This moment is huge. This moment has been coming for more than ten years. It’s been a culmination of a great many things, physical psychological and emotional. Today is an historic day. For me at least.
Today is Sunday 5 November 2023.
Today is the day I decided to structure my training schedule properly, for the first time since I quit triathlon due to injury in 2012.
In 2012 I took my place in the starting lineup for the 2012 Triathlon World Championships Grand Final in Auckland, NZ. I had never been to New Zealand before. It was to be my last one ever. The GP told me not to do it, and that I might not finish. It ended up being a PW.
In 2018 I underwent elective surgery to have a total knee replacement.
I had not been able to properly run since 2012. by the time I had the surgery I could barely even walk. After this surgery (which was truly horrific) I vowed to never run again, in a bid to preserve my new knee as long as I could.
6 months into the rehab from this, I started having problems with my left foot (the cause of which still remains undiagnosed). I Either DNS or DNF (for the first time in my left) all my come back races I had planned for the 12 months after this initial knee surgery.
In 2020 I had a left leg below knee amputation.
Now the goal was crystal clear, whereas all I spent my time worrying about in 2018 was what I was not going to do again.
I wanted to ride my bike again. I had no idea how I was going to manage it, but that’s what I wanted to do.
After I had figured that out, I wanted to run again. Yep, you got it right, a TKR put me off, but having a leg chopped off didn’t! 🤔🤣 I also had no idea how I would do that, specially since I had two barriers here, a BKA and a TKR!
Rehab and progress to this point
I am now 3 years post amputation. I’m still struggling with MH issues related to the amputation journey. In addition to that I’m constantly challenging my physical limitations. Due to residual damage to the rest of the leg, what I can and can’t do varies greatly day to day. Pretty hard (moving goal posts) to deal with .
Has never been an issue, I was back In the pool 9 weeks post amputation. I do now have an AmpFin though which is helping me to build my leg strength while swimming.
This is rather hit and miss due to my lack of working arteries in the rest of my left leg. Sometimes cycling is fine, other times I am in a world of pain and have to constantly stop and rest to let the very limited blood flow catch up.
I have an e-bike road bike which I use outside and a regular TT bike attached to Zwift on an indoor trainer. Maybe one day (❓) I will be able to ride it outside too.
As one may expect this has been super super tough. Let’s face it I haven’t run regularly since 2012. That’s 11 years. I was given a blade early on. But I found it so so hard to use, I have shelved it for a while in search of other interim solutions. Thats come in the form of a new foot with a carbon fibre ankle. I am just starting short jog intervals on the treadmill to get started, it will be a long road. Where it leads, no one knows!
This has been toughest of all. What used to be my inner drive deserted me. Dysthymia, PTSD and then a divorce to add to a permanent disability have taken me a very very long time to come to terms with. Till now I have only been surviving at best. Some weeks are better than others. Some are non existent. But, I feel like I’m turning a corner because in the last few days I have made some pretty massive decisions.
T.H.E – N.E.W.S
I have reached the point where I feel like I’m ready to take on some structured training. The last time my training had any structure was in way back in 2011.
With the help of a cuppie team mate I have put structured cycle training into my calendar from now all the way up to Race Day (17 Feb 2024 Race Day)
I have just purchased some FORM goggles, (Form are one of our team sponsors). This will enable me to download structured swim sets and the information and metrics will come up on the inside of the goggle lens as I am swimming. Although the swim distance isn’t too much of a problem, all I tend to do is swim up and down till I get bored, this will add some purpose to my training time.
My willingness to take on structure symbolises a few things
- An element of self belief going forward
- Self commitment to multisport as something I now believe I could actually do
- Willingness to have some accountability and not be afraid of failure, if not being enough.
- Finally moving on from the loss of what I could do, to looking forward to what I can do next.
I will be posting this training journey detail regularly so watch this space. My race day distances are 3000m swim and 120km bike ride.
I CAN do this.
Please sponsor me
I am doing this for me, but in the process am fundraising for a charity called Association violet which supports financial challenges associated with being born with a disability as a child growing up on rural France (where my dad lives)