HCF Fit and Well : HCF Health Agenda - January 2017
66 Health Agenda | January 2017 BALANCE Health Agenda: How did you get into athletics? Isis Holt: I first started when I was in grade 6. It was an athletics program at school on Wednesday mornings; just a bit of fun. Then on the weekends I started racing. The school events led to state which led to nationals, which led to world championships. HA: When did you know that running was for you? IH: Probably the year before last, when I went to nationals and broke a world record. I just remember thinking, 'Wow, this is crazy. This is not what I expected to be doing at 13.' Doing something like that and achieving things like that made me want to keep doing it. HA: What was your single biggest challenge on the road to Rio? IH: Probably managing school and training, and everything in between. If I was sore from training or something didn't go right I'd just have to forget about it and go to school, do an assessment task or get a test result back, then go back to training and overcome what I couldn't do the previous day. Switching between being a student in high school and an elite athlete on the track was hard. HA: What does a regular day on your plate look like? IH: Breakfast is usually something like porridge -- if I'm training maybe something lighter. Lunch is standard, a ham and cheese roll. I also eat a lot of yoghurt and I love muesli bars. Dinner is a casserole or something similar: a good combination of vegetables and rice, and a portion of meat. HA: How o en do you train? IH: Before Rio I had something on almost every day of the week: Pilates one day, training the next; gym the next day, training the day a er that. Since I've been back I've had a few weeks off, which has been great. I've been doing normal things, catching up with friends, but I'm really looking for ward to getting back into the training. HA: How else do you stay in peak health? IH: The number one thing, especially leading up to the Games, was eating well. I needed to make sure my immune system was really strong, so lots of vitamin C! Especially being at school around lots of kids, I didn't want to pick up what they had. HA: Is it hard having a different life from your friends? IH: O en people aren't dealing with the same things as you, so it's good to find those you can relate to. I really enjoy talking to other athletes who are in my situation. The Australian team at the Rio Games was very supportive. HA: When did you find out you had cerebral palsy (CP)? IH: It was pretty late compared to most people -- I was eight or nine when I was diagnosed. I remember getting into the car a er school and mum explaining to me that I had cerebral palsy. I thought, 'That doesn't really make sense to me.' Whenever I saw CP advertised or in the media it was much more advanced. Later, as I researched it and found out more about it, I understood better how it affected me, and my perception changed. HA: How does it affect you? IH: It [affects] anything balance related for me, like running up and down a flight of stairs. It's about getting my legs to do what I'm asking them to do. My muscles also get really tight. In Rio when I crossed the line I fell flat on my face because my muscles were just finished. HA: What did the diagnosis mean in terms of your health? IH: Initially it was just physio, general stretching and regular Botox to decrease the spasticity of the muscle. I also had an AFO [ankle foot orthosis] brace fitted to my le leg -- it helped my foot not to flick in. Once I started athletics it was more physio and Pilates, which has been incredible. It strengthens my core so I pick myself up and run tall instead of sinking in the hips -- which helps me not fall over at the end of a race! HA: How does it affect your training? IH: Conditioning -- what I train, how and for how long. I have to monitor the load my muscles are under. With CP you fatigue quicker -- so another athlete might do four sets and I'd do two, skip one, then do the last one. It's not that I'm not as fit, I just tire quicker. Also, the weather: muscles tense in the cold so I try to avoid cold weather as much as possible, but living in Melbourne that's difficult! I wear compression socks whenever I compete, they really help. HA: Other than standing on that podium, what was the best moment of the Games for you? IH: The village environment was incredible. I've never experienced anything like it before. In normal society you don't get to see a lot of elite athletes, let alone ones with disabilities. It's great that people see and appreciate what disabled athletes can do, but it's also amazing to be surrounded by people similar to you. There was something really surreal about being in the village with people just like me. For more information and to donate to Cerebral Palsy Australia, visit cpaustralia.com.au FRIEDEMANN VOGEL / GETTY IMAGES ABOVE A jubilant Holt on the podium at Rio 2016 with her silver medal for the Women's 100m -- T35. She won two silvers and one bronze.
HCF Health Agenda - Issue 02
HCF Health Agenda - April 2017