In the months following my initial back injury I have encountered a series of setbacks. I have taken one step forward (more than once) only to take two giant leaps back. I have seen my progress crumble and my patience tested, yet I continue to remain committed to getting healthy again. There are times when it would be easier to just throw in the towel and admit defeat. But admitting defeat is too easy and I have always been one to take on a challenge. I refuse to accept a sedentary lifestyle where life remains stagnant and forward progression is just a thought. If anything, my injury has made one thing even more clear, working out is a privilege.
There’s a common misconception that working out is, well, work. I guess it can be if you forget that you are lucky enough to do it. It’s not until you face adversity that you truly begin to appreciate the many privileges bestowed upon you. I wouldn’t say that I ever took running or working out for granted. After suffering ligament tears in my right ankle playing basketball almost 5 years ago I began to look at running differently. Before that injury I used to hate running with a passion, especially long distance running. But, there I was feeling sorry for myself because I didn’t know if I would ever be able to run again. Why was I so worried that I would never be able to run again? I wasn’t a runner. In fact, I hadn’t been running at all prior to my ligament injury. After three months of physical therapy I could run again, albeit very carefully. Five months later I was able to sprint.
Suffering from and eventually overcoming my ligament injury reinforced my commitment to being healthy, and allowed me to enjoy every opportunity I had to work out. There were days when I would be on a long 8 mile run and I wanted nothing more than to stop, but I would look down at my ankle and watch it move with fluidity. I would remember the pain, the physical therapy, the resistance bands I used every night, and I would push forward, not just because I wanted to, but because I could.
When I first suffered my back injury I didn’t want to stop working out. I wanted to push through the pain. When the reality set in that I needed to rest, I did so with frustration. I am the first to admit that my impatience has often gotten the best of me during this time. Honestly, it’s because I know how lucky I was to be working out before the injury and I want so desperately to get back there. It’s also because I want so badly to be able to look back one day and remember the pain I feel now and use it as even more motivation.
I don’t know when I will be at full strength again, so for now I will just continue to focus on doing what I can do – eating healthy, stretching and doing the bike machine. It’s a work in progress. But I can assure you of one thing, I won’t give up. I am going to take advantage of the privilege that I have to work out every single day. It really is a gift. I guess sometimes we need a series of trials and tribulations to help us remember that.