Rectus Oculosis- How not to think

Okay, so, if you read my last post- you may have noticed that the transition to the jumper ring hasn’t been the smoothest so far.. due to both fluky trips/falls and a decline in confidence for Team Kathlyn and Will. Coming off of Summer Smiles it would be safe to say my confidence was at a low point. With two weeks to prepare for Beach Party, I had a lot of work to do. And work I did. The first thing was to get my body back to a functional point. A couple days of rest, and a date with my AT (and some suction cups) got me back in the saddle and riding like I wasn’t in severe pain anymore. My goals for my horse and I in the weeks leading up to the next show were to work on our transitions, and to get Will moving a bit more on his back end.. He was starting to get too heavy on my hands for my liking. Transition work day after day worked to correct that. Sometimes you have to go back to the basics, even with experienced, trained horses!

In our first lesson after Summer Smiles, C was pleased to see that I was back to a normal riding style.. she noted that seeing me ride at Summer Smiles (with bruised ribs and a stiff entire body) was frightening. I have to admit too that in this lesson, even though we were doing nothing out of the ordinary (albeit jumping some large-ish jumps), I was pretty nervous. I’ve been dealing with somewhat random anxiety when it comes to riding ever since breaking my leg, but this was more then that. This was a fear that I wasn’t confident in my abilities anymore. And as any rider will tell you, confidence in this sport is the be all and end all of success. Thankfully I have coaches that are impeccable at picking up on things that their riders don’t always say out loud. The training I did leading up to Beach party was all about building both my horse’s and my own confidence back up.

Going into Beach it’s safe to say I was pretty stressed. Between finishing spring term the week of (including writing an exam almost immediately after doing schooling rounds Thursday), coming off two challenging shows, dealing with the stress build up of my insane schedule(s), and just having paid all my bills for the month (aka seeing all my money vanish)- my head was in constant chaos. Besides the chaos, I was pretty stuck in a negative thinking pattern. I was sure that I was going to mess up every single thing all weekend, fall off, and do something stupid like break another leg. I was experiencing a severe case of what a prof refers to as “rectus oculosis”.. or.. a crappy outlook. I knew that this was a horrible way to enter a competition, and was really trying to snap myself out of it. All the thanks to my two ever supportive teammates Megg and Lauren who listened to me vent, and constantly reassured me that I wasn’t the worst rider ever. During warm-ups I was actually feeling pretty calm, until I added in the two stride which triggered frustration. I got over it pretty quick and went to write a Intro Business exam (that I studied for 30mins for…yikes).

The next morning started out with my stress levels running high, as my alarm didn’t go off and I was late.. rushing to get on in time for my first class. When I finally got on and warmed up, I realized that I had misread the schedule and actually had another 15 rounds before I went… Cue more self-frustration. But.. when I finally got in the ring..this happened:

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My horse and I were back in sync, and I felt like a rider again. I could breathe after day one at Beach!

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Day two got even better:

20140710-210757-76077585.jpg The rides I had this day felt amazing. While we didn’t pin in anything, I felt like the rider I’ve trained to be. My leg was solid, my seat was efficient, and I was making better decisions on course. Best of all, I wasn’t terrified. My confidence was coming back. FINALLY. My mental outlook greatly improved.

Day three was a fun day, we entered just the .85m and the .85m relay with fellow rider Courtney and her horse Vinnie. This was the first time I’ve ever done a relay, and it was a blast! Definitely one of our best courses all weekend- purely because we were just  having fun and not thinking about what we might do wrong! Courtney and I ended up 4th.

20140710-210757-76077321.jpg What a relief to come out of a show feeling like I was grasping the idea of how to ride a jumper course.

This past weekend was a prime example of how much of a mental game this sport is. I know I’m not the first rider in the world to doubt themselves. Every single one of us does it, and we all are very good at telling ourselves that we don’t know what we’re doing. Especially when we’re riding up to a combination and not able to see a distance. Why our brain tells us to take our leg off, fall forward, and stop riding is an unfortunate mystery… but that’s exactly what happens. All those things you can do impeccably at home become the farthest thing from functional in an actual performance when you over-think, lose confidence, and see only the negatives.

It’s very difficult to approach any sport or performance and not let those little negative thoughts slip through your mind. I was one “tears hidden by sunglasses mental breakdown” away from scratching the entire show and giving up. What stopped me? For one I wouldn’t have been any happier not showing that weekend. Sitting around at home being miserable is worse then being in the saddle and mildly terrified. Secondly, I have an AMAZING support team behind me. Every show I am SO thankful for my coaches, my teammates, my mother (who has sat through my legendary freak outs more times then I can count) and supports me regardless.

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Because of all those factors I keep pushing myself to meet whatever challenge came up. This show presented no physical challenges to overcome. The only thing standing in my way was myself, and for me that is more frustrating then any amount of physical pain. I overcame my crappy outlook, and I’m very glad I pushed through it. My thought process after something challenging happens is something I know I need to work on more for future competitions- because I know I’m going to have plenty of challenges to face in the future, but getting through this weekend and reviving my shaken confidence was a huge step in the journey.

Some other fun points in the weekend were entering the bribe your horse competition (Will will do ANYTHING for carrots), entering a team in the Beach Vball tournament (and winning it!!), and watching my teammates kick butt in their divisions. I’m so glad I didn’t quit this weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Up, down, and in between: A competition debrief

The first two competitions of the season have come and gone, and left me realizing that I am out of shape– and have a lot to learn. We’ve made our debut in the jumper ring, and said our farewells to the hunters. We’ve dealt with rain and heat, and been tested by new challenges. I’ve found new muscles, and realized the stark differences between the riding styles required in the different rings. Here’s a run down of the highs and lows over the last two weekends!
My most rewarding day was definitely my first day at Ride of Rides, during Red River Exhibition. This was in the sand ring, and the first day brought gorgeous weather and fun courses. I competed in the .85m (2’9″ft) and the .90m (3ft) jumpers. That day may have been a classic case of beginners luck- I came away with 2nd and 3rd in the .85m open and Junior Amateur classes, and another 2nd and 3rd in the .90m classes. Everything seemed to go without a hitch, although I was feeling quite out of shape after round 1 (and 2, 3, 4). Compared to what I’ve been used to (8 jump hunter courses), a 11 jump course that requires a very active riding style, plus a immediate jump off course (additional 7 jumps for speed) felt like a marathon (in all reality it was more like a 500m sprint x 8). The second day of competition brought literally all the rain, making for a sloppy ring. Our first round of the day in the .85 brought a decent course until about jump 9.. where Willard caught the back rail of a wide-ish and stumbled upon landing, causing me to slide off the side into the quicksand below..landing on my back for some nice whiplash effects. The next 15 minutes were spent with the medics, who quickly realized that I wasn’t going to agree to stop competing for the day. I promptly signed the refusal of treatment form and hopped on to go back into my next .85m.. this time I ran a double clear for 3rd place. Warming up for my .90m that day, Mr. Will did exactly the same thing and stumbled me into the biggest puddle in the warm up ring after a oxer. Sigh. This time I landed face first (mid tuck and roll), and fully exfoliated my entire body (without the spa experience). In my own true style, I managed to bruise my ribs and make my rotator cuff very unhappy. Thankfully the medics already knew my name. This stunt caused M to grumble “enough playing in the sand for you today” and scratch me from my .90m.. which I was thankful for. I was also quite thankful that day three of the competition was cancelled due to torrential rain.
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Half recovered and not at all refreshed, we headed into the next competition 4 days later. Warm-ups felt great, minus my complaining ribs and surrounding muscles. This time we competed in just .90m jumpers, and then did the Child/Adult/Non-pro Hunters (3ft) so I could compete in the Hunter Derby. This meant Saturday had 5 courses between rings (2 jumper, 3 hunter). Our jumper rounds were a little sketchy. The combination of me not being horribly effective as a rider, both myself and Will’s confidence still being shaken from the previous weekend, and the courses being much more challenging then we’d experienced before brought some new lessons. The jumper courses on Saturday featured a lovely combination going away from the gate to a long one stride (for Will anyway)– vertical to a wide oxer, and then 4-5 strides to a scary skinny plank jump that featured a pair of wide smiling cartoon lips on it. It was rare to see any horse and rider combo get through this combination with complete grace over the weekend. Our first course was half decent until getting around to this combination. Will got into the one stride okay, but didn’t make the distance to the out oxer with much confidence (mostly my fault) and had to chip and leap to get out- unseating me in the process. I recovered on landing, but not well enough to set him up for the teeth that came up pretty darn quick, resulting in him taking the left side run out. No blame on him for this, my riding instilled absolutely no confidence for him to draw off! We came back to it no problem and completed the course. The second course started out the same way, and this time Will took a great distance into the one stride, but stopped at the out jump.. he really wasn’t giving me any breaks this weekend. Coming back for attempt two,  we added into the one stride and got through the rest of the course okay.
Our hunter rounds that day started out equally as sketchy. This is where the stark differences in riding style became very obvious to me. Both of us forgot how to ride a hunter course, and with this lines being built pretty long (again) we were presented wth a challenge. Our first course came with adding to each line. Which was okay, as I really wasn’t trying to compete in this division- I was just required to enter it if I wanted to do the derby. Our handy course in the division was built for us, though. Set to all our strengths, the course involved no set lines, and was full of roll back turns and bending lines. Yay! This was definitely one of the best hunter courses I’ve ridden in my entire career thus far. We both clicked back into the hunter rhythm. I was able to loop the reins, sit into a half-seat and let Will do his thing over the course. We placed 2nd in this course! This definitely made up for our somewhat frustrating jumpers earlier in the day, and reminded me that I can actually ride worth something. The derby started up at the end of the day, and our course was great- except for our unlucky rail at jump #2. For those who are unfamiliar with derby scoring, a rail automatically lowers your score to 40/100. So although we had an excellent round, we were out of luck for placing.. I ended the day with a 56/100 after bonus points for handiness and high point option jumps being added. Through all his grumbling about me doing hunters this weekend, M even gave me a “tough luck, kid” after that round. M’s statement from last year: “you have to be lucky to be good, and good to be lucky” was ringing in my ears after day one at Summer Smiles.
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Day two left us with just two jumper courses. Much to my chagrin there was a two stride and a one stride in the day’s courses (some part of my brain was hoping they would omit any challenging combinations from the courses…). We started out with each of us giving each other mixed signals through the first course. Jumps 1-7 went okay, with some unnecessary lazy rails on Will’s part. 8A-B brought a one stride, which Will promptly halted right before, for no apparent reason other then lack of confidence. He came back to it and did it fine with an add (again, felt pretty long). Around to the two stride we got through with an add again, and then looping back to the final line (oxer on the outside rail 7strides to the lovely teeth jump…which was conveniently placed right beside a group of endurance horses tied to trailers). Through sloppy riding on my part, and an uninterested horse, we ran out the left again. Course 1, incomplete. Warming up for round two, in an attempt to wake myself and my horse up (after grumbling a motivational, “c’mon girl get riding!”), M set the warm-up fences a good few inches above course height. So, with me muttering “holy shit, M” under my breath in the strides leading up to the warm-up fence- we kicked ourselves into gear and Will clumsily knocked it over first and then over jumped it the second time (goal accomplished, M). The next class brought a lovely round- actually- with a confident add in the one stride (no point fighting for it at this point!) and a beautiful two stride. Around to that dreaded final line again we went, this time getting in okay but Will was having non of the teeth endurance horse combo, and my legs were apparently non-existent. So we stopped, and I flew off the side. Classy finale, team, classy finale. I, however, have chosen to omit that jump from the course- and as a result am quite pleased with how we finished off.
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So, as you can probably tell, competition two was a little more challenging then competition one. But competition one was a little more painful and wet then competition two. They both had their ups and downs. The biggest lesson I learned is that it is absolutely impossible to be an effective rider with stiff, bruised ribs on one side. It 100% affects one’s ability to be fluid and therefore confident in the tack. C picked up on that from a field distance away, and commented that I wasn’t riding as well as I could be, and queried as to whether my leg was okay or if I was sore from the previous weekend still. The leg is fine, even though we’ve had some issues with proprioception over the last few weeks– taping is helping with that. The soreness definitely was a factor, and I’m sure I will be going through rider bootcamp in the next two weeks in prep for the next show (Beach Party!). Leading up to both these past competitions, I wasn’t able to be in the tack as much as I wished- which lead to the resultant fatigued horse and rider. We learned how much we still have to learn, but also how much we’ve progressed. M&C are continuously challenging us which is exactly what we asked for this year, and I am loving it- even if it comes with small frustrations along the way!

 

Having it all- but is there time for the cake too? The amateur diaries.

About 58 hours of my week are spent working at a combination of different sources of income, and volunteer positions (MORfit, Real-Estate photography, Teaching Assistant, Tutoring, Rider Mechanics, and Football (and other miscellaneous medical coverage)).

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10-15 hours are spent riding one to two horses- 4-5 nights a week. At least 2 of these hours spent in focused work with M&C. Add another few hours/week chatting with Megg or Lauren as the sunsets at the barn. 5 hours on top of that (at least) are spent throughout the week doing other training (running, weights, balance and stability, pre-hab and rehab). So, in total I spend approx. 20hrs a week in training of some sort.

6 hours are spent in class. A few extra hours here and there spent on KSA business. Countless hours stuck in traffic, or driving to and fro.

The remaining time is dedicated to cooking, grocery shopping, cleaning (haha just kidding), falling asleep on my boyfriend’s shoulder, extra reading, stressing about not having time to do clinical hours, and whatever else I do that I forgot to put in here.. sleeping maybe?

I’ve found myself caught between a rock and a hard place lately in that I am doing it all, but am constantly feeling like I’m neglecting at least one part of my life. Usually it’s my sport that gets set aside. Or my sleep and sanity. In all reality, I’m doing a half decent job of making everything work in somewhat coordination. I haven’t had any major meltdowns caused by scheduling.. yet, and I’m keeping everything moving to my personal standards.

This past weekend at the CATA conference while listening to many intelligent and dynamic AT’s/Researcher’s discuss hugely interesting topics- I realised that I really do want to be part of that league one day. Many of the presentations inspired thoughts about how I could take those ideas and apply them to my own ideas around Rider Mechanics and related topics. (PS– Check out this article by a client of mine!!!)

A prof who was also attending made a comment about how it would be cool to get some student’s working on projects that could be presented at next years conference in Halifax spurring at least an hour of day dreaming on the research I want to do in the rider biomechanics and fitness areas. Day dreams that really wouldn’t be occurring if I wasn’t still working so hard as an athlete in the sport.

I often feel like I am living a double life. As an AT, I work to enhance an athlete’s performance- or return them to pursuing their athletic goals. Much of my time is spent assessing, rehabbing, researching, studying, observing, and tweaking someone else’s body in order to best help them prevent, recover, or enhance. As an athlete myself, I also rely on many a health care professional to help me do all of what I help others do too. I train myself, and I have a team consisting of an athletic therapist, a chiropractor (who is also a certified AT), a sport psych consultant, and numerous other resources (profs, fellow students, coworkers) who help me be the best I can be as an athlete. Both lives are full time jobs.

An amateur is someone who “engages in a pursuit on an unpaid basis”. In order to do what I do as an athlete, I am working many an hour to try and make ends meet. Luckily enough, I’ve found income sources that also work with my career goals. Unfortunately, this means that it’s not always easy to take time off of one thing to focus on another. For instance, the next two weeks I’m having to sacrifice training time in order to pick up extra tutoring clients to pay the bills– this with a competition in a couple weeks may not be the most logical choice. However, if I’m going to afford to train and compete? This is my only choice. The pay off being that I make a few extra coins while practicing skills that will come in handy for my upcoming final year in this degree, and future vocation.

The flip side to this occurs too. When many other AT students are picking up extra internship hours or covering events on weekends- all which count towards our final certification- or working at other jobs..I am often living my athlete life and competing or training. Spending the money I work so hard during the week to make.

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Would I change any of this? Most definitely not. I have jobs that I love, and I’m progressing in my sport.

At this point in my riding I’ve taken to a “quality vs quantity” approach. When I do train, I train like I mean it. I put quality rides into my horse- focusing on good habits for both of us, and reinforcing the years of training I’ve already put into us both. I know that even if I only make it out to train a few times a week that my horse and I will still be ready to work hard with M&C, because I’ve strategised our training and done everything I can to keep us in peak condition. I know that when I go to a competition- I will be ready.

I read a reposted article this week describing how aspiring riders must ride as much as they humanly can, and can’t put too much effort into other things if they ever want to be good at riding. It hit a bit of a nerve. I agree that a huge amount of time and dedication must be present for one to become good at their chosen thing- but, I also think it is quite unfair to say those who don’t throw all their focus into one thing aren’t dedicated or destined to be great.

During my time at LC Horse Farms in NZ, the head rider made a comment to me that has stuck with me all this time. After noting a few of my bad habits in the saddle- he concluded that I was “too Manitoban to ever make it in the sport of riding”. He justified that by saying I wasn’t focused enough to ever break bad habits, and any rider with bad habits could never be any good. This was coming from a rider who, based on my education of biomechanics and experience in the sport, had quite a few of his own bad habits. This same rider had also confessed to me that he “wished that he had done a greater variety of sports as a young athlete, instead of just riding” because he agreed that having a well-rounded approach was the way to go.

Coming from a training and coaching perspective, I would never recommend to a young athlete to do only one sport all the time. What makes a good athlete is a well-rounded movement base. This is not to say those who did specialise early aren’t going to be good either. However, I know from experience and current research that building many different neural patterns early on in life will enhance performance once one does specialise. This is true even for such a specific sport like riding. Motor coordination, balance, body awareness, stability, and reactivity all come into play just as much in this sport as they do in others- however, they are rarely focused on as much as they should be with young or new riders (or with older experienced riders…).

I’m an amateur rider not because I don’t want to achieve the highest levels in the sport- but because I don’t necessarily want the lifestyle of a professional rider (I’ve had tastes of it, and it’s just not for me), and I have a career outside (but combining) with the sport. Does this mean I’m not a dedicated athlete? No. Any amateur athlete in any sport is worthy of huge credit for worth ethic and dedication. Not only are they striving to better their performance day in and day out, they are working hard in a variety of other areas as well (whether to pay for their sport, because of other interests, or all of the above). They are well-rounded, persevering individuals who generally won’t take no for an answer when it comes to their goals.

Yes, we complain about it. Yes, we have days where getting out of bed seems like the hardest thing in the world. Our bodies hurt, our brains are fried. We don’t always get the results we want as quick as we want, and we can’t always afford new equipment or all the competitions. As a student, athlete, and full-time (ish) worker- I know I can speak for many others in the same boat as me- it is a brutal lifestyle sometimes. It’s so easy to question why we do this to ourselves.

So… why do we? 

The moment when you click into a skill you’ve been working on for what seems like forever.

The moment your coach says “that was perfect!” over and over again in one training session.

Those ideas that bring your career into your sport in a way you never imagined. The inspiration that follows.

The feeling of setting a goal and seeing it get accomplished, step by step.

The realisation that you are living the dreams people once told you were unrealistic. 

All the burn out, debt, stress, and time becomes 100% worth it. The good days outnumber the bad, and looking back- there is always a good story to tell.

Next time you see your local amateur, in anything, give them a hug. They likely need one.

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Triaging my own schedule.. Am I doing it right?

The past few weeks in a nutshell:

Answer student questions in first responder class, work with kids at horse connection, work the desk at MORfit, go to evening classes, ride, triage football kids, answer football parent’s questions on why their kid is concussed or how they broke their wrist (among other things), answer football coach’s questions as to which kids I actually told not to practice (2/6 actually sitting out…), ride, answer anatomy student’s questions, apply ice to football kids, ride, work the desk at MORfit, read religious papers for my online humanity, design workouts while in business class, teach those workouts to my class, schedule meetings for KSA, chat with enthusiastic faculty members on their ideas for KSA, try to track down a key for my KSA office (with no luck…), write panicked reading reports on readings I half did, try to remember to write things down in my schedule, more football, more desk work, chart, chart, chart, research injuries I’ve never seen before but am dealing with, apply ice, prescribe rest, attempt to get tensor bandages back from athletes, refer, explain to parents why I’m referring..again. Ride. Jump. Run. Get myself back into a lifting routine. Sleep? Eat?

I ran into a fellow AT student the other day, when I was ignoring the pressing need to finish a paper- and instead shopping. As I asked how her spring was going, I found myself looking into a mirror.. “I’m.. it’s.. overwhelming..”. Between football, work, spring courses, and our own personal athletics… Things get interesting for most AT students in the summer. I’m forever fighting back the guilt over not being able to fit in extra clinical shifts to bump my hours so far this summer- but honestly the thought of adding one more thing to my already overdone schedule is impossible.

As the main Trainer with Murdock this year, I’m on my own at practices (the ones that don’t interfere with evening classes..). What this means is that I’m learning how much I know, how much I don’t, and how much I am limited in practice. My team is amazing for making me feel absolutely loved and an integral part of the team. The coaches have told me more than once that they would fold without me and Nikki there. Any request I have is met, the best example was when I asked the coaches to ask one of the kids to carry my table out to practices for me.. the response was the coach walking into the dressing room and yelling “Hey guys- if this table isn’t brought out to the field today by one of you, the entire team is running quadruple what we usually run.. Got it? Good.” and then calmly walking back to me and stating “Someone will get it done for you!” before heading to the field. That’s a moment to warm any AT’s heart.

I’ve really noticed the difference in my abilities now compared to last fall. It was pretty common for me to spend every drive home after practices or games in full sob mode as a result of being horribly overwhelmed. And that was during a season of next to no injuries… This year, I have yet to be phased.. and on average I have a line up of players waiting to see me. The most eventful things I’ve dealt with so far has been a growth plate fracture to the radius, a couple solid concussions, a broken pinky, and numerous bumps and bruises.

As much as I’m loving every second of this- I’m also seeing how the clinical side of AT suites me much better. On field my job is to treat to the best of my ability, and make the decision on whether the kid is going back into play or not. If not, referring onto further medical attention or telling them to rest and apply ice. In clinic I get to figure out what’s causing the problem, and what’s the best way to fix it.. and then actually help fix it. Much more satisfying. Field is exciting, and challenging- but it doesn’t vary much. This is why I’m doing my best to read up on the injuries I see on the field, so when I get those kids in a clinic someday- I have a good idea of how to best help them rehab.

So that’s football. What about my athletics?

Well those have been going pretty awesome. I’m still running 5ks with no problems, and getting closer to my regular speed. The last couple weeks I’ve started back into lifting- as my back has begun acting up again, and the best remedy for that has proven to be barbell dead-lifts and squats.Also, I like to practice what I preach.

IMG_6362Riding has been spectacular. The last couple lessons I’ve had have been flawless, and so much progression has been obvious to me and M&C. After our last lesson I received a “you did not too bad today…. and by not too back I mean really good!” from M. If you know M, you know that means something. Our first competition is coming up in 3 weeks, where I will be competing in the jumper ring. Height divisions have yet to be decided. Will has been jumping phenomenal, and I’m excited to see what this season holds for us. 

As overwhelmed as I am a lot of the time.. its very neat to see the little pieces of my life clicking into place gradually. The business I’ve began working on has showed continuous progression in a short amount of time, and all my years of patience and hard work in my sport is showing some exciting results. Both these things combined are bringing exciting opportunities to me, and catching the attention of some local supporters (more on this soon).

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This week brings much of the same, with football most evenings, work, midterms (to write, and to mark…), papers to write, social events to attend, and training to do on myself and on my horse. This weekend brings the National CATA (Athletic Therapists Assoc.) conference, which I am very excited to be attending- even though it disrupts my usual Saturday routine of replenishing my sleep bank.  Spring courses are almost half done- and I am perpetually behind (curse you online courses!). With the weather improving I will be starting my other summer job soon, hopefully after my teaching assistant work is nearing end- and show season will soon be in full swing for me.

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Surreal

Lately I’ve found myself too busy to stop to think (and write blog posts). But when I do find time to take a minute, and I look at what the past few months of my life has unfolded into- and what the next few months hold potential for.. it all seems very surreal. I’ve had many opportunities lately that only remind me how lucky I am.

Let me explain.

We know I’m a very goal orientated person, whether I set them consciously or not, I am constantly being driven to achieve both my small and larger scale goals. I have also had the experience a few times of having to adapt or modify goals because of life slamming my original plans down. Which means I approach many of my bigger life goals with the attitude that they are allowed to evolve and change with time. Change, after all, is a necessity to life. So, when I reach the point where those big goals I set years ago are starting to actually happen, and ones I didn’t know I had appear– it equals a somewhat “I have to be dreaming” feeling.

All the areas of my life having been moving consistently in the direction I’d like them to. The past school year brought me a vast skill set at a solid network of students and faculty. My leg is pretty much back to normal after the accident, and I’ve been able to get back into a more regular training routine (on and off the horse). I am able to run, and 5k seems to be my limit at the moment, but I’ll take it. I’ve started more agility and plyometric training to coincide with my return to jump schools with the horse.

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My riding is the best it’s ever been, and my horse is consistently proving to me that all the years of hard work I put into him were worth it. In my last session with C I got the massive compliment of “huh, your eye is really good today! I’m impressed!”. If you know C, you know sometimes her compliments are far and few- so hearing that sentence from her was a big boost! Every time I get on I feel like I’m ready for the next step, which is why this year we have plans to spend a lot more time in the jumper ring and are hoping to make it out to Alberta later in the season.

This past week I did my first biomechanics consult for a rider (a regular to my weekly strength and conditioning class)- on which I will write a more detailed post later. It was a blast! Very cool to be able to put my knowledge into practical use in a new way. The class that used to be only a pipe dream for me is moving out of MORfit and outdoors for the summer as I take it on as a private instructor. Speaking of surreal, you couldn’t have told me 6-8 months ago that I’d be starting my own business and have me believe you. There is definitely ups and downs with this whole business thing. Quite often I have to remind myself that  its going to take a lot of time to get these ideas off the ground- and the fact that I have the interest I do already is huge. It’s easy to get caught up in the woes of trying something new in a very “set in their ways” environment. However, as much as I get frustrated and impatient- the results I’ve seen in my regular clients after the last few sessions of the class are more then enough to keep me going, and I hope they are seeing the results as well.

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I made the last minute decision last week to switch back to my old football team- Murdock McKay. That was definitely a good life choice. Besides the fact that their schedule will allow me to keep up with my own training, and I already have a good working relationship with Nikki.. My decision was justified when upon arrival at the first practice back I was welcomed by a bear hug from the head coach with a “I’m SO SO SO happy you’re back!!!”, numerous exuberant “Hi trainer Kat!!!!”s from old players, and Nikki handing me over the keys as the new charge person and trainer for the team. I’ll be busy with spring training until June, but I’m quite looking forward to it. This team has always been good to me, and I don’t see this season being any different. Hopefully now that I have some more experience I won’t be as shell shocked when I’m required to deal with an injury, as now I’m the one who has to deal with it. With a team of mostly brand new grade 9′s, it’s definitely going to bring a interesting season.

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Stocked up- I’m sure I forgot something..

With football, and my 4 other jobs (Horse Connection, teaching assistant at the University x2, MORfit, and my rider mechanics work) I am kept quite busy.  My scheduling has to run like a well-oiled machine, but I’m finding value and feeling valued at each position. As busy as those things keep me, I’m still blessed enough to have time to ride my horse, do my own training, spend time with my friends and the great guy who appeared in my life (again.. surreal). I can afford to eat, get around, and ride. I’m so close to finishing a long degree and continuing to pursue more goals within the field. I’ve found a path and made my way down it. From where I’m standing now, I think I picked a good road to travel- even if it has it’s bumpy patches.

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Full Speed Ahead

Well hello.

Since I wrote last I’ve been enjoying a little down time, with semester ending and work slowing for a brief period. I’ve had time to reset and begin filling my schedule for the summer months. I spent the past weekend in a Soft Tissue Release certification- which meant that when I wasn’t performing the techniques, I was getting them performed on me… bonus! Perfect way to rejuvenate!

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I had my first riding lesson back since the winter off and my accident- and it went very well! C had us working through a gymnastic (x to vertical to oxer) and then a single vertical to a diagonal oxer. By the end of the lesson we were working over 3-3’3″ jumps quite easily and Willard wasn’t pulling his usual “first jump school of the year excitement antics”- behaving quite calmly and listening to my direction. Some things I noticed in the tack this lesson was my ability to maintain a good position, not fall forward in anticipation, keep my leg on and ride confidently to a good distance–every single time.

This really shouldn’t be a surprise, because while I haven’t been in the tack much over the last 8 months, and even while having a very broken leg, my AT and I worked hard towards improving my posture and positioning outside of the tack as much as possible while rehabbing my leg. Last weeks lesson was a definite sign to me that those plans are working. Now that I am not bogged down by exams, I’ve been able to begin running again (!!!!), and have regained my usual motivation towards exercise and training in general. Huge relief! I was starting to think it would never come back!

So what do I have planned for the next few months? As usual, many many things will be on the go. Next week I begin spring term, and while I will be taking 3 courses (2 online), I will also be for sure a teaching assistant for one (Anatomy) and possibly a second (First Responder).  Besides this I switch to day shifts at MORfit, to accomodate my school schedule and my football schedule- which starts the second week in May. I am planning to work with Vincent Massey this year, but am also welcome back at Murdoch McKay if I decide to go back to that team. Still debating that decision. I’ve gone back to work at Horse Connection as an Instructor, and will continue with them for one session a week until they wrap up for the year in June. In late May or June I will start yet another job working as a photographer for a local real-estate agent Mon-Fri throughout the summer, and will also likely be a casual support worker with St. Amant to supplement my income.

I am currently working on some research ideas for the summer that tie into my Equestrian Training class, and will be offering biomechanics/position consults to riders in the next few months as an aside to the class. I am quite excited about where these ideas will take me- and very happy to have a knowledgable professor backing me every step of the way. I am hoping to run clinics on a variety of topics for riders, including injury prevention as it relates to position, performance enhancement, and how a rider’s position impacts the horse’s body. Of course tied into all these clinics will be tips for riders on how to improve their ride and overall health both in the saddle and out. I wouldn’t be a Kin student if that wasn’t tied in there somewhere!

My regulars working through one of our total body strength days!
My regulars working through one of our total body strength days!

Outside of work and school- I will be continuing to progress in my own training both in and out of the saddle. I would like to work towards a couple 10kms this summer, as well as get into that Jumper ring. There is serious consideration being put into heading out to Alberta later in the summer to compete with the McMullan team- and it is a good motivation tool for training hard early in the season. I am not planning to do any shows in May- as both time and funds are limited at the moment, and I just won’t be ready to compete this early . I also am not sure my leg is ready for a full show in the early season either, after last week’s lesson I was living proof of how much force travels through a riders joints during jumping- man did I feel the impact for a few days afterwards! One of those things that will improve with time, for sure.

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I’ve also gotten back on track with the clean eating (GF/mostly DF/sugar free (as much as I can)). Over the last few months of the horrid winter and exams, I fell hard off that wagon- and noticed huge changes in how I felt as a result. Now that I am physically able to get back into serious training, the diet has to follow. With the exception of the treats that are always left at the barn to test my willpower- I’ve been doing very good the last while, and am feeling much better for it!

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That’s about all the news I have for the moment. Stay tuned for upcoming info on my rider mechanics clinics, and related posts! I’m going to enjoy the rest of my slack week until spring term starts next week. Tonight is my last evening shift at MORfit for a bit, as I’ll be switching to days- so I’ll have some evenings free until classes and football begin. I’ve really been enjoying the down time!

 

 

20 written exams, 8 practicals, and 6 papers later…

Another academic year has come to a close (FINALLY), and I am a proud survivor (sometimes thriver) of third year athletic therapy- a year renowned for being among the toughest. 27 exams total, in 10 courses- with countless hours spent practicing- on top of balancing field work in the clinic and the football fields, and somehow finding time to read stuff. It’s safe to see why year 3 is a little (in)famous.

Within this year I got my first taste of the practical side of things, real patient interaction and real emergency response.  Less then 6 months ago if you had put me in a room and told me to effectively assess an injury, deal with it appropriately, and create a rehab program to properly return the patient to appropriate function- there is no way I would have known where to start. If you had thrown me into an emergency scenario and told me to manage it? Disaster might have ensued!

The amount that I’ve learned in what is relatively a very short period of time continues to stun me.  At the same time the amount that I still need to learn, mainly just through experience, is equally as stunning. I set some goals for myself at the beginning of both semesters, and managed to achieve them for the most part. I definitely did much better in the first part of the year, with second semester burnout (and a broken leg) catching me off guard.

Where first semester brought me the self-discipline to get the tough work done efficiently and the ability to be examined practically- second semester taught me to take a step back and do what my body needed to get things done. By the time I got to finals this term, there wasn’t much discipline left- but thankfully there was enough practical and stored knowledge left over to get me through. Practical exams by the end of this year turned into more fun then nerve wracking.

Third year also provided me with a ever growing network of fellow students and colleagues.  With so many opportunities to jump in and get involved, and so many practicals to practice for- it would have been difficult not to become close with classmates. Taking a chance and submitting one of my posts to the national athletic therapy association (CATA) ended up getting it published, which was pretty sweet! Click here for that post. The opportunity also came about for me to do some teaching, both in a fitness respect as well in formal courses with the University. This is definitely something I hope to do more of in the future!

It’s safe to say this year came with some ups and downs. Both time and stress management skills came into action, and one of the most important lessons I learned is probably managing myself under pressure. As an AT student, we deal with a lot of pressure- from our peers, our patients, our profs, the requirements of the degree, and most of all ourselves. Knowing how to micromanage our overwhelmed brains and still extract knowledge to perform is what we do best. It’s a skill we need to do well in our chosen profession, and we need to do it maintaining professionalism and reactivity to our client’s needs.

A concern for me in the past, and especially at the beginning of this year was how I was going to effectively manage to pursue a career in AT as well as continuing my pursuit of my athletic riding goals. Over the last few months I’ve discovered ways in which to optimize my knowledge and practical skills while building a business in the sport I have experience in.

What started as just a training class for riders is ever evolving into new ideas. Since implementing the class I’ve been able to brainstorm with profs over where I might go with this, and recently have begun work on setting up a position assessment program for equestrians- using my knowledge of orthopaedic assessment, biomechanics, and training. I feel very lucky to have endless resources to keep my ideas running, and look forward to developing a directed study on the topic of rider biomechanics and training. As this is an area of the sport not as commonly looked at- I have a chance to create something new to give back to my sport and build a business while maintaining involvement and continuing my own training.

This year I’ve also gotten the chance to step into student politics- and next year will be taking over leadership of the Kinesiology Students Association. I’m excited about the challenge of rebuilding our student involvement schemes in the inaugural year of the brand new athletic and health centre at the University of Winnipeg.

Some key lessons from this year:

  • Day planners are a glorious thing. Thank you moleskin.
  • Athletic tape can be used for many purposes, and should be on hand at all times
  • When people look at you like you’re the one in charge… you should probably do something.
  • It’s okay to not feel guilty about taking a day off.
  • Forgetting your wallet is the only way to ensure you won’t spend money on Starbucks.
  • Smile at the bus driver- because one day you will forget your bus pass and have no change… and it will be -40.
  • Being someone that gets along with everyone is handy.
  • Asking questions is never wrong.
  • Asking for help is never wrong.
  • Saying no is okay.
  • Using crutches to ensure a good spot on the bus is okay.
  • Every prof has a different idea of what APA format is, even if they all recommend the same source for formatting.  You can’t win that battle.
  • Practicals become less scary once you realize that everyone marking you was in the exact same spot as you not too long ago.
  • There is a limit to what you can do.

And so, after writing my last exam on Tuesday- I’ve been enjoying some quiet time. My schedule is dedicated to work, riding, training myself, mental breaks, and doing what I want. I have a week before spring term starts and I’m making the most of the slack schedule (filling it up quicker then I should). Tomorrow I have my first lesson with M&C of the year, and am both excited and nervous. I’ve been back in the saddle for a few weeks now and am feeling pretty good- but not all the way normal yet. However, each time I ride things get better. I’ve been given the okay to begin impact training again by my doctor and ATs- so will hopefully ease my way back into running and conditioning work (now that I’m not hella burnt out and a little motivated again).

 

Among other things I’ve begun writing for MORfit’s blog, and may be publishing pieces on another blog related to rider fitness in the near future. Stay tuned for more on that! Click here for my first post for MORfit, on time management. Hopefully I’ll be a little more motivated to write more for you readers as well, now that my head is out of it’s end of the semester grog.

I also will be working on ideas for the new stream of my functional training for the equestrian business over the next week or so, looking to set up clinics later in May. Funny- biomechanics has become a staple in my goals.. Upon faced with my first ever biomech course and respective project, I was in tears at what seemed to be such an impossible subject for me to grasp. Now it’s something regularly found in my daily vocabulary.

Until next time!

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My reset button is dysfunctional

My how the time is flying.

It’s been a while since I wrote last, and while things have been moving along quick as can be- not much has really changed. I’m still pretty worn out from the past few months, and the last few weeks have been a mad balance between trying to hit reset, and keeping up with myself. I know, contradicting pattern.

Shortly after I wrote last I took an entire three days off of EVERYTHING school related and headed out to Brandon for the Royal Fair. This annual trip is always something I look forward to, and this year I had a teammate and a client competing and got to see them both excel in their respective classes! It was such a nice feeling to physically drive away from the nagging study notes, exam and work schedules for a weekend- sleeping boyfriend in the passenger seat, and passes for the fair ready to go. A big part of me needed the break, and the rejuvenation of seeing a sport I love at a high level.  Some highlights included the numerous visits to the petting zoo and barns with my RMWF rookie beau, spending some quality time with my teammates and friends Lauren and Megg, dancing at the barn bar (leg for sure did not appreciate this, but my head sure did), and eating some disgustingly classic fair food!

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Go Megg Go!
Go Megg Go!

After that weekend I felt a little less burnt out and a little more motivated to keep up with life in general. I came home from the weekend and had to stop at the barn on the way home to get on my horse for the first ride of the year (and my first ride on him since my accident). I can’t begin to tell you how fun that little hack was! Will felt like he’d never been put out to the snow banks for 6 months, and I felt like a new rider. Fair always does this for me, it revives my passion for the sport and reminds me of how deeply rooted my goals are as an athlete. In the week that followed some of that motivation remained, thankfully- as I needed it!

Monday began with a 5:30am shift at MORfit, followed by my first shift returning to Horse Connection as a instructor, and a job interview right after that- then riding both Will and Felix in the evening. I was full of energy, and ready to pick up my study routine (with two exams at the end of the week) for Tuesday, but the Universe intervened and after waking up Tuesday morning with the worst version of the Keystone Centre Cold I’ve ever had. I made it through marking practical exams that morning for the class I was TA-ing for this term (being on that side of the marking table is super fun!) just fine, but by the time I got to MORfit for my evening shift I had also developed food poisoning and ended up both having to leave work (and experience downtown intersection hurling into a plastic bag) to curl up into a ball of discomfort for the rest of the evening. My personal paramedic came to my rescue once again that night and showed up on my door step (with ambulance and partner in tow) to drop off some ginger ale and gravol for me (which wouldn’t stay down anyway). This left me with a day to study for Thursday’s final, and then part of a day to study for Friday’s. Thankfully I still had some motivation in the tank.

Wednesday was all speed studying (and work), and Thursday morning gave me some time to review before my exam. Although I usually avoid cramming as a strategy, this time it worked out great for me with Thursdays exam going by with no hiccups. Other then being that one student in the room who had constant sniffles and sneezes (sorry everybody…). By this point I was running low on energy and motivation, but kept it together for the remainder of the week and got to end off with a lovely ride outside in the crisp air and chat with teammate Megg, who was fresh off a competition week at fair.

While I was supposed to cover football camps this weekend (5:30am-9am), I called in sick as I was legitimately still pretty ill and wanted to catch up on some sleep. Since then I’ve really lost my motivation again for anything involving school work, and been trying to do my best to revive my brain again- to little success. I took today off of next to everything, except for a quick ride on my horse and my regular evening shift.

My leg progress has not really changed too much in the past weeks. Somedays it feels great, other days it feels not so great. I may have a mild case of recovery blues. It really is a day to day thing, but riding doesn’t seem to bug it too much and for that I am grateful. My fear around riding has began to decrease, and I have to give credit to all those around me supporting me every step of the way with this. My teammates Lauren and Megg are the first to 1) relate to everything I’m going through, 2) listen to my ranting and 3) do everything they can to help me out. I’m sure my horse sensed a little bit of hesitation in me and has yet to throw anything my way that would push me over the edge. Many of the conversations had in the barn with Lauren and Megg have solidified that we’re all working towards a common goal and often feel exactly the same way about where we’re at. The frustrations that come with the sport are not ones that are easy to handle alone, so it’s nice to have that network.

With 4 more exams looming, I seem to have taken a very.. uh.. relaxed (I just don’t care anymore) approach. I have little desire to keep up to my schedule at the moment, and have been attempting to scale back on less important commitments so that I can maintain the more important ones with some energy. It does seem at this point that whatever I do to try and “reset” myself, I only end up right back where I was within a few days. I’m constantly reminding myself that I’m doing all these things because I love what I do, even when I’d much rather be at home sleeping or reading a book that doesn’t involve too much science. I’m very ready for exams to be done, and to enjoy a week of no thinking before my spring semester starts.

The realisation that I am pretty much done the second last year of my undergrad is quite motivating. I’m accomplishing long term goals I set years ago left right a centre, and setting new ones that seemed so distant not that long ago. It’s a cool feeling, but also a little bit scary. There’s days where I feel very grown up and ready to take on new things, and even more days where I’m a little bit intimidated by the chunk of life I’m biting off. For right now my focus is getting through the next couple weeks, and maybe even setting up a jumping lesson to push my riding confidence to the next level- and rewarding myself for finishing up a long semester and year.

Here’s hoping the burn out feeling eases off soon!

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Walk before you run, breathe before you freak out, and when in doubt-write it out!

New WCB caseworker: “So, I was only informed of your job with Horse Connection and your job at the U of W.. what else do you do? Are you a student?”

Me: “I am a full time student, as well as I have another job at MORfit…”
WCB: “What? You have 3 jobs and you’re in school.. full time?”
Me: “Yes..?”
WCB: “Oh.. my god. Sorry.. but how do you do that?”
Me: “Well, it’s safe to say I’m pretty burnt out at the moment..”
WCB: “I can only imagine.. you’re officially the busiest person I’ve ever talked to…”
My week has been filled with classmates, coworkers, and friends telling me I look tired, and asking what’s wrong. So, I guess it’s been a long week? It’s only Wednesday? This post may be a bit of a frustration rant- bear with me.
With the end of term fast approaching, a bum leg, and a million things on the go- I guess this burnt out feeling was inevitable. Today I took a me day, after struggling through the morning rehab/training session and class- and being questioned a billion times as to what was wrong and why I wasn’t my usual motivated self- I went home and crashed into a nap (still in my jacket and shoes..). I’m starting to feel more refreshed now, and am actually accomplishing some school work for once.
This injury is starting to catch up to me, all that optimism I had early on is fading as rehab seems endless and my burnt out brain loses motivation for pretty much everything. Having experienced burn out before, I can at least deal with it somewhat productively- however this time I do have the extra challenge of physical hinderance as well and dealing with fear and anxiety as they come up in relation to the gradual return to my sport. Because my chosen sport is a little less familiar with my ATs and doctors- I am somewhat lonely on that front. I am lucky to have great supports from my teammates Megg and Lauren, as well as from others in my life- but the only person who can really get me over this hump is me.
A few weeks of an average of 14hr days has definitely left me ready for a break. Normally that break for me would come in the form of going for a run on my favourite route, or taking my horse out for a long hack. Two things that I can’t really do. Once because physically I won’t be there for a while yet, and the other because mentally I am far from that point as well- also, the weather sucks. My subconscious is really just doing it’s job; after all- why would my brain want me to step back into a situation that recently damaged significant aspects of my body? I’ve talked to many other athletes who have gone through the same experiences, and it’s nice to know I’m not losing it. Also interesting to learn first hand about yet another aspect of athletic therapy, a side of it we don’t often hear too much about. It’s not easy to deal with fear of something that is a major part of your life. 
In baby step form, I have been on a horse twice this week- with the help of some awesome people. Shakka sported me around on the weekend, and recreated many fearful situations for me as he was a tad fresh (thankfully his fresh is slow motion compared to most horses). I was on for about half an hour, 15 minutes of which I felt great for before anxiety started in, and when M came to watch, leaving the arena door open behind him- I was at the point where I had to stop. That was too much of a recreation of my accident for my head to handle at this point. I got on again Monday night, and Shakka was much less spunky and we had a great hack for another half an hour. This time I was only mildly anxious the entire time. I had to keep reminding myself to breathe, and that the saddle was once a safe place for me. Nervousness is a very unfamiliar feeling for me in the saddle. One that I hope doesn’t become familiar.
While this year has brought many lessons in patience, and prioritising- right now both those things are difficult. I am very frustrated and impatient with my recovery at this point, which isn’t horribly positive. To be in the tack, looking a small jumps set up around the arena and imagining myself schooling over them in the future is terrifying. Yes, I know that won’t last forever- but it certainly makes the next few months seem very daunting. I have never experienced a level of demotivation I’ve felt towards pre-season conditioning and rehab like this before- which in itself is interesting and provides me with a challenge. Often the only thing that gets me to a rehab session is pure obstinance towards the parts of me that are saying “why bother” or “this is going to suck, and be exhausting, and might make you hurt more.. maybe you should just take another day off”. I’m thinking those things all the time- and they are feeding into the fear of riding. Right now, before I get in the tack, and while I”m in the tack- there is a voice telling me that at any moment I could be thrown, be injured longer, be in more pain.  The same voice is telling me to walk away from this danger- wait longer before trying- avoid the risk. Take it easy in rehab, don’t push yourself to stay fit as much as possible, take it easy.
That voice isn’t me, really..  And unfortunately arguing with that voice is only adding to my already hectic schedule.
No wonder I zombie napped for an hour and a half today!
What I do know is that if I listened to that voice’s suggestions and took more time, stopped pushing myself to do things that seem hard or horribly intimidating, is that I honestly don’t know if I could get myself back into it after more time. If after 7 weeks the fear built to this level, what would 14 wks be like to deal with? What about a whole season? Yes, I did consider just taking a season off. However, I quickly realised that in all honesty I couldn’t afford to. Even though I do always stress about being able to financially afford to compete and train like I do.. in this sense I mean afford in a long term sense. My passion within the sport of riding has roots in almost every aspect of my life. Educationally, riding has driven me to pursue extra research, ask deeper questions, and set higher goals. Career wise, it’s given me an arena to voice my ideas and put them into action, building my own client base and giving me a chance to develop long term goals. My involvement, and all the ups and downs I’ve had within riding has given me so many skills and set me up for many opportunities that otherwise I may not have been privy to. To say that after 15 years of hard work, sweat, blood, and so many tears that I’m done because of one scary injury? That isn’t okay with me, and it’s that thought process that is keeping my inner argument going.
Fear is a two sided coin for me right now. There is the fear of returning, but also the fear of never going back. Would my life be easier if I took out the expensive hobby and time commitment riding is? Probably, yes. However, easier is almost never better. I would be taking out a piece of who I am, and losing a piece of who I want to be. Riding may take a back seat in the future due to other life goals, as it has and does already during the school year, that is a decision to make if and when. I’ve always been open to the idea of letting goals evolve and change- but letting a decision like that be made because of fear isn’t okay with me, and it doesn’t represent who I am. I also truly believe that if it was something I truly wanted to take a break from, I wouldn’t be having as much of a inner struggle with it. I am so grateful for that struggle, and for the people in my life who aren’t afraid to push me and question me when they see me working through this.
Today I got on a treadmill for the first time and was told to walk- I was immediately frustrated because all I wanted to do was run. A few days ago I got on a horse and was terrified I would never shake this uneasy feeling in future rides.
I am happy for that frustration, it means that I WANTED to run. I’m thankful for that terror- as it means I was thinking of FUTURE rides. As tired as I am- I’m tired because I’m trying.
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“No..Thank You!” …. The results are in!

You know you’re special when your doctor thanks you for having rare and interesting injuries. 

I got my MRI results today, from the MRI I had done a couple weeks ago for the accident I had a month and a half ago. Turns out I do indeed have a fracture, on the lateral plateau of my tibia. Thankfully undisplaced.. I was told by the doc that I was a hair off of a very, very severe injury that would have resulted in surgeries and pins and screws. Ya no thanks! I can’t lie though, I am pretty excited about having my first official broken bone.. #nerdalert

So, what we know now (7wks post trauma): fracture at the lateral tibial plateau, microtrauma to the trabeculae in the superior tib/fib bone (trabeculae = spongy part of the bone), marrow effusion (bone bruise), edema (fluid) surrounding the deep peroneal nerves, sprained superior tib/fib joint, strained long adductors (groin muscles crossing the knee), and rotator cuff strain/impingement to top it all off! What better way to study for my rehab practical then to spend the entire semester going through every stage of recovery!! 

For the most part, recovery has been going very well with consistent progress. Today was the first day I’ve had nerve pain in a couple weeks, and I know I’m not really done with those random symptoms for a while as nerve bruising/edema can take around a year to fully heal. The last couple weeks in the clinic I’ve spent doing more conditioning and strength training work, which sucks- but is also pretty awesome. Considering only 3 weeks ago I was just happy to be walking without severe pain. I’m still a ways off of running, but am getting closer to getting strength back. I’ve been challenging my cardio with bikes, swimming, ellipticals, and dry-land rowing- and challenging my strength more and more each week. It’s very nice to be able to do something in the gym again! Step by step (literally)!

To put a positive spin on this whole series of events- it’s given me a great opportunity to rebuild my body. Because I have some super talented ATs behind me, and have basically started from the bottom up when it comes to conditioning- we’ve been working out all the little kinks in my posture and functional movements- which in turn will help me rebuild my riding position too. This would be something difficult to do if I was still in good condition. The fact that my body was broken down by a trauma, and then had to be rested for a few weeks was at first frustrating- but I’ve really come to appreciate the chance to build it back up again on more stable foundations. All this also has given me some great new ideas to put into my own training class- which I’m sure my clients will love/hate! Holla at me silver lining! 

What else is new? 

Uhh both Will and Felix move into M&C’s in a couple weeks- just in time for exam season. The doctor has given me the okay to ride- actually he couldn’t really say no, because he doesn’t know enough about the sport to really know what it would entail for all my injuries. So I’m flying on my own opinion. And that’s just going to be trying it out and seeing how it goes, once I get my brain wrapped around the idea that it’s something I shouldn’t be terrified of. Yes I’ve still be finding excuses to avoid going out to the barn (that and I am honestly just swamped by everything else in my life<– prime example of an excuse). I did go out to a horse show to watch Megg do some rounds this past weekend, and it was actually a good thing for me to do. After getting my very patient boyfriend and I lost (I have excellent navigational skills….), and finally getting there- it was good for me to sit in that atmosphere and watch horses and riders go around courses all morning. It kind of revived some motivation in me, and reminded me that that is something I do want to do still. 

This week is of course packed full of fun times. As classes are coming to an end, the pressure to stop procrastinating has begun. Today I interviewed for a potential summer job, and tomorrow I'll be working at the Rotary Career Fair reppin' the Faculty of Kin AT program. I did this event last year as well and had a blast! Friday will bring the annual AT Games, an event I haven't attended before but am quite excited to attend this year. Trivia and Kin related games with the profs, followed by hanging out after? Nerd fun! I am honestly hoping to get out to the barn this week at least once, and sit on Shakka for a bit to see how it goes. I will not make excuses…most likely…!

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