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ICED - Athletes, injuries & mental health

ICED - Athletes, injuries & mental health

By Challis Popkey
A podcast about the sports we love, the sports that break us and break our hearts, and how we mend ourselves. We talk about the mental pain athletes go through when their passion is taken away.

Recorded while I am recovering from a broken pelvis (snowboarding) that prevents me from running the Boston Marathon. Now, with COVID-19, it seems the whole world has been put on the injured list.
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Episode 11: Katie Kellner broke her pelvis training for her first Boston Marathon

ICED - Athletes, injuries & mental health

Episode 11: Katie Kellner broke her pelvis training for her first Boston Marathon

ICED - Athletes, injuries & mental health

Episode 11: Katie Kellner broke her pelvis training for her first Boston Marathon
Katie Kellner fractured her pelvis training for her first Boston marathon. Ring a bell? . She’s a 2 time Olympic Trials Marathon qualifier and placed 57th at the trials this February. She was a Division I All-American in both Cross Country and the 10K on the track at Cornell, where she also was Ivy League Champ in both events. She’s transitioning right now from being a professional runner (paid to run) to an elite runner (still super fast, paycheck comes from elsewhere). She’s now a biostatistician currently doing research on the Coronavirus. . Katie has a great attitude about injury recovery: Focus your energy on rebuilding your bone instead of lifting weights (cross training). Some pearls of wisdom from this conversation are: . Don’t focus too much on the past (never going to be as good as I was) or too much on the future (I need to get ready for X race) - but what you can do today. Getting a massage, icing, sleeping an extra hour are all helpful in making you a better athlete. Doing hard work is the only way you are making yourself faster, doing hard work is not a recipe for success while you’re injured. . If you're interested in being coached by Katie (she is AMAZING! super supportive and responsive) go to She's also on Instagram @forwardfocusrunning.
May 20, 2020
Episode 10: Two knee surgeries didn't stop Breezy Johnson (skiing)
After placing 7th in downhill skiing at the 2018 Olympics, Breezy Johnson was ready to make her best THE best. A partial ACL tear that Fall took her out for the whole 2019 season. She thought she had paid her dues to ski racing, “almost every skier tears their ACL,” but not every skier tears their PCL and MCL. Breezy did, just as she was getting back into training. The second knee injury really shook her. This is an athlete who lives for race day. She loves that feeling you get when it’s all on the line, “when you have to put up or shut up,” and she felt like part of her soul had been wrenched out when racing was taken away for the second time. We talk about her amazing recovery and return to racing in January, and how having something for your mind to focus on is just as important as having something for your body to work on.
May 13, 2020
BONUS episode! *EXCLUSIVE* SNEAK PEAK of PolyPro 3
Here it is folks. What you've all been waiting for, and so generously donating towards. PolyPro 3 is dropping this Friday, May 8th, on my youtube channel: . I have the bros themselves, Dan and Nick Popkey, on the show to talk about bruised egos and the creative genius behind the PolyPro series. . For those unfamiliar with the series... WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? Catch up. Seriously.  PolyPro 1: PolyPro 2: . Our GoFundMe: (still open for donations) . Nicky's Instagram
May 06, 2020
Episode 9: "No one cares about your injury" with Avital Shimko (mogul skier)
Avital Shimko is is a mogul skier on the US Ski team. She tore her ACL doing a back full; which is a backflip with a full 360 twist just 4 months after achieving her goal of making the team. Her recovery was longer than most due to scar tissue build up on the front of her ACL causing a cyclops lesion. So she had to start physical therapy all over. She was in Sweden this March (18 months post op) feeling stoked for her first World Cup competition back. Unfortunately it was a quick turnaround when the corona virus cancelled competition & travel worldwide. We talk about expectations, dedication, taking breaks, working with sports psychologists, and staying motivated through injury. Here’s a link to Avital’s blog we talked about: She is also in instagram as @avishort. Check her out, she is quite inspirational and a talented writer. Also, the photo for this episode was taken 5 minutes after she tore her ACL.
April 29, 2020
Episode 8: "You live and die by your own decisions" with pro skier Mark Taché
Welcome Mark Taché! We discuss what he learned from his three knee reconstructions and how being on the ski team taught him how to be a successful business manager. We also talk about the challenges of working with young pro athletes. After retiring from the US ski team, Mark managed the pro surfing careers of his nephews Andy and Bruce Irons. We talk about pride, loss, addiction and the opportunity to give back and mentor young athletes.  Mark was named Junior Alpine Skier of the Year by Ski Racing Magazine in 1980 and went on to the U.S. Ski Team, racing slalom and giant slalom internationally for 8 years on the World Cup circuit. He competed on two F.I.S. World Championship teams, in Schladming, Austria in 1982 and Bormio, Italy in 1985, and was America's top-ranked slalom skier his last year of amateur international competition. He turned Pro in '86, and raced the grueling head-to-head format on the World Pro Tour for the next seven years, winning the prestigious First Interstate Pro Cup in 1987 & taking second in the ‘87 World Pro Championships, earning honors as the Tour’s top American that year. Taché is an avid mountaineer, golfer, rock climber, cyclist and overall outdoor enthusiast. 
April 19, 2020
Episode 7: “I wouldn’t have medaled without my injury” Christin Cooper - Silver Medal, Giant Slalom, 1984 Olympics
Christin Cooper won the alpine skiing silver medal in Giant Slalom in the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo. Twelve months earlier, she had fractured her tibial plateau in a downhill crash. She explains why she believes that the injury is one of the reasons she medaled. Over her 10-year career on the US Ski Team, Christin competed in 2 Olympics, 2 World Championships, won five World Cup races and never suffered a knee ligament injury (very rare for skiers). She was also the first American skier, and is still the only female American skier, to win three medals in a single World Championships. She talks about how a healthy dose of fear helped her avoid career-ending injuries. Full disclosure: Christin is also my Aunt! We talked about her growing up with a daredevil father on the beach in Malibu, falling in love with ski racing when the family moved to Idaho, transitioning from professional athlete to civilian, and the joys of puttering. She and her husband, Mark, are quarantining in Mark’s native hometown of Aspen, Colorado, where they built a house twenty years ago, while running their restaurant, Montana Ale Works, in Bozeman, Montana, which is currently closed due to COVID-19, by telecommuting with their partners and staff. Towards the end of the episode we talk about how the skills she learned on the US Ski Team translate into being a successful business owner.
April 14, 2020
Episode 6: Becoming a Speed Skater with Dessie Weigel
Dessie Weigel is a beast of an endurance athlete. She was a favorite to win the Idaho State XC meet her junior year of high school but suffered through excruciating calf pain the entire season. She finally found out that her muscles produce excess lactic acid, so much that her muscles were deteriorating. No cure, no treatment. No more running.  Dessie is a COMPETITOR. She started pole vaulting (from a 6-step approach) and then found cycling. She says, "I needed to be training and using my body. I needed to be able to compete." She found that these sports didn't put the same amount of strain on her muscles so she could do hard workouts, as long as she was careful.  She poured her competitive fuel into cycling, but she says it was biking was just a vehicle. She always knew she was going to be a speed skater. After college she moved to Salt Lake City, Utah and signed up for a "Learn to Speed Skate" class. Now she's one of the fastest amateur skaters in the nation, aiming for a spot on the 2022 Olympic Team. 
March 26, 2020
Episode 5: Finding your reset button with Mattie Webb
I met Mattie on a group run in Santa Barbara back in January. That feels like forever ago now. So much has changed, even from the time we recorded this podcast (March 15) to now.  Mattie shares her collegiate running history (NC State and UNC) and how hard it was not being able to compete her first two years of college due to stress fractures. This episode is really fitting for this time, when it seems like the whole world is an injured runner... What do we do with all this time on our hands? Mattie has some good ideas. 
March 22, 2020
Episode 4: Chronic injury - when pain becomes your passion with Dr. Ryan Peebles DPT (surf)
Surfing was Ryan's life. He started experiencing back pain when he was 16 and by the time was 24 it was so bad that he had to quit. There was no incident, no traumatic event, just chronic, excruciating pain.  Instead of giving up he redirected his passion for surfing towards solving his chronic pain. He found the key was in the core. He became a physical therapist, then developed a fitness program that teaches you how to reconnect with your core. We talk about Ryan's journey, his program Core Balance Training, and what he's up to now that he's living pain free. FB group: Website: Instagram: @corebalance.peebs
March 14, 2020
Episode 3: "Focus on what you can do" with Paula Dubovoy (running)
Paula Dubovoy ruptured her achilles in January 2019 and had to take 6 months off of running. She has an amazingly positive approach to recovery and encourages injured athletes to focus on what they can do, rather than what they can't. You can follow her on instagram @eat_lift_bemarried and check out her personal training plans at She's got an awesome pull-up challenge that I'm thinking about starting!
March 10, 2020
Episode 2: Finding balance as an adrenaline junkie with Jesse Kurrasch (motorcycle)
Jesse Kurrasch first got involved in BMX racing at the age of 8, and has been passionate about bikes and off-road motorsports ever since. These sports carry a high risk of injury, which is often the price of participation and improvement - looking at injury and recovery through this lens, Jesse shares his perspective on the mental and physical toll that being injured can take, as well as his thoughts about ways to structure a successful recovery.
March 09, 2020
Episode 1: Trusting your body with Cat de Jong
First podcast episode! Cat De Jong is a 2:50 marathoner who had her eyes on an OTQ in Houston in January. A stress fracture in her femur had other plans for her, forcing her to take 2 full months off running. We talked about the toll injuries take on our mental health, and on our loved ones, who sometimes get the worst of it.  
March 05, 2020
March 3, 2020
March 03, 2020