March 31, 2017

In December of 2015 I had a complete hamstring reattachment surgery which was followed by 23 days of a high fever that the doctors could not find out why so I was diagnosed with "Fever of unknown origin". I went through rehab for weeks and had setbacks and was sent back to rehab. Here are a few things I learned and what helped me get through it.

1) Most important is to surround yourself with people that believe in you and support your goals and decisions. I am very fortunate that my husband believes in me and most of the time believes in me more than I believe in myself. He encouraged me every step of the way yet was cautious with my rehab and held me back at times. I also had family members, friends, doctors, physical therapists, etc., that continued to believe in me and helped me. Don't listen to the naysayers. They will only drag you down. During a major injury and recovery you don't need any help getting down on yourself. 

2) Finish your rehab. Don't think you know better than your therapist. We are athletes and we think we know everything about our bodies but they are the experts and know what they are doing. 

3) Walk before you run. Make sure you can walk 45 to 60 minutes without any pain before you start with walk/run program. Don't expect to come back to running like you did before the injury happened. It will take time and patience. I personally used the AlterG machine with 50 to 80% of my body weight for weeks before I hit the roads. One year later and I still can't run speed but I am running long distance with no pain. Getting back to speed work depends on many factors; age, other injuries, goals, etc. 

4) Just because you are back to your sport don't stop your strength training. It has been over a year and I am just now feeling like I have the strength back before I tore my hamstring. As a multi-sport athlete we sometimes let strength training go when it is just as or maybe more important than the swim, bike and run.

5) Don't get frustrated with missed training and your slow comeback. Set realistic goals and start the road to achieving those goals. The first year my goals were just to finish my races. I made sure I didn't set myself up for unrealistic goals and re-injured myself trying to reach those goals. 

6)  Get a coach that will help you and understand your body and goals. Don't train with a plan that is written for the masses and doesn't know about your past injuries, strength and weaknesses.

DELLA IRBY

TRIATHLON COACH