Light at end of the injury tunnel

I can see definition in my left foot.

I can see some bones and veins and other things that normally don’t catch my attention. It’s amazing what you find joyful when swelling and injury have kept you on the sideline for 13 days.

The official call with my coach came today and he said that Sunday I can do a test run. Just 20-30 minutes in the late afternoon or evening to see how it feels and how my foot reacts.

Joyful. Joyful.

This rest period is not something I’m good at. In fact, I’ve been fighting to keep from going completely batty. All that’s been on my fitness plate these days has been swimming — which means I have LOVED swimming more than I ever thought was possible. My bike is still traveling back from Texas. My running shoes have been on the injured reserve list. And my body, mind and soul have no idea what is going on with all this down time.

Training teaches you to go outside your comfort zone. Typically, that brings to mind images of pushing past limits, of activity, of trying new things.

This time, the new thing is: Nothing.

Rest is apparently outside my comfort zone.

What is so uncomfortable about rest? There’s the fear that I will lose all the fitness and skill gains I’ve made over the past few months. There’s fear of gaining weight. There’s fear of what it will feel like to start training again and fear that it will be difficult and painful. There is fear that the rest means I’m lazy and unproductive and uninteresting — that by resting I somehow am morally inferior.

Intellectually, I understand those are just stories I’ve made up. We all make up stories that we tell ourselves over and over again. And we can so often change our truth by merely telling ourselves different stories.

And that’s what I’ve been working on during this period of rest.

What’s my new story? That I’m being absolutely brilliant by letting my body heal to avoid turning an acute injury into something that is chronic. That my return to training post-rest will indeed involve some slower times and ugly runs but that my fitness will actually be better for the time off — that my body has now recovered from the pounding it took to train for the April 70.3 and is now ready to begin preparing for the next 70.3 — Musselman in July.

The rest allows me to enter my upcoming races in a spirit of fun — the way in which I want to enter every race, but so rarely get to practice because I let my mind wander into things like PRs and performance when I know that my best times come when I’m least concerned about my times.

I have two more rest days before my test run and then back to building my training. And this time, I’m confident this rest period will make that training even better.

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