McKennis Blog: One step at a time


Heel-toe, heel- toe, heel-toe, heel-toe…….. I DID IT! I walked for the first time on Wednesday in almost seven weeks! It is the happiest I have been in a long time. I never thought I would be so excited about walking but I did!

I saw Dr. Sterett Wednesday and he said things are looking really good. My bone is healing well and I can start to weight bear fully when I am doing physical therapy and partial weight bear the rest of the day. I have two more weeks doing that and then I’m getting gasoline, matches and will dispose of my crutches for good.

The past six weeks have been pretty uneventful for me. I did physical therapy five days a week in Eagle or Vail for about two hours a day. My main focus was getting my quad to fire again and getting my range of motion back. I did quite a bit of work in the pool for therapy. If you want to get some looks, put on a bathing suit, crutch around the pool area and then awkwardly try to get in the water without dropping your crutches in the pool. Then “borrow” one of those foam noodles from some kid when he’s not looking and go do some aqua-jogging. I felt like a circus freak, seriously I’m not kidding. It was bad!  My left quad is 3cm smaller than my right quad so I think I have done a decent job at not completely losing everything I have worked hard to get.  I have almost full range of motion as well, so not to sound like a bragger but I’m pretty much dominating therapy right now. No big deal.

I wish I could think of something entertaining or cool that I have been up to but not much comes to mind. I did go to X-games one day and watch Skier-X which was exciting. Those people are nuts! I like my personal space so I’m not sure that would be the sport for me. Although it did make me want to run DH and catch some air! This past week I was able to visit some of my teammates in Aspen during the Nor-Am speed series and National Championship. It was really good to see some of the girls again and catch up with them.  I’m taking an independent study class from the University of Utah which has helped use up my time; I’m going to be really educated after this ordeal… or something like that.

I would be lying if I said the past six weeks were not that hard and flew by. They were not easy and six weeks when you are injured and can’t walk feels like six months.  Some days were very tough; I would wake up and could not stand the thought of crutching around all day struggling to do everything. It seemed like everything was just too much to handle and the progress I was making was so small it felt like I would never make it back. I admit at times I still look at my leg an wonder how I’m ever going to be healthy again, it seems so far way.  Then I think about how painful it was to bend my led to 90 degrees the first week after surgery and how I have progressed to almost full range again I can see how it is possible and is only a matter of time and hard work!

For the most part though I managed to stay positive and keep things in perspective these past six weeks. I am very lucky my injury was not worse and I feel that I am through the worst of it. When people say you will come out of this stronger I truly believe them now, it’s not the easiest way to build mental toughness but it works!

I’m really looking forward to walking on my own in a couple weeks, I’m gonna walk all over the place! Here, there, up-stairs, down-stairs, sidewalks, bike paths, shopping malls, museums, grocery stores, backwards, sideways, everywhere! I need to cool it though, I think I’m getting a little too jazzed up about it and need to take it one step at a time and not rush things. Deep breath……. and patience. Patience. Patience.

Alice McKennis is a member of the U.S. Alpine Ski Team from
Glenwood Springs, Colo. She was named to the 2010 U.S. Olympic Team and,
at 21, has become a regular on the World Cup Tour with five top-15
finishes to her name. McKennis was also the 2009 NorAm Cup downhill and
super G overall champion.

Click here to go to Alice McKennis’ blog.

Click here to read about her injury.

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