Reality check

Seven years ago, it was a persistent case of iliotibial band tendinitis in my right leg that would keep me from running for months.

Less than a year later it set in on the left knee. After months of physical therapy and minimal running, I asked my phsyical therapist what would happen if I just ran through it. She responded, “It may get worse, extremely inflamed. The pain would be unbearable. I don’t recommend it”

“Is there any possible way that it could react by strengthening and then inflammation would subside?” I responded.

“Maybe. If you can withstand the pain.” I threw in the towel and ran through it. I experienced some of the most painful running of my life but in no more than two weeks time, with nearly hourly use of the foam roller and ice massage, the inflammation was subsiding.

Then I sprained my ankle. I tore multiple ligaments in my ankle. When I came back to running 6 weeks later, my form was so uneven that I fractured my right tibia.

Then hamstring tears. And of course the hundreds and hundreds of blisters, torn flesh, deep lacerations, road rash, missing toenails. I ran head first into a tree mountain biking, tore another hole in my ear and received a cut on my face that left a scar that’ll always make my beard look funny.

Then came mono. Then came the doctor telling me I might have lymphoma and the surgery to remove the tumors. Fortunately my life was made a lot easier when the test came back negative.

But the biggest hurdle that has ever hit me was burnout and the resulting depression in 2008. I didn’t want to look at a bike, step inside a pool house, or touch my running shoes. I hated everything about endurance sports. I had too much. I needed a break. An extended hike would fix that.

Then plantar fasciitis in my right foot. Then a broken thumb and pins in my hand to accompany it.

Earlier this year a rolled ankle to tear the ligaments in my left ankle and balance out my royally screwed up ankles and keep me out from running for six weeks. Third time on crutches in four years time.

Second degree burns with swollen blisters covering my back from a seven hour ride.

Currently, a stress reaction in my second metatarsal and a quarter size hole missing from the skin of a very delicate area that experiences a little too much chaffing sometimes.

It has not been an easy ride. These are not excuses. These are hurdles I reflect on to remind myself that I can make it past the next one. I love my sport and while I hate the injuries that accompany it, I will bear through them and come out on the other side stronger.

Despite the length of this list, I’ve not had it that bad. But you, remind yourself that. No excuses, rarely do any of us have it that bad. Everyone has speed bumps, some people have larger ones than others. But the guy who wins is never the one who doesn’t get injured. The guy who wins is the one who carries his momentum, who keeps plugging, and comes out a stronger athlete than before.

Here is an article about a real setback:

Runner puts dream on hold for those of an ill friend

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