Jesse and I at the peakUnderstatement: Cross training alone sucks super bad.

The most pathetic I’ve ever felt in my life involved cross training alone. I was in Oberlin, Ohio in 2004, training for the Olympics with Vin Lananna, and I broke my foot six weeks prior to the trials. The only thing I could do was aqua jog for four weeks, and the plan was to come out of the pool 10 days before the race and give it a go.

My social life was already pretty mellow, with my 83 year old roommate, coach, my married training partner, and two cool teachers in the area. As amazing as these people were, once I got banished to the pool, my solitary cross training schedule took me out of the social scene. For four weeks it was me and the water aerobics ladies, and a few kids in the wave pool. And since aqua jogging is so time consuming with commuting, locker rooms, etc, I was home for less time with my roommate, and when I was home I was completely mentally and emotionally exhausted, and thereby no fun.

This one particular day, about 2 weeks into the regimen, I limped up to the pool’s edge with my jogger belt, and absolutely could not get in. The thought of it made my eyes well up. I had been doing 90 minutes a day, split into two sessions, and simply couldn’t make myself do it.

I remember hobbling right back out of the complex in my bathing suit and lying down on the warm sidewalk looking up at the sky. The gravity kept the tears inside since I was horizontal. That is, until I decided, lonely and frustrated, to call up my ex-boyfriend (yikes!) for support, since he was the only person who would understand. Who does that?! I remember crying so hard on the phone, so pathetically, like it was the first time I had let myself feel the disappointment and lack of control over the situation. My body had betrayed me for the first time, and it felt like the sky was falling down. Its amazing how devastating, how enormous an injury can feel in your life, especially when the stakes are high and you’ve put all your eggs in one basket.

What a difference training partners can make. That ex-boyfriend I called that lonely day in Ohio is now my husband, and he lets me tag along on his cycling routes when I want to get some biking in. When it comes to the pool, in a running town like Eugene, there is almost always someone who wants an aqua-buddy. OTC teammate Jemma Simpson happens to be babying a hamstring at the same time as this hip business I’m dealing with. Add marathoner Steph Rothstein to the mix now and then as she recovers from last summers back injury, and we have a killer group. I actually look forward to going in the pool. The three of us girls train at the university pool, despite being way out of college, and we are surrounded by students in the locker room who must think we are crazy. Laughing like idiots at nothing. Purposely taking freezing showers before jumping in the pool so that the pool feels warm. We make it an adventure. We create momentum. Encourage one another. And as a result, time flies by.