Interview with professional triathlete Janelle Morrison almost one year since the accident

If you do not know who Janelle Morrison is, please click on the following link. She has an amazing tale to tell.
Below is an interview I had today with Janelle. Enjoy!

COACH TODD: Janelle thanks for taking the time to do this brief interview. We are now in November and are approaching one year since your accident (Nov 21, 2010). I still remember reading Jordan’s (Jordan Bryden) facebook post saying what happened. We were all in shock.

Can you believe it has been almost a year already?

JANELLE MORRISON:Yes and no. So much has happened and changed in 2011 so it is hard to believe that it could all take place in the span of just one year. At the same time, I knew that I would be where I am today within a year’s time. I didn’t know how this would happen or what would all be involved, but I knew that in one year this is where I would be. So to anyone who thinks that visualization and belief is ‘hocus pocus’ I really encourage you to check again 🙂

COACH TODD: Just this past week I was at Kelly Brothers productions and Rob showed me some footage of you on the treadmill and I have to say wow you looked amazing. He also showed me some footage of you in the pool and your stroke is looking great.

JANELLE MORRISON: Thanks! There has been no shortage of work…especially in the pool the last 6 months or so! A work in progress!

COACH TODD: How is your fitness level right now?

JANELLE MORRISON:Honestly? It is better than it has ever been for the swim and bike. I have only been able to start building the run back since late September/early October after having surgery to get the plates/screws removed from my ankle. So to be fair, I have only been working on it for a couple of weeks now. But every single day my body remembers. It’s a remarkable thing to ‘see’ and ‘feel’ firsthand. I am extremely pleased with the progress. Nothing has changed. I will run like I did before, but I dare say it may just be faster because I want it even more than I ever did before.
All in all though, Paulo Sousa’s training program is tough, no frills, but supremely effective. I am working harder than I ever have and it’s paying off.

COACH TODD: To give people an idea what would you swim a 1500 in, bike 40 Km and run 10 Km?

JANELLE MORRISON:Hmmmm. I’ll let the actual results speak for themselves so I won’t give actual numbers, but I also know that people are super interested…so I’ll give you some hints 🙂
Last week I just did a timed 1500 at ‘cruise’ pace. I only timed it out of curiosity. It was nearly 3 minutes faster than any other 1500 I have ever done in a race situation.
As for the bike, I haven’t done a 40 km. TT but given my current wattage I am holding for 20-30 minute efforts, I am confident that this will be significantly faster as well. I will also be racing on a FELT DA3 with 650 wheels and a 48 cm. frame. There is a lot to be said about a bike that fits you not only properly…but perfectly.
Since I have not yet incorporated speed work or ‘long’ runs into my run training yet I cannot say for sure. Right now in the early stages it is all about getting the body to adapt to running again. So most of my runs are at a Zone 2 pace just to get the miles in, sometimes twice a day. These run are done comfortably at 7:00-6:45 minute/mile pace. As I mentioned in my blog…when you factor in a few more months of training, speed work, long runs, and the fact that I am ridiculously motivated…I’ll leave the math up to your readers!!

COACH TODD:People always say things happen for a reason. Since the accident what are your thoughts on this?

JANELLE MORRISON:I could write a book on this but I’ll try to summarize! I had a tremendous amount of bad luck in 2010 and the moment the accident happened to me it was like all the good luck I had been ‘saving’ came into overdrive. It was truly miraculous.
It actually brings me back to the teaching days. When I taught grades 4/5 I was passionate about instilling a ‘never give up attitude’ in my students. I spoke to them about this all the time. My motto was, “If you fall down 7 times – stand up 8.” Although I don’t miss the supremely busy days of teaching, I still missed this aspect of the job when I became a full-time athlete. And now, I feel like I have been given the opportunity to project this ‘never give up attitude’ on a much larger scale. I have been given a podium in which to share it. I am living the dream for sure, but I have also learned that you don’t achieve your dreams on your own. No one does something alone. This is a way to give back. To share in a way that was once not possible.
I was recently asked by someone in Kona who was also in a bike accident and was actually paralyzed on one side for a time (but now racing again at a very high level)….if I could go back in time if I would erase the accident. This was profound to me. I had never been asked this. But what was even more profound to me was how quickly I answered it. I said NO, that I would not erase the accident. You may be asking why, so I will try to explain it. I have been given the opportunity to learn more about myself than I ever could have imagined, and as well, about other people. An accident like this tests you and those around you. Those who stick by you are those who you want in your life. To know this is a gift.

COACH TODD:I was at Ironman Canada this year and during the prerace dinner we watched a video on how Jordan Rapp was hit by a car, left for dead, saved and then trained and eventually won IMC. It is simply an amazing story. As I watched the video I looked at Rob and said next year that will be your video of Janelle up there. As many know, a documentary is being made about you called A Second Chance.
How is being the star of your own movie?

JANELLE MORRISON:It has actually been extremely therapeutic. Rob has had me do video diaries documenting my daily life happenings and it was great to look back on some of the clips with a bird’s eye view in a sense. I am also honored that the film is being made to begin with. It has been a part in keeping me motivated during the tough times this year and has allowed me to have the podium I mentioned previously to be put across for all to see and hear. Rob is a very talented film maker and he is super amazing to work with. His belief in me, even in the early stages after my accident was and continues to be, so important. He decided to put the energy and work into filming my recovery and comeback when no one knew how it was going to turn out. I asked people early on to simply BELIEVE. And he did that. Just another bit of motivation for me to do what it is that I am setting out to do. To show Rob that he made the right choice. There is no pressure when I say that, it is just something else, among a long line of things that I am supremely motivated by.

COACH TODD:Some people know that we raced Hawaii Ironman in 2008 and we had our 1st swim in the ocean together. That was an awesome day. I love those yellow fishes.

JANELLE MORRISON:Heheheh. As long as those yellow fishes remain yellow fishes and not sharks. I fully agree!!

COACH TODD:I recently saw a picture of you sitting on the Kailua Kona seawall staring at the Ironman start. What were you thinking?

JANELLE MORRISON:That day was a whirlwind. I was actually just thinking I was glad to sit down in a ‘quieter’ spot to get away from it all for a few minutes!! But if I think about what I was really thinking, beneath the fatigue of it all, I was thinking that I belonged out there and that it wasn’t going to be long. Not long at all.

COACH TODD:Many would like to know what will be your 1st race? A running race, sprint, Olympic or other? Do you know what race will be first?

JANELLE MORRISON:I have yet to confirm all of this with Paulo, so I don’t want to put it out there until he and I have hashed it all out. I will be joining the squad in Las Cruces at the first squad camp in January building the final doses of fitness, endurance, and speed to compete for paychecks at the professional level which has always been the goal. I will be announcing my first triathlon, which will be a Stateside 70.3 in the spring of 2012, in the near future. Keep a watch out!

COACH TODD:I have signed up for Ironman Canada 2012 and I am hoping that you will also race so that I can yell “Go Janelle” when you are on the other side of the road headed home. If you are able to race IMC you will have such a huge support group following you. Can you picture that day in your mind?

JANELLE MORRISON:I picture that day in my mind EVERY SINGLE DAY. I live for it. I cannot wait for our moment on the run course which we have discussed. Can’t wait 🙂

COACH TODD:One more question. We just finished Halloween. What is your favorite Halloween treat?

JANELLE MORRISON:Those little mini Aero bars are yummy. I’ve always liked the bubbles! Of course Reese Peanut Butter Cups are always awesome. And Coffee Crisps…wait and Kit Kats….on second thought…just sign me up for all of it.

COACH TODD:Thanks for taking the time out for this interview Janelle. We all wish you the best of luck. Go Janelle!

JANELLE MORRISON:An absolute pleasure it has been. Thanks, Todd 🙂

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