You sustained an injury. It wasn’t planned. They never are. You’ve taken all of the precautions you could but yet, you still sit on the sidelines and can’t do the things you enjoy any longer. For me, it’s the running and the obstacle course races. So how do you recover? How do you get back safely and try to avoid it ever happening again? How do you try to be positive when recovery is taking everything you’ve got?
Herein lies the problem for me. I live a fast paced life and everything I do is always so intense. Maybe it’s the career choice I have in being a career firefighter/paramedic and need the adrenalin rush. I think I’ve always chosen the excitement of challenging myself in every aspect of my life from sports to jobs. That’s why I fell in love with the sports of running, trail racing, and OCR races. I sustained a serious injury doing just that and it changed me.
Last year, I tore my quadriceps tendon running the Chicago Marathon. This came after thousands of training miles for my first marathon and it didn’t end the way I intended. Surgery was the only viable option if I wanted to get back to what I loved doing. Well, the surgery and the rehab wasn’t the difficult part. It was the mental aspect of sitting back and watching my friends run the races I really wanted to be part of. I still received tons of support from my fellow runners but something was missing. I needed to be okay with not training and I wasn’t. I wouldn’t say that I was depressed, but maybe I was. I’m not used to being the one that needed help. I was always the one who offered the help. Being stubborn is easier.
I’m now 4 months post surgery and it’s still hard to maintain the level of fitness I had before the injury. I know it’s still early and I’ll be working hard to get back but it gets harder as the weather gets nicer. There are good days and bad days with my knee and I think that signing up for races in mid summer and fall is driving me to work hard and see that attainable goal. There is still that voice in the back of my head that wonders if I’ll ever be 100%.
So, how do you stay positive? Well, my advice to you would be to never bottle it all in. Take the time to talk to people. Talk to those who have been through similar injuries. Talk to people you feel comfortable with. Talk with someone. Being positive isn’t always easy but sometimes it makes the process go faster.