I was in a wheelchair when I got off the plane.
I had been in a skiing accident and I fractured my tibia plateau & tore both my ACLs (ligament in your knee). I had 2 separate surgeries and had been in a wheelchair for two months. I returned to Singapore and was about to start the daunting task of my road to recovery. I had been told that the rehabilitation was vital to ensuring I returned with two completely functioning legs. Total time expected? One full year!!!
My first appointment with my rehabilitation coach, Clyve, was memorable to say the least. It took my twenty minutes to get to his office from the front door. It wasn’t a long route. It might have taken me three minutes with two good legs. But with a walker and one slow step at a time, I felt WAY older than my forty-something years. Five months later, during my training, I was crying. But I’m jumping ahead.
Step 1:You must first crawl before you walk.
Well, for me it wasn’t quite that bad. To put it into perspective, I couldn’t do a full revolution on a bicycle at the lowest resistance level without pain and immense concentration. Clyve had to force my legs to bend and straighten. We worked 3-days a week on range of motion and regaining my strength for five months. I had shed my wheelchair, my walker, crutches and braces. And then Clyve quit! Well, not actually. He decided to go back to school to get a PhD in physical therapy. I was thrilled for him and devastated for myself at the same time. Where would I find another coach?
Step 2: You have to get really frustrated or you’re not trying hard enough
My friend suggested her spin class instructor, Peter, who ended up interviewing me before accepting me as a client (now, that’s my kind of coach!). Peter’s main rules were that I had to be 100% committed and I had to have a clear goal. I told him I wanted to run again by the end of the year. It was September when we started. On the third session, I sat on the floor with tears running down my face. Peter had asked me to do a simple exercise of lifting my legs off the floor while seated in a v-position. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t get my leg off the floor. Not even a millimetre off the floor. I was shocked and frustrated and it all came out in my tears. For months I had been training and working so hard to get somewhere and with this little setback, I felt like my world had come to an end. Was I ever going to run again? What was I working so hard for? The goal seemed so far away. Peter assured me it wasn’t the end of the world and cut the session short for the day and we took a little walk. After a few minutes of silence, Peter just said, “Take a break for awhile and come back next week and we will try again”.
Step 3: Never give up
I continued my sessions with Peter and through balance training, knee strengthening, and agility work I returned to my full functioning self. Step by step, I was able to reach my goal and run for 20 minutes on my last session with Peter. It was now up to me to continue my training on my own. I set my target to run a 10k off road race, which I completed, despite the rain pouring down through the whole muddy ordeal. My steps didn’t stop there though. I still do my leg workouts to keep them strong. It is a part of who I am now. If two days go by without me doing some type of leg workout, I felt out of sorts, like I haven’t brushed my teeth in two days. And that’s what it feels like to take a goal and make it a way of life.
What goal do you have that you need to change into a way of life? What small steps can you start taking to get there today?