In 2010, I was hit by a car while out on an afternoon bike ride.
I was extremely fortunate to survive this accident with minimal injuries, with the worst being some back injuries and slight nerve damage to my left leg.
Fast forward to 2015. I had set my sights on doing two Ironman races that year: Ironman Canada and Ironman Louisville. It was during my training for Ironman Canada that back pain began to derail my training. This time, my back injury caused pinched nerves, which lead to me losing feeling in my left leg.
Through a variety of therapies, my back healed and the majority of the feeling in my leg returned. However, because of previous trauma to the nerves in my leg from my accident in 2010, I was left with a numbing sensation in the lower portion of my leg and half of my foot. This made every training session uncomfortable as nothing felt the same.
My bike shoes didn’t feel the same. The way I pedaled felt different. And running. Running was the worst part because I knew my foot was hitting the ground but I couldn’t feel it, at least not completely.
All of sudden, everything I enjoyed in the sport of triathlon no longer brought me joy.
Many training sessions ended in tears and doubts of being able to complete another Ironman clouded my mind.
Fortunately, I took some time to reflect on my situation and quickly saw the many positives that still existed.
Even though things felt different and training would require me to adapt to new “ways” of feeling and doing things, I still had the ability to swim, bike, and run. I just needed to change my mindset in order to find that joy and fun again.
It was at the moment in time that I decided to be thankful for what I could still do and to dig deep in every session to learn how to train with these new feelings.
There are still tough sessions where I can feel the weakness in my leg and foot, but I find joy in the fact that I CAN still participate in triathlons.
I went on to complete Ironman Louisville that year, Ironman Chattanooga in 2017, and I’m currently training for Ironman #5!
You can follow Andrea on Instagram here.
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