On the 1st April during an easy jog, I felt an insanely intense pain in my fibula, which is just above the ankle bone. After stringing together some of my best weeks of training consistently and seeing improvements, I was scared it was something bad. My gut instinct told me that it was going to be a stress fracture as I could feel the dull ache which kept me awake that entire night. I was familiar with that bone because I’ve had a stress fracture there twice already. I immediately had an MRI and it showed minor ‘bone stress’, peroneal impingement and tendonitis. I stopped riding and running that day. Physio and I decided that we would take 2 weeks off running, moon boot and let it all settle down.
But after that it wasn’t progressing, so I decided to see a Sports Doctor who then sent me for another Bone Scan and MRI. The ‘bone stress’ had turned into a ‘stress fracture’ which lit up like a Christmas tree. From there it was typical rehab time for a stress fracture or break of foot/ankle. I was then off the bike and still no running, 5 more weeks in the moon boot and then a gradual return to training. But upon the return to slowly ride & run I could feel what I thought was a nerve pain which lingered for a week.
I was already frustrated by this injury at week 8! so we decided to see one of Brisbane’s best Orthopeadic surgeons who specializes in ankles. He sent me for a CT scan. FINALLY, WE HAD A DIAGNOSIS - . My ankle had now broken completely and an extra bone (Os Trigonum) was found in the back of my foot. To have a broken ankle caused by an irregular bone/abnormality in my body was hard to accept. But the Ortho assured me that once we have surgery to clean up the ankle and remove the bone, we may never have these issues again. A week after the diagnosis, I had surgery and we were able to start moving forward again.
How I dealt with it all?
Receiving the email 2 days before surgery to tell me I had been selected for 70.3 World Championships in South Africa in September this year was a bitter pill to swallow. At that point I was ranked #14 in the World and #2 in Australia. I had never performed that well or been selected for a Professional World Championship. I look forward to receiving that email to race in Nice, France in 2019!
I went from my typical weeks of juggling law study at Uni, part-time work and training 26hrs a week TO completely bed ridden every day for 2 weeks. Post-surgery were definitely my hardest weeks I’ve had to deal with. I was depressed, there was no doubt about it. I was at week 5 of crutches, sleepless nights with pain medications to help, and the fear of turning into Augustus Gloop and fatman. It’s this fear I had of failing, not moving closer to my dreams and goals. Basically, standing still, and that’s with everything. I was unable to work whilst on crutches, Uni semester had finished, I felt completely useless.
I thought of a genius idea to move myself around the house since I couldn’t even carry a cup of tea from the kitchen to the couch. I swiveled around on my desk chair up and down the hallways, cooking and baking ☺ I missed the simple things, standing up to have a shower, not having to sit down to put my clothes on, carrying a water bottle and the list goes on.
For some reason we all get caught up in this perception of ‘being someone’. It’s very interesting that we think life must always be ‘doing, achieving, grinding & succeeding’ and we aren’t satisfied if we’re not – we lose this idea of just ‘being’.2 weeks post-surgery I was allowed to begin gym/strength work while still on crutches and with my cast on. It was at this point I decided to start focusing on the positives, I could see some progress and more importantly I was able to channel my mind. I worked very hard in the gym those few weeks at Science of Fitness with Rory Mcguire.
I had many people question why I was doing gym post-surgery; simple answer was: I’m following my Doctor’s orders, I’m focused on me, it’s my passion and I have 3 perfectly healthy limbs so why wouldn’t I? I urge you to get out there and test your limits, I promise you won’t look back.
PATIENCE/RESILIENCE/COURAGE; they’re not SWIM/BIKE/RUN, they’re 3 emotional strengths I’ve been focusing on in the last 4 months that will take me higher come race day when my body is healed.
“Be that girl who wakes up with purpose and intent. Be that girl who shows up and NEVER gives up. Be that girl who believes anything is possible and willing to work for it!
Moving forward now!
The day I was dreaming of for 16 weeks (15th July), the day my Doc gave me the “Go Ahead, all clear” to start my rebuild again – The crutches were gone and the gradual weight bearing with the moon boot had begun... PATIENTLY. We will be taking this process very slowly to gain the fundamental strength and mobility required in the injured leg. I am in no rush to toe a start line until my body is 100% fit and healthy. I will be on the wind trainer for the next 4 weeks, building some basic strength in my injured leg, seated riding and lower intensity. First running steps will be 4 weeks post no crutches. I am counting down the days!!
I trust my entire team 100%, I’m privileged to be working with some of the best medical professionals in Brisbane. We are being careful, taking extra caution and being smart about the strength we’re building.I’ve gained a whole new perspective on life while sitting on the sidelines. I was able to find enjoyment in little things; whether it was a ‘crutch/hobble’ around my neighborhood taking in the sights and smells that surrounded me, or a few drinks with friends at long lunches, or even sitting in my garden with a cup of tea. I’m appreciating the moments of my day, big or small with no expectation or judgement.
We all battle our demons one day or the next! A lot of my days in the last 17 weeks haven’t felt colored in, more so black and white. I’m proud of how strong I’ve been on this journey. I’ve lifted my head and been strong each day, whether it was for 1 hour or 12.
Unlike Instagram, LIFE does have bloody horrible times! It’s completely normal and we should be okay with letting ourselves feel those hard times, cry, be emotional and not fight it… only if you pull yourself back up!
I realised I (and probably most of us) live in our own little bubble. When things are going well, we are oblivious to almost anything in our external view, possibly even how others around us are feeling. Take time for different things in life, enjoy the company of your friends and family and do activities that make you happy because we surely aren’t here forever.
I certainly wouldn’t have made it this far, or this positively without those few extremely close friends who picked me up daily, lifted my spirits and just listened to me for hours. I’m grateful for the love and support of my team around me, Clayto, Physio, Ortho Specialist and my family. We are on the UP and I promise I’ll be back stronger than I’ve been.
“YOU are in control, always. Your mindset, your outlook, your choices. Set small goals & big goals, keep yourself accountable to achieve them. Own your success and if you fall short take ownership, reassess and move upwards again.”