Sunday, July 5, 2009

No pain no gain as they say...

I'm so happy today, despite the fact that my good leg aches like a biatch, and I'm so tired I'm heading to bed really early (unusual for me!).

Today was the coaching session with Wheelchair sports Victoria. Tim Matthews was there to help us, and having read a bit about him and his sporting and paralympic achievements, I was a bit embarrassed and shy to be getting on that track in front of someone so impressive - after all I'm a bit overweight, very unfit, and new to the whole running thing.

I might have been gasping for breath for much of the session, but you know what? I came away feeling proud and excited and exhilarated, not embarrassed. I've been running for such a short time, and have been exercising for less than a year, but I was motivated enough today to get on a track and run till I felt like I'd hurl or keel over. And look, it can only get better from here - my difficulties today make me feel like working my butt off to get fitter before the next session so I can get even more out of it.

Tim was very approachable, and very helpful. I got some fantastic advice - I need to lift my knees up higher when I run, and push off more from my good foot. I also swing my leg out slightly as I run. I felt like my technique really improved today, but I'll need to keep those tips in my mind all of the time so I don't fall back into the old way of running.

One of the best things about today was meeting another amputee who has a c-leg and a running leg, and just looks so fit and healthy and is running so well. It was very inspiring! It was great to see the people in wheelchairs (coolest wheelchairs I've ever seen) doing the athletics stuff too. It was clear that ther were a lot of people who had just gotten on with it, despite their disabilities. It was a really affirming experience. Today I got this sense of being in touch with myself and my body for the first time in year - I was always at pains to reassure myself and everyone around me that I was coping fine, that the leg didn't bother me or affect me at all, and that I didn't think of myself as n amputee or as disabled. And yet ignoring the leg and my experience of amputation for fourteen years didn't work all that well: I've been so busy trying not to think about my disability and trying not to seem 'disabled', I've actually closed myself off from accessing all of the amazing opportunities and information that have been out there the whole time.

But today I ran, anyhow. Tim suggested I run about three times a week - I normally run from bus stop to bus stop, pausing at each one for about 5min to catch my breath and rest. Now I have to run from the first bus stop to the second, then straight away walk back to the first. Three of these to begin with, then five, then eight... on the days I don't run, I'm going to get on my exercise bike - Tim suggested about 40 to 50 seconds of normal pedalling, then ten seconds of pedalling as fast as I can, then back to the normal pedalling again and so on.

And on Thursday I'll have enough to become a member of Disabled Wintersports Victoria, and hopefuly learn how to ski. The parentals are helping me with the cost of that, and a friend who does skiing has offered to lend me some decent gear too! Very excited at the thought of learning a completely new skill.

Finally, there's the gym - I want to get there once a week to do machine weights, fitball/handweights, and treadmill. I think I'll get to the gym tomorrow so that I can improve the fitball balance and core strength stuff before my next physio session on thursday.


  1. Wow, I'm so impressed! This is really inspiring to read! Do you know if they have something like this in Brisbane? Any idea on how I might find out or who I could contact to get started?

  2. I have no idea Mike, but email me at and I'll pass on my contacts for the Melbourne one. They might be able to put you in touch with the right people or give you more info on what's happening in Brisbane :D


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