Or “back in the boat” rather. Well, to be fair, right now it’s really “back on the erg.”
So, it’s almost been a year since I’ve reached out and written about my training, travels, and adventures. I feel like I’ve been putting off this moment because there’s so much to catch up on and I didn’t know where to start. So, I decided I’m not really going to try to fully catch everyone up. Instead you get the Spark-notes.
I have had a pretty incredible year. This Thursday is going to mark the 1 year anniversary of my Olympic final, and I cannot believe how quickly time has passed. It’s probably flown by because I’ve been having so much fun and keeping myself so busy. Here’s the short version:
August: Greatest month of my entire life. I felt like a giant kid in a Disney World for athletes and there was nothing that could break my spirit.
Fall: I essentially tried to cram every moment I’d missed over the past two years into three short months. I spent lots of times with my friends and family, attended many rowing events, and visited lots of teams and schools for speaking events. It was a total blast.
December: Then the post-Olympic blues set it. Yes, it’s a real thing, and I totally felt it. I missed rowing terribly and felt I didn’t have a life plan yet. Mainly, I was bored and uncertain of what would come next.
January: I made the commitment to begin rowing again and joined the team in San Diego for a training trip. It was a great way to ease back into training and I immediately remembered why I loved rowing so much and knew I had made the right decision.
February: Rowing in the snow. Enough said.
March: I raced in my first World Cup. We traveled to Australia and won silver in the women’s 8. It was awesome.
April: This was an awesome month of training. I started to make huge technical changes on the water and I was hitting personal bests on the erg.
May: And then…my body yelled, “HOLD UP, WAIT A MINUTE, and SLOW DOWN!” Diagnosis: an L5S1 disk bulge and an annular tear. 6 week recovery required. Read about my diagnosis here.
June: Rest was required, and so rest I did. I spent a lot of time with my family and some great days on the beach. After much intensive physical therapy, 6 weeks came and went, and I was still in pain. I was given two choices – get a few epidural steroid shots into my disk and get back in the boat, or let my body heal on its own through more physical therapy and rest. It was a very tough decision, but my gut told me to rest, and so we pulled the World Championships off the table.
July: So we find ourselves in July. After 12 full weeks of rest, I am pain free and happily functioning again. I feel REALLY out of shape and very weak because my cross training was minimal and the main goal was to heal. I’m back in Princeton and getting to work!
My newest focus is building back the right muscles. Through my physical therapy and lots of research, I’ve realized that most of the athletic positions I naturally go to are very weak positions. I have to reteach myself how to run, lift, and row in a stronger, more protected position. So far it’s going well! Here’s what I’m up to on the erg:
Working on a stronger postion.
Still a lot of work to do here, but drastically different than where I started.
What feels much better. My old position!
More on my recovery later! Stay tuned.