Well, on to my update…
This past week I have been back to regular training and at the end of the week I even did full approach pop ups. (Technical talk for doing take-offs in the long jump without landing). I am ecstatic because I’m still fast. Granted, I am not as fast as I believe I would have been without the setback, but I am definitely fast and this is one of my advantages to already being one of the fastest jumpers in the world (in my humble opinion). It was a bit nerve racking putting back on my spikes without knowing what to expect from my body. I did not step on a track surface for a month’s time and then I did a somewhat abbreviated and accelerated rehab program so that I could get back to doing what I need to do. Needless to say, this caused some achy joints and bones. I am not the spring chicken I once was!
As important as balancing on one leg and stepping down from a 1 ft. box is, I could not wait to start to be able to feel as if I was really preparing for my task in 3 weeks. Here is the thing about this whole process – it can be truly overwhelming if you let it. I have taken things one step at a time because that is the only way to feel as if it’s manageable. If I could only lie on my couch and squeeze my quad 25 times every hour, I made sure I stayed on top of it. Once I was able to jog in the water, I tried to be the best water jogger I could. (No easy feat as I am no fan of things done in the water.) When I was able to get on land and do things that were not too much impact, I put all my energy towards that. I could not focus on what I could not do, only on what I could. It was hard. I’m not going to lie. But for the most part I was proud of myself for staying in the moment and staying positive and continuing to believe that I would be ok.
Last Friday, when I finally got on the runway and ran my approach, timed my last 10 meters, and took off from that speed, I was able to let out a huge sigh of relief. It will probably still take a little time for my timing to get back on and for the distance to be worth anything, but that is not cause for worry right now. In fact, I prevented myself from even measuring them because I just wanted to feel happy with my incredible progress. The speed that I am running at is enough for me to jump far and that is a huge piece of my puzzle. I make no qualms about the fact that I am a ‘speed’ jumper, meaning that my ability to jump far is in direct correlation to the speed I’m able to generate on the runway. A technique jumper I am not. So it is a cause for celebration that I am feeling so close to my old self at this stage of the game.
My knee feels a little stiff and weird but the main thing is that it feels strong and it’s not swelling up by anything that I have done thus far. It is a precocious balance at this stage of the game because right now is not the time to really work hard and do tons of things to help me get stronger and faster. I know I am behind in terms of where I would want to be in a perfect world, especially in terms of having competitions under my belt, but on the bright side I certainly haven’t over-competed! Right now all athletes are in their tapering stages and are allowing their bodies to be rested in order to feel their best and peak for the Trials. There is so much work that I want to be able to do but obviously there is not time for that. I basically have to trust what I have and use these next few weeks to fine-tune it. I feel incredibly blessed to be healthy in mind, body, and spirit and I really don’t think I could ask for anything more.