It’s been a little while since my last blog, mainly because after World’s I experienced a triathlete’s worst nightmare, injury! At first, it was only a niggle that wouldn’t go away. I could run, but not fast and swimming would make me feel slightly unbalanced. I’ve learnt from experience not to leave these injuries to self-heal. So I kept up with my regular weekly massage, saw my wonderful Osteopath who put my hip back into place and thought I might come right. However, as the weeks went by, I could barely run and walking was becoming an issue too. I upped the core workouts along with swimming, biking and heaps of stretching.

There was no racing for me during September or October, but in mid-November, we had our qualifier for 2018 World Champs. This I had to do, regardless of lack of run fitness. The day dawned, wet, windy and cold. What had happened to Spring? The water was warmer than the air temperature. I wish I could have had my UCAN heated! The two-lap swim went ok and despite nearly falling over my bike on the exit of transition (because my hands and feet were numb with the cold), I biked strongly into the headwind on both laps. On exiting out of the 2nd transition, I knew it was a case of going as fast as I could, for as long as I could and hope my leg and foot would hold out until I crossed the line. Three younger ladies came past me on the two-lap run, but determination saw me through. I crossed the line as the 8th overall female and 1st in my age group by 13 minutes. With this finish, I secured my World’s qualification for the Gold Coast later this year.

Afterwards, it was back to the massage table, the Osteopath and also a Physio to acupuncture my leg and foot. Two months on and I’m pleased to report that we are getting there. Last weekend I managed to race twice on consecutive days a loop of 5.5k. Not fast, but it was ok, and that’s a start.

We also recently had our club half ironman, Enduro and Aquabike champs. I love to volunteer and help out in general at this awesome event. This year we were blessed with fabulous weather and very hot temperatures. One of my roles was to assist with anything related to the run course. Checking in with each of the volunteers along the course and getting anything they needed during the day. My final job was to act as ‘tailend charlie’ and chaperone the last runner on the course. My runner was struggling, so we had a chat while they were walking. They really wanted to finish and make the ‘cut off’ time. So I looked at my watch to see how much time was left and quickly devised a plan of run/walk within their limits. Our spirits picked up, and when walking, we chatted about all sorts of things. While running, I kept quiet but acted as support along the way. I’m pleased to report they made it with 15 minutes to go before the ‘cut off’. More to the point, along the way we were able to overtake another runner – woohoo!!. The grit and determination ‘my’ runner found along the way truly inspiring and something I will remember for a long time. The blessing of this sport is that it is so inclusive of everyone who wants to take on a challenge, regardless of sporting background, age or ability.

Vicki runs a business in New Zealand specializing in Sports Podiatry and Biomechanics. She also is a qualified Sports Massage therapist treating athletes from recreational to elite level. When not working or training, she coaches in triathlon (Level 2 BTF coach) and is a Cycling New Zealand track coach and mentor.

Vicki Wade