Hi All – Sorry for being MIA from the blogging world. The beginning of the summer has thrown me a couple challenges and speed bumps, forcing for me to test my patience and creativity. This past year I have been working with a functional back injury that first appeared when I left for World Cup last fall, then disappeared for five months, before making another appearance my first week of training this spring.
After spending the first month of the training year doing nothing but skating and running (classic was hurting my back), I ended up with an overuse injury on one of the tendons in my foot. This is when I had to pull the plug, sit down and really think about what was going wrong. This is also when I started going to Physical Therapy and understanding more of what was going wrong with my back.
Unfortunately, an injury like I have, has lots of ups and downs. Fixing it means changing my technique, changing the way I carry myself, changing the ways I pick things up… basically learning to move in a different way that is not constantly pinching my facet joint. As every athlete in the world, and every normal human being in the world wants to know… how do I get better? Unfortunately, I have been testing the boundaries and learning those limitations through the course of the summer. Not being able to train at full capacity is the hardest part of training. Training hard when I am healthy is the easy part!
The two weeks in between our first National Team Camp in Bend, Oregon and the scheduled North American Women’s Team Camp (NAWTA) I raced to get back in working order. I knew Aino-Kaisa Saarinen (Aiku) would be coming, and since I first started watching her ski, I have dreamt about classic skiing behind her, and learning to ski like her. As I raced to quickly be better in time, I over-jumped my limitations, skiing a two-hour skate through the hills chasing Aiku and Kikkan. Again, I was back at the bottom with my heart hanging low. At that point I had to make the dfficult decision to leave the National Team Camp in my own town and get away from the excitement and motivated girls to truly get my body back to order.
This is when I headed back to the Methow to spend some time with my parents and forget about the frustrations and expectations. For ten days, I enjoyed being with my family, enjoyed the sunshine, let my mind relax, and did some PT work. But again, I was faced with a difficult decision. What next? Things are not completely better, so what next? When your heart only knows one thing- and that is working hard and being motivated… its difficult to not go searching in every direction for the magic answer.
Luckily I have a coach full of experience with injuries, and a team of extremely motivating friends. I haven’t gone a day without someone reminding me that injuries happen to all the best. I even came across a quote from an Olympic Hurdler, Lolo Jones, on my flight back to AK. During the 2008 Olympic Games, she was the favorite to win a gold medal in the 100-meter hurdles, but clipped the second to last hurdle, sending her from first to seventh place. She also went through her fair share of injuries and challenges. Her response to these adversities were:
“Any time a bad thing happens, when I haven’t made a team or I’ve been injured, I think. There’s got to be a reason for this. Adversities make you mad, they make you sad, they literally break you down, but if you fight through them, they make you stronger, sharper and more motivated”.
And finally, I have started making true progress.
“The key to it all is the difference between hoping and believing. Hoping is better than nothing, but it’s still laced with fear, apprehension, and doubt, and that will effect your circulation, physiology and healing. When you become a believer- through experience, evidence from other athletes who’ve been through this- you can change from hope to belief. When you do that, you find a new level of responsiveness.”
Thank god I have a coach that truly understands and can relate to the mental swings of injuries. Especially when you feel like you have no answers. Erik has been great about continuously reminding me that the year is still young, it is the time to work on my weaknesses, and the answer is consistency. When looking for a magic solution becomes tempting, I am constantly reminded that the solution comes with consistency.
Thanks to everyone that has been so incredibly supportive this summer. You guys are all wonderful angels and I truly appreciate it!
Posted by Sadie Bjornsen
We’re all up to speed and wishing Sadie the best in getting ready for this next winter, as it has been a long and trying early part of the year.