I've been in this 'injury' world before and I have watched others visit this place. Of course injury is not a good thing, it hurts, it can be isolating and for me come served with a side of overwhelming frustration. But as with all things, there is good in it, and I'm challenging myself to surrender to it and be grateful for what it is teaching me. To do this I delved into that interesting and confronting practice of self-examination. I encourage all who find themselves here to give this a shot, I mean why not, you'll have time on you hands in between single leg drills and planking!
This break has given me more time with my family and non-running friends, facilitated some killer house cleaning sessions, seen me respond to messages on the same day as they were received, I have done more writing and my clean laundry, at times, has actually made it into drawers! (Just sometimes) On a deeper level, I have taken some big steps towards overcoming the much talked about 'FOMO' and have had the greatest gift of all...an ego check!
A note on FOMO...
FEAR OF MISSING OUT
This is something that snuck up on me, and I see it in many other runners. That feeling of needing to do what others are doing, be at every run, do every race, take every opportunity... That sinking feeling when you see or hear of others awesome runs that you weren't a part of. Seeds of self-doubt creep in. Feelings of exclusion or concerns about your own training may manifest. This is a slippery and dangerous slope to be on, and before you know it you are dipping more than your big toe into the pool of 'crazy'. I think I got in about to my waist. The water was cold. I got out.
So practically how do we get through these periods of time that our bodies need to heal and gain strength?
1. Make it strong: Actually do the exercises your care provider has given you...and add to that 100 push ups, as much planking as you can tolerate and if it's not contraindicated to your injury...rock some yoga!
2. Have a support Network: Make sure you have people around you that understand this is a tricky time for you and let them know things they can say and do to help you if they see you are struggling at times.
3. Stay connected to running: I know for many injured runners they drop off the face of the running earth for a while. I do understand the reasons behind this, but it's not for me. I love running, and my running community and I want to stay connected to it. Much like window-shopping and catalogue browsing when the wallet is empty. Staying connected to the running community will allow you to keep discussing and dreaming about the thing you love, it will also help uninjured runners to become more supportive, it will facilitate useful discussions about injury prevention and treatment and it will break down feelings of jealousy, it is the ultimate FOMO therapy!
4. Keep it healthy: It's tempting to turn to other things to find the joy we found in running. We all do this, we even joke about it by posting funny pictures on Facebook relating to our deep love of or need for beer/wine/coffee/chocolate. This helps us to gain support for our new habits that at a deeper level we know isn't serving us. I am so guilty of this. It's annoying to hear, it's even annoying to type, but this really is the most important time to eat really well, nurture your body and keep the toxin levels down. That's not to say full exclusion of all these things, but rather keep self-checking and keep the pendulum swinging to the healthy side... it will help your mind, serve your body, extradite your healing and make it easier for you when you start running again. (I need to come back and read this paragraph...a lot.)
5: Be kind to yourself: Get massages, catch up with friends, draw, paint, BLOG! Do the things you love to do but don't get time to. Take this as an opportunity to re-balance your world.
6. Learn the lessons: Listen and learn, our bodies are the best teachers. Where are the points of resistance in your body? Have you been pushing too hard? Over-training? Under-training? Losing your life balance? Hmmm... A perfect time to reflect and correct.
7. Smile and know it will pass: Running injuries are rarely permanent. The frustrating thing is that we are not robots and have no way of knowing the exact time frame. (or at least that is what my care provider told me last night when I begged him pathetically to tell me when I could run again) For now, stay present and enjoy the opportunity to try new things. There was a time when running was your 'new thing' and if space wasn’t created for you to find that...you would have never discovered its awesomeness.
What can I find in this space I now have? I'm not sure yet, but it's a little exciting to find out and most certainly, I see now, a gift. Not a gift I asked for...but a gift all the same.
All this said, if you see me in the coming month...I like my coffee strong and black, my wine red, and my chocolate dark :-)