Monday, October 4, 2010

Injuries and Set-backs

"Simply stated, you must want it bad enough to survive the process required to obtain it. It is the force of your personal passion that gives you the force to break down the wall between you and the thing you desire." -unknown

I learned a long time ago not to train for a day far off in the future.  I learned to train for today, because it's just another day and training is what I want to do for the rest of my life.  Once today is over it's time for tomorrow when I start all over again.   Like anything in life, there are unexpected injuries and set-backs that materialize and effect training and even just day-to-day living. 

I have been lucky in my life as an athlete and dancer to suffer few serious injuries and need NO surgeries of any kind.  As I have evolved my adulthood athletics I have taken great care to take care of my body.  I eat well (I will talk later about the Gluten-Free lifestyle I've recently adopted), I stretch before and after training, I drink a lot of water and green tea, don't smoke, get as much sleep as possible (this one varies from time to time) and only occasionally drink alcohol.  I respect that being proactive about keeping my body strong will help ensure that I can stay healthy but it isn't fool-proof. 

I play indoor soccer in a co-ed league once a week.  It's a fun way to cross-train and as a life-long player, it's an opportunity for me to get out and play, socialize, and keep my skills up.  In a recent game, I hurt my shoulder, something I never planned on happening in a soccer game, and it has drastically effected my day-to-day living!  Initially, I was very optimistic since shoulders are not critical for running but the pain and inability for me to do all my daily activities or strength train has definitely had a mental impact on me. 

It got me thinking about why I do what I do to stay healthy and what I want to do in response to this injury.   I began reflecting on the things I traditionallly perceived as "sacrifices".  Eliminating the carbs, the hours outside running, the aching knees and hips, the unexpected and painful injuries, the nights of going to bed early instead of going out, the early mornings, the money on gear, shoes, events, all of it... And it was so obvious to me that those things aren't truly sacrifices, (even in moments where I desperately want a Panera bagel or when I have to try to do laundry with one arm)... they are investments, deliberate choices, in getting to where I want to be and having the life I want to have. The difference between a sacrifice and an investment is the awareness, knowledge and acceptance that there will be another event, another race, another chance. Knowing that today's outcome and today's reality are not the end of anything or that anything was lost in getting here. That today was just another day.

This injury is not something I had planned on or have an easy solution today.  Set-backs, they occur unexpectedly or in unfortunate circumstances despite having a plan or a perfect vision in place.  Set-backs themselves carry a great deal of power.  They can make all the investments feel lost, wasted, and for nothing.  They fall like raindrops, muddying the best of plans and making it hard to stay on the path and remember why we do it in the first place.

Today, I want to compete in races and do well but ultimately, I want to train and push myself to my limits for as long as I can because it makes me happy and fulfilled. To earn those things I am willing to put in the time and energy to attain it and no injury or set-back is going to derail me from that goal.  These injuries and set-backs will have no power over me and will not change my focus.  They will serve as lessons and I will learn from them.  So my shoulder hurts today, I'll acknowledge that, and I will do what I need to do to let it heal and I'll be stronger for it.  But while I'm waiting, still training, still focused on my goals... bring on the rain... because it's just another day.