Today marks one year since my injury, and, ironically, today is also the official day I begin training for the Boston Marathon. It will, indeed, be my victory run!

Today is December 22, 2019. It marks a one-year anniversary in my life, just not a joyful one. It now is a special day in my book, a memorable day for sure, because December 22, 2018 was the day that changed my life.

Today, one year ago, is the day I broke my ankle. On a normal, everyday pleasure run, my right foot caught a patch of black ice, and I went flying. In this very short moment, my life turned upside down, and though it seems like a small, maybe even unremarkable, accident, it changed my world permanently.

I am thankful I didn’t hit my head or that nothing worse happened. I’m thankful I wasn’t faced with something more traumatic. I’m thankful that the accident didn’t put off my running indefinitely.

But this experience was still very traumatic and extra painful to walk out. I went through all the various stages of trauma: shock, denial, depression, pain, regret, reflection, and recovery. 

These are all very natural responses to painful circumstances, and it’s okay to walk each of these processes out. We don’t have to pretend to have it all together all the time. We just need to know that our circumstances can be used for the good if we choose to walk them out in a positive manner. We will experience sadness and frustration and doubt as we meander through our trials. That’s a given. But we can choose to not allow those emotions dictate our outcome.


Here are the facts:

  • I couldn’t walk for three months.
  • I couldn’t drive for three months.
  • I had to sleep on my back with my boot out of the sheets for three months (any other way was painful).
  • I couldn’t run for six months (and really six months was more like 9 months because I was running about 30-60 seconds at a time and walking 4-5 minutes between for the first couple of months back).
  • The swelling remained through about 9 months (though I was told it could last much, much longer), and it still swells from time to time if I’ve been on it too much. 
  • The pain lingered for months! The pain remained for much longer than I imagined it would. I was in pain from the time I slipped up until my surgery in the beginning of the year. Then I was in pain after my surgery until it was time to take my stitches out and put me in a boot rather than a soft cast. Then I was in pain for another couple of weeks adjusting to no stitches and the uncomfortable boot. Then, not only was it painful to start walking with my boot, it was also pretty scary because fear tried to rise in me telling me I wasn’t ready or that I’d re-injure myself. When it was time to take the boot off and walk in a brace, I experienced a whole different kind of pain. And when all was cleared, it was painful to start running again. 

Today I look back on my year and reflect on what I’ve learned through this trial. Honestly, I wish I didn’t have to go through it, but I also know I wouldn’t be the person I am today without having to walk that experience out. 

Some Things I’ve Learned

CHARACTER

I’ve gained so much insight into who I am and who I want to be. This trial was a character builder for me. It taught me to grow through what I go through and not to let my circumstances define me. 

RELATED: Grow Through What You Go Through

EMPATHY

Empathy resonates in me for others who experience injury or other tough life circumstances. I now can understand them better and help others walk through their trials because I’ve been in a similar one. 

FRUSTRATION HAPPENS

I learned that no matter how strong you think you are when injury or trials come, frustration will follow. We are not immune to frustration and anger. They are natural responses to life circumstances. But through feeling my frustrations, I learned that it’s what I do with them that matters. I can wallow in my misery, or I can choose to become better because of it. When frustrations came, I learned to control them by choosing to speak to where I’m going, not where I was at presently. I chose to use my frustration to drive me forward and to focus on new goals or new passions.

RELATED: When Frustration Hits

REFLECTION

I had time to reflect and determine just what is most important in my life. I evaluated where I was spending my time and if it lined up with where I feel called to be, and honestly, much of what I have been doing deterred me from pursuing my calling and also kept me from spending quality time with my family.

ELIMINATING CRUTCHES

I was able to discern various things I was using as crutches in my life that were holding me back or keeping me where I was most comfortable. If we aren’t willing to let go of those crutches in our lives, we won’t be able to fully walk out our purpose with confidence.

RELATED: What is Your Crutch?

LETTING GO OF IDOLS

I learned that it’s easy to create idols in our lives if we’re not careful. They come in various forms, but I almost let running be one in my life. Running is something I enjoy and I’m good at, and much of my focus has been on working out and creating lofty racing goals. Those things aren’t bad on the surface. It’s great to take pride in being healthy, and it’s important to have goals to strive for! But it’s also important not to have just one thing because if that one thing is taken away from you for a time or permanently, then what do you have left? 

RELATED: When Your Passion is Taken Away

Has the pain completely gone away? Nope.

One year later, and every morning I wake up with a stiff foot. I can feel my ligament during my runs most of the time still. My running form is getting better, and my foot is warming up much faster than it did before, but the pain lingers. After a long day on my foot, it feels extra heavy and a bit swollen. 

But here’s the thing. I’m not going to let the pain stop me from doing something I love. This pain is different from the pain of my initial injury. This is soreness that I need to walk out. I know I am healed and won’t mess anything up by getting back to normal life again. When injury strikes, it’s time to play to win. I want to use my injury and recovery to inspire others to win again, to overcome their trials and circumstances and to get back in the game of life. 

RELATED: Play to Win

So now it’s time to move on and rise up.

It’s time to take what I’ve learned and continue to apply it in my life. Today marks one year since my injury, and, ironically, today is also the official day I begin training for the Boston Marathon. It will, indeed, be my victory run! Our trials build our character, and I hope you choose to do the same thing through yours.

What trials in your life have built your character? Did you choose to walk them out and rise above them? Were you changed from the experience? What lessons did you learn through it, and more importantly, did you apply them to your life? Looking back on it, would you change the circumstances in your life if you could, or do you think they have made you who you are today, and you may be a whole different person had you not had to walk those trials out? Just some things to reflect on this week. 

Choose to see your trials as opportunities for growth. The Boston Marathon 2020 will be my victory run. When I cross the finish, I will look back and see that I’m a totally different person, and I will see just how that trial worked on me and built my character. FIND YOUR VICTORY RUN!

Dream huge, and remember, you are a winner. Just run YOUR race!

I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below and let me know, what trial have you overcome that built your character?

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Lucy Clarke

Sounds like you’ve been through a lot, and it’s so eye opening to hear all about your journey. I’m sure you’ll absolutely smash the marathon, and wishing you the best of luck through the training!