Last summer, I had one of the most incredible experiences an athlete can have: I raced in the Olympics. It was everything and more than it was cracked up to be! The Olympics showcase the cream of the crop in rowing. Winning Gold is the ultimate dream, but it’s an achievement only a few will ever realize. At the 2012 games, I finished fourth, 0.2 seconds shy of a medal, sending me home unsure of the future but hungry for more.
After a few months away from the sport, I realized my fire to keep training was still ignited, so I hopped back in a boat ready to tear up the 2013 season. My body seemed to have a different plan, however, and five weeks ago I was sidelined with a back injury. I’ve been diagnosed with an L5S1 bulging disk and an annular tear. In layman’s terms, my spine is out of whack. It’s not the first big injury I’ve sustained—I fractured a rib last winter leading into Olympic selection—but it’s definitely the strangest. (Read about another athlete who overcame a strange injury; see How Trigger Point Performance Therapy Creator Cassidy Phillips Beat His Limitations.)
Small movements send shooting pains through my glute and down my hamstring, and sitting makes my body feel terrible. This is obviously bad for a rower, since sitting in a boat is what we love to do. So far, it’s been a slow road to recovery, and I’m not sure what this summer has in store for me. The U.S. World Championship team will be selected by August 7, and there’s no telling if I’ll be back in time.
That said, my current goal as an athlete has changed from “get as fit as possible” to “help my body recover.” A strong dose of positivity and every effort to reduce inflammation in the affected area have pushed me in the right direction! I’ve been following a strict physical therapy plan, but I’ve also found some awesome products that are easing my symptoms.
Luckily, I stumbled upon 110% Compression. If you haven’t tried compression gear before, I highly recommend it. Compression has been found to increase muscle stability, enhance circulation and reduce muscle fatigue. 110% takes it a step further by adding pockets to their gear into which you can insert ice packs, transforming you into a walking ice bath. (See Use Cold Therapy for Quicker Recovery.)
Gear for almost every body part is available, but 110% Compression’s three-quarter-length tights, the Juggler Knickers, have been ideal for reducing the pain in my lower back, glute, and hamstring. I wear the knickers all day, and the compression seems to reduce the sharp pains down my leg. Whenever I start to feel soreness, I pop the ice packs in.
In the past, I’ve been told to ice by my physical therapist, but I’m not always patient enough to sit and ice. With 110%, the ice bath and compression therapy become quick, easy, and mobile. I find the concept ingenious and the product invaluable.
My new favorite position
Prior to my injury, I was using 110% gear as a way to recover between hard rows. Our toughest practice of the week is on Saturday mornings, and I found wearing my 110% gear throughout the weekend made Monday a whole lot easier.
The idea behind the 110% line is prehab—compress and ice simultaneously to recover faster and prevent injury. But whether you’re looking to prehab or rehab, 110% Compression is worth a try. I’m definitely addicted.
Multitasking at its finest: making breakfast and icing like crazy.