It has been a busy few months, jammed packed but only of positive progression. If you had of asked me in November where I thought I would be in regards to getting back on the track, I would of told you to take your questions elsewhere. Thanks to a lot of help along the way, I finally feel that 2014 may have a slow and gradual start but once that ball starts rolling, it sure will fly. To get here I thought I would touch on the journey back to, let’s say half of the ultimate desired fitness (still not there yet) and go over the steps I took to recovery.
I have had a lot of emails in the past few months about self motivation and staying strong mentally and sometimes I smile while reading these because when I think back to my time in the cast/boot, it is hard to remember whether I was “motivational or inspiring”. Honestly, the first few months I learnt how to be pretty useless and managed to get everyone around me to do everything since I was on crutches. My family may have been happy to have me home for about a week but that special, exciting and privileged feeling quickly wore off and I was sent to my grandmas to be looked after – she is the only one that had enough patience with me. Thanks Granny <3 !!! I also was moody like no other. I was dirty at my Mum for heading off to Moscow to watch the World Track and Field Championship when I wasn’t competing. The whole family had booked to go watch me a few weeks before I broke my ankle but then couldn’t get refunds for the flights. Mum had a great time so the right thing to do was get over it and be happy she was able to enjoy herself. Dad is currently using the flight credit and is off skiing in Italy with his partner as I type this blog. All thanks to me breaking my ankle. No worries guys! Grandma and Grandad forfeited everything to stay home and care for me. Again, thanks Grandma! Despite my bratty self, I did come good after a few weeks of moping around and with a lot of help from the people around me I did manage to see the positive in it all and stay determined to get back to where I wanted to be.
The months from June 30th 2013 when I fell to November 16th 2013 when I did my first 25 minute run were the months that re-taught me how to love and appreciate what I get to do on a daily basis. Never would I preach that everyone must experience a horrible injury to really know what it means to have the privilege to train and love what you do, but I can say to anyone that complains about his or her sport or training to “suck it up”. It is the best gift you can receive and if you’re lucky enough to be good at what you do, then cherish it. Obviously these aren’t some unheard wise words of wisdom but some people lose sight of this. So don’t.
Once I was told I could cross-train back in September, I began going to the gym, biking, pool running, arm biking (worst invention ever) and swimming. I joined a swimming group with a great squad in Brisbane that I met through the QAS and began training with them from 5.45am-7.15am. This was some of the hardest training I have done yet. I would be given a program of about 4km on the longer days but it could consist of any style, it didn’t matter, as long as it got my heart rate up – which clearly meant butterfly! My days consisted of swimming first thing, straight to the QAS for bike or arm bike, gym, go home and eat, then be back at the QAS for another form of cross-training. After 8 weeks of that and starting to look like an arm wrestler, I was finally allowed to jump on the Alter G and use my legs rather then bulking up the arms.
During this time, the Queensland Academy of Sports (QAS) was absolutely fantastic and did everything they could and more for me to get back on my feet again. I used the Brisbane Broncos Alter-G for just under a month then the QAS got one in that I could use when ever necessary. To give my rehab more of a kick-start, Athletics Australia sent me to the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) to work with some of Australia’s best sports science and strength team to assist in the process. I was able to get treated daily and receive an extremely beneficial gym program to strengthen my body. This allowed me to avoid compensating injuries along the way and make sure I was able to take on a decent running schedule given to me from my new coach Nic Bideau to prepare me for Falls Creek altitude camp and the year to come.
Mid November was my first run really. I was able to complete 25 minutes non-stop on a trail in Canberra at the AIS. I marked this day in my diary as “the best day ever”. It obviously was an exaggeration but at the time I felt that way. The rest of the month was up and down. I would do what I was told and some days feel great and wanted to keep going, but then other days I would wake up and struggle to walk out of my bedroom. My masseuse, physio, coach, friends and family would have got so sick of me – I would act super bipolar. One day I would report such great news and say things like “watch out world, I’ll be back in no time – had barely any pain!” The next day would roll around and I would be writing a sob story about how terrible it felt today and that I am so sick of my ankle taking so long to bounce back. It was so up and down, and it still is and will be for quite some time but I am able to manage the discomfort and adapt to more and more work each week. It will just be something I have to give a little more attention to on a daily basis till I get it back to full strength.
All I know is if I look back to a few months ago, the progress and gains are exponential and continuing in that manner. I couldn’t be more thankful for where I am today, for the people in my life that have helped me, and for the support I will continue to have as I get back in shape for 2014 and beyond. This weekend (Feb 1st) I will finally race for the first time in 7 months at the Briggs Athletics Classic in Hobart and test out the old NB800 spikes again. Can’t say I am ready to break records but I am more than capable of getting a good hit-out to start the season rolling. Just moving forward every day.
Wish me luck 🙂 ,