I have a sticky note on my planner that says "write a post about what comes next." It's been staring at me since this weekend. For someone that loves writing so much, ironically the first skill to disappear in a period of upheaval is my ability to put my feelings on paper.
I've spent the last week feeling like I'm living in some sort of odd dream. This can't be happening again, can it? I've asked myself, only to fall apart when I realize that yes, in fact, it is.
Some things I'm begging with you, pleading with you not to say to me include : "You're hurt again?" "What did you do this time?" "Well, at least it's not as bad this time, right?"
I mean - yes. Correct. Physically, I'm not in as much pain. But what I'm really struggling with this time around are a whole host of mental battles, sadness and frustration and doubting myself in ways that I don't think I've ever had to battle before. I think that's probably worth a post that stands on its own at some point, maybe when I've had more space from the "day of" event. But last Friday, a half an hour before I was supposed to pick friends up to drive to Charlottesville for the weekend, I found myself curled in the fetal position on my bed, crying so hard that my headache persisted for the rest of the night.
This is really, really, really painful. In a different way. It sort of feels like I spent a year fighting, clawing my way back to myself, only to slide back down to rock bottom again. When the boot was strapped onto my foot on the same day that was the one year anniversary of Becky's passing, I wanted to scream until my throat was raw.
But back to Friday. I had to pick myself up off my bad. I had to pick up my friends. I had to get out of the city. And it was the biggest blessing I could have imagined.
I am really, truly struggling with "what's next." My identity is "runner." My relationship with my mom is as "runners," at least a part of it. And no one can give me answers as to why this keeps happening to me - why, in a healthy, strong 25-year-old body, bones keep fracturing. This means rounds of tests are coming up. And it means there's no timetable for my return. And that's driving my type-A, please seduce me with an itemized schedule, personality absolutely insane.
But Charlottesville. I had to go. And so two friends and I headed down Friday night, ahead of the rest of the group who would meet us there Saturday morning, and a weekend filled with laughter and soul-filling fun and pure ridiculousness began. It was exactly what I needed. And I didn't even know it.
I woke up Saturday morning, a beautiful 60 degree day. We were in an absolutely stunning home, surrounded by quiet, bucolic Charlottesville, and as I took a shower, I wanted nothing more than to be running the hills. But then I realized something so ridiculous I had to laugh out loud : over the last twelve months, I've run pain-free for exactly three of them.
Three. Three months in twelve without running through pain, or being in too much pain to run. That is an absurd statistic. It's a pretty grounding realization.
Over the weekend we drank too much wine - probably all of the wine in Charlottesville, maybe? And cooked some really good food. I overate, I laughed until my sides hurt. More than once I felt the twinge of my new injury but instead of beating myself up I just ...let it go.
Tuesday was really hard. But I kept remembering that fact I realized over the weekend : three months. Three. Months. And so, surrounded by some of my favorite people in the world (who graciously let me take pictures of our weekend the entire weekend), I slowly began to realize it's probably time to give myself a fucking break. Time to chill out. Time to work on living a little differently. It's work that I began to do after my first injury, continued through the fall and then kind of ... lost myself, for a bit. Never really got to where I wanted to be. And here I am, right back at the beginning.
What actually happens next? I'm not sure, actually. I don't have a blueprint, and for now I'm kind of focusing on putting one foot in front of the other. But I'm typing this with hands that smell like chlorine - I've joined a gym where I can focus on swimming and on upper body work while in the boot. I think it'll also be important for me to continue that sort of low-impact cross-training once (if?) I'm cleared to return to running again. What's next number one, finding ways to remain physically active that are kind to my body.
What's next number two, getting my mental energy in order. Number three, cracking down on nutrition and diet and menu planning. For better or for worse, I've got more time on my hands now that I'm not training! So why not take the next 30 days to use that energy and that time to hit a new stride in pushing myself to be better with creative, wholesome menu planning?
What's next number four is this little space. Again, I have more time. I have some leftover energy. And I'd like to start writing here more frequently, and bring this focus of fitness and wellness into a closer union with my writing. I hope you'll bear with me - the posts about injury recovery aren't going anywhere, but may it be time to add in some workout posts? ("What to do in a boot" sounds like it would kill on Pinterest, right?). Some nutrition, some recipes - maybe it's time to bring what I've been quietly reading, obsessing over and discussion for the last few years more into my creative fold.
I still don't really know what happens next. I still really hope that my future holds running achievements. But I'm really sick of crying in my shower, and I'd really like to start making some lemonade. So I hope you'll keep reading. I hope you'll like the new energy and new content I want to bring here. And I hope that if you're being really hard on yourself, or if you've taken a few touch punches, or if your leg is fractured only a few months after healing from a broken hip - that you'll remember to give yourself a little break.