Updated on February 10, 2016
An Unexpected Change of Plans
I had plans, lots of good plans….I was finally back to feeling strong skiing and I was planning on not only racing, but on stepping up my game and rocking last weekend’s ‘home’ Biathlon World Cup races in Canmore, Alberta. I was also planning on racing at World Cup 8 in Maine this week, qualifying for World Championships, braiding my own hair and eating with more grace than the average 3 year old.
Unfortunately, all of those plans changed with one wrong step during a morning run in Canmore, last week. I wish I had a better story to tell – like that I had accidentally woken up a hibernating grizzly bear and was running for my life, but the truth is pretty mundane. My foot broke through the crust on a snow-packed trail and when I stumbled forward I instinctively stretched out my arms to catcht myself. I jogged home doing my best to convince myself that the throbbing pain in my left wrist was nothing a little ice and some IBU-profen couldn’t fix, but after 25 minutes my wrist had doubled in size. Not so pretty.
Even before the emergency room doctors saw me, I knew I had done something relatively serious and was already making plans, this time backup plans, each one more unrealistic than the next. Maybe I could get strong enough pain killers to race anyways? Maybe with a well-wrapped tensor bandage I would have an even more stable shooting position than normal? – surely that could help make up for lost ski time! Or maybe if I had to have a splint I could somehow modify the grip of my ski pole……
”Miss Tandy, could you please wait for the Dr in the casting room?”, a friendly nurse pointed me to the room full of tell-tale boxes of all the different colours of fibreglass and padding. My suspicions were confirmed when a Dr showed me my X-rays and explained that the scaphoid, a wrist bone at the base of the thumb, is a common fracture and unfortunately can take a long time to heal, 6-8 weeks.
I started thinking positively almost immediately…..by this I mean that when I stopped sniffling I used all of my persuasive powers to convince the Dr. that a cast that looked like a Canadian flag would contribute greatly to my healing process. I had to settle for purple, my favourite colour, which was understandable considering that other patients were in the waiting room.
I’d be lying if I claimed to see the positive side right away. It felt crappy. My arm hurt, my season was over and my federal funding for the upcoming season was now uncertain. Luckily for me, I didn’t really have time to pout – the action packed whirlwind of the World Cup was ramping up and I was determined to still be part of it.
Before I knew it I had a VIP pass, my own parking pass (I am told that a clever business woman would have auctioned it off immediately) and a microphone in my hand. Each race day started by chatting with interesting people and answering all sorts of questions about biathlon (is it a real rifle? could it kill a squirrel?). My family had planned on watching me race, and still came to Canmore and it was such an beautiful and unusual experience for me to be cheering for me team mates alongside them. When I wasn’t yelling myself hoarse cheering for Team Canada I was hanging out in the broadcasting booth. Post race was my moment of glory….It took some serious coordination to manage the radio and microphone with only one hand, but I had a blast interviewing athletes in the finishing area over the PA system. Who knows, maybe a future in commentating would be right for me!
Now that the excitement of the races is over it is time for me to snap back to reality. I am enjoying a few busy days in Prince George (home sweet home!) before I head back to Germany to be with my young son. The biathlon side of my life is all about recovery now and securing the necessary sponsorship and support to able to train and compete for next season.