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27 | Elite Runner Alia Gray: Breaking the Cycle

The Injured Athletes Club

Release Date: 05/28/2020

36 | Carrie Answers Your Questions show art 36 | Carrie Answers Your Questions

The Injured Athletes Club

We—Carrie and Cindy—also operate a Facebook group that’s also called The Injured Athletes Club. It’s a thriving, positive community of other people who just plain get it. This week, in our final episode of season 3, we asked members for their questions about the psychological and emotional aspects of the journey. Here, Carrie responds to concerns about fears, doubts, and understanding what makes you tick, among other things.

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35 | Cyclist and Heart Transplant Recipient Mike Cohen: An Incredible Journey show art 35 | Cyclist and Heart Transplant Recipient Mike Cohen: An Incredible Journey

The Injured Athletes Club

From cancer to health. Back to the hospital with a heart attack—and home with a new heart. And finally, across the country on a bike, twice. Mike Cohen’s life has taken him to places he never could have imagined. In this week’s episode, the San Diego-based athlete—who calls himself a professional cyclist riding for a cause—takes us through some of the highs and lows of his travels.

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34 | Runner, Coach, and Author Anji Andrews: Facing the Challenge show art 34 | Runner, Coach, and Author Anji Andrews: Facing the Challenge

The Injured Athletes Club

On most days, British runner Anji Andrews lives the athlete’s dream, working in the running industry in several capacities. But this summer, a foot injury that had begun to develop earlier this year worsened just as the country locked down due to the pandemic. Anji found the constant reminders of what she couldn’t do difficult to bear. In this week’s episode, she talks openly and honestly about the raw emotions of this combination, and how underfueling and overtraining played a role.

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33 | Paralympic Medalist Lex Gillette: For Every Vision, a Revision show art 33 | Paralympic Medalist Lex Gillette: For Every Vision, a Revision

The Injured Athletes Club

Lex Gillette—a world record holder and national champion in the long jump—has had to navigate change before. At age 8, doctors diagnosed him with detached retinas, and couldn’t save his sight despite multiple surgeries. Though the transition wasn’t easy, Lex credits his support system—and the confidence they inspired in him—with getting him through. The same ability to adapt to change has also powered him through injuries and other setbacks.

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32 | Cindy and Carrie Travel Through Time show art 32 | Cindy and Carrie Travel Through Time

The Injured Athletes Club

Your physical being occupies space in the present moment. But often, our thoughts are a million miles away, fretting over the past or fearful of the future: Will I ever run again? What if I hadn’t gone on that last ride or collided with that other player? These thoughts can hook us, leaving us unable to move on. We describe how to catch yourself taking these less-than-productive trips. From there, you can recenter your mind, adapt to the existing reality, and act to create a better future.

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31 | Olympian Mechelle Lewis Freeman: Finding the Opportunity show art 31 | Olympian Mechelle Lewis Freeman: Finding the Opportunity

The Injured Athletes Club

Mechelle Lewis Freeman had put everything on the line to achieve her Olympic dream. She’d walked away from a successful career in advertising, moved to a full-time training facility, and calculated everything from the grams of protein she ingested to the positive mantras running through her head. Injury threatened to derail her, but because she’d invested in training her body and also her mind, Mechelle was able to see opportunity in the obstacle—a mindset she maintains as a coach and non-profit leade

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30 | Trans Athlete, Coach, and Activist Chris Mosier: Claiming Your Legacy show art 30 | Trans Athlete, Coach, and Activist Chris Mosier: Claiming Your Legacy

The Injured Athletes Club

Chris Mosier has made history before, as the first transgender athlete to represent the United States in international competition, appear in the ESPN Body Issue, and be sponsored by Nike. In January, he once again blazed a trail at the Olympic Trials for the 50K racewalk, becoming the first transgender athlete to qualify and compete in the Trials in the gender with which they identify. However, injury nearly robbed him of the chance to make it to the starting line. Chris shares more on this episode.

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29 | Paralympic Gold Medalist Alana Nichols: Embracing New Identities show art 29 | Paralympic Gold Medalist Alana Nichols: Embracing New Identities

The Injured Athletes Club

Basketball, ski racing, sprint kayaking, surfing—Alana Nichols’ athletic career has brought her to the highest levels of a wide range of sports. Still, she tells us on this week’s show, as a Paralympian she often struggled to get the same care for her injuries as her able-bodied peers. Alana's advocacy has carried over into her newer roles as president of the Women’s Sports Foundation and mother of baby Gunnar,

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28 | Soccer Coach and Mental Skills Consultant Amanda Ferranti: The Courage to Care show art 28 | Soccer Coach and Mental Skills Consultant Amanda Ferranti: The Courage to Care

The Injured Athletes Club

The second time Amanda Ferranti tore her ACL, she had a feeling her soccer career was over. Even as she coped with the challenges of recovery and retirement, she was working on another project: a system to help other injured athletes manage their emotions and thrive through, and beyond, their rehab process. In this episode, Amanda—now a soccer coach and certified mental performance consultant at Ferranti Empowerment—outlines the process by which she journaled and planned her way to a successful future.

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27 | Elite Runner Alia Gray: Breaking the Cycle show art 27 | Elite Runner Alia Gray: Breaking the Cycle

The Injured Athletes Club

We first spoke with this week’s guest, pro distance runner Alia Gray, in person during Olympic Marathon Trials weekend in February in Atlanta. She’d chosen not to run the race despite a qualifying time and an injury-free stretch—a choice made from joy rather than fear, she says, and one she describes at length in this episode. We caught up with her again in late April to find out how she was faring since the coronavirus pandemic upended her season.

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We first spoke with this week’s guest, pro distance runner Alia Gray, in person during Olympic Marathon Trials weekend in February in Atlanta. She’d chosen not to run the race despite a qualifying time and an injury-free stretch—a choice made from joy rather than fear, she says, and one she describes at length in this episode. 

Instead, she’d set her sights on some different competitions, including the New York City Half Marathon in March and the Olympic Track Trials in June. They were challenges that excited her, in part, because her last couple of injuries—a sacral stress fracture in 2018 and a torn meniscus in 2019—gave her a much-needed rest and also helped her understand and address underlying weaknesses that were holding her back.

Of course, since then, the coronavirus pandemic has upended most of those plans. So, we caught up with Alia again in late April to find out how she was faring. Though she’d gone through ups and downs like all of us, she—like so many other athletes we know—has found the same mental techniques that helped her cope with injury useful in navigating this stressful and ever-shifting time.

A huge thank you to Fluid Running H2GO, the only app-based deep-water running system in the world, for sponsoring this season of the Injured Athletes Club. CLICK HERE and use code IAC 30 to take $30 off the full system or the digital bundle.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • How injuries are viewed in pro running, and the “unifying factor” they represent 
  • Why she chose not to run the Olympic Marathon Trials, even though she’d been thinking about it since 2016 (10:32)
  • Speaking of 2016—how she came in 10th place in the Marathon Trials that year, despite having broken her fibula three months earlier and training almost exclusively on the Alter-G Anti-Gravity Treadmill (14:52)
  • Her sacral stress fracture—the most serious injury of her running career—and what it taught her about rest and recovery (19:23)
  • Why she decided to seek psychological therapy during that tough time, and how it’s also helped her improve her performance when she’s healthy (24:00)
  • The fear, anxiety, and lingering pain she felt after recovering from the stress fracture, and how she coped (28:44)
  • How she navigated her relationship with her husband/coach/sports doctor—Dr. Richard Hansen—and her advice for other injured athletes about communication and relationships (31:31)
  • The way she came to understand her entire injury cycle, and the steps she’s taken to “bulletproof” herself as an athlete since (39:24)
  • What self-care means to her, and her advice on using it as an injured athlete (46:38)
  • How her plans changed due to the pandemic, and how she’s navigating the new normal using mental skill honed through injury (48:18)

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DISCLAIMER: This content is for educational & informational use only and & does not constitute medical advice. Do not disregard, avoid or delay obtaining medical or health related advice from your health-care professional because of something you may have heard in an episode of this podcast. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult with a qualified medical professional for proper evaluation & treatment. Guests who speak on this podcast express their own opinions, experiences, and conclusions, and The Injured Athletes Club podcast hosts nor any company providing financial support endorses or opposes any particular treatment option discussed in the episodes of this podcast and are not responsible for any actions or inactions of listeners based on the information presented. The use of any information provided is solely at your own risk.