Finish Line™ Story: Barbara Poole
Barbara Poole is going for distance – the 21.1km of half a marathon to be exact – when the Gold Coast Marathon weekend rolls around in early July.
To this point in time her preferred distances have been 5km parkruns and 10km events.
It will be the retired accountant’s first half marathon and with daughter Sally, an age-group triathlete who has just completed an Ironman event, offering to run alongside her, Barbara is confident she can make the journey.
The journey Barbara doesn’t need to make on a regular basis however is the 430-odd kilometres between her home in Armidale, NSW, and her physio’s practice on the Gold Coast.
Barbara is among the growing number of clients – anywhere between two and 10 in any given week – that POGO Physio’s Brad Beer consults over the internet.
“My journey might have come to a grinding halt had it not been for Brad Beer,” Barbara says. “He’s been instrumental in getting me running and keeping me running.
“I was to the point of thinking – probably three years ago – ‘I’m 67, I’m probably running out of time to keep running but Brad said ‘no, don’t give up’.
“Just recently, just after my 70th birthday he said ‘well Barb, you’re now in another age group … who knows what you can achieve’. That’s the sort of positivity he brings.”
Barbara says she first met Brad a few years back at one of his Run 101 workshops and has not looked back since.
“It was quite amazing really. My daughter Sal said ‘I’ve heard about this wonderful guy on the Gold Coast and he does these workshops and it might be really good for us. So off we trundled and we learnt lots that day,” she said.
“At that stage I was struggling with various niggles and what’s obvious now was that I wasn’t getting satisfactory treatment.
“The injury that had been really troubling me was hamstring tendinopathy. Brad helped me through that and then I started going really well before I tore a meniscus last year.
“People were saying I’d have to have surgery but Brad said ‘no, no, we can rehab this’.
“I’ve worked pretty hard, I’ve taken up strength training at the gym and I’ve gone from never having been to the gym in my life – it’s just not my scene – and now I go three times a week.
“It has made a huge difference to my running. My knee is 99 per cent right. I feel like I have to be a little careful with it but it is standing up ok.”
Barbara has a monthly Facetime consult with Brad which she said is no different to the once yearly face-to-face appointment.
“I guess the first time I was terribly nervous about how it was going to work and how do you do this without ‘hands on’,” she said.
“Honestly, it is just amazing. Brad rings in and I usually have a few notes jotted down about what I’ve experienced for the month.
“It is really just like a face-to-face consult. We chat about what’s been happening with my exercise program, my runs, how I’m feeling, and what I’m planning for the month ahead.
“I use Track Active which has all my gym programs on it. I generally print those off and I have a list that I take to the gym with me.
“The consults last about an hour and I’m also able to text him anytime with any issues and he’s absolutely fabulous and comes back to me quite quickly for someone who is so busy.
“I don’t feel like I need to be there.
“When I tore my meniscus, I had an MRI and that was sent to him. We knew what we were dealing with and I’ve said to him a couple times ‘do you want me to come up?’ Generally, he says ‘no need’.
“Most things I find he’s able to give me some advice or treatment that helps. Brad has explained how to massage my leg myself. I’ve learned some of these little techniques and it works.
“It’s amazing to think at my age – you’ve grown up going to a physio and needing to be pummeled and all the rest – I don’t do that anymore.
“I’m blown away by his ability, and his kindness and attention to his patients. He has absolutely top, elite athletes and I feel just as important as those people.”
Barbara says she’s had her share of naysayers over the years, professionals raising their eyebrows when a woman in her 60s explained that running rather than walking was her preferred activity to stay fit.
“I’ve had a lot of medical professionals tell me I’m ridiculous continuing to run at my age,” Barbara said.
“Fortunately I now have a very supportive doctor and a very supportive physio. I did have a lot of negativity with some of the people I saw before, ‘It’s too hard on your body at your age’ and that sort of attitude.
“I do have this feeling that if you keep the physical activity going for as long as you can you’re just going to be so much better off, and at parkrun you’re mixing with like-minded people who enjoy being out there.
“I have been going to Armidale parkrun since its inception almost five years ago and will soon do my 150th parkrun. Sally and partner Paul, who keep me inspired, had heard parkrun was to start in Armidale so they came along with me on a very cold July morning and I have been hooked ever since.
“We have a fabulous and diverse group of amazing older ladies at parkrun who wear tutus to celebrate milestones and have coffee together. It’s just a Saturday morning ritual now. And I’ve made a huge number of friends who are enthusiastic about getting outdoors and keeping fit.”
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