I’m letting you go.

For those of you who have been reading the blog for a while, this does probably not come as a big surprise. The people who are close to me, have known about my decision for a while already, but I have hesitated with “making it official,” because then it suddenly gets so real…

I have, after 10 years, decided to quit track and field.

I didn’t even tell my coach until a few days ago. Because I was still, deep inside, hoping everything would just suddenly work out — so that I could pick up the training where I left it a few months ago. Anyway, my ankle wanted it differently, which is why I’m writing this post.

To any new readers, I was diagnosed with a stress fracture of my navicular bone in early April. And because of what the doctor referred to as the “Female Athlete Triad minus the eating disorder-part,” the bone has not healed as well as it should have.


Anyway, back to my point. Of course I knew the day where I’d have let go of track would have to come sooner or later, but I guess I was just hoping it wouldn’t have to come this soon. I truly believed I still had some decent performances stored inside me, and I’ve been waiting for the moment where I’d be able to re-feel that rush of setting a personal best. Because, even if I haven’t been able to show it in competition, I have over the past year, jumped (significantly) further, ran faster and lifted heavier than ever before – but only when I popped painkillers before and after every session.



A couple of weeks ago, I had a long talk with my doctor, and I’ve come to the conclusion that my track and field career is over. Two stress fractures, arthiritis in both my knee and ankle, chronic cartillage injuries under my knee-cap, a misniscus tear, plantar fasciatis, damaged heelpads in both feet, jumper’s knee, runner’s knee, shin splints, Sinus Tarsi Syndrome, countless bouts of tendonitis and cortisone injections in my foot.. just to mention a few of the reasons why I’ve made the decision to “retire.” It also turns out I’ve had a very low bodyfat percentage for a long time – to the point where I was putting my health at risk (!) I guess that’s the prize to pay for having a ripped six-pack for years.. heh.

I’ve been training six days a week since I was ten years old, so to quit exercising completely would be too much to ask from myself. Instead, I’ll switch my focus over to staying fit – without taking it too far. Which I admit, is pretty hard — I’m so used to giving 100% at all times.

When I took a break from track in 2012, I transfered all my discipline over to the sport of fitness/bodybuilding, where I had great progress in a very short period of time — Simply because I went ALL IN, and that was not exactly healthy either.

Over the past three months, I’ve instead tried to find some kind of enjoyment in swimming. Even as strange as it sounds, I find it quite therapeutic. Because it allows me to take a time-out where I can just forcus on my stroke technique, breathing, rhythm, feel my heart rate rise and at the same time push myself towords new personal bests – without pain in my foot.

So even if I’m done jumping, sprinting and lifting at a competitive level, I still hope my foot will allow me to jog without pain in the future. Next week’s MRI will help figure that out.

This post caught a little bit of a sad vibe right now, but that was not my intention at all. There is no disappointment, bitterness or anger behind this decision. I simply believe that it’s time for me to move on, and follow my heart.

Photo: Tumblr/kaazpran

I feel truly blessed looking back at all the memories I’ve collected at the track over the years. It’s been a journey I would never have been without.


And even if I never became an Olympic Champion, the sport has opened up other doors for future dreams to become true.

I’ll continue my journey at Augustana Univeristy, and I’m excited to see what God has in store.


Maria Lavelle

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