June 23, 2017
A lot can happen in eight months. You can write a lot of blogs. Or you can write none. In my case it’s the latter. If you follow me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, though, you’ll probably already have a good idea of how my recovery has gone since I last blogged here, just a few days after shoulder surgery last autumn. A wry smile appeared on my face as I just re-read that blog, which I closed with the lines: “The path forwards might not always be an easy one, but I have great people around me and a deep faith that, ultimately, all will be well.”
I won’t lie – the recovery process was far longer than anyone anticipated and the path forwards was certainly not always an easy one, but I was definitely right about having great people around me. And even when things seemed like they might never get better, I think I always held onto the smallest grain of hope that at some point, at some time, I would be OK. There was definitely a time back in December, though, not long after my six-week spell in the sling came to an end, that I honestly wondered if I’d ever be able to swim again. Magic Hands aka Dr Lawrence van Lingen also wondered the same – and when you hear something like that from a body whisperer like LvL it certainly gets your mind wandering.
For a time I’d say I was definitely the darker side of depressed and despondent, but came to realise that the sooner I could accept and “own” the whole rehab and recovery process I was on a fast track to sunnier climes and healthier shoulders. For anyone going through injury rehab now, my greatest advice would be to put down and set aside ideas of training and racing and commit yourself wholly and fully to rehab. Sounds so simple. It isn’t. For me, it meant a shift in mindset. I had been battling to get back to training, but realised that if I just relinquished those ideas and focused 100 per cent instead on getting my body back to eventually being ABLE to train then I’d expedite the whole process quite considerably.
It's been six months since shoulder surgery and the recovery process has been a long and winding road. I've essentially been learning to swim again this past month – lots of neuromuscular re-education and I'm now starting to see (and feel) the fruits of my labour. Thanks @lawrencevanlingen & @dibbo4 for your continued wisdom 🤓 and guidance 👀
All athletes suffer injuries at some stage of their careers; it is something to be dealt with and something you have to work through. You can fight it or you can accept it. For me, with acceptance came the realisation that I had – for the past few years at least – only ever identified as an athlete and therein laid the problems. When you are no longer able to swim, bike, run or race, you are suddenly left squirreling around wondering what on earth your purpose is. Cue great people, great friends and truly figuring out what makes you tick. The JD Crew and Coach Dibs here in Boulder have been fantastic and this vimeo from fellow JD Crew athlete and friend Keavy McMinn definitely helped set me on a good path. The EK who went into surgery is not the same EK who’s coming out of the injury dug-out. I’ve learnt/am learning the art of balance and truly switching off. I’ve satiated the writer/creative in me by reading and writing more; I’ve baked plenty; I’m getting close to being fluent (ish) in Spanish once again; I make time to catch up with friends and family every week and in the adorable, affable Andrew Hyde have a boyfriend who is from a world very different to my formerly tri-obsessed one.
My training volume is stepping up again and Julie and I have some tentative race plans on the calendar which will hopefully see me on a start line from mid-August onwards. It has most definitely been an interesting journey back to health and fitness and I’m returning fresher and happier than I’ve ever been.