Over a month ago now, my physiotherapist gave me some bad news: that I was looking at a 4-6 weeks recovery period from an injury I’d sustained. I could hear Seinfeld’s soup nazi in my head saying: “No Spring races for you!” That’s not the news any runner wants to hear, least of all, me!
A good friend suggested that maybe it was time to reconnect with some of my other passions. I grumpily thought, “What other passions? Running is all that matters!” I told him I had none. But I knew he was right. I could choose to pout and be miserable for all that time (hey, that’s always an option!) or I could use this break to enjoy other things I’d neglected.
We are more than athletes!
It’s funny because, before the injury, I had been struggling with my running and even thought of quitting a few times. So really, what was I missing so much now that I couldn’t run? That got me thinking about what it is about running that I (obviously!) really like. The answer that stood out for me was that I like who I am as a runner. Identifying as an athlete, has helped me gain more confidence, more strength, more resilience, more passion. This sport has helped me push my limits and see just how much I am capable of. Ultimately, it has helped me grow into a woman I like and who has inspired others to chase after their own dreams.
But while there is much to love about running, I also realized that this is only PART of who I am. I am ALSO a kind hearted person who loves helping others. I enjoy meeting people and making new friends. Most of all, I enjoy sharing my love, smile, positive attitude with the world and especially those who need it most. And guess what? That can all be done without running! And I really like who those qualities make me, just as much as those I gain from running.
Injuries don’t have to completely suck
I really believe that everything happens for a reason. There is at least another week to go before I can return to running (and maybe more in the end), but my attitude towards my injury has completely changed. Who would have thought?! I am making more time to volunteer at a local homeless shelter and for other organizations I like to support, like impossible2Possible. I am making new friends and I’m remembering to do little acts of kindness more often. The result? Instead of being an injured grumpy runner, I am actually happier now than most of last year when I was running. I may not be competing, but I am helping make the world a better place. And that makes me happy too.
Moral of the story? I knew I couldn’t keep on focusing just on my sport (I’ve already shared this in a blog post last year). But this forced me to actually do it (be careful what you ask for, right?). I have to say I did not expect the result to be this good though. Now I know I need to make sure that, when I return to running, my life has room for all of this because I’m happier living life as the whole me. Running can still be a priority, but I’ve learned that there can be more than one priority in my life. This injury has helped me remember that I am so much more than a runner and I’m grateful for that.
How do you cope with an injury? As always, I’d love to hear your story!
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