David Smith: My off-set belly button and plans for after Jamaica

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Starting back training is never easy.

I sometimes feel I spend more time just planning a strategy to start back training than I do actually preparing for competitive sport. 

That first week back is a bit like you’re a rusted old car that has sat in a garage for years.

After six spinal operations my body is more like an old car than a high-performance race car. 

Before I started again I wanted to check in with a physio – just to have a closer look at what’s going on under the bonnet, especially after my fall. 

I know there must be so many secondary issues resulting from just moving about with the paralysis and the strain it puts on my body. 

While I always think there is a mountain of these forming, one that took me slightly by surprise was discovering I have developed scoliosis of the spine. 

I did wonder why my belly button was not in the centre of my body and why my ribs on the left side don’t match the right side anymore. 

As the physio looked me over I could sense he had an over-riding level of excitement.

He said: “I love a challenge, and this is a huge challenge.”

I am not sure if that is a good thing or not but it was great to have someone really into doing the work to get the most out of my body without judgement. 

In many ways I haven’t put the effort into the rehabilitation that I should have done after the 2018 surgery and this has led to more falls.

Any coach will tell you that cutting corners might get you short-term results but you will pay for it in the long term. 

This is a hard conversation I have had to have with myself around my spinal injury and how I balance training for sport and managing rehabilitation for a spinal injury. 

So we are going to create a plan for the remainder of my time in Jamaica. 

One that gives me the best quality of life but also one that will help me get back into top level sport and reduce risk of falls and the injuries I keep picking up. 

Like most athletes currently I am missing the rush of competing.

Putting my mind and body on the line to test it is what athletes live for. 

There is definitely no Tokyo in my vision but after seeing the Scotland rugby team beat England last week along with Laura Muir setting a British record I felt that rush of competition as am sure most athletes who have not competed for so long did.  

I just need to manage this rush of motivation and having this physio is important to keep me under control and giving me a strict program to follow. 

After leaving the physio with my plan it was time to get back on my bike. 

I was slightly worried on how my elbow would react but thankfully after 30km on fairly rough roads there was no swelling in the elbow – just the horrible feeling you get after that first session back. 

I managed a full week on the bike and by the end of the week my neck muscles were building some tolerable endurance. 

For those of you who cycle, you will know cycling can be tough on the neck, and this is magnified even more after six neck surgeries. 

So anytime I start cycling after time off the bike my neck pain is horrendous. 

The nice thing about cycling this week is that I am back in Negril which sits on the western tip of the island.

Roads here are quieter and feel safer than other parts of the island. 

It’s a more laid-back part and life generally moves at a much slower pace, so it has given me an ideal place to get the pedals turning again.

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