Best Foot Forward
I’ve only had one major injury: in 2008, a stress fracture in my right foot. My bones were compacting and chiseling away at themselves. I didn’t know it was broken. I felt like such a baby complaining. In the Olympic trials that year, it gave out: I don’t remember the last 100 meters; I was in such excruciating pain. It’s a potentially career-ending injury, but after using a bone stimulator for the best part of a year of recovery, I was back. My Olympic dream is back on, and I’m targeting London 2012.
Pain in the Butt
To succeed in my sport you need a balance between pushing yourself and breaking yourself. My right leg is slightly shorter than the left, and I feel it when I do explosive speed work. The top of my leg jams into my hip socket, so I visit a physio every couple of weeks to loosen it up. If not, the joint gets inflamed and stiff, and tightens your glute, which tightens your piriformis -- your butt cheek, basically -- and possibly tightens major muscles in your back. If you don’t watch it, it can take a month to recover.
Running is as mental as it is physical. You can physically be a beast, but if you don’t have the mindset to talk yourself out of the door in the morning on a tough day, it won’t happen. You have to practice that. I’m my biggest critic, and I have to have my angel in there beating up my demons. You talk yourself up. You get your cockiness out. No one likes a cocky person in life, but inside your head, you’re the best.
"He came down the field and I tackled him, complete with girly flower. I’ve worn one every single day since."
Down to Business
I pretty much work a 9-to-5. People forget that what i do is a full-time job. My training goes in cycles, but about four days a week i’m out the door at 7:30, as i tend to have three workouts a day, two runs, and a weight-training session. It’s better to get started early so you’re not finishing at 9 p.m. I start the year doing a lot of mileage, then add things in like strengthening and sprints, the idea being to hit peak come competition time.
I care about what I eat. We all have our moments of, “I’m going to eat what I like,” but then I feel it. It’s like a car: put good fuel in, you get good results. I’m a pretty good cook -- my husband says so anyway. I love Mediterranean food, and I cook a mean chicken lemon pesto with garlic. I serve it with homemade hummus and pita chips. You’ve got carbs and protein there, and I serve it with sautéed vegetables. People can gag thinking of healthy food, but the secret is to make things that don’t look or taste too healthy.
I always wear a flower in my hair. I grew up with a bunch of boys, playing a lot of sports. One day we were playing football and a guy made a spiteful comment about me playing, so I went and grabbed a flower and put it in my hair, like “Yeah, I’m a girl playing football, so what?” He came down the field and I tackled him, complete with girly flower. I’ve worn one every single day since, especially for sports. It’s important for people to realize you can be strong and feminine.
Check out the March 2012 issue of Red Bulletin magazine (on newsstands February 14) for more. To read the magazine on your iPad, download the Red Bulletin iPad app.