Coping with Injury

I’ve gone to physiotherapy more than 6 different times throughout my life.  I’m very pigeon-toed (not the scientific name, obviously), but in effect, this makes both of my legs turn inward a lot and puts immense amounts of strain on the muscles that respond with internal rotation.



(above: I’m also prone to injurious accidents.. both of the above were caused, in some way, by coxing!  One, I was thrown from a boat by a collision, and the other, a dock broke underneath my feet.)

I played soccer for 14 years or so, and always had problems with my feet (high arches, plantar fasciitis), knees (tendinitis, popping, knee cap moving), shins (lateral splints), but never my hips.  In 2008, I took up rowing, and BOOM, hip death.

I went to 5 different doctors and spent nearly 2 years searching for a diagnosis of my hip problems.  I still don’t have a concrete one.  Generally, I’m told that I have “capsulitis, tendinitis, overly tight tensor fascia latae, piriformis, quadriceps and hamstrings, small amounts of bursitis and impingement.”

Cute, right?  I got surgery on my left hip in June, 2010.


It was arthroscopic surgery, so it wasn’t too invasive, but a lot was done.  They shaved down my femur head, hip socket, restitched the tissue that lined the socket (since my femur had rubbed against it for so long and torn it), and half-severed my iliopsoas tendon (to lengthen it).  I had to wear this machine for 6 hours a day, for nearly a week.

Needless to say, I watched a lot of movies.

Today, I’m still working through things.  My right side is getting worse, and I attend PT twice a week for deep tissue massage, ultrasound and lateral strengthening.

I’m a bit worried about heading to England and not having PT covered by insurance… unsure if it’s in the national plan.  Fingers crossed.

Recently, I’ve tried deep needling (ouch), and taping.  The taping is quite interesting.  Usually it’s nude-colored, but of course they decided to tiger stripe me today.. the day before our big “end of internship” luncheon where I was planning on wearing a dress.  Haha.

So, the journey continues with hip struggles and life.  Maybe one day I’ll get to the point where I have a pain-free week?  My hopes are high!

Fatigue for Progress

 First off, thank you to the people who have subscribed to my blog!  Makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside!

Unlike my coworker, who received this expression today:

I’m known for my ability to scowl.  A funny scowl, nonetheless.


Today, I’m planning a “fatigue” workout.  If you’ve never done this style of weight lifting/strength building, it’s intense… and awesome!  If you want to feel a day-after burn… this is a trusty way to ensure it.

Click me for a clearer image!

As you can see, I often keep my workouts in Excel documents!  Easy access and sharing!

In other news, I’m trying to stay ahead of the curve at work.  Only seven more weekdays of my internship, and then I ship out of DC to Ohio until England calls my name!  Time really does fly.  I’m trying to get bank accounts, phones, etc, sorted before I head over there so I don’t make the mistake I made last time and wait until the last minute and appear like a chicken with my head cut off.  I’m sure glad I’ve already lived in England for a year so I know what to expect and where to find things; that’s a relief!

I’m talking to a lot of my fellow Gates Scholars about the transition – it’s very nice to be a source of information!  I pride myself on my Brit knowledge.  Sometimes I have more British pride than American pride…


Yes, America.  Yes.

Everybody is an Athlete

I’m in love with the Nike Women’s campaign, “Everybody is an Athlete.”

Having played varsity sports for literally my entire life, it’s annoying to be riddled with stereotypes all of the time.  I’m sure I’ve been guilty of judging, at some point in life, but I’ve always tried hard not to judge a person’s athletic ability on their appearance.

Example in point:  You’re walking through the produce aisle of the grocery store, when you see a very large individual in front of you.  Your first thoughts are probably, “oh, she’s going to stock her cart with potatoes…” or, “I bet she’s never run a day in her life.”  Sad, but true.  That’s what the media tells us.  What the media doesn’t tell us, and what her personal appearance might not either, is that maybe she’s just lost 200lbs and runs everyday.  That this is the lightest weight she’s ever been.  That she grew up in a household of bad habits, but now she’s about to stock her cart with greens and veggies.

Travel ball, way back in ’05

Don’t judge.  Embrace yourself for the athlete you are, and don’t compare yourself to others.  I’ve never had ripped abs or arms, but I’d consider myself in very good shape.  Embrace yourself.  It’s the most valuable thing that I’ve learned through athletics, and it’s something that gets convoluted and taken advantage of.  It’s amazing to be able to aspire to something, to push yourself against someone or for something, and, undoubtedly, to fail.  All of these things make a great athlete. 

Have fun with it!

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting a professional or Olympic athlete, you’ll know that it’s this state of mind that sets them apart.  It’s something I’m always striving toward and – no matter how many roadblocks I hit (“gah, I should’ve pushed harder” etc) – I know that it’s up to me to make the change.

15-year old me meeting my idol, Brandi Chastain (who you hear commentating the women’s soccer matches in the 2012 Olympics!)

Here’s to you, athlete.



London 2012!

I must say that I’m glad I’m not going to England during the games (I hate crowds) but I sure am excited to WATCH them!

Here are the events/athletes I’m excited to watch…

USA Women’s Soccer

Okay, okay, so I did play soccer for 15 years, but still, this team is incredible.  Their record with this type of competition is something like 21 wins and 1 loss.  They are the defending Olympics champs, and absolutely wonderful athletes.

I saw (live) the USA women’s soccer team play together right after they won the 1999 women’s world cup, made famous by this picture:

I’ve also met her a few times!  If you didn’t see this penalty shootout, or Brandi’s game-winner, take a peak:

Usain Bolt

Arguably the fastest man to ever grace the earth.

I remember watching him absolutely destroy the men’s 100m sprint world record some years ago, and he just keeps going.  He seems to have some competition from a fellow Jamaican teammate this year, so I’m hoping it pushes Bolt to run faster.

Incredible athlete.

Jordyn Wieber

I always watch the gymnastics portion in its entirety, and definitely push for the younger gymnasts!  Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin battled it out last Olympics, and it looks to be another battle by the youngins’ in London!

Ryan Lochte & Michael Phelps

Along with being pretty easy on the eyes (understatement), these two boys are set to break some Olympic records: Ryan in his own events, and Phelps to break the most Olympic medals ever achieved by a single athlete.

Best done shirtless.

USA Rowing

This one was obvious, right guys?

The paralympic team and olympic teams look grand, so I’m routing for them all the way!


OH MAN, I love the Olympics.  I’m not moving from my couch all weekend… well, except to workout.  All in the spirit of athleticism!

Who are you most excited to see?

How to Use an Indoor Rowing Machine

My worst nightmare is watching people row incorrectly on the indoor rowing machine (really called an ergometer, but to us rowers, an erg).  You will see me, beetle-eyed and crazy, staring at you from the arc machine across the way.  I will be preventing myself, with every ounce of being, not to correct your form.

Don’t make Brie sad.

Don’t be that person.  Here’s how to row correctly Smile

Also – it’s literally the best full body workout that you can get from a cardio machine.  If the erg isn’t your friend yet, become acquainted!  I’m not saying it’s pleasant or anything, but damn, is it worthwhile.

Right.  So, there are two terms to understand when rowing.  One: the catch.  This is the moment when your arms are outstretched and your legs fully engaged.  In an actual boat, your oar would just be about to drop into the water.

Second term you should know is the finish.  This is when your oar has come out of the water, when you have successfully completed a stroke.

Following thus far?  Excellent, excellent!

This is the correct progression from CATCH to FINISH and back to CATCH:

Teaching the “drive” (from catch to finish), and the “recovery” (from finish to catch)


Don’t do these things:

What NOT to do.


Rowing is one of the most beautiful things out there, and such a good workout.

Go get your sweat on!

And hop in a boat if you’re so inclined…