What an amazing two and a half weeks I had in Italy.  Although I must say that it all didn’t go according to plan, but what ever does?!   I have learnt that Charles R Swindoll author of  The Grace Awakening was so right when he said “We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.”

The first couple of days in Italy were brilliant, met some wonderful people and we had some great rides.  I was supposed to get on a plane a few days after arriving to head back to Germany to represent the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) at the first International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Athletes Forum.  I had been asked to present to the forum on communication and how it is done within the APC and I was really excited about meeting people from all around the world.  But as I said not everything in life goes according to plan.  The night before my flight my back started getting sore and I just thought it was stiff from a really good ride.  But on the Friday morning after about 1 1/2 hours sleep as I tried to get out of bed my back spasmed and I tell you I have never felt pain like it.  It was so bad the sweat started and it was like I had been put under a shower…I was soaked and then I almost passed out.  It took a good 30 minutes before I could actually try and stand up and then the pain hit again!

I was very lucky that I was at the AIS European Training Centre (ETC) and I was able to contact the Physio and Doctor who immediately came to my rescue.  But unfortunately or should I say fortunately the Doctor told me that in no uncertain terms was I flying.  It’s probably a good thing that decision was taken out of my hands because I would have been on that plane if I had to crawl!  In hindsight the best thing for me was to be where I had care for the weekend and after a tough weekend of massage, water exercise and a few good pain killers I was back on my trike on the Monday.  We figure it was from all the sitting in the car combined with some tough training that threw my back into spasm.

So the following two weeks were fantastic with the Physio continuing to treat me but also coming up with a special stretching regime and pilates program to follow and the training was the best I have done all year.

I was also honoured to meet a young man by the name of Monty who was also training at the ETC.  He is a middle distance runner, well in actual fact a world record holder in the 400, 800 and 1500 and dabbles in the 5km as well, in the World Transplant Games.  He was on his way to compete in those games in Spain, so thought he would acclimatise himself at the ETC.  Well he is one of the funniest and genuine guys I have ever met and he epitomises Mr. Swindoll’s quote about the 90% of how you react to the 10%.  I won’t go into detail but to say that Monty has had a number of tough times in his life is an understatement, but he still wakes up every morning with a smile on his face ready to take on the world!  We certainly did a lot of laughing during the days we were at the ETC!  And the best thing is that today he won the 5km road race at the World Transplant Games…and he says he is a track runner!!!  I can’t wait to see what he accomplishes at the end of this week with his other runs! Best of luck Monty!

Monty really did hit home for me that it is okay to be upset and pissed off at hardships that we may face, but we have to move on and live life to the fullest!  I guess if you are facing your immortality then you learn that life is too short to whinge and complain.  Monty really taught me that if you love life, don’t waste time being unhappy, time is too short and besides time is what life is made up of.