A year on and things are heating up…
It’s been just over a year since the injury which put 2018 and potentially my whole career on pause. Fortunately with the love and support of my team, and a lot of hard work I can safely say I am ready to hit play again and get back to competing. There is still such a long time until the World championships in Dubai in November, so I have time to really perfect my technique and get myself into strong shape. The doc has assured me several times that my achilles is in a really good and healthy place, (hopefully my constant monthly request for an ultrasound scan hasn’t annoyed him too much!) and I am signed off for full training and progression into the competition season. As you can see by the photo below, the length of the achilles looks quite neat and the fibres are fairly inline. The vertical shadows are the sutures holding me together, and the long bright white line is the border of my Tibia bone. Now a non ruptured, non talipes foot achilles may well look a little neater than this, but… we are happy none the less!
As with the ebb and flow of life, the journey has had a few bumps. Getting back into jumping after so long away from it, my right knee (take off leg) didn’t initially like it. I had a slight flair up which caused me to have to back off and go through a strengthening program to cater for the return to jumping. The good jumps were fine but there is such a need for resilience with high jump for the bad or slightly off positioned jumps as the curve adds so many different forces. Thankfully I wasn’t put out for too long, but it acted as a general reminder to make the right decisions with training and prepare my body better for the higher heights.
Going through an injury has taught me a lot and my mind has gone through so many different states through this journey. I think it actually becomes harder mentally to deal with subsequent niggles than the initial injury itself. The initial one, don’t get me wrong, was tough to deal with and I thank my stars I was in a good place when it happened, but when another thing pops up, no matter how minuscule or tiny the niggle is, it takes you right back to that career threatening incident and the same thoughts, feelings and emotions are amplified. As I am now more conscious of my thoughts and emotions, I can normally identify when I am starting to get overwhelmed and let the torment go, however a niggle or injury seems to be able to bypass that early warning signal and put me straight into full chimp mode (reference to Steve Peter’s, ‘The chimp paradox’). My girlfriend and I have actually named this state of mind as my ‘tuna melt’ and we have become more successful at helping each other through them. Fortunately though, they are very short and far between, but even with all the mindfulness training and meditation I do, I can still become affected by my own mental health.
However, despite the occasional set back, I can happily say I am back over 2 metres in training, which is exactly where I want to be for now. I aim to get comfortably over 2.10 metre bars in training if not 2.15m so that the adrenaline in competition can take me to heights greater than I have ever achieved so far. But, there is still little need to rush and it is more important for me to completely focus on my technical and become confident in my high jumping ability, as well as keep my body in one piece. I will aim to keep everyone posted on my progress.