The Best Thing…

“The best thing that has happened to me is realizing that I can do more than I thought I could.“A few weeks ago I quoted Anissa Mayhew in my blog.  Anissa is a blogger, a mother, has a wicked sense of humor, and suffered a stroke at the end of 2009.  She is slowly making a recovery.  Her road is long and hard, but she is doing it.  Through hard work, patience, and conviction, she is confounding expectations.On Saturday, albeit of a totally different order of magnitude, I had an Anissa moment.I did more than I thought I could.OK, before anyone (including me) gets excited about this, I need to put it all into perspective.  At the end of last triathlon season, the season I decided I would start to run again (with the blessing of my doctors), I was kind of a physical mess.  I had peroneal tendonitis (not unusual for me – I have had it in my left foot before).  I spent from May until August nursing strange feelings in my left knee.  And I had gotten to a point where I knew that I needed a new approach to triathlon and training.  I asked Terry Collins if he would consider becoming my coach, to help me to move beyond my neurological limits, to learn to run again, and to do the best that I could do with triathlon.  I asked my physiotherapy team at the National Hospital for Neurology to help me with my biomechanics.  And I decided to commit to triathlon – to give it my all in the run up to the 2010 tri season to see just how far I could go.We decided to go back to the beginning with my training, and to focus on strength building first and foremost.Since December I have been working on leg strength.  Teaching my muscles to work again.  Hitting the strength and core sessions regularly at the gym.  On the nights when I am not at the gym, I have been working on leg lifts and balance exercises at home.  I have been visualising nerve signals – in my mind small lights of energy – flowing from my brain, down my legs, and to my feet.  I have been working.And it all seems to have paid off.  For the first time on Saturday I felt moderately comfortable going around the track.  Sure, my usual niggles persisted.  For the record, I am convinced that these will go away the stronger that I get.  I felt my feet working.  I felt a small forward lean as I jogged around the track.  I am pretty sure my foot strike was more midfoot than January.And, although it was only one time around, I hit 2 minutes 25 seconds for 400 meters.That equates to a 9 minute mile.That means I could run 10k in an hour.I am getting stronger.  The work is paying off.  And I am surpassing my own expectations.The road is not easy, but having these moments… Well, that is the best thing about training.  The best thing about the journey I have put myself on – the road to see just how strong I can get.I will get strong.Thank you Anissa for the inspiration.Me, at Parliament Hill, wearing my Team Anissa shirt. All smiles!

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