line
again. My bike computer
stops calculating when the bike stops, so
it actually had my split time if I wouldn't
have any any equipment malfunctions.
23.8 mph was the reading! That
would have been enough for the 2nd fastest
bike split in my division. I
ended up with 9th fastest bike split of the
day in my division which I was still pleased
with. I'll take an over 20
mph split any day. More
importantly than the speed I was going, I
was able to keep my heart rate in check for
the entire ride and I had my legs coming off
the bike. Having my legs wouldn't
matter as the pain in my ribs finally caught
up to me in the run. Each time
my feet hit the pavement I felt a little
shot of pain in my side as my body absorbed
I was also
running for the first time in my new Mizuno
racers, Wave Precision 9s. My
buddy Patrick Fellows, the area
representative for Mizuno, got me sponsored.
I'll be proudly wearing their compression
gear and shoes to train and race in.
The shoes were extremely comfortable and fit
The temp was in the mid
80s, which is odd for this time of the year,
as I exited T2 on my way out to the 10K run
course. I ran the whole time but
the pain in my side really held me back from
having the race I intended to have before
the crash. Thankfully, I had no
bouts with gastric distress other than a
quick trip to the port-o-joy at the halfway
point. This 2 minute delay
turned out to be a false alarm and I was
able to finish the run without incident.
I gotta say I really dig the run course at
Heatwave. 90% of it is shaded on
a multi-use bike / run path through the
woods. Also, since it's an out
and back course you get to see all your
friends on the course which is really cool.
I rounded the final turn
and ran up the last hill that had the finish
line at the top. I still find it
kinda cruel to make the last 100 yards up a
damn hill but whatever. I
finished my second Heatwave Tri in just over
two and a half hours which was a 30 minute
improvement from last year. Good
thanks to Kelli for coming out to cheer me
on and for taking the pictures and Cheree'
for attempting to come out and cheer me on.
Kevin also contributed to the pictures and I
want to thank him as well. And also I
want to thank Brandon for letting me borrow
a race belt.
Thanks for reading
my account of my second bout with the
Heatwave Triathlon. I hope you
enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed
writing (and living) it!