I’ll admit it, I push the limits of what my body is capable of quite frequently. The consequence of my actions: I sometimes get injured. I’ve, unknowingly, run an entire ultra with not one but two broken legs. I’ve played soccer with a concussion, lost teeth to sport, and suffered innumerable muscle and tendon tears. I’ve been bloodied and stood back up for more. I was trained to always continue forward. I understand what it is to accept pain and to move through it. But what do I do when my body can’t move anymore? When my norm is relentless forward physical progress and I suddenly must cease, how do I adjust to being, quite literally, broken?
Injury is not a limiter but a building block. Injury is the time for an athlete to turn thoughts inwards and capitalize on the stillness. Injury is a time for a specialist to expand total athleticism. Through ever injury, I’ve followed the same steps:
-Mourning: a brief pity-party, followed by “well, you knew better!”
-Acceptance: a practical evaluation of injury rehab time and adjustment of expectations.
-Action: assessment of what is possible and formation of a training plan that capitalizes on the positive.
-Learning: taking steps to avoid, if possible, the same mistakes again.
Using these methods, I’ve not only overcome every injury I’ve ever had (and there are quite a few with over 2 decades of competitive sporting history), I’ve emerged from the fire, reborn as something better then before. By accepting injury as not a failure but as an opportunity, I have continued to grown as both an athlete and a human.
-The Phoenix Running