Thursday, April 17, 2008

Crash and Burn

Some time last week I posted about the aches and pains my body was going through. Although this is the life of a track athlete that we have become accustomed to and learn to deal with, there are times when our body is actually trying to get our attention.

Aye, yo. I am struggling over here. Would you mind taking it easy so that I can catch a breather??!!

But in our hard-headed ways, oftentimes we ignore these pleas and trudge along. Why? Well sometimes it’s just hard to differentiate between the “suck it up” pain and the “pay attention” pain. Everyone has those people on their team who will put their name on the ballot for most dramatic performance by a track athlete every time they feel a little soreness here or an ache there. But it is also the mentality for some, including myself, that I have to do each and everything possible to prepare myself. If I don’t do this workout, there is someone else out there that is training twice as hard. A lot of times, it is a mental thing more than anything else.

I will admit, I didn’t always used to be like this. Yes, when I did train I tried to give 100%, but I can clearly remember the first Christmas break of my college career when Coach sent me home to California with a months worth of workouts and I came back having made it to the track a total of 6 times. He noticed. And back in the day, I also used to be the captain of the cheer squad if something came up and we were unable to practice. Rain? Woohoo! They are re-paining the track? Score! We have the day off to study for finals? Sweeeet!

But I am a changed woman these days.

I am admitting now that I think my body was trying to get my attention, and because I refused to notice, it took matters into it’s own hands. It just simply stopped functioning. It’s a hard thing to explain if you’ve never experienced it yourself. I train 5 to 6 days a week and even if sometimes my body doesn’t feel as fresh and crisp as other times, you are still able to make do. I knew something was up on Saturday when I raced in Tempe. I didn’t feel horrible, but I felt like my body didn’t have that extra ‘pick up and go’ that you usually experience in a race. It felt like I was stuck in 3rd gear. Still, I chalked it up to a myriad of other things. Then, at practice on Monday, I started with long jump approaches and I couldn’t make it to the board. It took numerous tries and the most insane effort ever to run my approach. I felt as if I was running through mud. So Tuesday I was going to take it easy and just do strides, and when I tell you that to make myself jog a lap was tantamount to running a marathon…I would only be exaggerating a little bit.

So I was put on mandatory active rest for the remainder of the week. There was nothing I did specifically that overworked my body, it’s just an accumulative thing that can happen to anybody at any time. Sometimes your body just wants a little rest, and when you don’t give it that, it will find a way to take it anyway. My coach new I would be a little bothered, being that I open up in the long jump this weekend and I had no good sessions this week to prepare, but he told me quite simply that at this point, I am the jumper that I am. Another practice session is not going to produce any miraculous achievements and it’s more important that I try and get my body feeling good more than anything. I begrudgingly agreed.

Sometimes it’s bizarre how our mind processes things. I am so extremely anal when it comes to my technical practices or ones I consider to be of extreme importance. It’s not as if I don’t have 14 years of work under my belt, but if I miss this one practice THE WORLD IS OVER. Everything is fine though. I will have an easy week of extreme recovery under my belt and hopefully my body will thank me for it.


ktizzle said...

B... you gotta remember that recover is part of training. i guess you just had to learn that the hard way... well hopefully your body gets the rest that it needs and you are back in business soon.

good luck this weekend.

anonymousnupe said...

Was this the answer to my question from your 4/13 "Opening Day" entry? Makes sense.

Nikkie T said...

Coach Harvey's awesome. Trust him.

Eb the Celeb said...

Yup rest up.. you cant deny the messages that your body is sending you...

and high 5 at the slacking... I was such a slacker in HS... my coach used to whoop my tail... i once skipped practice to go to the boys trackmeet...LOL got in hella trouble the next day and had to run double what everyone else did... ugh!

Brianna said...

@nupe...yea, i guess it's sorta, kinda the answer. but you don't always run your PR every time you step on the track for a variety of reasons. remeber that christmas break don't you? because you (didn't) train just as much as me!

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Jackie Edwards said...

Hey Bri. Just wanted to wish you all the best this weekend over there at Mt. SAC. From the sounds of everything, you've put in the work and add some rest to that and you should be just fine! Just remember the stellar performance you had last year there and that should give you all the momentum you need. Good luck! I'll let you know how I go as well.

creolejoe said...

Hi Bri,

I don't know if you'll believe this story however ask jackie edwards she'll co-sign on it. In 1996 I was fortunate to have a great friendship with a group of guys that were some of the best and craziest athletes i have ever known. One of them is still the american record holder in the triple jump. Kenny Harrison. I'll make this short--2 weeks before the olympic trials Kenny practiced after a 3 month no comp and rest hiatus. 1st jump he won the trials. During the summer he had 2 warm up meets and made some money and we had a great time partying and relaxing.
The Olympics in Atlanta. 1st jump breaks american record and olympic record and wins the Gold Medal!
As we get older and more refined in this sport--recovery is more important then most other aspects of training-this has been my experience noticing the great ones. I took a risk while coaching in high school when we are kids we could run in 8 olympic trials a week.I coached a kid in high school who did 7 feet in h.j. 50 feet in the triple and broke 14 in the 110hh. all in the same season-plus a 47 in the 400. the set up was a very broad base during the winteri busted his ass -at the time i was living in rhode island--the theory i learned was the wider and deeper the base the higher the pyramid-when spring season came we practiced 2 times per week.
You know all this and so does everyone else in the world--what we did with Eric Clinton--was have fun and created workouts that gave him 2 things i learned from kenny h.--1. the ability to relax 2. the ability to chanel/concentrate when the 2 can meet at the same place at the same moment incredible things can happen--olympic gold medal--50 tj as a high school jr. We trained the mind meeting the spirit.
Your body and your physical thresh hold are as good as its ever gonna get. Your body--muscle has memorey--i reffered to the 4th dimension on some fantastic blog of yours the point is you have the one of the best a fittest bodies on the planet-period!--Ur also stunning--a straight up fly girl. Your coach is a legend--you have amazing friends who are so supportive--you got at least 300 men to choose from me included--lol:)--you have already made it this far--you've survived some incredible odds--the only thing left to do is relax and enjoy the ride and capture the moment--let your mind meet your spirit and may god's wind blow behind you!

The Cajun Boy said...

it sucks. breaking down that is. i played basketball in college and still played pretty competitively in rec leagues in nyc and on the courts at rucker and west 4th (yeah, i was THE white guy). but a couple of years ago my body began to break down. not only did i lose the strength, quickness and agility that i once had, but my recovery time took much longer than ever before. finally, i just kinda gave up. not being able to do the things that i used to be able to frustrated me to the point where playing wasn't fun anymore.

so now i ride a bike and walk a lot, you know, old people stuff. i put myself out to pasture at 35.

jameil1922 said...

you know what? i'm glad our bodies take charge sometimes.