Monday, August 31, 2009

Bridge to Brisbane 10K

Lisa and I completed our first road race Sunday, the 10km Bridge to Brisbane!

The race runs over Brisbane's Gateway bridge and attracted over 40,000 racers this year, making it the largest turn-out of the event's history. That's a lot of people getting up at 5am.

Not having a running leg and being reasonably out of shape, we decided to register in the event as walkers this year, however, that changed a little once we crossed the starting line.

The atmosphere was incredibly exciting and I started getting a very nervous, fast paced, "let me at it" hop/skip to my step at the start line. I was resisting, trying to remember there was a whole lot of race left to go, until I heard Lisa say "just go for it". We both broke into a run!

We jogged on and off throughout the race, climbing the bridge in great time and keeping up a solid pace the whole way. I had to make one very quick pit-stop to add an additional stump-sock inside my huge socket after so much jogging, but all in all, we really pushed the pace.

The coolest part was running the last 500m into the stadium area, side by side and crossing that finish line together. We both got a little lump in our throats. It was a great moment!

We're not sure what our results are yet, but we think we did well for our first race. It will definitely give us something to improve on.

I think that will be the last race we register in as "walkers".

Schneider Electric team.

At the finish line.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I'm a Poster!

I went in to get fitted for my check-socket today and found a little poster of ME in the Gait Lab!

Check-socket - cheap plastic socket used to work out any "bugs" in my fit before they cast it in the expensive carbon fibre and Kevlar, making me 10% bullet-proof.

Gait Lab - a small room with a set of parallel bars used to analyse someone's "Gait" (the way they walk). All amputees pass through this lab anytime an adjustment is needed or they get a new leg.

The Gait Lab has all sorts of posters of people doing "amazing" things like running through a park or camping at the top of a mountain. They're meant to be inspiring.

They had quite the opposite affect on me!

On my first day in the lab, after patiently waiting so long to get going on my new leg, these posters scared the hell out of me.

Afterall, if camping on a mountain top or going for a jog in the park is the exception to the rule, so much so that the guy gets his own poster, then what should I expect?

Not to dismiss what those people in the posters are doing, not by any means! Many of them are above-knee amputees (I can't imagine how tough that would be) and climbing a mountain is no small feat when you have fake feet. I guess it just sent a shiver down my spine thinking that these images are meant to be the "pinnacle of what can be achieved".

Lucky for me, I already knew a guy racing Triathlons so I knew to set my goals a bit higher!

Now I just need to find someone who'll make me an action figure... and yes, I really should be paying my photographer a lot more!

The Gait Lab.

This is a cool poster!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Fun and Mental Fundamentals

Something struck me as being quite funny this morning!

Afterall, how many people stop you on your way into work to say "Gee, you're sure walking like a pro today!" to which you reply "Thanks! It's all in the knee!"

Yep, I get praise where others get ignored. Life is good. Someone even asked me recently if I still dress myself and seemed highly impressed when I said yes. I laughed and said "Well, I have been practicing for a few years now!"

Not that I mind the questions or comments, far from it! I'm proud of the progress I'm making and in all honesty, there are times when I wish people understood more about how much concentration it took to kick that soccer ball or run up those stairs. In those moments the crowd in my head goes wild -- I love those guys, very supportive.

The comments are also a great way to gage whether or not I need to get an adjustment to my prosthetic. I'm usually so busy trying to ignore my inner-monologue that I miss the fact that I'm limping.

Truth be told, it wasn't long ago (earlier this year) when walking, showering, kicking a ball, or getting a glass of juice from the kitchen to the table without spilling a drop was very difficult, but it's come down to re-learning the basics, breaking down the complex tasks and practicing those fundamentals.

I can tell I'm doing well because at this stage in my recovery, no one even knows that I have a prosthetic and most people are shocked when they find out. That's a good feeling! It means I'm walking like a champ again.

I even jogged a bit playing Cricket last week. It wasn't pretty, but it was definitely a jog! I was quite proud and the guys in my head, they wouldn't shut up about it!

Yes, I'm well on my way to achieving that magic "10,000 hours to mastery" mark.

So, get out there and strut your stuff you show-offs who can walk perfectly without thinking about it! I won't be far behind you: only 8,620 hours to go!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Back to Climbing

We had a good time climbing on the weekend!

I bashed up my right knee and ankle with some nice bruises making a few less-than-graceful moves, however, it was nice not worrying about bashing up my left leg's mis-sized socket. It only has to last me two or three weeks afterall -- I wonder if the Kevlar in those layers makes it bullet-proof...

Here's a shot of our crew having a BBQ overlooking the city and river from the top of the cliffs. Made for a great way to spend a Sunday!