Goals of Kai Markus: Learn, recover and stay positive!
The first part of a rehabilitation process often makes you feel frustrated. This is because sometimes you don’t see a step forward or even worse, you see steps backwards. When you experience a moment like this you can use a psychological technique to change the way you feel. This technique is about thinking of successful experiences in your past. Do you remember when you started running and how difficult it was to get from maybe 5km to 25km? Do you remember how difficult it was to learn cycling as a child? In the beginning both of the activities look impossible and you sometimes loose motivation while trying. In the end you succeeded and accomplished your goals. Just break your goal down in little pieces like I did after my accident to achieve a bigger goal.
- For me it’s too bad I fractured both of my heel bones, but I’m glad my spine, legs and neck are still OK.
- My first goal was to be ready for the surgery as soon as possible. How to prepare for this? -Reduction of my swollen feet. This means no movement, cooling and lymphatic therapy. I had to stay focussed to reach this goal as soon as possible.
- The next goal was my recovery process. I read a lot about fractures and have talked with my doctors about the opportunities to speed up the recovery process. It was frustrating because the literature says about 30% of my cases will not recover at all and have long-term problems. Wow 30%! At this moment it’s very important to change your mind and think about the other 70%. Just try to stay positive! For me it sometimes helps to compare myself with other people that even had a worse accident. I met a 16-year-old boy in the hospital who lost one leg and two friends of him died in a car accident. Also his father was injured and paralyzed from his hips down. This young boy smiled the whole day and I asked him why? He said; ‘’ my two friends died in the accident and my father will never walk again. I only lost one leg so I still have one leg to focus on.’’ Wow! That’s positive thinking!
- What my doctor and other therapists also recommend is: try not to recover to fast. Take your time for the best result. Of course this is hard for people like us (runners), but we also know you can’t get prepared for a marathon from one day to the other.
- Have a structure for your recovery plan. Stay disciplined and fulfil your exercises to achieve your goals!
- What helps me a lot is the +1 challenge. Every day I set a new goal and this is one repetition more than yesterday. You can just begin simply with moving your toes. This works and after 32 days after my accident I can already move my toes for more than 500 times. Why 500? My therapist mentioned this in my recovery plan, so I follow his professional plans.
Summary for a faster recovery process:
- Take care for your diet plan and drink a lot.
- Follow a professional recovery plan and focus on this.
- Set yourself small goals to achieve the bigger goal.
- Inform others about your goals.
- Train hard to speed up the recovery plan (but not to fast).
- Don’t forget to take a rest.
Which parts of your body do you need to focus on after you’ve fractured your feet, ankles or legs?
- Stay focussed on the centre core of your body. If this part is strong and stable, walking will get easier after recovery.
- Stretch your legs as good as possible. The muscles and tendons are getting shorter if you don’t use them.
- You can’t walk - make use of every opportunity to do exercises without being a risk for yourself. For example: when I need to go out of bed and need to move somewhere by using my wheelchair, I just do it myself. This movement supports the muscles and reduces the shrinking process.
- You should realize your brain gets less efficient after a while. This is normal because the metabolism is also decreasing. A good brain challenging app for my mobile phone helps me to train my brain every day.
- Because of the lying position in bed it’s possible that your lungs get irritated or even get an infection. This can happen because some water can go into your lungs while drinking or the lungs can’t vent that easy in a lying position. For this reason I bought some balloons that I can blow up every day 5 times between 2-3 minutes. This helps to improve my lung volume for later running and increases the metabolism.
*These recommendations are bases on my own experiences. Please always check back with you doctor. What I have learned and strongly believe in: Listen honestly to your own body that will help you to recover faster and focus on the right things to the right time.
Visit a German University in Shanghai
In the original plan, Kai and Victor would have finished in Shanghai at the 4th of November 2017. A visit of the German school (Official name: Deutsche Schule Shanghai) was also part of the finish event. Since Kai is a man of his word - he travelled back and forth to give two speeches in Shanghai. The first one was a public speech for teachers, students and visitors in the school. The second speech was to a class which invited him there.
‘’It’s amazing to see how much interest they had in the project! Not only in my story, but also in the story of Victor who was traveling with the Bugavan. They asked many questions about the project, breaking down prejudices and how it was like to experience all the other countries. The majority of the students live in China, most of them are German or have a German heritage.