This weekend was such a wonderful experience and a great way to open up my season. Let’s recap, shall we?
Two weeks before I was set to come to Canada to open up my season, I got impatient with my lifting program and decide to turn things up a notch (I know, smart huh) and go super heavy. The next day, I felt a twinge in my left hamstring (my lead leg. This is important because this is the leg that goes into full extension over the hurdle) after going over a hurdle at practice. It worried me because it was a tug I was all too familiar with, as I pulled my hamstring (that particular hamstring) in 2014 at the beginning of my indoor season then as well (which completely shattered me as a human being btw). So instead of jumping on it ASAP to minimize damage, I was your typical athlete and pushed it to the back of my mind and figured oh I’m just tight today no big deal. It will go away. The problem with this statement, however, is that it did NOT go away. In fact, it got incrementally worse as the week progressed. By the time I got to my photoshoot/interview with Just Score Magazine on Thursday, I was afraid I had ruined my season before it even had the chance of getting underway.
Luckily, the universe heard my silent cries and in enters my strength coach Omar. We’ve been working at the same gym for over a year as trainers, and I’ve seen hi working with his clients and always been a fan of his training style. I had been asking him little tidbits of info for a while (because Omar is a walking encyclopedia when it comes to the human body and anatomy and the way it functions. And more importantly, helping it function at an optimal level), so I decided to ask him how much he charges for programming. Lucky for me I get the friend discount, which is this particular instance meant the free 99. I didn’t know it at the time, but Omar would be the guardian angel of my hamstring and help decrease my recovery time and help me function at almost 100% come race time.
The week of my meet, Omar and I met for three sessions. The day before our last session I had a deep tissue massage with my amazing masseuse Daniel and I asked him if it would be okay if I did some light stretching and foam rolling the next day to help with the soreness. To be super duper sure, I even asked another masseuse friend of mine, both of which said the same thing. Light stretching and no foam rolling. But the longer the day went on, the more my leg started to hurt, so of course I hit up Omar nervous as hell because I was to leave in less than 24 hours and mentally I was a mess. He agreed we needed to meet to reassess my hamstring and see how palpable it was so we met Thursday afternoon and did an actual session. To my surprise, movement helped it feel A LOT better. In fact, by the time we were finished I had almost zero pain. Only when doing certain movements. He told me to do the complete opposite of my masseuse friends. “Stretch it, get a roller or ball in there and dig to break up the fibers. Do some dynamic drills to help activate the muscle fibers around it so it doesn’t have to work so hard. Activate, release, reassess.” As a man that has pulled almost every hamstring muscle, torn multiple ligaments, and can still do a split to rival any 12 year old gymnast, I’m taking the mans advice. Dually noted Omar. He gave me some warmup drills and tips and tools to add to my arsenal, gave me a hug and wished me luck, and sent me on my way for the day. So I’m pretty much giving Omar the credit for even being able to run at all, much less at top speed with minimal pain.
So, on to the meet right?! We got to the track Friday afternoon for a workout and I admit, my body felt GREAT, and the Richmond Oval is a BEAUTIFUL piece of architecture. I felt wicked quick and was in very little pain going into my extension over my imaginary hurdles. My mindset was together and I was ready to run. Before arriving I took a peak at the meet record and figured I would have a go at it.
Met the cutest young fans. So adorable. Keep running girls!Well, I’m pretty pleased with myself that I did in fact break that record. Now to us in the hurdler community, breaking a meet record of 8.6 is child’s play.We do that in practice everyday. But at that particular meet, no one had come close to breaking it for over 20 years. So excuse me, but I am very much tooting my damn horn right now. To open up my season with a meet record and having little kids come up to you and want to take pictures with you and giving them advice for their own journey, I mean what could be better than that?
Well, what put the cherry on top for me was standing on the podium and receiving my outstanding athlete award (my first watch!) for the first time since college (I know I look young, but that was well over 4 years ago for me). It served as a reminder to my soul that this is where I belong. On top. And I got the feeling and visions of standing on many more podiums in the very near future. And it reassures me that I am still very much on the right path.
Where am I jet setting to next you ask? My next meet will be the Don Kirby Invite in Albuquerque, NM Valentine’s Day weekend. So stay tuned for even more exciting news and PR’s in the Tiana Chronicles!
With Love and Curls,