Training Through Adversity

My Broken Collarbone
My Broken Collarbone

get link Two weeks ago I had surgery to repair a broken collarbone.  It was pretty messed up as you can see from my X-Ray.  The week prior I had an unfortunate incident with a car, curbside drain, and eventually the sidewalk.  It stunk.  A lot.  When I tried to swerve to the left of the drain-as I always do- a nice car was in the way. My last thoughts when I rode into the drain was, “This isn’t going to end well.”  It didn’t.

It could be worst though. I could have broken more bones. In fact I did by breaking my shoulder blade.  I could have died… which I didn’t. I could have landed on my face, cracked my head open, been abducted by aliens,  ad infinitum.

When I landed I just remember looking up at the sky and screaming. A few motorists stopped to help me as I was trying to sit up and couldn’t. Oddly enough the first thing I wanted them to do was take off my helmet and remove my ear buds. I know, don’t wear ear buds. To be fair I could still hear everything going on around me.

So one of the nice folks that stopped ended up throwing my bike in their truck and taking me to try ER.  They wanted to call an ambulance but I saw dollar signs flashing through my head and said I could drive myself. He disagreed and drove me to my house to get my wallet and take off my riding shoes and eventually to the ER.

The nice nurses  cut off my favorite riding jersey and sent me to get the X-Ray you see above.  An iv and a shot of morphine and I was on my way home. Surgery was scheduled for the following week.  That was two weeks ago.

When the accident happened I was training for a 70.3 taking place at the end of October in Austin.  Initially I was crushed. I had a pretty good base built up from training for the Texasman X-50 in April.  I was excited about doing a lot more speed and strength work for the 70.3. I guess the universe had other plans.

Before surgery I went on a couple of walks. The pain really wasn’t that bad because the bones weren’t touching. As long as I kept my arm in a sling and didn’t bounce I was fine.   Although the bone did kind of jab me as I took each step.


After the surgery the doctor told me to take it easy and not walk, run, or ride a stationary bike.  So I bought a trainer. He didn’t say anything about a trainer. I did take it easy until my follow up a week later. Since then I’ve been doing walk/jogs mostly in zone 2 with a sling. I did go to the pool yesterday and tried some one arm swimming which was weird.  The walking and jogging has been pretty good. It’s hot as heck in Texas right now so maintaining zone 2 walking is actually a lot easier than I thought it would be.

I’ve also been on the trainer 3 times.  I tried the tri bike at first and it was tough with only one arm.  I put the road bike on because I can at least use both arms.

Through this whole thing it’s been reinforced to me to take what I can get. That’s pretty much my entire training philosophy now.  I travel for work a lot and don’t have the luxury of a set schedule so I take what I can get when I get it.  Some weeks are more bike heavy if I’m in town while others are almost entirely treadmill sessions at the hotel.  I figure as long as I’m moving it has got to be better than sitting around.

I feel like I shouldn’t be using my excuse not to train.  It would be easy to.  It hurts.  It’s a pain just getting dressed and putting on shoes. Everything takes twice as long as it used to.  Even eating left handed leaves me frustrated and exhausted.  Lately I just want to sleep.  It would be easy just to say, “Screw it!” and pull out of my race altogether. But I get inspired by folks like John Harris who trains through arthritis and doesn’t have a thyroid gland.  That’s adversity.  My collarbone is an inconvenience.

Training Through adversity is simply a mind set.  After all, the entire sport of triathlon is about adversity.  Biking after a swim, running after the bike… If it were easy everyone would do it.  I heard once that we should always be prepared for something crazy to happen during a race. There will be something thrown at us that we didn’t train for.  Same thing for training.  Triathletes are usually folks with a lot of plans.  Plans for training, nutrition, sleep, blah blah blah.  I’ve discovered that my best laid plans are more of a suggestion than anything else.  I’ve been forced to become flexible and I don’t care for it too much.

So here I am about ready to get on my trainer after I thoroughly checked out my poor tri bike. Why, because my wife and daughters are at a baby shower.  Today I’m going to take what I can get… and the probably take a nap.


On a high note, I’ve had a lot more time to blog now.

Randall Messman

Born in 1976, I've always loved sports and working out. Currently my passion is Triathlon. I'm a IRONMAN Certified Coach and love to help anyone on their journey to a better life.