I was run through the coals on Facebook when I said that I would run Badwater solo with broken ribs and it was hotter than the blacktop in Death Valley. I was stoned and bashed for being irresponsible, even by my family.
Virtually unanimously I was told it was stupid and I should see a doc. Even by some uber accomplished ultrarunner friends. After some private emails to some trusted athletes, I decided to get checked out by a doctor. I went to the urgent care in Las Vegas, but that was not a place I wanted to be so I walked out. My friend Jennifer Matties referred me to Tony Vu in Las Vegas, a respected chiropractor and avid ultra distance bicyclist.
I was reluctant to see him, but I went anyway, figuring that I could always go to an MD after if I wasn’t satisfied. Dr. Vu examined me and we discussed the results. I opted for the safe approach and got x-rays. A review of the x-rays shoed no fracture or it is minor and not visible on the film. Then we talked about the possible risks about running Badwater solo.
The greatest concern is that the rib breaks completely and punctures a lung. Most of my Facebook comments were about this concern. Dr. Vu thought this was highly unlikely since nothing showed on the x-ray (except for my breakfast and a few coins and toys swallowed as a boy … haha, kidding). Another concern is a reinjury to the ribs and being so far from medical help as I run through Death Valley.
The doc then did a chiropractic adjustment and a significant amount of pain was immediately reduced. I must have also knocked everything out of alignment during my training and fall. The pain continues to go down. Now 4 days after the fall, I am in about 40% of the pain of the day I fell. It still hurts, but not enough to slow me down too much and I expect by Sunday I should be near 100%.
Seeing Dr. Vu relieved me of all concerns about running Badwater solo self-contained crossing. I am fully confident of his assessment. I am going ahead with the run and going to give it everything I got. Nothing will be held back to beat the record.
The reality of it, is that only catastrophic news would have prevented me starting my Badwater solo run. But it is nice to know that I won’t have to worry about a splintering rib from the stress of the run.
Thanks to everyone for your concern, advice, and Croix bashing. Your appeals made the difference in me going to get checked out as compared to ignoring it.