So I want to tell you about a week or 10 days which was really tough, hopefully you have read why I am doing this in the previous blog. So I thought I would give an insight into the real struggle which disabled athletes can face, perseverance.
This particular week, pain kicked in with vengeance, but still I managed some achievements. These weeks are draining, really, really heartbreakingly draining. I often ask myself why I do this, why I put myself through this. The truth is that I don’t know anything else and I ride on the waves of successes, it’s emotionally draining. Nevertheless, when you hit a goal which you thought was ‘optimistic’ you ride that wave and hold onto that emotion. It’s survival.
What prompted me to write a more despondent blog? Well, as I mentioned this week has been painful and because of the great questions and response I had from the readers, I wondered, what do people secretly think of me and my training? Especially those who don’t know me…..I wonder… I’m obviously disabled (no hiding that fact!), I’m obviously in pain and struggling to keep up with some fitness classes, this week in spite of my best efforts and I had to leave the same class early twice in a row. What would you think of me leaving twice?
Automatically, I would ask myself if this was the right type of exercise for the person, were there any injury risks, why that person would keep coming back when they knew they couldn’t do the class. No doubt these would be some of the logical questions that you would also ask yourself. Here inlays the problem, I am subject to the same time constraints, I am subject to the same family obligations, I am subject to the same (if not more) fatigue, as well as the same (if not more) susceptibility to the health considerations such as colds and flu, as everyone else. Therefore my time is precious, I don’t have time to work out at my leisure or all day doing more ‘suitable’ low impact work outs.
Furthermore, it is exactly these things which people like myself sometimes struggle to do, which I need to do. [trust me; MSc [almost], BSc hons, Btec ND, vocational qualification list as long as my arm and 19 years’ experience]. As with any athlete you need to weigh up the cost of pushing boundaries and working on weaknesses with what is safe and causes the less risk of injury.However, I need to stress my CV system more than the able bodied population, because I need to control my weight and prevent further illness and injury. I’m putting myself through this pain for the good of my overall health…. I’m tired just typing this!
Needless to say, this escalated into a teary moment in front of a team mate, I’m not ashamed to say I have my moments where I think, “Why me?”, “What did I do?, no really, what did I do?!” He knew something was up when I walked in (I love that), so he asked me what I had been up to and began praising my efforts. He then began offering alternatives, which was also a lovely genuine gesture from a friend, unfortunately this is what prompted the break down… if I don’t know to get around my own pain, how is anyone else supposed too?
After I pulled myself together to train for a further hour (of a usual two), I came home to sit on my drive and cry. I cried my heart out most of the way home and sat on my drive for 15 – 20 mins just breaking my heart. This was a tough few days, I knew it would end, not every day would be as bad as this and that’s what I needed to hear.
I pulled it together as I knew I had a S&C session the next morning and I knew what was coming, I was ready and vengeful for it, 1RM’s! With the week I had I was ready to pound everything I had into this bit of iron, I set a rather optimistic goal based on my pre foot and back injury. I made that 2 x body weight squat, I DID IT, I MET MY GOAL that made the whole week worth it.
No one could strip me of that feeling, no amount of pain could diminish that!
G’still has strength!
Saturday, I tentatively returned to ‘that’ class, knowing what I had achieved the previous day, I was sceptical if I could see the class out or whether not to go at all. The latter not really being in my nature, I went. I managed the whole class with some considerable pain but not enough to prevent me participating for more than a few moments at a time. Again, I achieved.
After that particular class a lady I always say hello to came to talk to me properly, commenting on how well I keep up etc. I wonder if she would have said that or had the preconception that I couldn’t if she had known the previous. Probably not… nevertheless, I appreciated the gesture.
I genuinely don’t know what goes through the mind of people who see me working out. To be honest, I care little, but what I do care passionately about is how you portray your thoughts to other people, especially people like me. Rather than shying away from the unusual (you all know you do!), why don’t you sit next to them and offer a competitive word of encouragement, offer your experience (as my friend and teammate did, yes it may end in tears but you tried!), or just offer your words of encouragement as the lady did. There is a person and a story behind the disability, highs as well as lows. The population to which I belong, needs the gym (probably) more than you, it’s probably harder but the achievements are so, so much sweeter.
Sunday, boy I woke up in pain, actually I was awake with pain but who’s counting. So I woke up, swallowed my pain killers and decided the pain would ease once I got to the gym. This was really quite severe pain, and got to a gym full of hangovers… even the squat success had my patience wearing thin. But do you know what, I stuck it out and had a good rolling session. I felt good, again, and everyone else went home to die!
It hurts but it’s worth it.
It always ends on a high….
If you are able to offer any support in helping me attend the tournament as the only female UK fighter it would be gratefully appreciated, by sharing and/or donating.
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