Last summer after I tore my hamstring two people told me that I would find opportunities in my injury. I don’t remember who told me that but I can narrow it down to the likely candidates. A month after that I tore my Achilles tendon which, of course, resulted in surgery and the recovery that I am still really working on. I don’t think anyone told me that was an opportunity but as I reflect on it, it was as well. You might think I am crazy, but I will try to explain what I have been thinking about lately.
Staying the course
The recovery process has not always been easy; however, I have stayed with my program and plan. I have incredible support that only continues to grow. I am fortunate and realize that. I know that I could have taken several months off from doing anything at all with the excuse that I was rolling around on my cart with a cast and boot. I returned to the gym two weeks after surgery – and was there up until the day before surgery. I could not do many of the things I wanted to do but it was an opportunity to swim more, for one thing, and to learn more about both how to take better care of myself and to see where my limits were. It was not always easy. I am sure that it was pretty comical to watch at times and that I entertained some of my fellow Rec Center regulars. I can always laugh at myself so that does not bother me.
I have had a number of people comment on how long I had to be off. It really was not that long it retrospect. Did it stop me from doing some of the things I had planned? Of course. But following what my doctors and trainers told me do was vital in my recovery process. I struggled with some things. I re-gained some weight around the holidays and when I followed a stupid path to try to lose it that backfired. That also became an opportunity to really ingrain, hopefully once and for all, that healthy eating habits are the only way that I should be trying to lose and maintain weight. I have now lost that weight and working towards my goal once and for all.
Setting new goals
My goal for this summer was finishing races and just doing the work. I did not finish every race for different reasons, but I have continued on anyway. I’ve stated before that my goal right now is not winning. I am realistic about that because I have a long way to go. I really do this to challenge myself and to encourage others that it is possible. You really don’t have to give in to health problems though I understand how discouraging they can be.
My newest goal is a Half Ironman. I have registered for Raleigh 70.3 on June 2, 2013. The race will mark three years since I began working with Sam, the catalyst that changed my life. (I think our first session was actually June 3, but it is close enough.) There will be a lot of training and work to get to June and I will be tracking it here.
Day in and day out
Saturday morning I ran a 5k in Birmingham. The weather forecast was for rain and generally bad weather. When I woke up at 4:45 a.m. I thought it was raining but it was not. My first thought was that I was just going to sleep because I didn’t want to run in the rain. That lasted for about a minute because I realized what I was thinking. The run supported one of the causes I have come to really care about –Camp Smile a Mile, a camp for children with cancer. I can run in the rain for 3.1 miles for children who have cancer. It didn’t rain until I was on my way home, by the way. This is another opportunity, however. I was able to support something I care about and do something I enjoy – even the hills.
When I didn’t finish Buster Britton, Kelli Eldridge reminded me that what really matters is the day in and day out work we do. It’s the run or the swim that no one really sees. It’s a long ride when you might feel like it. It is the will to keep going and it is all truly an opportunity to make myself a better and healthier person and might also result in doing things to make other people’s lives better. That could be supporting a race like the one I did on Saturday or encouraging another person. There are big and small opportunities everyday though and that is where I find joy in all of this work.
I know this may not make complete sense to everyone, but I hope you can see my perspective. I also hope you all look for an opportunity each day to make yourself better and to make something in the world better.