It’s been so long since I wrote a blog piece, and even longer since I enjoyed the grind of getting ready for a race. My last significant race was Duathlon Worlds in August 2013. While I wasn’t literally held together with duct tape, it sure felt like it. My body and spirit were broken, and I just wanted the season to end.
Well it ended, and I couldn’t imagine that the post season was going to hurt even more than my very tender Achilles. I couldn’t muster any energy to even go on the recumbent bike for 5 minutes. I didn’t know how to exist in the health world as a regular person. What was the point of daily exercise if not for a race? I did nothing. Not a thing. I ate poorly or forgot to eat, and exercise was not even an afterthought. Instead of exercising, I watched trashy, reality TV to try and make myself feel big. So, yeah, that didn’t work.
I am one who doesn’t need someone to motivate me to get going. There is an internal fire, for whatever reason. But here I was, a shell of my former self, barely summoning the courage to get out of bed each day. I would do the barest minimum to be a wife, mother, teacher, and friend. For a good six months after DuWorlds, I was buttressed by my incredibly supportive husband who pleaded, “I want my wife back.” In my little circle of racing, I definitely relished the accolades and this felt like a bit of withdrawal. I wonder what it’s like for celebrities and professionals when their careers are over. I wasn’t sad that I wasn’t winning races; I was sad that I had put all this energy into sport and for what? What next? NSQ was giving zero f@cks.
That next January, I ended up a procedure on my Achilles and thankfully, I finally was able to exercise again without pain. It’s weird, how the healing works. One day you just wake up and realize that you feel better even though the healing was going on for weeks. I was so excited that I was on the mend, but I had no desire to race again. My only reason for exercising now was to be strong enough on the bike to help my teammates get faster. Mission accomplished. They got faster. I also enjoyed my new role as cheerleader. I felt better at that than I actually felt as an athlete.
In the last few years I have enjoyed running for peace of mind, hanging out with friends, and basic play. It is only very recently that I have wondered what it would be like to race again. So now I have started training for real. I actually am enjoying putting in the hard work and I have a goal of PR’ing in the Brooklyn Half Marathon.
So here are my takeaways
- The internet is the best source for realizing how dire your situation is and how you are never going to heal. I am here to tell you that I healed 100% from both my post-partum hematoma and from my Achilles tendonosis.
- You can’t have the ups without the downs—whether before, after, or both. Injury is a natural part of being an athlete. You have to expect it. It’s just a matter of when. Try your best to build up weaknesses, and hard as it is, don’t give up. Surround yourself with people who love you and will take care of you.
- Appreciate your own hustle. You are where you need to be. Right now. Don’t worry about who has this or that. That has nothing to do with you. Go find your own happy place. Every coin has two sides. Perspective. Injured? You have plenty time to build up your friendships and your vocabulary. Read a book. Not injured? Knock on wood and respect the gift—go train.
- Everyone presents her best self on social media. So here it is world. Laura Casner of Laura Casner Photography took this shot of me doing double jumps. I love it. I’m 44 years old and shit, I am looking jacked in this pic. The camera takes what it sees. Behold the beauty.
5. Everyone presents her best self on social media. So here it is world. Laura Casner took this shot of me doing double jumps. I love it. I’m 44 years old and shit, I am looking like the picture of Dorian Gray. The camera takes what it sees. Behold the hideousness.
Gravity is unkind to the body. The camera snapped at the point of impact, but I couldn’t get the up shot without having hit the ground. Hit the ground, but don’t forget to allow your body to recoil and spring up. Don’t stay on the ground. Keep rising. Keep rising. Hear Béla Károlyi talking to you.