Today the Athletics Department held a retreat for varsity athletes and I attended both as a “new athlete” and because I was asked to welcome them and speak about this project. They participated in some team building, visioning and leadership activities and headed off in the late afternoon for an “amazing race” type expedition around the city. It was a nice start to an academic year that starts tomorrow with the first week of classes.
Last week was kind of a hard week for me. I joined the team for their activities every day and it was Orientation week at Ryerson so almost every other minute of each day was full of some other sort of meeting or activity. By the end of the week I was so tired and so sore that my husband expressed concern about whether I could keep up this schedule. I told him that I had made a commitment and I was “all in”. In addition to understanding the experience of our athletes and sharing it with the blog readers, I have some personal goals related to this activity for improved fitness and weight loss and I am not giving up. Everyone tells me it will get easier as I get more fit but my biggest fear right now is hurting myself.
On Monday afternoon the team had a training session and in the warm up I pulled my quad muscle. I did the rest of the workout minus the squats and went on with my day. It was clear to me that I need to warm up for the warm up. I spent Tuesday’s practice with an ice pack on my leg and the team athletic therapist suggested that I make an appointment the athletic therapy clinic. I told her I was fine and with rest it would be okay. On Wednesday at training I warmed up for the warm up and then pulled my IT band on the same leg doing the same thing as Monday. More ice at practice Wednesday night and I agreed to an appointment on Friday. When I went to the clinic at the end of the work day on Friday for my appointment I was very surprised to see four of my teammates there getting ice and physio. The lesson is that the physical requirements of playing a sport at a high level are significant and there is no shame in having sore muscles, pulled muscles, or other activity induced injuries. It is all part of the experience. I don’t come close to the physical exertion of my teammates but for me I am doing much more physically than I ever have and my age and fitness level are throwing up barriers for me. I had planned a run/walk session on Sunday after a full rest day on Saturday but woke up with such a sore knee that I had to take another rest day.
One of the training activities that many athletes engage in is running up hills. There is a park in Toronto called Riverdale Park that has a huge hill and on Thursday evening we went for our first session of hill running. No one on the team seemed excited about this activity but it is a required part of their training so no one really complained. They were required to run up the hill 5-8 times. I knew walking up that hill just once was going to be a huge challenge for me but I set myself a goal of walking up the hill 3 times. In the time it took me to walk up 3 times the rest of the team did their 5 runs. We all stopped there. It was incredibly hot and the women told me it gets easier into the fall when the weather is cooler. We will revisit this hill now every Thursday morning at 7 am. for the next 5 weeks. The Strength and Conditioning Coach has suggested that I continue to walk and try to add one more trip up the hill each week…so this week I am aiming for 4 trips up the hill.
I will end this post with the highlight of my week. At one of the practices Carly (Head Coach) asked me to participate in a drill by passing the ball to the players. Carly talks to them a lot about talking to each other on the court and communication. They were to call to me using my name to alert that they were ready to accept the pass. After the practice one of the players said to me that I needed a nickname to reduce my name to one syllable making it easier to quickly communicate with me. They all have nicknames – usually a short version of their first name – Katherine is “Kat”, Mackenzie is “Mac”, Savannah is “Sav” and Mariah is “Mer”. I told her that my best friend calls me Heth and later in the evening she sent the following tweet.
Seeing the “#partoftheteamnow” just made me so happy. This was Kat and I am meeting with her this coming Friday to do an interview for the next player profile on this blog.
The final schedule for the team is now done for the season since all the players have finalized their class schedule. All the games, practices, training and hills sessions are now in my schedule until March.
Here is the permanent weekly schedule for the season – it only changes in the weeks that there are actual games. I am Heth and I am still all in.