Wednesday, December 25, 2013

2013

Merry Christmas!!  I've written a lot of reflective posts in the past year, as surgery and the subsequent recovery makes you look at where you've been and where you're going while challenging you in the present.  This is slightly different, as in order to move forward completely, you can't keep dwelling on the past, but you should try to learn from it and apply those lessons to your future success. 

I love being with my family.  Russ is almost (and has always felt like) my family, so he counts in a lot of situations, but it has been super fun to come home to Washington so much more now that we live in Colorado Springs.  I'm extremely grateful for the extra bridge games we've gotten in and the multitude of puppy pictures I've been able to take, among other things.  I've learned how to value family time over almost everything else in the last few years, but this year has taught me even more about how wonderful it truly is.  Make that trip home, even if it costs a few extra bucks.

Soreness comes in different forms.  Every athlete knows this, but not every athlete consciously recognizes when the different kinds of soreness are happening.  Some types you should be grateful for: My single-leg dumbbell RDLs with a band around my hips have had my glutes screaming for mercy since I did them for the first time on Monday!  Other forms of soreness need to be paid attention to.  That little nagging hip flexor super tightness has me resting on Christmas when I might have pushed through in the past.  Soreness is not soreness, and going through major injury has me extra aware of when I should be getting more rest vs. getting my workouts in anyway.  I've immensely enjoyed the normal soreness that has come with normal fall training this year.  I haven't trained normally in the fall for two years because of my surgery, so body parts that forgot what an entire year of javelin training is like have been complaining (shoulders, intercostals, adductors, etc.).  For normal soreness, be grateful!!  In response to abnormal soreness, be careful. 

Those are the two major lessons I'm thinking about today, as I listen to the bridge tournament starting without me and have already taken photos of the dogs in Santa hats.  What are the biggest lessons you've learned this year?  Merry Christmas :)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

2014

Since July, I've camped, road-tripped, backpacked, fished, photographed, played card games, seen old friends, made new friends, and slept to my heart's content.  I started bodybuilding (higher volume lifting with specific recovery times and such) in mid-September, coupled with whatever cardio I wanted (hikes and interval runs).  After five weeks of that, I started my first block of training, which is now over!  I'm currently in the beginning of my first week of block 2, and loving what my future looks like.

Have you ever experienced a major injury?  I've had a few, and the seasons following those years are always so fun to train for.  Grateful doesn't begin to describe how I feel for the fire and attentiveness I experience at practice every day, and I've never lived my life more purposefully.  I felt this way in the year leading up to 2008, after a stress fracture in my back in 2007 left me on the sidelines for a year.  If I made the Beijing Olympic team the year after that injury, what could happen now?  I'm excited.

This year won't happen without its own challenges.  I'm already experiencing some of my old SI joint pain, but since I know what helped me with that before, I can attack it head-on instead of wasting months trying to figure it out like the first time around.  You really do live and learn!  I still get to work on being confident in my block leg, but after yesterday's first practice on the runway, I'm feeling really good about it.

Kibwe asked me how my approach to this season might be different from seasons of the past.  The reason for that question is that 2014, like 2010, is an "off" year.  A non-championship year.  A year without a major medal up for grabs.  The Continental Cup lurks at the end of the summer, and would be a fabulous place to go back to and redeem myself, but there is no Olympic or World Championship for outdoor track and field athletes to compete in (meaning Kib and I are in the same boat). 

I definitely want to use this year to get back out on the international circuit.  I need that experience for the future, and I've been removed from those meets for two years now, so getting my feet wet again will be good.  However, I would moreso love to use this season to compete a lot domestically and bring the javelin to the people!  In Chicago in July, I absolutely loved having friends come watch and meeting up-and-coming javelin throwers who were both spectating and competing alongside me.  In the same way, I had a total blast teaching my campers at Iron Wood last summer, and would love to help instill a passion for javelin in even more kids around the country.  I plan on posting my competition schedule completely and as early as possible, inviting anyone and everyone I know (and probably people I don't know) in the areas I'll be competing in to come watch, and actually spending time with those that do.  There are hardly any opportunities for young people to be exposed to javelin throwing, and I'd like to do my best to fix that.  Keep your eyes peeled for competitions in your area. :)

Here's to 2014!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Season wrap-up!

So my short, somewhat-miracle of a season has come to a close!  My bronze medal at USAs this year allowed me to chase the World Championships A standard of 62.00m to potentially make my third Worlds team and travel to Moscow, Russia.  I was fully capable of doing that physically, but my technique didn't allow for it.

I only gave myself one chance at the A.  My knee was sore for two weeks after USAs, and I knew it was silly to even consider competing every week in a desperate attempt at a trip to World Championships.  Tom Pukstys was awesome enough to set up a meet at Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago) for myself and a few other javelin throwers to throw at on July 20, the last day of the chase period.  All or nothing! 

The difference between my left knee on June 20 (USAs) and July 20 was ridiculous.  I felt so powerful, so fast, and so much more comfortable on the runway than I had a month prior.  I had had two great practices at Iron Wood the week before, and I felt more confident than I have since before my injury more than a year ago.  More than anything, it was fun.  National championships were fun this year simply because I was releasing a javelin in competition again, but Chicago was fun because I finally felt strong and sure on the runway.  I've been patiently waiting for that feeling all year, and even though I only managed a 57.12m toss (a season's best and a win!) and will miss Worlds, I couldn't be happier looking at the future of my career.  I also had a huge group of Purdue friends in attendance in Chicago, and couldn't be sad about spending time with them immediately following the competition!

This year, I started throwing javelins in practice in April.  In the previous three training seasons of my career, I've thrown javelins from November (at least) through the end of the season (usually the end of August).  That's five months of technique work that I missed out on this year; I can't duplicate javelin throwing with med balls, as many as I may have thrown!  My shoulders, core, back, SI joints, glutes, and even knees felt awesome in Chicago, but a few great sessions out of only a few months of throwing practices are difficult to duplicate when the pressure is on.  It's hard to not be disappointed about missing a third straight World Championships team, but I knew that if this was the outcome of this year I would be left hungrier than ever for future seasons, and that's exactly how I feel.  I also know what I need to work on and what I loved about my training this year, and am empowered to put those things into practice in the Fall.

I've blogged about how long this journey back to health has felt and I've shared about the hard days, but I hope that the overwhelming feeling I have of gratitude has shined through.  I took a few yoga classes in the week after my season ended, and one day we were asked to consider something that we take for granted in our lives.  Honestly, moving to a new place, making new friends and cherishing the old ones, earning my health back day by day with the help of the best athletic trainers, relying on Russ and my family for support when I needed it, being lucky enough to re-sign with ASICS after a major injury, understanding how awesome my management team is, and knowing that I still have a place at the CSOTC by the grace of USATF even after a post-injury sub-par season left me hard-pressed to think of something.  This year has been amazing despite the challenges I faced each day, and many days because I overcame those challenges.  I'm going to stock up on seeing the beauty in the world through my camera lens during all of August and September before taking this grateful attitude and renewed hunger into my Fall training.  So excited!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

USAs and Iron Wood


I COMPETED! 
photo by Becky Miller
2013 USATF National Championships happened in Des Moines, Iowa at Drake University on June 20th.  When I say, "I competed," I don't just mean that I threw in a competition.  I was absolutely thrilled when my first toss flew 50 meters, but wanted more.  By round 5, I finally got it together and measured a throw at 55.88 meters to eventually place third!  With a short approach, only weeks of throwing practice, and still 6 days shy of nine months post-op, I knew I needed to focus on the basics, and it felt really, really successful.  The competitiveness that shined through was an awesome surprise after so much time away from meets.  The distance was fine, but a top 3 finish means that I can chase the World Championships A standard of 62 meters until July 20th.  I wanted to give myself that chance even in this "bonus" of a season after having my knee surgery.  Why not try?  Overall, USAs was FUN.





photo by Becky Miller
Super proud of this Bronze.




Russ also competed well!  After years and years of solid showings in both shot and disc, he finally earned Silver in the discus.  He's also chasing a World Championships standard, and I'm so pumped about how he looks this summer.  It'd be fun to go to Moscow together!!
 
What a cutie!  Victory Lap.
After USAs, Russ and I had the opportunity to help out at Iron Wood Throws Camp, run in its 24th consecutive year for the first time by Jarred Rome.  Jarred wanted currently-competing professional athletes to be involved with the kids this year, and I had a blast.
 
All my campers who wear ASICS. :)
 
Duncan Atwood and I had twice-daily sessions with our javelin thrower kids from Tuesday to Friday, with an optional session on Saturday.  These kids were so fun to work with, listened, stayed positive even through the soreness that comes along with walking a college campus and training 5 hours a day, and had a huge impact on me. 
 
Sterling controls the javelin by throwing through a hoop.

Russ shares his story with the campers. :)
I went into camp thinking that I'd probably benefit from talking about the basics with the kids all week.  I thought I might be reminded that keeping things simple can help anyone out, not just a high-schooler.  That happened, but I benefitted even more from their enthusiasm, open-mindedness, and pure love of the sport and event.  On Thursday, my group of beginners released their first few javelins ever, looked back at me with giant, round eyes, and said,
"I LOVE this."

I almost cried, I was so happy.  I relate to these kids now more than ever: I've felt that way all year, too.  I got frustrated right after USAs this year, because all of a sudden, my expectations were sky high.  I threw almost 56 meters, so why am I now not consistently throwing 60?  Silly Kara.  I realized that I needed to calm down, and that going to Iron Wood might be what I needed to do that.  After laughing with the kids and seeing lots of improvement in one morning session, I had the best practice I've had since right before the Trials last year.  Keeping it simple and having fun throwing again was the perfect recipe for connection to my implement and easy, far throws.  On Friday, after three more days of laughing and love for the sport, with extremely tired legs from a week of feverish coaching and demonstration, I had an even better practice on the same runway with these awesome kids.  Working with Duncan in those practices was really fun too, and both of us giving tips to the kids in between my throws was a fabulous experience.  Feeling like a real part of the national javelin throwing community is so important to me, and I won't forget Friday's practice for a long time.  Thank YOU to my Iron Wood campers.  You are amazing.
 
Duncan taught me how to handstand!  Finally!!
photo by Eryn Vanney :)



Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Expectations (and Gratitude)

I throw at USAs tomorrow!!!!!!

I really can't believe I'm returning to competition in less than a day.  As long as this row has seemed to hoe at times, I've really had an awesome, awesome year.

1. I seriously love rehab.  Like, I actually enjoy it, not just because I know it's good for me in the long run but because it's fun.  Doing new exercises all the time makes me happy.

2. Photography is my favorite.  Finding the beauty around me every day has been so fun.

3. My mind is getting a workout.  I get so much joy out of my MBA classes through DeVry University's Keller Graduate School of Management.  I feel so much more fulfilled than I have in a long time, and I know it's because I'm expanding my horizons in the academic area again. 

4. My new home is awesome.  Colorado Springs took me a while to warm up to, but now I'm totally invested.  Any new place is tough to adjust to, but the people, scenery, opportunities, and way of life just make sense to me.  So happy.

5. Traveling is a blast.  I'll be traveling a lot more in the next few years during the training season than I had been from San Diego: Ty is in New Orleans, I want to go back to Chula Vista periodically, and I am not shy about going home when I want to.  I've taken the opportunity to go where I want, when I want this year, but I always fit the training in.  I'm in my element when I'm figuring out how to get a workout in before going to lunch with a long-lost friend in a new city, etc.  It energizes me.  And I've gotten to see more important people in my life than I can count right now.  Life balance, blam.

5. I am SO grateful.  Grateful for my health, thanks mainly to Dr. Chao, Chris Garcia, Dr. Rintala, Jamie Myers, Ty Sevin, Wendy BorlabiAmber Donaldson, and Heather Linden.  Grateful for the amazing people in my life: Family (mine and Russ's), friends (near and far), and fans who've lifted me up when I really needed it.  Grateful for ASICS and the USATF Foundation and the USOC for supporting me exactly when I needed to be held up.  Grateful for each and every javelin throw I take, and that I've remembered the absolute joy of things coming together correctly. 

I've been laser-focused on the date of USAs for months now.  I didn't know if it would be possible to even compete tomorrow, just because it hasn't even been nine whole months since my surgery yet.  Every check-up with Dr. Chao went fantastically, I get nothing but positive feedback from my athletic trainers (in Chula Vista and Colorado Springs), and my one week working with Ty in New Orleans could not have gone better.  I've put absolutely everything I could have at this point in my recovery into being prepared to compete tomorrow.  I'm super excited. 

This is what success will look like for me at the end of Thursday (in order of importance):

1. I will stay healthy.
2. I will have FUN.
3. I will hit the positions I've been working on in practice.

Anything is possible.  See this link for tons of coverage information.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

NOLA

I finally went to visit Ty at UNO!  He was hired as the head coach there last fall, and has done a super job setting up a brand new track and field program.  Two of his athletes head to the NCAA East Regional this weekend, and he's set to welcome lots more talent in the coming academic year. 

I was so excited to have a reason to go to New Orleans, and the trip did not disappoint!  I've been focused on rehab and supplemental training all year, but was fully cleared to throw at higher speeds (as I can tolerate) three weeks ago when I was in San Diego, so I booked a ticket to go see my coach and get some quality throwing work in.  I could not be more encouraged!

I had been throwing on my own (with Chris, Jamie or Russ watching) for two weeks before visiting Ty.  It was going okay, but there's a lot that has to become familiar again, and the basics didn't feel like the basics anymore.  I tried so hard to focus on simple things, but I expected to struggle in the first few weeks of regular throwing, so my trip south seemed perfectly timed.

It was amazing the difference a few cue words made in my first session with Ty last Monday!  It was even more amazing how well my second throwing session of the week went, especially because other parts of my body are trying hard to keep up with throwing again, too.  This is my favorite throw from my second session (filmed by Lucais MacKay). 

video

I'm a little open and slightly slow to my toe-first plant foot, but I am thrilled with this and the connection that I feel to the javelin.  I'm going to slowly work more speed onto the runway and focus on stabilizing my block leg with my glute: Trusting my left leg is obviously the priority.  I'm excited.

New Orleans is a fabulous place to look forward to having training camps next year!  I had a blast exploring the area and eating as much seafood as possible.  Some photos from the week:

Crawfish boil at Ty and Marie's.

Lake Pontchartrain sailboat at sunset.

Pony!  Equest Farms in City Park had a fundraiser yesterday.

This horse wouldn't keep his tongue in his mouth.  So funny.

There was a donkey race!  Hilarious.

Sunset over the lake last night.  Saw as many of these as possible.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Tough Times

Huckleberry, one of Drake's most beautiful bulldogs!
I traveled to Drake Relays last week to hang out with the awesome ASICS people, cheer Russ and all the other competitors on, and see my Mom and Grandpa.  It turned out to be such a fun week, but it didn't start out great, and I wanted to talk about that a bit!

Throughout this recovery process, I'm proud to report that I've been really strong!  Yes, there have been times when I've had to choose my positive attitude, but it has been way easier than I expected to stay that way.  I generally am just excited to do new things and get stronger physically every day, and that has been really fun to experience.  Once I can do something again (box jumps, blocking drills, etc.), I just consider that new exercise to be part of my repertoire and move forward.  It's awesome. 

Thankfully, I've only gotten really upset about four times in the past seven months, but when I get discouraged, it hits me kind of hard.  I'd like to say it comes out of nowhere, but emotions are completely normal!  There have also been warning signs, but it's not like I could have avoided releasing those emotions.  I think everyone who has gone through major injury can understand that emotions sneak up on you in your quest to stay positive through a recovery that is bound to have its ups and downs.  Traveling to Drake kind of did that for me.

Upon arrival last week in Des Moines, I told Russ,
"I hope I don't freak out since I'm not competing and everyone else is." 
I wouldn't call what I did "freaking out," but I broke down at a bit of an inopportune moment.  I obviously knew I was feeling kind of weird about entering the early months of Track and Field season not knowing what it will bring, or I wouldn't have mentioned anything to Russ.  Good thing I have a fabulous support system to help me through, and I spent the rest of the week with some of the most positive people that I know.  I also got to spend all day Sunday with my Grandpa! 

Stacey and me :)
Whenever these emotional moments have happened, some good thing follows that shows me just how well things are going to turn out.  Whether that good thing has been increased knee flexion in the early days, making new friends in Colorado, or actually having a blast being a spectator at a meet, it always gets me re-energized for the future. 

What do you do to get yourself back on track?  Don't let a few moments of being emotional (for good reason) derail you; talk it through, choose a happy thought, and move forward!  I'm excited.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Questions, Answered

Photo by Russ: My first week of ball throws in Chula Vista!
 
The two questions I had on my page recently were from Sebastian Alexander Miller and Sean Elkinton. 

Sebastian asked what my plans were for this year and whether or not I would be competing in Rio (the 2016 Olympic Games are in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil).  I've said many times this year that choosing to have surgery when I did was in line with a four-year plan, not a one-year plan.  A resounding YES on shooting for Rio! 

With ACL tears, if you don't have a lot of swelling, you can get surgery immediately, but if you are outside about a 48-hour window from the time of injury, you should wait longer than 6-8 weeks.  Since I decided to go to London despite my injury, I was definitely outside of that two-day time period.  Then, I needed to move my stuff to Colorado, and wanted to get some "mental health" time in before surgery, so Russ and I hiked and camped for a few weeks before I returned to San Diego to get reconstructed.

Man, am I glad I did that. 

See my photo album from the trip here.  As challenging as this recovery has been (I'm generally really patient, but injury is weird), I would have gone stir-crazy if I hadn't gotten to explore a bit before going under the knife!

All those things being said, I'd love to be able to compete this year.  I've told a lot of people that USAs (at Drake Stadium on June 20th) is going to be a game-time decision for me, and while that's still the case, I feel better about my chances at competing with each kneehab session I complete.  I did my first real movement into a block yesterday (a medball javelin drill), and while I'm a little sore today, my positions felt great and my knee felt solid.  June 20th is just shy of 9 months post-op, so it's going to be amazing if it works out, but hey, people are capable of amazing things I'm capable of amazing things.  I've always been optimistic, and I'm gonna stay that way!

Sean's question was about Olympic Training Centers; he wants to know the difference between Chula Vista and Colorado Springs.  You'd be surprised (or maybe you wouldn't) by how common a question that is!  The biggest difference between the two is simply that the vast majority of the facilities in Chula Vista are outside, while everything is inside in Colorado Springs.  I worry a bit for my Vitamin D intake because of that, but my skin is much, much happier!  Colorado Springs is also the main Olympic Training Center and the USOC headquarters are downtown, so a lot more goes on here as far as events and opportunities, and a lot more camps and tournaments take place than they did in Chula Vista.  It can get a little crowded, but mostly it's fun to just observe all the different cultures of sport that come through.  Lastly, although I'm living in the "bad dorms" (aka "barracks"), I like the living situation better than in Chula Vista; I've always wanted to try living in a tiny studio apartment by myself, and so far it's great and really efficient (minus the bathroom down the hallway).  I still miss all my people in San Diego (some days like crazy), but it gets better here all the time.  Everyone you meet has something great to offer if you just pay attention and are open-minded.  Go try that today. :)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Six months.

On Tuesday it will have been exactly six months since my surgery. 

I'm so excited to be where I am right now!  Kneehab is going so, so well, I've finally started doing real throwing exercises again, and I feel really strong.  The only problem is that I still have discomfort and pain, but the funny thing is,

that's normal!!!

My visit to San Diego two weeks ago was fabulous; another visit with Dr. Chao went great, Chris pushed me hard like always, and I got to see all my friends and meet Kassidie.  But after running outside for the first time, doing step-ups, normal-speed squats and box jumps, and challenging my knee in a lot of other new ways, it was sore, and my right one was worse!  Coming back to Colorado Springs and feeling discouraged because of that discomfort was no fun.  In talking with Wendy and taking a good, hard look at how I can choose my own attitude though, I've realized a few things since I've been back, and neat things have happened as a result.

1. It's completely okay to get discouraged.  It's how I respond to that feeling that matters.  Recognizing negativity and actively dismissing it to choose positivity instead is really powerful, even if the positive feelings are completely unrelated to track and field.
2. I was still feeling down about not knowing a lot of people in Colorado, but as soon as I decided to be friendly and outgoing this week (like the normal me, OMG!), I got invited to a birthday party! High five, universe.
3. Rest is amazing.  I've been pushing myself really hard non-stop because I'd love to be able to throw this season, but running myself into the ground is not going to accomplish that.  Listening to and agreeing with your body when it tells you it needs a rest (even if it doesn't fit in with your plans) can be extremely beneficial. 

The six to nine month post-op window with ACL reconstructions is apparently when the most re-tears happen, so I would appreciate all the positive and strong thoughts everyone can send my way!  You better believe that I'm really careful all the time, but any prayers and uplifting energy that you have to spare couldn't hurt.  I'm forging ahead with the kneehab plan with extra focus on stability. 

Not only did I try some new things in San Diego, but Chris did a bunch of performance measurements to compare my surgery leg with my non-surgery leg.  The good news is that literally every measurement he took and test I performed showed that my left leg is at least 90% as good as my right, and in some of them, my left is better now.  The bad news is that my self-reported percentage (which I gave strictly thinking about how ready I am to throw a javelin full-speed) is down at 72%, and that one is the most important.  The good news about the bad news is that confidence in my abilities is completely up to me. :) Here we go. :)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Week 19...whoa

This is the 19th week since my surgery. 

Honestly, I forgot to count for the last few and have had to check on my phone.  That makes me really happy!  I went back to Chula Vista for a few clinics and a check-up with my surgeon, had a blast, and am so happy to be moving forward at what feels like breakneck pace.

I think I'm living in a time warp.  I can't believe my surgery was so long ago.  It feels like it was yesterday, but I also remember each stage of my recovery vividly and can reflect on how far I've come every day.  I don't want to lose sight of how much I'm learning from the recovery process, but I love that I'm still able to do what I've always done after injury; simply look forward when milestones are reached, and believe in my rediscovered abilities. 

Here are some of my favorite rehab exercises:

Resisted speed skaters: Chris/Amber/Heather pull on a bungee around my waist at all different and changing angles while I speed skate diagonally forward.
Bosu ball speed skaters/lunges/hops/soccer drills: All variations of jumping onto, lunging onto, jumping over, or jumping around the bosu ball.
Slide board: Put booties on and slide back and forth on a plastic board.  I have to wear my brace for this one, but that's okay.  It's dynamic lateral movement, so that's expected.
Monster walks: Place a bungee around my legs just above the knees and walk forward, backward and side to side.  I feel like I'm doing defensive basketball drills, because I get to move dynamically on the sideways ones!
Split squats: One foot on the ground on a foam pad, the other behind me on top of a high box, and sit back into the hip and squat/lunge.  Awesome.
Any kind of RDL (Romanian Dead Lift)!

I do much, much more than the exercises above, and I'm totally loving all of it right now, but I don't want to bore anyone.  Please ask specific questions if you have them!

My upper body lifting has been awesome, I had leg lifts for the first time in my last block (eccentric squats, split squats and eccentric RDLs), and I get to start Olympic lifts in the block that starts tomorrow!  I'm so excited to be moving toward normal again, but am loving paying attention to moving my body correctly.  I can't tell you how cool it is to know that I'm whole again.  Happy Training!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Validation

I've been in Colorado Springs now for a little bit over a month!  I was getting used to my new surroundings, taking online assessments for grad school, my computer died, and then I traveled home and to see friends for the holidays.  Busy times, but all along, kneehab has gone really well.

I wanted to outline a bit of what my normal schedule is.  Sometimes injury is kind of a mystery to people who haven’t gone through it, or people simply watch for results and don’t realize what goes on in the off-season or in times of trial.  Here’s a week in my life right now:
Monday/Wednesday/Friday:
Warm-up.  Elliptical or bike for 20 minutes.  The elliptical is great for me because I can practice getting full extension in my knee with some resistance.  I don’t push the resistance too high…yet.
Medball throws.  Currently, I’m seated on the floor with my back against a swiss ball, throwing a 6-pound medball forward overhead (getting lots of stretch behind me).  I’m up to 655 of these throws total this week.
Lift.  A variation each day of straight arm pullovers, bench (incline and flat), and rows, plus an ab/shoulder/hamstring circuit.  I’ll get to start lower body lifting in two weeks!
Rehab.  Soft tissue with Amber, then about an hour, sometimes more, of rehab exercises.  I’ve progressed to some jumping and single-leg stuff.
Alter-G.  I’m up to 96% of my body weight; SO close to running on my own!  Can’t wait!  I alternate walking for one minute and jogging for four minutes for 20 minutes total, increasing the percentage every 5 minutes.
NormaTec.  Recovery for 30 minutes.
Game Ready.  More recovery for 20 minutes.

Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday:
Warm-up.  Treadmill walk at a 10% incline for 20 minutes.  I do my best to stay at 4 mph the whole time!
Medball throws (just on Tuesday/Thursday).  Seated on the floor with my legs straight out in front of me, I throw sideways against a wall.  160 each side this week.
Rehab.  Soft tissue and then an hour/hour and a half of another set of exercises.
Swimming.  Aqua jogging, crossovers in the pool, gentle kicking, and alternating freestyle with backstroke pulling.  I love the CSOTCpool! 
NormaTec.  30 minutes.
Game Ready.  20 minutes.

Sunday:
REST.

I’m so happy with the progress I’ve seen so far, and (I think I’ve said this before) it’s so fun to know that I’m actually working toward being completely healthy.  When I was rehabbing in preparation for London, the harsh reality was that no matter how hard I worked, I couldn’t grow my ACL back for the Olympics.
Any athlete experiences doubts from time to time, and I’ve questioned whether making the trip to London was worth it or not.  I didn’t second-guess the decision at the time, because that would’ve meant a lapse in confidence and a miserable turnout, but a few months later I reflected on whether I’d gone down the right path.  Here are a few reasons why I wouldn’t change a thing.

1. I now know how tough I can be.  I’ve always had major confidence in my ability to put everything into a throw or a workout, but competing under adversity is a different story.  I’ve shown myself glimpses of this in the past (slight 2010 back pain), but this was another level for me.  If something isn’t quite on my side in the future, I know I’ll be ready with tenacity.

2. Keeping my diagnosis to myself gave me strength.  Depending only on myself and a few people close to me in preparation for London taught me the power of a strong support system, not to mention strength of will.  Only I could decide to move forward positively.

3. Throwing injured gives me perspective.  This sounds silly, but I recently realized that the next time I throw a javelin, I’ll have an ACL!  My reality for a month was throwing without one, and throwing without one at high intensity was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done.  I’m confident that no matter how nervous I am trying to throw again, it’ll be better than the last time I did it, and I’m so excited about that.  Also, I’m very happy that my most recent memory of throwing isn’t my last attempt at the Trials.  Tearing my ACL as my freshest throwing memory seems to me like it’d set me up for failure.  I moved forward even before I could fully move forward.

4. Good preparation for surgery.  They say that the rehab you do before surgery makes rehab after surgery a lot easier.  I haven’t had any operations before now, so I can’t speak to that, but my people tell me I’m doing great!  The time I spent working with Chris before London and afterward on my own got me as ready as I possibly could have been to hit the ground running after going under the knife.

5. I became a two-time Olympian.  The London Olympics were fabulous.  Being able to converse with local people on trains and in the city about how exciting the whole thing was was so much fun, and so different from Beijing.  The entire experience was awesome, and I did better than I did the first time around.  Plus, I got to watch a fellow Boilermakerwin gold!!

6. Motivation for the future.  I was in awesome shape at the Trials.  I was definitely running out of chances to release a big throw when I got injured, but I believe that Ty had me in excellent condition for the summer’s most important meets.  The fact that I still managed to be semi-competitive with my injury gets me so excited for the future, because if I can beat some people at the Olympics significantly injured, what can I do healthy?  Wait and see.
Has something happened in your life that you could’ve done differently?  How did the decision you made make a positive impact on what’s happening now?  Keep looking for the good.
 
Here's what was good at home for Christmas! :)
 
My parents as reindeer!

Craig (in the star) and I (the little circle) on the tree.

Beau and Brandy being good dogs in their Santa hats!