"Are you limited by your Challenges" or "are you challenging your limits"

I Live with a Neuromuscular / Spinal Condition and plan to 'Challenging My Limits' 2017 my goal was the Lake Zurich 26km Marathon Swim.

Where do I go from here? #destinationunknown

Another Day at the Office

DragonRunnerby DragonRunnerNov 2nd 2013
The last few weeks I have been winding down, this is the time that probably will make my off season. It's not going to long, just a few weeks however with no pressure to train i believe it will feel strange. It was also time to pay back to the sport that has been my way of life for the last half year +. Marshalling at an event has given me another view point. A few hours spent assisting in setting up and standing on the side of transition was refreshing. Not only did it allow me to watch the faster triathletes (something I do not often get a chance to see), but have a look at the other back of the pack triathletes. Many of whom the Glynneath Triathlon would have been their first steps into the sport, the difference in how they went through T1 / 2 could not have been further apart, but they did their way, and all with a smile on their faces at the end of the day.

Assisting at a local Tri should be something all who take part in the sport should include into their season at some point, we can't do our sport without the often unseen and unheard people at the side of the water and roads. So do it next year.

So my last event of the season was the Cardiff Half Marathon, for me this was unfinished business. In 2012 this run turned into a survival event, the number of times that first I had to sit down and sort out my feet was more than the number of miles covered. I am sure it was the amount of times this was needed, help put doubt into my mind about finishing. I can remember siting down around the Roath area and was going to give in as I just could not go on, but somehow I cross the line. This was my goal this year was to finish without having these feelings, and even thou there was not much in my times, which is hardly surprising the way my gait is at present. Walking is difficult let alone shuffling around the streets of the Welsh Capitol.

When I now look back, the 2012 race give me experiences I was to recall upon in Kalmar, that dark place you can find yourself in an Ironman, Cardiff taught me how to get pass the negatives and turn them into a finish. So all was not lost.

I cannot mention Cardiff this year with the fitting tribute to Chris Hallam MBE, a ground breaking Paralympian who sadly passed away in August. Well, done to the organisers / family for remembering his contribution to Welsh Sport.

So after nearly two years since admitting that I have a problem, the appointment with the Rehabilitation Medicine Consultant was fairly straight forward. I say that now, I will see when the treatment starts to take affect. As what is becoming the norm, there will be a 2 to 3 months wait and it will mean speeding a day in hospital every 3 months. If this works that will be a small price to pay, I am willing to try anything.

The easiest way to describe my condition is that if the lesion were higher it would be class as "Cerebral Palsy," where the lesion are it's classed as Thoracic Myelopathy. As I have said before I am one of the luck ones and my mobility is not totally impaired. This for me means that I will be adopting "Scope" as my charity for everything I do in 2014. I am still unsure if I can be official classed as a "Challenged Athlete" but that is only a tag, as there is next to nothing events wise that I can take part in as a Super Vet with a challenge. What I can do is encourage others to Challenge their Perceptions and Limits of their disability / ability.

What will my treatment be, well it means having injections into my leg muscles with Clostridium Botulinum (Botox), to reduce the spasticity in the lower leg muscles. This along with the Neuro Physiotherapist should help with my gait. It is not going to correct the condition or get some strength in the legs but at least I will not be in so much discomfort / pain. With luck I would like to see some change for the Bath Half Marathon in March 2014, however the appointment is not due until next February, so even getting to the start line is going to be a major challenge itself.

The second part of the management plan was an appointment with a NHS Podiatrist, this went as expected and will be trying a style of ankle-foot orthotic (AFO), so along with the insoles which will help correct my foot strike. These AFO┬'s are different to the ankle braces I have been wearing, and they hopeful will assist in keeping some flexibility in my ankles.

So with the AFO┬'s and the injections I really do hope than I will be able to run / shuffle without the discomfort I have been having. I can only hope.

I have also in the last few weeks started on the road of Triathlon Coaching, at present I am midway through the Level 1 Education Program, the plan is simply, give something back to the sport and club that have looked after me for the last few years.

Like so many others October brings what is now an annual event, a rejection letter for the London Marathon. This is a ballot however in 9 years I have received 8 rejections (the only time I got a place was the year I was guarantee a place after so many rejections). This is one race that I would really like to have another go at, I have learned so much from the 2010 race , and been realistic I am not sure if I will bother to try the ballot again. I know there is the charity option however I personally feel that the amount that charities asked to raised is for me an unrealistic amount.

It is as always mind games just to keep myself moving, and much of this is down to the support of the coaches and members of probably the best tri club there is, if a certain Danish Beer Company made Triathlon Clubs, guess what it would be called : CELTIC TRI

Next stop - 2014? - my events for the next year are almost sorted before this one is over.
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