Yesterday marked one month since OCRWC (Obstacle Course Race World Championships) 2016 at Blue Mountain, which was an extremely bittersweet experience for me.
This was hands down one of the most incredible experiences of my life, to have the honor of running alongside so many talented athletes from around the world, including my amazing Canadian teammates. This season I had qualified in both the Pro Division as well as Age Group and decided to run Pro since I actually qualified for that opportunity…could be a once in a lifetime opportunity! This year my fondest moments were receiving my Spartan Coin (inviting me to Spartan World Championships 2016 in Lake Tahoe) and also qualifying to run in the Pro Division at OCRWC, so of course I couldn’t pass on that!
All of that sweetness in a nutshell, then brings me to the bitter side of things. As many of you know, on Saturday October 15th during my 15k race, I had taken an awkward fall from a height on obstacle. One trip to the ER a few weeks later would diagnose me with a concussion.
If you’ve been following my posts after the race, you’re probably more than familiar with the Spartan Stairway to Heaven which, ever since that day, many now call the “Stairway to H@!!” Of 48 obstacles I successfully completed 47… 47/48!! Do you know how many times I’ve repeated that to myself in the last month!?? I gave everything I could in 1hr 50mins at the top of the hill, trying and trying again. Slipping off 3/4 or 1/2 of the way each time. I felt strong and had no good reason to stop trying. With every fall I’d end up on the ground surprised about how my fingers would manage to slip away from the ledge yet again. I lost count of how many times I had tried, but those who saw me can attest to my many efforts. Then comes one particular fall when my hands slipped away from the summit during the transition. I still don’t understand how my body shifted mid-air, but this fall brought me landing completely horizontal on the ground. Back flat, head whipping back….I still cringe just thinking about the feeling that went through my body. That was a jolt I had never experience. Through the spine, the chest and the head…I can’t even try to explain it. What I can explain is how easily I overlooked it within the next week.
I am an Elite athlete and Personal Trainer, I am more than used to full body aches after races, fatigue and a need for a little R&R. What I was not familiar with was the dizziness, incessant headaches, moodiness, lack of motivation for anything exercise related, fluctuating heart rates at normal rest throughout the day and at worst… a flat-out nearly depressive state. Two weeks after this incident, I had already been signed up to run Dead End race. At this point I was in a state of denial I suppose, that my symptoms weren’t as bad as I’m making them out to be. I didn’t even think twice about going to see my doctor. However, the morning of the race I didn’t want to wake up, I didn’t want to get dressed and drive to the race and I certainly didn’t want to take off from the start line….but I did anyway because “It always makes me feel better”…right!?. The race, the community, everything OCR related. I didn’t foresee me pulling myself out of the race after less than five minutes because one landing from the monkey bars would be too much for me my body to handle….but that IS exactly what happened. That impact from landing was enough to clue me into the severity of what I had been experiencing those last two weeks. I…was…not…myself!
Immediately the next day I had my husband drive me to ER (on his birthday btw), where the doctor had diagnosed a concussion and sent off a referral to the conclusion clinic. A follow-up with my family doctor days later confirmed the previous diagnosis.
These last few weeks have been their own definition of difficult both physically and mentally for me. I had never actually realized the impact on lifestyle for those who suffer from traumas such as these. I was also surprised to find out the number of friends I have who have been impacted by similar traumas. I am getting better daily there’s no doubt. But I am not 100%. Many of my current symptoms are whiplash related as well. Neck soreness and “clunking” bothers me most aside from the aches “in my brain”. I am going on one month of no exercise (too much movement still brings on pains, even things such as lifting and carrying my babies around are still difficult) and minimizing screen time. No TV at all, and minimal “online time”. Although it was far too tempting to follow all of my friends running World’s Toughest last weekend, so I’ve been online more than I’d like to admit.
If you know me and you’ve taken the time to read this I want to thank you for your patience with me this last month. I appreciate how caring and how understanding my friends have been. I am motivated to get better and I am taking time to let my body heal. I am not rushing into anything too fast or too soon, because I want to have many better/stronger years ahead of me to take advantage of. One of my biggest takeaways for you if you are reading this, is do not underestimate a trauma to the head. Although mine may not have been as severe as many other cases, every impact is worth taking seriously. There are many longer term dangers too keep in mind. So please help loved ones and friends who might find themselves going through some of the same situations. Do your research and try to understand the symptoms and how you can help them through their healing process.
Now…please go and kill your next workout for me!!!!