Rehab Progress, Turning 30 and Enjoying Seattle

It’s been almost two months since I had surgery, and so far, the recovery is going pretty well. I still have a little ways to go, but I hope that this next six weeks will be that jump up to that next level, closer to getting me back on the track.

It took a while for me just to be able to walk. I couldn’t walk for the first two weeks and was on crutches for the next three weeks, then moved to a cane, and gradually, worked my way back to walking on my own. I’ve been doing it on my own for the last couple of weeks, but I’m still trying to get the strength back in my legs and still building that up day by day. I also still have some scar tissue in the area where they did most of the work that needs to break up.

Once I was first allowed to start doing rehab work, I had to do a lot of straight leg work because I couldn’t do anything with a bent knee that shortly after the surgery. It was a lot of work with ankle weights, calf raises, ankle curls, glute exercises, all designed to strengthen the muscles around the knee to help take pressure off the knee.

I can feel the difference on a week-to-week basis. Since they’ve cleared me to do a little more, I’ve also been riding a stationary bike and running in the pool, which has helped a lot. The next step is to do more with a bent knee because that’s going to simulate more how I run, and the position that my body will be in.

At this point, I have to just go based on what my body feels like. With certain exercises you can feel when you’re ready to move up or do something different. The last couple of weeks, I started feeling like that and the trainers I’m working with felt that way too without me even having to say it. The doctors have said, “You know your body. You can feel when you’re ready to move up.”

The important thing is to listen to my body because my mind is definitely ready ahead of when my body will be. Until my body is ready, I have to listen to the pain, and really think about what I can and can’t do. If I feel any type of discomfort, I just have to back it off and maybe try again in a couple days.

You can progress pretty fast, but you don’t want to push it to where you hurt something else because you’re not ready.

This rehab is similar to what I went through the last time I had knee surgery. It seems like it went a little quicker last time, but I had different work done this time so I had to be a little more careful with the exercises in the beginning — that’s why they implemented some of the straight leg exercises — to make sure I was progressing slowly instead of jumping right in.

Outside of my rehab, I have to remind myself to limit my activities. I’m used to doing a lot of things in one day and really getting after it, but sometimes I really need to remember to slow down.

Having the surgery toward the end of the season has helped me take it slow a bit. But at the same time, I haven’t run in a couple of months, so I can’t fight the feeling that I am a little behind. Because of that, I would like to get started earlier than I normally would if I had completed a season. It makes me want to speed this thing up so I can do some running and jogging.

I’ll be checking back in with the surgeon in St. Louis in a few weeks, and I’m hoping to be cleared to ramp it up a bit so I can get back on the track soon.

TURNING 30

I just celebrated my 30th birthday earlier this month, so I was in Seattle for a while to enjoy it with my friends and family.

I feel like when you go through things like what I’m going through with rehab, the important thing is to remember that there’s still life outside of track, and to enjoy the important moments that are still there. That helps me keep my mind off of sitting there and beating myself up because I’m watching everyone else compete while I’m just sitting out.

Everybody that I have around me has been really supportive during this time. My parents and my friends have been great. My husband has done so much for me in the last month, there are times I don’t want to even ask for anything else, but I’m sure he enjoyed it, even if I got on his nerves at times.

While I was in Seattle, I got to participate in several great events for the city.

After speaking at the Love and 4Giveness event in St. Louis, I helped Jackie Joyner-Kersee organize to bring the Love and 4Giveness program up to Seattle last Saturday. It really meant a lot to me for her to come and shed some light on the athletes in Seattle, and the running programs they’re trying to set in motion.

That night, Jackie and I attended the Tabor 100 banquet, where they honored Paul Allen and Chris Hansen. Obviously, Paul Allen is a big deal here in Seattle, so they wanted Jackie to attend and they invited me to attend as well. It was a fun-filled day.

PART OF THE 12TH MAN

To complete a great weekend, I went to the Seahawks game against the San Francisco 49ers last Sunday night with a bunch of my friends, my brother and my dad.

It was so much fun — that was probably the best time I’ve ever had at a game. It was so loud — we used the word crackin’ — it was crazy. Everybody was totally into it. It’s great for Seattle to have an environment like that. It just shows you how successful the city is and can be. I think the city is thriving now with jobs and sports. Without a NBA team here since the Sonics left, everybody channels their energy into football.

I also feel a little more of a connection to the Seahawks because of Pete Carroll, who is doing an amazing job. Pete was the coach at USC during my time being a Trojan, and he took our team to a whole new level.

They made history and it was great being at USC during that era to be a part of that. There are several other members of that USC staff now in Seattle, and to be able to enjoy that connection in my home city now, it’s a good feeling. I feel like they’re my people and now they’re here in my city, so I get the best of both worlds.

DRIVEN BY YOUR SUPPORT

I just want to say thank you to all of my fans for supporting in me and believing in me.

I’m always thankful to the people who support me even if it’s just a little message. After I tweet something about therapy, people will tweet something like “hope you’re having a speedy recovery” or “get better soon,” just those little things. I’m very appreciative of those things. I may not get to respond to all of them, but I do read them, and it helps me get through that time.

You guys push me to do nothing but great things, and I want you to expect nothing but great things these next four years. I expect to have the best four years of my track career.

Summer Through Ginnie’s Lens

It’s been a whirlwind summer for Ginnie Crawford, from competing through pain at the U.S. Championships to coaching in Cali, spending time with friends in family in LA and Seattle, then heading over to St. Louis, GC has seen plenty. Through her Instagram, she takes us along for the journey.

Nate the Great Flourishes in the NBA Playoffs

Growing up in Seattle, I was surrounded by great athletes. But there are a few that have stuck out above the rest this spring.

I’ve known both Nate Robinson of the Bulls and Jamal Crawford of the Clippers a long time and I’ve enjoyed watching both of them in the NBA playoffs. I’ve watched pretty much all of Nate’s games and all of Jamal’s games. I’m a real fan of the sport and used to play myself for years. I’m a fan of athleticism and I just think it’s incredible watching people that you’ve seen grow up pursue their dreams.

Nate and I started running track together when we were like eight years old. From then on, every summer we ran track together all the way up until we went to high school and we went to the same high school as well.

After competing together for years, you naturally become friends, but he’s really like family to me. I’m really close with his mom and his entire family is an extended family to me. Seattle is big city, but a small community so everybody kind of knows everybody.

Nate hasn’t changed much at all from back then and that’s one thing that we can really respect and appreciate about him. He’s still the same person as he was when we were kids. The way he plays on the court now is the same way he’s always played. That’s how he is. He’d be doing back flips at our track meets and running around. He always had a lot of energy and it just seemed like he never got tired. He’s also a great dancer and when we were in school, he and a few of his friends would always perform New Edition songs at our assemblies.

He might not do that anymore, but he’s still the same caring person, still hyper and loud, and he never acts like he’s too big for anybody. He pays homage to Seattle. He recognizes where he came from, who his friends are and the people closest to him who helped him get to where he is.

He’s a great father and a compassionate man to other people, especially his family. As a father, he’s very hands on and will do anything for his children even though he doesn’t live in the same city as them. He might spend more time with his kids than a father that does live in the same city as his kids. His family is everything to him and he really puts an emphasis on that. There’s not a day that goes by that he doesn’t let them know how much he cares. He’s a really good friend. If anybody is ever in need of something, Nate will have their back.

But he’s always been treated that way by other people, so you learn from that. People have extended their heart and been compassionate to him, so I feel like you learn from that and become that kind of person. That’s something that both of us take from growing up in Seattle.

That’s why you see a lot of athletes from Seattle coming back to give back. We all pay respect to the city we grew up in because nobody makes it alone. We’ve all had somebody along the way that has helped us and boosted us, so it feels right to be able to do that for somebody else and give back to the community if you’re able.

I've known Nate and Jamal a long time and they represent Seattle well.


It was cool to watch both of Nate and Jamal in the playoffs having the year of their lives. I think this was the best year that each of them has had. I’m glad that Nate and his team are in their second round. I hope they can get out of this hole. Miami is going to be a tough team to beat of course, but I hope the Bulls can advance. I was really sorry to see that Jamal and the Clippers didn’t advance because they played so incredibly well this year. I love watching these guys do well and I always want success for them.

Nate has always been an incredible athlete. Growing up he was really good in basketball, football and track. From the time we were little, people started calling him “Nate the Great” and if you hear something that many times, you believe it. In his mind, he has to live up to that name and he does.

He was always one of the shorter kids and stocky, but that never hindered his performance or stopped him from being the athlete that he is. I’m sure some people took him for granted because of his size, but I think as they watched him compete, they learned quick who he was and what he could do.

He used to always challenge me at track practice because, believe or not, as short as he is, we both did the hurdles. He always wanted to see if it he was going to beat me and I would say “of course you’re going to beat me, you’re a guy.” But I was so fast that I think a lot of people just wanted to challenge me. I like to think that I beat him at least once. I can’t really remember, but I think I must have. I was just too competitive not to.

I remember him saying in high school that in college he was going to play basketball and football, and run track. We were all like “yeah right.” But I feel like if anybody could do all three of those it would be Nate.

Nate probably could have gone pro in football if not basketball.

I don’t really know what it takes for you to be on the pro level in football and basketball, but I always thought he was great at all three and could’ve been pro at each one.  I always knew him on the track first, so I thought he was a great runner, but in high school he really showed himself on the basketball court. At that point, I realized he had a future in basketball.

When he got to college, he played both football and basketball. I went to USC and remember going to the football game when Washington played down here and I thought then that he was good enough to make it at football. But I don’t know if his talent would have flourished the way it has in basketball, so I think he chose the right one for him.

I’ve known for a while that Nate is a capable of greatness, but what he has done this postseason has even shocked and impressed me. Watching him, he’s in his zone and thinking “this is not a game.” He’s serious out there. He’s trying to get it done. He’s really tough and he’s holding his own. When he blocked LeBron’s shot, I thought that was amazing. He’s been hitting some clutch shots that the team needs and making some great plays out there. I’ve always thought he had that in him because I believe if anybody puts their all toward something, you can maximize your potential beyond anything you ever thought you could do.

He’s played through a lot of different things this postseason, from the flu and throwing up on the sidelines to a busted lip, but that doesn’t surprise me. I’ve never seen Nate tired and I’ve definitely never seen Nate quit. I used to think he had all the energy in the world.

Before we would have to race at track meets he would never get a rest, he was never sitting down. He was always running around, doing flips in the middle of the field, but he always went out there and did what he was supposed to do on the track. He’s that person that nothing breaks him. He’s going to keep going regardless and you have to respect that.

Instagraming The Offseason

After a long track season — one of the best of her career — Ginnie Crawford is using the offseason to unwind and catch her breath. Since arriving back in Los Angeles in early September, Ginnie has spent time in LA, Miami, Cancun and Seattle, enjoying life to the fullest. She took fans along for the ride with her camera and Instagram.

The offseason started just one day after Ginnie returned from abroad after her final race of the year in Croatia when a friend surprised her with a trip to the Video Music Award at Staples Center.

LA life...MTV VMA's with @elementofjess

From there it was on to the weekend, as Ginnie celebrated her September 7th birthday with friends and family in LA.

A little bday fun with great friends

9.10 - With my favs! @brittni_mitchell @vincettamendola @domesticdiva1982@lataunya2002 @valleyshaq
We are at it again! Shutting the city down

A week after her birthday, Ginnie got the special treat of participating in a gold tournament with R&B singer Brian McKnight.

Me and Brian McKnight golfing yesterday

Just days later, it was off to Miami, where Ginnie and her friends spent their days on the beach and their nights in the club.

Miami Beach Fun! Love these ladies!

Miami nights it was all a dream!
Club LIV with the ladies @lataunya2002 @dominquedarden @choice315

The group returned from Miami and Ginnie had another week in Los Angeles before heading back out on another min-vacation with some friends and fellow athletes/training partners to Cancun, Mexico.

#Mexico Living

The trip featured sandy beaches, plenty of realxing and a taste of the nightlife, but it also took Ginnie and her friends on a few adventures include snorkeling and cave jumping!

#yolo jump in the Mayan cave today and swam around
@af85 @lataunya2002 @dharp100mh the ladies
My ace! BFF! @lataunya2002
Me and my girl Allyson all smiles after snorkeling #mexico
Enjoy every moment of life
This collage is kind of vein lol

Following her trip to Mexico, Ginnie went back to her hometown of Seattle, where she watched her USC Trojans beat the Washington Huskies  and her Seattle Seahawks beat the New England Patriots on back-to-back days at Century Link Field. Since then, Ginnie has been taking some time to enjoy Seattle before she has to head back to LA.

USC vs UW game in my home city with my ace/ninja/BFF @elementofjess #fighton
Had fun watching my Seahawks play today!

 

Happy Monday!
It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood! *mr. Rogers voice* #206

To keep up with Ginnie throughout the offseason, follow her on Twitter, Like her page on Facebook and find her on Instagram @vgpowell.

Honored in Rainier

Just days after giving her all to chase her Olympic dreams, Ginnie Crawford was back where it all began this week, being honored for her accomplishments in Seattle.

Ginnie won’t be representing the United States in London after falling just short in the 100-meter hurdles final at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials. But she’s still a hometown hero and the Rainier Beach Boys and Girls Club showed how proud Seattle is of GC when they put together a ceremony to honor her and placed her jersey on the wall beside those of NBA veterans Brandon Roy and Martell Webster.

Ginnie told the Seattle Times that the honor and all the kind words spoken about her by peers and friends helped to lift her spirits after the disappointing end to her run at the 2012 Olympics.

“I’ve smiled so many smiles. So many people say inspiring things. Really, from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank all of them,” she said. “Usually, you’re thinking that no one wants this as bad as you. Well, they don’t, but they want it badly for you. That matters, too. That gives me strength.”

In addition to the announcement by the club that they would be honoring her, Ginnie had a few announcements of her own. She and her husband Shawn Crawford donated $5,000 to the Rainier Vista Boys & Girls Club to start a Healthy Lifestyles program to help keep children physically fit and practicing a healthy diet.

She also made a definitive statement about her future in track and field, that her career would continue, because she doesn’t know any other way to live.

“This is my life,” she said. “This is what I do. I’ve learned a lot about strength and perseverance the past few days. What if I was fighting life and death? Am I going to give up and break, or am I going to fight for my life? There’s no doubt I’ll try again [for the Olympics] in four years. And I’ll try another four years after that if I don’t make it. Failure is not an option. Being defeated is not an option.”

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Training Partners and A World Class Coach

I’m getting ready for the U.S. Olympic Trials here in a few days. It’s an exciting time.

Whenever I run an individual race, all I’m thinking about is that race, and what I’m trying to work on at that time. When I’m in a race, I’m in that moment. I’m ready to go, and I know that I have to make this race a good one and execute properly to come out with a good time. My mindset is to live in the moment and take that moment in, but once it’s gone, I’m ready to get back to work on fixing things or racing again.

My long-term goal is to compete in the Olympics and win gold there, but that’s still too far ahead to think about before each race. It does help me when I’m training and doing day-to-day workouts, though. At those times, I think about the Olympics and my overall long-term goals, because in training there is so much more time to think.

You get to hurdle multiple times in a session, so you use those long-term goals to drive you when you’re feeling tired or breaking down. You have to remember what your goals are, and that keeps you going. When I’m getting up at six or seven in the morning to go lift weights, the Olympics are on my mind, because I don’t want to be up at six or seven. It helps you find that extra gear.

Training with the people that I do helps me a lot. It creates a competitive atmosphere. At practice we all train hard, and if I see someone going harder than I think I am, I’m driven to go harder. It brings out the best in all of us. I respect these ladies a lot, and the things that they’ve accomplished.

Those things they’ve done in their careers also drive me to work harder. To see some of them accomplish the things that they have, and see first hand the work they put in to get there, that helps me.

ALLYSON’S TIME
One example of that in my training group is Allyson Felix. I’ve been training with Allyson since 2007, and we’ve been good friends for a while. Watching her become one of the faces of the sport has been great, and it’s very inspiring to me. I’m happy for her because I see the work that she puts in on the track. She does everything so gracefully and quietly.

She’s never been a person who tried to be in the limelight. She never said “I’m gonna be the face of USA Track and Field.” It’s all through her effort and her hard work that paved the way for her to be in that position. She accepted the responsibility gracefully and she’s really a perfect candidate for it.

Handing off to Allyson during the 4x100 at the 2011 Mt. SAC Relays (AP Photo).

I met Allyson when she came on her visit to USC in 2003. Her brother went to school with me at the time and ran on the track team, so I knew him well. Allyson and I became friends through training. We’re both goofy and funny. She’s a riot. She’s funnier than people might think. We always have good laughs, and it’s easy for us to joke and be goofy because we’re both easy-going.

Her boyfriend and my husband are good friends, so we’ll go to movies and stuff together. She’s super likable and an easy-going person. Our whole team does outings like that outside of track, just fun things to ease our minds so we’re not always seeing each other in such a competitive environment.

TRICKS OF THE TRADE
In our training group there are three other hurdlers who run the 100: Dawn Harper, Michelle Perry and Joanna Hayes. We’re all friends, but we also know that when we step on the line at the meet, we’re racing.

There are times during training when you think about not letting those people in on everything you’re doing. I think every athlete feels that way. You always want to have some type of an edge. But training with people in your event also keeps you on your toes. We’re all out there to win. I know each of these ladies is here to win the Olympic gold medal. That’s pretty much an unspoken thing, the reason we’re coming in and training every day.

So we don’t talk much about things like that. When we talk it’s about outside things like relationships, or since Joanna and Michelle have kids, we’ll talk about kids, and how they trained to come back. They look like they were never pregnant, so Dawn and I talk to them about that. It’s more like friendship conversations than anything else.

We all support each other when we’re training, we say congrats when another person wins a race. That’s only right. At the end of the day, we’re all here on the line to win it, but if you get the win, I’m mad because I wanted to get to the win, I’m not mad at that person that won. We all have too much respect for each other for that.

ONE OF A KIND COACH
While I’m on the subject of training, I have to give some serious credit to my coach, Bobby Kersee, who helped me get to this point.

Bobby really knows the body, and he really knows track and field. He’s helped me because he knows the hurdles very well and he knows what it takes to be successful in my event. He knows how to train professionals, exactly when we need rest.

Sometimes coaches will go too hard on an athlete. It will feel like sometimes they don’t get it, especially coaching a professional runner. It’s a little different at this level, and some coaches, I think, like to go too hard and their athletes don’t peak at the right time.

With Bobby, we’ll come to practice, and our bodies may be feeling kind of funky and out of it. But the workout he gives us that day is just perfect for how we felt. It makes you realize that he knows what he’s doing. He can’t feel our pain, but he knows where it comes from and how to plan for it.

Our training always seems to be right on with the way I feel entering that day. I think a part of it is that he really cares about us as athletes, and that breeds results. He knows how to get a fire under you to get you going, how to break you down and build you back up. His style is unlike any other that I have encountered at any level.

Coaching is who Bobby Kersee is. It’s not something that he wants to do or chooses to. It’s really a part of him, and I think that sets him apart as a coach. It’s embedded in his heart.

He was telling our training group a story recently about how he first started coaching the sport when he was still a teenager. He told us that back then, he coached someone at a high school track meet. I’m not sure why a person would want another teenager to coach them, but they did well enough that he started to build a reputation.

As he told us that story, it kind of dawned on me that this is what this man was born to do. He’s been doing this his entire life. He was bred to be a coach and he really has the heart for it. It’s not something where he just woke up one day and said “I think I’m going to coach, I’m kind of good at it.” Coaching is something that is part of him. He loves it and there’s nothing he’d rather be doing.

Finished My Photo Shoot

We finished up a photo shoot for my web site today, and while it was a long day, it was a really productive one.

The shoot had two parts. The first was shot on the track at USC, my alma mater. It was great. I was working with a really talented photographer, Steven Barston. He’s shot everyone from Floyd Mayweather to Kevin Love, so I was excited to be working with him. We did some great stuff on the track — everything from jumping over the hurdles to posed shots. Here’s one of my favorites:

The second half of the shoot was done in his studio. Those were more lifestyle shots, which I enjoyed a lot, too. I got to show a different side of me!