Yesterday morning, I was visiting my chiropractor and the topic of mental health came up. “When I have competitive athletes,” Sandy said, “I have to watch their mental health. If they stop running me and they aren’t doing anything else, I worry because that is when they can fall into depression.”
I have seen it. Years ago, a close friend of mine was injured and flat out refused to go for a walk, come to yoga, start swimming with me (and if I am willing to get back into the pool, you know that I am trying everything to get him active again)….All he wanted to do was run and depression took over.
Ironically, Kelly-Lynne and I were talking about how runners deal with injuries just before Tammy the Hamstring started to complain. “I’m pretty sure that I would find something else to do,” she said. I was sure of my reaction. “I know I would. After watching my friend suffer….I don’t want to go through that.”
As much as I miss running, I have accepted whatever injury I have and that I need the time off. When my forced break began, I could barely walk without being in pain, but I looked for things that I could do – or try to do – and, week by week, I find that I can keep adding something else to my list of can’s. This week, I feel especially grateful for the things that are a part of my healing.
I am grateful to be able to do:
a. Yoga. For weeks, this was my only outlet. At the beginning of October, I could not get into a Warrior One pose; now I can. Two weeks ago, I still couldn’t move into a Crescent Moon, but I did a few on Friday for the first time; I had to work to hold it, but I got into the position and that is progress. Yoga sets a bar for me and I get excited when I find that I can suddenly do something that I couldn’t in the class before. I am committed to going three times a week, which I will continue once I am back in my running shoes.
b. Lunges. Three weeks ago, when the temperature dropped, I didn’t want to do my lunge drill outside because it was too cold; I worried that the cold could be detrimental and I could end up doing more damage to the same muscle group that I have been trying to rehabilitate. So I turned indoors. Twice a week, after dropping off my son, I head to school before almost everyone else and stretch and strengthen through the hallways before my work day begins.
c. Planking. This started off as a bar to measure my strength but it has evolved into a personal challenge. Two minutes, every day, and anywhere: no problem. We’ll see how high that number can climb.
d. Indoor Cycling. I use to ride a lot: I commuted through Toronto by bike; somedays, I felt like I lived on a lifecycle at the gym; Dave and I covered a lot of miles on our rode bikes. But that was before kids and when the roads were less busy and less dangerous. Somehow in the past few years, cycling of any kind has become a part of my past. But my windtrainer is still in the basement. I walk past it every time I have to hang up laundry and, every time, I tell myself that I need to start spinning the wheels again. Three weeks ago, as soon as my leg was strong enough, I got back into the saddle. For now, it is my only form of cardio and it can be as boring as heck, but I am glad to have it.
And I have more options to look forward to: weights, rowing, swimming….As soon as I know exactly what I am dealing with, I can introduce other ways to build and maintain as I transition back to running. I can’t worry about what I can’t control, but I can focus on the things I can.