Tuesday, November 2, 2010

For Elite Runners, Baby Steps Can Take Precedence

PACIFIC GROVE, Calif. — Gone were the sinus infections that plagued Blake Russell during the final months of her pregnancy, the additional 40 pounds she packed on her 5-foot-5 frame, the awkwardness she felt when she resumed running five weeks after the birth of her son, the raccoon eyes from sleep deprivation.

Less than a month before she was due to leave for the New York City Marathon, Russell, an Olympian at Beijing, was training better than ever. It seemed that taking a year off from hard-core running to have a baby had been a dual blessing, enabling her body to heal from chronic hip and foot injuries.

In October, Russell won a half-marathon tuneup in San Jose, Calif. But a few days later, she felt tightness in her left calf while doing 800-meter intervals. A week after that, still in pain, she tearfully withdrew from the New York race.

“I made it all the way through the pregnancy and the delivery, and then this happens,” Russell said. “I think that’s the most frustrating thing.”
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