Week 32: Pandora’s Box and Tryouts

I spoke last update about how injuries like this really teach you how to celebrate the small victories. That has continued for me. I have been training 6 days a week and it seems to be really paying off. This has been a combination of weights, running, physical therapy, pool therapy, stairs, and stretching.

My new physical therapist also has me working with BFR which is blood flow restrictive therapy. Basically what happens is that there is this cuff that looks like what they would use to take your blood pressure. They put on the upper part of my thigh and pump it up. The idea is that it makes the blood pool below the cuff and tricks your muscles into thinking they are working harder than they normally are.

It is a weird feeling when you have a cuff like that on and are trying to do squats or ride a bike. I have noticed it being effective. The first time we did it, I actually noticed right away that my left quad seemed to respond well to it. It felt like it was being worked and when I got on the treadmill later that day, I noticed I felt like I had more power with my left leg when I pushed off.

This therapy has been helpful to athletes like Russel Wilson, who you can see using it on a bike below, and Jadeveon Clowney. I am all for anything that gets me closer to where I want to go.

BFR Training

A post shared by Dr. Drew Morcos PT, DPT (@motusspecialist) on

I am about halfway through 20160915_134257the walk to jog program on the treadmill. This is basically a program in which you walk a certain amount of time and jog a certain amount of time in intervals for 30 minutes. Each week, you jog slightly longer than you walk until the final week when you jog for 30 minutes. This has been helpful for me to not only get my muscles used to endurance but also to work on balancing out my weight distribution. When you have an injury this long, you subconsciously favor your stronger leg and have to work to correct that so that there is balance.

I also started to implement more field work. I noticed where I am getting stronger on the treadmill, I still felt hesitant running outdoors. So the last couple of weeks I went to the field and worked on small runs at an easy pace just to get my body used to it. I also started to do light ladder type work by using the hash marks on the field. I need to get a new ladder as I seem to have lost my old one. I added stairs as well in short duration.

Since I am clear currently to run forward and jump as long as it’s up and down and not lateral, I’m trying to work on whatever I can to master these activities. I also am going to get a jump rope at some point to work on jumping and trusting my body landing. From my physical therapy work, I seem to be fine jumping with 2 feet but will need to work on jumping and landing on the left foot by its own eventually.

Of note, the NFL Films segment of the Women’s World Games in New Orleans came out. I think it was pretty awesome. I was in the video for about 5 seconds. Somehow it boosted my morale in the middle of all my training.

We had our first tryout session for the Seattle Majestics on Saturday. Friday, I was getting everything ready and took my bag out of the closet to reorganize it for the first time since I threw it in there after the injury.

It took me 2 months to take it out of my trunk after the injury, both because it was hard to physically on crutches and also because I didn’t want to face it. I eventually did, took the laundry out and threw the rest in the closet. When I pulled it out Friday night, a huge wave of emotion hit me. I cried like a child. Then as quickly as it hit me, it left.

It was weird. I felt like I opened Pandora’s Box. It was combination of grief of what I’ve gone through, excitement of how far I have come, and the realization of how far I have to go. The emotion of it knocked me on my ass.

I got everything together as we had Stormageddon coming in and the wind and rain was supposed to be crazy. This meant I had to get many layers out and I had a separate bag prepared with another set of clothes and towels ready to go.

I then got to my cleats. They are the ones that I was wearing when I got i20161014_203142njured. They are actually pretty cool. They were almost
brand new and shinny. I tried them on in my living room. I felt sick to my stomach. I haven’t thought about them in several months but the realization that my foot getting stuck in the turf was the main cause for what happened, made me want to burn them.

I knew it would be wet and that I’ve always played in cleats but I decided firstly that I no longer wanted to wear those cleats and secondly I am unsure if I want to wear cleats this year. When you wear cleats, due to their structure, your center of balance is different and I’ve been training in tennis shoes for several months which are flat. I’ve decided that I’m going to experiment a bit and see if maybe I should wear turf shoes for a while until I get my center of balance and confidence in that back but for the next day I would stick with my tennis shoes as I was not planning on doing much anyways.

I arrived early at the field Saturday. Our first tryout was at Cal Anderson Park which is downtown Seattle in the Capitol Hill area. Our tryouts will be in different locations to try to attract more people and this was a great one for us. You are central and it’s a popular area with many people walking around and stopping to check us out.

We were concerned to see how the weather would affect the number of people coming. Would it deter them? Would people wake up and roll over in bed to stay warm and dry? On the contrary, we had over 50 people at this first tryout.

My original plan was just to participate in warm ups but I actually ended up doing more. I stuck to the plan of doing what I could that was forward movement. I probably ended up doing around 60 percent of the drills. I actually felt pretty good half way through it all. I noticed when we stopped moving around as much and it was more instruction that I did get cold and that my leg got more stiff. Not my knee but the muscles around it. It wasn’t painful but I just had to make sure to keep moving as much as I could to keep it warm.

A couple of the drills it was helpful to have Rachel Woods as a partner. Right before my injury last year, she tore her ACL and has been on her own road to recovery. It was awesome to have her as a partner because we could go slow speeds without having to worry about holding anyone else back.

It is a tricky thing coming back from an injury like this. You do at some point have to attempt some of the drills, even if it’s at a slower pace or in a modified way because the only way you really know where you are is to make an attempt. I think it’s also helpful to get your body used to the movement. It’s one thing to train in the gym and another to actually do similar movement you will be doing when you are 100 percent.

There is also no comparison to being on the field again from a mental standpoint. Being able to be on the field and get rust off mentally was huge. Your perspective from being on the field to being on the sideline is drastically different. Being on the field allowed me to refresh myself on what I will actually be looking at. Training your eyes and your brain to analyze is just as important as training your body.

My favorite part of the day was just being around my team again. Being apart of the drills instead of watching made me feel reconnected. I couldn’t stop smiling even though I’m not fully back yet. The new class of rookies so far seem athletic and dedicated. I am excited to see how we put all of this together.

I have also been experiencing healing in other ways. Last week I happened to go to a hiring event for my day job where former Seahawk’s player Ricardo Lockette was the keynote speaker. For those that don’t remember, he was the player that got blind sided on a kickoff and nearly lost his life.

I have put together a video highlighting his speech.

I knew I needed to talk to him afterwards to get some perspective on how to overcome an injury. Mine was definitely not on the level of his but I felt a bond with him nonetheless. I asked him how he has gotten over the mental and emotional part of the injury and he said it’s about the people you surround yourself with. Luckily, I think I am pretty fortunate in that area.

Additionally, I recently listened to Carli Loyd’s new book on Audible and it was pretty relevant for me. One of the things thatthreedee she really spoke about was her edge. She seemed to feed off of others doubting her. It made her work harder. I’m built in a similar way in that I play better with an edge to me. I will say that one of the best parts of this injury is it has made me hungry. It has re-vitalized my edge. I can’t wait to unleash it.

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