Friday, October 21, 2011

Healing Powers

It's hard to believe that six months ago I almost didn't make it to the Boston Marathon finish line. Not because I've had glorious races since that limp, hobble, shuffle kicked in at 10K when it became too much to try to run. Not because I already finished another marathon, another one that I probably wasn't supposed to start in the first place. And not because I can walk normally, practice yoga on two feet instead of my knees that saw more action May through July, swim without dragging my feet behind, and spin sitting down the entire class.

Operating at near normalcy, minus the lack of speed and endurance when running and cycling, I almost forgot about my injury. That might be stretching it a little--or a lot--since I'm reminded nearly every day that I did have a tibia stress fracture, I still find myself using it as an excuse when I sit on the bike or have a slow run, and friends ask me about my leg at least once a week (which, don't get me wrong, I appreciate). From a mental standpoint, I'd like to think that I forgot. Because I pushed the constant nagging, the "woe is me" sadness, the depression that hit when exercise came to a near stand-still, and whatever other emotion that seemed to envelop every email, conversation and work project into a secret dungeon in my brain where I locked the door, tossed the key and couldn't return.

Now I didn't actually shove those thoughts into a secret spot, but I did write them down. Like that reminder from my mom when I'd forget to finish a chore or buy an item at the grocery store or return a library book by its due date, a piece of paper never forgets. And while that might be true, spilling those thoughts also had a therapeutic effect on my injury. I stopped feeling constantly sorry for myself, I stopped thinking I'd look like a Pillsbury dough girl by the end of the summer, and I stopped thinking that I couldn't do much beyond riding my bike and swimming with my legs dragging behind me. I knew I couldn't race or run just yet, but I knew I'd probably get the OK to try when the next doctor's visit rolled around--and this time I could deal with it.

That brain dump? You can read that prose (my essay on page 22) in the latest edition of Women's Adventure magazine. Healing really is half the battle...physically you can be mending but that mental mindset can be even tougher to crack. I know. Oh, and if you like what you read--flip through the other pages of the digital edition--you can sign up for a free digital subscription of the magazine. Or grab a copy at a vendor near you (a Barnes & Noble or REI perhaps?). It's good reading, promise!

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