When I first found out about my stress fracture, I’ll be honest, I was absolutely gutted. I had a silent cry in the clinic waiting room as I filled my payment forms out, and I even threw caution to the wind (no pun intended) and had a lactose filled coffee machine cappuccino to try and calm my nerves. When I eventually got home after some procrastination, I drowned my sorrows in junk food and wine.
2 weeks down the line, having stuck to wearing “the boot” and resting from everything except swimming and aqua-jogging (more on that later), I was still feeling sorry for myself, annoying myself (and no doubt others) with my self-pity at having to cancel my race season. So I decided to take matters into my own hands and sit on the turbo with a reeeeally gentle set and a documentary. Searching for something uplifting or educational (I’m a big old geek at heart) I found myself watching a BBC documentary called “A Time to Live” – about people who have received a terminal diagnosis who have chosen to focus on living the rest of their life, rather than the fact that they are dying. My gosh, if I wanted a proverbial slap in the face this was it!! I’m used to seeing sick people day in, day out, and sometimes this involves patients with a life-limiting prognoses. But seeing so many younger people with different terminal conditions speak openly about how they wanted to take life by the horns and get the most out of their remaining time put everything into perspective. Well worth a watch if you need some of this in your life!
Since watching it I’ve finally moved to the final stage of “grief” (acceptance), and have really buckled down to swim training and finding alternative races and activities to do. I’ve decided to try to become the best spectator there is for Paul in all of his races (cow bells and possibly even signage will be employed). I’ve entered 2 open water swim events – Boulter’s to Bray (which I did a couple of years ago whilst still under the influence of a very nice malt whiskey…) and Swim Rutland 4k. I’m contemplating an aqua-bike (much to Paul’s amusement, though they are my 2 strongest disciplines..!) and I’m trying to put my case across for a late season triathlon/holiday in Thailand to give me something to aim for (and a tan).
I’ve accepted that these next few months are going to have to be focused on improving my swim, trying to maintain my bike and general fitness, and addressing other aspects of training like nutrition and stretching/conditioning. Hopefully the end result will be that I come back stronger and wiser, and with more to prove, and hence make me a better athlete.
Lesson learned: when life gives you lemons, be grateful it’s just lemons. Make lemonade, or add vodka, it’s up to you. But find the positives and run with it.