Climbing Back From Injury with Shondra Martin
There’s high energy….. and then there’s Shondra.
Easy to talk to, but hard to catch, Shondra Martin rarely sits still. When we talked, she was hanging out in the trunk of her car, which also serves as her summer home and hiking/ climbing basecamp. I think she was in the Okanagan. But it could have been the Rockies. Or Yosemite.
Raised in Squamish, Shondra first hiked the Chief at age four, and spent a sports mad childhood and youth playing division one and metro division soccer, hiking and camping with her parents, and running at Provincial level. By her late teens she was out in the wider world, hiking and climbing in the European Alps and in the Himalaya.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, when I ask what hiking unlocks for her, the answer comes back: “freedom”, then, thinking for a moment, she adds “The sense of limitless space and potential, of challenge, pushing myself for a big objective, while remembering the real goal is just to be out there moving, adventuring, exploring”.
Learn more about what hiking unlocks for Shondra:
Take a moment to imagine all this. And now imagine getting shut down by injury, or more accurately, by three injuries: In 2019, Shondra was hit by a much bigger player in a co-ed soccer game, resulting in 3 partial ligament tears in her right ankle. Then, part way into recovery, she went over the bars of her mountain bike, “It was a wet day. I was going fast”, this time damaging her patella tendon. And finally, rushing home from a bike ride to watch the Euros she slipped out on a wet corner, tore her MCL, and compressed her meniscus. All of which adds up to one very big “Ouch!” and a lot of recovery time.
As you’d expect, Shondra’s reaction to all this was determination: “I need to find a way to recover, to have fun doing it, and to protect my damaged knee for the future”, and that’s how she came to have a conversation about Stoko with her physio, who suggested a pair of Stoko’s K1 supportive tights might be something she should look into. A few days later she noticed Celeste Pomerantz wearing a pair, and though “too shy to go talk to her”, Shondra was even more intrigued and started to dig a little deeper into Stoko’s Supportive Apparel and how it could help her.
Shondra’s first experiences were positive: “The K1 allowed me to experiment with what the knee would tolerate, to expand my “safe zone” of movement and load while enjoying the safety of being supported all the time.”.
Now she most often wears the K1 Tempos; she wears them for physio exercises, for climbing and hiking, noting that “I’m able to stand on higher footholds as my knee recovers: I love how the tights don’t restrict my range of movement yet still offer support, and the shorter leg length helps me stay cool when working through physio exercises in a heated indoor environment”.
Like many people, Shondra finds Stoko products make it easy for her to do what’s right for her recovery. “I can pull the K1 Tempos on at the car, and keep them on all day as my base layer, dialing up support to climb or hike, and backing off cable tension when I’m at rest”. A rigid knee brace wouldn’t allow her to do so much, and she would be less likely to wear it at all. The Tempos allow her muscles to work and strengthen, while the weak joint remains protected.
It’s easy to empathize with Shondra. It’s hard, being active, then getting shut down by injury. Sitting still is not what our bodies have evolved to do. Her K1 Tempos have allowed her to recover, yet be active at the same time, protecting both her damaged right knee, while also preventing injury occurring to the left knee. As she says herself, “without the K1 Tempos, my left knee would probably hate me a lot more”.
Ask her what she loves about the K1 Tempos, and you’ll notice the answer shares a lot with her answer to the question of why she loves hiking, “The K1 Tempos help me unlock possibilities. Pushing my limits, finding out what I can do”. And of her goals: “I’m building up to going for a run. If I could go for a run, I would want nothing more!”.
You listen to this woman, and you know she’ll be running again soon.