Friday, November 12, 2010

Phew, my blog still exists!

Oh dear, it's been so long. I had worried blogger might have disabled this blog by now, but thankfully it still remains, covered in a thick layer of cyber cobwebs and dust mites. Now, where to begin...

I suppose it makes sense to start with a recap of the last few months... I apologize if this becomes somewhat of a ramble!

The Davos camp was just what I needed to get my mind and body back on track after such an eventful, injury-filled year. I didn't exactly return home fully healed, fit and firing on a cylinders, but being with Darren's squad reaffirmed that my decision to make significant changes was the right one, and it also helped build back my slightly shattered confidence.

My body actually wasn't in tip-top shape when I got home in September. I could ride no problem, was able to start a little regular swim training, but my discomfort running remained the bigger mystery. Some days I could run for 20 minutes with no troubles, but others I struggled with simply climbing stairs. Earlier in the year, the main symptom was knee pain, but as the pain moved around the knee joint, I was given every overuse diagnosis out there and had multiple MRIs. With no answers, Darren and I figured it had to be originating from somewhere other than the hips or feet, the obvious knee-pain spots. Shortly after my collarbone surgery this summer I started to develop a burning pain through my thigh, accompanied by constant numbness and tingling. I would wake in the night and have to get up and move around for the burning to subside. It turned out that I had irritated my L4 nerve, originating in my lumbar spine. Whether this was injured in the crash or was building up over the years I don't know, but I was just relieved to have a firm diagnosis. The pinching of the nerve was affecting the functioning of those leg muscles, which in turn created varying overuse troubles in my knee. With some dedicated rehab back home in Victoria I was able to slowly, but surely, get some relief.

It has been an incredibly busy and emotional last few months, but also very rewarding. I have learned so much about how my body works, where my "weak spots" are that will require constant attention, and also how to be patient. In the past I have been very reactive, panicking when something feels off and wanting immediate relief, but sometimes things take time. Being patient and dedicated to my rehab was successful in the end. By October I was beginning to run consistently and trouble-free. In the midst of my busy rehab schedule, I managed to sneak in a good six weeks of bike work and when I look back on the sessions I did, mostly on my own, I almost can't believe it. However, the best news probably came in the middle of September: my collarbone was finally 100% healed! It took a good 9 months so you can imagine how delighted I was! Since then, swimming has been coming along great. We are really starting my stroke from scratch, trying to undo all of my bad habits I've collected over the years (and yes, there were A LOT of them!). It takes full-on concentration when in the water, but I have a feeling the hard work will pay off.

On November 1st I moved to Canberra, Australia for the winter. Well, actually more like part of the fall, all of winter and part of the spring. I will not be back home until mid-April or so! I can't lie, it was a hard move, being away from my extremely supportive hubby and family for so long and missing Christmas with the family, but I have no doubt in my mind that this is the best possible situation for me to help me achieve my goals. I've been doing this sport for awhile now, but Darren has pointed out there is still A LOT that needs to be addressed and corrected. Believe it or not, but some of my skills in the three sports are considered to be somewhat "pathetic" in comparison to the best in the world. So, I've committed to doing everything I can over the next two years to become the best athlete possible.

I'm actually surprised I didn't write a blog when I first arrived last week. Normally I'm busting to share my stories of cycling past kangaroos with joeys peeking out of their pouches, or getting dive-bombed by magpies on the running trails, but maybe it's because my internet access is limited or because the fatigue I've missed so much is starting to set in, regardless, I'm thrilled to be here and healthy again. At the moment, I'm living in a caravan/trailer in the backyard of Darren and his wife, Liz's home. I can't deny that I've never been much of a camper and definitely not one to "rough it" so I'm sure Adam thinks this is good for me. I know he secretly wants me to turn into a bush woman so that we can spend the rest of our lives in a shack in the mountains, running all day, everyday, but honey, don't hold your breath. You can take the princess out of the palace, but the royal blood is there for life :)

I also have to say that the caravan is FAR from roughing it. It's more like a peaceful backyard retreat with fresh air, chirping birds and a very comfy bed. I am quite lucky to have the opportunity to stay here while I get settled and find a more permanent home.

More from Australia soon.... I promise!