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American professional triathlete Mary Beth Ellis was injured in a bike accident on Sept. 9 in Cozumel. Despite severe injuries and the resulting surgery, Ellis is working toward a goal of making it to the start line at the 2013 Ironman World Championship start line. She will be providing updates on her progress exclusively to Triathlete.com.
“Hurry slowly” is a motto my coach Brett Sutton applies to everything in triathlon and life. My recovery has been like that—a process where I am slowly but steadily improving each day with my physical therapy. Like any athlete, being patient is not my strongest attribute. But this accident and surgery have forced me to slow down and take things day by day.
I have been riding the trainer on my race-ready Cervélo P5 this week and am even able to ride in the aerobars more evenly and comfortably. So while I have only been riding on the trainer, I am very optimistic that things are moving in the right direction.
The run has also been on the steady upswing. After the first week of recovery from surgery, I ventured outside and have been able to run pain-free. I am confident that the run should not be a problem for my shoulder as long as I can stay upright and not trip over my own two feet.
While there is positive news on the bike and run training, I know the swim will be my biggest obstacle. And progress has been slow. At this time, I am still only kicking and one-arm swimming in the pool. But in my physical therapy, I am slowly working on my range of motion with endless arm circles. I have come a very long way in the last two weeks, but there is still a long way to go over the next 16 days. Ironman is always hard. This one will be my hardest yet.
But, I feel lucky. I’ve had the unique advantage of working through a research-based rehabilitation program. I’m fortunate to live near the Steadman Clinic. I want everyone to have this same opportunity… I want to help them help more athletes stay in the game. You can help make people more active by supporting the nation’s biggest and oldest non-profit for sports injury research, a cause I’ve become very passionate about over the past couple week. Anything helps, please check out my page here.