As I will be celebrating my 88th Birthday shortly, the window of opportunity for any chance of achieving another Record is getting smaller, reduced even further having had to cope with a stress fracture in my left foot which I incurred earlier this year. With rest being the best course of treatment the inactivity was quite soul destroying throughout the recovery period. Uppermost in my thoughts was losing the level of fitness that I had fine tuned over the years, although I did endeavour to use my exercise bike regularly, but this did not compare with the exhilaration and benefits of some early morning training. Walking had to be reduced to the absolute minimum. Other treatment was weekly sessions with my physiotherapist who always understood my concerns and fitness level, who listened with patience while allaying my fears with his positiveness for my complete recovery.

With the Pan Pacific Masters Games due in early November it was obviously going to be ‘touch and go’ if I was to compete, but I did register in four events, the 400, 800, 1500 and 5000m, arranging accommodation trusting that I could make it. When I could finally attempt to train, with the help of my physiotherapist I had to find a surface that was not going to stress the foot and we decided that the local oval with its compacted sand surface would be ideal. This was with less than a month before the Games commenced but it soon became apparent that I still had the passion and my training times were encouraging.

However when arriving at the Games I felt anxious as I wanted to do well again but suddenly lacked quite a bit of confidence. The first event was the 5,000m with the weather uncomfortably hot, and one lap to go and concern over my foot with the level of the heat, I decided not to finish. Deflated, I considered the remaining events but surprised myself by recovering quickly, not only physically but mentally and two hours later I competed in the 800m and broke the existing Australian Record. Need I say that I later enjoyed a celebratory glass of wine. The following day was a rest day but my spirits were high now and when competing in the next two events I again broke the existing Aust. Records, enjoying two more glasses of wine!!

The highlights of the Games are always meeting up with old friends and also making new ones. I find that my age and my achievements over a short period of time amaze people and many say that I am such an excellent ‘role model’ for the younger ones. This has always been my aim and I feel it is an obligation. In fact one younger race walker after congratulating me on my records said -‘I want to be you when I grow up’- to which I replied that she would have to get in line!! May I add that she is 47 years of age so still has a long way to go. While it is usually the younger women who aspire to continue to compete later in life, this time it was several young men who were very complimentary and a little ‘in awe’ of me, even giving me a hug and a kiss. So it is not surprising that is here where I am most happy and completely understood. We are all on the same page.

Home now still revelling in the records, looking forward to my next challenge which would seem to be the Masters Games Championships at Bankstown over Easter. Training and life now back to normal.

#photo #freedownload

© 2015 by Heather Lee . 


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