Recently we were asked to write about what we do to keep "in shape" while we are sidelined with an injury or on a hiatus. I struggled with this question because I very recently had this happen, smack in the middle of my training for my first half marathon. I would be lying to you, and to myself, if I said that I was out there against doctors orders or doing non-running exercises. The truth is, I was embarrassed to tell you that I did nothing. The reason I am still writing on this topic, is because although I can't give you ideas of alternate activities, I can tell you what NOT to do and even though most of my fellow sponsored athletes know what to do when sidelined, I don't and I am beginning to feel like I am not alone in this and would be remiss to let you think that none of us struggle.
My derailment started with a bad case of Plantar Faciitis and was prolonged when my husband was in a serious car accident. My doctor suggested I take a week off followed by a low mileage week which I turned into 2 weeks off because I am stubborn and dammit, it HURT! When I was all set to get back out there on a Sunday night, my whole plan got flipped upside-down along with the car that had my husband and one of our dogs in it. I had been on the other side of town hanging out with friends when I got the call that he was taken to the level one trauma center about an hour from our house and she was taken to the emergency vet. I was driven to the hospital by a friend and stayed the whole night while family went to take care of our furbaby. I remember thinking, while he was lying in the hospital bed, with the neck collar around his neck that I felt helpless. He had a concussion, a broken scapula and a broken vertebrae. I turned to Facebook, namely the RunJunkEes Club page, to keep my mind occupied and read inspirational stories of all these people facing and overcoming adversity. While he was asleep, I went outside. I needed to gather myself together for the long night ahead and while I sat in the center of the hospital courtyard, I wished I had my running shoes. I felt the summer night calling to me, telling me it could make things more bearable. Unfortunately the only shoes I had were knee high boots and the only clothes were the dress and leggings I had been wearing the day before so I, again, felt helpless.
After he was released from the hospital, I should have started running but with my own health issues, my personal need to take care of him and working, I allowed myself to put my needs on the sideline and focus my time and energy elsewhere. It took a long look at myself in the mirror, a reality check from my "coach", and an empty feeling inside to realize that either A. I get my butt back out there or B. I can kiss my first half marathon down the tubes. I am choosing the first option. I can let this unexpected hiatus take me off the planned course, or I can get back on the tracks, try my best and hope for a finish. I am not going down without a fight. This little engine definitely doesn't "think [she] can", she KNOWS she can. I guess, if you take nothing else from this, take that even in your darkest days of self-defeat, you can get back on track and if nothing else, you know you got up, dusted yourself off and did what you could, for you.
***Side note: My husband is well on his way to making a full recovery and so is our dog, Zombie :)