In the age of the Internet, there’s probably very little that happens in our lives that doesn’t get Googled, documented in social media, and who hasn’t planned an entire meal or party off of Pinterest? So when got home from the ER after I broke my foot, one of the first things I did was pull out Dr Google and try to figure out how long this whole process was going to take. 6 to 8 weeks seemed to be a pretty common timeframe. After my first follow up appointment, my doctor thought I’d begin walking again right after Memorial Day, which would have been right at the 8 week mark.
That long weekend came and went. I went through some really dark days and weeks. I got frustrated, I got angry, and I stopped caring about almost everything. Over time my doctor’s reactions went from “let’s be cautious” to “I know this seems crazy” after he took my practice walking privileges away right after the July 4th holiday weekend when I reported that walking was excruciating.
At some point in the last couple of weeks, the anger lifted and frustration reduced. While I still hate that I can’t just get up and walk, and that just putting on a sock, or trying to lay on my side in bed has become painful again, but somehow I’ve come to terms with that my summer isn’t going to be normal. This morning Runner’s World posted this quote on Facebok, and it hit me: I completely underestimated my recovery.
I focused so hard on trying to be normal. I hopped flights for work, I put in face time in the office, I worked hard to get in sweaty one-footed workouts. I never stopped to think about my body needing recovery time. I just assumed that it would repair itself as I went about my life.
This weekend, Bernard Legat ran his way into his 5th Olympics at age 41. A few months ago, Meb did the same. To compete at that level at their age, after competing for 20+ years, they’ve clearly made an art form of recovering. After they have a big race or an injury, they don’t go back to normal, they alter their workouts to let their bodies repair themselves.
So, I’m learning. I’m appreciating my lazy weekends. I’m no longer trying to get in a workout every day that feels a lot like a normal one. I’m letting myself sleep in on weekends. I’m focusing on eating healthy, but ensuring I’m getting enough calories to fuel bone growth and soft tissue healing. And I’m moving on.
I’ve stopped longing to go for a run, instead being happy to get lost in a book by the pool. I’ve stopped trying to ignore my pain, and allowing myself to just sit or to work from home. I’ve stopped waiting to get back to normal, and instead just do my best each day.
When the time comes to get back to working out and even running again, I’ll have a new appreciation for recovery. Without it, our bodies can’t continue to perform.