Friday, March 25, 2011

Season is over

It’s spring time so the season was coming to an end anyway, but I had still 2 races planned.
Unfortunately I won’t be able to race those last races, I will enjoy the spring sun instead, not that bad.

The reason I won’t be skiing is off course my legs.
My season was over the day I broke my ankle but with a lot of hard work and luck, I got a bonus. I trained hard in rehab with the goal to be able to race the last races of the season, so I still had a chance to get my point limit for the national team. My hard work in rehab paid off and 18 weeks after surgery I was back on ski’s. I got my new skiing-orthosis and got used to it, so 4 weeks later I was in Austria skiing better than before I broke my ankle.
I hadn’t had a chance to train giant slalom, so racing probably wasn’t that smart but I did it anyway. Because I felt the pressure to proof myself and get the points I desperately wanted.
Well I crashed and hurt myself which mostly happened because of lack of GS training.

So how is my left leg doing now? Well not that bad but not good enough to ski at this moment. It’s time to make the smarter decisions see it as it is, a lost season and start training for next season, so I will start out strong.
There is no injury found in my left leg but it's still swollen. It was swollen pretty bad before and that compressed my nerve, so the foot lifter muscles in my leg are weak at the moment, and I have kind of a drop foot while walking. This probably will be all right once the swelling is gone. I’m doing everything I can to make the swelling go down in both legs, the right leg still is slightly swollen but that’s normal 6 months after surgery.

taking care of my legs
my freezer filled with cold packs

Other then the fact that I have a bit of a drop foot and that it’s swollen my leg doesn’t bother me at all. It doesn’t hurt and I can do pretty much everything with it. Last weekend I started thinking that I probably would be able to ski, well I was wrong. I tried on Tuesday did one run but had no control. My physio wasn’t too happy with this at first, but then she said well now you know for sure you can’t ski at this moment. And that’s true, that made it easier to let go of my hopes and dreams for this season. So season is over and rehab is on! And I got pretty good at rehab so I will come back stronger once again. I’m already doing a lot of training in the gym so everything is going in the right direction.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

And this is what happened after I crashed.

In my previous blog I wrote that I crashed in the GS, but skipped the part about what happened after my crash. I wasn’t ready I guess… So here it comes.
I knew I wasn’t going to make the gate but tried everything I could, before I knew it my left ski made a strange move and I crashed. I was down on the ground completely focused on my right leg (that’s the disabled and recently broken one) but it was fine. My left leg wasn’t hurting either but it felt strange, and after the incident where I walked and skied on a broken ankle for 2 weeks, I just didn’t trust it. The guys from the rescue and medical service came to me and removed my boot, that didn’t hurt at all, I was very pleased with that because removing my boot did hurt badly on my broken ankle. They pressed on various points on my ankle, all negative, meaning didn’t hurt. But there was a big swelling in the ankle.
So we didn’t take any risks and I was put in the sled, which I hated, I thought I could just as easy go down on the back of the ski-doo.

Being in the sled was a total new experience, luckily I have never been in one before, they strep you in very tight. The ski down was a bit scary and uncomfortable, they stopped every 3 turns to ask if I was ok, but I just wanted to go down asap.
My dad insisted on going to the hospital for X-rays and so we did. It was a very modern and efficient hospital on the mountain. When my dad was filling out the paper work I was already wheeled off to take the X-rays. They were immediately checked by a doctor, I could see him through the window. He came to me told me the good news about my ankle not being broken, examined the ankle and said it would be fine. Still no pain just swelling. So I was cleared on walking. Walking was fine meaning it didn’t hurt but since there was a lot of swelling I had problems with my co√∂rdination and that was hard because my left leg is the one that needs to do it all. The slalom was canceled but I wouldn’t have started anyway, because of my ankle.

Next morning when I removed the pressure dressing I noticed a hematoma (bleeding) medial on my ankle and there were some bruises on my calf. I redid the pressure dressing and we went in the car home, a 9 hour drive (1050km)… Well that made matters worse, after a few hours my foot started to go numb, my calf was swollen so much that it felt like it would explode. When I was home I did all I know to get the swelling go down, icing, keeping the leg high, pressure dressing. Also the hematoma was a lot bigger and there where new ones on my calf up to my knee and on the lateral side of the ankle. On Monday the lateral part of the calf was numb. And I started to worry but since I still didn't had any pain I decided to see how it would go. And that was good the swelling went down a bit on Tuesday and the numbness was gone. I went to see my physio (also the team physio) on Tuesday, well she wasn’t too happy with the looks of it. But since she couldn’t find anything wrong with my ankle, couldn’t find the source of the bleed, we decided to check again on Thursday (today) to see if I could go to La Molina Friday for the training camp.  So I went back today swelling has gone down (calf is normal again, ankle still is swollen but not as bad anymore) and the hematomas are starting to resolve. All test where still negative so the ankle itself looks fine. She asked another physio of the Dutch ski federation to check it out and help decide what to do. All though all the test where fine and I can do everything with my leg, the decision was made that I wouldn’t go to La Molina.
Mostly because this is my good leg and we can’t take any risks with it and they don’t know what caused the bleed yet. It could be a structure that’s deep inside the leg which gives problems later on. We will see… For now it’s rest. Off course this is a big disappointment to me but I know it’s best to be careful right now. It will be ok once again, after all my broken ankle rehab turned out to be a smooth and fast one.

wednesday morning doesn't look good...

Sunday, March 6, 2011

st Lambrecht

I am back at home after my first race weekend in st Lambrecht Austria, it was an amazing trip. We arrived Wednesday night after a smooth trip, I went with my dad (coach), brother and sister. Thursday I skied on my slalom ski’s, I needed some runs to get used to my orthosis but I ended up skiing way better than before! I’m starting to put more pressure on my leg so next step will be the gas spring. In the afternoon I trained slalom with the Canadian para-skiteam, they even timed me! I was really happy with this opportunity to train slalom, very nice of them to give me this opportunity. I made a video of 3 of my runs.

this pic is kind of strange, there are 2 of me ;)

Friday was the day of the super combined, I’m not racing speed events (yet) so it was a training day for me. I trained on my GS ski’s and I found my speed, I think this was my best skiing since my leg impairment. I even made some jumps. The orthosis worked great and my dad was proud. Before I was born my dad was a ski racer and Dutch national coach.
It was a beautiful day sunny and quite hot but the slope was amazing, hard and a bit icy, great. All though the conditions where great the super combined was canceled due to safety issues, problems with the nets.

With my brother and sister

The team captains meeting was intense, most coaches wanted the super combined to be rescheduled since they came especially for this event. The organization said to consider the request to reschedule on Sunday. So next event giant slalom (GS), 150 competitors and a very strong field with even world champions racing. I got bib 19, first group is the visually impaired (VI) girls 10 for this race next group was mine bib 11-20 standing girls, bib 21-33 where the sitting girls. And the rest where all guys, VI, Standing and sitting.
I prepped my ski’s and went to bed early.

Saturday I was excited to race but not too nervous, felt pretty good. During inspection I noticed some pretty sharp turns, I memorized them and knew where they where and what to do. But still… I started first few turns in tuck, they where smooth and I skied them good and fast. I went over a hump into a steep part, I knew that’s where the very sharp turn is did my best but was too late for the next two gates. My line was completely wrong, tried to do all I could to make the third gate, the sharp one and I crashed… That was it I was down, ski’s and poles were gone. So I got a DNF (did not finish) in my first race back, hate it! I know it’s all part of the game, it happens and will happen again, but had it to be my first race?
I was frustrated and even cried, yes I’m weak, just human. I wanted to get my point limit and I knew it was possible, that’s what made this so frustrating. And in the back of my head I knew they would probably cancel the slalom race because of the super combined.
The slalom indeed was canceled and we went home this morning.
Even though I feel a bit down because of the DNF and canceled slalom this was a great experience and I had a good time over there. It was nice to meet some of the other racers, everybody is so nice! Love it. There are still two race weekends coming up, although the German races are missing FIS codex. The last opportunity will be the races in st Moritz, I really want to go but don’t know if my dad is able to go with me, or if I have to arrange for someone else.
But first la Molina training camp, I leave on Friday.