By Rebecca Forkey
No Limits Collaborative Triathlete
After living the first 24 years of my life as an independent and able bodied female I was in for a rude awakening when I awoke to find out I had acquired a C4-7 traumatic Spinal Cord Injury from a rollover motor vehicle accident caused by an impaired driver. While I'm still the same person today that I have always been, being forced to live from a seated position while relearning a new way of life has been difficult to say the least. So, while I have the same values, same love of life and the same natural drive and determination to succeed, it became difficult to find ways to quench my natural urge to compete.
I'd always been involved in sports, from team sports like swimming and soccer to solo activities like horseback riding, running or competitive bodybuilding. However, it wasn't until nearly three years post injury as a quadriplegic that I would return to being on a team competing again. Through No Limits Collaborative I learned about and was invited to compete in my first triathlon. No Limits Collaborative put together relay teams of both disabled and non disabled athletes to compete in the Shaddow Cliffs Sprint Triathlon. As an athlete the idea of being able to hand cycle or swim and to compete with others all while being viewed simply for being an athlete and my accomplishments was a dream come true.
I found that triathlons are a great way to stay active and get good cardio all while being outdoors surrounded by uplifting energy regardless of your level or ability. Triathlons are something I will continue to participate in and would recommend to any fellow roller or non roller alike. Not only because of how great I felt afterwards, but also because for those few hours my chair or lack of voluntary muscle movement in certain areas wasn't what people first saw me for - I was an athlete again, and that feeling… Priceless! So get out there and get those natural endorphins flowing all while breaking the negative connotations others may have of us. You don't have to stand up...in order to stand out!