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49 | Pro Runner Vanessa Fraser: Celebrating Every Step

The Injured Athletes Club

Release Date: 06/03/2021

67 | Triple Jumper Shanara Hibbert: Keep the Dream Alive show art 67 | Triple Jumper Shanara Hibbert: Keep the Dream Alive

The Injured Athletes Club

“I know, at some point, I'll feel better, I'll be in a better position. And if there's any chance that I can get back to the level of fitness that I was at before, I don't want to be the one that's holding myself back from doing that.”   In 2020, despite the disruptions associated with the pandemic, British triple jumper Shanara Hibbert was coming off her best season yet. She’d stepped away from her full-time job to focus more on athletics, set personal bests three times, and won two silver medals at national championships, one and one .   “Coming into 2021, I was thinking,...

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66 | Carrie Answers a Question: Sarah’s Situation show art 66 | Carrie Answers a Question: Sarah’s Situation

The Injured Athletes Club

“When coming back from injury and having had a number of setbacks, how do you ‘read your body’ to know when to rest more or when to keep up with a PT program? I’m week 4 of 6 in a CAM boot for PTTD. I have a physio, but I’m still scared that—when I can stop wearing the boot—I will not take things slow enough and will reinjure myself. I have lost any confidence that I’ll know when to pull back before getting injured again, and I’m scared of also going out too fast if (IF) I feel better when the boot’s off.”   This week, co-host and mental skills coach Carrie Jackson...

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65 | Golfer Hannah McCook: Practicing Patience show art 65 | Golfer Hannah McCook: Practicing Patience

The Injured Athletes Club

“A surgery doesn't just fix you physically, it also does help you a bit mentally. The injury gives you that time to stop, in a way. It’s not always appreciated at the time, but you look back, and it was actually quite good to have stopped and kind of reset and be like, right, this is what I want to do—because of how much you miss it.”   Her untapped talent at asking for help. The limits of her patience—and how they weren’t as hard and fast as she’d believed. And, the depth of her commitment to her sport. Scottish pro golfer learned a lot about herself in the year it took...

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64 | Carrie Answers a Question: Whitney’s Wonderings show art 64 | Carrie Answers a Question: Whitney’s Wonderings

The Injured Athletes Club

“I am a cyclist and do triathlons every so often for fun. I had to give up running years ago after three ankle surgeries which ended with chronic stress fractures. I’ve always been told because I have cavovarus feet I will need surgery to correct, but I’ve been able to put it off. One of my ankles is currently flared up and doc says I should do the surgery on that foot now. It would mean 4 months off the bike. I really want to keep putting it off, as cycling doesn’t bother it. However, I can no longer even wear running shoes, so any sort of fast walking or hiking is currently out. I...

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63 | Runner and Coach Neely Spence Gracey: Aligning Heart, Mind, and Body show art 63 | Runner and Coach Neely Spence Gracey: Aligning Heart, Mind, and Body

The Injured Athletes Club

“When I first got pregnant, I was like, ‘Oh, it's just like a big injury. You slowly lose fitness, and then you eventually have to stop altogether. And then you take some time off, then you get back to it once you're healed and recovered.’ And I was pretty far off. I feel like it definitely was a different process, because you are physically changing and emotionally changing and mentally changing on top of not being able to run. On the other side of it, I feel like I came out a different person.”   About a year after Neely Spence Gracey’s first son was born, she found herself in...

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62 | Carrie Answers a Question: Jen’s Juxtaposition show art 62 | Carrie Answers a Question: Jen’s Juxtaposition

The Injured Athletes Club

“My question is about how to balance hope with logic. My injuries related to low bone density that was a consequence of an eating disorder in my 30s. I know the reality is I can no longer run as much as I used to because that is what the doctors say (and I trust them) and my hope is that my body will prove them wrong. At some point hope evolves or devolves into delusion. How do I remain engaged in the sport while respecting the reality that my body has limits that I used to thrive off of pushing?”   This week, co-host and mental skills coach Carrie Jackson answers a question from...

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61 | Author and Coach Matt Fitzgerald: The Complexities of Hope show art 61 | Author and Coach Matt Fitzgerald: The Complexities of Hope

The Injured Athletes Club

“I don't want to put my life on pause. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to miss out on the miracle cure when it comes along, so I do pay attention. But I really compartmentalize it. I try not to open that door too wide. I mostly just focus on, let's just assume it's not going to get any better than this. How OK can I be with my present limitations, feeling the way I am?”   At the end of February 2020, prolific author and endurance athlete spectated at the Olympic Marathon Trials, then ran the Publix Atlanta Marathon. Soon afterward, he developed symptoms of the disease that would...

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60 | Carrie Answers a Question: Adrian’s Anger show art 60 | Carrie Answers a Question: Adrian’s Anger

The Injured Athletes Club

"Of all the emotions I have felt after injury, the one I'm having the most trouble dealing with is anger. I'm mad at myself, my coach, and at the medical professionals who I feel have failed me. I know some of this is justified. But I also feel trapped by it. What can I do to move forward?” This week, co-host Carrie Jackson answers a question from Adrian O., taking out her emotional metal detector to help injured athletes see what lies beneath their anger—and how to handle what they uncover.

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59 | Paralympic Medalist and Swimmer Mallory Weggemann: Now Doesn’t Define You show art 59 | Paralympic Medalist and Swimmer Mallory Weggemann: Now Doesn’t Define You

The Injured Athletes Club

Though she’d grown up in the water, Mallory Weggeman was nearly ready to leave competition behind for other dreams. But when a medical procedure gone wrong resulted in her paralysis at age 18, she found herself back in the pool. There, she excelled swiftly enough to win Paralympic gold four years later. She had every intention of extending her athletic career, but in 2014 she had another serious injury. At this second point of impact, she had to decide all over again if swimming was worth the fight.

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58 | Carrie Answers a Question: Aisling’s Obstacle show art 58 | Carrie Answers a Question: Aisling’s Obstacle

The Injured Athletes Club

Aisling C. asks: "Could you discuss how injury shows up the fault-lines in your relationships? Injuries change the dynamics, and certainly my back-to-back injuries have made me feel less in control, less independent, and probably facing the relationship issues I was literally running away from." Carrie offers insight on the dynamics that affect those around the injured athlete, too.

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“I just wish I could go back and tell myself a year ago how great I'm feeling a year later ... to have that kind of foresight that it's going to get a lot better. I'm going to look back on this one day and think, wow, I won't even be able to believe that I was there at one point. I'm going to be feeling so much better, so much healthier, and so much stronger.”

 

Heading into 2020, elite runner Vanessa Fraser of the Bowerman Track Club had her sights set on the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials. She’s fast enough at the 5,000 meters—her personal best outdoors is 15:07.58—that she’s long been considered a contender for making the Tokyo team.

 

But as the big date neared, some minor pain she’d been feeling in her Achilles tendons since 2017 was worsening. Time off didn’t heal them; neither did any of the other remedies she tried, from oral anti-inflammatories to shockwave therapy to a medication patch system called iontophoresis.

 

Just when the pain became nearly unbearable, the pandemic changed everything. Vanessa took the opportunity to have bilateral surgery to repair Haglund’s deformities, bony bumps on her heels that were damaging her Achilles tendons. A year to the day after she left the surgical center in two walking boots, she toed the line again at her comeback race, Sound Running’s Track Meet, on May 15.

 

In this week’s episode, she walks us through everything that came between—from revising expectations to overcoming yet another setback to maintaining her fitness through deep water running—and why she’s even more excited about her big dreams for the future. 

 

A huge thank you to our sponsors for this episode: Fluid Running and ProStretch. Fluid Running makes it possible to maintain your peak physical fitness even when you're injured through the power of deep water running. And ProStretch offers uniquely designed products to stretch and massage muscles easier and more effectively than conventional methods. Listen for special discount codes in the episode!

 

In this episode, we discuss:

  • How injuries are viewed in pro running (8:11)
  • Her early start in Girls on the Run (11:03)
  • The earliest signs of her Haglund’s deformities, and how they progressed to the point that surgery was the best option (12:27)
  • How she decided exactly which procedure to have, and found a surgeon she felt confident in (22:16)
  • The way she navigated changing timelines, and why she’s actually glad she didn’t fully absorb how long her comeback would take (28:51)
  • How deep water running—and specifically, the Fluid Running system—aided in her recovery (34:04)
  • How her teammates and coaches—including Shalane Flanagan, who had a few notable injuries and recoveries as a pro runner herself—supported her (37:36)
  • What it felt like to come back to running after her first real break, and how she developed another injury during that time—but had the tools to cope (43:19)
  • Her advice to other injured athletes (53:13)

 

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Resources/links:

 

To access more resources for injured athletes:

  • Join The Injured Athletes Club mailing list, for news and updates
  • Join The Injured Athletes Club Facebook group, for support and camaraderie
  • Like The Injured Athletes Club Podcast Facebook page, for the latest episodes
  • Email us at [email protected] with questions, guest suggestions, or other feedback

 

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.