May 10, 2018

Injury Update: Stitches No More!

If you don’t follow me on Instagram, you probably didn’t even know that I’ve been injured the last few weeks! Unfortunately, it’s a pretty embarrassing story.

Two weeks ago, I went to an Orangetheory class that happened to be a “run row”. You run a certain distance, then hop off the treadmill and go down to the rowers and row a certain distance, and then go back and forth between the two. The goal is to get as many rounds as possible in before time was called.

The first block was okay – run for 0.2 miles, then row for 200m. The second block got a little shorter – run for 0.15 miles, then row for 150m. And the third block was run for 0.1 miles, then row 100m. At a speed of 12mph, running 0.1 miles is less than 30 seconds on the treadmill, and rowing 100m is less than 20 seconds. I am weirdly slow at getting my feet strapped into the rower, so that meant I was spending more time transitioning than actually running/rowing. (In hindsight, this makes zero sense as a workout design, but I didn’t think about it a lot at the time.)

I was starting the third block, and was trying to switch between the treadmill and the rower. Given the short duration of the intervals, I didn’t “walk it down” like I normally do with all-outs (i.e., hit the 4mph button and let the treadmill gradually slow to that speed, then walk another 30-60 seconds before actually stopping it). Instead, I jumped on the sides of the treadmill and hit the stop key, then turned around to head for the rower. To be totally fair to Orangetheory, we weren’t told to do this, and I accept full responsibility for what happened next.

Unfortunately, while I had done this maneuver many times on previous run/rows, this time I wasn’t careful – and when I went to head off to the rower, I accidentally stepped on the (still moving) treadmill belt, and went flying. My butt landed hard on the treadmill with my hand on the side of the belt, and then I was ejected to the floor. Thank goodness I didn’t hit my head – it definitely could have been so much worse!

I knew I was going to be pretty banged up from the fall, but mostly I was just mortified – and so I quickly shrugged off the concerned questions from my neighbors and scrambled up. I headed right over to the rower and immediately started rowing hard to “prove” I was okay. I had just about finished the 100m (all while thinking what a klutz I was) when my neighbor pointed out that I had blood all over my pants, and when I looked down, I saw that there was in fact a pool of blood on the floor as well. Where was it coming from?? I had noticed that my right hand was kind of sore from breaking my fall, and when I looked at it more closely, I saw that it was actually bleeding profusely, and that there was a really deep gash going down my pinkie, in between my fingers, and then up the other side of my ring finger. Yikes!

I quickly realized what had happened – when I put my hand down to break my fall, my finger lined up with the edge of the (still speeding) treadmill belt, which had essentially acted as a bandsaw and sliced right through my finger. My finger was flayed pretty wide open, but I realized I was actually lucky it wasn’t deeper!

I am not putting a photo here. You’re welcome.

With my workout prematurely over, I headed to get help from the front desk clerk. I ran my hand under the faucet in the bathroom for a little while to try to flush any bacteria out (ew to slicing it open and then having my hand all over the sweaty germy rowing handle), then we doused it in peroxide and tried to bandage it up. It was still bleeding like crazy, and definitely needed stitches, so I headed out to make that happen.

No urgent cares in the area were open till 8am, and it was only about 7:15am. I knew it would take me more than 30 minutes to get to the closest urgent care that was open before 8am, and my only other option was going to an actual emergency room, so I decided to go back to my hotel, shower and get ready for work, and then be at the urgent care right when they opened at 8am. Hopefully that would minimize my wait time, too!

Well, as it turned out, the urgent care opened 15 minutes late, and the doctor didn’t arrive until 15 minutes after the receptionist had opened up… but the doctor was able to stitch me up and get me out of there within just 10 minutes. 35 minutes isn’t bad at all (and probably faster than an ER), especially since I needed six stitches for the wound! I was also pleasantly surprised to find that the procedure really didn’t hurt much at all, even though the doctor had to inject the numbing agent directly into the cut because of the awkward spot where it was positioned.

So, for the last two weeks, I’ve had my ring finger and pinkie finger bandaged up together – which has made typing pretty challenging.

Well, almost good as new – there have been lots of typos in my work these last two weeks. 

I skipped working out the day after the accident, then did some light cardio on the elliptical two days later, and finally got back to running after that, when I was sure that the impact wouldn’t somehow knock my stitches loose. This week, I finally got back to Orangetheory – though I will admit to being a little nervous on the treadmill, as my body could now easily remember the sensation of falling hard onto it. And yesterday, I got my stitches out! I think the wound looks really good, and I’m also lucky that it’s in a fairly inconspicuous spot. (Or unlucky, since when clients don’t notice it, their handshakes can really hurt when they grab the wrong spot.)

After I got back to some (not too hard) outdoor running, I discovered another problem – I had definitely injured my tailbone in the fall. It doesn’t hurt to sit, but up until Sunday, it hurt to bend over at all (really difficult to put pants / a skirt on). And when I was running, it would sometimes ache a bit, especially on hills. Too bad my neighborhood is super hilly! I thought it was getting better, but then last weekend, I tripped on a rock while trail running, and although I caught myself before actually falling, the extra hard landing on my right side seemed to jar something in my tailbone, and it really hurt for several minutes, to the point where I wasn’t sure I’d be able to run back to my car from the trail. It eased up a bit soon, and I was able to keep going, but it was definitely hurting more after that. I ended up taking a day off as a result, and the pain has been gradually easing up until today, when I was able to go for a run without any tailbone pain at all. Yippee!

I’m really glad that my accident was only a minor setback, but I’m also disappointed it pulled me away from doing really hard running workouts the last two weeks. I’m running my very first Ragnar relay next weekend in Chicago (anyone have tips??), and I would have liked to feel better prepped for the 21 miles I’m supposed to be running across my three legs. Hopefully that kind of distance in 24 hours won’t be too brutal! The week after Ragnar is Bolder Boulder, where I was initially hoping to go sub-45. However, I haven’t been able to do any tempo runs of 4-7 miles like I wanted to do. At this point, my fitness pretty much is what it is, so we’ll see how both Ragnar and Bolder Boulder go.

But! I’m really glad that I’m at least feeling a lot better 🙂 I will definitely be appreciating my pinkie finger more going forward!


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