Endurance sports demands toughness. As we saw with last week’s performances, we are fortunate to have girls on our Coeur team that are tough cookies. They exemplify what we stand for and we’re constantly amazed at their efforts. Even with this level of teammate steel, we have one lady on our team who - without question - sets the standard for Heart and Courage.
At first, she was a rival of mine, someone I had the utmost respect for as a competitor. Then she became a friend, as happens in this sport. We had a couple of great races together where I would come off the bike and try to ward her off on the run, with varying success. She beat me at Ironman Louisville and then I snuck in ahead of her at Kona in 2010. No matter the outcome, she always inspired and motivated people with her work ethic, her sportsmanship and her ever present smile.
Amy and I at IMLV.
When I co-founded a previous women’s specific triathlon brand, we brought her on as an Ambassador. In 2012, she was putting the polish on an amazing season and was ramping up for her annual trip to Kona. Then the unthinkable happened. On her last long ride before taper, she was hit on her bike by a gravel truck, by no fault of her own. Her injuries were catastrophic and some wondered if she would survive. It still gives me chills to think about the day I heard this news. It was moment to moment for a good while.
But, despite the prognoses, we soon learned exactly how strong this lady is. In a display of heart and courage that defies description, and sets the bar incredibly high, she began her true fight. Her fight back.
Without question, even before the first stitch was laid into any Coeur gear, we knew we had to have her on our Heart & Courage team.
It is with a deep sense of respect and admiration, that we share an update from Coeur’s most inspirational ambassador…Amy Gluck.
My recovery has been going fairly well. Thanks to all of my family and friends who have supported me. Things have been going much better for me now that I am out of the hospital. I was sent to a rehabilitation and recovery center. When I was still in the hospital, all kinds of weird things would happen to me as far as what I would hear about my treatment. Now, I am able to do things on my own and I am currently living in an apartment alone at my recovery center. I go to the recovery center every day from 9:00am-3:00pm which seems like a long day to me. I also work 2 days a week. This is supposed to help me get out of rehab, being able to maintain long days. If anyone knows long days, it's me! By the time I would get home from Ironman training, sometimes, a bowl of cereal is the only thing I had the energy to put together. But anyway, I guess they feel that this is the time I can get my body back on the "normal functional schedule." What is normal? A track workout before work in the morning? Probably not.
However, they do have me running finally. It's not good. In fact, it's ugly. They have me running on the treadmill and the way this winter has been, I don't think I would have been running outside much if I wasn't here. I keep saying that this is the best winter to be locked away with our Polar Vortex, I probably wouldn't go out to do much of anything anyway. I dislike winter a great deal as it is, but being 30 degrees below where we're usually at has me planning to leave this area and go someplace warm as soon as I can! So, my running (if you choose to call it that) started at 12:00 min/miles. I have been working on getting it faster, but I haven't run in so long that my lungs really need to get back into shape. My leg hurts as I run too. My femur was broken and they switched it to a metal rod that continues down to my tibia, where there are tons of screws holding the femur up, and my tibia together. My knee is gone. It hurts quite a bit to run on this metal vs. metal "bone" situation. I have been able to run for a 17:00 min. stretch of time. And my pace has gone up to a pace of 9:15 (periodically)! Wow! (I have a long way to go!) And that actually feels fast to me.
I have been able to swim as well. One night a week, there are lap swims at Brighton HS. I did 1,000 meters one week, the next week I did 1,500 and I'm still trying to get 2,000 in. The amount of time we have hasn't let me get past 1,700 meters yet though. I got some swim workouts from Shelia Toarmina and wow, they are tough! If I get through this set of workouts, I'm going to be one speedy swimmer. Right now, I'm just trying to get some meters in! My head is still a little "dizzy." I found out I have central and peripheral vestibular dysfunction which means, my inner ear is swollen creating some dizziness. I constantly feel like I'm in T1, after just having swam 2.4 miles while whipping my head back and forth to breathe. I usually feel like this, even while running on the treadmill - Yikes! Pretty soon, I get to have surgery on my eyes (April 30) Yeah! and my Dr. said that after I get that done, the vestibular dysfunction shouldn't affect me so bad anymore. Because right now, I have a broken system (my eyes) feeding information to another broken system (my inner ear). What happened to my eyes is that when the truck hit me, it rattled my head so bad, it knocked some of the muscles around my eyes loose.
I have a Dr. who is going to go in my eyes and tighten up one of my muscles, so my eyes are being held the same way again and they can work together to see things. The world won't be spinning quite as much in my mind anymore. Therefore, my dizziness should stop and I should lose the feeling that I am going to suddenly tip over at any minute. After getting out of a car, I'm usually a little motion sick too as a result of my eyes. I thought that this was just going to be the way things were for me now. I hope not!
I mentioned that I was working now too. I am currently working with the Events Department at Running Fit, doing whatever they need me to do. I do data entry, or write, and sometimes proofread things. It's fun, I really enjoy working there. The people I work with are the ones who are responsible for that! They are all so nice to me. They take me out to runs and out to eat periodically which is a lot of fun. I look forward to getting out of rehab to go to Running Fit. But, what I really look forward to is when I get together with friends and just hang out and have fun. There's not much I can do anymore, but I have a great time going out to eat, or seeing a movie. (Shopping actually makes me kind of dizzy because there is so much merchandise and so many people walking around!) I can't believe that I'm not even signed up for an Ironman next year, or any other races. I really need to start training again so I have a reason to race! I've done a few 5K's, but not without walking and giving my leg and lungs a short break. I'm hoping to be able to run a full 5K soon, then I can try raining for longer distances. Funny to think about being excited to last through a 5K when I'm usually shooting for a time PR.
I really feel supported by this group. I thank you all for being interested, calling, and texting and I look forward to training and racing with you all (hopefully) in the near future.