Inside the Roller Coaster World of an Elite Speed Skater
(As anyone regular reader of this blog knows, Canada’s Olympians are a pretty rare breed. Many of them are also very descriptive writers. One of those is speed skater Anastasia Bucsis, who allows us here to share the email she sent today to some supporters after having to pull out last week of the world sprint championships in Calgary at the last second because of a back injury. This gives you some insight into the roller coaster life these athletes sometimes lead.)
Here’s the email:
Sorry that this has taken me so long to respond, (and in a mass message) but I've just received so many positives notes/messages that I'd never get the time to respond to all of them!
Yes,... so this past weekend was definitely a game changer in my career. I am sure all of you have heard to some extent what I did... just slightly herniated my L4-L5 disk in my lower back (while putting on my skin suit- something I do at least twice a day, every day!) which then started to touch all of the nerves in my lower back...
I instantly started to go into spasms... got about twenty minutes of treatment done, tried to get on ice... skated one lap, and knew that something was dreadfully wrong. My legs were useless... my knees were buckling with pain and I couldn't bend over to save my life, (which, I've heard, is an important part of speed skating...).
So with that being said, without ever having a serious back problem, I was sidelined and forced to watch a World Championships in my own City, after being so incredibly excited and probably skating the best I ever have. I am never one to really elaborate on how well I feel on ice- but I'm not going to lie, I basically felt better than I ever have. Calm, confident, focused, excited... I was just being a kid and having fun.
I cried for 48 hours straight, but I was also humbled and inspired by the kindness of strangers and the goodness of humanity (does that sound kind of corny? It's true.) I was so touched by how many of my friends/teammates/competitors/coaches/international coaches/physios/parents/strangers...etc... came up to me with tears in THEIR eyes and expressed their well wishes. It was just such an incredibly emotional weekend... it left me drained of energy, but also incredibly inspired.
I've got 4 weeks until I am over in Europe again... trying to recover and then build up my fitness for a few more world cups and World Championships at the end of March. I am keeping positive and listening to my body- but patience is definitely a virtue in this situation... all I want to do is put on my skates and train. I have definitely learnt that the old saying, "you never know what you've got until it's gone" is 100000000% true. But I've also learnt to trust God and that everything happens for a reason... I've just got to keep positive and believe that this happened at this time in my life/career for bigger and better things to come.
Thanks for all of your kind words/prayers!
Hope to be back skating in no time... bigger and better :)
(The photo is of Bucsis racing in the 500 metres at the Vancouver Olympics. It was taken by the Star’s Richard Lautens, great photog and helluva guy)