How getting hurt gave me the opportunity to pause, reflect and redirect.
On the Sunday of the August long weekend I went for a glorious hike with my boys and some friends up Mt. Tzouhalem in Duncan, BC. It was a fun adventure where we took a few detours (read: got turned around, hiked an extra 6k, but eventually found our way to the summit and an epic view). It was awesome, until it wasn’t.
Our 8-month old pup Tucker was with us and since he was being a turkey (read: not listening) off leash, he was on lead. Along the way we were coming down a steep decline and Tucker (ever the birder) lurched and I lost my footing on the loose gravel and dirt and flew. I caught my fall toe down and landed hard. I scraped up my knee really badly, but my toe was what really hurt.
I was fairly certain from the internal body sounds (a “crack” is rarely good) and the intense and immediate pain that I had broken my big toe.
My initial thought was OMG, how am I getting out of here? Then to, OMG how am I going to teach my Livestream classes this week? To OMG how L O N G will this take to heal?! UGH.
Thankfully I was able to find my way to my feet, find an ibuprofen in my first aid pack, and walk out. But it was not feeling great. I couldn’t walk normally, nor bear weight on my toe. So I knew I had a road ahead, literally and figuratively.
Normally the initial drama and worry I felt would have carried on for days. I would have wanted clear timelines on just how long this recovery will take and what I need to do to speed it along (bless my physio and massage therapist). But as I drove home, grateful for the fun adventure with my boys and friends, I reflected on just how lucky I am to have the capacity to even get an injury like this because I was out climbing a mountain with my kids! How fortunate I am to have a generally healthy body that knows how to heal. How lucky I am to have no races on the roster this season (thanks pandemic). On how truly blessed I am that the majority of my business is virtual these days and doesn’t require my body. Wow. What a gift!
When I got home I went LIVE in both my RunCrew Club group and my StudioCrew group to share my news and also this reflection: injuries suck, but they aren’t the end of the world. Sure, they’re an inconvenience, but there’s also opportunity in them. How often times injuries are just part of the game when you do cool things and take risks! And if you allow them, they can excellent teachers that allow you to see things perhaps you didn’t see before. That perhaps they’re a gift!
I think my message was not just for them, but also for me.
Monday I cancelled my Livestream classes and accepted the fact that I needed to rest and not run. And maybe, just maybe that’s not so awful.
You see, pre-pandemic I was diagnosed with a grade 2 bladder prolapse.
What does that mean? It means through pregnancy and delivery the ligaments and tissues that hold my bladder in place got over stretched. And much like an ankle that’s been sprained too many times, my bladder position will never be the same. Instead of sitting as it should, it’s “tipped over” towards my vaginal wall (internally). This means I have urinary urgency, minor incontinence and chronic low back pain. The diagnosis explained a lot.
The pelvic floor physiotherapist advised me to stop running completely.
I told her what I did for a living, and we compromised to no distance and no speed-work.
I grieved the loss of distance training. I love the exhilaration of a long run. The connection and community of striving for a challenging goal, together. I grieved the loss of my identity as a runner.
Who am I without running? That’s a blog for another day. But for now I’ll share this…
Up to this point I’ve been haphazardly doing the prescribed pelvic floor work and I’ve still been running (embracing the slow and short run, but still running, because #pandemic and #mentalhealth). And while things were improving, it was marginal at best.
So perhaps, in a way, this injury is the universe having my back. Saying “take a break” from running. It’s ok. Shake up your schedule and do some different things. It’s ok. In fact, maybe it’s a gift!
As the week off progressed I started feeling even more grateful. You see about a week prior to the blessed fall on the mountain my dear cousin Ingrid had sent me her old road bike. She called it “rehoming.” I call it a crazy generous gift (but that’s how she rolls). Prior to the hike I’d already taken it into the shop and booked a road ride with friends. But layering in riding made my already full schedule too full (read: at risk of over-training), and I wasn’t sure how I was going to balance it all. I was struggling with the fomo and the “I want to do it all” syndrome that affects many of us recreational athletes.
Huh. Thanks toe. Of course I got an injury that means I can’t run (flexion of the big toe is quite instrumental in running gait). I see you universe. Well played.
With my classes cancelled and no running on my schedule here’s what I was able to do:
- I was able to focus on my pelvic floor work as actually prescribed by my physiotherapist.
- I was able to do some no impact strength work and try some new exercise ideas.
- I was able to get out for a bike ride on that new to me bike – and discover that my love for going fast down the hills and pushing on the flats and hills, embracing the beautiful scenery along the way – it’s still there! Hurray! Bring on the bike rides!
- I got out for an open water swim and plan to do more!
Cool right?! I now have time for activities I didn’t have time for before, and actually really love doing. How rad is that?
The big take-away I hope you get from reading this…
Sometimes an injury isn’t the end of the world, but instead an opportunity to see a whole new perspective. To create space and time for you to do different things. to find a different focus and perhaps find (or rediscover) some things you’d lost along the way.
When we’re faced with challenges we have two options: we can fight it all the way, or we can choose the path of acccpetance. Acceptance isn’t always easy, but it’s always incredibly rewarding.
I get to choose how I respond to this hiccup. I get to choose how I view it. I choose to view this as an opportunity, not a set back. That frame is a powerful place to live from.
If you’re struggling with an injury, or any struggle, perhaps it too is an opportunity. Ask yourself, what positives could come from this? How might I shift my perspective? What’s great about this? Sometimes just a few questions go a long way to feeling more peaceful and content with what is, so you can move forward with grace and ease.
If you’re in a space of redefining your relationship with physical activity or fitness, consider booking a one-to-one coaching session. Sometimes talking about it and walking through the Clarity Coaching Process can be a really helpful tool to reframe and redefine and begin to move forward.
PS. Livestream classes are back up and running again! I’m modifying where I need to and stepping up my verbal coaching game. Feedback from the Crew so far? It’s AWESOME.
PPS. We actually started a NEW schedule for Livestream this week. Fridays is 100% dedicated to recovery, stretching and myofascial release (foam rolling and small ball). It’s going to be great and your body will thank you. Join us!