Although we have a few more months before Fred and I are back on the water together, we are continuing to improve our skills and work our way to Rio. Fred has been spending his time watching 49er videos focused on technique while taking his physical therapy to the next level. I have been sailing with other US 49er sailors learning different skills and processes that help our team get to the next level.
It has been over four weeks since Fred’s surgery, and he is making exceptional progress in the recovery. His visits to Jaguar Therapeutics in Miami have kept the inflammation and pain at bay, while he works to maintain muscle strength and flexibility through assisted range of motion exercises. The first six weeks post-surgery have required extreme patience to let the sutures heal, but it has paid off with a faster than expected recovery. This means Fred will be taking his physical therapy to the next stage next week. Hopefully this is an indication of a shorter total recovery time, which translates to getting back on the water soon.
The next level of rehabilitation will include more advanced strength and conditioning and range of motion exercises, and a step towards more normal workouts. For last few weeks, Fred’s workouts have been limited to the stationary bike, unweighted lunges and squats, and one or two ab workouts all while wearing the sling. In the coming weeks, he will begin to run again in the Alter-G and regain normalcy in the full-body spectrum of workouts available. Fred said he was tired of lifting weights less than 7 pounds and ready to get back to business.
During Fred’s recovery, I moved to San Francisco and have been sailing with our fellow American teammates in training camps practicing some new body movements on the trapeze wire that will help us with our 2013 goal of better boat speed. Our coach Luther Carpenter always asks us “are you sailing the boat or are you riding the boat?” Well, I am learning to “sail” the boat through waves and chop to keep the boat tracking through the water as fast as possible. Just as football teams watch the videos of their competitors to learn their moves and plays, Fred has been spending a lot of time on the computer watching the technique of the top teams so he will be ready to go when he is healed.
Besides the body movements, I am also focused on sailing harder and faster through boat handling maneuvers. My goal is to come out of tacks, jibes, and accelerations as fast as possible and get straight into speed mode. Every day I hit the water I have a small list of items to work on. By sailing with other people, I’ve learned different ways to do maneuvers, little tricks on technique, and valuable communication skills. Fred and I will take all these new developments and add them to our program to improve and climb the world ranks.
I head to Europe next week to sail the Kiel Regatta in Germany and the European Championships in Denmark with another US teammate. In order to keep improving, it’s important to continue racing against the best in the world. I will also spend some time coaching the top US youth sailors in Germany and Cyprus.
Fred and I continue to improve in our own ways so we don’t fall behind the progress we have created over this last year. Our goal is to be well prepped mentally and physically so that when his shoulder is good to go, we can jump right back on our learning curve. We have two big events to prepare for: the ISAF Pre-Worlds in Santander, Spain and the 49er World Championships in Marseille, France. Both events are in September which should give Fred and I just enough time to synch before the racing begins.