Hello, it’s me.

January 2012: Physical in the water

I’ve been racing triathlons since 2008 when I was still finishing my Honours studies in Human Movement at The University of Tasmania. I hadn’t grown up swimming so my first novice triathlon was completed in breast stroke. My best leg was the bike because I used to race buses back home from college and work growing up in Singapore. My running fitness really only picked up when a great group of runners in Launceston took me under their wings and helped me prepare for my marathon in Gold Coast in 2004.

I credit my attitude and tenacity in training to my late coach who helped hone my skills and mould my character when I represented my secondary school at tennis. He practiced tough love and he made sure everyone on the team understood the great life virtues: persistence, integrity and teamwork. My dedication to training and to a sporting life is part tribute to this incredible coach we knew as Mr. Quah Siew Kow. Little did I expect his coaching to resurface in my darkest period in my life.

I was racing in triathlons in Singapore for a couple of years with great success, having achieved personal bests and podium places, until I was literally taken of the scene by a lorry while cycling home on the night of 19th May 2011.

Kirsten in ICU
In a coma, Kirsten’s life was supported by a ventilator, feeding tubes and monitors.

Two weeks in ICU on life support helped me progress to the general ward for a further 10 weeks. After 20 surgeries, 10 units of blood, countless injections of morphine and other painkillers, 10 kg of weightloss and a grim prognosis of never being able to run again, I went home to swap my racing bike for a more appropriate wheelchair and continued seven more months intensive rehabilitation.

When I was finally given weight bearing and walking privileges in February 2012, I knew I had to turn that horrendous chapter into one of opportunity. I signed up for Sundown Marathon held in May that year. Yes, just three months later.

I completed the marathon walking for 10.5 hours. Since then, I have defied doctors’ prognoses (and orders) about never being able to run again. I completed more triathlons, some sprint, some standard distances, a couple of half ironman distances, and even one full ironman distance races.

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The last 7 years has taught me more than I could ever hope in my ability to not only cope with adversity but flourish in the face of hardship. I had lost a lot but I have gained a hundred fold. It is now time to honour my blessings.

This website is one of my chosen ways to honour my life, my blessings and all my loved ones and supporters. I hope that anyone that visits will benefit from the nuggets of wisdom, maybe a quirky joke or two, and most importantly share this website to others.

I have also embarked on a coaching career to share my training experience with others. For a small fee, anyone can access my coaching support through TrainingPeaks and dedicated members only Facebook groups.

It is 2018 and it is a marvellous time to be alive! I welcome you to the various blog posts as I write them, and I hope you’d get in touch if you are looking for coaching support. Of course, I wouldn’t mind notes of well wishes should you feel compelled to write them!

I wish you all the very best!

That's true grit!

Kirsten

 

Written by kirstenkoh

True blue terra-rist - a citizen of the world.