Working Out Is A Privilege

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.

8 thoughts on “Working Out Is A Privilege

  1. I couldn’t agree more that working out is a gift and a privilege. Keep up the patience and the faith and as you’ve seen from the past and prior injuries and set backs, you will overcome them. I’ve been climbing the hill slowly myself. I’m guessing if not for knee issues I’d have run my half or more 2 years ago. However, running a little 5k at Thanksgiving and making a decent time for me was a gift I am indeed very thankful for. Now I’ve pulled something in the back of my right knee probably from streatching wrong or at the wrong time, I’m not exactly sure, that is healing but I’m NOT going to ignore it this time. Although I’d like to continue with my plans to build up mileage, I’m back at the beginning again of healing and then baby steps. It may always be like this and I’m going to keep on doing it even if it means only 5ks for me. Hopefully it won’t but I am glad to be able to run at all. Hang in there!

    1. Thanks Carrie!! It’s all about keeping a positive attitude and never losing hope. We will both get to full strength soon!! Everything happens for a reason. 🙂

  2. Excellent insight. I’ve found that I tend to go in waves. I peak for two months or so, where I can run 5-6 times a week, do hard efforts and race twice a month without a single injury. Then, I’ll dip for another two months where my feet hurt, my knees are acting up and I discover new muscles because they start hurting 10 minutes into a workout.

    It’s during those dips that my love of running is reinforced. Because after I overcome whatever is plaguing me at the time and return to knocking out tempo runs without a single complaint, I get downright giddy. It really is a privilege (some call it a gift) to get your blood flowing and feel the rush of air in your lungs.

    Here’s to a speedy recovery!

  3. I started running when a doctor told me I had borderline high blood pressure at age 34. So I took up running and discovered it’s benefits (to my blood pressure) but also its pleasures (to my general sense of well being). I didn’t need to have it taken away to enjoy it, i’d go out and jog a few miles after work most days. It became a regular part of my life. But then my knees and feet started hurting when I was getting close to 40. Now it’s this complicated thing I can only do “if my feet and knees are ok” etc etc. Some weeks i can some weeks i can’t. It’s all rationed now. You are absolutely right my friend, it is a privelege. Actually it is a SUPREME privelege to be able to work out in the form of jogging which is the freest, most direct form of exercise. I wish you and everyone the best who understands this.

  4. I just found your blog as a result of searching for how to overcome runner’s knee. Your article about that is great. I really appreciate reading this one as well. I am a runner who has recently gotten off the couch. Over the past 5-6 weeks, I’ve done a lot of treadmill running, drastically improved my cardio endurance, and lost 10 pounds. Unfortunately, I have been dealing with my own runner’s knee after a 60 minute run at the beginning of last week, and I have grown discouraged with how quickly this has brought my working out to a halt. I’ve grown frustrated because I forgot that I started exercising again because I want to be healthy, not because I had some goal of becoming an ultra runner. Thanks for helping me to put this injury and set back in perspective. I already love your website.

  5. Yes, well put! I have never felt more grateful for the ability to run down the street as I do now unable to run. I can’t wait to get back at it but I am doing my best to lay low and allow myself time to heal. Thanks for sharing!

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