Barely a week after Reid Coolsaet announced his plan to take aim at Canada’s marathon record, he sat in a Hamilton hospital awaiting surgery to put the pieces of his collarbone back together.
The 33-year-old distance runner suffered a major setback when he crashed while mountain biking on Wednesday and shattered his collarbone.
But the Hamilton native is cautiously optimistic he’ll still be able to race the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon this fall. And if not, he’ll re-jig his racing calendar.
“I’m just kind of thinking that things happen for a reason I guess,” Coolsaet said in a phone interview Thursday. “I have a pretty positive outlook that I’ll come back from this. It just might not be the same timeline as I originally thought.
“If I’m miraculously running at the beginning of July, I can pretty much do the same schedule that I thought I was going to do minus June and July races.”
Coolsaet had been training with the Canadian marathon record in his sights and announced on May 29 that he would race in the 2013 Scotiabank Toronto race. At the same race in 2011, he ran two hours 10 minutes 55 seconds, narrowly missing Jerome Drayton’s 38-year-old record — the oldest on Canadian running history books — of 2:10:09.
Scotiabank will pay $38,000 in prize money — $1,000 for every year Drayton’s record has stood — for a record run.
Coolsaet was mountain biking Wednesday in the trails around Guelph Lakes when he noticed his shoe was undone. He hit the brakes. The bike stopped, but he didn’t.
“I still remember flying in the air thinking it felt like I was sailing pretty far,” Coolsaet wrote on a blog post. “I hit the ground with my left shoulder and heard a crack.”
Coolsaet included a gruesome picture of his X-ray on his blog. There’s a gaping chasm where his collarbone should be. He also suffered torn ligaments.
“Right when I saw (the X-rays) I thought ‘How the hell is that supposed to join back together,“’ Coolsaet wrote.
Coolsaet was initially told to wait a week to see how the fracture healed. He texted the X-ray to several doctors he knows in Hamilton. Hours later he was in hospital getting prepped for surgery, which was to include the insertion of a hook plate which will be removed in about six months.
He was told he can resume running in about six weeks. If that’s not enough time to prepare for the Oct. 20 marathon in Toronto, he’ll aim for another race.
Coolsaet says the good thing about marathons is that there’s a decent race somewhere in the world at almost any time of the year.
“So it’s not like other sports seasons, that if you’re trying to run a fast steeple(chase) in December, there’s just not one available,” Coolsaet said. “So that’s kind of the good part about the marathon, is that I can still, whenever I figure out when I’m fit and I can put a training plan into place, I can take a marathon. Right now I’m still hoping that Scotiabank will work. But I have to keep my mind open.”
Coolsaet plans to get back on the bike — the stationary bike — to train until he can run again.
“But I think as far as biking, stationary bike, it shouldn’t be too long,” he said. “The reason I say that is I fractured it and biked home 30 minutes. So if I can bike with it like that, I should be able to bike with it once it’s kind of pieced together.”
Coolsaet has come back from fluky injuries before. Late in 2008, he slipped on a patch of ice and broke his foot.