I received a runner’s nightmare for Christmas this year: I-N-J-U-R-Y. What did I do? I slipped on black ice during a normal, everyday, easy winter run, and my foot smashed backward underneath my leg, messing up my ankle.
The very moment I fell, I knew it was bad news. I couldn’t move. I could hardly breathe. I was a mess. I rung in the New Year with even worse news: S-U-R-G-E-R-Y. I came to find out I not only broke my Fibula, which I initially learned, but I also tore my Deltoid Ligament, and my ankle completely shifted out of place.
Then the dreaded word: R-E-C-O-V-E-R-Y. The surgeon said I would be completely off my foot for six to eight weeks and then learning to walk with the boot for another four to six weeks! No running for five to six months. When you’re used to running six days a week, this is a major kick in the gut.
Then comes R-E-H-A-B. Weeks or months of physical therapy to strengthen my calf muscles, foot, and ankle and learn how to run again. When it’s time to run again, I can’t just get out there and go. No, I have to start slowly with longer walk intervals to running.
Now it all comes down to a C-H-O-I-C-E. I can choose to have self-pity and spiral myself downward in self pity, or I can choose to overcome and find victory in this unfortunate circumstance. I think I’ll take the latter. I’ve never had a major injury, and now I can understand the mental toughness that is needed to get through it.
My circumstances don’t have to define me. I choose to define who I am going to be through them. I choose to be a victor and not a victim. I choose to learn and grow during this season of slow.
It’s been a month since surgery, and 45 days off my ankle. In the short few weeks, I’ve learned some important lessons … Are you ready?!?!
LESSON #1️⃣: Shower as little as possible because it will take you half the day to get ready!
LESSON #2️⃣: Eventually, you won’t even notice the pain in your ankle because your butt and back will be hurting just as much from sitting in the same position day after day!
LESSON #3️⃣: You aren’t perfect. Don’t fuss over messy bedrooms or any area you are avoiding right now. It may be good to pick up the main walkways so you don’t accidentally trip, but … Who. Cares. About. The. Rest.
LESSON #4️⃣: It’s not that you can’t do chores like dishes or folding laundry, but it’s that it takes 10 times longer for you to do than for someone else – this goes for filling up your water bottle or carrying just about anything!
LESSON #5️⃣: Wipe those crutches dry when you come in from outside, and then dry them again — your house is still a dangerous place, and you could slip at any moment.
LESSON #6️⃣: Try hard not to cringe when friends post their icy running photos. You didn’t listen to others before about the dangers, and they won’t listen to you now. Just admit you’re jealous you’re not out there with them and move on.
LESSON #7️⃣: You have a larger bladder than you think and can actually go all night without getting up — crutching while half asleep is dangerous and should be avoided.
LESSON #8️⃣: You will cry at random times. Don’t fight it. You can’t do what you want to, and it feels like forever until you can. Let those tears flow. You don’t have to have a pity party, but your emotions are real, so let them out. In the long run, it makes you feel better, I promise.
LESSON #9️⃣: Let others help you, let them visit and bring you meals — They can’t take the pain away, but they can help you pass the time with good company. Friends are precious!!! Don’t say no to their blessing.
LESSON #🔟: It’s hard sitting still. You will never get used to it, you just have to deal with it. It is, however, a great time to dream up some loftier goals for when you can get back at it because, naturally, you will take anything doctors say you won’t be able to do and prove them wrong by doing it even bigger. Winners win.
You are a winner. Just run YOUR race!