One Push at a Time

One push at a time was an effective way for me to focus on my goal of completing my first 8k wheelchair race. Inconceivable at first, yet possible if I focused on one push at a time. After my injury, I struggled to feel like I was still an “athlete”. I missed the feeling of accomplishing a tough physical feat. The 8k was a perfect venue for me to experience this feeling again.

When I made the commitment to take on this challenge, I had only a few weeks to train. I use a power chair most of the time, so I miss out on that exercise from pushing a manual chair. I’ve never been a big fan of running. It seemed like a boring thing to do. I loved playing sports, but despised having to run long distances for training purposes. My soccer coach in high school suggested I run cross-country, in the off season, to stay in shape. I laughed at his suggestion because I had no desire to play a sport that only involved running. I did run a 5K in 2013, but that was one of those fun runs. I worked out all the time and enjoyed pushing my physical limits, but running wasn’t my cup of tea.

Finding time to train was tough since I work a full time job, but staying disciplined was key. You can see my training regime in the pictures below. I used resistance bands and weights for strength and cross training. I used a sport chair with a Freewheel attachment for endurance strength.

Race day arrived and I was very nervous. I was lucky to have my friend run with me the whole race to give me support. There were hundreds of people at the starting line cheering me on as I got to start before the runners. Once I was on the course, I got into a groove. It was the same feeling as a runner’s high. My arms kept pumping along. I finished the race in 1 hour and 15 minutes, which was exactly a 15 minute mile pace. There were hundreds of people cheering as I crossed the finish line. I finally had that sense of accomplishing a great physical task. It was worth the long hours of training to have that experience. This will definitely not be the last race I compete in and I would encourage others to give racing a try. I am reminded of a saying, “You can’t get anywhere in life unless you push yourself”. I have now experienced in the most literal form and it all started with one push!

 

If you are considering returning to a sport, I encourage you to do that. If you are trying to set goals, here's a few tips that helped me.

  • Identify your goals and list them in small manageable tasks. Think in terms of "One Push” (one step) at a time.
  • Identify any obstacles and search for solutions.
  • Schedule your goals. My workout calendar enabled me to manage my time and meet my goal!

Josh

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