Olivia Ortiz: The Road To Recovery

Hi everyone! I just wanted to share with the Florida running family an update on how I am doing. Thank you again flrunners for letting me share. Once again, I greatly appreciate everyone’s kind thoughts and prayers while I overcome this bump in my journey. 
I am extremely blessed and grateful to say that overall my recovery is going very well. Once I got home from the hospital, I was advised to become a hospital homebound student and complete the rest of the last five school weeks with a teacher that would bring my class work/tests back and forth from school to my home. Of course, I was disappointed I could not finish my junior year in school, but knew it was the right thing to do as I didn’t want to fall or get knocked into causing any further setback. It took time to make up all of my missing work but was very thankful that my teachers were patient and understanding. Unfortunately, I was required to complete my final exams after school ended in the front office. Thankfully, I got those over within the first week of summer and then was able to focus only on my recovery.
I now currently use a cane (part time- for long distances) when I walk as I continue to strengthen and bring back all the muscles in my leg. I never would have imagined in a million years I would have to use a cane during my summer before senior year. But it definitely is a daily reminder how anything can happen or change at any given time. I am grateful to be working with two different physical therapists, each twice a week. They are teaching me muscle recovery, bringing all my mechanics back, breaking scar tissue to increase the range in my knee, and completing small exercises to bring and build up my quad muscles. In addition, I am going to the gym and using the stationary bike, elliptical, and walking on the treadmill. Even though I can only be on each machine for a short period of time, I am thankful to have the ability and be allowed to do what I can. The pool has also been a great help allowing me to do many small rebuilding exercises. Yesterday, I recently got cleared to start swimming so I am anxious to start a cardio exercise. My therapists have really focused on strength exercises rather than cardio exercises at this point. They say the cardio aspect should be the easiest for me as I come back as strength and muscle will take more time. 
The most important question is when will I be able to run again and get back to the sport I love? Unfortunately, I am extremely sad to say I will not be able to compete during my senior year of cross country. The factor of time will truly tell according to when I can get back along with the process of my healing. I pray everyday my bone will heal quickly and I have the opportunity to be able to compete in track during the spring. I am determined greater than I have ever been to get back and I am eager to overcome the challenges along the way. Even though I will be unable to compete in the fall, I plan on attending the meets Lakewood Ranch will be racing in.
I am extremely blessed to have a wonderful support system that has been by my side since day one. I would never be where I am today without my parents and sister. From countless doctor phone calls, physical therapy appointments, and encouraging me on staying positive, words cannot describe my appreciation. Also a great family friend and my past soccer coach, Chuck Reda has been with me every step of the way through physical therapy and continues to set many goals.
Last but not least, a phenomenal runner from Georgia whom I met at Foot Locker Regionals and Nationals, Grace Tinkey has been a tremendous supportive friend also going through an injury. She is so incredibly sweet and we talk daily about staying positive and how patience is a virtue. Even though this is not the summer I intended on having, I am learning a lot about myself, patience, and how it is the little things in life we seem to take for granted.
Enough about me, I hope everyone is having a GREAT summer! After an outstanding, record breaking cross country and track/field year, the summer is a relaxing, fun break from all of the intense racing; I hope everyone is enjoying it. The summer has always been one of my favorite times of the year where you can take those nice long runs, experience new camps, and overcome Florida’s beastly summer heat while still focusing on quality milage. During the summer, the pressure is off a bit but still where it all counts. I always believed that how hard you work during the summer will determine the outcome and success of your cross country season. But of course, most importantly, make sure you are having fun and loving what you do at the same time! 
Thank you so much again! I am extremely thankful to have an encouraging running community. 

Have a blessed day,
Olivia Ortiz

Some inspiration to get you through the day:

-”You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.”
-”My past has not defined me, destroyed me, deterred me, or defeated me. It has only strengthened me.”

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