“Effort is a choice and fitness is a result of hard work”

Mikaela Norman

When the bumpy road meets even higher mountains…

I´ve written about it before, how I got sick with myocarditis in February 2023. Spending 4 months sick and forth and back at hospital and with a broken heart had to decline my spot to the World Championship 2023. The comeback was hard and therefore earning the spot to this year’s World Championship meant a lot to me, it was my comeback. The period of sickness caused major following consequences that I had to battle. When the heart got better I battled weird symptoms for months without getting help until they found out that I had iron deficiency anemia. It took a long time to heal it but I felt slow and steady progress. 

Before the Vienna race in February 2024 I struggled with pain in my left hamstring. It was okay during the race but the day after I could not walk when I got out of bed. I had a lot of pain but the worst part was the constant nerve pain from the glute to the end of my foot. We had to take away running for a long period and we found out in a MRI scan that I had a boulding disc and also hamstring tendon damage and inflammation.

A few weeks later my old quadriceps rupture started to cause trouble and my knee became more and more swollen, probably since I loaded that leg more because of the hamstring injury.. Then we had to start modifying again and I could not flex my leg more than 45 degrees.. 

One afternoon I got a massive 10/10 pain that  increased for each minute in my stomach and my whole face swole up,I had to call 911 and go to the emergency, probably one of the worst pain I ever had. During 3 weeks I was in the emergency 3 times because my foot started swelling, was super warm/red and extremely painful. I had got some kind of infection and inflammation in that leg ( foot and knee)  and it was most likely an infection from my previous burn accident on that leg.. I got medical help but it was mostly about taking a step back and letting my body heal itself.. Now I’ve recently done an MRI on my knee and leg and I´m waiting for an answer. On top of all, the inflammation caused a real setback for my anemia and I was back with low values.. Should I have taken a step back already when I got the hamstring issue ? YES, easy to say now? YES. I think this is some of the hardest things for high level athletes when the willpower is there and you are in the peak season.. The fear of stepping back when you know it is not the time for it. 

Let’s say that the past months have been a mess and very hard for me dealing with all the pain and emotions. Past weeks I’ve felt steadily better and that is a lot thanks to my coach John Singleton and help from Mike Molloy that I started working with at the end of February. I’ve worked hard with trusting that the best way is to focus on healing, be smart, not push things, focus on health, but it’s very hard when you know you only have a few weeks until the most important race in the season. 

 I’ve thought about this for a long time if I want to share this or not but now I´ve decided to do it. The reason I want to tell is mostly to tell you all that even though you think you can handle whatever we are all made of the same material. For me the hardest part is to listen to my body and not let my willpower for the sport come in the way of that. I want so much and I have this hard worker mindset that is my biggest strength and weakness. Being smart afterwards is easy and I shouldn’t have let my willingness to work for my goal make me push my limits that hard, I guess I thought I was made of steel. I don’t know if I had prevented the later injuries if I had made other decisions or if all this was waiting on me anyway. It’s a part that I will never know but I’ve learned a lot from all this to say the least. The past is the past now and I can’t change it. 

The world championship is in a few days and I would lie if I didn’t say I´ve been going back and forth if I should go or not. My leg and foot are still very swollen and I haven’t been able to run continuously for long. Is it a risk to compete for my health? right now the answer is “No”. I’ve been training and testing with high intensity but I dont have the full functions in my leg and foot and it’s still very swollen. The one reason I´ve doubted going is mainly because I feel that I can’t deliver at the level I want to in my training now and what I expect from myself to perform at the competition floor. The reason I did not want to tell at first is because I don’t work with excuses and I don’t want to feel that I’m telling myself or others that I’ve already “failed” before I’ve even done the race. Me and my coach decided that the best thing is to work mentally with this race and accept that this is the body I have today and I can only do one thing: My best. This race and this sport is not only about winning either and sometimes I can “forget” that in the end it is about my love for the sport and to compete. I’ve been looking forward to being on the World Championship floor and that’s what I will do and I will do my best and remind myself of why I ́m doing this and really enjoy it. I never thought a few months ago that this was even going to be possible so I think that’s a win itself. My mindset is to do my best and let the result come as second, I need to listen to my body in this race and I will do so. 

What I want to share with this is as the quote says “the biggest failure is not trying”. I know that the reason I doubt going was because I felt fear that my preparations has´not been perfect and a fear of not succeeding this year the way I planned for and a fear of not meeting the “expectations from others”. I had to ask myself if I felt that the fear was a legit reason for myself to not go? The answer was “No”. My body can handle doing the race, I won’t let my fear of potentially not getting the time I want stop me from doing what I love, the race is in my hands and who says it won’t be successful? we don´t know and I will find out.. I´m in this sport for myself and not because of anyone else. 

I want to create an extra thanks to my coach John Singleton and The Program for all support. You have already made so much for me, my body and my mindset. I´ve got some real good insights since I started working with John. I truly look forward to next year with a full season together, but before that, we will take a longer period of focusing on health and healing before anything else. But one thing is for sure, I’m not done yet and I haven’t lost the fire in me even though things have been very tough, the light has to be just around the corner now and it must be my turn now to catch a tailwind. See you in Nice! 

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