WHETHER YOU CALL IT a redemption tour or a salvage mission, Grant Fisher’s return to racing after missing the Budapest team with an injury achieved far more than anyone expected, capped by a stunning American Record in the 3000 at the DL Final.
The 26-year-old Bowerman TC star’s 2.76-second reduction of the standard Yared Nuguse snatched from Fisher’s previous grasp in January restored the 5000/10,000 record holder’s status as a triple-AR athlete.
However, coming back quickly after the stress reaction to his femur was anything but an easy decision.
“There was a lot of uncertainty coming off that,” he says, “Uncertainty if I’d be able to salvage anything this season or it was just one of those things where you need to chalk it up and get ready for next year.
“You want to have a balance of caution and then some urgency as well,” he says. “You know, probably the absolute smartest thing to do would’ve been to shut it down completely and get ready for next year. But I wanted to give myself the chance if my body cooperated and healed up to still do something.
“I had a good team of people around me. The people that read my MRI, the radiologists, were recommending like 8 weeks off. And, knowing how I was feeling, I thought, ‘Maybe I can play it by ear and let pain be my guide in some way.’ I know the difference between bad pain and good pain at this point, what to push through and what not to, and I felt I had a pretty good handle on it.”
It was a gamble. “I was taking some risks in coming back. Thankfully nothing bad happened, but there were inherent risks that I knew were there and the people around me knew were there. There’s always the possibility of a relapse, especially when you have bone stuff. So I was trying to be careful, but also optimistic.”
At the USATF Championships, the American Record holder had finished 4th in the 10,000. When it became clear the stress reaction would keep him from competing in the 5000, the news was more than disappointing.
“Emotionally, that was terrible. Missing out on a team, sitting on a couch, watching people do what I wanted to do and not even have a chance to try. It didn’t feel good.”
Yet the healing process went well, far better than he could have imagined. And when Fisher was cleared…