Q: When and how did you get injured?
A: I broke my foot Jan 31 at a morning track practice. I'm a very uncoordinated person, and I was on my first warm-up lap, running in the outside lane. I just ran off the edge of the track and rolled my foot off the curb. It was just enough severity and intensity to crack the fifth metatarsal, the bone on the outside of my foot.
Q: What has your training looked like during your healing process?
A: So much swimming! The first two weeks after the injury, I did nothing because any pressure, even the water pressure, caused pain. Once the pain subsided, I was in the pool every day. I had a soft cast - a boot, so I could swim. I had to swim with a pull buoy and couldn't push off the wall with that foot, but otherwise the swim workouts were normal.
I did five to six swim sessions a week for the first six weeks until I was off crutches and could get into the gym.
Then it was lots of heavy weights and low reps, really working on getting my upper body strong. There wasn’t a lot I could do with the lower body at that stage, still hobbling around in the boot.
Once x-rays confirmed the bone was healing well at eight weeks, I was allowed to do some easy bike sessions on the trainer. Getting back on the bike was a huge moment. I missed that most.
Over the next month, the bike sessions built from very easy, short spins to more intense and longer sessions.
Twelve weeks after the injury, I started easy running again.
Q: How did you stay mentally strong during the down time?
A: After the initial shock of the diagnosis and being told healing would take 12 weeks, I had a little cry. Then, I listened to the doctor about what I could do and worked with my coach on those things.
I used the time to focus on my swimming, achieving little goals and having little wins in the pool. I thought about what I could do. I also focused on my nutrition.
Q: What did you learn about yourself during the recovery from this injury?
A: That there is more to life than triathlon and sometimes we take ourselves way too seriously.
I learned that sometimes the universe will just take control and shift your focus if you've been too stubborn to do it yourself.
In the last three years, two separate injuries had put me out of triathlon for several months. Both times I rushed my comeback, just trying to do a little here and little there without fully listening to my body.
There were plenty of signals telling me to stop, rest, be kind and patient with myself. I had smacked that annoying little voice away for two years. Now, the universe took control.
Sometimes it's nice to stop and smell the roses. I was constantly rushing, being late, breaking commitments, never being present in a situation. This was something I couldn't rush. I had to sit, focus and be still and pay attention to what was happening around me.
I learned that I have an amazing, considerate and kind husband and great friends who want to help.
I learned that it is ok to ask for help. If you need help why not ask? People love to help and feel useful!
I learned that people are generally pretty nice. They will hold doors open for you, show interest and concern.
I learned to love what was the weakest discipline for me. I used to hate swimming, but I was forced to do a lot of it or do nothing at all.
Q: In what ways are you stronger now than before the injury?
A: I honestly think the break did me good. Just focusing on swimming and nutrition saw me drop weight and become stronger in areas of my body that I hadn't been before. So much time with the paddles and pull buoy!
I'm also calmer and more patient than I was before.
And it rekindled my desire be better than ever at triathlon. You don't realize what you love until it's gone. I'm really hungry to realize my maximum potential.
Q: When was your first ride/run post-injury, and how did it feel?
A: My first outdoor ride was a Liv ride in April. It was so slow, but it was with about 20 people who just got complete joy from riding and were so happy being on their bikes that I felt happy just being out and riding again.
My first run was nerve wracking! Way too much over scrutinization of how my foot was feeling and probably imagining issues that weren't even real!
Q: What are your goals for CapTex Triathlon?
A: Don't get injured!
My goal is for people to say, “Well Kate did better than I expected!”
I want to be smiling and running (not limping or walking) and high-fiving my husband on the last loop of the run.
Q: What advice would you offer to other athletes who may be dealing with injuries?
A: An injury can be the best experience for athletes. It’s an opportunity to listen to and understand your body, refocus your energy, pick up that book you have wanted to read for months.
Don't let the injury personify you, don't make the conversation all about you and your injury.
Put your focus into being the best partner, parent, friend or teammate you can. Before you know it, you're recovering and being a selfish triathlete again!
Only this time, you will be able to recognize when others are suffering and you can be the one to offer to help and pay it forward.