François D’haene: “You just have to learn to be patient”

” How are you doing ?
How are you. In the process of an injury, there are several phases. There, I am in the one where there is progress every day. I am no longer immobilized, but rather like in a race where I go up the runners in front of me. I come back a bit. In the morning, it takes a little while to unlock. We are only 55 days “post-op”, so we still have to be patient, surround ourselves well and do things well. The idea is not to rush but rather to build something over the long term.

Are you walking a little?
Last week, I had the right to put my whole leg – and the weight that goes with it – on the ground, which allows me to slowly start walking again without crutches. I also walk on the treadmill, I resumed cycling this week because I regained velocity and mobility. I can sweat again and regain feeling.

Do you know what caused your injury (malleoli fracture)?
It’s always a bit difficult to know where such an injury comes from. The day it happened, I was scampering in the grass and inevitably there must have been a hole or a stone, and I must have been a little cold and tired. And then I was paragliding, at 25-30 km/h, so I was going fast, there’s that too. It’s a set of things. When you don’t really know why, and that’s what was the hardest part of the first month, at some point you have to stop looking and rebuild yourself. I am 37 years old and this is the first time that I have really injured myself and that I have come here to the CERS in Capbreton (Landes). Some are much younger than me and they are already on their 4th or 5th injury. It is therefore necessary to know how to relativize.

What type of rehabilitation do you do in Capbreton?
There’s really everything, the days are really intense and therefore very full, that’s what’s good. You’re really focused on yourself, you don’t have much time to gamberger. We often start with a short warm-up, before cardio and then aerobic exercises. There is also icing to prevent the leg from swelling, we also do swimming pool, physiotherapy, walking on weightless treadmills… We do a lot of slots until more than 6:30 p.m. There are so many registers, possibilities and speakers that you don’t have time to get bored. What you would do in a week at home here, you do in a day. It puts a big boost in rehabilitation.

How much has a competitor like you been affected morally?
It’s quite frustrating. This first metatarsal injury, I did not see it coming. I suffered a small bone impact in July but that didn’t stop me from doing the Hardrock 100 (he finished 2nd) and L’échappée Belle. It was pretty hard, especially since I hadn’t seen it coming. Then it was close to my heart to run the Diagonale des Fous, so that too was hard. But I was well surrounded and I dedicated myself to the event that I organize in September, the Ultra Spirit, it allowed me to think about something else. I managed to accept it as best I could…before that big injury and surgery. Before the Christmas holidays, there was a fairly slow period.

“My body is used to taking long breaks, but this was over the time limit”

How did you experience it?
Evil. My body had a lack of fresh air. I’m used to, even when I’m not in training mode, being out and alone. It’s kind of my own meditation. These outings where you get a little sunset, you go up, you face the wind, you play with the routes, you take it to your head. Instead, I stayed locked up… My body is used to taking long breaks, but this was overstepping the time limit. I didn’t sleep well, I woke up at 3 am… it’s been a long day. Fortunately, afterwards, there were the holidays. So, for fifteen days, there was this lack of breathing outside air, and frankly it was very hard.

When do you think you can apply?
It’s quite difficult to say. Since I haven’t been injured for ten years, I really don’t want to force things. Anyway, I rarely race before the end of April, so I have time in front of me. If I only have to come back at the end of April and do one more month of cycling, it doesn’t really matter. All the more so if, afterwards, I have no complications and this allows me to continue racing for the next few years. So I don’t want to set myself deadlines that could disappoint me. But I hope to frolic in the mountains this summer.

Have you drawn a line under 2023 for ultra-trail races?
No. It is quite possible that there will be races for me in 2023. But, for the moment, I have no desire at all to register and block dates. We’ll see how fit I am in the spring. Cycling and ski touring will allow me to have good grounding. You just have to not catch up too early so as not to create compensation or things that I could regret. So that’s why I don’t want to fix bibs or races. My priority is to recover to last a long time. There is a good dynamic, you just have to learn to be patient. »

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François D’haene: “You just have to learn to be patient”

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