Annalise Rummelhart ’19 Recovers After Serious Injury
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In the winter of 2016, Annalise Rummelhart ‘19 sustained a serious stress fracture to her foot. By fall of 2016, Rummelhart had made her way onto the varsity cross country team.
In distance running, injury is a serious roadblock. When someone gets injured, it can take months to recover, and during that recovery time, it is difficult to improve due to a lack of training.
“I took a lot of time off running,” said Rummelhart. “I had to do all cross training on the bike, and I couldn’t walk well.”
Rummelhart’s recovery took 17 weeks, and she wore a boot for three. To regain strength, Rummelhart spent many early mornings in the pool and practices on the bike. If injuries aren’t fully healed before restarting training, running could cause severe or permanent damage.
“[The most important part of training for running] is recovery, because missing one workout isn’t really going to affect you much on how you perform,” Rummelhart said.
To prevent further injury, Rummelhart and the cross country team have begun prevention techniques, such as strengthening calves, balance, and hip exercises. If the runners feel any pain, they are recommended to talk with a coach, ice, sleep well, and have good nutrition.
Only after the 17 weeks, Rummelhart slowly began easing back into running. She missed most of the track season, but will be ready to start training for cross country coming up in the summer and fall. So far, Rummelhart hasn’t had any injury relapses or pain.
“[My biggest challenges] are probably getting used to the workouts because they are pretty different from the ones in cross country and still trying to run after being sick,” said Rummelhart.
Throughout the summer, Rummelhart attended summer running every morning. Her goal was to be back to where she left off in the winter. Rummelhart accomplished this by going to the state cross country meet at the end of the season.
“It was fun running at state,” said Rummelhart. “It was really hard, but it was nice to be with my team.”
Rummelhart plans on attending state track and cross country this year if her times qualify.
“My concern about qualifying for state is I haven’t run many of the same races, which is needed to improve times,” said Rummelhart.
Rummelhart relies on the support of her team to get through challenges.
“Your teammates push you when you’re struggling or when you’re having a bad day; they support you,” said Rummelhart.
Even though each race is individual, track and cross country are team sports. There is no way to win a meet without the rest of the team doing well. This creates a close bond within the girls on the team.
“It’s really great because when they’re having a bad day and that positive motivation has rubbed off on you, you can support them and hopefully make them feel better,” said Rummelhart.
Rummelhart’s teammates encouraged her to begin training again.
“I have been motivated mostly because when you’re doing it, you’re not necessary as thrilled and running is hard when you’re tired,” said Rummelhart. “But when I took a step back and I got to see all these people running and having fun, I really wanted to get back into that.”
Rummelhart prefers cross country over track because of the large team aspect.
“Everyone is doing one race and we all know the pain people are going through, unlike track,” said Rummelhart.
Because of the many different events in track, the team members practice during different times and in separate locations. Cross country allows for the runners to train and compete together, creating larger team environment.
“I like cross country better because the team isn’t so spread out everywhere,” said Rummelhart.
The track and cross country departments have a large variety of runners. This gives the opportunity for the runners to interact with all grade levels.
“My favorite part of track and cross country is getting to meet a lot of people who you wouldn’t have any other interactions with because of your grade or classes,” said Rummelhart.
In the future, Rummelhart plans to continue her running career throughout the rest of high school and possibly into college. Rummelhart wants to find a division three school that is not really intense on running so that she can focus more on academics but still have the team atmosphere.
Rummelhart’s experience shows that, although injuries can be a big obstacle, it is possible to come back strong and continue to improve.
“It is bad in the moment that you’re injured, but you really can come back strong if you stay motivated and positive,” said Rummelhart.