Yesterday, I shot for the first time since the beginning of the year when I was only able to shoot prone. It was a very emotional and comical.
The recovery process since this second back surgery has been steady, but not without a few ups and downs. As my body has become stronger and more fit for training some of my symptoms have come and gone which has been frustrating but nonetheless here we are! Kneeling was the first position of choice because it provides the most neutral position for my hips and lower back out of all of my positions. Next will be prone and then standing.
So in preparation for shooting, we have been working on the range of motion in the area where my back meets my hips as well as extension of the lower back. Because my movement has had to be so limited over the past year, we realized over the last month that I was hardly extending my back at all. Though shooters are often made fun of for looking like robots in their suits, I had began to look like one all the time… not just on the range or dance floor. Hehe. With many weeks of hard work under my belt, I was mostly very excited to be able to shoot my beloved rifles.
As I got into position, I have to admit that I put my sling on backwards… I know, I know… rookie mistake! and once I realized it gave me a very good chuckle! Thankful no one was on the range to witness it! My first few shots were a bit rough but I was still sighting in so let just say it was the sights. But after a few position adjustments, the pieces started to fall right in place and my hold steadied down quite a bit and I could begin to focus on shot execution. By the end of my first session back, I was able to shoot 3 tens in a row with great execution and I called them tens! Though this might seem as if it is a small milestone, for me being able to get into position was my goal for the training and so to be able to experience my muscle memory kicking in and performing was huge for me! After a year of not shooting kneeling and almost 9 months of not shooting at all, I am very happy! I am looking forward to training the next week a few times a bit longer and then the next week I get to shoot prone!
Much love y’all and remember adversity comes to those who can overcome, so don’t be disheartened – have faith and remember the One who made you!
I began shooting at the age of 9 in Woburn, Massachusetts at the Mass. Rifle Association gun club. I remember taking my first shot in prone with the club’s .22 Anschutz rifle and thinking to myself, “this is so cool!” From that point on I was hooked. During my teenage years, I tried other sports, soccer was a favorite, but shooting kept on calling my name. The shooting sport has provided me a unique challenge in athletics. The rifle shooting is a special combination of athleticism and mental skill that I hadn’t found in any other sports. It provided me a challenge and over the years has taught me life skills that have so much application – discipline, focus and drive just to name a few. This challenge is what makes shooting such a special sport, unlike any other. I attended Texas Christian University where competed for the T.C.U. NCAA Division I Rifle team and gained my B.S. of Nutritional Sciences degree and completed the C.P. in Dietetics allowing me to become a Registered Dietitian after I passed my certification exam. After graduation, I continued to pursue my athletic career by choosing to train at the Olympic Training Center and also pursue my professional career as an R.D. in wellness. My passion for nutrition and the shooting sports combined with the skills rifle shooting has taught me brings me to the point where I am at today. For the past year I have been injured and undergone two back surgeries due to my numerous back issues. I plan to train through this next year with the hope of making my second Olympic team for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Though this year has been trying and this next one wont be easy, the challenges have supported my belief that life is bigger than just us and what we want to accomplish for our own benefit. I truly believe that life itself is a gift and anything else is a blessing that’s been given to us so we can bless others. With this attitude, I know I have blessed a lot and I want to be able to bless others in the ways I have been blessed. This is why I have started Elijah Wellness. I have big plans for the blessings I want to bring to others but for now this is where I will begin. Please follow me in my journey as I pursue my passion for rifle shooting and my passion for blessing others with wellness in the many years to come.
Some people believe wellness is only for the affluent and only concern those who can afford it but I disagree. Wellness is something everyone should be able to strive for and I believe everyone can achieve.
One part of wellness is being in control of your lifestyle and health habits instead of being defined by them. The world around us is filled with labels that the world puts on us and we put on ourselves. Labels are our worst enemies when we want to make a change in our lives for the better because labels keep us stuck in a rut. Labels keep us from making changes, yet labels are just a mental state of letting your bad habits, unhealthy lifestyles, and other’s opinions control us. So how do you combat this? By finding your motivation to take back the control in your life. This is where I begin my wellness coachings. Positive change will never happen unless you know why you want to make that change.
One of my passions in life is showing people how to rid themselves of the labels in their lives. Labels will only hamper your life and suffocate your dreams. It’s time we took back the control of our lifestyles and habits and then freely achieve wellness together.