When I was a young, overly-dramatic girl and something absolutely terrible occurred and I was certain that my life was at an end and I could do nothing but cry and whine, my mom would tell me that tough times like these “build character.” My poor mom would then endure my snarky, ungrateful-teenage-brat responses. If you knew me then or know me now, you would probably agree that I have more character that one really needs. However, as a now-slightly-older (but still overly-dramatic) girl, I can finally appreciate what my mom was trying to tell me.
Set backs happen. This is true in all areas of life. What I have painstakingly learned is that it isn’t our set backs that determine who we are but rather how we respond to and overcome these hurdles.
Here’s a bit of my immediate history:
I was supposed to run a Boston Marathon qualifying time (3:35 or faster) at the Outer Banks Marathon in November 2011. I hired a coach, Dai Roberts of the Dai Roberts Grop (http://www.dairobertsgroup.com/) to help me reach my goal. I had been battling shin pain for a few months and had taken time off from running. I came to Dai injured and asked him to help me safely regain mileage and reach my marathon goal. We worked hard to move me in that direction. Didn’t happen. I didn’t even run the marathon; I ran the half marathon because I was still dealing with pain in my shin and ankle and hadn’t been able to run consistently enough to train properly for a marathon. Thanks to Dai’s coaching and guidance, I made a wise choice and PR’d my half-marathon at 1:49:40. I had hoped for a faster time but given my lack of consistency I was more than satisfied with this beautifully-negative-split race.
So, then I was supposed to BQ at the Shamrock Marathon in March. No go. I had been training consistently enough to race a marathon, but it was unlikely that I would have met my goal. I wasn’t hitting the paces in training. I just needed more time. I was okay with that. When I told Dai I wanted to look for a later spring marathon or wait for a fall marathon, he agreed that it was a wise decision. I was running well – no reason to halt progress by racing a marathon and then needing tons of time to recover, not to mention spending a large sum of money on the registration fee.
And then there was heel pain. And then a month off of running. And then there was a good week of short, easy runs. And then there was calf/shin pain, again. It was really the calf/shin pain that drove me to make a doctor’s appointment. Dr. Sam Wittenberg (a doc I would recommend to any athlete in the Tidewater area) had my ankle x-rayed because I was having a bit of pain there, too, but I was preoccupied with the shin because it was a familiar feeling. At first glance, x-rays looked fine but, alas, the trained eye of the radiologist spotted a heel fracture. I ran yesterday (May 8th, 2012) before I knew. That was my last run for at least 8 weeks. *Sigh*
Honestly, I wanted to cry after I found out (and I did, eventually, though briefly). I mean, this definitely SUCKS. Still, I could either keep crying about it or look at this as an opportunity to build more “character.” I’ve decided that, not only will I come out of this a stronger athlete, but I’m going to use this to become a better psychologist, too. I’ve read plenty about how to help injured athletes manage the psychological aspects of being side-lined while recovering. Now, I get to do a case study… on ME! I’ll keep you all posted on my progress, both psychological and athletic. I’ll also try to keep my future posts shorter. No promises, though! Let’s all learn something from this, shall we?
Time to make some lemonade!