Who is your hero?

I'd like to share with you a story about my wife Nic. She is a real go-getter. Once Nic sets her sights on achieving a new goal, she is virtually unstoppable. I really admire Nic's ability to consistently set herself a new challenge and successfully complete it. She really is a 5'1" pocket rocket.

I said virtually unstoppable for a good reason. There was one time she came to a very sudden and unexpected halt, throwing her plans into chaos. Nic and I were in Niseko, Japan on a skiing trip in early 2014. We were backcountry powder skiing, towed around by snowmobiles, and three days before the end of our trip. I was waiting with our small group at the bottom of a run, with only our guide and Nic left to ski down. I saw Nic ski behind a tree line about halfway down and then she disappeared behind a fallen tree. She was then waving towards us and I thought a ski must have released and buried itself in the powder. We would tie long ribbons on our skis to make them easy to find when the ski popped off deep in the powder.

Our guide skied to Nic and shortly after I saw Nic sliding down the hill on her backside, with our guide carrying her skis. It was obvious then it was damaged Nic, not damaged or lost gear. Nic was in good spirits but her knee was far from good. The tour operator transported Nic out on a snowmobile and that evening I took Nic to the local hospital. It was the weekend and x-rays were taken, showing no broken bones. Nic told me she heard her knee pop and knew it wasn't good. She was very brave and in pretty good spirits.

I had one more solo ski session the next day while Nic spent the day resting in our apartment. The following day we started our trek home to Canberra. Wheelchairs, airline lounges and priority boarding really helped make it as comfortable as possible for Nic. Once we arrived home, specialist appointments confirmed a ruptured ACL, along with DVT that delayed her surgery.

The trip home - with a smile

Nic and I had been training for the Canberra Marathon in April 2014. This was one goal she wasn't going to complete as planned. In addition to her ACL replacement, a stitched tear in her meniscus also prolonged the recovery and rehabilitation phase following surgery in March 2014. Nic did hobble along to the marathon that year to support her friend.

Nic was extremely disciplined and stuck to her rehab plan. Nic knew this approach would deliver her long-term health and fitness benefits. Her physio Dave was excellent and Nic became stronger and more mobile as time passed.

Fast forward to April 2015 when Nic completed her first full marathon 12 months after her surgery. The pocket rocket is a champion and she is my hero. Her training schedule leading up to the marathon wasn't easy but she stuck with it and has achieved milestone after milestone since then. Any chance she has to run, train, go to the gym, set another goal and enter another event; she always gives it 100%. Nic also loves to contribute. This year in Sydney's City to Surf, Nic entered as a gold charity runner to raise money for the Indigenous Marathon Project.

Before the start of the 2015 Canberra Marathon - again with her beautiful smile

In addition to her eyeing off multiple marathons including New York and more triathlons, Nic has set her latest challenge. She was in Jindabyne a couple of weeks ago to watch the L’Étape Australia cycling event. I couldn't make it as I had a rowing regatta in Sydney. Nic came home very excited about the L’Étape Ride. So pumped that guess who set a goal to do this ride in 2017? I had better dust my bike shoes off as I am so inspired by her drive and motivation that I am committed to doing the ride with her. A great goal for me to achieve alongside my hero.

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"Leadership and Wellbeing is not rocket science.

It's brain science." ®

Gaz Mills