September 28, 2021

Adversity, Strength, and the Road to Bronze

Adversity, Strength, and the Road to Bronze
Today I’m sitting down with my brother, Paralympian and Bronze medal winner, Jaryd Wallace! So many of you have wanted to hear his story. This is a heartfelt and inspiring listen. I hope you enjoy!

This podcast was transcribed using Descript. Please forgive any typos or errors.

Brittany: Hi friends. Welcome to Life with Loverly. I'm your host, Brittany Sjogren. I'm excited to share my heart with you beyond the 15 seconds we get on Instagram, grab an ice coffee and let's do life together. 

Hi friends. How are you guys? So excited to be back on our next episode of Life with Loverly. Today I have a really special guest actually in the studio, in the podcast room as we've been calling it at the office.

My brother, Jarryd Wallace, is here with us. Welcome. For those of you guys who don't know, my brother is a Paralympic bronze medalist. He just got back from the Paralympics in Tokyo where he brought home some hardware. So we're going to talk a little bit about his Paralympic experience, but also share some of his story and just his background, because I think that's one thing whenever I talk about him on Instagram, you guys are like wait what, who is your brother? What happened to his leg? I just thought it would be great for us to have a open candid conversation. I don't think we've actually ever really sat down and talked about just like some of the experience of you losing your leg and things like that.

Jarryd: Yeah, it's weird. Cause you lived through it, so you have this whole different perspective, mom and dad have their perspective experience you've got your perspective experience, I have my perspective of the experience and all of them brought in their own unique, emotional journeys and, kind of how do you interact or cope with, for me, the reality of losing my leg, your brother, losing your leg, your son losing his leg. This will be really fun to hash out some of the things like have just been unstated maybe for a long time or that they were just assumed, but now I'm super excited to be a part of this podcast. I think we're gonna have some fun today. 

Brittany: Yay. Perfect. Let's dive right in, and let's start back in high school. Tell us a little bit about your running experience and the point that like, got you to that first initial surgery. 

Jarryd: Yeah. I'm going to reel back just a little bit further, because I always joke with people and tell them that I ran before I walked.

Brittany: Which is true. I can attest.

Jarryd: Mom and dad being super athletic and running marathons and such while pushing us in baby joggers when we were itty bitty ones. Running I think has always been a part of who I was. Fast forward maybe like second grade or fourth grade, I think it was fourth grade when I realized that not every family woke up on Saturday morning at 7:00 AM and went and did a fun run or a 5k. That was a huge part of our lives, honestly. Whether we always wanted to do it. I don't know if just became that family thing we always did.

 It's just funny how running was just a huge part of our upbringing and just the culture of our family. Dad being a tennis coach and me playing tennis so much, it never was my passion, it was never was what I was fully interested in. It was just kind of what I did to stay in shape and go for a run with mom cause she'd come home from work and go for a run. 

Brittany: I feel like if you would have asked me when you were in high school what you were going to get a college scholarship for, I would have thought tennis. And I think that's you might've thought up until a certain point. I remember our parents sitting down and being like, alright so we need to decide, do you wanna put your focus in tennis or do you want to put your focus in running? Cause you're really good at both, but you can excel even more if you pick one to focus on.

So what kind of made you switch to running and cross country?

Jarryd: I think I saw greater potential beyond college. I was in high school school, 5'8, a buck 10 soaking wet, with shoes on, I was really tiny. So I think looking at tennis players beyond college and even in college I was on the smaller end of the scale. Running, I had a little bit more of a built body type for distance, middle distance type runner. I think long-term, I saw more potential with running. I think that was a big part of why I chose to pursue running. It was also new.

 I was competing. I was like literally competitive in tennis since I was like seven. And so it was like there at some point I was getting a little burnout of tennis. So I think feeling like I was getting burnt out, but also seeing the ceiling was getting pretty close. I think that led me to making that decision. I think one thing, and you can attest to this as well. That I think is important to talk about is how we were just really fortunate to have parents who were just like, you do what you want. For me, I feel like if they would have really pushed me or tried to push me either direction, it would have pushed me away from it, not towards it. I think that the fact that both of them are just like, listen, you just do what you want, and what makes you happy. I think that really allowed me to ask myself what does make me happy? What do I really want to do? And I think that's what, again, ultimately led me into running.

I feel like the ceiling. Not even close to being touched at that point, and I showed a lot of promise. That was sophomore year high school. I laid down the tennis racket, picked up the track spikes full time and began pursuing a running career. 

Brittany: When you started running though, you weren't originally a sprinter. That wasn't something that chose until after your amputation, you were a distance runner. Long distances and the 400, 800.

Jarryd: It was a little combination of everything. I started, cross-country 5k, that was where I began running. Then as we got to the track, it was a two mile and I was like, I want to try the mile. And I was like, oh, 800 looks fun. Then they put me on the four by four relay. I kinda got to do a little bit of everything which was neat. Obviously in high school was when I also started just having a restraining injury. That was part of why I think I was trying to push towards some of the shorter distances because the issues of Chronic Compartment Syndrome, which is what ultimately I had. They came up with overused running.

So when I would go out on long runs or had a long mileage week or month, I would start getting a lot of pressure then built up in my calf. My foot would go numb, I'd have nerve pain, it was painful obviously as well. There was just this kind of battle of saying okay. We didn't know initially it was our Compartment Syndrome.

We thought maybe injury prone and had stress fractures all the time. So that was the frustrating side. Once we realized that my nutrition was good, everything was good on that side. And no fractures were showing up on x-rays. We needed to look a little bit deeper into the process.

 That was when we found out that I had Compartment Syndrome and ultimately decided that if I wanted to pursue a college career having just won state championships on the eight and the 1600 in my junior year, if I wanted to continue to pursue running faster and being able to compete at the college level, having the surgery and being able to be pain-free and running, train in a normal season was paramount to my success or potential as an athlete.

So that was where the decision was fairly easy for me initially to have that surgery because it was a six week active recovery and hit the ground running and be able to get back to work and compete my senior year, but obviously that's not exactly how things panned out.

Brittany: Well I think too for mom and dad, like mom had that surgery two times, when she was in college. My mom ran track at the University of Georgia, and this surgery was something that she had to overcome as well, and I feel like it has grown. The outpatient procedure seemed to be so much better when you went in to do it compared to back in the eighties when she was having the surgery. So I think mom and dad were also okay one of us have been through this, every surgery is a big deal. So that surgery to correct Compartment Syndrome was your senior year.

 So I'm one school year older than Jared is, and I was at my freshman year of school. I went to Valdosta State. I met the rest of my family in Charleston for Thanksgiving that year. We like decided to go to Charleston and spend the week there. Then I was going back home.

I remember I drove, so I could go back to Valdosta, y'all could go back to Athens. You were having that surgery the following week. Then I was coming home two weeks after exams. Then I was going to be home for Christmas break and I remember leaving like alright see ya at home in two weeks, and that's just not how it all went down

Jarryd: You saw me in two weeks. I just happened to be in the hospital.

Brittany: Exactly. It was so crazy. Tell us a little bit about, I don't know, just that experience. I don't really know if anybody's ever really cared, but I've never really shared my side of that experience too. So we'll mesh both of those.

Jarryd: I'll go through from my perspective, and then you can share yours cause you know I've never heard that. Went into the first surgery and had the release done. Four days after the surgery went in to begin physical therapy, they took off the bandages.

 That's when we begin putting pressure on the foot and begin mobility movement and getting things moving forward and they took the bandage off. And that PT was like, this doesn't look right. It was swollen black and blue whole deal. They sent us right back to Atlanta.

I went to the doctor's office, and he looked at my leg and sent me directly over to the hospital for emergency surgery. When they got into surgery, they realized that basically due to complications in the initial surgery, 60% of the muscle from my knee down had basically died.

 They began to meet emergency debrief process. I had five surgeries in 10 days, I had two blood transfusions. I was in a Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber. It was a very intense process. Not a lot of answers and we didn't know fully what happened, why, how bad was it going to be ,or are we going to be able to save my leg? There were just so many questions initially that were really hard to answer. Obviously at that time we were just like, whatever it takes to save the leg, let's do that. A total of six surgeries in 18 days in the hospital. They sent me home with my legs wide open wearing wound vac.

So every morning in the Hyperbaric Chamber for six weeks while the wounds were healing, so that I could receive skin graphs. Surgery seven was skin graphs, and then I spent the next 18 months, I had three more reconstructive surgeries, basically trying to save the leg, trying to get it to a point where it was functional. During that 18 months, there was a lot of frustration and anger at God and my circumstances. Just the reality of my life as I knew it was completely flipped on its head. Ultimately it was a struggle with the loss of identity.

 I was Jarryd, the runner, that's what I want to do. That's what people knew me as. I didn't really know if I had anything else really at the time it bring to the table. And so there was just this rediscovery process of worth, value and all that, that ultimately culminated in me realizing that I'm a lot more than just a runner and the Lord took me through a major refining process of surrender and trust that ultimately the piece that now exists, but that journey was very necessary, but also very difficult.

 It wound me up in a doctor's office and he basically was like, dude, you've done everything you can, you've had 10 surgeries, you have a mass to form leg. You can't feel the bottom of your foot. It's as bad as it's getting, but let's take your leg off the table for a second and let's look at what life could be. He said for so long you've been letting your limb drive everything that you've done. Let's take that off the table for a second. And he was like what do you want your life to look like? If you do anything. It was like pain-free would be great start, I'd love to run again, but then they just want to live a normal life.

Be able to play with my kid in the yard. I just want to be normal. Whatever that can look like. And he said I love that. And unfortunately, it's just not realistic with the leg that you have, but if you consider having your leg amputated, I believe all of those things will come.

 It was in that meeting where I made the decision that was what I was going to do and, begin a journey of discovery. Four months of research to figure out what it would look like to have my leg amputated. Then, ultimately obviously we went forward with it.

Brittany: So before we continue with the, getting to the amputation part, let's take it back to that initial surgery and that weekend. You said you had the surgery on a Thursday and then went back to the doctor on that Monday. And I remember that time period, like mom and dad being like, he's still in a lot of pain.

 I was like I mentioned at college, so I'm calling to check-in like how'd surgery go? And I just remember hearing something in mom's voice that I was like, okay, this is odd because usually anytime we'd had surgeries or things like that, it was just like, yeah, here's the process is going the way it's supposed to.

 So that was when I would got on alert and was like, this sounds really she sounds really skeptical of what's happening, but I think she was obviously very concerned. And so with that high pain that you were having, and obviously when you guys opened up the wound or the physical therapist did, and you noticed something was wrong and then like getting back into all of those surgeries, I feel like on my side of things, I was like, what is happening?

Is he gonna be okay? Can I make it to Atlanta fast enough? You just don't know. And I remember the Dean of students at Valdosta, allowed me to not take any exams that semester and just was like, you need to go be with your family. 

But I remember getting up there and it was just like, I felt like a sense of connection that the core four, we're back together and just like being able to be back there to support you, and then not really knowing where you really needed that support as we were just trying to figure out are you going to have a leg, what's happening?

And then seeing you pretty heavily medicated for the next few months was crazy to see like the super active, all over the place kid to be just on the couch all the time. I know that you hated.

that time, and it was just not where you wanted it to be. It was confusing. And I could see that as your sister on the other side of things. So once that conversation with the doctor who was you really should consider amputating your leg after that appointment, I feel like the joy in your voice and even in mom and dad's, and it was like, Hey.

This is what the decision is. I will never forget. I can remember exactly where I was when mom called me. I was driving home, and you were going to tell me in person that you decided to amputate your leg. Mom called me before just prepped me so that I could have the rest of the two hours in my car to feel my feelings and then be excited for you once, you told me.

 I remember feeling like so many things. I'm probably going to get emotional, just like thinking back on this, but it was just crazy to hear the joy knowing that's what you really wanted to do, and that was going to make such a difference for you. 

I was angry at the doctor, the original doctor for getting you in this situation.

I was angry that you even had to make this decision. That shouldn't have been something that you had to go through at that young age, but then after getting over all of those feelings out and realizing that this is going to be unbelievable and your attitude about it from the start and from that conversation, was like here we go, opportunity, open doors. I can do anything.

 Then we all hopped on board with that because we were like, how can we support you? This is going to be amazing. You can do all of those things. There's no reason you shouldn't be able to, but I know we probably each had our own moments of okay are you sure?

 You can't get that back. 

Jarryd: And there was something, for me, I guess something beautiful about the process that I got to go through. No matter how painful it was like that 18 months of total loss of identity to being super angry at God being super angry at my circumstances, feeling like I had absolutely nothing was so pivotal.

And I didn't know this at the time. It was so pivotal for me to be able to view amputation as hope, to see the idea of at 19 years old saying I'm going to have my leg amputated and I'm okay with it was only because I went through so much suffering for lack of a better term through that 18 months.

And you're right. That was the first time since the run we went on in Charleston that I had like joy and that I saw that my life could be normal again, and I didn't know I was going to become a Paralympic world record holder and medalist and the whole deal. That wasn't the reason, we had amputated.

It was to be pain-free and live a normal life. But I think that's again, the beauty of where the Lord kind of came in and broke me down a little bit and was like, dude I know this, isn't the plan that you have for your life, but just trust me. Because your plan actually can't even touch what I'm about to do.

 I can sit here, 11 years removed and confidently say that and have a lot of data to prove it. But at the same time I think that was also where the piece came from. I finally got to the point where I was like, you know what, God whatever, wherever you need me, whatever decision I make I'm just going to trust you.

18 months prior. I definitely wasn't doing that and it didn't work out very well for me, so there was this willingness of of surrender of hope of second chance if you will, the amputation allowed. And I'm so grateful for that pain that I endured because it really helped me to see if view amputation as a positive versus hospital day one if they just took my leg. I don't know if I be where I am right now. 

Brittany: And that was like a conversation that was had too. And thankfully mom and dad were like, you know what? I feel like this isn't the right decision and put a whole stop to that.

Even going further. Truly, I think such a miracle because one reason that you are able to be pain-free now is because of the specific way that your amputation was done. Which, I think that part of you, I remember us talking this through, but like part of you making that decision and then planning out your amputation, which isn't something that is like a conversation you really have, but you were able to find the best doctor in the world that does a specific procedure and know and research everything about this so that it would work. While that isn't the story that everybody can have, I think that's amazing that you were able to do all that research and have that as your outcome. 

Jarryd: Yeah. The first doctor we went to, he said he wasn't going to do the surgery, so it wasn't like a team of people be like, yeah cool, I'll cut your leg off. Let's go. The first doctor was like, you're leg's fine, and I was like it's functional, but it's not fine. And it took a doctor who was like, yeah, this isn't gonna work. That was like, all right, cool.

And he happened to be a pretty good surgeon, which didn't did hurt. Yeah. 

Brittany: So we went as a family, we drove up to Indianapolis and Jarryd had his leg amputated and it was crazy. We talked about this at the tailgate last weekend, but we all knew that you are going to be okay, and this was a good idea when he was making jokes as soon as we saw him right after his amputation surgery. So we were okay. Cause I think for mom and dad and me too, it was like how is he gonna feel after the leg is removed, is there going to be any regret? I feel like we're very cautious and it really helped us navigate the next steps moving forward when we noticed the joking on your side and just the confidence that I feel like you were just ready to start walking again. 

Jarryd: Yeah, one thing that was cool. I think for me, that experience, before every surgery we'd go into post-op and pre-op rather and the family would huddle all over me and pray and just pray for a successful procedure and everything. And I'd have my Bible with me and in surgery, the whole deal.

And I was just our routine, we got to do 10 of them. And I remember in Indianapolis I flipped the narrative on you guys a little bit. It was interesting now looking back, but I had the opportunity to pray over you guys when I was in pre-op. I think the unique part about that for me was that was for the first time I was going to surgery, confident and clear and trusting.

Whereas the 10 surgeries before that I was anxious and nervous and uncertain. And you guys felt that. And that was where there was just this huge desire to just pray over me. And in that moment, I feel like the roles were reversed a little bit, and I was so confident in that decision. Like you were just saying, there was a little, is this the right decision?

Or are we doing this? Oh my gosh, and I felt that and knew that I wanted you guys to experience the peace that I was feeling in that. That may even be worse. Some of the initial joking came from guys I'm good, but yeah, it was crazy waking up, and obviously not seeing your foot at the end of the sheet you used to have two feet sticking out, only one sticking up now.

And it's wow, this is crazy. 

Brittany: So then after the surgery, was it six weeks or eight weeks, or how long after did you get fitted for your first prosthetic and then to learn how to walk again? 

Jarryd: Yeah, it was six weeks and a day when I took my first steps with the prosthetic, first pain-free steps in about three and a half years which is pretty amazing.

 Then it was 12 weeks that I got my first running prosthetic and started jogging, I jogged for a little bit outside the parking lot of the prosthetic facility that I was in, and that was amazing. Then I remember getting home and dad and I went on a three minute little jog, it was about the most I could do it in time.

Cause it was just so weak still, but yeah, just pretty quick turnaround recovery and that's a huge testament. We got to plan everything. We planned the surgery. We planned the recovery time, the process, we planned the PT, we did PT for three months before going into it.

There's intention and purpose behind every movement we did. And I think that laid the foundation for the success that I had initially. Then I think that process taught me a lot about some of the goal setting and processes that I've laid down as I've pursued some of the goals that I've pursued in my career. 

Brittany: So then tell us a little bit of how you got from that point of learning how to walk, run again to where we are today. Obviously there's been years in between three different times you went to the Paralympics, a lot of training involved, but if you could just like briefly get us through. that time. 

Jarryd: Yeah. Just quick overview a year from amputation, I ran in my first Paralympic race, which is amazing. Qualified for my national standard, qualified to go to nationals when got third in the hundred at nationals that year. And that qualified me for the Pan-Am games down in Mexico.

 So in November that year, which was 16, 17 months after the amputation, I ran in the hundred meter dash or in the fastest time in the world that year I won the gold medal. Yeah, really quick. 

Brittany: All the things that you had wanted were like starting to unfold. And that was so cool to see too cause I think it was even more of a, this was a good idea, he was right. And just doors were opening up. Before you go further, I feel like we missed a major part of the letter that you wrote before you had your amputation. Tell us about that. 

Jarryd: Yeah. So the high performance director at the time with the US Olympic committee in charge of Paralympic track and field was her name's Cathy Sellers. I found her email and I emailed her about two months before my amputation. I was like Hey, my name's Jarryd Wallace. I'm about to have my leg cut off and I just want to let you know I'm going to be on the team going to London in 2012, represent the U S and would love to know, how do I get onto the team? What's the process here? It's going to happen, but what are the steps to make it happen? All that stuff. Yeah, you could say that we'll call it swag for now.

My swag came back with knowing that I was going to have my leg amputated. I don't know. Anyways basically sent that email.

Brittany: And she responded and was kinda like, okay, good luck with your surgery. Best of luck, then what do you know? You make it and you are on the 2012 Paralympic team to London.

Jarryd: It was really crazy. After Pan-Am gold and going in 2012 getting ready for trials. In February, they made the announcement and trials was actually in Indianapolis, Indiana at IUPI university, which is the hospital that I had my amputation at, and so literally the track was less than a mile from the front entrance of the hospital, where I had my amputation at. So the doctor who did my surgery and his family came to the event and watched the race. Couldn't have scripted a better storyline.

 I was the very last person to make the team. Cathy Sellers was the one at which after I did say, I told you so. She said, Hey let's go see these pumps. So yeah, it was it was pretty surreal. At that time, there were two goals that I had pre amputation. One was to be on the world record list, which was a pretty lofty goal, obviously. Then the other one was to make the team in 2012. And so it was super cool to check one of those off the list. Then moving forward, A. I was still aiming for becoming a world record holder but then I also realized I don't just want to go to the Paralympics; I want a metal. So I had to reevaluate my goals and reset goals around that. That all happened, after London 2012 and catapulted us into my running career which at that point is pretty much full fledged

Brittany: So then after London, you were back home training and completing school. And you got married in that time or I guess that was after Rio. 

Jarryd: Yeah. So after London, that was when I basically stopped school completely. I was contemplating going, thinking about finishing up, and that was when I saw my potential to go full-time athletics. We're having conversations with sponsors, stuff like that. And went full in 2013 full of track and field. And that was the year where I went to world championships, broke the world record three times at that event won the gold in the 200, the gold in the four by one relay was a finalist in the hundred.

And so that kind of really like catapulted my career. Got to check the box off of being a world record holder and and so at that point it was like, all right, cool. Next parallel games here we go. And yeah that was 2012 to 2016, I was full-time professional athlete.

I think there was one semester I was bored and took a couple of classes online, but it was just to make sure that my scholarship or hope or whatever didn't go away. But yes obviously in that time I met my wife and we dated and got engaged and then we planned to get married shortly after the Paralympic games in Rio.

Brittany: That's right. Yeah. And I feel like in Rio, you got sick right before you were competing, while you were in Rio. So you didn't have the performance you were hoping for. How do you feel like that experience in Rio prepped you and maybe changed your mind on a few things over the next four years to prep you for Tokyo?

Jarryd: Yeah. 2015, I broke the world record in the hundred, was by far the favorite going in. I hadn't lost a race in the 100 meter dash in 18 months. 10 races in the 2016 year, under 11 seconds in the hundred, which no one's ever up to this point has done. It was one of the things that was just far away the favorite going into the chairs.

Unfortunately I got a respiratory infection while I was down there was not able to perform at my highest capabilities. Ended up getting fifth and obviously just devastated. I only ran hundred down there. That was just, it was a focus. This is what I was going to do is going to go down this, be the fastest Paralympic in the world and get that title for four years and put all my eggs in one basket and that not happening, obviously it was extremely heartbreaking.

Coming back and two weeks later getting married here. There was just so much emotion that was going on. There was a period of time shortly at the end of 2016, going into 2017 where I was pretty much planning on giving up on track and field, and saying I'm done.

 It was partially the experience and what I learned in in Rio and then partially some supportive my sponsors and team, and I've got now, they're like, Hey, no, we believe in you. We want to double down and take you through Tokyo. They got me to the point say, okay, like this is bigger than me.

And really what happened at the simple lesson that I learned in Rio was that if my why is not bigger than my, what, then I'm going to absolutely bury myself. And from 2013 to 2016, it was all about what I was as an athlete, what I did as an athlete, what I wanted to become as an athlete.

And so when I realized that the ability to sustain in sport, but I think in any endeavor, any pursuit in life your why, which is who you are, has to be much stronger than your what, which is the thing that you actually do. And so for me, I realized cause I put all of my emotional energy and strength and time into a performance.

And when it didn't perform, I was empty and I realized that I'm not gonna be able to sustain that way. And so I, I had to basically almost have a come to Jesus moment and be like, Hey God I need to remember that this is a gift from you. And that it didn't matter how I do it. If I'm truly seeking to give you glory in every thing that I do. But specifically on the track, if I'm seeking to give you glory and my performance, then that looks like me winning is the same person as me losing. A time or a place shouldn't affect that, my state, because I'm not looking at the performance as a validation of who I am.

I'm looking into my savior for the validation of who I am. And I that's what Rio taught me. That loss in Rio taught me to reevaluate where I was investing my worth. And it brought me back to understanding that my why has to be bigger than my what. I think that is the core of what allowed me to sustain through towards Tokyo and especially through the pandemic.

 Being ready to compete in three months we had trials. Then they see we're postponing the whole thing. There was again, a little bit of a loss of identity because even when you're wise driven and focused, when you don't have something to go after, when you don't have a date or meets, or you don't know what you're practicing for and training for it, it just changes.

 Hey, you have a huge job presentation next week, and then they're like, oh, we're not doing it. When are you doing it? I don't know. We'll give you a heads up, or are you doing the same thing? You've been working so hard for, we're going to do it a year from now. So just hang on to that presentation for a year. Because I was ramping up emotionally, mentally, everything. And so I think I'm really grateful. Yeah. Not to, oversell the wire but just really grateful for that lesson that I learned in Rio, because it allowed me to have something to go back to.

It allowed me to have something to lean into and realize that, you know what, even if this extra year causes me not to make the. I, I don't have it. Doesn't change who I am. It doesn't change experience. It doesn't change, the lessons I've learned and the places I've gone to, things I've experienced.

And I think when I got to that place where I was okay, it was almost weird to just think about it right now. It was almost like the amputation decision. Once I was okay with the outcome, once I was okay with making team or not making team didn't matter once I was okay with medaling or not medaling, it didn't matter.

 That's when I unblocked that next level of potential. 

Brittany: And that probably really helped you get to where you were in the right headspace competing in Tokyo and training to get there. So now that you are a few weeks back from Tokyo. This is your third Paralympics that you competed in, in Tokyo. Tell us a little bit about your experience there. What it was like winning a bronze medal. 

Jarryd: Yeah. I think the from the metal standpoint it was so cool. We've talked a little bit since I've gotten back. The metal for me, I guess it's not an indicator of that race and that performance, but it's an indicator of the journey and the process that got us there. So the metal is a representation, not of that one race, but of the entire nine year culmination of work, blood, sweat, tears, goals, failures, losses, successes, all come together, coming together in this one, pretty heavy little circle.

And I think that's super cool because London and Rio, it was like, no this represents me kicking butt in this race., again, I'm really grateful because it makes the value of that metal so much more for me personally.

As far as being in Tokyo and just the experience around it and the race itself. It really was like, it was crazy. Like the hundred was absolutely unbelievable to be a part of four guys went under 10. 8, which like 2012, 10 .8 would have won, 2016, 10. 8 would have won every world championship.

10, eight would have won and we had four guys go under 10 eight in the same race. It's like the level of competition inside pair of sport, as it has grown so much, it's been so fun to be a part of that growth and help push that in one sense or another. Then the same thing in the 200, it was like, as soon as prelims happened, it was like, you may have to go under 22 seconds to podium like oh my goodness.

This is another level. So perspective, I won the world championships in 2017 in the 200, I ran half a second slower that day than what I won, got to bronze metal with. So I ran half a second faster and got a bronze compared to three years before. And it's just amazing to have been a part of the two fastest races ever run in Paralympic history of my classification was unbelievable.

But then to add a metal onto that, it was pretty cool. And, in the race, it was one of the things like I knew that if I got out, I had the start that I needed and if I could get to, basically for me, it was like get to one 20, raced one 50 and hang the heck on. I know that I'm going to be on the podium.

It's just going to be a matter of what color. And it was one of those races that like at one 20, like once we transitioned got on the straight this race is over, like it's us three.

Brittany: And it looked like that on TV being like, okay, they're clearly taking away, which was so cool, but then for you to feel that too, that was happening.

Jarryd: Yeah, you can totally hear people around you, you have a gauge of what's going on, especially on the turn cause you can see most people depending on what lane you're in, what. Yeah, I think the three of us knew pretty early on, which was also fun to be like the last 15 years of racing, holding back tears almost like knowing oh my gosh, this is about to happen. It was a special race indeed. 

Brittany: And it was obviously very emotional afterwards. I think, your interview that you did afterwards. You could really see and hear the hard work over the last four to five years, like coming out in that interview. I thought that was really cool.

That one, we got to see all of that, but that's, you don't usually see that much emotion in a post race interview. Your message there and everything you delivered was really awesome. I think a great testimony for who you are as a person and how far you've come just as an athlete. Yeah, that was really cool.

I guess, wrapping up our interview. We have a few reader questions that we want to ask , and then if there's anything else that you want to share with us. So the first question is what are some helpful things you do to stay motivated while training?

Jarryd: Yeah, I guess it I cheat a little bit cause training's my job.

 I'll kind of two tier this, if it's under the question of like motivation and just training from a fitness standpoint, if you had a job, whatever. First thing I would say, just ask my wife, cause she's the one who gets up at five o'clock and gets on the Peloton and crushes the workout.

She always trains harder than I do. But now there's this kind of need for and I've seen in my own. You have to be intentional with the time you set aside. So if you don't make it part of your routine, it's not going to happen.

And why I say that is because for me work is training, but I also have like passions to be a business owner and entrepreneurial minded and in some way, shape or form. I've got projects that I'm working on and If I don't set intentional time to work on those. I'm just going to be doing recovery and rehab and treatment and training, you know what I'm going to be.

So just honed in. It's almost opposite for me. But I would say you really have to be intentional with that time. If it's something you really want to do, you have to plan it plan for it, not plan around it. And that's the first, and then from just a pure training standpoint could go back to your why bigger than your why, for me when I hold on to that, when I take that into every session. Sessions, when I throw some worship music on during my warm up, are always just better. Cause it just brings me back to this core of why I'm doing it and reminds me that running's a gift every day. The days I forget that and the days that the sessions are harder, they're not as fun or whatever.

Having some joy behind that for me is really helpful. 

Brittany: How did you stay so strong in your faith through the hard times? How did you push through doubt?

Jarryd: Yeah. You can hurt a little bit. I didn't necessarily stay as strong per se. I think I learned through this process.

It's okay to be not. Okay. The more you fight or front maybe is a better way to put it, the truth. The harder it is, and so for me, it was like when I got to the point where I could just be real with like how I felt and who I was and what was going on that was when things became easier.

There was also just this route, there's just no way around it, like the moments where. I freely just surrendered and let go and trusted God were the moments that were easy. And the moments when my hands weren't open, my eyes weren't up, and I was vice gripped on my circumstances where I was by script on controlling my to-do list or next step or whatever it was, where the times that were difficult.

And that's a daily choice. I'm not perfect at that by any means. That's a daily choice. I still have to make, am I going to trust the decisions and the plans and the process today to the Lord, no matter how small or tedious they may be or am I going be like, oh, I got this one today.

And so it's one of those things that, again you have to be intentional about, but you have to plan for that choice. You have to set time aside to build in that investment and relationship with the Father so that you can be in a position to trust, to let go and follow in the plan, even though he may not know next steps or what it may look like moving forward. 

Brittany: Yeah. I think just even seeing you as such an example now, and even just remembering back to some of those hard times when you were running from God and to see where you made that switch. It's inspiring. It's amazing to continue being by your side and seeing you as that example. So I just want you to know I'm extremely proud of you for those actions that you continue to put out into the world every day. So what is the most valuable thing a physical therapist or trainer ever taught you?

Jarryd: I would maybe say not necessarily like something they taught me, but I think it's what they, maybe what they did or how they treated me. So I don't think I've ever been treated like a disabled person by a therapist or a strength coach or coach. They would ask questions, around, the technology around my functional movement with certain things. But I think that the greatest thing that, especially early on that my therapist gave me was just like, I'm just going to treat you like any other athlete or client and, we're gonna figure it out. And no one, again, I think a huge Testament to how quickly I recovered, but, no one allowed me to use amputation as an excuse. And so it was always, I could never get away saying well I can't do that because of this. It was like, no, you can, right? We're going to figure out a way to do it different, but we're going to do it. You're going to actually be able to do this. And that started both with, Ruchi in the weight room,

my strength coach, and Mike my physical therapists, from day one. I think that really helped me have those own expectations for myself. I was like, I'm not going to use this as a crutch, and there's no reason I shouldn't have a hundred percent mobility and be living a completely functional life.

And I have. It's because of that push, they gave me early on. I'd say less of something that they taught me and more of how they treated me. 

Brittany: And I think it's so cool to see your relationships with some of those therapists and just people who have been alongside you. And like you mentioned, they're teaching you things, not only just about yourself, but how to put that into motion, in life. And so being able to use that example is really cool. How have the things that you've experienced in the past influenced what you want to do moving forward?

Jarryd: Yeah, obviously, 11 years ago, my plan for my life looked a lot different than it does now and the things that I've experienced, the places I've gone from. Obviously recovering from amputation, wearing a lot of different adaptive equipment, seeing the world racing at a very high level early on I started a nonprofit cause I wanted to help people, want to recreate the experience that I got. There's no reason, I'm not just this like superhuman athlete, which is why I, won a gold metal 17 months after amputation.

No, it was a army of people behind me therapists, strength coaches, prosthetic companies, people giving literally their money to allow me to train or travel or get access to the adaptive technology I needed. There was just this huge team that enabled me to achieve these awesome things.

 I remember early on I started non-profit. I was like, I want to recreate that. I want to be that team for somebody else and I realized that my highest best uses and fundraising in doing that. So it wasn't like, it was good in theory, but like execution was a little lacking and it was like, okay, maybe then I can, work with the company and designing the technology so I can learn about how this works at a higher level, so that can maybe help people.

And so for the past four years, I worked with an engineer in Japan, designing and developing these blades and learned a lot in that process. And he developed this idea called a blade library where he has literally a library of prosthetic running blades that people can come and rent for $7 an hour, which is so cool and just play and be active.

And it was through all these experiences where I think I've come to what I want my legacy to be or what I want to do. Which is to find a way for those kids who I've watched go to the blade library and rent a blade and run on it. I want to find a way for them to take that joy home with them.

 One of the things that I realized through this journey and through all the experiences I've had and all the conversations I've had is that it's not that people don't want to be active. It's that they can't access the technology. And it's not that this technology is just this amazing, there's only a few people that do a type thing.

It's that it's really expensive. And part of it is that as well, but it's just super expensive. And so it's not accessible because it's too expensive. I'm currently working on a project right now where we're developing what we're calling The Affordable Blade Project. And we will be in and are able to drastically cut the cost of the rent technology to make it more accessible.

And what does that look like right now? They're about $7,200 insurance, regulated. Very hard to get non-profit organization. You can get it through. And then sometimes if your insurance covers it or you can pay the $7,200. What we're looking at is somewhere $1,500 or cheaper per running blade.

Brittany: That would be huge for so many people. That's a huge difference. 

Jarryd: Massive difference and again, you think about, how much would you pay to be able to watch your kid play or be active. And any parent would say, I can't put a number on that and you're right. You can't put a number on it and $7,200 is just a little out of reach, unfortunately. And so what we're trying to do is just make it a lot more accessible, a lot more interactive and functional. We're in the process of that right now. Maybe I'll come back on in a few months, and we can share a little bit more about that vision of the company and what we're hoping to do long-term

Brittany: That's amazing. I can't wait to continue to get updates on that and we'll definitely have you back to discuss once you can share a little bit more details with us. All right. And I'm sure everybody is dying to know any thoughts on Paris?

Jarryd: Yeah. So I will be I'll be 34 in Paris and getting up there in the old years, but we're going to give it one more go. So give it the good college try here. Except it's three years instead of four years. So for some reason that's a lot easier to grasp three more years of training than four. So yeah, we're going to go through Paris, and we're going to go out with the whole family there and everybody in the stadium to celebrate the last hoo rah.

Brittany: Yes, that's so exciting. I cannot wait to watch you compete again and support you over the next several years. For everybody wanting to follow along with Jarryd's journey over the next three years and getting him to Paris, feel free to follow along on his Instagram, which is at Wallace underscore Jarryd, which we will also include in the show notes since our parents gave you a weird spelling name.

So make sure to check the show notes for the exact spelling. Thank you so much for being here today. Everybody been asking when you will be on the podcast and wanting to hear more about your story. So I know all of our listeners and followers will absolutely love this conversation, but from the bottom of my heart too, I just appreciate you sitting down and chatting through everything with me.

Jarryd: Totally. Thanks for having me.

Until next time.

Thanks for listening to today's episode. I can't wait to continue these conversations with you over on Instagram at Life with Loverly. Until next time. That was perfect.

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