“I obviously was devastated; there’s no way around it. It hit me really hard, and I kind of allowed myself—I tend to do this when I’m going through something like emotional turbulence or something where I’m upset about something going on with my sport or personal life or whatever—I’m like, okay, I’m gonna give myself x amount of time to be sad. Lean into that. Cry it out, feel bad for yourself, like just all the things. And then when that time limit is over, it’s like, all right, we did that, we grieved. Now, what can we control? What can we focus on moving forward?”
As a heptathlete who competes in seven different events in one track meet, Annie Kunz has to master living in the moment. If something goes wrong in a single event—if, say, she stumbles over a hurdle—she has to put it behind her and get set to perform her best again, and again, and again.
Kunz did just that at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, recovering from a near-fall to win the competition, and a spot on Team USA, in dominant fashion. She went on to place sixth in the Games in Tokyo. And then, as she was preparing to compete for a spot at the 2022 World Athletics Championships, she tore her plantar fascia. Instead of reclaiming her spot among the world’s best, she watched the event as a spectator.
In this week’s episode, Annie explained how it felt to drop from such a high to such a low—and how she harnessed the mindfulness she typically employs in competition to navigate her recovery. She got support from a great team, including both a therapist and a mental coach, along with Omorpho, one of her sponsors, a company that makes innovative weighted vests and workout wear (and where she’s now an equity partner). But she knew she had her own big role to play in her recovery, showing up for herself even on days when it felt hard—in her words, “behaving my way to success.”
Thank you so much to our sponsors for season 6:
Fluid Running, which has revolutionized fitness by bringing running to the deep water
IceeNOW.com, which provides innovative injury prevention and recovery solutions for athletes
ADAM Rehabilitation, creators of the ADAM Brace System, the most stable exercise system built to save the health of your shoulders
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