Original Article by Rick Armstrong found here.
Morolake Akinosun understands how it sounds unorthodox, but it made perfect sense to her to take a break in the middle of rehabilitation from surgery on her Achilles tendon.
In hindsight, I believe she was right. We can all benefit from a little “me time.”
Akinosun, a Waubonsie Valley graduate who turned 26 last week, has been grinding for a lot longer.
The University of Texas product signed with Nike out of college and won a gold medal with the U.S. women’s 400 relay at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
She tore her Achilles at the conclusion of a 60-meter indoor race in January 2018, had surgery in February, and took her break that summer.
“I traveled in Europe,” Akinosun said. “But I realized I had only seen the track and hotel in places where I raced.”
Wanting more, she traveled with friends and visited London, Italy, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Mexico.
“I didn’t want to abandon my life,” she said. “I did a lot of walking around. I just had fun. I read books. I ate food.”
It included carbs for a week straight in Italy without worrying what it meant to her training.
“I guess it was rehab for life that I was really doing,” Akinosun said. “I remember sitting outside this local eatery in Rome with four friends. My best friend asked me, ‘Would you rather have not torn your Achilles?’”
It was definitely a conundrum.
“It was just so hard for me to answer,” she said. “Who would say, ‘Yeah, I wish I tore my Achilles?’ But if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be sitting there with my friends. I’m like, ‘I don’t know.’”
What she does know?
“Rome is a place I will go back to,” Akinosun said.
She also realized she wasn’t done with track and went back to work.
“I missed a beat for sure in 2019,” Akinosun said. “Mentally, I wanted to be there, but physically, my body was not ready. It was not used to having that much time off from high level competition and training.”
It’s taking time, but she’s getting there.
“The more and more time I get away from the injury, the better and better it feels,” Akinosun said.
And it shows.
Akinosun has since run the second-fastest 60-meter race in her career. Last July, she finished third in the 100 at the USATF Outdoor Championships. She was 10th in the 100 in the World Championships.