Sunday, December 15, 2013

First Half of the Season Complete!

4th Place Finish with Jazmine Fenlator in both Park City, Utah and Lake Placid, New York


Monday, December 2, 2013

Lots to be thankful for

I slowly woke up, reached down to my left hip and felt a bulky brace down my leg.  I immediately started to cry.  Before going into surgery the doctors had told me that if I had the brace on they had to do more work on my hip than they had expected and my recovery time would be longer.   When you are an elite athlete every day counts, especially when you are recovering from an injury.   

After coming off a stressful and exciting Olympic season in 2010 I was struggling to maintain motivation training for the upcoming season.  I decided to enter in a local weightlifting meet.  It was exciting and allowed me to have something other than bobsled to train for.  I learned the lifts as best I could in the month leading up to the meet and managed to use my strength developed from years of bobsledding to complete a decent amount of weight.  It was exactly what I needed to find the competitive fire leading into the next season. 

Subsequently after the meet I started to feel pain in my left hip in the deep squat position.  I backed off on a few of my lifts hoping the pain was muscular and that it would go away with a treatment plan.  Unfortunately it did not.  I quietly limped my way through the following season hoping I could maintain my position and performance.  I managed to complete the season but knew if I wanted any chance of improving and having a chance at competing in Sochi a drastic measure was going to be needed. 

I was terrified this was going to be the end of my bobsled career.  I really did not tell anyone on my team but instead went under the knife four days after returning home from the season to repair a torn labrum in my hip.  Dr. Safran and his team at Stanford Medical took great care of me and managed to calm my nerves with their long history of success stories.   As I laid on the table choosing the music the medical team was going to listen to, I reiterated how important it was for my 'new hip' to be fast (I am sure that did not add any pressure!)

On this Thanksgiving I was able to reflect back on that difficult time in my life and remember how many things, especially my health, I have to be thankful for.  I am so thankful to everyone who helped me fully recover from surgery.  Dr. Safran and his team dutifully answered all my crazy post-operative questions including if I could do pull ups days after surgery.  The U.S. Olympic Committee Sports Medicine team pushed me in my rehab and held me back when I wanted to move forward too quickly.   And of course my family who has always 100 percent supported every decision I have made.  My father helped to comfort me with his orthopedic knowledge and confidence in my physicians.  My mother took her nursing role very seriously and no matter how stubborn I was she reminded me that I needed her help.  I am thankful every day that I am healthy and I am able to continue to compete for my country.