Why I am Grateful I Was Injured This Summer
Is blogging even a thing any more?
I always said I would keep up blogging as long as I loved it. What I wasn’t anticipating is that I would stop having time for it.
Let me rephrase that differently – where I stopped making it priority, even though I loved it.
I will always love writing – it just turns out that I need to do a lot more of it corporately than personally these days. Don’t get me wrong, I still keep an old fashioned journal which is a practice I have kept since I was 13, but there is something really great about typing out thoughts that go to a lot of people to be judged. It really helped me in my growth as a writer and even though I don’t make the time for it nearly as often as I would like, it has an important place.
Especially times like now when I want to reflect on the incredible things that being injured this summer has taught me.
Let’s get it out of the way right now – it SUCKED. My boyfriend Mark has seen me cry less than 5 times in the four years we were dating and most of those times were this summer. There was one time where it finally sank in that I was not going to be racing for a long time and there was an ugly cry on his shoulder in a Walmart parking lot on my birthday.
But eventually, I accepted my fate and got over the fact that running wasn’t going to be a big part of my summer. And I survived. (Thank GOODNESS for being a multi-sport athlete). As I am reflecting over the past three months of not running, I realize that in a lot of ways, it was a gift. So here is what it has given me.
The realization that although I love cycling, I will always be a runner at heart.
I have gone through periods of not cycling and felt just fine with that – like when I was training for the New York City marathon last fall and didn’t cycle for almost 3 months. Not running felt like something that was a deep part of me was missing. Not that it made the situation feel much better but it did provide a lot of clarity for me.
Before my plantar issues struck, I was fitting more that I should have into my days and the first thing to go was sleep. I was piling on work stress and didn’t ease up on training stress and the inevitable happened. I now am sleeping a minimum of 8 hours every night and feel like a new person.
After going through an injury cycle for the first time in over 4 years, it truly taught me that I am not invincible and I need to rest. I hate rest. HATE it. But recovery is vital for being a strong athlete and I am fine with skipping workouts now if it contributes to my overall well being and is healthier for my performance in the long run.
I got a better stride analysis and confirmation of exactly what shoes I should be running in. For me, it is neutral fits like the New Balance 880 or 890 for big training miles. Running shoes like the new Zante with cloth uppers just don’t work. Also – I have largely swapped out my heels for wedges at work.
I built an stronger arsenal of athletic therapists through my injury and I do athletic therapy daily, focusing on every day movements beyond just the 1-2 hours I spend training. It turns out, that this injury wasn’t a training injury but was a cumulative lifestyle movement injury that presented itself during a stressful time at work.
So although I would never choose to get injured if I had an option, I believe in learning from it, taking what you can and becoming a better athlete. Now that I am almost out of the woods (Plantar is a 6-12 month process and is re-occuring if you aren’t diligent in therapy – I don’t wish it only anyone!), I am undoubtedly a wiser and even stronger athlete than I was before.
It wasn’t the year I thought it was going to be but I am grateful that I was able to learn and grow.