When I first got injured, I carried on like nothing had changed other than I just did not go out for runs with the group.
That injury turned into a surgery.
That surgery turned into a total of 5 procedures. I ended up with work done on both achilles (the left one 2 times), my left calf, and my left knee.
I continued to live in some denial, sign up for races, and not be able to run them. Donations to the RDs I guess 😉
During this time I kept showing up at group runs. Directing races. Taking photos and writing stories. It began to wear on me though. I would have these deep dark days where I did not want to get off of the couch, where I complained about every little thing from the dust on the ground to the wind outside. I began to believe runners were selfish and were not understanding what injured people went through, and did not care.
Then I was struck with guilt because I was still able to do other things. I had both legs. I could go up and down stairs. I could go to the gym. I actually spent a good deal of time in the past 3 years balancing between anger for not being able to run, and guilt for feeling angry because I still had so much. Mix in the tiny bit of hope for ever really running again and you had a complex mix of emotions that boiled over, usually on those closest to me.
As these emotions built up I still kept showing up at group runs. Directing races. Taking photos. Writing stories. Putting on a smile through it when I really should not have. It all came to a head though and after a very long talk with Sheila we decided the best thing mentally would be to take a step back from #TrailsRoc and recover. It had become so hard to be in front of a running community and not run.
I felt like a fraud.
A few years ago my friend Valone put me on to a book by Dr. John Sarno. We joked a bunch about it, but the mind body connection became clear to me just a few weeks after announcing we were leaving. I have since been reading almost every link I come across when it comes to how mindset changes who we are, and specifically what we can be as athletes.
I started to run again. I had a number of really strong runs that seemingly came out of the blue. For someone my size, and with the years off, and the reconstructed bits and parts it should not have happened.
Many more long talks with Sheila and the board at #TrailsRoc and some close friends, and we decided we could simplify the organization and Sheila and I would stay on.
I continued running and participated in a race this month. I have another one next month and even have what someone might call a “goal” race this summer.
I believe that the moment we decided to “let #TrailsRoc go” something lifted. It allowed the tension and anger and frustrations to go. I started seeing things with a different light. I started asking how can we make this work/grow rather than complain about how it is broken.
I got more creative at work and took on some big tasks, accomplished a few things. We simplified #TrailsRoc and we came up with some new ways of doing things that allow us to be a bit more unique and creative and on firm footing.
I would love to attribute all of this new energy to running again, but running is part of that. I think what I can attribute all of this energy to is finally letting go of running.
I made peace with it, and a lot lifted. I can’t explain why or how it worked… I still have a really creaky left knee and a nasty bone spur that is causing it, but I have a different outlook on it.
I run 3 days a week. About 4-5 miles is my max right now. I lift 2 days a week which is something that I can always add more to if my running heads south.
Sheila and I just planned an adventure to Bermuda. I am actually going to take some days off and the two of us are going to see as much of the outdoors world that Bermuda offers. We are going to try to plan out a few days to run and hike every single trail in Bermuda plus a few other fun things along the way (Did someone say rum swizzle?)
We have cancelled trips, sat at home, not done much because the thought of climbing a mountain or covering a long day on my feet was just too much. I am ready to change that and make up for some lost time.
I feel like I am back to the place I was in when we started #TrailsRoc. I am full of ideas and a new energy. Some things that seem so subtle aren’t really at all. Get that rock rolling, you never know how fast it can end up! I also know it could be fleeting so I am enjoying it while I can.
2020 ain’t so bad so far. Let’s see where it takes us.