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Lauren Parker - training hard in preparation for a World-triathlon Series event in Japan


As the Easter break comes to a close I wanted to provide an update on what I've been up to recently and how I've been going.

Following a fantastic start to the season with two big wins in my first two races, I was back to lying in a hospital bed with a planned spinal surgery to remove all of the hardware, rods and screws, supporting my spine. I'd been getting severe back pain for about 12 weeks and the doctors didn't know why, so my surgeon thought maybe the hardware in my back was causing the back pain as sometimes the body can reject the hardware. So I had the surgery about six weeks ago and I think that it was somewhat a success. It's taken about 60% of the pain but I still have some pain. I'm hoping it settles down as the weeks go on.

The surgery set me back a fair bit physically having to rest initially for over a week, before getting back to a small amount of movement, and gradually progressing to be able to return to swimming and then full training.

Mentally its hard also, and unfortunately, I'm still continuing to experience a high level of neuropathic (nerve) pain through-out my body from my chest down to my feet and it never stops. This isn't the same as the back pain and at the moment there is no cure. This definitely leads to having some tough days but the return to training has been good and I'm actually now knocking out some of my best training sessions.

I spent a week training on the Gold Coast before Easter as my head coach is from there. My coach was able to see where I was at in training and he was really pleased and was surprised at how quickly I got back into training post surgery.

While I was on the Gold Coast, Triathlon Australia had an awards night that I was invited to. I was really happy to win the Emerging Athlete Award.

I was keen to use the Easter period to get some good hours in on the hand-cycle and in the racing chair. On Good Friday I trained at the Fearnley Dawes Athletics Track, along with Kurt Fearnley, and was happy with the efforts I was able to achieve.

Then Saturday and Sunday I had two longer rides in the hand-cycle, again with Kurt, plus other key members from my support team. I definitely made Kurt hurt in the session! I'm pleased to report these were two of my best ever training sessions and that has given me a lot of confidence as I head into the next few weeks of training leading up to my next race.

This race will be in Yokohama, Japan on Saturday 18 May, and will be a World Para-triathlon Series event. At the same race last year I came second behind a Japanese competitor. I'm definitely looking to go one better when I return this year.

I'm definitely getting stronger thanks to the help of QBE providing me with the best gym equipment that I can use at home for my rehab and strength sessions to help with day to day life as well as my sport.

I am also excited to be featured in the May issue of Australian Women's Health Magazine. I had the opportunity of giving a brief paragraph about my story and what it took to overcome my accident and have a Never-Give-Up attitude. I'm grateful that I can have a significant impact on other people's lives and help as many people as I can who are struggling with things in their own lives.

I want to say a massive thank you once again for your support and I hope you've all had a great Easter break.

Lauren