If you’re wondering whatever happened to Olympic triathlon gold-medallist-turned-marathoner Gwen Jorgensen, you’ll be interested to see a new video in which she and her husband, former pro cyclist Pat Lemieux, discuss their year, which included surgery in May to repair a painful Haglund’s Deformity on Jorgensen’s right heel. (This was the same surgery that marathoner Galen Rupp had following last year’s Chicago Marathon, which was also Jorgensen’s last race.)
The video provides some useful insights into the psychology of an athlete recovering from her first serious injury, as well as into the relationship dynamics of an athlete couple as one of them recovers from injury. The couple have a two-year-old named Stanley.
Jorgensen reveals that, though she and Lemieux were told her recovery would take three to six months, her recovery plateaued after three months, which was challenging. It has only been in the past couple of months that Jorgensen has been able to resume full training, including plyometrics and hills. She even began to suspect that some of her closest supporters (including her husband) had lost faith that she would be able to resume top-level competition anytime soon.
Jorgensen’s primary emotion during her long recovery has been guilt that, as a pro athlete, she was being paid to do something she was unable to do–train and compete–while most of her teammates in the Bowerman Track Club (such as Courtney Frerichs, who finished sixth in the 3,000m steeplechase at the World Championships in Doha) are at peak fitness and competing at the world level.
Jorgensen’s foray into the marathon has not yielded the results she expected, and the injury setback hasn’t helped. In the video, she refers to her Chicago experience (in which she finished outside the top 10) as “horrible,” and last year she admitted to LetsRun.com that she was second-guessing her decision to switch to the marathon.
The couple’s conversation is intercut with footage of Jorgensen training with her teammates in the Bowerman Track Club, including Frerichs and New York Marathon champion-turned-coach Shalane Flanagan, who herself had knee surgery in April. Flanagan announced last month that she was retiring from professional competition to become a coach with the Bowerman club.
Jorgensen plans to travel to altitude for the next month or so, after which she hopes to resume racing, but without any specific plans, her window to qualify for the Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta on February 29 having pretty much passed.