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Health & Fitness Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, February 9, 2012

Once injured, marathon runner Jodie Robertson is now purely satisfied

VOORHEESVILLE –– Jodie Robertson doesn’t waste any time. As a runner, she knows what she wants and what it takes to get there.

In May, Robertson wanted to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials. She did just that, even though it was the first marathon she ever completed. How many people can claim that?

“That was the plan,” said Robertson, 27, originally from Long Island, but now living in Voorheesville. “I had the potential.”

However, shortly after qualifying in that Long Island marathon with a time of 2:42.54, Robertson was diagnosed with a stress fracture in her back. She was in a lot of pain at first and couldn’t run for three months.

The injury was located in Robertson’s sacral plexus, which lies on the back side of the pelvis where the spine attaches. Robertson had put repetitive stress on her body.

“There was a lot of asymmetrical activity going on with her body,” said Mathew Nark of Plaza Fitness at Stuyvesant Plaza, who dealt with Robertson’s recovery. “She was running too much, but she had hip problems, too. When you pile on miles and miles of running, it makes the situation worse.”

Nark was “a big help,” Robertson said, keeping her in check. She didn’t have as much time as she would have liked to train for the Olympic Trials in Houston on Jan. 14, but she still placed 57th out of 151 women with a personal best time of 2:42.31.

Robertson took a risk.

“I’m honored to be part of such a deep field of runners,” Robertson said. “It’s really neat. I think I need to run a little smarter next time.”

The top three finishers made the United States team for the 2012 London Olympics.

“I learned so much from that race, but,” said Robertson, “the biggest thing is getting the most out of yourself while being patient. I wasn’t that patient.”

A marathon is 26.2 miles. Robertson told The Enterprise that there’s no in-between when it comes to a marathon. “You’re either really into it or you’re not,” she said. Her husband, Aaron, is an elite runner, but he “doesn’t have the lure” for marathons, she said.

“It’s such a challenge that’s so unpredictable,” Robertson said. “Such a long race, so you never know what’s going to happen. You have to train hard and really be prepared.”

Robertson started running competitively in her junior year in high school and continued through college at the State University of New York College at Potsdam. She got injured during her senior year and didn’t really get serious about running again until 2009.

“I always like having distance on the horizon,” said Robertson. “Making the finish line is the toughest challenge.”

Nark now designs Robertson’s running programs from A to Z. He uses industry leading concepts and equipment like plank combinations, TRX pull-ups, and battling ropes for functional training. Plank combinations work the legs and biceps; an example of one is holding your body up by your elbows and toes. TRX pull-ups are a new twist on one of the oldest bodyweight exercises in the books, and the Battling Ropes System was created and developed by John Brookfield, a multiple record holder and the author of the book, Mastery of Hand Strength.

Nark decreased Robertson’s mileage from 15 to 20 percent, but says she’s running faster than before her back injury.

“Everything is geared around staying injury free,” Nark said. “We’re able to focus on strength and conditioning –– goals for the future.”

Robertson is looking forward to Olympic Marathon Trials in 2016 and is working on making running her job. She’s a music teacher, but currently on leave. Nark said she has the potential to be one of America’s best female marathoners.

“She goes above and beyond,” Nark said. “Her cardio system is gifted. She’s really dedicated. I have to hold her back sometimes because she’s very steadfast in her approach to training.”

—By Jordan J. Michael

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