When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength. -Arnold Schwarzenegger
It has taken me a long time to write this. I actually wrote a blog about a month ago then deleted it. I didn’t want questions because I didn’t have the answers. I wanted to focus on what I needed to do to get better without the influences and drama from people around me. No one understands your body and yourself better than you. You have to look at all these challenges that we face as an athlete as an important part of a learning curve to becoming the best in the world.
After doing my first half ironman, I jumped straight back into training with my normal group down in Wollongong getting ready for WTS Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi was a race I was looking forward to for a while because I knew if I did the basics right, I would be back up in the game where I should be. I found a new confidence in my training and I really think this helped me focus on what I needed to do this year. I was swimming some of the best times consistently in training and what was once hard was becoming easier. I was feeling stronger on the bike and liked feeling that I could finally contribute to a session rather than just hanging on. Running probably took the longest to change gear back to some speed work but I was enjoying putting processes in place and seeing improvements every week.
After flying to Abu Dhabi, during the week leading into the race, my foot started to get more average by the day. Unfortunately or lucky enough, I ended up getting two flats during the race and I had to DNF. I was meant to fly from Adu Dhabi to New Plymouth for a month of training before New Plymouth World Cup and hopefully achieve a WTS Gold Coast start but instead I stopped off at home for a MRI on my foot. I was really hoping for the best but I got diagnosed with a stress reaction in my third metatarsal. To be honest the timing of it hurt more than the injury itself.
I spent March at home focussing on recovery and rehab to get me back in working order as soon as possible. As I couldn’t do much else for the first two weeks or so, I jumped in the pool and pretty much doubled the amount of swimming I normally do. I went back to NSWIS and did weight work in the gym off my feet, upper body strengthening work and conditioning training. It is really important to maintain strength as it is amazing how quickly the body loses basic conditioning and it will put you a few steps ahead when you start back training fully. Within no time at all, I was on the bike inside and then out in the fresh air on the bike. I got poured on, during my second ride back and I was still smiling because being healthy and doing what I love was so much more important to me.
I am now back running and sweating it out on the elliptical trainer which I am actually really enjoying. It is just about taking it week by week and taking one step forward when the body is ready. It is always hard watching people race and I have missed a really important early part of 2016 but the year still has a long way to go! I am confident and ready to move forward.