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Hard Work Pays Off (12/5/13)

BY SARAH HENDRICKSON

In my in-run, which has gradually gotten better due to increase in
flexion

Testing on the force platform at Center of Excellence

After 13 long, tedious weeks in the gym, I am finally seeing the results that I have worked so hard for. I can honestly say it was not easy waking up every day and going to the gym for six or seven hours. I remember one time, I found myself looking up at the gym ceiling, mid core session, and thinking, ‘What the hell am I doing? Why do I want this so bad? Who cares, it’s just a sport?' Well apparently I do care because I just kept on going, every day, one step closer to being healthy.

At my 12-week post-operation check, my doctor was overly pleased with the physical appearance of my leg. The circumference difference was minimal and the muscles were activating as if surgery had never happened. Although we keep in close contact with him throughout the weeks, it was nice to see him and gain this reassurance. My favorite thing he said was, “There is absolutely nothing that will stop you from jumping in January...” He then added that there can be setbacks, but I didn’t listen to that part. I cannot put into words how much confidence this gave me and how I was still on track to jump and qualify for Sochi.

After this appointment he also cleared me to start my plyometric progression, which is an essential part of training for ski jumpers. In addition, strength programs have started to include squats and other normal exercises to gain my quad and hamstring strength. My doctor also mentioned getting me on the force platform to give us numbers about my strength rather than just going off of feelings.

I knew I felt strong but I don’t think I expected the see the numbers I did. My pre-injury strength was the strongest I had ever been. I worked really hard this spring and summer for those results, and was devastated that it was all lost because of my injury. However, at 12 ½ weeks I was 93 percent of my strongest ever. My doctor told me that most people don’t achieve this until six months out of a surgery like mine. Granted, the training I was doing wasn’t what normal people do, but it was still an amazing feeling.

It was almost as if a weight has been lifted off my shoulder with these results. Not that I was losing hope, but sometimes your mind tends to drift to doubts about what will happen in the future. These tests showed me that hard work does pay off and I am still on track for my goal. As I walked out of the U.S. Ski Team gym that day, I felt pure happiness. Everything from my hard working hours, to the team of professionals that I had behind me was the reason I was able to heal so fast up to this point.

Although I am on track, there is still more work to do. Strength is very important but we don’t qualify for the Olympic Winter Games with the amount of hours in the gym or the strength test numbers. We qualify by jumping far. So with this in mind, I have another hard month in the gym and then all things considered, I’m flying again in January!