Dealing with Injury
By Brandon Davis [October 2014]
We've all been there and had that conversation with ourselves shortly after something less than ideal happens. It's that moment right before the pain comes on and just after a wreck....that voice says, "please tell me I'm ok"...then if you're a cyclist..."please tell me my bicycle isn't totaled". In that fleeting moment it's as though life is on pause and then comes rushing in. It's interesting how athlete's cope with an injury versus "normal" people. I came to this realization recently when I was forced to walk (with a limp) in the shoes of the injured athlete and it was time for me to practice what I preach.
If you're like me the first thought is that you will be ok and it will heal fast. Well it's now a week later, my ankle is still sore and bruised. A sprained ankle is not the way I thought my weekend at Charm City CX in Baltimore was going to end, but that's exactly how it did. Working with MOB Pro Cyclocross team that weekend in the pits it was low key and due to travel and a sick 10mo old I was a little under the weather to say the least. Nonetheless I was making due with the minor sickness amongst our family, and in an effort to keep the imune system firing I skipped Sunday's race refocusing on team needs. Well, when walking back with gear I stepped in a phantom grass hole in the field and my ankle folded like a dirty shirt under the weight. I brushed it off and tried to walk ..... then the pain train came. My ankle swelled to softball proportions and it's been in pain ever since. The most frustrating part of all this is that it sets me back on season fitness. I didn't need a week off so I thought, when in reality it's boosted my motivation and I can't wait to get going again! I've learned that I need to listen to my body and what it's telling me.
Prior to the injury I was battling my training schedule and just not motivated to work on the bike and sweat. I was craving a break already with the season barely started. Life stress was crowding out something I once enjoyed and I was just plain resenting alot of things. I was jealous of the old me that had more time and wasn't trying to juggle too many plates.....I was overwhelmed. Every workout was a reminder that my form just wasn't the same this year as it was last year measurably.
Today, I spun on the trainer, and with motivation coming back I pedaled for an hour easy to see how my ankle would respond. Good news is that my ankle passed the test, albeit tender still, the swelling is subsiding, and I can start some easy miles this week. If nothing else I can shed the 5lbs I feel like I gained during my mini off-season. Sometimes you just need to inject a mellow week to catch up in life and in motivation.
Most athletes have a similar story, but some have more long term recovery. For many athletes the road is often riddled with bouts of aggrivation, frustration, depression, and mood swings that only pregnant women can relate too.....it sucks. More often than not we feel victimized by the injury versus taking responsibility for our actions and accepting it for what it is...an accident. The problem we all have is that it's not the injury we are mad at it's the feeling that we are losing all of our hard earned fitness, because after all it may take months to get back to where we left off. It's the work lost that angers us the most in that we don't get that time back. It's all the sacrifices we made day after day in the name of form/fitness, and THAT'S what the average person doesn't get. They will say....you needed the rest or you will be ok and to that I want to scream!!
So the next time you are injured channel that frustration into something you have been putting off our consistently late on. Work with it and allow the healing process to happen. You will only be stronger in the end and will no doubt have a story to share.