Light At The End of The Tunnel
Let’s address the elephant in the room. I haven’t been posting much. I know it and if you have been a frequent reader then you have noticed too. I cannot tell you how many times my Dad has reminded me that I haven’t been updating my blog. It’s true. I haven’t been. There is a reason though and it is one that is hard for me to admit and even harder for me to write down.
I have not been ok.
If you have read any of my posts, listened to my podcast or follow my shenanigans on Instagram you will know that I am injured. This has been one of the hardest things that I have dealt with. Not because the injury is particularly painful (it can be) or anything like that. Instead, the drawn out nature of the injury and the inability to get a proper answer as to actually what is wrong with me made me feel helpless. I cannot put into words the roller coaster of emotions I have been through, anger, frustration and eventually just sadness. Not being able to do what I love has made me sad.
Every time I decided to write a post the only thing I could think about writing was about my injury and I felt pressure to say “It isn’t getting me down” or “It is a blessing in disguise” when the reality is I was feeling helpless and alone and scared it would never get better. So I decided simply not to post anymore. I did not want to put up a post again until I had something positive to post about.
I am a bit of a content whore. You can find me delivering content across multiple mediums and it wouldn't be a blog post without a reference to my podcast. But a couple of weeks ago, a listener sent in an email asking us to discuss the problem many of us face of comparing ourselves to others. Think Fit is based completely on our experiences so when we started to do the preparation for the episode I started to think about examples of when and how I compare myself to others. I realised that I used to do it a lot when I was bigger. I used to look at my Dad, my Brother, my Mum and my friends and get so sad because they were all ‘skinny’ while I was not. That was obvious to me and probably to many people who go through issues with weight. What surprised me though was how much comparison was impacting me currently.
In January when I realised that my injury was actually a serious problem I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't race again until I was better. I thought it might take a couple of months. I certainly did not expect to find it June (basically) and still not racing. I realised how much attention I was paying to my competitors and friends results too. Everyone was getting faster. People I know I am faster than were posting incredible times at races I was meant to be at. I felt robbed. If it weren’t for this injury I would have gone under 4:10. If it wasn't for this injury I could have won that race. If it wasn’t for this injury I could have beaten that person. The negativity in my mindset suddenly linked itself to my injury. I was incapable of being happy for other people’s success. I was too busy feeling sorry for myself or that I was being unfairly punished. I was not in a very happy place.
So back to the podcast, recording that episode about comparing ourselves to others turned out to be a real blessing in disguise. I am not sure if the listeners picked up on it but I realised exactly what was going on with myself while we were recording. Now for some behind the scenes news, when Robo and me finish recording, we normally chat for a few minutes while the files upload etc. After that episode I think we stayed on the line for nearly 30 minutes talking about what had happened. I was wasting so much of my energy comparing myself to others. Like a fog was lifted, I suddenly saw myself clearly for the first time in a long time. I think this is where my recovery truly began. You can listen to that episode here.
The other thing that happened at the same time was that I finally decided to see a Sports Dr who sent me for scans. Within a week, I had a diagnosis! I had tendonosis of the hamstring insertion point, an overuse injury. The good news! It could be fixed! 2-3 weeks off running completely and 3 PRP injections over 6 weeks. PRP injections are where blood is taken and spun to separate the blood. From that, platelets are extracted and re-injected into the injured tendon. For a person terrified of needles it was a scary thought. But if it meant I would be back to my best then sign me up.
So last week I had my first PRP injection and it sucked! But I understood why I was doing it and that is why I finally felt like I could write another post. I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. This whole experience has proved to be a much tougher challenge then I ever could have expected. I have dealt with so many other things that just the actual injury. Things like pressure to portray a certain image, feelings of helplessness after comparing myself to others, anger and resentment towards other people and just generally feeling shit.
I booked myself accommodation for Sunshine Coast 70.3 in late August on the weekend after the injection because I am starting to feel optimistic again. The race is far enough away that I will be able to do some decent preparation for it. I can already feel my motivation returning and the prospect of running fast and pain free again makes me realise how badly I want to achieve my goals. Much like any great story or drama, it cannot be smooth sailing. I felt like I had already dealt with my tough times only to have life throw me a curve ball. Ultimately I am not proud of how I have dealt with it. But like so many things in my life I have certainly learned from it. I have a much deeper understanding of myself now than I did before and for that I am grateful.
The last thing I want to do is to thank everyone who has reached out to me throughout this injury. While I may not have always been in the mind space to hear or understand your words of encouragement, I always appreciated them. I am constantly surprised by the kindness of strangers, of people I have met through my amazing sport.
The truth is, all I needed to do was remember to TRI!
I lost 50kgs though triathlon and completed the 2016 70.3 World Championships. Aiming to hit 4:05 for a 70.3, the same time it took me to complete my first Olympic Distance Triathlon. I want to bring as many new people to the sport as possible. Whether you are fit and active or want to make positive changes to your life.