Overcoming Setbacks

This week has been hard for me.
I don’t say this because I want to complain and I fully understand that taking care of myself these days is far more important than logging miles. But that doesn’t mitigate the fact that it is hard when your body doesn’t want to seem to cooperate with you. It’s hard physically, but even harder mentally. I have ended three of my four runs this week early due to feeling nauseous (this morning I even stopped mid run and walked the rest of the way home). My doctor thinks it is because baby has just had a huge growth spurt and I have such a small torso that everything is getting cramped/pushed around. I am not training for anything (aside from being a mom). I don’t have a goal other than staying healthy for baby. So why do I let this bother me so much? Why do I care when I know in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t really matter? I think more than anything else it’s the fact that I have an expectation in my head of how I want things to be (or think they should be) and get frustrated when things don’t go as planned.Listening to your body is harder than it sounds. As runners,  we are innately wired to push through things and to ignore pain. If we didn’t we probably wouldn’t be out there at all- because running is not an easy sport. Learning to “toughen it out” and “run through it” is what gets you PRs when racing and allows you to push past that voice in your head that says you can’t do something. Most of my training and racing success has been because I learned to push past discomfort and keep going when things get tough. So how do you draw the distinction between that little voice you learn to overcome (telling you your tired or you can’t do something) vs. that little voice that you need to listen to (telling you your injured or need to back off?) Anyone can log miles – learning your body (and when and how to listen to it) is where I think real athletes are made.

In some ways, my hip injury trained me for pregnancy. Prior to having to deal with a serious injury I was far more reckless in what I was willing to put my body through and how hard I was willing to push. Dealing with my FAI impingement and labral tear has shaped me into the runner that I am today. It taught me how to be patient and how to take things slowly. It taught me that I can’t take running for granted. It taught me how to deal with disappointment (not being able to run my first Boston Marathon) and how to keep going regardless. It taught me the importance of being my own advocate when it comes to my healthcare and to keep asking questions.

No matter what the challenge is – I am fully convinced in an “everything happens for a reason” sort of way that dealing with these struggles and setbacks and challenges are necessary to make us stronger athletes. Isn’t it the challenge of it all that draws us to the sport anyways?

What challenges are you dealing with lately? What setbacks have you turned into comebacks?