Out of the ashes

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted. Rehab didn’t go as smoothly as planned, with pain continuing in my right hip for weeks after the operation, and for reasons best known to itself, my brain decided to fixate on the possibility that I wouldn’t get better.  With multiple rounds of hip surgery creating gaps in my availability and making me unable to sit at a desk for hours at a time even weeks after the operations, I also struggled to find work for several months.

Lying in bed at home all day every day, banned even from going for a walk unless it was because I needed to get somewhere, gave my mind far too much time to turn in on itself.  A couple of hours watching Big Bang Theory most days cheered me up a bit, but wasn’t enough to stop me from ending up really, really sad. On bad days I cried for hours at a time, and even when I was allowed to leave the house again I often didn’t want to.

Somehow I carried on.  At the end of October, Ed and I started swimming lessons with Swim For Tri, who I can’t recommend highly enough. As well as being an excellent technical swim coach, Dan has been sympathetic and patient with my prolonged recovery time, and easily adapted the coaching focus so I could improve despite not being able to kick at first.

An extra unplanned operation at the end of November started to turn things round, and soon after that I was able to start cycling again, albeit for 5 minutes at a time, rather than 5 hours.  I built up gradually – the doctors’ definition of “gradually” this time, rather than mine – and combined with swimming and using a cross-trainer, I started to regain a little of my lost fitness.  (The doctors were great, by the way – my initial interpretation of their instructions, not so much!)

The hours and hours of physio exercises and plyometrics seem to have paid off – in January I was allowed to start running again, and although I’m building up very gradually, the times are nothing like as bad as I’d feared.

I’m currently training in Lanzarote to rebuild fitness and start working on aspects of training that aren’t practical in the UK winter, such as open water swimming and bike handling.  I’ve put the power meter back on the bike, done some timed swims and had the clock on my running.  The numbers are very pleasing, given that my last major operation was less than 4 months ago, and although I still have a lot of work to do, the only way is up!

More importantly, I feel human again, surprisingly confident in what I’m doing, and comfortable in my own skin.  The injury is behind me and I’m excited about this year’s training and racing.

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