In 2018 I fell off a shed, into a branch and cracked my ribs. I had qualified again for the UCI amateur world championships (Cycling). The year before I had raced in Albi. I had placed 19 in my age category and 3rd British female in my group. I had trained all summer, sacrificed trips away, nights out with friends but it was worth the sacrifice as I was feeling strong and fast! Cracking my ribs was such a blow. I was unable to compete, I was on strong anti-inflammatories and pain killers that may have put me on the banned substance list and my insurance company wouldn't insure me to travel.
I learned some valuable lessons over this time.
- I tried to get back on the bike too early. I even raced 6 weeks later in the Revolve 24. I won the female place for distance, riding for the 12 hours race, riding through the night! But I was in pain. I wasn't listening to my body. My legs were strong but my body was compensating to keep the weight off my ribs. Listen to your body. Take time to recover. That didn't mean stop moving but move with consideration.
- You can read all the literature about pain but it doesn't really give you the understanding of how it can change your life. I couldn't sit in a car for long. I cancelled numerous trips that meant I would have to travel in a car or a plane. I did one trip to Scotland in this period and I was literally in tears. I worried the whole time I was there as I knew I would have to travel home again. My mood changed, my sleep, my frustration. Listen, have empathy and understand where someone is coming from.
- You will try anything and everything. I went to see all manner of medical and non-medical professionals. I had 2 herniated discs L5S1 and had a nerve root injection in my spine in 2019. I had so much conflicting advice. I know a lot as a personal trainer, I have continually studied and still do to this day, but I am not medically trained and would never claim to be. I had one person say "don't lie on your front", another that said "it's fine, if it feels ok". Listen to others but also understand there is a lot of "opinion out there". Listen to your own sense of reason.