I’ve made some great progress with the recovery of my knee recently, and I’m excited about what that means for this season.
Just getting back on the track in the last month has been really good for me, and done a lot for my mental space. Track is not my entire life, but it’s a big part of me, and something that I love to do. So getting back out there made me happy.
It also really helped me see a clearer picture of what I can do and what I’m made of. I’ve been through so much through my whole career—and everybody has, I’m not the only one. We’re not exempt from anything. But what I’ve overcome has proven to me that I’m the type of person who will never fold under pressure or adversity. Somehow, I always climb my way back out, so I’m hoping the same thing will happen with this particular situation.
Right now, it’s going in that direction. It’s amazing how far I’ve come in such a short period of time.
Not too long ago — maybe two months or so — I was talking to my family, and debating whether I should take the entire year off because of how my knee was feeling at that time. I could barely walk. My hips hurt. My back was starting to hurt as well because I had to be so off balance when I was walking. It wasn’t just a week or two. I was feeling that way for months. It would just come and go.
I started to panic. I was also getting frustrated to the point where I didn’t really care if I ever ran again. I just wanted to be able to walk around normally and have an active lifestyle. It was starting to seem like I wasn’t going to have that.
But one day when I was at physical therapy, I worked out in the same area as a friend of mine, Terrell Thomas. Terrell went to USC with me, and has played in the NFL for a while — most recently, last year with the New York Giants.
As we were going through treatment, I overheard Terrell talking to another girl about a knee procedure he’d had — the same one I’d had — and what he had gone through afterward.
After he had the surgery, he could barely go down stairs. He could barely walk.
That’s what I had experienced, too.
But he got through it. And eventually, he continued playing in the NFL, making it through an entire season last year.
When I heard him say that, it sparked something in me. It made me realize how important it is for athletes who are going through injuries to talk to other athletes who have been through those same injuries, if only to get an idea of what you’re going to go through.
Everyone needs perspective.
I don’t think Terrell knows what that did for me. But just hearing him talk about his experience — without me even sharing anything about how my knee felt — I got so much out of that. After he left, I asked my physical therapist some questions about Terrell’s knee injury and surgery.
It really put me at ease. It made me realize that I wasn’t going through this alone. It gave me hope. I started praying hard that everything was going to fall into place, and everything I’ve been doing since has. I still have some up and down days, but I feel like I’m able to manage so far.
The physical therapists were always very encouraging through the whole process. And once I turned that corner, they said, “We told you. You just had to give it some time and be patient.”
They joked with me, calling my knee bipolar because there were some days where out of nowhere, my knee was swollen to the point where I couldn’t walk and I was in pain. Then I’d go back two days later, and it was fine, and I was able to run.
PUSH AND PULL
I’ve been back on the track for about a month now, and I’m starting to run a lot smoother. My recovery during workouts is getting a lot better as well.
Because my rehab from surgery put me behind on training for 2014, my coach, Bobby Kersee, has me doing a lot of different things. I feel like I’m cramming like I would if I were taking a test, and didn’t know the material from start to finish.
I’m doing long stuff to get some basic training in because I missed that, speed stuff to try to get faster, strength stuff and speed endurance.
I’m surprising myself every time I step on the track and do something at practice. Bobby is a pusher, and he kind of pushed me into doing some hurdling. I didn’t think I was going to be able to do it because my body hadn’t done that movement in so long. I was worried I might hurt my knee.
He kept saying, “You know how to hurdle. You’re won’t lose that. You’re won’t forget.”
When I did it, I felt a lot better going over the hurdles than I thought I would. That was surprising.
Bobby knows the body very well, which explains why he’s always saying, “That’s why I’m the coach, and you’re the athlete.”
For so long, I wasn’t sure how this year was going to go. But to actually experience it out on the track — it gives me a little more hope and encouragement.
I don’t have any speed over the hurdles right now. I still have a long way to go. I still have a lot of training to do.
But we’ll get there.