I am feeling stunningly positive at the moment and I think a huge part of this is amount of kindness that has been shown towards me. Here’s a random list of various things that have happened over the past week… there’s always a risk in doing this of missing someone out I hope I don’t.
- Sally, the owner of Bottle Lodge where we stayed in Christchurch. She brought Jo to pick me up and take us to the airport and once there hung around to ensure we got all our luggage checked ok. This was despite it being her daughters birthday and was missing out on paintballing.
- Jo, what a trooper. It was such hardwork for her to look after me especially in the first few days and can’t have been great for her race preparations. Hopefully now I’m independent enough for her to get properly focussed on her race.
- Roz, a friend back in London who has been working tirelessly to sort out specialist appointments and physio for me as soon as I return. She’s used verious of her contacts to help the process along. I can’t thank her enough.
- Gabriel, another friend back in London, again offering help but also giving me great advice about why I shouldn’t tough it out with the pain and take my painkillers. I have a real aversion to taking drugs and would put up with quite a lot of pain to avoid it but he highlighted why for my recovery it was important to control the pain.
- My mum – what more can I say than she offered to fly out to New Zealand to look after me and help me get my bike and myself home
- My sister – found a specialist for me in London which turned out to be someone Roz recommended as well and offered all the support she could
- Jo’s mum and sister – such kind understanding emails. Really clear they understood what I was going through …. they brought me to tears (but in a good way!)
- Roger – if you’re reading this reckon you should give up your current job and take on sports psychology – your regular “pep talk” emails have been a great boost. This just rolls on from all the positive vibe emails you’ve sent the whole time I’ve been out here
- Scott and Tara – both emailed and pointed out that I would probably come back stronger following this en-forced rest. Scott even reckoned if this hadn’t happened I would probably of “nuked myself”
- So many strangers offering me a lift in their cars when they’ve seen me struggling in to town on my crutches – this included a pro from Luxembourg and a frail looking old lady in a tiny car – when she said I looked like I was struggling it really rather struck home. I of course declined all offers a I wanted to get some exercise.
- Stephen at BodyFuel – lovely free date and orange pudding despite Jo asking him not to let me have anything sweet as it would mean I was a fat blob by the time I got back to training.
- The guy in the outdoor equipment shop who gave me a free buckle to replace the one I broke in my wheelchair – he reckoned I needed all the breaks I could get.
- Cliff here at the hotel. Helping me out with internet access to keep me sane and getting me a fold up chair I can carry around when supporting on Saturday.
There were more but too many to mentioned them all. You get the gist. This sort of thing makes you realise how the vast majority of the human race are probably fundamentally kind people willing to help out when they can.
I’ve had a few comments that this enforced rest will really help but really I’m not sure how much rest it is. The past few days I’ve been in and out of town on my crutches and it’s been utterly exhausting. The first day it took me about 1h15 to get in, the following day 40 minutes … quite a PB. Think it’s about a mile or so into town. Both days however it must have taken several hours to get back. To encourage myself yesterday I started doing 100 steps before a rest. This worked for a while but then it got too tough so I hobbled between seats and sat and did a Killer Suduko puzzle before moving on. Towards the end I noticed I was getting a blister from my Berkenstocks so I removed them as I could go the rest of the way on grass and I could put it back on to cross the road to the hotel. It wasn’t until I got to that point I realised how difficult that would be without a seat ! Whilst I’m faffing without success a police car pulls up to offer a lift to my hotel. Turns out this policeman is from Wakefield !! (ie 50 miles from where I’m from in the UK). He then says he’ll stop the traffic for me. Just at this point Mike Williams (a fellow Epic NZ Camper) pulls up and on hearing whats going on happen pulls out his camera claiming this photo is going to be worth money. So, there is photographic evidence of a fit young man having to get the police to help him cross the road.
Today I registered to race ! Not that I’m going to but it of course provided some slightly funny moments. For instance as I was queue jumping thanks to a nice man who felt I should be cut some breaks, I say to him ” I reckon it’s going to take me 10 hours to do the run like this” Clearly numerous competitors thought I would be racing. Got a comment that my compression socks look pretty impressive.
It’s been a rather rambling entry this and will finish it by continuing in this vein as I’ve found it quite enlightening finding myself being so positive and quite enjoying my time in the run up to this race. I often think of myself as not chatty but am starting to realise thats probably only in comparison to my mum and sister. Having this cast on has meant I’ve had so many conversations with strangers and I’ve really not tired of if. I’ve loved it. OK, most start with the same thing – explaining my injury but that leads to talking about different stuff. For instance yesterday I chatted with this american. If i”d had I’d had to guess his age I would have put it at 50-54… he was 70-74 ! He said how normally there’d be 3 people in his age group but there were 10 this time.
I am generally an optimist which I think is what makes the initial phase of an injury like this so bad. It knocks all ideas of a good outcome from your sight. I was distraught and struggled for a positive spin on it. It didn’t take long for my optimism to come through. Getting the surgery done quickly helped since it moved me from being injured to getting recovered. Every moment now is moving me closer to fitness… in fact, I am getting fitter every moment of the day. OK I may be losing aerobic fitness but my overal fitness is improving since at the moment I may be aerobically fit but I can’t use it … each day I lose aerobic fitness but I’m moving closer to being able to use that fitness. Compared to previous surgeries I’ve had this is very positive. In those cases they really didn’t know whether the surgery had fixed the problem till I’d rehab’d … this time it was certain I’d snapped the tendon and the surgeon has rejoined it so I am positive it is fixed the only question mark is can I recover and will the fix be strong enough. Now the pain has all but gone I’m getting quite mobile. Both Scott and Tara commented that I would probably come back stronger because of this lay off. If there is a good time for this then this was probably it – the injury happened just as I was starting a taper – so right at the end of high volume period just when I was about to start a several week period of taper and recovery. OK, rather than doing lower volume I am doing nothing but at least it means the amount less I am doing is minimised and if I can start swimming / biking when this cast comes off it is possible I will have lost very little fitness. In fact, it could work out like I’ve just taken an easy spell in a periodised training programme.
The other thing that could be of great benefit is my running gait. I’ve had this pain in the ball of my foot for at least 18 months now on and off. It hasn’t been painful when running but thinking back it’s clear that was due to a change in my gait. I can remember starting running regularly with my foot feeling painful but soon it wasn’t. I’d move my gait so that I pushed off my toes not my big toe. This is why when the podiatrist looked at my running when I first snapped the tendon it look AOK. Now, if this is fixed correctly not only will I be pain free but it should also allow me to drive off my big toe again – that should hopefully make me faster on the run. Roll on Kona and Busselton !