Injury – A Challenge And An Opportunity

Injury, is an unfortunate reality of the human body. It can break, but it also has magnificent capabilities to heal itself and become stronger.

When I embarked on my Ironman journey, a lofty and challenging goal, I was unaware of all the various aspects of health I had to consider. For starters, I was structurally not fit enough to withstand the repetitive stress of long course triathlon training. It was only a matter of time before my mind pushed too far and my body gave out. At this point, I did not have a team by my side that understood my training load, and my first coach (I am grateful to him in so many ways), unfortunately, mismanaged my ability and encouraged me to run a marathon before completing my first Ironman. I kept hearing that one does not have to complete a marathon for Ironman training, but this was not up for debate.

As mile 21 approached I knew I was in trouble. The pain shot through the back of my lower leg. My feet were on fire. I labeled it under “marathon experience” to ease my concern for injury. Unfortunately, a tear in my Achilles tendon was developing. This meant no more running for at least 8 weeks, and I was 10 weeks out from Ironman Lake Tahoe 2013. I happily crossed the finish line of that race, albeit the true healing took place after the race.

Fresh Injury, Fresh Perspective

It has been over 2 years since and an incredible journey so far,  it seems like the first sentence of this story is the product of my personal experience. “Injury is an unfortunate reality of the human body”… I will argue now that injury doesn’t have to be the reality of the human body, but it can be. I know for my body it unfortunately is.

As I am sitting here pondering about injury, I am actually recovering from an inflamed joint fluid sack and micro-tear in my ankle. It has been 4 weeks since I have run, and I have only been back on the bike for 1 week now. Pretty frustrating when the first big race was supposed to happen in 2 weeks.

Over the last 4 years I have dealt with little flare ups on a recurring basis although it is starting to become less of an issue. The difference today is that I view injury as a challenge and an opportunity. A challenge to be gracious, respectful and in-tune with your body and it’s signals. An opportunity to learn and address weaknesses and focus on the things you can do, both health and life related.

Of course this stance on injury is easier said than done. With the rapid decline in training volume comes an overwhelming feeling of laziness and concern. Thoughts of panic arise, you start to tell yourself “I am getting fat, I am loosing my fitness, I am undoing all the good work, maybe…if I just push through it…” These thoughts can be detrimental to proper healing and coming out stronger.

Teamwork

Over the past years I have found the right professionals to help me on my journey and support my goals. My coach recognizes the intricate balance of my injury prone body (but even he cannot prevent it), my nutritionist realizes my fear of “getting fat” and tame the other nutrition demons, my strength and conditioning coach has set out to erase my weaknesses, and my chiro and body worker see me on a regular basis and understand the limitations and challenges of my anatomy for this sport. I have found a sports physician that I can email and get basic questions answered quickly, and I found a doctor that specializes in women in endurance sports to monitor my blood panels.

Whatever your goal may be, the truth is that you cannot do it alone. The body is a complex machine, regardless of your fitness level. Regardless whether your body is made of steel and can withstand a higher load, or is more prone to niggles, you will need the support sooner or later. This is how INTENTIO came to be. I wanted to provide the individual that seeks to make a lasting change to his/her life, with the professionals to support their goal and work as a team for the individual. Instead of only addressing the needs once they occur though, I wanted a preventative model to ensure maximum success and safety for the individual on their journey. We take the thinking out for you, so that you can focus on your goal.