Roll with the punches…or not

It hit me yesterday that it’s been almost 1 year exactly that i have had an injury of some sort. That realization made for a fairly frustrating and emotional day. I’m mentally and physically tired of dealing with injuries. I’ve tried really hard to think only positive thoughts and imagine myself as an even stronger runner once i’m able to get back at it but it was just not easy yesterday. Most of the time i can roll with the punches but sometimes, i think a good cry is the best medicine.

It was March last year that i felt a searing pain in my hip that took me out for a few weeks. The doctor said this was a typical overuse injury. I wasn’t surprised. At the time it had been 9 months and i hadn’t taken more than 2 days off in a week from running and i was also working out fairly hard 2 days a week with a client. I think it was a sign that my body needed rest. Unfortunately, i can’t really give it rest. My job is physical, usually 6 days a week, so rest isn’t something i’m really able to get.

This injury just snowballed over the next 12 months and ended up with a stress fracture and i’m now told i need 12 weeks off to heal. Funny thing is, i still can’t just take off. Being a personal trainer is something that i really love but it’s also something that requires me to be on my feet. The prescription i got last monday to “take 12 weeks off” just doesn’t really mesh with my life. I’m doing my best but i’m wearing thin. Exercise is what keeps me sane. Exercise is what keeps me healthy.

I spend my days holding my clients accountable but there’s also some accountability in which they hold me. I have to be fit. I have to be healthy. Nobody wants a trainer that is neither of these. This is where it gets a little sketchy mentally. I think trainers are just kind of hard on themselves. We don’t have a ton of patience when it comes to our own physical fitness. I have a good trainer friend who pointed out to me one day that “no wonder we have issues, we spend our days staring at ourselves in a mirror.” True and not true! Yes, we do spend our days in front of full length mirrors and what girl likes this but no, i don’t necessarily think i have “issues.”

I think i hold myself to a different standard but i don’t necessarily think it’s an unrealistic standard. I got over the whole notion many years ago of being the ‘skinny’ girl. I want to be the ‘healthy’ girl. I want to be a good example to my clients, in mental and physical health. I want them to know that it’s ok to eat cupcakes, it’s ok to drink beer, and it’s ok to have crappy workouts every now and then but that you have to balance these things with working out (even on those days when you don’t want to), eating ‘mostly’ healthy, and loving what you do.

I’m certainly the prime example of working out when you don’t want to. Who really wants to spend time doing toe exercises with a towel? Not me, but i’m doing them anyway because i know they’re important right now. I eat mostly healthy- i try to make good choices most of the time but i’m also not going to stress out over a cupcake craving- i’m going to dig in. The problem one, though, is how can i be an example of loving what i do? How can i love what i do when i can’t even do what i do?

This is where i start to get weepy and emotional but fortunately for me, loving what i do also comes from a place of gratitude and satisfaction. I spent many years in thankless jobs and it’s impossible for my job now to be thankless. I have witnessed, with my own eyes, clients fitting into wedding dresses they never thought they would fit into, clients correcting their scoliosis through exercise in efforts to a avoid c-section, runners setting personal bests in races, runners going from 60 seconds of running to a half marathon…and even a marathon, and so forth. Just hearing the words, “my doctor said working out with you is the sole reason i was able to avoid a c-section this time even though i had one last time with my twins” or “i’ve signed up for my first 5k” is all the thanks i need. Seeing a runners smile after a race is all the thanks i need.

While i’m going to try to really pull from these things over the next few weeks, i’ve also decided that i’m going to allow myself to get frustrated and shed a few tears because sometimes that feels good too.

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