So, how hard is it to keep training after an injury, or to start all over again. Motivation is hard. It’s hard to want to get up and go for a run (or a walk). There have been days where my watch won’t synchronize with GPS (it’s an old watch) and that alone makes me want to just get back into my slippers and sit on the couch.
What are we looking at? After an injury? Recovering after an injury can be anywhere from a few days to a few months. Let’s be honest, a few months can reverse a lot of hard work. That injury, depending on what or where it is, can reverse that hard work too. How frustrating is that? It could be emotional trauma and that is a whole range of different circumstances.
At the beginning of 2020, I started chatting with friends about heading back to Loch Ness in October for the marathon there. Last month, I also finally registered for an ultra-marathon scheduled in August. A couple weeks ago, I was unexpectedly admitted to a hospital in Calgary at a seizure monitoring unit. I had 25 electrodes glued to my head. They told me it would be 7-10 days but could be up to 3 weeks.
As it turned out, I was only in for 7 days. 7 days of lying in a hospital bed and eating hospital food. I was video and audio monitored at all times. Anytime I moved, it set off the sensors and a nurse would rush into my room. Dancing was out of the question. Walking was out of the question. Laughing was out of the question. I certainly couldn’t do anything related to race training. And when I have just registered for an ultra-marathon, the idea of potentially being in a bed for three weeks (with that food) is discouraging on its own.
What to do?
Well, I can’t change the unexpected admittance to the monitoring clinic. I can’t change the number of days that I was hospitalized. I can’t change the number of days that I was assigned to my recovery period. I can’t change that I have epilepsy.
What I CAN change: Whether the running watch gets strapped to my wrist, whether the rain jacket gets zipped up, whether my running pack gets clipped on. Whether I hit the road or the trail or the treadmill. Whether I even put those sneakers back on.
Bouncing Back 101
Point 1:It’s about choice. It’s always about choice. Choice choice choice. Choice choice choice choice choice choice choice. No, I’m not just taking up space for words. There is so much power and strength in choosing to bounce back. The decision, after experiencing something traumatic whether it is physical or emotional trauma, to decide to get back at it, is powerful. That choice is strength in itself.
Point 2: Find something that inspires you. It can be running. It can be basketball. It can be watching movies that have fantastic soundtracks (who remembers “Cuban Pete” from the Mask, or “Twist and Shout” from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off?). Find something that gives you happiness. If bouncing around to “Jump in the Line” from Beetlejuice is going to boost your spirits and get you back to pounding the pavement, own it.
Point 3: People always say things like “You never know what someone else is going through”. That’s true. We have no idea. More importantly, remember, we will all get through those moments. Even if there are moments that are harder than others. We all have moments that are harder than other moments. Focus on the moments you have, good and bad, and love them or work through them. Those tough moments might be a divorce or they might be a 30km long run. Work through them. They will pass.
Point 4: Start, just start, by putting on some running gear. Have the shorts or leggings on. Have the shirt on. Have socks. Then all it takes to go out and bounce back is slide into sneakers. You’re ready to go. Watch a movie or read a book for a bit, but when you’re ready to walk or to run, it’s super easy. Be ready. Start by walking around the block.
A kilometer, whether it takes you ten minutes or an hour, is still a kilometer. So. Be ready. Know your happiness. Know that your circumstance will get better. Make the choice. Take strength from all that.
This morning I went for a run with a wonderful group of people. 9 days ago I was still in a hospital attached to 25 electrodes and a leash. In the week prior to that I had over a dozen seizures. Since then I have run more than 60 kilometers.
Tonight I am going to a costume party. Costumes and makeup give me happiness. I could be Hades, or Ursula, or Cruella de vil or the Mad Hatter but no matter what, I will be getting ready to the soundtrack of To Wong Foo.
Because nothing screams strength like a good run, and nothing flaunts fabulous like To Wong Foo.