2021 was a year that bought us lots of changes. Learning new ways of adapting to life with the 'virus', not all of which were in ways we were comfortable with.
Just when we thought we were out of the 'woods' the 'virus' reared its ugly head once again and set us back into quite an extended lockdown. How we managed to deal with this individually is part of our stories and each very different. I for one sought the solace and escape in activity and the outdoors. As is my thing, I set myself some challenges to achieve along the way.
Getting through the challenges I had set became an obsession for me, something that my 'A type' personality loves to do. Achieving these goals really drove me hard. Goals like doing every rock scramble on the Northern Beaches. Discovering new trails and seeing how far I could push my running. The challenge of running every trail along West Head Road in Ku-ring-ai National Park during August was amazing, but also telling on the body. All was going really well and a beautiful winters day, as my partner Kerry and I were completing the last of the trails from Resolute Picnic area down to the beach and back via West Head. Climbing the stairs towards the top, I felt my left hamstring just go 'bang', and with a serious amount of pain I managed to hobble to the top. Stopping there to take a breath and asses what I was dealing with. I felt at the time that it was just something that I could stretch it out and jog the last km or so back to the car.
Setting out on that last stretch of trail late into the afternoon, it was starting to rain by this time and whilst I was in pain, my inner voice saying 'I have got this, I will get there'. Not more than a 100m or so I was reduced to a hobble with Kerry supporting me. I had to stop every 10-20 meters to take a breath and actually lie down. Using a stick as a crutch on one side and Kerry on the other we worked our way towards the car. Getting increasingly distressed with racing heart-rate, dizziness and shortness of breath, I collapsed on the side of the track and made the decision to call Emergency Services to get me out. It was a tough call ( from ME) but the right one. I was in no condition to keep going and my health was in danger.
Using the Emergency Plus App on my mobile we connected with help and not more than 30-40mins later had 2 Paramedics arrive on scene to assess me, make sure I was stable and arrange to get me carried out. Backup came in the form of 2 Fire Crews and more Rescue services. As it turned out there were no less than 5 Rescue vehicles, 2 Fire Engines and an Ambulance that turned out to assist me. The Fire Crews and Rescue people carried me out on a stretcher in relay formation. This last 300-400 meters through the bush in fading evening light and rain was tricky but they negotiated it with good humour, I felt extremely safe despite being hooked up to drips and ECG's! Off I went to Northern Beaches Hospital.
So, the outcome was that I had not only torn my hamstring, I had ripped it clean off the bone at the base of my pelvis. Further investigation with MRI confirmed this diagnosis and my next journey was surgery to have the offending muscle re-attached to the bone with no less than 3 titanium screws. YUK! and of course very painful. More so than anything I had ever been through previously - including childbirth!!
The resulting recovery has certainly been a 'finding my feet' once again. From 2-3 weeks totally non-weight bearing and on crutches. I found myself unable to even sit up. So NOTHING...no activity (which I didn't even contemplate at the time - I was in too much woe) My body suffered and wasted. I was too nauseous to keep much down let alone think about eating or even look at food. The next 4-6 weeks I slowly gained some strength as I was able to start walking gradually and finally get into the water to gingerly walk then swim.
Reflecting on the 'downtime'. It gave me the window I feel I needed to PAUSE properly and take a really hard look at lots of things. Business, personal life, where I was going and how I wanted to get there, and re-align some goals, dreams and PURPOSE.
What I found out is that sometimes we all loose sight of what is important and are too intent on being 'busy' for the sake of being busy. I for one was one of those people, chasing some goals not serving me, and often trying to be 'all things to everyone'. I lost sight of what was really important to me personally.
My new alignment is more in the realm of these 5 things:
Connection & relationships
Being present & In the moment
Staying true to self
Doing more activities I love and bring me JOY
I am now 4 months post surgery and slowly building my strength back. The pool and swimming have been my saviour and now I have started re-acquainting myself with the trails. A recent trip to Tasmania and exploring Freycinet & Wineglass Bay running most of the 12km trail and again around the 3 Capes.
I 'found my feet' again on the trails. Being able to change the tempo by jogging 2 of the 3 capes tracks, a total of 32km in 2 days I loved every moment of it - my feet have sought out their happy place in that environment. Otherwise I have decided not to seek out any more extreme challenges - both for my mental health and just because I don't have to. I will seek out specific goals that are meaningful to me.
I have the renewed purpose to bring nature and the outdoor adventure lifestyle to other women and will continue to do this. My purpose here will be to facilitate these adventures, train and prepare more women to take on the adventure they choose. I may not participate in all of these as is my choice but will make sure that each and every one are memorable and BU Adventure trademarked.
STAY TUNED FOR THE NEXT CHAPTER...