The Brain over Ego – Working Through Injury
This time last year I was chasing the Spartan Race circuit, traveling to Florida for a Superhero Scramble and well traveling all over the country. It was a great ride, I loved every minute of it. July was when I officially quit my day job and made racing, writing and my website my life following a passion. It was a blast, I got to train Chris Davis and watch him repeatedly surprise himself. This summer has turned into something very different.
In the middle of June, with one jump and one wrong landing my summer plans greatly changed. That’s all it took, one jump. When I fell on my ankle I knew it was bad when it crunched not only once but twice. Two weeks later I went to the doctors to find out if I cracked any bones to find out that it was a bad sprain, grade 2+ out of 3. No surgery, but a recovery that would drastically change my summer plans.
Here I am three weeks later, no Spartan Race in Mexico this weekend. No Speedgoat at the end of the month. No races on the horizon until September. I could push it and some days all I want to do is say “eff it” and just do it, like I have in the past. But this injury is different, not since I tore my MCL in high school have I suffered an injury that has taken me out this long. When I sprained my ankle in 2011, I worked through it, did championship races and World’s Toughest Mudder with a cortisone shot in me. But now years later still suffer some of the consequences of the rushed recovery.
That’s the world we live in though, a rushed world. We are always looking to push harder, faster, longer and forget sometimes to look at the consequences of our actions. It’s easy in the racing world to push, push to the next race, the next distance, push when we are injured, and while continuing to move forward is important, at the expense of health it’s not. There are examples all around the OCR world were people have refused to slow down, take the short time off, and instead pushed it too hard turning a month recovery into six-months or more. Some even now suffering chronic injuries. No one likes to admit they are injured, no one likes to stop, and no one likes to admit defeat.
However, after three weeks of dealing with limitations I have realized the “defeat” we feel during injuries is nothing more than our bruised ego. It’s the ego that screams at us to push on, it’s harder to use the brain do the right thing, and shelf the ego. For the last couple of weeks I have had to shelf my ego, actually kick it to the curb. The ego has no place in your life, especially during injury. I have realized a few things during this period of my journey, there are a few pluses to being injured.
1. Spending more time with my family. I am not constantly running off to the woods for hours alone, instead I am spending more time connecting with my boyfriend and our dogs.
2. Not being able to run, makes you appreciate being able to run even more. It’s reignited my fire to want to hit trails and bag peaks.
3. Focus on your weakness. My upper body has always been my weakness, now I have weeks committed to just that part of my body.
4. Mental Break. Racing full-time takes a toll, it takes a larger toll than a lot of people realize, not only is it physically exhausting but mentally it’s hard to continue to push at a top level. Being injured let’s you mentally take a break.
5. The Reset. Injury helps bring you back to earth, set new goals and re-evaluate where you are and where you want to go.
Overall, I could sit at home and feel sorry for myself, or adjust the dial and see this as a period of time to take a break, one which was probably needed, and refocus, come back faster, stronger, and better than I was before. Soon again I will be bagging peaks, and crossing stream beds. Until then it’s time to keep using my brain over my ego.