I’ve read and listened to a lot of stories about runners with injuries, and I noted that if I ever got a big injury I would want to keep a positive attitude and see the big picture. I’m in this running life for the long haul after all and I choose to do this, I get to run. If there was ever a disruption in running I want to take it in stride (no pun intended) and remember that an injury that temporarily closes a door will likely open a window somewhere else. So when I finally admitted that this pain in my leg wasn’t going away with stretching and chiropractic and PT and wishful thinking, I exchanged frustration for curiosity and zoomed out for a birds eye view. From that place I could see it was time for an MRI and an appointment with the doctor.
I am just now in the beginning stages of getting this injury figured out, and with no clear answers yet on how to proceed. What is clear is my running is compromised and might be for a while. No one really can give me an answer about whether or not running itself will make these issues worse—the doctors don’t think so, but they won’t really say, so for now I keep running. I’ve got an off-loading brace to wear that is supposed to give the doctor some direction about a course of action, depending on how my leg feels when I wear it. Or after I wear it? I don’t actually know what this brace is supposed to be telling us. But I’m dutifully wearing the brace and writing down what I am doing while wearing it and how it makes me feel. Well, how it makes my leg feel. It makes me feel confused.
I am thankful for the doctor’s conservative approach, but the time frame on all of this and next steps are fuzzy at best. And of course it happens to coincide with some big ideas I have for the near future. So how do I proceed when I’m in limbo? How do I keep moving forward when I’m literally having trouble moving forward? That was the question I asked myself when I strapped on my brace and went out the door for a short run. Progress in Limbo is the phrase that came to mind. I realized that I can pivot. I realized that I can get creative. I realized that just because I’m in limbo doesn’t mean I can’t make progress.
All of a sudden my injury became purposeful. What opportunities are available to me right now that can progress my running even from this uncertain place? No big surprise, the windows began to fling open and the ideas blew in. There is always something to work on. In fact, there is no end of things to work on. Plus, I have front of mind what my coach always says: Motivation doesn’t show up and then you get moving, you get moving and then motivation shows up. I think it’s the same with progress. Just keep moving on something and all the threads will knit together at some point.
That wise running teacher is once again leading the way. This is exactly what I need to apply to my life, and when I’m too stubborn or scared to move around an obstacle something always seems to pop up in running so I can understand how to see my way through. There are gifts in the limitations. There are gains to be made from new kinds of workouts. And there are lessons to be learned from difficulties.
Thankfully, there is Progress in Limbo.