It was four weeks ago yesterday that it became clear the pain in my foot was somewhat more serious than I had thought. Two days earlier, I had notched a PR on a routine lap of the Zen trail. Although that achievement meant nothing to anyone else, it was a nontrivial event for me given the 100+ times I’ve run that particular loop.
Since then, I’ve managed to be reasonably disciplined in caring for my foot and avoiding weight gain — it’s amazing how few calories are required to sustain a sedentary lifestyle — but it’s been impossible not to feel disappointed as I’ve hobbled about in a walking boot and the strength has seeped out of my body. Once again I was this close to peak fitness when the trap door opened.
So yeah, the negatives of an injury are pretty obvious. But there actually is a positive side to the experience, as I’ve been reminded again. Seriously. In that spirit, here are some of my favorite things about being injured.
1. All the other little aches and pains have time to mend.
2. Falling in love again with the bike. I’ve reached the point in the healing process that a good spin is nice non-weight-bearing rehab. It is also pure bliss on its own terms.
3. A renewed sense of appreciation and gratitude for: amazing landscapes and a body strong enough to quickly venture deep into them; the meditative benefits of a routine run; the weekly “hard reboot” offered by Saturday morning’s long run.
4. Taking stock of what has and has not been working in my running and what might have contributed to the injury.
5. Clarity about which special events on the calendar are nice and which are sacrosanct. In my case, it’s a particular handful of adventure runs that matter most this year and not the races I hope to run.
6. Time to spend on other hobbies.
7. Less laundry.