I have defined myself as a runner personally and professionally for the past 17 years, but, truth be told, for a large chunk of the last 5 I have not physically been able to run. When you define yourself as something but are unable able to do it, it becomes questionable. Primarily to yourself but also to everyone else.The ongoing battle with my body refusing to cooperate has been a heart-breaking journey. Since graduating college with two NCAA titles and 4 All-American honors across all terrain I had high hopes for a successful post collegiate career.
I undertook a surgery to correct a lower leg injury that arose my senior year of college. It was risky business the year before the London Olympics, but a sacrifice I was willing to make so that I was able to train on the same level as my fellow competitors. The return on the surgery has proven a disappointing journey. The injury issues that continue to disrupt consistent training are said to be down to a multitude of biomechanical limitations and strength issues that all naturally developed from running as a young athlete and have caught up with me.
My body has teased me the past few years and I have come inches away from a huge racing breakthrough. I have been stronger, fitter, wiser and more determined than I ever was as a collegiate. Yet lower leg breakdown has arisen time and time again and has made it extremely challenging for me to put pen to paper. The reoccurring calf and ankle issues have not only put me out physically, but I have had to walk myself off an emotional cliff of deep depression when injury causes yet another season to slip by.
I have debated a career change in the past 48 months as I have many an interest outside of the oval, yet I simply cannot imagine giving up the goals I continue to work so hard for.
After another heart breaking weekend at the Portland Track Festival I am here writing this post, my first post in a very long time. The months leading up to the meet saw me going in with a solid fall, followed by 11 weeks of intense cross training (ElliptiGO- seriously my savior, pool running, Hyrdoworx) and 5 weeks of exciting and encouraging workouts, yet I am sitting here slightly lost with another calf issue that re-occurred mid race.
In recent years, and this year especially I am so thankful I have a ‘glass’. Whether it be a glass half full or half empty right now, I know I am beyond lucky to have an amazing sponsor that supports my PT and medical needs and allows me to train on a daily basis. Hoka’s team gave me the opportunity to move to Eugene and continue my Olympic Dream and I am oh so grateful.
I have an unbelievable coach in Ian Dobson, he took me on and gave me a chance, an opportunity to train with Team Run Eugene and a genuine belief in my goals.
I have these amazing teammates in Eugene who absorbed me into their lives and allowed me to fall back in love with the sport again, giving me acceptance and a place that feels like home.
I’m beyond thankful for the genuine friendships I have made and support I have always recieved from family and friends, who have celebrated with me on the good days and lifted me up through the dark times. At the beginning of 2013 I was almost lost from the sport and I am so thankful to my college coach Todd Morgan and Mark and Cynthia Lorenzoni from the Ragged Mountain Racing Team for not letting that happen.
I have made progress invisible to the track critic, that cannot be seen on a results page. But as I continue to do my due diligence in the sport, I am ready for the 17 years of my life that I committed to running, to be rewarded with something magical in the next 18 months. I will continue on my World Indoor and Olympic journey in honor of the believers and for those who have been by my side throughout all or part of my running journey.
As I head to the pool today I’m inspired by the many athletes in this sport and people in my life that I continue to look up to as they overcome their own personal battles and adversities and make timeless investments for life goals they are passionate about.
I don’t yet know if there is a limit on how many times I can do this… the stiff upper lip and getting back on the horse thing. But I just know that it is a limit I haven’t reached it yet and until I do, I will continue to be ‘all in’.