One push at a time was an effective way for me to focus on my goal of completing my first 8k wheelchair race. Inconceivable at first, yet possible if I focused on one push at a time. After my injury, I struggled to feel like I was still an “athlete”. I missed the feeling of accomplishing a tough physical feat. The 8k was a perfect venue for me to experience this feeling again.
When I made the commitment to take on this challenge, I had only a few weeks to train. I use a power chair most of the time, so I miss out on that exercise from pushing a manual chair. I’ve never been a big fan of running. It seemed like a boring thing to do. I loved playing sports, but despised having to run long distances for training purposes. My soccer coach in high school suggested I run cross-country, in the off season, to stay in shape. I laughed at his suggestion because I had no desire to play a sport that only involved running. I did run a 5K in 2013, but that was one of those fun runs. I worked out all the time and enjoyed pushing my physical limits, but running wasn’t my cup of tea.
Finding time to train was tough since I work a full time job, but staying disciplined was key. You can see my training regime in the pictures below. I used resistance bands and weights for strength and cross training. I used a sport chair with a Freewheel attachment for endurance strength.
Race day arrived and I was very nervous. I was lucky to have my friend run with me the whole race to give me support. There were hundreds of people at the starting line cheering me on as I got to start before the runners. Once I was on the course, I got into a groove. It was the same feeling as a runner’s high. My arms kept pumping along. I finished the race in 1 hour and 15 minutes, which was exactly a 15 minute mile pace. There were hundreds of people cheering as I crossed the finish line. I finally had that sense of accomplishing a great physical task. It was worth the long hours of training to have that experience. This will definitely not be the last race I compete in and I would encourage others to give racing a try. I am reminded of a saying, “You can’t get anywhere in life unless you push yourself”. I have now experienced in the most literal form and it all started with one push!
If you are considering returning to a sport, I encourage you to do that. If you are trying to set goals, here's a few tips that helped me.
- Identify your goals and list them in small manageable tasks. Think in terms of "One Push” (one step) at a time.
- Identify any obstacles and search for solutions.
- Schedule your goals. My workout calendar enabled me to manage my time and meet my goal!
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The opinions and experiences presented herein are for informational use only. Individual results may vary depending on your condition. Always consult with your health care professional. This individual has been compensated by Bard Medical for the time and effort in preparing this article for BARD’s further use and distribution. BMD/BMDA/1215/0109