Saturday, March 17, 2012

Are you mental?!?

Injuries suck.  (have I already said that?)

My strength has grown.  My endurance has grown.  My self-esteem has grown.  My muscles have grown (nice physical perk).  I've worked on my form, my technique, and my footing relentlessly.  I've read, and read, and practiced, and practiced.  And yes, there have been times I've become obsessed with running, but it's better than the alternative (insert your choice of unhealthy alternative).  I have barely missed a beat in my training schedule.  I've been a good little student and have played nice and followed all the rules.

Then the unthinkable happens.  And it freakin' sneaks up on you.  An injury. And it's not like it was a major injury or anything - and it's not like something popped or cracked or broke.  Something is just not right.  And then you start asking yourself the questions - "Is is both knees/legs/feet/calves or just one??"  "Is it just a pain I need to deal with and run through?"  "Does it really hurt THAT bad?"

And here I am on crutches and have been told I need to not run for at least 3 or 4 weeks.  (Honestly, between me and you, I think I'm gonna need a bit longer.  Just a hunch.)

If you're a serious athlete and have had an injury, then you KNOW that the physical hurt you feel is only one VERY small part of your pain that you have to go through in your rehab/recovery process.  The physiological pain - the mental aspect - of your injury, and the temporary, or God forbid permanent, loss to your sport can be far more devastating than your strained muscles or torn ligaments or fractured bones.  I believe that your physiological pain has to be directly addressed and "treated" - otherwise, the entire recovery will be slow and possibly suffer.

Family, coaches, spouses, parents - who are insensitive to these very important aspects of healing, can do more harm than good.

I finally consider myself a runner.  For a long time, I was on the fence.  But now, it is an extension of my identity and my sense of self.

This is a bump in the road.  A road I hope I have the privilege to run on for as long as my body and mind let me.

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