After a long winter it is a breath of fresh air to see the grass becoming green, flowers starting to bloom and athletes of all abilities getting into shape to achieve their goals. Outdoor track and field is here and athletes of all ages are starting to get ready for the competition season later this spring and summer. In addition, it is exactly 100 days until the 2016 US Olympic Track and Field Trials. Needless to say, this is an exciting time to be a runner.
Recent studies have shown that running is enjoying a resurgence even greater than the boom of the 1970s and 1980s. Back then the biggest challenge was running a marathon. Now not only are marathons available almost every weekend, but so are races ranging from one mile to the ever popular 5k and 10k, all the way to ultra-marathons on roads and trails. Throw in track and field, one of the top participation sports on the high school level in America, and the opportunities seem endless.
Perhaps due to the availability of competition, athletes have become bigger, faster and stronger over the last several decades, and children are entering our sport and learning to run, jump, and throw at younger age than ever before. As we have entered an era of everyone receiving a ribbon for participating, what we must not forget is to build good strong fundamentals so that young athletes can develop a love for running and physical well-being that will serve them for a lifetime. Learning to avoid injuries is a big key, but having success and fun should be priorities.
Spring also is a very busy time for myself, being a physician, surgeon, and track coach, as well as being part of a team at Achilles Running Shop. People are getting ready to compete, and unfortunately I treat a lot of injuries caused by trying to do too much too quickly. For some, it may be a long road back and for others the recovery can be quicker. No matter what the injury entails, it is important to follow the instructions of your doctor, coach, and therapist, and most importantly listen to your body.
Going the extra mile to help any athlete is what truly inspires me, as I know how difficult it is to be sidelined and unable to compete. I have received phone calls at 6 o'clock in the morning, I've seen patients after hours in the office or my home, have admitted patients to the hospital in the middle of night, and have performed emergency surgery. Just recently I traveled last minute over 5000 miles round-trip to Portland to help an Olympic gold medalist go for the gold at the world indoor Track and Field championships this Thursday. She and her coach told me I was crazy for doing something like this, but truth be told to earn the trust and confidence of an athlete as their doctor is priceless to me.
As much as I would have loved to stay and see the championship meet this weekend, I look forward to coming back home and helping all the great athletes that support us at Precision Orthopaedics, Achilles Running Shop, Maple Leaf Track Club, and our local schools. I wish my best to all of you this spring and summer!