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. :)