April started off really well. I was basically back in to full training in preparation for my first race of the year, Chengdu World Cup until everything came crashing down…literally. 1km from home after a bike session on the velodrome, I was riding on some dirt/mud due to bike path construction and next minute I was on the ground thinking, “I really hope no one saw that”. It wasn’t just my ego that needed damage control but I had split the webbing between two of my fingers. 4 stitches worth of splitting. A huge thanks to Dr Trevor Kemper who fixed me up within hours although there was strict instruction to not swim for a week. So another little hurdle, nothing worth stressing over as my swim was in pretty good form. To be honest I quite enjoyed a little break from the water!
Fast-forward a week to the Easter Long Weekend and the hand was healing nicely but a small pain in my lower back turned up. I immediately took a few days off running, chucked in some double swim days to get the feel of the water back. I was religious with treatment daily but this was starting to stress me out and I was hit with a head cold. Seriously?! The next week included some extreme down time, physio treatment, failed attempts at running, frustration and an MRI.
*&%$#&(_)(&$@$%%* insert any words that you think I may have said when I found out I had a small fracture in my pelvis. Be creative. I sure was. 5 days out from beginning an adventure I had been looking forward to for months and everything came crashing down (metaphorically this time). A few more of these *()*%^#$^&()(* in the following days and I have slowly started to accept this.
I am sure people who know me from a far would know this is my second fracture this year. “Another know it all young athlete who came back too quickly”. Not that I care what people think but to clear things up I had a very slow, at times painfully slow return to running after my previous fracture. More often than not, I would be the one to cut runs short or slow paces down because I wasn’t 100% confident in my body’s ability to handle it. The fact that all my hard work and patience over the past 5 months came to this is probably the most heartbreaking part of it all.
So where to from here? Well not one of my favourite places in the world, Vitoria-Gasteiz (that is the next most disappointing aspect). Triathlon Australia have been amazing in creating a plan for me to return to the start line as a stronger, faster and better athlete. This is a multiple phase plan that will hopefully allow me to rejoin the ‘Wollongong Wizards’ (ideally in Spain) at some point. But there is a lot more I need to focus on before I start thinking about that. A huge thanks to the Triathlon Australia High Performance Team; Bernard Savage, Mark Young, Greg Cox, and my physio Alex Price. I have complete confidence in them and am very grateful to have the support of such a high quality federation.
I have had uncountable conversations with people I respect over the past few days and it has made me realise this obstacle is something I will gain tremendously from if I approach it the right way. I am surrounded by and have accessibility to some of the best triathletes in the world past and present who are willing to have a chat. Also everyone in the ‘Gong Wizards’, whether they are Australian, Canadian, American, Chilean, Hungarian or Irish have been great support. My coach Jamie Turner always knows what is best for the athlete and it is his guidance I trust more than anyone. Most importantly my family who are my biggest supporters are the best people to rely on and I’m very lucky to have them close by.
So, this is not the end of the world. There is a plan that on paper appears to have a positive end goal. Very different to the plan I had in my head a month ago but I will just get on with it and keep you updated along the way.