It’s been a long year and a half since I first injured my ACL and had to have surgery to repair it -- twice. But now I am finally back on the snow -- and it's been amazing!
I first got out there at a U.S. team snowboard camp in Mt. Hood, Ore., about a month ago. My coaches didn’t really care if I got onto the course -- they were just hoping I could ease into riding. But I was out there the very first day. It was awesome -- everything felt really solid, and we were all ecstatic. I also feel just as confident as ever, and ready to try any jump.
Having to start the whole process of training again was challenging, but I made the right decision by staying at the Olympic Training Center full time, even when I was unable to snowboard at all. I realized that staying in Park City, Utah, where I could live and breathe my Olympic dream was the only way it would be possible to come back and make a run for the Games in February.
I needed the extra motivation that came from being surrounded by other athletes, with all the support I could ever need: physical therapists, doctors, strength coaches, nutritionists and everybody checking in with me and monitoring me daily.
This last year was really the make or break line. I thought I’ll give it my all and try my hardest every day, but I knew it might not pan out. If I did everything I could and it still didn’t work out, that might just be the sign that I’m not supposed to be competing anymore.
Luckily, though, that wasn’t the case. When I got on that snow, I felt like new. I had really missed it, and I realized this is what I’m meant to be doing. It was just an injury -- a fluke -- not a sign that my career was over.
So I’m still taking it one step at a time toward my Olympic dream. I’m in the gym all the time, doing lots of plyometrics and agility work. My goal is to progress past where I was strength-wise before all this ACL business began. And of course, I want my knee to feel just as fluid as my other one -- like there was never anything wrong with it.
Racing is still too far off to think about, and I don’t even know when the first competition is. But I can say that being in Mt. Hood racing my teammates has really gotten my competitive juices flowing. I can’t wait!