Once A Hawkeye…

Well this is it, the “was” post. I “was” a college athlete. I “used to” compete in the NCAA.

We all knew it was coming, I wasn’t under any false pretenses that by some miracle they would let me stay another year or three. As of March 11, 2015, the journey that started when I took my recruiting trip in November of 2009 officially closed.

11043111_974240375943089_4080473543905693498_n

I was assuming this would be a sad post, an emotional one. One that I would cry writing and cry publishing and cry rereading (in case you couldn’t tell, I’ve done a lot of crying this week). But sitting here now 24 hours removed from my “student-athlete” status I don’t feel like my heart is broken. I was prepared for this day and I’m allowed to be emotional, even if it stings more than I thought.

After five years of training and four weeks after breaking my foot, I competed in all three events at the NCAA Zone Diving Championships. I didn’t have to change any of my dives to easier options which was a huge accomplishment for me, and while I was no where near my original goal of qualifying for the NCAA National Championships I’m counting the week as a huge success- we had three Hawkeyes qualify for Nationals and I got to finish my collegiate career with the greatest people I have ever met.

There’s a lot I could focus on in regards to the last five years, and I am choosing to focus on what matters. The positives and the goals achieved and every struggle that brought a life lesson- not the marks I missed due to injury or other reasons.

IMG_5562

From the Senior Recognition at the Big Ten Championships. I was probably trying not to cry then too.

This experience simply would not have been possible without the support of my incredible family, and the trust they put in me to move to another country at 19. It would not have been possible without the coach that brought me to Iowa and the belief he had in me to succeed, and the coach that followed him, who believed in me the same. I would not be the same athlete without them, or anywhere close. And more than I could have possibly imagined, I could not have done this without our athletic trainer. After my injury he was the most optimistic person I could turn to while being realistic about my diving (and walking around) capabilities. He dedicated multiple hours everyday since to make sure I could be on the board for my final college meets, and I can never summarize what that meant to me. He never doubted my determination to finish the season, and was right there every time I was ready to push myself. I can never be thankful enough for the people I have surrounded myself with over the past five seasons.

What made my career, more than the goals and the training and the results, were my team. I have been luckier than I ever dreamed to be able to train with them. From everyone on the team in 2010 to everyone on the team now, having doubled in size, I have felt so fortune to have known each and every one. Now training with 13 people, only three girls have been together for the entirety of my career. I got to witness one achieve the ultimate, qualifying for the NCAA’s, and see one rip her last dive of a 14 year career (Oh shoot I made it this far without crying while writing) (to be fair she was crying during the dive, I’m allowed to cry thinking about it). From every triumph to every failure in and out of the pool- from high school boyfriends to grad schools and training camps and apartments, they have been the biggest blessing I have ever received. While we have been struggling to figure out who we are going to now that we are not student-athletes, we have the been the rocks in each others lives. They have been my biggest cheerleaders when I was injured and I was their biggest fans when I was sidelined. We all cried when we succeeded, and we all cried together when two of us finished our Hawkeye careers (seriously, it was comical. The men’s team knew to give us a few moments each day to cry it out before joining the team meeting).

11045357_975868382446955_5089234146730452631_o

Day two of competition- minimal tear day

I have absolutely no idea what my life is going to look like in a year, but I know who is going to be there for me. I don’t know exactly what job I’m going to have and what my life will look like, even though I generally know I’ll be working and training (this isn’t a retirement post thank goodness!). This will be the first time I’m not registering for class, and I don’t have to worry anymore about blowing my amateur status. I’m looking at things like health insurance and work visa paperwork and graduation transcripts and gahhhh. Real life sneaks up on you when you’re trying to enjoy every last second of your college career.

Oh gosh, well this turned into a rant. To summarize, I am excited, and scared, and heart broken and proud and so so thankful this is how I choose to continue to my diving career. I will bleed Black and Gold for the rest of my life, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. No matter where I am in a year, or ten years, I will always be a Hawkeye.

From the first big meet,

183108_971271352409_2944254_n11016790_975869192446874_5284004911840143475_o

to the last.

The extent to which I could point my broken foot with that much tape was a bonus in itself!

I promise less emotional train wreck posts in the future while I navigate the ever-looming college graduation, spring break in Denver, and where ever this road may take me! Go Hawks!

Advertisements

Three Things, Third Month

My apologizes on giving you guys the update on Big Tens and leaving you hanging for over a week! Following coming home we hosted the Men’s Championship meet, so I was at the pool cheering 6 hours a day doing physical therapy every chance I could get. Contrast baths, towel workouts, resistance stuff…my foot felt totally recovered about five days after competing on it! Well in relative terms- it went back to how it felt pre-competing on it.

The good greatest news? There was no damage done diving on it, and it’s healing like it should! I got follow up x-rays last week and the bone is healing, slowly but surely. I’m still in the boot, yuck, but at this point it’s more to help heal the ankle sprain and to help it recover now that I’m going to try diving again.

Side Note: I didn’t even know I sprained my ankle until I saw the doctor again last week, but it makes perfect sense. I basically sprained my ankle so hard the bone broke. The bummer is that ankle will always be a little stretched out and a little weaker, but with adequate rehab and preventative measures it shouldn’t be a big deal from here on out!

So I suppose the first things to update you on this month is I DOVE ON IT YESTERDAY! I’m still in an outrageous tape job, doing therapy before and after, and am only allowed to train once a day, but practice went SO WELL! I actually got through all of my one meter dives, which took me two days and a lot of tears two weeks ago.

My jump is probably at 60-70% of my regular jump, and our athletic trainer did call me out for favoring it towards the end of practice. All-in-all however, optimism paid off and I was very pleasantly surprised  with how my first day back went. Oh! And another bright spot! I didn’t wake up this morning feeling like I couldn’t walk or was too sore to function- I feel normal and that’s really the goal at this point.

Okay that was a long first thing. ANYWAYS

2. I was invited into the Girls Gone Sporty Ambassador Program! Obviously health and fitness has been a driving force in my life, but I’ve been more involved in sport than fitness itself. I couldn’t be happier to represent a community that encourages women to live a healthy, sport-filled life. It creates networking opportunities for support, cutting-edge content to make sure you’re receiving the best information, and is uniting people who LOVE to be active!

3. You’ve heard me complain talk about my job search anxieties, mention plans after graduation, and mull over what in the world I’m going to do with my life. Well at this point I’m thrilled to announce I’ve accepted one two three different job offers! One’s a part time position that I’ll be working at on and off, more so in April when the seasons over, one is a position managing one of the diving camps I worked out so I spend the majority of my spare time on that, and one is ten-week summer internship with a baseball tournament operations and scouting agency! The official resume titles will be Nike “Athlete”, Camp Director, and Tournament Operations Intern.

Clearly the year isn’t going as planned, but that’s okay. There’s plenty of amazing things to come.

Future Quote

Do It B1G

Broken Foot

13 days post breaking my foot, I competed in my final Big Ten Championships as an Iowa Hawkeye. It was not pretty, and it was painful, but it got done. Did I train any of my dives before the meet? Not really. Monday I could hardly do a front jump, and only attempted my dives the day before the event.

Diving on a broken foot isn’t something I wanted to do. Coming second last wasn’t the plan. Scoring 225 point when the goal was 300 is not something I would typically be proud of. This is not the week I planned to end my Big Ten career on at all- but life happens. Shit happens and sometimes it has horrible timing and I was dead set on not letting a broken foot define my exit as a Senior student-athlete.

This is not some heroic story of how I rose above the pain and rose to the occasion- I cried every single practice I did anything beyond a front jump. During the meet warm up my coach called me over and let me know it was okay if I couldn’t dive. He was perfectly okay with letting this one go and letting me bow out, and I told him I couldn’t. I didn’t train for five years to NOT dive.

I will never make a Big Ten Final and that sucks. That’s probably the crappiest timing and luck I have ever experienced and I don’t get another chance at it. I’ve been looking for the rhyme or reason, the meaning behind it, and so far I’ve drawn a blank. I don’t know how or why I broke my foot and there’s a good chance I never will. I can also never say I didn’t give it my all. I used up all I had in me Thursday to get off six mediocre dives, and those six dives are more representative of me as a person than if I hadn’t broken my foot. I am most likely more proud of the dives I did Thursday, off of one foot, than if I had put together a great list and came 9th or 10th.

If I hadn’t gotten injured, the goal would was been Top 8 on both boards, without a doubt. Anything less than that would have been a “failure”. I would have felt defeated- I would have been devastated and furious and who knows what else. After breaking my foot, I can come 35th and walk away satisfied. Am I still upset and furious and just plain sad that I didn’t get the chance to make a final? YES. But sometimes the plan changes. Sometimes you have to roll with the punches and deal with whatever cards your dealt and everyone cliche in the book about going with it.

Friday was the 3m event, the event I’d been training for for years, and it went on without me. Eight girls made finals and eight girls made consolation finals, and I wasn’t any of them. There is nothing I can do about that and that’s okay. Not being able to dive all three events, or even any event well, on a broken foot isn’t a failure, or a definition of an athlete.

I am not a failure. An injury before my final conference meet does not make my career not worthwhile, or anything less than what it has been. To quote one of my favorite Olympians…

“I’ve always known you don’t accomplish all you set out to do in this sport, but it’s never made me afraid to try. It has never made me second guess getting back up after every knock down or putting the frailty of being human on display for all to see.

I signed up for this and it’s still the time of my life, therefore I choose to accept everything that happens during this formidable chapter in it.”

College diving isn’t over- we still have the NCAA Zone Meet in two and a half weeks to try and qualify for NCAA Nationals. Hopefully by then I’ll be a little more recovered. This has still been the best years of my life, hands down, and the immense pride I feel is giving the competition a shot is right up there with various other accomplishments other the years. No one can say I didn’t give it my all to come back for this meet. And yeah, my definition of success changed. It changed drastically, from finals to finishing, and I am more than okay to count this Big Ten Championships as a success.

Event Aftermath: I’m not allowed to dive again for a week. It took 6 Tylenol and 2 surgical painkillers to get me through the day (with my athletic trainer’s supervision nobody panic). I used 6 layers of tape in various patterns and a rubber wedge around the outside of my foot to dive in. The swelling came back with a vengeance, but calmed down after staying off it for a day. The bruising got darker everywhere it wasn’t taped. I was so sore the next morning you would have thought I did a marathon hopping on one foot, falling all over the hotel room. I only cried after one dive during the event, and then plenty of tears after- a mixture of pain and relief and happiness.

I’m a whole mixture of emotions right now. I am fine and I am going to be fine- I am sad but I’m proud. I figure all of that is normal (or maybe it’s the Tylenol). My biggest goals now are to rest, recover, and refocus. Oh, and be the loudest girl cheering on the pool deck. GO HAWKS! :)

Nutrition for Bone Health

Just because I broke a bone doesn’t mean my love for planning, brainstorming, and making lists was lessened. If anything it gave me a project! I love projects. And this one was so important- I tackled it head on.

I read every single freaking thing I could get my hands on when it came to bone health and nutrition, bone healing, fractures, recovery, etc…and now I’m sharing it! Not saying it’s a miracle list by any means…but I’m not saying it’s not by how fast thing has healed in only five days.

Here’s what I’ve been spending all my money on filling my cart with this week…

Grocery list

Nonfat yogurt (I got Greek and regular), Quark (yogurt that’s actually cheese!), Kefir (Yogurt that you drink) (clearly I’m OD’ing on yogurt), skim milk, calcium-fortified orange juice, apples (for boron), broccoli, sweet potatoes, carrots, lean protein like chicken or turkey, oatmeal, unsweetened dried fruits like apricots and dates, red bell peppers, string cheese, kale, spinach

Supplements

Okay, don’t hound me on this one. I get that not everyone needs supplements and their effects are not actually proven and it’s a waste of money la dee da. BUT they make me feel better. They really can’t hurt, and they are helping me feel like I am doing everything in my power to get better ASAP

Lysine, Vitamin K, Omega 3 fats, Calcium (duh), Magnesium, Vitamin D3, Multivitamin

Avoiding

What’s on the shit no list? Alcohol, excessive sugar, salt, caffeine (nooooooo)

Anyways, this has led to some pretty healthy meals everyday and very small cups of coffee. Basically every morning has started with an unreal size yogurt parfait- Greek vanilla yogurt, cherry Kefir, flax seeds, almond slices, and some dried fruit! Dinners have been kale salads (turns out I can stomach kale as long as it’t not baked?), chicken, and sweet potato fries (although, shhh, I did have some garlic bread. Totally worth it).

Yogurt bone health orange juice

True life I had three more yogurts after this

Sweet potato fries calcium kale 

The best part about this dinner is I didn’t have to make it :)

Day six with a broken foot down- and TOMORROW I get to try getting back on the boards!

Injury Update!

Happy Wednesday! And it really is a happy Wednesday…hump day and all I’m in a great mood. Am I still in boot? Yup. Do Big Ten Championships still start in a week? Yup.

BUT YOU GUYS. For fracturing my foot just this past Friday, it is mind blowing how well this thing is healing. The bruising is still pretty intense- a nice navy blue strip going down the side of my foot, and the rest of my foot is various shades of purple and green. The weekend and the past few days I’ve been strict about icing every two hours, Tylenol three times a day, elevating every chance I get, and wearing a compression sock 24/7.

I’ve been using GameReady at the pool, a therapy tool where I stick my foot in a boot that fills up with ice water so it simultaneously ices and compresses. I’ve also been doing high voltage electrical stimulation, which I’ll try to explain the best I can. Basically a pad with a negative charge goes directly on the fracture site, and a pad with a positive charge is put higher up on my calf muscle. Once it’s turned on as much as you can take it, it somehow magically blasts bad things away from the bruising and swelling for your body to get rid of. Fancy, right?

Swelling

 Guess which day was today and which day was Saturday??

I’ve had a couple different tape jobs all designed to reduce the swelling, and the one today is pretty extensive. Our athletic trainer got me all wrapped up and then had me walk across the room, then slowly had me walk heel-toe across the room. I feel sore, but not in pain, when I put the weight on the ball of my foot and my toes.

Tape

Tape job from Monday- called a “basket weave”. The one I have today is the same but goes all the way up my ankle!

Overall my trainer and I, and my coach, and shaking are heads at how fast this seems to be coming together. The tentative plan as off today is to try diving again THIS Friday. Nothing serious; just some entries and fall dives and see how it holds up.

Thank you to everyone who sent messages of support and encouragement! I could not do this without all the positive vibes- it means the world to me, and helps more than you know. Go Hawks!

Motivation Monday, Injury Issue

Haaaappy Monday folks. I figured this Monday out of all the Mondays could use a little pick-me-up as I’ll likely be hobbling around the pool deck all day (wearing an ice pack and staring longingly at the diving boards).

Click here if you missed yesterdays recap.

Over the weekend I had plenty of time to peruse the internet and compiled a list via Pinterest (obvs) of quotes that helped me feel better about the recent course of events. Everyone knows I love inspirational quotes, and this situation won’t be any different. Thanks for all the positive vibes!

I don’t own these quotes nor did I make the visuals- I just found them on Pinterest

biggest step church hill crack crazy fears give it all good mind person rise strength stronger success take