Bent — But Not Broken — Triathlete

By Christy Belsom | Dec. 05, 2017, 4:33 p.m. (ET)

It was an unseasonably warm day on March 15, 2015. I had finished a run and my husband asked if I’d like to take the motorcycle out. Of course, I did! I am an adrenaline junky who loves to feel the wind in my face and the freedom of being on two wheels. That’s also why I also love triathlons. I didn’t know that it would be my last ride on two wheels for an entire season.

My name is Christy Belsom — a 42-year-old wife, mother and grandmother living life to the fullest. I am a personal trainer by trade and athlete by passion. But, in 2015 a motorcycle accident put a stop to both by nearly killing me and my husband. A car rear-ended us while we were stopped. She hit us going about 60 miles per hour. Next thing I knew, I was in the ER surrounded by a trauma team and getting my head stapled, wondering what had happened. I broke my sacrum, shattered my pelvis, ruptured my bladder and sustained a nasty head injury. My husband fractured his C7 and several areas in the spine.

Christy Belsom

The next year was a rocky one with so many unknowns for me. Initially, it was unclear what my future held and the kind of mobility I would have. I spent four months in a wheelchair with an external fixator holding my pelvis together. I was not allowed to bear weight on my legs whatsoever or further injury could occur. The emotional roller coaster of trying to stay positive while not knowing what to expect during the healing process was exhausting. But, by staying as active as possible and keeping my faith; I was able to keep focused and visualize walking again. I worked my upper body with free weights every other day and utilized the bike trail to wheel myself around for cardio. At one point, I got up to 6 miles in my wheelchair.

In late May, it was determined that the external fixator that was holding my pelvis together should come out and bearing weight should be attempted. At first, trying to walk was a struggle but with extensive physical therapy and strength training I was running my first 5k by September. One year later, I competed in my first triathlon and have kept moving on my legs ever since. Trust me, though — I am no superhero. There are struggles, modifications and setbacks. Since my biomechanics are off due to the titanium rods, I am prone to injury and nurse a hip labral tear to this day. Due to the brain injury, my vision is impaired and I have limited peripheral making it very difficult to sight in the water as well as on the bike. The challenges and obstacles are welcomed as it makes me a better coach and athlete.

Christy Belsom

As of today, I am currently training for my first half IRONMAN and have recently taken the USA Triathlon Level I Coaching Certification course. My future goal is to get the USA Paratriathlon Coaching Certification and work with adaptive athletes like myself.

I want to show the world that a body in motion stays in motion. A little over a year ago, I cheated death, fought adversity and have come back stronger than ever. I am a triathlete.  

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