Sound Familiar?

Sound Familiar?
If you go through life without a major injury or other serious challenge, then you will never be tested enough to reach your true potential and be the person you could be. —My friend, KK

I know what you feel and what torments you right now. I understand the frustration that makes you want to scream, the anger that makes you feel like you’re off your rocker, and the fear of being trapped, shackled and chained in an injured body, unable to do what you want and “should” be able to do. Know you are not alone. I have been where you are—for years. I have suffered major injuries, one that I’m in the midst of recovering from as I type this. I have journeyed (and sometimes limped) down the same path you are on right now and I can assist and guide you.

While recovering from a catastrophic orthopedic injury, I discovered, through connection with other injured athletes, that a high percentage of us struggle to refocus our energy from athletic endeavors to monotonous rehabilitation. I’ve spent hundreds of hours interviewing many healthcare practitioners and injured athletes to determine the recipes for success and drivers of failure. My goal is to apply these insights as well as my own experience to help navigate you through the maze of injury.

During my research with injured athletes I unearthed many common struggles. Here are the most universal.


COMMON STRUGGLE NO. 1
I feel worthless and without purpose
You identify yourself and foremost first as an athlete. At gatherings you introduce yourself as the triathlete, the Ironman, the mountain bike racer, the marathon runner, or the ski racer. It’s not as satisfying to introduce yourself as “a creative, intuitive dude who enjoys painting and sipping wine with my friends.” What street cred does that hold? There isn’t anything tough-sounding or awe-inspiring about that.

Your life centers on daily training, nutrition, and taking care of yourself. QuestionsYou are constantly looking forward, with anticipation, to achieving your next PR, clearing some incredibly technical section of trail, climbing the next 14er mountain on the list or relishing the next perfect powder day. You consider yourself strong, healthy and resilient.

Then out of the blue you are blindsided, injury comes knocking. Instantly, your life falls apart. You hear a loud snap, something has gone drastically wrong. Along comes denial and you convince yourself it isn’t that bad. But then reality strikes and you realize…you are hurt.

You wake up the next morning in pain and any semblance of your routine is shattered. No running shoes. No bike. No sunshine and cool breeze on your face. No skis. No trail beneath you. No friends to laugh with or train with.

You think, “What next? What am I going to do now?”

That’s usually when the downward spiral begins. You enter into a deep, dark, cascading hole, the depths of which few people will ever understand.

What now? Click here to see guides.


COMMON STRUGGLE NO. 2
My social network is gone

Bella with me post-op

My wise red dog, Bella, keeping me company

Since you spend much of your time training and competing, you’ve developed an entire social network of like-minded individuals. Close, meaningful bonds form on long runs, rides, days of skiing and hiking.

When you are in the trenches with your training buddies, they learn all about your struggles, victories and the unsavory parts of your personality that rear up when you are grinding away the miles. These are tight bonds with dear people.

When the athletic dimension of your life is revoked and replaced with a void, you experience disconnection from friends, good times, laughs and social interaction in general. You’ll do just about anything to plug back into your network. Often you’ll even make decisions not in the best interest of your injury and recovery to experience connection again.

Connection is one of the most basic human needs. Without it you fail to thrive, grow, be seen, heard, and understood.

What now? Click here to see guides.


COMMON STRUGGLE NO. 3
I feel blue, sad and down
Here is the breakdown of the most common issues I observed.

    • What if I can’t compete again?
      Competition is a test—a test of your training, your physical strength, your mental fortitude, your emotional resilience, and a means of comparing yourself to others. It’s a social outlet, a way to connect with your athletic community. It’s gritty. It’s painful. You love it and you live for it. The mere thought of never competing again makes you want to run to the nearest laundry basket, curl up inside, and pull a blanket over your head.

What now? Click here to see guides.

    • If I can’t work out I’ll lose fitness/get fat
      Your body is accustomed to running at a certain speed and burning calories at a certain rate. Perhaps you work out so you can eat—without discretion. Maybe you eat when you feel sad. Injury drags a lot of baggage behind it that becomes like an annoying bad relative you can’t get rid of…talk about sadness and frustration. Your once strong, lithe body has been relegated to the sofa. Your daily activities now include watching Days of Our Lives and Dr. Phil.

What now? Click here to see guides.

    • I’m jealous of my friends
      You can’t ride your bike. You can’t ski. Of course your friends are all athletes, and every time you see them the conversation inevitably ends up in a discussion of the last awesome piece of flowing single track or the last incredible powder day. You can’t look at Facebook without being inundated with workout updates. Meanwhile, you are in a close running for the gold in the Sitting Olympics. At first you tolerate it. Then the conversation feels more like a jab. You can’t participate because your last victory is old news. This is when resentfulness and jealousy tend to set in. You can’t play and you don’t want to hear about your friends going out to play, much less their race reports.

What now? Click here to see guides.

    • I’m angry
      All of a sudden every routine, social connection, focus and outlet in your life has disappeared. Vanished into thin air. What will your life will look like now? You get angry and resentful of your body for letting you down…for failing. As soon as you feel just healthy and healed enough, you get back in the pool for a swim because you are a fighter and you don’t give up. By the time you step out of the pool your shoulder hurts worse than ever, and that makes you more angry. Maybe you can participate, but not win like you used to. Maybe you can’t hang with your pals. Maybe you can’t even lace up. Regardless, you can’t do what you want. You keep fighting and climbing and clawing to get back to your life before injury, but the more you persist the further you drift. Everywhere you turn you encounter frustration.

What now? Click here to see guides.


COMMON STRUGGLE NO. 4
I have to move to feel balanced and relieve stress
You used to cope with stress by putting in your earbuds, Downhill ski racingshutting out the world and going for a long hard run. Exercise was your best friend. It allowed you freedom, a space where you can clear your mind and expend some of your pent up frustration. It doesn’t talk when you’d rather just enjoy silence.

And then one day your coping mechanism has gone MIA. Training as you know it disappears and somehow a walk around the block with your dog doesn’t seem nearly as therapeutic as a hard run. You finish your walk likely with more frustration and anger than when you started. You have no reliable (or perhaps legal) means of coping with stress. Your short fuse seems to be getting shorter and shorter with no hope in sight.

What now? Click here to see guides.


COMMON STRUGGLE NO. 5
I don’t want to be a burden
I don’t want to ask for help
I want to be independent

At the end of the day, the great majority of us are very independent. We don’t want to ask for help. It’s weak to be vulnerable.

Sadness and despair have no place in your life and you certainly don’t want to reach out for help because your independence will be crushed. Your friends are busy people with lives and families and obligations of their own. Why would you want to bother them for a ride or a meal or a shoulder to lean on? You’ll just deal with it yourself because at the end of the day you are all you have. In the same way you depend on yourself to cross the finish line of a grueling race, you will depend on yourself to get through your injury, powering through it as independently as possible. Because why wouldn’t you be able to?

What now? Click here to see guides.


Sound Familiar? Maze
You are fine one day and injured the next. Out of nowhere, your athlete card is revoked. You are blindfold and dropped in the middle of an injury maze. You don’t know whether to step left or right. Among many conundrums, you don’t know what doctor to see. You have no idea who can help you. You grow increasingly frustrated and angry. Time passes and it’s almost impossible to know if you are making forward progress because you are moving further from your athletic goals, and further from what you love to do.


Need help out of this maze?

I’ve been where you are, and I can help.
Take the first step toward resilience, contact me.

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