For those that know me well, I love to train. Whether it’s training for an up and coming triathlon, training to improve my core strength, or just training for the fun of it, I’ve always been a big fan of getting up early and doing some sort of physical activity.
I’m a member of the local Tri Alliance triathlon squad and I’ve been a member for around 5 years now. During my time with the squad, I have competed in all distances, including my favourite long-course Ironman distance. For those new to Ironman, it’s a 3.8km swim, 180 km cycle and 42.2km (marathon) run – all in a row! I know, it sounds crazy, but competing in an Ironman event is one of the most amazing experiences you’ll ever have in your lifetime. Seriously!!
An all time favourite photo of mine is this one of me finishing my first Ironman triathlon. I’m literally running down the chute towards the finish line and would you believe that the professional photographers managed to snap a shot with Leigh grinning from ear to ear in the background as I finished the race. It’s a priceless moment on what was an amazing day!
And yes….that Official Time of 10:56:55 is 10 hours, 56 mins and 55 seconds of non-stop racing. With the right training and guidance, it’s amazing what the body and the mind can achieve. I finished that day wishing I went harder and faster, finishing relatively ‘fresh’ if there’s such a thing after an Ironman. It’s one of the most memorable days in both mine and Leigh’s life.
I have had a break from triathlon training, mainly due to several injuries I sustained after being involved in an accident with a car just over 12 months ago. I almost lost my legs that day, but thanks to the quick thinking of a fellow training partner, I was able to avoid serious life changing damage. I had 6 months of rehab followed by some shoulder surgery to correct the issues, so training for triathlon during this time took a back seat.
What I did replace it with was a core strength focus at Kosama – Fortitude Valley. I have spent the past 6 months building up my strength following the shoulder surgery and more recently, I’ve been fine tuning my core strength in preparation for my prophylactic bilateral mastectomy surgery. I wrote about the great advice from my surgeon in a recent blog titled: Dr’s Orders – Get as fit as you can!!
I actually trained the eve of my surgery and loved seeing the results of all the hard work we did. My trainer Benny really challenged me on the last night and had me do 3 x 15 sets of band-assisted chin-ups, but then he announced that the 4th set was to be a set of 20. I managed to do it, but gee it took all of my mental and physical strength to get the last couple of chin-ups out. Here’s a quick snippet of my last training session, moon boot and all!!
As I watch the footage of my last training session, it motivates me to appreciate the small steps I am now taking towards being strong again. Today, on Day 3 of my recovery from my Prophylactic Bilateral Mastectomy, I have done a full day of exercise and it’s been really enjoyable. My training is VERY basic and I mean VERY VERY basic. But do you know what? It’s training! It’s motivating to move again and it’s a small step towards a full recovery. In addition to 4 laps of the ward daily, I am allowed to do these 4 exercises 4 times per day.
One of the most amazing nurses you could ever meet (seriously, she’s brilliant!!!) told me something very exciting today!! She said, “you should be able to resume some training in about 4 weeks from now.” WOW! I think I told her that “I loved her” as soon as I heard this news. 4 weeks is nothing!
You might think I’m mad even thinking about training on Day 3 post mastectomy, even I think it sounds a bit crazy!! But, I have realised something new about myself during the last couple of weeks and I’d like to share it with you today.
As I started to talk to some of my friends in recent weeks about the up and coming surgery, it dawned on me that the training passion I have runs far deeper than the exercise and fitness benefits I gain from ‘working out’. It’s more meaningful, more healthy and more motivating than any tough session I can conquer when I’m at my fittest, and more memorable than any race where I achieve my goals.
I’m addicted to training and I bounce out of bed everyday because of the amazing people I train with, the buddies that pick me up when I’m down, the mentors I admire as they push themselves (and me) beyond imposed limits and the genuine love and passion we all have for each other when we achieve those special memorable moments in our lives.
Training may shape us physically, but training shapes us in so many more ways in which we may not initially understand. Training with our mates shapes us emotionally, socially and mentally and it’s these moments that make for lifetime friendships and memories which are priceless.
This hug says it all I think! It’s me with one of my favourite training buddies, who stopped during the marathon leg of her Ironman race to give me a truly memorable hug. That’s what training time is all about!!