Unfortunately the 2010 season has to come to a premature end due to an injury in my calf muscle. This injury has been going on and off since I initially injured my left foot back in June. It has been a difficult time both mentally and physically. I have been repeating the process of taking a couple of weeks off and then getting back into racing as soon as possible. The injury was the reason I had to miss out on the run at the London ITU race and unfortunately, the injury has returned. Looking back, I realize that taking a break and then getting back into consecutive races four weeks later is not ideal for recovery back form injury.
As it turns out, I have a tear in my soleous muscle. The good news is this tear is slight and in the belly of the muscle, so healing is much quicker verses a tear in the tendon. Healing however, is top priority and racing in the last two races of the Toyota Series are not possible. I am focusing 100% on with the bigger goals of becoming stronger and healthier next year and focusing towards the 2012 Games.
The injury makes very clear sense to me, which helps me to understand what has happened and what to do to prevent this injury in the future. Not surprisingly, the injury has occurred on the same leg I had surgery on last year. Prior to the surgery, I did not have function of my big toe and push off motion (the muscle I tore has the responsibility of toe-off). The recovery time for the nerve healing is two years, and currently I am still in the window for healing. This particular muscle was much weaker compared to other areas of my leg and the stress of 10-15 races the past couple of years (per year) was just a bit too much to take.
The positive news is that with proper recovery and slowly easing back into training, my leg will have a full recovery and will be much stronger next year. The next two years I will really be focusing on the Olympic trials and qualifying for London in 2012. This means a bit less travel than this year to really focus on training and hitting key races at peak fitness. I am extremely disappointed that I am not able to defend my 2009 Toyota Cup Series Title, but I have to be proud of the two wins I earned in the Series; Minneapolis in July and Chicago in August.
Part of being a professional athlete is overcoming obstacles and becoming a stronger athlete in the future. Every year I learn a about my body’s, weaknesses and areas to improve in the coming years. This year my husband and I learned a lot about training progression and building more of an aerobic base early season to ward off those possible injuries later on, especially with my leg since I am still recovering from a nerve injury. The body is very strong and will continue to fight and fight until it breaks, and once it breaks, you have to give the body the rest and recovery it needs to heal. Unfortunately, this is tough to do in the middle of race season, but we have learned!
I can’t thank my sponsors enough for all the support this year in 2010. Over the past year, I have raced almost a dozen races, including five wins, and three top ten finishes in the World Championships Series races. Next year the plan may not be to get to the starting line as frequently, but each time I do toe the line I will be ready for a quality performance.