After recovering from a disastrous bike ride two and half years ago that left her mangled with broken and dislocated bones, a Norco mom has gotten back on her bike and finished a triathlon after an arduous recovery.
Anne Schexnaydre, 45, was training for a marathon in 2012 when an accident occurred that would change the course of her life for years to come.
Schexnaydre was taking a two-mile path that she had taken many times before when an unleashed dog sprinted into her path and she ran it over, wrecking her bike in the process. She crashed into the ground, which resulted in numerous injuries including a broken hand, dislocated knee, a concussion, a jammed wrist and shoulders and numerous cuts and bruises.
Schexnaydre, who had only finished her first triathlon five days prior, was devastated.
“I was furious for a long time,” she said, “I had a happy life, was on a wonderful track, had lost a lot of weight and was on top of things. And now this? I had to deal with the anger. Why me?”
Not only were her injuries problematic for her daily life, but also for her twin sons, both of whom suffer from severe autism.
Given the extent of her injuries, Schexnaydre found herself unable to care for her children without assistance.
“In the blink of an eye I had pins in my hand. That is a very vulnerable position to be in when you are a caregiver and a mother and your life is your children…and these are not typical children,” she said. “It was an unnecessary interruption to an already difficult situation. All of the things it seems like I got enjoyment out of, in an instant, was all taken away.”
Schexnaydre had an initial surgery to stabilize and allow her bones to heal and another surgery to repair a pinched nerve. Doctors also removed a bone in her wrist and fixed a tendon in her arm to allow for expanded movement after her ligaments were torn.
After undergoing three surgeries in a 10-month period, Schexnaydre’s life was significantly changed and she found herself homebound for nearly a year. Not only did the physical injuries take their toll on Schexnaydre, but they also left her mentally drained.
“I knew I needed to come back with something big for myself. I went through a lot of dark times and I had a lot of fear,” she said. “The point of reference for every story was before the dog incident and after the dog incident. I had to move past it.”
To move on Schexnaydre went back to what she was doing at the time of her injury and began training for a triathlon.The training began slowly over this past summer – two years after the accident.
“I had a lot of anxiety because I was a afraid to get back on a bike and afraid to walk in the neighborhood, but I was determined and I got back on my bike,” she said.
Schexnaydre slowly began training with her sister. Instead of taking surface streets like she did before, Schexnaydre began riding solely in a more controlled environment on the levee path off River Road in Norco.
Little by little she became more and more comfortable riding again and then she and her sister saw that the Girl Power Triathlon was being held at the University of New Orleans. She set her sights on competing in it.
“It is not just like it is a one day thing. You really have to change your mind and just overcome it,” she said.
Then the big day came on Sept. 28. At the starting line she only had a couple of goals – to finish the race and not to finish last. She met her goals and, even more than that, felt the joy of overcoming what at one time seemed insurmountable.
“I was riding my bike and I was so caught up in it. Tears were rolling down my face. I was back in it and it was such a cleansing moment,” she said. “It is really exciting to train and push yourself and set goals outside of your comfort zone. When you achieve those goals, you are at the top of the world. We felt like rock stars when we passed that finish line.”
Inspired by her success, Schexnaydre is already planning the next step, which is participating in the ULL Ragin’ Cajun triathlon on Oct. 19 with her sister and brother.
“I am 45, my sister is 47 and my brother is 50, so for three middle aged siblings to do a triathlon together is really special” she said.
In addition to next week’s triathlon, Schexnaydre has signed up for additional triathlons in 2015.
“We already have three triathlons for next year,” she said.For those who may experience issues of their own, Schexnaydre has a few words of advice.
“I just want to encourage people that if you are going through something in life unexpected or hard to deal with, you don’t have to let it define you,” she said. “There are days that you think it is impossible, but it is possible. You can overcome it. It is not going to be anything anyone is going to do for you, you have to deal with it yourself.”