Doing as I’m told
I’ve always been someone that pushes the boundaries and steps out of my comfort zone whether it’s business or sport. My mum would add that I pushed the discipline boundaries at school too but I needed to learn not to get caught.
Earlier this summer I was pushing hard on the bike leg of a triathlon around the track at the National Watersports Centre in Nottingham. After a disappointing swim I was having the ride of my life. Excellent speed, overtaking lots of people and just enjoying it. Perhaps I pushed a shade too hard as I accelerated down a straight as one minute I was upright and the next I was lying on my side on the floor. My first thought was – that’s my shoulder b—–ed. X rays later confirmed a displacement fracture to my collar bone (the ends of the break were pointing in different directions) which had to be plated, a broken shoulder and three cracked ribs. It was quite the most painful thing that’s ever happened to me …. but I haven’t given birth.
Nine days later I had surgery to plate my collar bone. In the days leading up to surgery, and every day subsequently one thought has stayed with me – the most important thing was to do whatever was necessary to ensure my bones and muscles healed and I didn’t lose functionality. I can honestly say that I’ve done exactly what the surgeon and physiotherapist have told me to do, even the exercises that felt uncomfortable, and it’s paying off. The process is slow but I’m learning an awful lot about stretching and rehab and most importantly I’m seeing results.
Training for many sports involves a degree of pain – mostly pain from pushing yourself physically. At the 6 week post-surgical review my surgeon said I could swim, bike, run and drive, but mustn’t do any weight bearing or resistance work and if anything caused pain I must stop. He stressed that triathletes and cyclists often have a “no gain no pain” mentality but pain would interfere with healing.
Life was starting to return to normal. My independence returned, I could drive to work and meet Leanne. Leanne has a wealth of experience – as a triathlete, personal trainer and having been there and done it. She had a far worse break than me and turned adversity into opportunity. We hadn’t had a session for 3 months and I’d lost a lot of fitness plus all the strength in my left arm. Our first session was pitched just hard enough to push me and make me work but not so hard it highlighted what I’d lost. It felt great to be back. As well as a running and stretching programme she said it was a good opportunity to work on my swimming weakness so gave me a legs-only pyramid session to work on.
My muscles are rebuilding, shoulder mobility is about 90% and my fitness is returning. I’m seeing my physio every 3 weeks, training regularly and being guided by Leanne. The next review with the surgeon is in December. Although he’s a great guy I hope it’s the last time I see him! For once doing as I’m told seemed the right thing to do …. but unlike school rules this time the “rules” were underpinned with evidence and they made sense.