Athlete Stories

Titanium Strong: Amy Gluck’s Road to Recovery

By August 9, 2016 No Comments

Amy Gluck, 44 of Howell, Michigan, is joining us this weekend to compete in the Half Iron Aquabike event and show that she is “titanium strong”! Like a lot of triathletes, Amy started out as a runner. She had been training for her first marathon with a group of women, all of whom were triathletes. Because a lot of the chatter on their long runs revolved around the topic of triathlons, as soon as she completed that marathon, she began training for her first triathlon. Amy found it a challenging way to get started swimming, but she stuck with it and the following spring did her first triathlon.

When it came to being a triathlete, Amy had a gift. She was able to qualify for every Ironman Kona between the years of 2008 and 2012. She was out on a training ride for Kona 2012 when tragedy struck and Amy’s whole world changed. Amy was legally traveling eastbound on a road when a semi truck hauling gravel turned southbound and ran into her. The damage to Amy’s femur, hip bone, knee, and skull was so severe that after being rushed to a local hospital, she was airlifted to Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital. As a result of the accident, she spent much of the next year in an assisted living facility recovering from a traumatic brain injury.

Amy had been someone who spent much of her free time training and running. Because of the injuries she suffered, a large chunk of what she considered the fun part of her life was taken from her. Running had been her favorite discipline and the one she excelled at, but getting a metal femur, hip bone, and knee changed all that. The year of recovering and not training changed the athlete she had been. She had gone from running 30K races at a 7:30 pace to completing a 5K (her first event after her injury) by walking the entire way, finishing in 54:26. She had a great support system of friends who stuck by her for the race, and the following year she was able to come back and improve on the same race by 20 minutes. She has since been able to push herself to finishing a 5K in under 30 minutes.

What once was her favorite discipline became the one most challenging for her. Right now her ability to train is hampered by what her body is able to do. She still struggles with running but has found that biking and swimming don’t hurt, so her training schedule revolves around those disciplines. If she does run, it takes a few days to get back to being able to train. This is where Amy has turned to Aquabike events as a way to get back into the sport and do it in a way that her body can handle.

Amy did her first Half Iron Aquabike event at our partner race, the Grand Rapids Triathlon, this past June. Her goal is to face the MI Titanium course and crush her time from the GR Tri. Amy says, “After finally biking again, after taking four years off, I hope to have gotten myself back in shape.” She also has a goal in mind of at least getting back to Sprint distance triathlons.

Amy races for the triathlon club FAST and team Coeur Sports. She’s found her teammates to be very supportive and encouraging as she makes a comeback from her injuries.

In four years, Amy has had a lot to overcome. As she pushes towards each new goal and makes one more step in her recovery, she’s proving that she is titanium strong! Amy, we’re honored to have you on the MI Titanium course and are thrilled that we could be just one step in your amazing comeback journey.

 

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