I've had three semi-major injuries in my athletic career. I say 'semi' because these have been injuries that require more than a few days off (like an ankle sprain, for example), but not so significant that I've ended up in the hospital or in the operating room (such as a torn ACL, for example). Each injury, almost unbearably painful both physically and mentally, has prompted me towards new and rewarding types of training. Each has taught me valuable lessons, too. With each, I first tried to force some sort of meaning out of the injury. Then, when I finally gave up, and when I finally thought the injury would last forever, some sort of new training lesson came to me. Let's recap the history:

1. Right Achilles Tendonitis. Winter 2004/Spring 2005. I got this injury in my days as a college basketball player. I ended up being sentenced to 6 weeks in a walking cast. At the time, I hated basketball, and I was looking for any reason to quit so that I could dedicate more time to my main interests (studying and lifting weigts). I hated the boot, because it took me away from moving and training. I figured it would do me good in the end, for it would get me out of basketball and allow me to spend all my time weightlifting. In the course of rehab, I discovered indoor spinning classes. Spinning became outdoor cycling, and I unanticipatedly fell in love with a new sport. And I healed the foot.

2. Left Knee. General Soft-Tissue Pain. Fall 2006. This one cropped up at the end of a glorious summer of cycling. I probably upped my mileage too quickly. I love cycling, so I thought I could handle it. Rehab of this injury involved no biking for months. I turned to swimming to maintain my sanity. I joined the college swimming team and had an amazingly fun season. In the meantime, the knee healed. Swimming got me into triathlons - so this injury unexpectedly helped me discover two new sports.

3. Left Achilles Tendonitis. Fall 2007/Present. Over the summer, I tried to up my running mileage more quickly than my body could adapt. Achilles tendonitis quickly ensued. I have had trouble healing this one. Maybe yoga? More streching? chiropractor? Strength training? All of these have helped, but nothing has cured it. The orthotics seem to have done it. I can run pain-free now, and the cycling is all that bothers the achilles. The orthotics don't fit in my biking shoes, but I will have a pair soon that fit. This injury has gotten me into the orthotics and has reintroduced me to the value of strength training. Both of these are very valuable lessons.

These summaries don't include the most important thing I have gotten out of each injury. By discovering cycling, swimmimg, triathlon, and the gym - all because of injuries - I have met some of my best friends. I never would have met any of these amazing people if it weren't for the injuries. Granted, the injuries have hurt so much that they greatly disguise the blessings. But in the end, I have always discovered new people and training habits because of the injuries.


Libby Maxim said... @ January 25, 2008 at 7:22 PM

now this is nice, it is a tribute to you frey to find the good even in the bad

no wonder your students love you


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