Friday, August 13, 2010

Home, Back on USA soil. Life Is A Journey!

August 12th, 2010.
I'm back in Park City where I'm based until Sept 20th. Then San Diego for 7-10 days, then Kona Hawaii for the Ironman Championships..
Picked up by good friend John Drury from Salt Lake City Airport who actually brought crutches for me. I was flying back from Frankfurt Germany into Dallas on to Utah. Long Flight and very happy even though I still cannot walk, I was wheelchair during all flights which was such a blessing especially since flying increased the pressure, causing swelling. So Yes, the crutches have come in handy even though its 2 weeks  since Immenstadt  ITU World Long Course Championships.

Over my time in Europe I learnt many things about myself and was open to receive what ever came my way. Learning the cultures, language, visiting Museums, Cities with such history allowed me to see how very small I am in this world full of strangers.

Life Is A Journey,
Not so much to a destination, but a Transformation.
Looking back, My Richest times come right in the mist of our hardest.
Transformation is tough and we don't always end up where we think we will.
When we struggle to believe in Him, He will ALWAYS believe in US!
He fills our life with PURPOSE  and PASSION if we just let him.
The best part of the Journey is the God of the Universe sometimes allows us, to play a part in changing the World.  "What a RUSH".

I have many faces from this experience which bring such a story behind each one. But everyone of them were selfless, givers. Not thinking of self. 90% were not Christians, but all of them were placed in my path for a reason. Most happy but deep inside wanted more in life, from life. All of my new friends blessed me with their stories, time, presence and sometimes gifts. This is what makes life so awesome to be able to share time on the other side of the World with a stranger who comes into your life and makes a difference. The biggest blessing was to see this gift through a different pair of eyes. Seeing within a person, as most of the time we did not speak the same language, yet some how we could communicate through Universal Language (me talking with my hands). Again blessing you can only see if you are at peace with yourself inside.

With my injury today, I have now seen Dr Massimo Testa MD. Sports and Exercise Medicine in Utah.
He was Italian and just came back from the Tour the France.
Buon giorno, I greeted Massimo.
He examine my foot and could not believe I have being walking around with a rupture Plantar Fasa tendon for the past 2 weeks. This is unheard of as people can't walk period with this injury.
Then he told me about 2 Australians. Saying You Australians are not human. "CRAZY"

Story 1:
I was working with Cadel Evans and you know he broke his elbow? Yes, I said, well when he had the accident they radio me up to treat him while he was riding. I look over it and Cadel was in pain but had movement. I gave him a tablet for pain and he finished the day after the crash on stage 11 and this day put him in the yellow jersey. I examined him and started to press around the elbow later and he started to jump when I press on certain points of the elbow, Och that is hurting, his movement was little.
I told him that he had broken his elbow. You must go to hospital.
Cadel said, we cannot tell anyone, I'm in Yellow, I must Go on. So that evening we went undercover to an arranged physician away from the press and everybody else. We had it examine and it was bad. Again Cadel said we must not tell anyone, OK. We will see how you GO.
He rode on the rest day and could not pull on the handle bars because of the pain. Climbing is all about pulling on the handle bars and the next few days were the naming of the Tour De France, "The ALPS".
 Stage 13, riding the Alps is the same day I saw Cadel in Yellow, I was on the second of 4 huge mountain climbs this day. Cadel was right in the second pack with all the big names. Just perfect were everybody expect him to be, "UNBELIEVABLE " now I know his elbow was broken.
The end of the day Cadel had lost the yellow jersey and I only found out through late night news. Unaware why he lost it thinking he got beat on the last couple of miles.
That evening Cadel and I spoke and I told him he must quit and fix this elbow now that he has lost the Yellow Jersey.
 Massimo, I still have the World Champion Jersey and this is the Tour De France!
You have to have the World Champion Jersey in the Tour De France.
Cadel met with the TEAM that evening and announce he had broken his elbow to the Team and he would still Go on. The Team was unaware as well everybody else too, because Cadel didn't let pain stop him.

Story 2:
Massimo was working with Chris Leito and Macca.
Macca forgot his shoes and Massimo told Macca that he would not be able to do the test on the treadmill without shoes.
Macca's response was I don't need shoes mate and did the test with 5:10 minute miles "BAREFOOT".

Story 3:
Massimo said that you Australians, he has never seen such toughness. With me walking around Europe without any treatment, ice, crutches, staying in bed, leg above heart with 3-5 pillows under it.
Ironman Hawaii.
The Pain was unbearable many times walking 3 kms  (2miles) was not possible anymore. So Yes the foot hurt and prevented me doing many things. The pain would be so intense I would fine myself wiping a tear from my eye. This is not possible. God give me strength, let me able to walk the last 500 yards to the Hotel and not call for a taxi. No one would understand me catching a cab 500 yards. Yet now knowing people can't walk period with a rupture tendon. I don't feel weak or beat myself up.
I now know I'm as fit as people get to the point ordinary people feel pain where we live it, as athletes.
Example, When I broke my back back on June 12th 2001, I was hit by a passing RV Van on switch backs climbing Gore Pass just outside Steamboat Springs, CO.
After everything I was back on my bike riding back into Steamboat Springs. I made it another 20-30 miles before the bandages were dipping with blood, plus the FEAR set in and we call for a ride.
Each day for the next 5-6 days I try to push my body through the pain, again my body would not listen which made me beat myself up inside my head. Every thought would enter your head. Your a loser, your a quitter, you will never make it, you will never make something of your life. Your stupid, your not good enough, you'll always be a nobody, You just need an excuse.
Then the body just would not move. Perfect example would be to watch Ali the movie. In his fight against Joe Fraser, Ali would not be able to move his body the way his mind was telling it. His mind would say here comes the hook now, step back, move,  the next sene would be Ali being hit by a hook from Fraser and Ali going down.
Well this is the exact feeling and you get frustrated with yourself, pushing your body harder being angry with yourself. So then apart from mainly sleeping the next 2 weeks after my accident, I decided to do a local road race expecting in my condition to WIN. My first bike race ever and I placed 8th.
 I was mad with myself again my body felt sluggish racing. I went back to training the following week and slept more than one is suppose too. So made a decision that I must run this race in Steamboat Springs on the 4th of July. It was a 400 meter race up the main street after the 4th of July parade. Thousands of locals lined the street and watch the parade. The race was about to begin. I was visualizing me winning as we had a few track stars against me. But I was ready and determine as this was much more than a race for me. This was to bring me the confidence I desperately needed towards my Lake Placid Ironman in 5 weeks placing 12th last year, sponsors with Timex, Profile design, Brooks and Ripwear clothing signing me on contracts this was my year. I could not fail,  I was expect a TOP 5 finish the best ever.
The athletes stood along the starting line, the main attraction was about to start, looking up people lined both sides of the street the entire length screaming. I was the nobody, the unknown.
Only few knew of me from the past 4 yrs coming for the summer to train. That's all I did was train, so I never had time to meet others, not to be selfish, I was just Focus and knew what I wanted and applied everything I had to become the BEST. I see clearly now it was Christ that gave me the strength to punish my body the way I did back then. To give me the drive to train and the strength to push on day in & out.

The gun goes off, I started out 75% pace and by 40 meters I was third, now around 90%, I started to hit it hard around 60 meters with only one athlete in front, within a few seconds I was all alone by myself out in front, I was giving it every ounce of strength I had now 110%. I was 10 yards from the finish then a sharp PAIN started under the center of my chest and went straight down both legs and instantly my legs became heavy concert blocks and I could not lift as I fell like a cribble. I know it was more of the embarrassment that made me not fall down. I got within 2 meters and walked across the line at this time another athlete hits the line before me. The race was OVER and I was not sure if I was going to collapse as I was dizzy and looking for my good friend Ian Cox to grab his shoulder for support. We found one another and Ian helped me over in front of the courthouse lawn where I would laid down and then had trouble breathing. The EMS came and I was taken to hospital where Dr Sisk came out after the MRI'S explaining I had a broken back his words, YOU BROKE YOUR BACK!

I was then taken by mentor Tim Parchinski and we spend a few days riding in Glenwood Springs in the national Parks to erase the Fears being back on the bike. Then over to Boulder to train with another Team member of Timex Tim Lurchinski, Yes they both have the same names, pretty cool.
While in Boulder I did what I could with the injuries I had. It was obvious I was hurt when it came to the running, but swimming and biking I was still beating Tim (Timex).

Lake Placid Ironman:
I swam a 53 minute 2:3 mile swim, the first 50 miles of the bike I was doing pretty well up the front. I could not believe it. By mile 45 I started with the back pain. The next 67 miles of biking tested me mentally and physically. I did not put my running shoes in T2 because if I got of the bike I knew I would run. Not having shoes prevented me doing anything crazy. I was in no shape to run, I barely made it to the middle of the Lake Placid field downtown and hopped into a hot tub. I watch from there the bikers come into T2, then going out on the run. Again I saw how far up the front I was even though the entire time while riding I was beating myself up mentally, its emotional to understand why I do this.

But I did race the Ironman Lake Placid Race in 2001 and it was the only Ironman of 10 I've never finished. I have only not finished 3 races in my career.
The others I did not finish was a 70:3 on the Gold Coast, I had "mono".
The other was Honu 70:3 Hawaii I was not ready for my comeback from my back.

Point of this story is too show how fit an athlete gets to where what pain for normal people is,
it's a daily living for most athletes.
Are you sure you want to be a Professional athlete?
Think of it for the one that don't get paid the millions of $.

From an early age champions master the art of turning stumbling blocks into stepping stones.
"No excuses, just results" becomes their philosophy.
I trained on cold wet days in the rain, In fact I'm allergic to the cold I believe, if you have desire,
 you won't let poor facilities, poor equipment, or anything keep you from reaching your GOALS.
Determination is everything.    It's alot of hard work with dedication.
I call it the three D"s, Desire, Determination with Dedication without the three D's, you will never achieve any task Great.
All of us like to practice the skills we do well. But winners discipline themselves to work on their weaknesses until they become their strengths.


I am now in Park City. I am also seeing my attitude has changed towards others. This trip has changed my life for the better.  I'm BACK.
 I was in the worst bankruptcy in the world = the person who has lost his enthusiasm for life.
Now 2 years later, I feel I'm Dreaming again. I encourage you all to DREAM & Travel.
Dream Big, believe in your Dreams and apply the three D's principle.


1 comment:

Alicia said...

Hey Rip, Sorry to hear about your injury mate--but glad you are learning from everything that comes your way on this journey.

Dirk & I are looking forward to hanging out with you in Kona soon!