The Anatomy of a Severe Wipeout On Inline Skates – Or Why I Am Selective About Who I Train

I am sitting in the middle of my living room on the most comfortable chair in the house for my current condition, an Ikea Poang from the early part of the century.  It’s proportioned for a man of my size, a fit 6′ 4″ or 193 CM man.  The Recliner, a Lazy Boy, won’t do.  I need full support.

It’s because I wiped out last week.   Bad.  I have skated 21,000 miles.  33,800 Km.  Add a few hundred miles for what I have done since January.  Most of that was in marathon workouts, as much as 50 miles a day and 200 a week.

I have trained people, and been paid for the pleasure.  The sport now is down to a core of us who truly love it, a few new folks, and a lot of people staring at their skates and wondering if they can again.

Yes, you can, but pay attention.

If I can fall, so can you.

So getting to an elite level in any sport means concentration, repetition, and a little bit of skill.  The first thing I tell anyone interested in skating, including Inline Skating is “You WILL fall”.

Included in that is you will get hurt to some degree, learn how to take it, I can tell you what I do, but you won’t fall enough to develop that muscle memory to stop major damage unless you do it a lot.

If you make it past about 1000 miles, you probably will be able to be a skater for life.  It’s an awesome exercise, makes your heart unbeatably strong, lowers your resting rate from a normal 72 to a very leisurable level.  Mine was 42 resting when I was competing.  My doctors always asked.

But losing concentration is bad.  Really bad.

I’m now returning to a regular level of workouts.  Not a marathon, but a more leisurely 20 miles a week.  Heart rate is dropping, weight is dropping, clothes are changing.

No really, the pant legs get very tight as the waist gets loose.  You have to go up a pant size.  Yes, it’s strange.

Most of those miles are with earplugs screwed in my ears.  It blocks out wind noise, and I already have enough ringing in my ears.  It always is fast music since my heart rate while exercising will synchronize with the music and you get this fascinating runner’s high where it can even be an out of the body experience.

Competing I had a runner’s high from April through November every year.  Runner’s high make you really mellow.  I mean amazingly “chill”.

I can be kind of intense normally, rather competitive.  Always have been even if it is focused towards specific behaviors and challenges.

When I was skating I pushed myself hard.  Competing I would cruise at more than 15 MPH on skates.  Good music will add another 10 percent.  I would schedule my first rest and water stop at an hour in, minimum, and then every half hour thereafter whether I needed it or not.

Armin Van Buuren, Classic Disco, lately some Mexican Norteño or Grupera music too.  The fast music is awesome when cruising, you just have to trust me.

The trail here is a 4.5 mile square aligned on the compass rose or close to it.  My broad back would catch the wind coming off the ocean and if it’s with me, I can wind-skate and peak speeds are as high as 20 MPH without really breaking a sweat.

Well it caught me, without my realizing it.  I came around the corner, and noted a barricade way off in the distance.  I looked down to check the music, and all the sudden I clipped that barricade.  The wind had pushed me to full speed and one foot grabbed the one corner.

I went down hard on my tailbone.

Being at peak speed is a funny thing.  Your muscle groups are doing their things, they’re working hard to move your mass along.

Hitting the ground sent a shockwave through each one of those groups.  When my body stopped sliding and the world came back into light as well as color, I could tell you exactly where each muscle group was on my body because they were all shrieking in pain.

Left and right side of the neck, lower back, right upper leg rear, every one of those abs that are hiding behind Thanksgiving Dinner of years past, Pectoral muscles.

Every blessed muscle that I worked so hard since the accidents that threatened to turn me into a quadriplegic in my teens and again in my early 30s screamed to taunt me.

About the time I was able to reboot myself, I saw an older man and his workout partner.  The first one was talking to me to try to get my head going again, the second had his bike shoe on my left foot’s boot front wheel to stop me from sliding my leg.

I did an assay.  Yes, my muscles were screaming in pain, focus was returning, however nothing was broken, my own First Aid certification from years past told me that.

These two French Canadians helped me back on my feet after too long and I was able to skate the two miles back to the Jeep and get home.   They may drive strangely on our roads, but they are always helpful and polite.

When asked why did I fall I said “I was distracted by the music and I was trying to translate a song from Spanish into English”.

I need to leave the Spanish tracks at home I guess.   Maybe stick to instrumentals?  That and pay better attention when I skate.

After all, if I can screw up that badly, then so can you.

While nothing is broken, it took me four days to get flexible enough to be able to do a full look over my own body.  This was one of those falls that make you look like Nick Nolte in the first scenes of North Dallas Forty where this utterly worn out football player is shown slowly lowering himself into a tub of water while cutaway scenes of him getting slammed on a football gridiron over and over show you why you may want to consider a non impact sport.

My lower back has a deep black bruise where my body made first contact with asphalt.

Skating is non impact, unless you fall.  And hey, you can get a tiddly stuck in your eye if you are too competitive in Tiddly Winks too, right?

It took four days to be fully mobile, for the muscle groups to be smooth enough that I was able to roll in bed without screaming out in agony, for my digestive tract to relax and be “regular”.

Never had that happen before.

But anyone in any sport, especially at a beginners level or an elite level can injure themselves.

Take an elite level participant starting over and you just might want to leave the music off and at home.

The skates, helmet, pads, and skate pack all hit the floor.  Everything but the skate boots made it into the closet.  I left the skates out to tell myself I will be on the trail again.  Just not today.  Maybe the day after tomorrow.  Maybe next week.

That’s the thing.  Recuperate like you need to but get on the trail.  Besides, I have a 25 year old Xmas dinner to work off next time out.

A minute on your lips, a decade on your hips, a workout leaves it on the trail.

Trust me on that one.  All at 100 calories per mile at my level.

So how about it?  Ready for that training session?  Yeah, give me about a week, I’ll be starting out slow.

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