When the things that define you are taken away, how do you cope? I sprained my ankle a few weeks ago, and my triathlon season got completely and utterly derailed. I missed my first half-ironman that I’d been training for over the course of many months, often 3 hours a day. But when injuries or other unforeseen events happen, you often become so focused on recovering and getting back to baseline, that you don’t realize the stress the whole episode has taken.
I’m slowly getting back on my feet and am so eager to get back to triathlons. But I’m a little wiser with this injury, and I know not to push myself too fast. Most interestingly, now that I am able to jog again, and can move my left foot without pain (mostly), all of the emotion I tried to keep at bay during the first few weeks of recovery has come rushing back.
I lead a physical lifestyle. I usually spend most of my free time exercising. It has come to define and invigorate me. The past month has been entirely different. I had a birthday and had time to celebrate it all week long. I socialized more than I have in, probably, years. I was getting enough sleep. I was focused at work. I felt so much less pressure and was able to slow down. And now, I’ve come to the other side, and all of these positive things, this being forced to slow down and smell the roses….well, it doesn’t make me happy. And so all I feel now is validated. That my admittedly intense predilections for half-marathons and other races are what truly bring me fulfillment.
I welcomed the break, I embraced it, I’m still focused on rehabbing my ankle. I can even admit that I really needed this time off, to re-evaluate what I was spending my time on and recuperate. But I’m signed up for my next triathlon and eyeballing my next half-marathon and I’m more excited about my upcoming races than I was before my sprain.
It’s really strange all the good things that can flow from an unwanted, painful, negative event. But my sprain gave me this last month to slow down and look around, and has now given me an invigorated outlook.