2019-08-14 02:38:00 CET
After one year out of the game, the American is set to make her World Tour comeback
Being patient has been a big part of Lauren Fendrick’s life recently. After waiting almost a year to resume her beach volleyball career as she gave birth to her first daughter, Willa, in a process that demanded a few more weeks and several more hours than expected, the American veteran has mastered the art of dealing with time.
Fendrick, however, won’t have to wait for much longer to be on a beach volleyball court again as the silver medalist of the 2017 World Championship is set to make her international comeback at the World Tour Finals in Rome from September 4-8.
“I’m so excited,” she told beachmajorseries.com. “My trainers, physical trainers and I have been working so hard my whole pregnancy and since Willa’s birth to prepare for this postpartum return to competition. My sponsors have also stood by me, which just shows how progressive and supportive they are. his postpartum return to competition. My sponsors have also stood by me, which just shows how progressive and supportive they are."
"I’m so lucky to have such a great support system and now my daughter by my side that makes me even more excited to compete. No matter the task—training, competing or coaching the Stanford team—having Willa just makes me want to be better at what I do on a daily basis."
But her beach volleyball return wasn’t the only occasion which demanded the 37-year-old blocker a massive amount of patience and resilience within the last few months. The American, who’s married to beach volleyball coach Andrew Fuller, went through an almost 42-week pregnancy to deliver Willa. And when time came for her little daughter to be born, on June 3, the entire labor process took a whopping 48 hours – with a quick stop at home between.
Known by her discipline and organization, Fendrick had already laid out a plan that would hopefully have her back in time to compete at the World Championships in Hamburg, at the end of June, which included exercising during her entire pregnancy.
When she figured out it wouldn’t be possible despite of her overwhelming dedication, she was so kind to write us to cancel her wildcard request.
Then, the Vienna Major became the goal. But it didn’t happen either.
“I initially thought I could be ready a lot sooner, but Willa was two weeks late and I underestimated the toll that birth can take on the body,” she reflected. “But I have been training the whole time. Modifications had to be made but there was never a point where I wasn’t doing anything. I had a pretty crazy birth, so initially I had to focus a ton on healing - more so than I had imagined, but I was still doing some sort of preparation.”
“I’ve paid attention to how my body feels, but I also use my pulse oximeter by Masimo as an objective measure to help track my training load and recovery day-to-day so that I’m not doing too much or too little. Every day is better and it’s exciting to see the progress.”
On her return, Fendrick will have by her side one of the most talented defenders of the American new generation in Sara Hughes, whose partner Summer Ross is sidelined due to a back injury. The two, however, won’t be sharing the same side of the net at the Italian capital for the first time as they’ve partnered at the 2017 Fort Lauderdale Major to finish in the top-ten.
“I remember we lost to Agatha and Duda 17-15 in third,” she recalled. “I loved competing and training alongside her. She’s a great competitor and she works so hard and we both have evolved our games since then, so it will be fun to see what magic we can bring to the court.”
Despite of her late return, Fendrick still conserves the ambitious goal of qualifying to the Tokyo 2020 Games and making her second Olympic appearance.
What exactly is her plan for that? As you might have imagined, approaching it patiently.
"I know it will be a tough road and the cards are stacked against me with getting a very late start and with other American teams performing well, but that is my goal and that is what I’m working towards,” she explained. “As far as Sara and me, the plan is to compete in Rome and see what happens... there are a lot of moving pieces that are at play and all I can do is prepare myself as best as possible to be ready to perform, so that is how I’m approaching each day."