Here is a brief recap of what my season, from my perspective, really looked like:
The buildup to my season, aka the winter training, seemed rather solid, with 2-3 periods that I thought were just adjustment pains, but were really signs of over training. Then the start of the competition season set off on the wrong foot so to speak and resulted in an injury that plagued my whole season. I was set to open my season in Desenzano in May, followed with Kladno in June, and then Nationals in July, all leading to qualification to the Commonwealth Games in October. I knew this was my plan, but I was persuaded to open my season in California in mid-April as a training prep for how to improve my ability to compete. There I was, an athlete with a new coach who I very much wanted to impress, so I said yes when I should have said no.
Heading into Mt.Sac relays I had been very sick, on antibiotics for a throat infection, and in no position to compete, but the coaches insisted, and I attempted to persevere. Unfortunately, the weakness in my body resulted in pushing my body past its limits and while trying to push myself to be ready in a short period, I had a huge hurdle crash in training, 3 days before the competition. I pushed myself further to compete despite some discomfort in my back, and during the long jump portion of the heptathlon, I hit the board in a compromised position, due to the pain already in my back, and the result was that my back went into complete spasm and I was never in more pain in my career as an athlete; and that includes a long list of injuries!
I flew home right away and was happy to be in the hands of Dr. Galea in Toronto. The medical side of returning home to Canada to train was a major benefit, and I was about to maximize that to no end this year! What was feared to be a potential career ending disc injury was actually a multifidus muscle tear. With treatment from Galea and supporting treatment from Carm Stillo, amazing Chiropractor, I was back up and training and trying to push myself to be ready for Kladno, which was an active recovery period of 8 weeks. While everyone was doing everything possible to help me be ready to compete, the reality was this injury needed 12 weeks complete recovery. I had recovered the tear and was feeling positive and decided that I was able to compete in Kladno and headed over to Europe. Unfortunately, this competition would resemble Mt.Sac as I got through day one ok, and then came long jump on day two and back spasm, that turned out to be a tear this time lower in the multifidus and also in the gluteus maximus. Suddenly I had an increased injury and only 6 weeks till my last chance to qualify so I once again maximized the support of Galea and Carm and tried to push my body to be ready for the Canadian Track and Field Championships. However, the back would not make it through healthy.
Here is where my season would end and I would accept that I just did not have enough time between competitions to heal completely. I had pushed my body so hard this year, but I was beyond exhaustion both physically and emotionally. The greatest frustration that I carried all year was that the coaching staff revealed themselves to be my fair weathered friends – when I was healthy and ready to train, they were there to push me; when I was injured and unable to train, it felt like out of sight out of mind. I had chosen for a coach, who was noted to have a tremendous deal of experience, and I was always searching for support and words of wisdom throughout a difficult time, and instead I was on my own completely. Well not completely, I did have a great deal of support from Galea and Carm, without whom I would not have made it through this year – I am grateful to them both beyond words!
I spoke to Bart at the end of this time, and he felt willing to admit at this point that when I saw him while in Europe he was disappointed in what he saw - it was clear that the coaches had over trained the events, under trained strength, and that I had lost the progress he and I had made in our four years together.
I am now taking some time off, away from the track to heal both physically and emotionally. I have notified this coach that I will not be returning to UofT, and am in conversation with a new coach to continue my journey – to start fresh and build myself up to a new stronger competitor. I have a renewed hope and spirit and happy to have closed that chapter in my life. Today I am embracing the words of Albert Einstein, “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.”