Spring has arrived and a new training season is underway! Every year, I come into May with a new set of goals and objectives, and this year so far has been all about recovery, being creative with training, and making the most out of what I have.
I had foot surgery at the end of April to remove a broken sesamoid bone in my left foot, and apparently the surgery itself went very smoothly (although it should be noted that I don’t really know what happened during the actual surgery because I was under some fairly strong IV sedation).
Immediately after surgery, I headed home to Athabasca to spend a week relaxing on the farm. The first 5 days post-surgery are apparently the most important for recovery, so I spent them sitting in a chair with my foot elevated, and icing on and off all day. To my surprise, I had very little pain in my foot and was able to keep the swelling to a minimum. Although sitting around all day was pretty boring, I was busy finishing up a Social Psychology course so I had a lot to do. I wrote the course term paper on the impact of teammates and coaches on athletic performance, so the resarch was a lot of fun and quite relevant to skiing.
After the initial recovery period, I went back to Canmore and started easing into some light training. Since I am still on crutches and at that point I still had to wait for the stitches to come out before I could swim, I was limited to kayaking, upper body strength, core, and pilates. I also moved into a new condo, which, being on crutches, proved to be a pretty big challenge. Thankfully, I have some pretty amazing friends who helped move everything over.
I had my stitches removed just over a week ago, and have since been easing into swimming and stationary biking. Once it gets warmer in Canmore, I’m hoping to start doing some open water swimming in Quarry Lake. Although I’m by no means a great swimmer, I’m planning on doing the swim leg of some team traithlon relays this summer. At the moment, I’m still on crutches, but I have a follow-up appointment with the surgeon next week. At that point, we will re-assess and hopefully at some point soon I will be able to ease into weight-bearing.
Having a foot injury can be challenging, particularly as feet are needed not only for training but for most daily tasks in life. Simple things like going to the gym, walking across a swimming pool deck, or getting groceries suddenly get a lot more difficult when you know that every moment spent on your feet can be impeding recovery. Sitting immobile around the house is sometimes better for recovery than trying to go to the gym, for example, but being an athlete, it’s hard not to feel guilty about not training as much as I normally would. I’m constantly working on finding that balance between recovery and activity, and I’ve had to remind myself (or be reminded) many times that it’s okay, and often better, to rest.
While recovery from the surgery itself has gone very smoothly, injuries rarely have a perfect trajectory upwards. As to be expected, weeks of compensation and using different muscles while being on crutches have brought on their share of minor injuries in different areas. Like most things in in life, the road to recovery is a bumpy one. Nevertheless, I’m determined to ride through the bumps in the road through to the smooth pavement at the other end!
Among other news, I was nominated to the Senior National Ski Team again this season! I’m looking forward to joining in on the NST training camps later in the year, and I feel very lucky be able to represent Canada once again.
I am also back to training with Rocky Mountain Racers Ski Team this year, which I am really happy about! Although it was hard to leave the Alberta World Cup Academy, I’m really excited to be working with my coach John Jaques and the rest of the RMR crew again, and I’m stoked to collaborate with AWCA once I am back to normal training. A big shoutout goes to AWCA coaches Chris and Scott, wax tech Keegan, and the rest of the staff, volunteers, and athletes for the awesome support and great training last year!
For now, I’ll keep focusing on recovery, school, and doing what training I can without taking away from recovery. For the most part, I really like school, so it has been nice to have time to make progress there. With any luck, I should be back on my feet in not too long!