It is now 1 month since my surgery and today was my first 4 hour day! As I look back at those weary, uncomfortable and uncertain times, I never would have thought I’d already be back to the current state that I have found myself in now! First things first – the fund-raiser. As I outlined in my previous post, it makes me quite emotional to even think about how much generosity has been show towards me. The target of $20,000 was not just dreamt up, it was a figure that was calculated according to what would be needed to give my sporting career another chance. This may sound extreme but its the simple truth. With a massive expense accumulated, my insurer finally deciding they were not going to cover a single dollar. This combined with missing out on more than half my income for the winter along with other factors to consider, it would have been financially impossible to continue without any support. As an endurance athlete, your body is your greatest asset and mine was a complete mess to say the least. For the past few years now, I have decided to throw all my eggs into the one basket – not to juggle too much and really pursue my goals as an athlete, but all of a sudden that basket was broken. You can start to imagine just how low these early days were but thankfully now these are well and truly passed! With $18,826 raised, my health finally back on track and training progressing much better than ever expected, I feel as though I have in fact found some amazing luck in one of the most unfortunate of situations. To everyone who has donated, you have given me the opportunity to continue. This unfortunately is something that I will most likely never be able to completely repay to you all. The only way I can deal with it mentally is the hope that one day I will be able to donate the same money to someone in need – given them another chance.
Night terrors, fevers and chest pain during the night have continued since the operation but gladly have began to ease. The medications leave you feeling pretty toxic, cloudy minded and lethargic so I have really just focused on eating healthy. To be honest, one of the most frustrating consequences of this injury has been the inability to sneeze! Spring for me is definitely the least opportunate period for this issue also, being a bit of a struggler with ‘hay fever’. Have you ever tried to hold in a sneeze because you didn’t want to make a noise or be rude?? Its incredibly unrewarding and 4.5 weeks of it has well and truly been enough. 2 days ago I had my first sneeze, and what a satisfying milestone to reach!!
As you can see from the above photo, Sushi was one of these healthy dinners where I managed to cook way too much rice! Making quite a lot extra just meant we had plenty for the next day too – quite a good mistake I’d say! One of the other ways to help get back to feeling human again was a day down at Mornington Peninsula. A light run on the beach and sand dunes was a great feeling, and a fresh day became even fresher when a ridiculously big wave decided to come in…
This was then followed by a relaxing afternoon at the hot springs and this had such a relaxing-ly positive effect on my sure muscles that seemed quite upset by the re-commencement of training!
‘Eat more, train more’ is a strategy I have been working with for about a year and a half now. Primarily because I have always struggled to gain or even maintain decent weight during heavy training periods. This year with a new strength program, I had managed to finally increase my weight to 71.5kg. After the 12 days of lying in hospital, I re-weighed myself to see a depressing 66.3kg. This was definitely one of the lows, I had done a lot to build up my strength and muscle mass and to lose it all so quickly was tough to see. With a change of strategy to ‘eat more, gain more’ plus a pretty solid re-entry into a modified strength program I was shocked to see the scales now read this!
As said earlier, because strength training is not aerobically tiring I have been able to work into a solid strength program in an attempt to regain what has been lost. This was a pretty low point too at first. When you try and squat a quarter of the weight you previously could manage and have your legs give out on the third set, it almost seems like a lost-cause! Just like normal however, my coach Mattias said something ridiculously optimistic which later became reality. Squats are already back up to 90% of what I was at my best!
Running feels great now and is right back to normal. The only thing is that as a result of the nerve damage, my upper right side of my chest is completely numb and when I run, my right pec feels like it is made of rubber. Rollerskiing is coming along so much better than expected too. I managed 1hr 45 classic today with the desire at the end to continue! Still I am taking the conservative approach though, this is the first time in my life I’m going to be smart about injury rehab! With general chest tightness after exercise and soreness when I sleep it reminds me to stick directly to the plan. This tightness has meant that my mobility has gone from horrendous to comical! For any Yoga enthusiasts, warning! You may find the following image offensive….
Just like any athlete, progression is what fuels me and right now I’m feeling great!